Last time self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs appeared on The Jim Bakker Show, the two talked about how they prophesied the September 11th attacks, warned of an imminent nuclear catastrophe and how Jacobs prevented two African coups. But when the two got together last week, Bakker did most of the “prophesying” as he recounted how “God spoke to me there’d be death by water and one day New Orleans will be under water forever,” with Hurricanes Katrina and Isaac revealing God’s judgment on the city.
“There’s going to be many, many disasters, desert disasters, sometimes God speaks in alliterations to me,” Bakker said. “In California confusion is going to happen and it’s going to be awful, the earthquakes are shaking, the ring of fire is shaking, there are going to be earthquakes like we’ve never seen before, there’s going to be storms like we’ve never seen before.”
Later, Bakker prophesied that along with California there will be an imminent earthquake on the New Madrid Fault Line over U.S. policy towards Israel and that his audience members will soon “pull people out of the rubble and you’re going to tell them ‘this is in the Bible, this is Biblical times.’”
Embattled Missouri congressman and Republican senate nominee Todd Akin appeared on WallBuilders Live today with David Barton, where the two showered each other with praise. Barton recently appeared with Mike Huckabee on a Missouri Baptist Convention teleconference trumpeting Akin’s candidacy and compared him to biblical figures, just as in an earlier radio show Barton likened Akin to the Founding Fathers. Many called on Akin to drop out of the Senate race after he said, while explaining his opposition to abortion rights in cases of rape, that “legitimate rape” rarely leads to pregnancies as “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.”
Akin told Barton and co-host Rick Green that there has been a “concerted effort to shoot him out of the saddle” by groups like Planned Parenthood, and that he is “looking forward to moving ahead with this race and seeing a great victory in November.”
I really appreciate your prayers and the tremendous encouragement that’s come from all across our country, and this has become in a way a national race. It’s not uncommon when somebody who is a strong conservative gets in a position to run for a different seat that there will be a pretty concerted effort to shoot him out of the saddle. We know who our enemies are, Planned Parenthood has put me on their “Toxic Ten” list and there are other kinds of liberal groups likewise that if you don’t trust the conservative ratings look what the liberals are saying. I really appreciate both of you, you both have been really great patriots, always stood for a good, balanced understanding of freedom, we’re looking forward to moving ahead with this race and seeing a great victory in November.
Barton said “party bosses” despise Akin because of his conservative voting record, and Green maintained that Akin only gets in trouble because he’s an “uncompromising, absolutely solid conservative” and “the kind of guy everybody says they want in Congress, we want that consistent conservative, but it does make it harder on the campaign trail sometimes.”
Barton attempted to explain that “missteps” like Akin’s “legitimate rape” comments are inevitable and therefore people should “blow that off,” and even used the fact that we at Right Wing Watch on a regular basis write about Barton’s dishonest and bizarre statements as an example. He said that Akin’s comments don’t reflect his time in Congress and shouldn’t concern people, however, Akin’s views on rape and abortion clearly reflect on his congressional record and a larger Religious Right worldview.
One of the things that I’ve been pointing out to people that have been asking about Todd and what happened in Missouri is he made a misstep, he said something that shouldn’t of been said, that’s been taken care of, he apologized, asked forgiveness, we move on from that. That misstep would bother me if this was a pattern of behavior and it’s not, it would also bother me if his voting record showed that he had any inclination toward what he said, which it clearly doesn’t. So we say we made a mistake. You and I get quoted all the time by Right Wing Watch for what they call our mistakes, anyone who talks is going to make mistakes and you blow that off especially if you got a record. So the response is: hey let’s not get distracted with this because what happened is liberals in the Republican party and liberals in Democrat party [sic] would love for people to focus on that misstep that Todd said and that way they don’t have to talk about the contrast between him and his opponent, Claire McCaskill.
If Barton is making the case that Akin’s assertion would only bother him “if this was a pattern of behavior,” then maybe Barton should be troubled by his own career as a self-proclaimed historian as his latest book was pulled from publication over its inaccuracies, and as Barton himself notes, has to be frequently called out on this blog (and others) for making clearly false and absurd claims.
Mitt Romney this weekend stumped alongside televangelist Pat Robertson, not minding Robertson’s legacy of incendiary, insensitive, heartless and apocalyptic rhetoric that has gotten him in trouble in the past. Apparently, Robertson’s own CBN has become aware of Robertson’s problematic statements, and may even be editing his controversial claims out of episode archives.
