Jerry Boykin: God Used The Iran Hostage Crisis To Bring Us Ronald Reagan

Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin was previously a lieutenant general in the Army, where in 1980 he participated in the disastrous attempt to rescue 52 Americans held hostage in Iran, which ended in failure and the deaths of eight service members.

In an interview this morning with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios at his group’s annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., Boykin explained that while the failed rescue mission was “tragic” and “the most devastating thing in my life,” it did have a “real positive” in that it “brought down Jimmy Carter” and helped lead to the election of Ronald Reagan.

Rios asked Boykin if the next president will be able to undo the “decimation” of the military under President Obama, like she said George W. Bush was able to do after Bill Clinton’s presidency.

“That’s a good example,” Boykin replied, “but you know what’s a better example, at the end of Jimmy Carter’s presidency, Ronald Reagan came in. Look, I was part of the failed rescue attempt in 1980 where we were trying to go into Iran and rescue 52 Americans that were being held in the embassy there. I was part of that operation. I watched eight good men die in the desert 100 miles from Iran and it was the most devastating thing in my life.”

“But you know what?” he said. “Two things that came out of that. Number one, it brought down Jimmy Carter and that was a real positive. Number two, it brought in Ronald Reagan. So even in that kind of tragic situation, there is something positive, God uses those things for good. And we brought in Ronald Reagan and his focus was to restore our military and think of what he did. I mean, he went on a determined campaign to make sure that did not happen again. And what we have today is an incredible military, particularly special operations, that is now in decline again because of the Obama administration and the next president is going to have to come in and do exactly what Ronald Reagan did.”

Boykin also warned that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, she would implement unconstitutional hate speech prohibitions.

He told Rios that at a strategic planning meeting more than a year ago, the FRC had decided to spend “50 percent of our time on religious liberty” and warned that “times are going to be even more difficult for Christians” if Clinton is elected.

He pointed to the United States’ support for a UN resolution on “religious tolerance” while Clinton was secretary of state as evidence that Clinton supports imposing blasphemy laws and speech restrictions in the U.S. In fact, Clinton worked to remove support for blasphemy laws from the resolution, although some critics say that the resolution’s wording on the subject still left too much wiggle room for governments wishing to impose speech restrictions.

Boykin told Rios that the “biggest thing that Americans need to be concerned” with a Clinton presidency “is the First Amendment.”

“You just said it, hate speech,” she said. “She has, in fact, agreed to UN Resolution 16/18 which says that if you say anything disparaging about Islam or the Prophet Muhammad, you can be taken to jail. And by the way, that’s happening in Europe right now. People are being arrested for what is considered hate speech because they are speaking out against what’s happening there, they’re speaking out against the rapes and the murders and the pillaging of the cities there and the terrorist attacks and some of them have been arrested for hate speech. That’s coming to America if Hillary Clinton is the next president.”

Trump's Campaign Claims He Isn't A Birther, His Own Twitter Feed Proves Otherwise

Donald Trump’s campaign manager, Kellyanne Conway, and Rudy Giuliani, one of his main campaign surrogates, have both claimed that Trump believes President Obama was born in the U.S.

Giuliani, bizarrely, has even claimed that Trump came out and said he believes that Obama was born in the U.S. “two years ago, three years ago.”

That would be remarkable since as recently as earlier this year Trump vowed to write a “very successful” book outlining his birther conspiracy theory.

Indeed, Trump calls himself a “proud” birther and has regularly promoted the birther conspiracy theory on his Twitter feed, even implying that Obama had a government official killed as part of a cover-up of his supposedly fake birth certificate.

Trump has also embraced the advanced birther theory that Obama neither attended Columbia University nor authored “Dreams From My Father”:

David Barton: Trump 'Doesn't Have To Be Deep On The Issues' Because He's a Businessman

Religious Right activist and Republican operative David Barton offered an interesting argument to Christian conservatives who are reluctant to vote for Donald Trump today, explaining in an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody today that Trump “doesn’t have to be deep on the issues because he uses a CEO model, not a governmental model.”

Barton pointed to Trump’s many business failures, which he said the GOP candidate was able to bounce back from because “he keeps taking the best people and putting them over those endeavors.”

Trump provides a paradigm that Christians are not used to. We’re so used to having government leaders, we think in terms of governmental leaders. With a business leader, you do things totally different. It’s not how much he knows, it’s the people he puts around him. So Trump has lost his fortune several times, but how come he keeps rebuilding it back to a billionaire level? Because he keeps taking the best people and putting them over those endeavors. So as far as Trump’s concerned, he doesn’t have to be deep on the issues because he uses a CEO model, not a governmental model. It’s about who he chooses.

Of course, Barton's absurd rationale doesn't explain why, if Trump "keeps taking the best people" and putting them in charge of his various endeavors, he has managed to lose his fortune several times in the first place.

Gary Bauer: 'This Is A Flight 93 Election'

Gary Bauer of American Values, which is one of the co-sponsors of the 2016 Values Voter Summit, closed out his speech at the event today by literally comparing the upcoming presidential election to Flight 93, the plane that crashed in Pennsylvania on 9/11 after passengers fought back against the terrorists who had hijacked it.

