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Rodriguez Civility Campaign Partners With World's Most Uncivil People

Rev. Sam Rodriguez, who heads the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has an extraordinary talent for self-promotion – and for positioning himself as a moderate evangelical while being a fully engaged culture warrior with close ties to both mainstream Religious Right groups and fringier dominionist ones.  His reputation is based on the fact that he parts ways with the right on a few issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, for which he has been an energetic advocate.

Rodriguez has repeatedly portrayed himself as a voice of reason calling for more civility in public discourse.  His latest gambit is the Imago Dei campaign, whose goal, according to TIME’s Elizabeth Dias, is “to change the narrative of evangelical engagement in the public square, especially when it comes to traditional culture war issues.”

Rodriguez says that too often evangelicals in the United States have become known for what they oppose, and not for what they propose, and younger generations have had enough. “The church of Jesus Christ and the word hatred should not even appear in the same sentence,” Rodriguez says. “What if every single person can recognize the image of God in the other? Wouldn’t that bring down the noise of the hateful rhetoric? Wouldn’t that build a firewall between intolerance and bullying? Wouldn’t that build a firewall against extremism?”

This might sound like a big deal to people who either aren’t familiar with Rodriguez or with the Religious Right leaders who have signed on to his campaign. But it’s hard to see anything new here. Back in 2010, Rodriguez was a signer of the “Covenant of Civility,” which said in part,

“We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God… We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

In 2011 he was part of a Christianity Today ad campaign talking about disagreeing with love and civility. That same year, in the wake of the public shooting in Tucson, he was among religious leaders who signed a letter to members of Congress that said “This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates.”  In 2012, he told Patheos blogger Timothy Dalrymple, We want to look at a new narrative of evangelicalism, one that’s less hostile, less confrontational and more full of civility.”

The language used to launch the Imago Dei campaign comes from Rodriguez’s 2013 book, The Lamb’s Agenda. In the book he says, it is wrong to “marginalize or malign those with whom we disagree….The day of angry evangelicalism is officially over. The day of a loving, Bible-believing community espousing truth with love officially commences right now.”

Well, at least he keeps trying, right?

There are two major problems here: one is Rodriguez’s own rhetoric, which doesn’t always meet his civility standard. Sometimes he comes across as conciliatory, as when he described a meeting with President Obama as “a conversation amongst believers.” But there’s also the Rodriguez who suggests that his political opponents represent “the forces of darkness.” In a Religious Right “prayercast” that unsuccessfully asked God to defeat health care reform legislation, he declared, "the same spirit of Herod who 2000 years ago attempted to exterminate the life of the Messiah today lives even America. The legislation that incorporates death and infanticide all under the canopy of reform.”

In 2012 after Obama came out in support of marriage equality, Rodriguez said the promotion of marriage equality is “an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ.”

I do believe that the power of the pulpit in addressing truth and righteousness is critical.  We can’t sacrifice Biblical truth because at times it becomes confrontational. Listen, Jesus Christ had very strong confrontational moments. This idea that this is a patsy sort of Christianity. That’s not the Christianity that we follow and adhere to. Sometimes, truth hurts.

But much worse than Rodriguez’s own  rhetoric is the fact that his group has formally partnered with Liberty Counsel, an organization whose spokespeople regularly spew some of the most hostile, bullying, confrontational, uncivil rhetoric in the public arena. 

To put it bluntly, it is hard to treat with any seriousness a “civility campaign” that features the face of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. As Kyle wrote in 2012 when it was announced that Liberty Counsel had become NHCLC’s official legislative and policy arm, “Few groups operating today can match Liberty Counsel in terms of unmitigated hostility toward gays and Muslims and those with whom they disagree or in terms of overall general craziness ...”

In a press release announcing the Imago Dei campaign, Mat Staver is quoted:

"We should continually remind ourselves that every human being is created in the image of God," said Staver. "This has profound consequences. In the blogosphere and social media culture where people are dehumanized, bullied, and slandered, and where political rhetoric has polarized the populace, the Imago Dei in every person compels us to love and respect all people, including those who disagree with us."

It’s hard not to laugh out loud while reading this. Staver regularly denigrates his opponents, and his Liberty Counsel colleague Matt Barber is even worse.

Just a few examples from an ocean of possibilities: Staver says Planned Parenthood "is not interested in the health and well-being of women" but is really only interested in "their death agenda" and in "damaging the very core and foundation of who we are as Americans and a people of faith and values." Of the movement toward marriage equality, Staver says, “This whole assault on marriage is really an attempt to obliterate not only morality but Judeo-Christian morality, to obliterate marriage and to even obliterate the idea that there even is a God.” And he compares Republicans who are soft on the issue to cockroaches.

Here’s the mini-profile of Staver we prepared for our preview of the 2013 Values Voter Summit:

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Staver says Obama and his “bloodthirsty administration” are worse than King George. He denounces “homofascists” and praised Putin’s anti-gay laws and the Indian Supreme Court decision criminalizing homosexuality.

We could go on. And on.

Meanwhile, Staver’s Liberty Counsel Matt Barber is a bully who rivals Bryan Fischer in the realm of “rhetorical pornography.” He calls Islam “satanic” and people who don’t get it “useful idiots.” He says marriage equality isn’t about marriage or equality but is a political weapon designed to destroy religious liberty. Barber praises Putin and supports laws criminalizing homosexuality. He says Americans are living under “a tyranny of a secularist minority that wants to engage in religious cleansing." There’s much more.