For example, today on the 700 Club’s “Bring It On” segment where viewers ask Robertson questions, one man wondered how he should go about repairing his marriage with a wife who “insults” him and once tried to attack him.
“Well, you could become a Muslim and you could beat her,” Robertson responded. “This man’s got to stand up to her and he can’t let her get away with this stuff,” Robertson continued, “I don’t think we condone wife-beating these days but something has got to be done.”
He later said the woman is a “rebellious child” and pondered if she has psychological problems. Robertson told the viewer that since he “can’t divorce her according to the Scripture, so I say: move to Saudi Arabia.”
However, if you watch the show as posted on CBN’s website, Robertson’s words towards the end of the program about Saudi Arabia and wife-beating were noticeably edited out.
William Owens Jr., whose father William Owens works for the National Organization for Marriage and runs the right-wing Coalition of African-American Pastors, is out with a new article suggesting that President Obama is preparing for a dictatorship and may even be a Muslim. He charges that the “anti-American” Obama wants to “render America decrepit and ripe for a dictatorial-style second four-year term” and to do this the Democrats must do away with God: “The God of the Bible has been rejected by this party as they have welcomed the god of another. With a record increase of Muslims in attendance, the message is clear and President Obama has raised the stakes for the fight for America by throwing in all the chips.”
Owens Jr. also claimed that Obama, simply by personally endorsing marriage equality, intends to “pass laws that would threaten to jail and/or fine pastors who didn’t perform” same-sex nuptials because he “believes pastors to be homophobic and is committed to punishing such thoughts by law” and wants to “destroy the family – by doing away with it.”
“The trajectory of Obama is leading to a tragedy of untold proportions and in less than 60 days,” he writes, “if we don't remove him, I'm afraid that tragedy is set for America.”
The trajectory of Obama's ideology has finally arrived at its dark destination … a godless America, a family-less America, and an un-American America.
Since Obama has taken the White House, he has been effective in his quest to fundamentally change the course of America. He realizes this is not possible unless he removes the fundamentals of America: God, family and country, even if it means going against the wishes of most Americans, which he has done with disdain and contempt.
In 2008, Obama started his first days as president with a world tour apologizing for America's exceptionalism in hopes of propping up other countries by putting America down. He relished the opportunity to vent a well-fostered resentment for the country that voted him in as president. A people who fall prey to both Black pride and white guilt became victims of his twisted ideology. Americans did not expect a president would use the sacred office to dislodge their country with a methodology that smells of corruption, deception and apostasy.
You may kiss the bride," says the pastor as two people of the same sex lean over to kiss each other inside a Bible-believing church. Why? Because Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage would pass laws that would threaten to jail and/or fine pastors who didn't perform these unions among a group that accounts for less than 2% of the American population. He believes pastors to be homophobic and is committed to punishing such thoughts by law. It is a fact that most Americans, regardless of their religious beliefs, view marriage as being between ONE man and ONE woman. This is how he has purposed to destroy the family – by doing away with it.
It is not Obama's concerns for the homosexual that has prompted him to support same-sex marriage. It is for the vote and the moneybag. Obama is a master at using individuals as well as groups to accomplish his objective, and if it means taking anti-American positions, he will do it. If it means falsifying genuine concern for a group of people to attain their money and their vote, he will do it. How do I know? It's a reality. Just ask Black Americans. Ask Jeremiah Wright. To render America decrepit and ripe for a dictatorial-style second four-year term, Obama must show just who he is and rally to himself two type of supporters: those who get it and love it, and those who don't have a clue and love it any way.
The God of the Bible has been rejected by this party as they have welcomed the god of another. With a record increase of Muslims in attendance, the message is clear and President Obama has raised the stakes for the fight for America by throwing in all the chips.
More than Obama, however, we Americans, evangelicals and pastors of the Judeo-Christian faith have become passive and have not fulfilled our duty to defend our faith and to speak the truth.
The trajectory of Obama is leading to a tragedy of untold proportions and in less than 60 days, if we don't remove him, I'm afraid that tragedy is set for America.
Only God, whom the Democratic Party has rejected, can and will save America. Unless those who believe and honor this God, of which much of America was founded and arise in His name, many believe America's real hope is lost.
It's really not about what Obama will do; it's about what most Americans won't do: stand up for our Freedoms and Liberties given by God not by a man nor by President Obama himself.