"This country is the equivalent of that plane right now," Bauer said, citing a recent column posted on the Claremont Institute website. "We're heading for a disaster unless we can get control of the cockpit again and then maybe, just maybe, we'll have a chance."

The passengers on that plane "took the only shot they had," Bauer stated. "Ladies and gentlemen, this is a Flight 93 election. This may be out last shot. It's time to roll. It's time to run down the aisle and save Western civilization."

Edit Memo: The Disastrous Consequences of a Trump Supreme Court

Trump has vowed to nominate right-wing Supreme Court justices like Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas. So what would a Trump Supreme Court actually mean for Americans’ rights and liberties?

Andy McCarthy Wants Congress To Preemptively Impeach Clinton

Andy McCarthy, a conservative pundit who served as a national security adviser to Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, is urging Congress to preemptively impeach Hillary Clinton in order to prevent her from becoming president.

McCarthy wrote in the National Review on Tuesday that Congress could launch proceedings for “an impeachment [of Clinton] based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency”:

For months, I have been arguing that Hillary Clinton should be impeached. It is all well and good to prosecute a former government official for any crimes she has committed. Indeed, the Constitution expressly provides for criminal prosecution in addition to impeachment. Nevertheless, for the Framers — and, if we had common sense, for us — the imperative was to deprive a corrupt person of any further opportunity to abuse government power. Whether the official should also be convicted and sent to prison was not unimportant but, in the greater scheme of things, decidedly secondary.

Interestingly, the main pushback I received upon positing this argument was not that Mrs. Clinton is undeserving of impeachment…

No, the main objection to impeachment is the claim that, because the former secretary of state does not currently hold public office, there is nothing from which to remove her. Hence, as a non-incumbent who merely seeks the nation’s highest office — after proving herself manifestly unfit in a subordinate office — she is said to be immune from impeachment. How could she be impeached from the presidency, the question is posed, if she is not president? How could she be removed from an office she does not hold based on offenses not committed while wielding presidential power?

These questions and the non-incumbency theory behind them fundamentally misconstrue the constitutional remedy of impeachment, which is not limited to removal from power but includes disqualification from future office. Moreover, their premise is wrong: The proceeding against Clinton would not be a presidential impeachment; it would be an impeachment based on her abuses of power as secretary of state, which would have the constitutional effect of disqualifying her for the presidency.

The Religious Right Shares Trump's Putin Crush

One of the notable developments in right-wing-watching in recent years has been how enthusiastically many Religious Right leaders have embraced Russia’s anti-democratic president, former KGB official Vladimir Putin. It seems even more remarkable that the Republican Party’s presidential nominee has been lavishing praise on Putin even as Russia maneuvers to diminish America’s influence in the world.

As president, Putin has consolidated his power through attacks on the independent media, the persecution of political opponents, and restrictions on civil society. He has annexed Crimea, supported violent separatists in Ukraine, fostered anti-democratic right-wing forces in Europe, and made the weakening of NATO a major strategic imperative.

None of that has kept Donald Trump from praising Putin and welcoming Putin’s praise for him. In Wednesday night’s forum on national security issues, Trump said, “I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia.” When asked about some of Putin’s troubling actions, Trump didn’t criticize the Russian president, suggesting instead that he could “start naming some of the things that President Obama does at the same time.”

Trump went on to praise Putin’s leadership and pooh-pooh concerns about Putin’s authoritarianism: “I mean, you can say, oh, isn’t that a terrible thing—the man has very strong control over a country.” Then on Thursday, Trump appeared on RT, a network operated by the Russian government, to slam American media and U.S. foreign policy and dismiss as “unlikely” the idea that the Russian government was involved in hacking the DNC’s email as American intelligence agencies believe.

Some conservatives have criticized Putin’s anti-democratic actions and strategic aims, and some Republicans were not happy about Trump’s recent remarks. But his running mate Mike Pence said it is “inarguable” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a Trump supporter, told CNN that Putin is a better leader for Russia than President Obama has been for the U.S., praising the increase in “hyper-nationalism” in Russia. Conspiracy-theory-promoting radio host Alex Jones, whose “amazing” reputation Trump has praised while appearing on his show , has expressed his admiration for Putin’s promotion of homeschooling and “masculine men.”

Trump will find himself in friendly company at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, an annual political gathering for the Religious Right. As Right Wing Watch has documented extensively, many U.S. religious conservatives have been cheerleaders for Putin because of his government’s anti-gay policies and his public support for “traditional values” and “Christian civilization.” Brian Brown, who heads both the National Organization for Marriage and the World Congress of Families, actually traveled to Russia a few years ago to testify on behalf of anti-gay legislation there.

As Right Wing Watch noted last year:

Evangelist Franklin Graham hailed Putin as a hero for taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue”; Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called upon U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions; Matt Barber marveled that Putin was able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”; Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world”; Scott Lively lavished praise on Putin for “ championing traditional marriage and Christian values ”; and Rush Limbaugh applauded Putin for stopping “a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”

In fact, Franklin Graham went to Russia just last fall, where he met with Putin, slammed President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and praised the Russian president for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda.” Graham reportedly said, “I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity.” Graham also praised Russian involvement in Syria, which the Russian Orthodox Church has called a “holy battle.”