And to repeat, for emphasis: Staver is a leader of Rodriguez’s new Imago Dei campaign, and Liberty Counsel was chosen by Rodriguez to function as the official legislative and policy arm of his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Just today, Barber tweeted:  "Gay marriage" is a disordered, sin-based & oxymoronic novelty that mocks God & defiles any church in which the silly stunt is performed...”

Paging Rev. Rodriguez.

Garrow: God Stopped Obama/Satan From Killing Me!

Speaking with Erik Rush last Friday, right-wing hoaxer Jim Garrow said that President Obama and his allies are killing his colleagues in the intelligence community in order to cover up Obama’s secret plan to nuke America.

He told Rush that while God didn’t protect his friends from Obama’s hit squads, God saved him from an assassination attempt: “They are being eliminated, now they tried to kill me a few days ago but it didn’t work because God intervened; we are not alone in this fight against lies and Lucifer and those people who would like to take down first of all the blessing of God from America but also take down America as an entity on the earth.”

Garrow also believes that God stopped Obama from nuking the US.

Ex-Gay Activist: Gay Rights Movement To Blame For Anti-Gay Laws In Uganda, Nigeria & Russia

Ex-gay activist Christopher Doyle claims that while he doesn’t necessarily approve of harsh anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria, India and Russia, he believes that the laws are fitting responses to the gay rights movement in the United States for being mean to anti-gay activists like himself.

“Gay activism has forced a political correctness on many Western cultures, [Doyle] says, which prevents those who believe in traditional marriage from sharing their beliefs without repercussions,” the Christian Post reports, while noting that such laws are “‘overly punitive’ and could create an environment of fear instead of one where people struggling with [same-sex attraction] can get help.”

In a blog post today, Doyle seems to deny that these crackdowns on gay people are even taking place, and is angry that such stories are receiving media attention: “Gay activists continue to play the victim card around the world, but their story is getting old. However, the media still plays into their narratives.”

Doyle also believes that “intolerant” gay rights advocates are bent on attaining Communism and “global dominance.”

Gay activists continue to play the victim card around the world, but their story is getting old. However, the media still plays into their narratives. For example, just this week Bill O’Reilly had Juan Williams and another commentator slam Vladimir Putin’s recent comments, telling gays to “leave the children in peace” when athletes come to Sochi for the Olympic games in February.

O’Reilly and company joked about how un-evolved and ignorant Putin is when it comes to gay rights while condemning the Russian anti-gay propaganda law, which passed in their legislative body 436-0. But in actuality, O’Reilly and just about the entire mainstream media are really the ones who are unable to think critically on this issue.

As I said in The Christian Post article, anti-gay laws in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, India, and Russia are not being created in a vacuum. I would argue that they are also not in direct response to indigenous gay rights movements. These countries are enacting laws as a response to gay activists’ intolerance towards traditional views on marriage and sexuality, and their attempts to silence the speech and beliefs of those who disagree with them. These activists are largely succeeding with their goals in Western countries, and are now importing their Communist strategies into other non-Western countries to achieve global dominance.

Anti-Choice Group Cites Martin Luther King Jr. In 'The Dream Is Dead' Campaign

Yet another Religious Right group is citing Martin Luther King Jr., who championed reproductive rights and Planned Parenthood, in a push to criminalize abortion.

The Radiance Foundation, relying on discredited claims that Planned Parenthood is pursuing black genocide, introduces its "The Dream Is Dead" advertising campaign by claiming that banning abortion will offer women "real choices" and restore liberty.

In 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. shared his dream with the nation, he never envisioned an America where ”reproductive justice” would end 56 million innocent human lives. His dream never pictured a nation where black boys and black girls would never be able to join hands with white boys and white girls, as sisters and brothers, because “freedom of choice” determined some humans are simply not equal. His dream never imagined that in the state where millions have been welcomed into a harbor that serves as a shining beacon of Liberty, millions would be violently deprived of their own life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

...

Abortion is beyond a “healthcare” issue; it is a justice issue. New York women and teens deserve more than a butcher posing as a physician. They deserve more than a culture of massive abandonment that leaves so many single moms in poverty. They need better resources that give them real choices–not an industry that profits when someone dies.

Our country has already been down this road of injustice before. Any time in human history when a government determines someone is less than human, destruction and violence always follow. New York served as a vital part of the underground railroad for slaves deemed less than human by politicians. The Empire State should reclaim it’s role in elevating human dignity by rejecting a culture of death and an abortion industry birthed in eugenic racism. Just as Martin Luther King Jr. boldly spoke to a nation’s conscience on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial over 50 years ago:“Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children.”

Report on Judge Cebull Shows Why Courts Matter

When federal judges hear people's cases and decide their rights, it has an enormous impact on their lives.
PFAW

Operation American Spring Hopes To Shut Down Washington, For Freedom

Yesterday, Operation American Spring organizer Harry Riley appeared on Alan Colmes' radio show, where he explained his plan to bring 10-20 million people into the nation's capital for a rally to overthrow Obama with the help of militias.