People for the American Way extends its congratulations to two Young Elected Progressives (YEP) endorsees who emerged victorious in Massachusetts’ legislative primary elections yesterday.
Sean Garballey, who is currently a state representative for the 23rd District of Massachusetts, ran to retain his current seat, which he acquired in 2009; he was unopposed.
Carl Sciortino is a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and has represented the 34th District since 2005. Carl ran unopposed to retain his current seat.
In another shameful episode of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue apologism of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Donohue played down the crimes of a Catholic priest, who in August “pleaded guilty to four counts of producing child pornography and one count of attempting to produce child pornography using girls as young as 2 years old,” and the Bishop who was convicted yesterday of shielding the priest. “The case did not involve child sexual abuse—no child was ever abused, or touched, in any way by Father Sean Ratigan,” Donohue said. “Nor did this case involve child pornography.” Following Bishop Robert Finn’s conviction, Donohue claimed that the “chorus of condemnations targeting Bishop Finn” are “as unfair as they are contrived.”
Let’s get rid of some myths. Bishop Finn was not found guilty of a felony: he was found guilty of one misdemeanor, and innocent of another. The case did not involve child sexual abuse—no child was ever abused, or touched, in any way by Father Sean Ratigan. Nor did this case involve child pornography. Here’s what happened.
On December 16, 2010, a computer technician found crotch-shot pictures of children, fully clothed, on Ratigan’s computer; there was one that showed a girl’s genitals exposed. The next day Ratigan attempted suicide. The Vicar General, Msgr. Robert Murphy, without seeing the photos, contacted a police officer about this matter. The officer, after consulting with another cop, said a single photo of a non-sexual nature would not constitute pornography. After a few more of the same types of photos were found, an attorney rendered the same judgment: they were not pornographic.
Finn then asked a psychiatrist to evaluate Ratigan. The bishop was given the judgment of a professional: the priest was not a risk to children (he was diagnosed as suffering from depression). Finn then placed restrictions on Ratigan, which he broke. When it was found that Ratigan was again using a computer, upon examination more disturbing photos were found. Murphy then called the cops (Finn was out of town) and a week later Ratigan was arrested. Yesterday, Finn was found guilty of one misdemeanor of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse.
The Catholic League supports harsh penalties for child sexual abusers, and for those who cover it up. But it also supports equal justice for all, and given what we know of what is going on in many other communities, religious as well as secular, we find the chorus of condemnations targeting Bishop Finn to be as unfair as they are contrived.
As the New York Times reported, Father Ratigan “had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls,” including on the playground at the school which employed him and some of the photos even “show girls’ genitalia through their clothing.” The school’s principal sent the Bishop a letter noting that Ratigan “put a girl on his lap on a bus ride and encouraged children to reach into his pockets for candy, and that parents discovered girl’s underwear in a planter outside his house.”
The case began when the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a charismatic parish priest who had previously attracted attention for inappropriate behavior with children, took his laptop computer in for repairs in December 2010. A technician immediately told church officials that the laptop contained what appeared to be pornographic photographs of young girls’ genitals, naked and clothed.
Father Ratigan attempted suicide, survived and was sent for treatment. Bishop Finn reassigned him to live in a convent and ordered him stay away from children. But Father Ratigan continued to attend church events and take lewd pictures of girls for five more months, until church officials reported him in May 2011, without Bishop Finn’s approval. The bishop was found guilty on the charge relating only to that time period.
Father Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to federal child pornography charges, and is awaiting sentencing.
Ms. Peters Baker told the judge in opening arguments that Bishop Finn had been given ample warning that Father Ratigan was a danger to children. She said that the priest had even admitted to Bishop Finn that he had “a pornography problem.”
The prosecutor said: “Defendant Finn is the ultimate authority. The buck does stop with him.”
In May 2010, the principal of the Catholic elementary school where Father Ratigan was working sent a memo to the diocese raising alarm about the priest. The letter said that he had put a girl on his lap on a bus ride and encouraged children to reach into his pockets for candy, and that parents discovered girl’s underwear in a planter outside his house. Bishop Finn has said he did not read the letter until a year later.
The prosecutor said the photographs discovered on Father Ratigan’s laptop in December 2010 were “alarming photos,” among them a series taken on a playground in which the photographer moves in closer until the final shots show girls’ genitalia through their clothing. Confronted with the photographs, Father Ratigan tried to commit suicide, but survived and was briefly hospitalized.