Putin has developed a mutually beneficial partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church, promoting Orthodoxy as a crucial element of Russian nationalism and a vehicle for extending Russian power and undercutting U.S. influence. Some American Religious Right leaders are taken with Putin’s promotion of a Christian state; the director of last year’s World Congress of Families summit, Janice Shaw Crouse, embraced the blasphemy-law prosecution and jail sentences given to members of the band Pussy Riot for protesting in a cathedral.

While many Religious Right leaders suggest that President Obama is a secret Muslim who wants to replace the Constitution with Sharia law and say marriage equality will open the door to polygamy, we haven’t heard them objecting to Putin and his allies actually allowing polygamy and the imposition of Sharia in Chechnya. Similarly, those who cry that LGBT equality represents a dire threat to religious freedom have not raised a big fuss about a new law signed by Putin this summer that severely restricts the religious freedom of faiths other than the Russian Orthodox Church. Putin has also enacted restrictions on evangelism and backed separatist militias that violently attack Ukrainian Protestants.

Perhaps Putin’s strategic partnership with the Orthodox Church has inspired Trump’s promise to conservative evangelical leaders that he will make Christianity more politically powerful by eliminating legal restrictions on electoral politicking by churches. So far, it has worked for him, helping him line up support from the leaders of the Values Voter Summit.

David Barton Narrows Down The Five Commandments For Conservative Christian Voters

Even before the long security lines, the singing of the National Anthem, and Tony Perkins’ use of a goofy toy gavel to call the 2016 Values Voter Summit to order, early risers filled the Empire Room at Washington, D.C.’s Omni Shoreham hotel for a breakfast sponsored by United in Purpose, a Silicon Valley-based organization that uses “big data” techniques to help Christian organizations better understand and motivate their supporters and to help boost conservative Christian voter turnout.

The opening prayer at the breakfast was given by Jim Garlow, a United in Purpose board member and anti-gay pastor who made his name in right-wing politics by mobilizing church support for California’s anti-marriage-equality Prop 8. Attendees were given copies of Garlow’s new book, “Well Versed: Biblical Answers to Today’s Tough Issues,” published by Regnery Faith.

A quick glance suggests that the themes of Garlow’s book will be familiar to anyone who has attended a Religious Right gathering or absorbed the “scholarship” of the Right’s favorite self-proclaimed historian, David Barton: The Bible is a guidebook for government policy on everything from marriage to education and tax policy, and America has lost its way because pastors haven’t been preaching these truths aggressively enough. Garlow writes that his book was written to overcome pastors’ resistance to political preaching, which he blames on legal restrictions on church politicking that Donald Trump has vowed to overturn.

The breakfast’s two keynoters, conservative Christian pollster George Barna and Barton, the truth-challenged “historian,” are also, like Garlow, board members of United in Purpose. Barna runs the group’s American Culture and Faith Institute, which is carrying out in-depth longitudinal studies on changing attitudes among church-going Christians.

Barna argued that America was strong when family, church and government were all doing their jobs well and staying in their own “lanes.” But, he said, today is different. He ran through a set of statistics that depressed the people sitting at my table, demonstrating Americans’ lack of basic civic knowledge, lack of trust in the government and the church, and lack of hope in the future. One big problem, he said, is that only nine percent of born-again Christian adults have what he calls a “biblical worldview”—which seems to mean embracing the Barton-Garlow vision that Christians have a duty to vote according to their particular interpretation of the Bible. “That’s what makes it so difficult,” he said, “to be America.” Barna said America is “ripe for another revolution.”

Barton was his fast-talking self, quoting founding fathers, showing slides of colonial-era sermons, and generally contrasting the thundering sermons of revolution-supporting pastors and what he said are whispers coming from today’s pulpits. Barton asserted again that the Bible has policy directives on divorce, the minimum wage, the capital gains tax and just about any other issue a politician might confront.

Barton said Christians should not think in terms of having a right to vote, but rather a responsibility to vote. And, in what felt like a clear pitch for evangelicals to view voting for Trump as a biblical mandate, Barton explained that according to the Bible, a nation’s righteousness is not based on the righteousness of its leaders but on the policies they produce. And nothing is more important than the kind of judges a president will nominate and senators confirm, he said.

God gave the Israelites 613 laws, he said, and then focused them on His “top ten” priorities. Barton’s conclusion: You might care about immigration or climate change, but those can’t be among your top five voting issues because God says the top five must be abortion, marriage, public acknowledgment of religion, judicial nominations and support for Israel.

Rep. Louie Gohmert: 'Hillary Clinton Has Made Clear She Is Mentally Impaired'

Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas opened his remarks at the Values Voter Summit today by facetiously apologizing for having said that Hillary Clinton's "brain is in a blender" because it is unchristian to mock those with "special needs."

"You don't make fun of people who are impaired, have special needs," Gohmert said, "and whether you like her or not, Hillary Clinton has made clear she is mentally impaired and this is not somebody you should be making fun of."

"We need to be praying for Hillary Clinton," he continued. "There's special needs there, there's mental impairment ... That was not a proper thing to say because, again, I'm making fun of the mentally impaired and that's not right."