While Riley seems to have downgraded his turnout estimate, which organizers previously put at 30 million people, he told Colmes that the demonstration will be so "massive" that it will stretch into Maryland and Virginia and will block traffic and commerce.

"[W]e will interrupt the traffic, we will interrupt the commerce," Riley predicted. "That's the way it is when we're pursuing freedom and liberty for all."

Riley: We are intending to field about 10-20 million people in Washington, D.C. and we're going to close it down. We are going to circulate, clear out into Maryland and Virginia.

Colmes: You are predicting 10 million people will be doing this?

Riley: Absolutely.

...

Riley: We will have a gigantic, massive rally on May 16. Then some of those people will have to go home, they have to work. We will come up with a plan where we keep a large body of patriots there over a long period of time. We've come up with a plan whereby there will be a flow-in weekly.

Colmes: Keep them where? Where will they be exactly?

Riley: They will be all over DC. Wherever they can find a spot to stand, that's where they'll be. Around the White House, around the Capitol, on the Mall, all over.

Colmes: They are just going to be standing and doing what?

Riley: They are going to be there and we will be presenting grievances and our demands. We will wait, we will be there, we will interrupt the traffic, we will interrupt the commerce.

Colmes: You're going to stop the traffic flow, you're going to stop commerce.

Riley: Mhmm.

Colmes: You're going to get in the way of the ingress and egress of people going about their daily business and really get in the way of citizens who through no fault of their own are just happen to be going about their daily lives, right?

Riley: That's the way it is when we're pursuing freedom and liberty for all.

Colmes: So you are actually threatening obstruction?

Riley: What I'm saying is, we're going to shut the city down. You can call it what you want but we're going to do it in a peaceful, non-violent, unarmed manner of citizens expressing our disgust with the deceit, the betrayal and the lies the government has been feeding us the last five years.

Colmes: What's your plan to stop traffic? How are you going to do that?

Riley: We're going to have to be in the streets, that's how we stop it.

Colmes: You're going to be standing in the streets stopping traffic?

Riley: Absolutely.

Renew America: Don't Let Kids Watch Hell-Bound Johnny Weir

The anti-gay news outlet Renew America is upset that NBC Sports hired openly gay figure skater Johnny Weir to provide commentary for the upcoming Winter Olympics, and is warning parents not to let their children watch figure skating alone.

In a post on the site, Catholic News Agency's Louie Verrecchio mocks Weir as "a flamboyant, cross-dressing, homosexual man who thinks he has a 'husband'" and a model for "the moral decline of society."

"So, unless you want your children exposed to the likes of Johnny Weir, an icon of the popular culture's Hell bent determination to undermine the objective truth about marriage and family," Verrecchio continues. "If you allow it at all, don't let your children to watch the Olympics without supervision."

Consider how far we've fallen over the last four years:

- The Connecticut Insurance Department joined several other states indirecting all health insurance companies operating in the state to provide "gender transition" coverage.

- Colorado Division of Civil Rights officials ruled against a suburban Colorado Springs school district saying it discriminated against a 6-year-old "transgender" boy, Coy Mathis, by preventing him from using the girls' bathroom.

- The state of California became the first state to enact "transgender rights" for K-12 students, requiring public schools to allow those students to choose whichever restroom or locker room they want to use.

- Twelve more states have passed so-called "same-sex marriage" laws, raising the total from five to seventeen.

Each one of these quantum leaps in the moral decline of society took place in my own United States, but our neighbors to the north made their own contributions.

Bringing the discussion back to sports, Canadian media giant Rogers Sports Net unceremoniously fired anchor Damian Goddard in May of 2011 for sending out a Twitter message, from his personal account, on his own time, voicing his "support for the traditional and TRUE meaning of marriage."

Goddard hasn't worked in the industry since.

Think about that for a moment:

A respected sports anchor finds himself unemployed as a result of having voiced his Catholic faith on personal time; meanwhile, NBC Sports is pleased to hire a flamboyant, cross-dressing, homosexual man who thinks he has a "husband" in order to provide color commentary (presumably rainbow) to viewers worldwide during the upcoming Winter Olympics.

So, unless you want your children exposed to the likes of Johnny Weir, an icon of the popular culture's Hell bent determination to undermine the objective truth about marriage and family, as well as the God-given characteristics that make us either male or female...

BE FOREWARNED: If you allow it at all, don't let your children to watch the Olympics without supervision.

WND: Obama's America Is 'The Land Of The Enslaved Effeminates'

WorldNetDaily's Gina Loudon believes that young people will rise up against President Obama once they realize that he has "taken the hard-earned 'Land of the Free and Home of the Brave' and turned it into 'The Land of the Enslaved Effeminates and the Home of the Cowards.'"

The right-wing columnist and talk show host writes that Obamacare advertisements promote "homo-erotic twerking," part of a larger Hollywood agenda that "tore down men and glorified world peace and transvestites."

Gen Xers had what they needed growing up, but they had no idea how they got it. Gen X and their children, the Millennials, elected Barack Obama. This formula resulted in the great-grandchildren of the Greatest Generation getting stuck with the bill for their Baby Boomers, who are like the spoiled child with a trust who can’t appreciate anything. They stood by distracted while Hollywood tore down men and glorified world peace and transvestites. Then Hollywood joined forces with the D.C. beltway and planned the final knife in the back of America – undermining the Bill of Rights and the Constitution.