For the second edition of James Dobson’s Family Talk program criticizing the feminist movement with former Focus on the Family vice president Diane Passno, the two fielded questions from an audience of young adults. One young woman asked what they would recommend to a person like herself who is “not ready to be a mom and a wife” but does have career aspirations. Passno, who is promoting her new book that criticizes feminism, told her that it is wonderful she has so many “opportunities that women of my era never had,” seeming to overlook the fact that the tremendous growth in opportunities for women is one of the accomplishments of the feminist movement. But she did caution her that she may only have those career aspirations because of what she hears from her parents and colleagues.
Questioner: What is your advice to young women like myself who—I’m not ready to be a mom and a wife and I have aspirations and I do have longings and hopes and desires to do things, is there a balance for that future? What’s your advice to me now as singles who are built with passions to serve the Lord and to do different things?
Passno: It’s wonderful. You have opportunities that women of my era never had and so I can totally understand when you say ‘I’m really not ready for marriage, I don’t even have a boyfriend and actually I’m really looking forward to taking my education and having a great career.’ My caution to you would be this: career isn’t everything and always use discernment in your professional life. Are you doing what you’re doing because you’re getting plaudits from your parents? From people you went to college with? Are you climbing up the corporate ladder because it’s what you’ve been told is important? Just remember to submit yourself daily to the Lord and He will guide you to where He wants you to be.
As Passno and Dobson later explained, the culture has been inculcated with “lies” from the feminist movement, leaving society with unhappy childless women, immature men, and remorseful feminists.
Dobson: You know what’s happening over and over now is that young women hear this message and they either postpone or decide not to have babies and then at 33 and 34 and 35 they start to panic and they realize they’ve missed an opportunity and it’s getting very late and there are many childless women today who would love to hold a baby and they were sold a lie. I resent the lies that are being told to the young women that are out there because in twenty years they will regret it, many of them will regret it and it will be too late.
Passno: I resent the lies that are fed to the young men as well because we have a generation of men who don’t know what it means to make a commitment, who don’t know what it means to protect a family, who don’t know what it means to cherish a woman and remain pure until marriage. The feminist movement has distorted so many things that were precious and that the Lord said in Scripture were precious.
Passno: There are many older feminists who are now looking back at their lives and questioning what they indoctrinated this generation with and they’re questioning it and they’re going ‘maybe I didn’t have all the answers,’ and unfortunately so many of them will never look to Christianity for the answers.
Dobson: And their children are even more confused because they’ve gotten mixed messages and the passion with which the early feminists started has now kind of diminished with time in the present generation.
Mission America’s Linda Harvey is weighing in on the debate over California’s SB 1172, the legislation detested by anti-gay activists because it will prohibit counselors from engaging in discredited sexual orientation conversion therapy with minors. Harvey said the bill is another move by the “aggressive homosexual lobby” to keep children and teenagers from hearing the truth about sexuality, and she is hoping that more Americans will begin to “see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk” before other states consider similar bills. Later, she decried the legislation as “seriously evil” as it could lead gay and lesbian youth “down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy.”
If Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill just passed by both houses of the California assembly, that state will essentially ban heterosexuality for some kids. Despite a huge controversy, Senate Bill 1172 recently passed anyway, it bans all forms of sexual orientation change efforts by licensed counselors for people under the age of 18, even if the patient and parent want this type of therapy. For some teens, this means they will never hear that a person who has same-sex attractions does not have to act on those desires. They may also never hear the fact that no science has demonstrated that people are born gay, but reality doesn’t stop the aggressive homosexual lobby. It is expected that this law will be signed by the Governor. California has many radicals in its legislature and the bill’s sponsor claims that efforts to help teens who have homosexual feelings to change are always harmful, that’s simply not true. I’m sure you are thinking ‘well that’s goofy California, how can we expect anything else?’ Yet similar bills may soon be introduced in New Jersey and a few other states. It’s the latest strategy of those who oppose biblical morality to portray high sexual standards as being mean and hateful. Good luck with that because most of America is starting to see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk.
There are no words to describe how seriously evil this is. It can affect certain children in a make it or break it way. Imagine you are the parent of a thirteen year old son who announces that he think he might be gay and wants to start daring other guys! You as a well-informed Christian know this is not the way he was born and that he could easily start down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy. But no counselor in California can now share this information with your son if they choose to follow this law.