Donald Trump And The So-Called 'Values Voters'

Countless articles have been written on Donald Trump's relationship with the Religious Right, often by those who argue that his rise reveals the movement's increasing irrelevance. After all, how could social conservatives ever get behind a thrice-married failed casino mogul who is more comfortable at the Playboy Mansion than at church? He has bragged that he has never asked God for forgiveness, insisted that Jesus Christ had a massive ego (in an interview with Playboy) and, in an episode that carries obvious symbolism, threw cash on the communion plate in an Iowa church.

It's almost as if the Religious Right cares more about gaining political power than defending Christian teachings.

Trump is slated to make an appearance today at the Values Voter Summit, the annual Washington, D.C., convention organized by the Family Research Council that's the marquis event on the Religious Right's calendar. Trump's appearance at the summit isn't discordant; as his campaign has progressed, it has become clear why the movement has rallied behind him and why he has relied on its support.

Trump once told a crowd at a Christian university not to forgive their enemies but to "get even." The leaders of today's Religious Right have been preaching that message for years, treating politics as a no-holds-barred battle against opponents who they regard not just as people with different points of view, but as spiritual enemies.

For instance, Tony Perkins, the president of Family Research Council (FRC), has described supporters of LGBT rights as pawns of Satan.

Just as Trump championed the birther movement, arguing that President Obama is neither an American nor a Christian, Perkins has suggested that Obama is not a true Christian (and is most likely a Muslim) and raised questions about his birthplace. Obama supporters, according to Perkins, must repent for voting for him. One past Values Voter Summit speaker even told the crowd that Obama would shut down all of the country's churches before leaving office.

Trump's demagogic, hateful rhetoric has nothing on the Religious Right, whose leaders have been belittling and denigrating LGBT people, religious minorities and Christians who don't agree with their right-wing political ideology for years.

It wasn't surprising that most Religious Right leaders who talk a big game on religious liberty either stayed silent or were openly supportive when Trump called for a ban on Muslims entering the country. A spokesman for the American Family Association, a cosponsor of the Values Voter Summit, had called for a Muslim ban long before Trump ever did.

While many evangelicals, along with Roman Catholics and mainline Protestants, have worked tirelessly to reform the country's immigration system, conservative Religious Right groups like the FRC and the AFA have denounced immigration reform.

Trump and Religious Right groups have also joined together in portraying American Christians as a marginalized group under constant persecution thanks to the Johnson Amendment, which prohibits houses of worship and other nonprofits from explicitly endorsing candidates if they want to maintain their tax-exempt status, and injustices like the "War on Christmas," with Trump even claiming that he was personally a victim of anti-Christian persecution because he was subject to a routine IRS audit.

And above all, the movement's leaders are thrilled that Trump has promised to give them the Supreme Court of their dreams, even letting conservative activists hand-pick his nominees.

The Religious Right, with its constant talk of the country's imminent undoing by evil anti-American actors, promotion of conspiracy theories and patently hateful rhetoric, paved the way for Trump's success in the GOP primaries. Now, Trump needs the movement to help put him over the top in November, and will be more than happy to further its agenda if he makes it into the White House.

At the Values Voter Summit, Trump will surely pander to the Religious Right. But he should also thank them.

(This post also appears on the Huffington Post)

Jerry Boykin Hopes Values Voter Summit Will Help Win Conservative Christians To Trump

Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, which is hosting this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, said today that he hopes the event will end with conservative Christians becoming comfortable with voting for Donald Trump.

Boykin, who recently endorsed Trump, told Breitbart News this morning that “we’re going to see a lot more people become comfortable with the Trump-Pence ticket” over the weekend and that greater support for Trump is “what I’m hoping we’ll come away with.” He specifically praised Trump’s hire of Breitbart chairman Steve Bannon, who has made the outlet a platform for the racist alt-right movement, saying that Bannon “has been a great influence on Trump.”

What I think we’re going to see this weekend, we’re going to see a lot more people become comfortable with the Trump-Pence ticket. If you notice what Donald Trump has been doing recently, he has stayed on message, he has really, I think, followed a lot of good advice from the people around him, you know, one of which is your president, Steve Bannon, and I think Steve has been a great influence on Trump.

So I think we’re going to have a lot of people here that are coming in still questioning whether they’re going to support Trump and I think it’s going to be an opportunity for them to be convinced that the guy will make a much better president than Hillary and there just are no perfect candidates. So that’s what I’m hoping we’ll come away with.

Boykin also previewed a panel discussion he will be hosting on “jihad in America,” which he said will inform the audience that the U.S. government should be working with Muslims who don’t “want to be involved in jihad” but that the only people we reach out to as a nation are the very entities of the Muslim Brotherhood that want to destroy America, and we basically ignore the rest of the Muslim population.

Sen. Tim Scott Says His Small Business Experience Makes Him Uniquely Qualified To Legislate On Abortion

Republican Sen. Tim Scott of South Carolina kicked off the annual Values Voter Summit today by explaining how his experience as a small business owner makes him uniquely qualified to legislate on the issue of reproductive choice.