It all sounded so good in the name of tolerance, but it doesn’t do much when the country is faced with an enemy, and homes raised by single parents are lying in ruin at the feet of this once great nation. The saddest part of all might be that in one administration, this president and his cronies have taken the hard-earned “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave” and turned it into “The Land of the Enslaved Effeminates and the Home of the Cowards.”

They don’t recognize tyranny even when their government is handing down edicts to enslave them. They have no motivation or courage to stand up to what has happened because they are too distracted with “Bread and Circus.

...

We thought Obamacare had stooped as low as it could go, spending half-a-billion dollars of taxpayer money on one big failed website, but no! They have hit an all-time low! Homo-erotic twerking – this makes Miley Cyrus look like Mary Poppins!

On Fourth Anniversary of Citizens United, PFAW Celebrates Growing Movement for Amendment

WASHINGTON – On the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC, People For the American Way president Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

“The deeply misguided Citizens United ruling four years ago brought immeasurable harm to our democracy, but it also inspired a re-energized national movement to get big money out of politics. In the four years since, sixteen states and 500 cities and towns have officially gone on record calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn Citizens United and related cases and to take back our democracy from the outsized influence of wealthy special interests.

“Poll after poll shows that the American people are deeply disturbed by the big money in our political system. They want a real voice in our democracy, not one that is overwhelmed by billions of dollars in corporate and special interest spending. We’ll keep up the pressure for commonsense regulations on political spending and a democracy that is truly of, by, and for the people.”

PFAW and ally organizations hosted a Get Money Out of Elections advocacy training in Arlington on Monday afternoon to educate activists about reforms to restore the power in our democracy to the voters. For more information on PFAW’s money in politics advocacy work, please visit: http://www.pfaw.org/GovernmentByThePeople

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Ted Cruz: Your Equine Posterior Achievement Award Winner

winner!

The votes are in for Right Wing Watch readers’ Equine Posterior Achievement Award, and by a whopping margin this year’s winner is Ted Cruz. With 57.4% of the vote, Cruz easily triumphed over competitors like Michele Bachmann, Pat Robertson and Glenn Beck.

And the achievement is well deserved, considering all of the stunts from Cruz we had to put up with last year.

After triggering the government shutdown over Obamacare, he seems to be the only person in America who actually believes that President Obama and congressional Democrats were responsible for the battle, with Republican leaders admitting that Cruz and his ultraconservative allies were responsible for the disastrous shutdown. During his faux-filibuster of the health care reform law, Cruz held himself in such high regard that he even compared himself to soldiers in World War II who suffered through the Bataan Death March.

Cruz in the end failed to derail Obamacare, and was only able to damage the economyflub basic Senate rules, grow his fundraising list and become the star of a children’s coloring book. Many of his GOP colleagues in the Senate also took Cruz to task for his role in the disastrous shutdown.

With a penchant for conspiracy theories, Cruz was literally laughed at for his claim about the government creating a “national gun registry” and mocked for invoking fears about the alleged dangers of Agenda 21.

While none of this shouldn’t come as a surprise as he campaigned for the Senate against the imagined threat of Sharia law and a George Soros plot to eliminate golf courses and paved roads, other remarks have been more chilling, like when he wondered if Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel took money from North Korea and called the families who lost loved ones in the Newtown massacre “political props.”

Cruz received a hero’s welcome at the Values Voter Summit, one of the biggest conservative gatherings, where attendees loved him so much that one called out to tell him that God is on his side during the shutdown fight.

Well-versed in the Religious Right’s “play-the-victim” rhetoric, Cruz even joked about the White House attempting to kidnap him. Cruz also joined smaller Religious Right events where he urged activists to pray against marriage equality and told the Christian Broadcasting Network that gay rights will lead to the end of free speech.

Right-wing activists love Cruz so much that he has been compared to Ronald ReaganVaclav Havel and the Prophet Elijah, and even birthers are lining up behind the Canadian-born Senator.

Congratulations, Sen. Cruz!

Judging by your record, you will probably win the Equine Posterior Achievement Award in 2014 too.

Harvey: God Wants Us To Have Anti-Gay 'Yuck Factor'

According to Linda Harvey, among God’s gifts to the world is the feeling that gay people are “yucky,” or at least that is what she said during an interview yesterday with Sandy Rios of the American Family Association.

Harvey, who runs the Ohio-based group Mission America, was plugging her book Maybe He’s Not Gay, which is meant to explain to young people why homosexuality is wrong. “What’s happening to children is the whole reason I got into this issue to begin with because they are being manipulated at very impressionable ages,” Harvey told Rios, lamenting that children are being told “you need to not find this stuff repulsive.”

“You need to find these sex acts, once you find out about them at way too early an age, you need to not find them repulsive,” Harvey said. “The yuck factor is being taken away from our kids and that is a huge preventive issue and a common sense issue on homosexuality where people know, wait I would never do that, yeah that’s a basic instinct that God has given you and it’s the right one.”

“What’s at stake is the future of civilization,” Harvey continued, warning that the gay rights will “overturn every vestige of civilization.” She said gays will “overturn male-female dating patterns, everything, every cultural norm that children are being taught so we really need to stand up against this.”