Earlier this summer the Southern Baptist Convention was embroiled in a fiasco over SBC “chief ethicist” and political activist Richard Land’s racially inflammatory comments regarding President Obama and the Trayvon Martin case, remarks that later turned out to be plagiarized. After initially refusing to apologize, Land ultimately apologized, lost his radio show and announced his retirement.
One of the people who pressed Land to apologize was Dr. Fred Luter Jr., the African American pastor who was later elected to head the SBC. Luter said of Land’s comments at the time, “It doesn’t help. That’s for sure.”
Luter is now slated to appear at a Religious Right simulcast, iPledge Sunday, hosted by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, a group whose very own spokesman and Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy, Bryan Fischer, has used racially offensive language just as bad if not worse than Land’s, and far more frequently.
The Rev. Fred Luter Jr. is the first African American to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He helped get the denomination to formally apologize for its racist history and even rebuked a fellow Southern Baptist leader for making offensive comments about the killing of Trayvon Martin.
When Rev. Luter was elected this summer, he said that the racial rhetoric used to criticize President Obama shows "that we have a long, long, way to go in America as far as racial reconciliation." Now he has an opportunity to stand up and show real leadership by pulling out of this event and disavowing the hateful rhetoric of his fellow conservative evangelicals.
Rev. Luter: If you want the Southern Baptist Convention to overcome its racist past, you must cancel your appearance at iPledge Sunday and denounce the religious-right extremists who've used racial rhetoric to demonize President Obama.
In addition, Fischer claimed that African Americans “rut like rabbits” due to welfare.
Welfare has destroyed the African-American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete. Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock. We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.
Fischer even alleged that African Americans are “like drug-addled addicts.”
The only reason we can see why the Democrat Party still has support in the African American community is because the Democrat Party promises them more goodies, the Democrat Party is handing out stuff, basically getting them addicted. It’s like the government is one big giant methadone clinic and they’re just handing out these injections to people in the form of welfare benefits to get them hooked, so they got to hook up with their supplier once a month, they got to get their fix, they got to hook up with their dealer on a street corner once a month and get their fix from the federal government. They’re like drug-addled addicts and the Democrat Party has gotten them addicted to welfare benefits. That apparently is the only reason they continue to support this party.
Luter rightfully led the SBC to reprimand Land over his inflammatory comments, but partnering with the AFA and its racially-charged rhetoric directed at Obama and the African American community only undercuts his message of racial reconciliation.
In a radio bulletin that either reveals a stunning level of ignorance or sheer insanity, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign to boycott Starbucks over its stance on gay rights called “Dump Starbucks”—which so far has collected fewer than 50,000 signers—is responsible for a $10 billion reduction in market capitalization. “Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country,” Perkins said. “And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars.”
That’s right, the FRC chief says that the company’s decision to endorse marriage equality in its home state led to its recent troubles, while providing no evidence as to how NOM and its fewer than 50,000 fellow boycotters contributed to Starbucks’ drop in stock value.
It didn’t take long for Starbucks to lose bucks over marriage. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington. In January, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said endorsing same-sex marriage would be good for business. Boy was he wrong! Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country. And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars. That’s how much the coffee giant’s lost in stock value since the campaign to Dump Starbucks got underway. In the last eight months, the company's missed sales projections and watched stocks dive from $61 to $48, for a loss of more than $10.2 billion. How many companies will fall for the lie that endorsing same-sex marriage will help business? J.C. Penney’s tried it. Target’s tried it. Now Starbucks. And every time, there’s a reason to believe that alienating millions of customers will directly affect a company’s bottom line. On the flip side, look at Chick-fil-A. They found out that supporting traditional values pays just as many cultural dividends as financial ones.
David Benham organized a prayer rally in Charlotte to coincide with the opening of the Democratic National Convention called Charlotte 714, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, along with groups like the North Carolina Values Coalition and Operation Save America, which is led by his father Flip Benham. While speaking to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the prayer rally, Benham said that Charlotte was chosen not only because it is the site of the DNC but also because the city was one of the few areas to vote against Amendment One, the same-sex marriage ban voters passed in May. Benham called Charlotte’s vote against anti-gay discrimination a sign of the “very desperate spiritual situation and moral situation in our country,” requiring “a citywide church service of repentance.” Later, Benham told Mefferd that America’s Christian majority must repent for tolerating abortion rights, no-fault divorce, legal pornography, “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation” and the “demonic ideologies” that he says have taken over the education system.