Too many people in Washington, he said, have never had a "real" job and so, unlike him, they have never had to deal with an employee coming to them and revealing that she is pregnant. But that once happened to Scott and so he took his employee to a crisis pregnancy center (which are often Christian organizations designed to mislead women away from seeking abortions), which helped his employee to "make the choice of life."

And so, Scott proclaimed, "as an elected official, when I have the responsibility and the opportunity, the privilege to protect life, I do so having been in the private sector, realizing the importance that we should place on life and the choice of life."

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/8/16

  • Brad Reed @ Raw Story: Top Trump adviser: Bill Clinton’s embrace of gays in the military paved the way for 9/11. 
  • Bill Morlin @ SPLC: Eagle Forum's Phyllis Schlafly Leaves A Legacy Tied to Conspiracy Theories.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/8/16

  • Donald Trump Jr. cites Alex Jones’ outlet to claim Hillary Clinton cheated during last night’s presidential forum. 
  • Robert Jeffress says it’s unfair to describe Donald Trump as “a xenophobe” and “a racist.”
  • Sandy Rios laments that Hillary Clinton has “a tremendous advantage” in the upcoming election “because of this influx of immigrants from Third World countries who were accustomed to socialism—who came to our shores and got lots of benefits, and the Democratic Party made sure they knew where those benefits came from.”
  • Linda Harvey wants parents to withdraw their children from “these gross” sex-ed classes or “or remove kids from public schools altogether.”

Roger Stone Floats Possibility Of Executing Bill Clinton For Treason

Donald Trump confidant Roger Stone returned to conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program yesterday, this time floating the possibility of executing Bill Clinton for treason.

Jones started the conversation on the Clintons by calling Hillary Clinton “a whore, politically,” alleging that she tried to raise campaign money from foreign leaders. (Incidentally, the only candidate doing that is Trump.)

Stone, for his part, brought up the unsubstantiated claim that Bill Clinton traded “missile technology secrets to the Chinese in return for Chinese funny money, Chinese campaign contributions that were laundered.”

“That’s treason,” he said. “The statutes for treason have no statute of limitations and the penalty for conviction for treason is execution or incarceration, so it’s all back on the table.”

In the past, Stone has said that Hillary Clinton should be “executed for murder” and that Bernie Sanders “should be arrested for treason and shot.”

Anti-Choice Activists With Extremist Ties Given Top Billing At Values Voter Summit

Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to address the Values Voter Summit, an annual Washington, D.C., event hosted by the Family Research Council, tomorrow. In doing so, he’ll be sharing the stage not only with extreme anti-LGBT and anti-Muslim activists, but also with activists who are rooted in the radical fringes of the anti-abortion movement.

Trump will address the summit soon after David and Jason Benham take the stage. The Benhams are twin brothers who became Religious Right megastars in 2014 after HGTV cancelled a show they were set to star in following Right Wing Watch’s revelations about their extreme anti-gay, anti-choice activism.

The Benhams’ status as martyrs within the Religious Right has too often obscured the true radicalism of their activism.

The brothers’ activism is rooted in the work of their father, Flip Benham, a North Carolina preacher who took over the anti-abortion protest group Operation Rescue after the infamous Summer of Mercy, in which anti-abortion activists spent weeks laying siege to Wichita, Kansas, in 1991. Benham later changed the name of his group to Operation Save America and expanded its work to include anti-gay and anti-Muslim activism. (The group is now led by Rusty Thomas, although Benham remains involved.)

David and Jason Benham worked closely with their father and Operation Save America but also became activists in their own right. Leading one protest outside a Charlotte abortion clinic in 2013, David Benham told protesters they were standing against the “gates of hell” and the “altars of Moloch.” He has also called abortion “child sacrifice.” David and his wife lead and fund a Charlotte-based group called Cities4Life that leads sidewalk protests outside of abortion clinics and distributes “abortion pill reversal kits.” On its website, the group compares legal abortion to the Holocaust and explains why it uses graphic signs in its protests:

Women are rarely told the truth about abortion. Without the truth, Satan is free to rob, kill, and destroy. It is urgent for these women to know the truth about this hidden evil, done in secret. We must lay bare the demonic lie that an unborn baby is not a human life. When we shine the light of truth about this “legal” procedure, it wakes up the sleeper and moves them to action.

The Benhams continue to associate with the fringes of the anti-abortion movement that their father represents. This spring, for instance, it was announced that they would appear in a movie directed by Patrick Johnston, an Ohio “personhood” activist. In 2008, the Colorado Independent revealed that Johnston had ties to militia groups and once wrote a troubling essay on the website of the violent anti-abortion network Army of God attacking a pastor for criticizing Paul Hill’s murder of abortion clinic doctor John Britton and his bodyguard.

Also speaking at the Values Voter Summit will be David Daleiden, the young activist who’s undercover “sting” videos of Planned Parenthood took the anti-choice movement by storm last year.

Like the Benhams, Daleiden’s work is rooted in the fringe world of the anti-abortion “rescue” movement. Troy Newman, who runs the group now called Operation Rescue—which has been in a years-long feud with Flip Benham’s Operation Save America over its name—helped Daleiden to get his project off the ground. Newman, who moved his group to Wichita in 2002 in order to go after Dr. George Tiller, who was later assassinated, has written that the U.S. government has “abrogated its responsibility” to execute abortion providers and argued that a man who murdered an abortion provider should have been allowed to argue that the homicide was justifiable. Newman’s second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who has spent time in jail for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

The Benhams and Daleiden have both been embraced by the “mainstream” Religious Right despite their roots in the radical fringes of the anti-choice movement. And now all three are speaking alongside the Republican Party’s presidential candidate.