PFAW and Allies Mark Citizens United Anniversary with Renewed Call for Constitutional Amendment

WASHINGTON – On the eve of the fourth anniversary of the Supreme Court’s ruling in Citizens United v. FEC, eight pro-democracy groups are speaking out about the need to amend the Constitution to overturn that decision and protect the integrity of our political system.

Four years ago, the Citizens United decision handed unprecedented political power to corporations and wealthy special interests, and the effects have been dramatic. Billions of dollars have poured into our democracy – often through “dark money” groups that obscure the identities of donors – to influence election outcomes and help set the political agenda.

But Americans don’t want a democracy that operates like an auction. Sixteen states and 500 cities and towns have called for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United decision and related cases to put our democracy back into the hands of the people. Today, People For the American Way, Public Citizen, Free Speech For People, Common Cause, the Center for Media and Democracy, U.S. PIRG, Demos, and Public Campaign are building on that momentum to renew the call for an amendment. The organizational statements are below.

“Americans don’t want a democracy of the corporations or a democracy of the well-heeled special interests – they want a democracy of the people,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “In order to fully repair the damage done by cases like Citizens United, we need a constitutional amendment to restore the ability of Congress and the states to put in place commonsense regulations on political spending. Sixteen states and hundreds of cities have already asked for this to happen. The question now is whether our elected officials are going to stand with big corporations and the super wealthy or stand with the people.”

“Four years after the travesty of the Supreme Court’s Citizens United v. FEC decision, the case has empowered corporations and the superrich to tighten their stranglehold over our infirm democracy, undermined the basic functioning capacity of our government – and united the American people in opposition,” said Robert Weissman, President of Public Citizen. “Citizens United kickstarted a fast-growing national movement for a constitutional amendment to reclaim our democracy and re-establish the political sovereignty of We, the People. That movement is now firmly entrenched in the political mainstream, and on its way to success.”

“Four years ago, a sharply-divided U.S. Supreme Court, through its Citizens United v. FEC ruling, unleashed unlimited corporate money in our elections and gave rise to the SuperPACs, leading to new distortions of our political process by the mega-rich and big money interests,” said John Bonifaz, the Co-Founder and Executive Director of Free Speech For People. “But, the American people are fighting back to defend our Republic, demanding a constitutional amendment that overturns Citizens United and reclaims our democracy. We have amended the Constitution before in our nation’s history to reverse egregious Supreme Court rulings. We will do it again.”

“Four years after Citizens United invited big money to take control of our elections, millions of Americans have called on Congress – at the ballot box or through their state legislatures – to reverse the decision with a constitutional amendment,” said Karen Hobert Flynn, Common Cause Senior Vice President for Strategy and Programs. “While we applaud the introduction of amendment language in both chambers on Capitol Hill, we still need Congress to act. Americans deserve better, and in this election year, we’ll be looking for both parties to deliver it.”

“Since Citizens United, spending by billionaire-funded Super PACs and shady dark money nonprofits have skyrocketed, in some cases eclipsing disclosed donations to candidates,” said Lisa Graves, Executive Director of the Center for Media and Democracy. “With Sheldon Adelson’s multi-million-dollar Super PAC donations and the Kochs’ sophisticated dark money shell games, the integrity of our elections is under attack, and only a constitutional amendment can rein in the power of the plutocrats and put the people back in control of their democracy.”

“Four years ago, the Citizens United ruling opened the floodgates for big money in our elections, enabling a small number of special interests to drown out the voices of average Americans—but it also sparked a movement across the country to reclaim our democracy,” said Emma Boorboor, Democracy Associate at U.S. PIRG. “16 states and over 500 municipalities have already passed resolutions calling for an amendment to overturn Citizens United. Make no mistake, we will restore political equality for all Americans.”

“The Supreme Court has misread the Constitution and distorted our democracy, so that the strength of a citizen’s voice depends upon the size of her wallet,” said Adam Lioz, Counsel at Demos.  “It’s time for a new vision that empowers the People to fight the undue influence of big money in the name of political equality, accountable government, and fair representation for all regardless of wealth.”

“Public Campaign supports either changing the Supreme Court or changing the Constitution,” said Nick Nyhart, President and CEO of Public Campaign. “Otherwise, deep-pocket interests continue to bend public policy to its will, the voices of everyday Americans will be diminished, and our government will not be of, by, and for its people.”

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Paranoia-Rama: Obama's 'Brown Shirts,' Homophobia In Russia & The Threat Of Demon Pot

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Old conspiracy theories about gays and lesbians preying on children and President Obama confiscating guns and targeting white people live on in right-wing circles. The same goes with fears about marijuana, as exorcist/GOP politician Gordon Klingenschmitt has his own feelings about “Reefer Madness.”

5. ‘The Brown Shirts Are Next’

Latching onto the right-wing conspiracy that President Obama is using health care reform to create his own army modeled after Adolf Hitler’s Brown Shirts, South Carolina US Senate candidate Lee Bright alleged that Obama is turning the IRS into a paramilitary force to implement Obamacare.

The Republican state senator seems to be unaware that the IRS practices of training certain agents in law enforcement operations didn’t start under Obama but in the 1920s. File this under Obama Derangement Syndrome.