In North Carolina you know we just fought for Amendment One which was a constitutional amendment that simply said, this is exactly what the amendment said is the only legal marriage in North Carolina was between a man and a woman. We received—it was such a battle in North Carolina it blew me away. I already knew in my heart as most all of us Christians in America know that we are in a very desperate spiritual situation and moral situation in our country but it really hit home during Amendment One, so much so that when Amendment One passed I realized the only three counties in North Carolina that actually voted against the amendment were Charlotte, Raleigh and Asheville, our three cities. So we had all the rural areas and all the suburban areas but we lost all the cities. So I felt like, OK it’s time that we have a citywide church service of repentance and that’s the reason that we decided to do it right in the heart of Charlotte the night before the DNC.
We will always finger point but we don’t realize that OK if 87% of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand; we have no-fault divorce; we have pornography and perversion; we have a homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation; we have adultery; we have all of the things; we even have allowed demonic ideologies to take our universities and our public school systems while the church sits silent and just builds big churches. We are so complacent, we are so apathetic and we are very hypocritical in the church, that’s why the Bible says judgment begins in the house of God. So when we prayed at 714 we asked God and our city to forgive us for allowing these things in the house of God.
In today's polarized political climate, there are a few things on which American voters overwhelmingly agree. For all our disputes, we can find common ground in this: we're completely fed up. About 80 percent of us don't think Congress is doing a good job. Only aboutone third of us view the federal government favorably. In a precipitous drop, less than half of Americans have a favorable view of the Supreme Court. Across all political lines, 75 percent of Americans say there is too much money in politics, and about the same percentage think this glut of money in politics gives the rich more power than the rest in our democracy.
Interestingly, another thing that most Americans have in common is that 80 percent of us have never heard of Citizens United v. FEC, the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Our feelings of frustration with Washington are deeply connected with the widespread, and entirely founded, suspicion that our elected officials aren't representing voters, but are instead indebted to the wealthy interests that pay for their campaigns. This distrust has only deepened as politicians and the courts have handed over more and more power to those with the deepest pockets.
Citizens United is only the most famous of the recent spate of Supreme Court decisions aimed at eliminating hard-won campaign finance regulations. In fact, shortly before Citizens United, the George W. Bush-created right-wing bloc of the Supreme Court issued major rulings that had already begun to undermine decades of federal clean election laws.
And we are only partway down the slippery slope. It keeps getting worse as the Supreme Court gradually dismantles state-level clean elections laws, as it did in Arizona, and clarifies that its sweeping decision in Citizens United applies to states as well, as it did in Montana. Indeed, it won't be long before this or some future right-wing Supreme Court cuts to the chase and lifts the century-old ban on direct corporate contributions to political candidates, one of the most basic checks we have against widespread corruption.
Believe it or not, this November, we'll have the chance to vote on whether this slippery slope continues, or whether we stop it and roll it back. Each of these regressive campaign finance rulings has had a monumental impact on our democracy. It's easy to forget that they have been made by one-vote 5-4 majorities of the Supreme Court. That means we're just one Supreme Court vote away from stopping the trend in its tracks -- and even reversing it. Although Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many issues, he's crystal clear about how he feels on this issue and exactly what kind of judge he would appoint to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. He has said he believes "corporations are people" and he means it. He's promised to nominate more Supreme Court justices like the ones who handed down Citizens United. And his chief judicial adviser, former judge Robert Bork, is legendary in his opposition to individual voting rights while advocating expansive corporate power. On this issue in particular, President Obama has been very clear and comes down unambiguously on the opposite side. Look no further than his Supreme Court picks so far. Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor have consistently resisted the right-wing court's radical transformation of our democracy. In fact, his nominees now represent half the votes in the High Court who are standing up for democracy against "government by and for" the highest bidder.
Some 2008 Obama voters may not be thrilled by the last four years. Some may even be considering giving Mitt Romney a chance, despite their misgivings. But no matter who your candidate is, what issues you care about or on what side you come down on them, most importantly your vote this November will likely determine the Supreme Court for a generation. If Romney has the opportunity to replace one of the more moderate Supreme Court justices, the Court's far-right majority will not remain narrow. The votes will be there to dismantle any remaining limits of money in politics for the foreseeable future. Conversely, future Obama appointments give Americans the chance to halt this downward spiral and the opportunity to reclaim our democracy.