Glenn Beck's Audience Will Guide America Through The 'Birth Pangs' Of This Election

Glenn Beck kicked off his radio program today by literally using the lyrics from the A Great Big World & Christina Aguilera song "Say Something" to explain the state of America heading into the election.

Americans, Beck lamented, are ruthlessly attacking one another because nobody is willing to listen to what the other side has to say and, as a result, don't know how to communicate effectively any more about our shared values and desires. 

Eventually, Beck compared the election to "birth pangs," saying that it is up to his audience to maintain their cool through the process so that they can bring the nation back together once the election is over.

"What we're going through right now is birth pangs," Beck said. "In 60 days, we give birth to something and we're in the room right now and this is the time where your wife is like, 'Get your hands off me, I'm never going to let you touch me again!' and screaming at you and saying all kinds of things that you know she doesn't mean. She's going to be fine the moment the pain stops. The moment she gives birth, that's all going to be over."

"These are birth pangs," he continued. "We need to be ones in the room that just looks and smiles and says, 'Uh huh, I know, breath, honey, breath.'"

Lashing out at a woman in labor "would cause massive problems," Beck explained, which is why his audience must be the voice of comfort and reason during this time so as not to cause permanent division.

"We need to understand we're giving birth to something new, to an entirely new life" he said. "And whether that life turns out to be good or Damien, we don't know. But as parents that gave that life its start, we better be one."

Donald Trump To Convene With Ex-Gays, Self-Styled Knights & The John Birch Society

Donald Trump is set to appear Friday at the Values Voter Summit, a Washington, D.C., conference organized by the Family Research Council that brings together what we’ve called “some of the country’s most extreme opponents of LGBT rights, vocal conspiracy theorists and outspoken critics of the separation of church and state.”

Several of the summit’s organizers and speakers are so radical that they have even backed laws criminalizing homosexuality.

But pandering to extremists is nothing new for Trump. And he himself has found political success by promoting many of the Religious Right’s fears about supposed anti-Christian persecution in America and a pro-Muslim bias within the Obama administration.

Trump will be joining some of the country’s most hateful groups at the Values Voter Summit. Here are just 10 of the convening’s sponsors and exhibitors:

1) Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX)

PFOX is dedicated to promoting ex-gay conversion therapy and “educating society on the facts about sexual orientation in order to eliminate negative perceptions and discrimination against ex-gays and those trying to overcome same-sex attraction.”

The group’s materials have described coming out as “a kind of murder of the family” and railed against “homofascism.” One of the group’s top officials, Greg Quinlan, has claimed that President Obama and Supreme Court Justices Anthony Kennedy and Elena Kagan are all secretly gay and has accused gay people of “sexual cannibalism.” Quinlan even blamed suicides among gay youth on gay “recruitment”: “We’re making martyrs out of kids that we’re recruiting to behave as homosexuals when no one is born that way, and that’s the problem and that’s the issue.”

PFOX also has ties to the FRC, the summit’s chief sponsor: FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg is a PFOX board member and the FRC has promoted PFOX’s events.

FRC President Tony Perkins, who has defended PFOX’s work giving “options” to children “struggling” with homosexuality, successfully lobbied the Republican National Committee to adopt a resolution opposing laws that seek to curb the use of ex-gay therapy on minors as part of its 2016 party platform.

2) The John Birch Society

Since its founding, the John Birch Society has been a racist clearinghouse of far-right conspiracy theories.

JBS has accused Presidents Eisenhower and Kennedy, Civil Rights Movement leaders and advocates of water fluoridation of advancing a communist plot…a plot that goes all the way back to the founding of the Illuminati. More recently, the group linked the Sandy Hook massacre to “the assault on white men” that includes everything “from ‘affirmative action’ to massive Third World immigration,” and attacked the GOP for turning into the “Gay Old Party.”

Jeet Heer of The New Republic writes that the Birchers’ conspiratorial nature helped set the stage for Trump’s nomination: “Far from belonging merely to the lunatic fringe, the Birchers were important precursors to what is now the governing ideology of the Republican Party: Trumpism. Bircherism is now, with Trump, flourishing in an entirely new way. Far from being drummed out of conservatism, it has become the dominant strain.”

3) Americans For Truth About Homosexuality

A former Family Research Council official, Peter LaBarbera founded Americans For Truth About Homosexuality in order to apply “single-minded determination to opposing the radical homosexual agenda” or, as he sometimes calls it, “the hydra-headed monster of the Homosexual/Transsexual Lobby.”

LaBarbera, an outspoken defender of laws criminalizing homosexuality and banning pro-gay speech , has warned about the threat of what he calls “Gayria law” and “homofascism,” calling for “civil disobedience on a massive scale” to prevent same-sex couples from marrying.