4. Obamacare Is Coming For Your Guns

In a totally not-crazy email entitled “All Hell is Breaking Loose!,” Gun Owners of America warned members that “Obama’s war on individual privacy” is lurching into doctors’ offices through Obamacare.

“[T]he ObamaCare program sets the stage for compiling a national health database which could be trolled by the FBI and could strip tens of millions of Americans of their Second Amendment rights,” the message reads, adding that an extension of emergency unemployment insurance should be tied to the gun lobby’s agenda: “Contact your Senators. Ask them to continue objecting to any Unanimous Consent request which would allow Obama's unemployment bill (S. 1845) to be passed, unless Senators are granted the right to vote on the anti-gun ObamaCare mandate.”

As we have noted earlier, the Affordable Care Act has a provision barring the creation of a possible gun owner database and prohibiting discrimination against gun owners, and the president’s executive actions similarly do not compel doctors to ask about gun ownership.

The gun lobby is now all but admitting that it uses conspiracy theories to encourage “fear buying” during election season.

3. ‘Disgusting Racist’ Obama ‘Despises’ White People

Former congressman Allen West is furious that the Obama administration is cautioning schools against using a “zero tolerance” disciplinary policy, a failing program that contributes to the school-to-prison pipeline. But according to West, this is all part of the Obama administration’s supposed “insanity” and anti-white racism.

“This is my clear and succinct message to white Americans. How long will it be before ‘you people’ realize you have elevated someone to the office of president who abjectly despises you — not to mention his henchman Holder,” West writes. “Combined they are the most vile and disgusting racists — not you.”

2. Anti-Gay Rhetoric Sweeps Russian Media

As the Religious Right’s love affair with Russia continues, it is no surprise to see Russian media using similar anti-gay rhetoric as US-based activists. The BBC reports today that Russia’s new laws targeting the gay community has “led to an upsurge in homophobia,” much of it encouraged by the pro-government media.

“Almost all [news reports on homosexuality] displayed an attitude that was either outright hostile or else noticeably negative towards homosexuals,” including claims linking homosexuality to child abuse and terrorism, or “gay jihad.” One prominent talk show host even warned that “Russia was in danger of being engulfed by a ‘homosexual sodomite tsunami’” while a Russian actor said he hopes to “shove all gays live into an oven.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin just today suggested that gay people are likely to prey on young people, telling gays and lesbians that they should visit Sochi for the Olympics but “just leave the kids alone, please.”

1. Demons Are In Your Pot

Religious Right activist Gordon Klingenschmitt recently launched his bid for the Colorado State House, and is already angry about the state’s legalization of marijuana following a successful 2012 voter referendum.

“There is a demonic spirit of drunkenness and it’s not just alcohol,” Klingenschmitt says, arguing that smoking pot “invites” demonic spirits into you. “Why do you think you have hallucinations? These spiritual visions that you have are not just biological; they’re actually demonic.”

Lee Bright Warns of Immigrants From 'Terrorist Nations,' Southern Border 'Invasion'

Yesterday, we wrote about a speech that South Carolina U.S. Senate candidate Lee Bright gave to a Tea Party group in August, in which he warned that the Obama administration is training IRS “Brown Shirts” to enforce the Affordable Care Act.

Elsewhere in the speech, Bright shared his views on immigration, and Muslim immigrants in particular, who he warned might be coming from “terrorist nations.”

“We got to be careful about who we let in this country. A lot of these folks from terrorist nations are coming in on student visas, and we shouldn’t allow it,” he said.

Later, in response to an audience member who questioned the wisdom of building a “wall around our nation,” Bright agreed, warning, “those same troops that keep other people out could keep us in.”

But, he added, illegal immigration across the Southern border is “an invasion” and “we don’t know who these people are. This could be Muslim Brotherhood.”

A later questioner was less sympathetic toward immigrants, warning of a growing number of mosques in South Carolina and alluding to seeing Muslim immigrants at the DMV. “I am curious to know, where are these people coming from and have we checked their backgrounds,” Bright responded. “Because we’ve gone out of our way to bring folks in from countries that hate us.”

Garrow: Anti-Obama 'Coup Is Very Close,' 'It's Time To Revolt'

In an interview last month, Jim Garrow once again called for an anti-Obama coup, saying, “A coup is very close and it should be.”

Garrow, a right-wing activist with a history of fraud who now claims to be a former intelligence operative who left to expose President Obama’s plan to nuke America and communicate with aliens, told Dave Hodges of “The Common Sense Show” that “it’s time to revolt” against the president through guerrilla warfare.

Garrow: It’s time to revolt. Frankly, it is. It is time to overthrow that which is illegal. So we have an interesting scenario: you either accept that this gentleman is in fact eligible to be president or you don’t accept that. You have to make up that for yourself, for your own mind. Is he in fact a legitimate president or is he not a legitimate president? So if he’s illegitimate, you don’t have to obey him. If he’s legitimate, then you must obey. But if he’s usurping the Constitution and the rule of law and acting as if he doesn’t have to obey it himself or that he can go beyond it or crush it, then he is in the wrong position and you don’t have to obey him.