Whatever the issues you most care about, this November's election will be a choice between two Supreme Courts. And the two alternatives could not be more different. Quite simply, this is the chance that the overwhelming majority of Americans -- who recognize that there is too much money in politics and that it is corrupting our government at every level -- finally have to vote on it.
Will we seize this opportunity?
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly yesterday spoke to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios to denounce the Democratic National Platform’s support for reproductive freedom and marriage equality. According to Schlafly, “the feminists completely control the Obama administration” and “whatever the feminists want, the feminists get,” including endorsements of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. There is “support of everything the feminists want,” Schlafly lamented, “It’s a very destructive force in our society.”
Rios: According to the platform, there is no place for politicians or the government to get in the way of abortions, so they’re saying that abortion—
Schlafly: Sandy, let me explain. The feminists completely control the Obama administration. Valerie [Jarrett] is considered the most powerful person in the country. Whatever the feminists want, the feminists get. That’s why we’re getting support of abortion by the Obama administration, and paying for it, forcing is to pay for it, which is what they want, and support of same-sex marriage, and support of everything the feminists want. It’s a very destructive force in our society.
Rios: It’s certainly not a forward movement, it’s a backward movement, I think.
Schlafly even claimed that progressives want people “to look to the government for everything,” unlike during the Great Depression when “we didn’t look to the government for any solution and they didn’t give us any solution and we grew up to be the greatest generation.” While Schlafly denies that the government didn’t play a role in ending the Great Depression, she appears to forget that there was significant government intervention through the New Deal and other government-driven programs to stimulate the sluggish economy:
Rios: You know Phyllis just philosophically, this is what the left always says, they always say that conservatives are old fashioned, they mock the old sitcoms you know where they had separate beds, twin beds, they mock the sitcoms of the 50s, the Andy Griffith’s, the Dick Van Dyke’s, they think that’s funny and amusing and to be progressive, to be modern, to be in-this-decade—the Constitution is old and outdated too, by the way, that’s what they think—they always make that argument that to be forward moving is to throw off any of the constraints of the past. Can you just from your perspective of life, why would we hang on to boundaries, regulations and rules from the past? Isn’t this a new day?
Schlafly: Because they work. Our Constitution has lasted over two centuries; no other country’s has done that. When our borders are open people want to come in, they’re not trying to get out, I think that’s a pretty good test of whether a country is successful or not. We built a great country of great prosperity and enormous freedom and some people don’t like that, they want to look to the government for everything. I grew up during the Great Depression, we didn’t look to the government for any solution and they didn’t give us any solution and we grew up to be the greatest generation.
Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, has been working with Focus on the Family to put together an “anti-bullying yardstick” that provides quite weak and watered-down measures to fight bullying. But backing ineffective measures to combat bullying may be the point, as the Religious Right has fiercely opposed comprehensive anti-bullying policies because of protections that would help curb anti-LGBT bullying, even to the point of supporting loopholes for bullies. Ironically, just today the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released a report detailing the disproportionately high rates of bullying faced by LGBT youth, and how such bullying is less likely to materialize in schools with stronger anti-bullying policies.
ADF attorney Matt Sharp appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to denounce “oppressive” anti-bullying policies, and while Sharp insisted that the campaign is not linked to either the ADF or Focus’s anti-LGBT advocacy, it probably didn’t help that he was speaking to a talk show host who has consistently denounced LGBT rights and people. Just before Sharp appeared on her program, Mefferd criticized the Democratic Party for backing marriage equality by asking, “where’s the lightning?”
Sharp said that gay rights groups are using bullying as “an avenue for them to insert their homosexual agenda into the schools” and promote “the re-education of students.” He claimed ADF and Focus will provide an alternative to “the propaganda of homosexual activist groups that seek to promote their agenda in the schools,” describing their “propaganda” as books that dare to recognize the reality that some children are raised by same-sex couples!
Sharp: It’s important for schools to have proper respect for the First Amendment rights of students to express their views on religion, politics and other subjects without fear of being labeled as bullies or being punished by an oppressive anti-bullying policy that violates their rights.
Mefferd: Definitely, so we’ve seen a lot of these activist organizations getting involved in the schools, GLSEN is one that comes to mind because they’re been so big and have been so active, talk a little bit about what they have done in the way of anti-bullying policies?