He has said that the people really being persecuted today are anti-gay activists,comparing himself and others to Jews living in Nazi Germany. He has claimed that anti-LGBT activists like himself can’t help but follow their “natural inhibition against homosexual behavior,” while gay rights advocates use “ political terrorism” to advance “like an insatiable, devouring monster” while promoting “Satan’s plan.”

LaBarbera has lamented that anti-gay violence is no longer “normal,” called pedophilia “a subset of the larger deviance of homosexuality,” said that he’d “love to see” a group organize a class action lawsuit against homosexuality and found it “reassuring” that the gay community is affected by STIs and violence.

In LaBarbera’s ideal America, the government would imprison doctors who perform sex reassignment surgery for transgender people, close the door to refugees who are gay, launch a campaign against “homosexual behavior” just as it did against tobacco products and “re-stigmatize” homosexuality.

4) Family Watch International

With a global focus, Family Watch International has promoted ex-gay therapy and laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas.

One of the most glaring examples of its activism is in Nigeria, where the group’s leadership pushed the country’s lawmakers to adopt a law that “punishes those who enter into a same-sex marriage with up to 14 years in prison” and “prohibits anyone from officiating a gay union, bans same-sex ‘amorous relationships’ and membership in an LGBT advocacy group.” The law has led to dozens of arrests.

The group has been particularly active in promoting ex-gay pseudo-science and opposing United Nations resolutions calling for the decriminalization of homosexuality. For a time, FWI even worked withMartin Ssempa, an extreme anti-gay activist in Uganda, and praised Iran as “one of the strongest nations in standing up for family values at the UN.”

5) Liberty Counsel

Liberty Counsel is a conservative legal advocacy firm with close ties to Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell. The group recently gained national attention for its work representing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, and Alabama state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, who defied federal courts by attempting to obstruct the recognition of marriage equality in his state.

Liberty Counsel Chairman Mat Staver has called for mass disobedience against the Supreme Court’s landmark decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, warning that the ruling will lead to revolution and civil war. Staver, as we’ve reported, has also “predicted that President Obama will impose ‘ forced homosexuality’ upon the nation, regularly likened gay people to terrorists, labeled the gay rights movement as ‘demonic’ and defended countries that outlaw same-sex relationships. Gay equality, Staver warns, will lead to the end of civilization and cause America to ‘implode’ and ‘unravel.’”

Anita Staver, Staver’s wife and the president of Liberty Counsel, recently said that she would take her gun into restrooms in reaction to Target’s decision to let transgender customers use the restroom that matches their gender identity, although she was unable to connect the store’s policy to any criminal acts.

6) Thomas More Law Center

The conservative legal group the Thomas More Law Center, as we’ve noted, is “best known for its unsuccessful lawsuit against Planned Parenthood and the Shepard-Byrd hate crimes law as well as its botched defense of a Pennsylvania’s school’s Intelligent Design curriculum.”

While the group wrongly predicted that the 2009 Hate Crimes Act would “criminalize the Bible,” that didn’t stop it from similarly insisting that marriage equality would lead to the end of “intellectual liberty.” The Thomas More Law Center has also warned that Arabic lessons in school will train kids to become terrorists and claimed that Islam is not a religion but a “Trojan Horse” seeking “to destroy America.”

7) American Family Association

The American Family Association has truly earned its designation as a hate group.

It’s one-time spokesman Bryan Fischer, who still hosts a radio program on the group’s affiliate American Family Radio, has repeatedly called for homosexuality to be outlawed, while cheering on countries like Uganda that criminalize homosexuality, calling for an “Underground Railroad to deliver innocent children from same-sex households” and declaring that God will use ISIS terrorists to punish Americans for their tolerance of homosexuality. Upon learning that the Boy Scouts of America rescinded its ban on gay members, Fischer said that the group should change its name to the “Boy Sodomizers of America.”

Fischer has alsolikened homosexuality to terrorism and blamed the Holocaust on gay people, and said that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights and that non-Christian immigrants should be forced to convert to Christianity. Fischer has repeatedly defended the massacres and expulsions of Native Americans from their lands as divine justice and once lamented that welfare makes African-American women ‘rut like rabbits.’”

The AFA’s current governmental affairs director, Sandy Rios, has linked homosexuality to terrorism, train crashes and pedophilia.

8) Intercessors for America

Intercessors for America, as we’ve reported, has “prayed to stop anti-bullying laws to protect LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth, warning they ‘can only lead to God’s judgment,’ and that support for marriage equality ‘leads a soul to eternal damnation.’” The group also “believes that federal government is developing technology to implant microchips in all citizens as a form of mind control.”

9) Tradition, Family And Property

The Roman Catholic organization Tradition, Family and Property is a group of men who dress up like knights with trademark red capes and costumes and tour the country protesting events they perceive as anti-Catholic, as well as abortion rights and same-sex marriage. The group is particularly active in its opposition to gay rights, advocating for colleges to disband LGBT clubs and protesting Desmond Tutu due to his “affirmation of the homosexual agenda.” One of the group’s board members suggested that tornadoes were God’s judgment for gay marriage .

10) Family Research Council

The Values Voter Summit’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, is far from a mainstream group.

FRC Senior Fellow Peter Sprigg has called for bans on homosexuality and the exportation of gays from the U.S., and its executive vice president, Jerry Boykin, has promoted a wide range of bizarre conspiracy theories .