Hodges: He is definitely an imposter, he’s a traitor. He needs to be in jail, not sitting in the beach somewhere out in Hawaii and coming back to the White House. But my fear is that our military, because we’re so dispersed all over the world, we’re not strong enough domestically to stand up to the Russians and Chinese that are here or will be here soon, and then their Canadian allies as well, as well as anybody else that might wear the blue helmet of the UN. So I think we don’t have any choice but to really engage in guerrilla warfare, long-term guerrilla warfare.

Garrow: Yeah, I’m leaning in that direction myself.

Later in the broadcast, Garrow said that a coup against President Obama is in the works and that we could soon be seeing tanks surrounding the White House moving to arrest the president and neutralize the Secret Service.

Garrow is currently organizing a rally, Operation American Spring, which he expects will bring “30 million people” to Washington D.C. in May to demand Obama’s resignation or removal from office through a military coup.

Hodges: If our top military leadership decided that this president is leading us into national suicide, could a coup succeed today?

Garrow: Yes. Would I hope for it? Yes. I most definitely would hope for it.

Hodges: We’d also have to arrest Congress because of what they’ve done with the NDAA, they’re traitors as well.

Garrow: Yes they are, yes they are. We need a fresh installation of people who believe in the Constitution and the rule of law. We need to be rid of the people who are there right now. It’s become an old boys club with entitlements and people are no longer representing the people, they’re representing themselves and their own entitlement.

Hodges: Do you foresee as a person, not someone with inside information, is a coup in our immediate future?

Garrow: Yes. Yes a coup is very close and it should be.

Hodges: What form do you think a coup would take? Would it be like the old movie with Kirk Douglas, “Seven Days in May”?

Garrow: No. I don’t see it being that.

Hodges: Would it be tanks to the White House?

Garrow: It could be, yeah, it could be. It could be just arresting this guy and taking him away.

Hodges: Would you presume the Secret Service would stand down or would they have to be dealt with?

Garrow: They would probably have to be dealt with, yeah.

Keyes: Rebel Against Marriage Equality Before It Harms Straight People & Leads To The 'Nation's Demise'

In his weekly column for WorldNetDaily, Alan Keyes today claims that the judge who overturned Oklahoma’s ban on same-sex marriage violated the rights of straight people and paved the way for the destruction of America.

Keyes, who has warned that marriage equality will lead to “the murder of the masses,” contends that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached and removed from their positions since the legalization of same-sex marriage will “overthrow America’s historically exceptional government.”

“The will to resist such abuses called the American people into existence as a nation. If today that will has failed, its failure will be the headstone that marks our nation’s demise,” Keyes writes. “Be advised, this tragic conclusion is the purpose of the whole ‘gay marriage’ maneuver.”

Keyes even claims that gay marriage undermines the “unalienable rights retained by the people (e.g., the heterosexual couple’s exclusive prerogative of procreation, which gives rise to the institution of marriage and its attendant rights.)”

We’re not exactly sure how allowing same-sex couples to marry will stop other couples from getting married and having children, but this is a recurring theme in Keyes’ nightmares of the coming gay dystopia.

The elitists’ push to legalize, and forbid disapproval of, homosexual relations is the most telling evidence of their hostility toward America’s way of life. It is also the key, in principle, to their thus far successful strategy to overthrow America’s historically exceptional government of, by, and for the people; and to restore unchallenged rule by and for the advantage of, the most powerful elitist clique.

The latest case in point is the ruling of U.S. District Judge Terrence C. Kern regarding same-sex marriage, overturning the amendment by which Oklahomans restricted the State’s recognition of marriage to heterosexual couples. Though the decision contained nothing new, both its content and the manner in which it was argued by both sides illustrate the deadly legal chicanery by which the elitist faction means to dissolve the moral, legal and institutional basis for just government, i.e., government aimed at securing the God-endowed unalienable rights of the people.



By contrast the judges and justices deny and disparage authoritatively antecedent unalienable rights retained by the people (e.g., the heterosexual couple’s exclusive prerogative of procreation, which gives rise to the institution of marriage and its attendant rights.) They seek to establish an unconstitutional regime of constraint upon one of the powers of government constitutionally reserved to the states, respectively, or the people (i.e., the power to make laws “respecting an establishment of religion.”) The will to resist such abuses called the American people into existence as a nation. If today that will has failed, its failure will be the headstone that marks our nation’s demise. Be advised, this tragic conclusion is the purpose of the whole “gay marriage” maneuver.

It is irrational to assume that the same Judiciary that has been the source of these abuses will now suddenly cease and desist. To stop their attack, we must implement the Constitution’s provisions for the impeachment/removal of civil officers who persistently violate their constitutional oath of office.

'Militias All Across The Nation Are Mobilizing' For Anti-Obama Rally

An organizer for Operation American Spring, a planned right-wing rally in Washington D.C. that hopes to drive President Obama out of office through a “second American Revolution,” said this week that “militias all across the nation are mobilizing” to attend the May demonstration.

In an interview with conservative pundit Erik Rush this week, organizer Harry Riley said that while the militias are “not coming up there with any weapons,” he believes there may be violence and “carnage” if the demonstrators don’t get their way. “I fear the next step, if this doesn’t happen, is going to be something that not a combat soldier wants to see,” he said.

Another rally organizer, Jim Garrow, has called for a “guerrilla war” against Obama.

Rush himself advocated yesterday for a military coup against Obama.