Sharp: Yeah, we’ve seen several instances where they will come into schools and place pressure upon schools to adopt their model policies that are really just an avenue for them to insert their homosexual agenda into the schools. We actually saw a situation not too long ago up in Iowa where the group was promoting the re-education of students and tolerance training and all of this stuff that was meant to normalize same-sex marriage in these books they were giving to young elementary students portraying a family with two daddies and two mommies and things like that. The school district really didn’t know how to respond so it was important for us to get involved with them and help them to know that you don’t have to cave into these groups, there’s alternatives, that’s why we’re really excited about teaming up with Focus on this to provide an alternative to schools, to help them know what a proper anti-bullying policy that protects all students equally looks like without having to accept the propaganda of homosexual activist groups that seek to promote their agenda in the schools.
Sharp later asserted that groups like GLSEN “focus upon specific characteristics and elevate those to say ‘bullying against this is really bad and we don’t want that in school but other types of bullying may be tolerable.’” Actually, that is exactly what the ADF is doing by supporting religious exemptions for bullying. He even speak about bullying as almost only dealing with physical harm, which again ignores the serious harm posed by verbal abuse, cyber-bullying and harassment.
His argument is that enumeration, the policy of mentioning certain distinguishable characteristics tied to bullying to help combat bullying not only after it occurs but also to prevent it from happening in the first place, somehow doesn’t protect all students. For example, research shows that students with mental and physical disabilities are more likely to face bullying, and therefore enumerated anti-bullying policies frequently list ability as a highlighted characteristic. Similarly, studies demonstrate that LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth have a higher likelihood of being bullied.
Policies that mention sexual orientation and gender identity, along with ability, race, class, sex, national origin and religion, as characteristics that are linked to bullying help strengthen anti-bullying programs and don’t leave anyone out, as Sharp implies.
But ADF and Focus don’t really have a problem with enumeration, they just have a problem with anti-bullying plans that may be used to protect LGBT students. If ADF or Focus simply took a principled stand against enumeration in anti-bullying policies, then why haven’t these groups denounced them before they began including characteristics like sexual orientation and gender identity?
Indeed, putting an added emphasis on factors that are commonly connected to bullying does not make any student less protected—or as Sharp baselessly argues, allow for other cases of bullying—but help reduce bullying and create a safer climate for all students.
During an interview with Brett Decker of the right-wing Washington Times, former Democratic congressman Artur Davis blamed the left for racial animosity in the U.S. Davis left the Democratic party after he lost the 2010 Alabama Democratic gubernatorial primary by a wide margin, and has reinvented himself as an anti-Obama Republican, possibly with the hope of running for Congress again. Davis told the Washington Times that the “racial divide will fester as long as the left pursues an identity politics of grievance.” He even said that calling out overt and implicit racism is another way the “left adds to the racial divide,” and praised the GOP’s “roll call of Americans of color who have won the privilege to speak for more than their own kind,” like Allen West and Nikki Haley. “In the Democratic Party, with precious few exceptions, minorities are consigned to represent and to speak for their own,” Davis maintained. Apparently Davis didn’t watch the Republican speakers he named as many of them cited their experience as racial and ethnic minorities in their speeches, and it is beyond dispute that the Democratic Party includes a far higher number of voters and elected officials of color.
Decker: Barack Obama’s promise to guide America to a more unified post-racial future has not been fulfilled. In fact, this president has divided the nation to a frightening degree. What do you think needs to be done to heal the racial divide? Is it unfair for me to say the Democratic Party takes the black vote for granted and pursues policies — such as opposition to school choice — that keep many African Americans down?
Davis: The racial divide will fester as long as the left pursues an identity politics of grievance. The left adds to the racial divide every time its politicians or acolytes equate ordinary conservatism with racial intolerance, and link opposition to the Obama administration to racial backlash. The Democratic Party has unwisely distanced itself from policies like parental choice, vouchers and the overhaul of tenure that would have a transformative effect in the lives of black children, and there is an opening for Republicans to appeal to minorities by claiming priorities like education reform in the course of the next decade.
It should be noted that Republicans far more than Democrats are providing a pathway for African-Americas, Latinos and Indian Americans who dare to move beyond being spokespersons for their own communities. Condi Rice, Susanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, Tim Scott, Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio: They are a roll call of Americans of color who have won the privilege to speak for more than their own kind, and Mia Love and Ted Cruz will join them this November. In the Democratic Party, with precious few exceptions, minorities are consigned to represent and to speak for their own.