But the group’s most extreme official is its president, Tony Perkins, who has defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill, connected homosexuality to pedophilia , asserted that same-sex relationships are a government “population control” scheme, depicted LGBT rights supporters as terrorists and minions of Satan bent on murdering Christians, called for a revolution to stop same-sex marriages and denounced anti-bullying efforts for spreading “perversion.” He has also suggested narrowing the definition of religious freedom to exclude Muslims and liberal Christians, and once falsely claimed that it has been a “federal crime” to be a Christian since 2009.

Values Voter Summit Features Extremists on LGBT, Women’s, Religious Issues

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) hosted a press call detailing the extremist backgrounds of the speakers at and sponsors of Values Voter Summit 2016, the Religious Right conference that begins tomorrow and at which Donald Trump is scheduled to appear.

“The Values Voter Summit doesn’t shy away from the Religious Right’s extremism – it puts it on display,” said PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery, who will be attending the conference. “Donald Trump will be the first one to address this conference as the Republican nominee for president. Among the featured speakers are people who have said Islam doesn’t deserve First Amendment protection, who have opposed every advance in legal recognition of the rights of LGBT people, and who promote outlandish conspiracy theories about President Obama, who, some say, is paving the way for the anti-Christ.”

Montgomery and PFAW Research Editor Miranda Blue detailed the speakers and sponsors of the conference who have advocated for criminalizing homosexuality in the U.S. and abroad. Montgomery provided one example: “Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, the group sponsoring Values Voter, defended Uganda’s infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act – at a time when it was known as a ‘kill the gays’ bill because it included a death penalty – as a ‘laudable’ effort to ‘uphold moral conduct.’” Blue elaborated that FRC along with other groups sponsoring the summit including the American Family Association and First Liberty “all filed amicus briefs supporting Texas’ right to outlaw homosexuality” in the 2003 Lawrence v. Texas case. Some of these briefs, she said, used “explicitly anti-gay arguments, such as the American Family Association’s claim that outlawing homosexuality would prevent ‘injury caused to the public by same-sex sodomy.’ And many continue to hold these views; FRC spokesman Peter Sprigg, who will be speaking at VVS, said in 2010 that he would support outlawing ‘homosexual behavior.’”

Criminalizing homosexuality is far from the only anti-gay stance many of these speakers and sponsors have taken. PFAW Senior Research Analyst Brian Tashman provided examples including that of Sprigg, who has said that “homosexuality is destructive to society,” and James Dobson who in 2012 attributed the Sandy Hook shooting to God’s judgment on America for “kill[ing] fifty-four million babies and the institution of marriage [being] right on the verge of a complete redefinition.” Tashman noted that Trump has long courted anti-gay extremists, such as last month when “Trump addressed a conference organized by David Lane, who once said that God will punish America for gay rights in the form of car bombings and the destruction of the country.”

Miranda Blue detailed the anti-choice, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant sentiments and policy priorities of many of the speakers and sponsors of the conference, such as the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, who “recently joined a group of retired generals endorsing Trump and has said that ‘Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections.’” Blue also described how anti-choice speakers like David Daleiden and the Benham Brothers “all came out of the ‘rescue’ movement, which is the extreme clinic-protest wing of the anti-choice movement.” FRC President Tony Perkins has said that President Obama’s immigration actions that aimed to prevent DREAMers and immigrant families from deportation were an “impeachable act.”

PFAW Resources on Values Voter Summit 2016:

A recording of the call is available upon request. Peter Montgomery will be attending the conference this weekend, and he, Miranda Blue, and Brian Tashman are all available for interviews. To schedule an interview, or if you have any questions, please email media@pfaw.org.



Phil Robertson Links Drug Addiction To Laws on 'Perversion' And Abortion Rights

In an interview with a West Virginia radio station yesterday, “Duck Dynasty” patriarch Phil Robertson linked drug addiction and other social ills to the country forgetting “the God of the Bible” and instituting legal abortion and “perversion.”

Brian Sexton, a host with WVHU in Huntington, asked Robertson what he had learned from ministering to drug addicts and other troubled souls.

Robertson connected these issues with the themes of an upcoming "documentary" he’s starring in, which is directed by now-Trump campaign chief Steven Bannon.

“The documentary is what happens to any empire or culture, nation, what happens to them when they forget the God of the Bible, the God of Creation,” he said. “You forget Him and what they do is they allow men to determine what’s right and wrong instead of God, they let men decide what’s good and evil instead of God, and they allow men to decide how much your life is worth. So once that happens, you start seeing these, like in America, these court cases. I mean we’ve legislated the murder of our own children, we’ve legislated perversion, and instead of vetting our thinking through the word of God, we just decided, no, well, we know more than God.

“And now we look around and we see what we have, we’ve confined God inside these structures, everybody’s got a different sign, you know, there’s a church on every street corner, and it became so splintered and divided and the government came along and made sure, they basically said keep Him in those church buildings but do not bring Him out in public education, they ran Him out of there, saying ‘don’t bring Him into the public square.’”

He added that he is now being criticized just for quoting “a few Bible verses,” just like Jesus.

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