I fought all through the Cold War and to me I’ve never seen a threat to the United States any greater than the internal threat that Obama and his administration and a Congress that does nothing reflect. We’re in a serious, grave situation. It’s a reason we’re going to Washington to try, to try. I fear the next step, if this doesn’t happen, is going to be something that not a combat soldier wants to see. We’ve been through the carnage, we’ve seen it, we understands what happens and that’s the last thing we want.



The militias all across the nation are mobilizing. They’ve got rules of engagement already established, they’re not coming up there with any weapons, they’re not coming up there with any criminal intent or illegal lawlessness or anything else, they’re just patriots, Americans who happen to belong to a militia. They’re coming to voice the same thing: we want our nation back and we want our Constitution restored to where it’s the law of the land, not individuals.

Staver Urges Government Not To Enforce Gay Marriage Rulings That Don't Go His Way

Recent court decisions in favor of marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma have riled Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver to the point where he is suggesting that the government simply ignore and refuse to enforce decisions that allow same-sex couples to marry.

Staver, who is also the dean of the Liberty University Law School, said yesterday in an interview on Crosstalk that judges “lose their authority” if they rule in favor of marriage equality.

Later in the broadcast, Staver argued that judges “act as dictators” and must be stopped through a campaign similar to the one calling on A&E to lift its suspension of Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty star who was temporarily suspended after making racist and homophobic comments.

We’re not exactly sure how that is supposed to work, but to give you a clue, Liberty Counsel joined a campaign to mail rubber ducks to A&E’s offices.

It really I think, in the minds of the people, hurts the credibility of these courts. And I think when that happens, if the people say we can no longer trust these courts, we can no longer accord them the kind of responsibility and authority that they have, then guess what? They lose their authority. They have no enforcement power, it is only because the people and the government officials in the executive branch — federal and state — give them the authority. Other than that, they have no authority and that will ultimately I think weaken the judiciary.



I think that you may ultimately see a push back to the level of which, maybe even exceeding the level of which, we saw the push back of the people to A&E when they tried to censor Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. When he began to talk about human sexuality, homosexuality and marriage from a biblical perspective, the Duck Dynasty star was then censored by A&E and people pushed back in a very vigorous way. And I think what we’re going to see is we will likely see that kind of push back even to a greater extent against these activist judges. They have no right to act as dictators to undermine not only the will of the people but something that is part of our constitutional history and even beyond that, part of our natural created order.

SC Senate Candidate Lee Bright Warned of IRS-Obamacare 'Brown Shirts'; Called FEMA A 'Scam'

At a speech in August, South Carolina state senator Lee Bright, who is challenging Sen. Lindsey Graham for the Republican nomination, warned that IRS “Brown Shirts” might start enforcing Obamacare with semiautomatic rifles.

Bright cited a conspiracy theory promoted by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC), who started spreading the alarm in June when he witnessed “IRS agents are training with a semi-automatic rifle AR-15.” In real life, this is because the IRS has a criminal investigations unit that has since the 1920s pursued drug traffickers and other criminal organizations, and which during the Bush administration started providing extra support for anti-terrorism efforts – activities which require special agents to be “equipped similarly to other federal, state and local law enforcement organizations.”

But according to Bright, “If that’s true, and they’re going to assault weapons training, the Brown Shirts are next. Because that’s the enforcement group for Obamacare is the IRS. And if you don’t have an IRS, you don’t have Obamacare.”

We stumbled across Bright’s speech thanks to the Charleston City Paper , which had sent a reporter to the event.

After Bright presented his theory about the IRS-Obamacare Brown Shirts, an audience member asked him what he thought of various anti-government conspiracy theories, including that “FEMA is training a militia.”

“Most of the federal government is a scam,” Bright said, adding that “FEMA is the biggest scam in the world.”

To make his point, Bright told a story of the mayor of Charleston, South Carolina asking for private donations to help with the relief from an earthquake and getting so many that he had to stop accepting aid – all without the help of FEMA. We would really like to know what earthquake he is talking about that was small enough that FEMA wouldn’t intervene but large enough that it required a large-scale private donations effort.

In fact, FEMA has aided in a number of recent South Carolina disasters, including providing more than $8.3 million in aid to Hurricane Katrina evacuees.

Later in the speech, Bright claimed that federal earthquake and tornado relief, along with food assistance, were not the role of the federal government and were just being used to “get votes.” We've previously reported on Bright's mocking of food stamp recipients.

African American Ministers in Action Applauds Introduction of VRA Legislation

WASHINGTON – In response to today’s introduction of legislation to restore the Voting Rights Act, Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, released the following statement:

“In its Shelby decision, the Supreme Court undermined some of the most important protections of the right to vote in our democracy. The Voting Rights Act (VRA) has long served as a shield to protect people of color and other vulnerable voters from the threat of disenfranchisement. We welcome Congress taking up the mantle to restore the Voting Rights Act and protect every American’s basic right to participate in every election.

“Since it was first passed, the VRA has boldly confronted a problem that has deep roots in our nation’s history and, sadly, our nation’s present – discrimination at the ballot box. We must have a working democracy that includes the voice of everyone. Making sure that all Americans are treated fairly at the polls, whether urban, suburban, or rural, is something many have fought, and even died for – now it’s up to us to honor that legacy so their struggles and deaths will not be in vain. We must restore strength to the VRA.”

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