Peroutka, who has said that Kentucky clerk Kim Davis gave “the entire country a civics lesson” when she defied federal court orders to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because “any purported law that is not harmonious with [God’s] word can’t be law and is not law,” includes lyrics such as:
This is the third in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here and an exploration of WCF’s anti-LGBT politics here.
While the World Congress of Families has become well known in the U.S. for its anti-LGBT activism, that is just one part of its larger vision of promoting what it calls the “natural family” throughout the world. In fact, in keeping with the vision that Allan Carlson and Paul Mero laid out in their "natural family" manifesto, this year’s conference will feature not just anti-LGBT activists, but opponents of abortion rights, contraception, sex education and liberalized divorce laws.
These issues are closely intertwined in this worldview. One scheduled WCF speaker, Evan Lenow of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, explained it clearly in a 2011 lecture on “The Challenge of Homosexuality For Gender Roles.” Lenow laid out the argument that the Bible prescribes separate but equal roles for men and women in marriage, with women required to “submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands, just as the church submits to Christ.” Same-sex marriages, where gender roles are by necessity “egalitarian,” he said, “subvert” this biblically ordained relationship.
For many of these activists, all manner of evils date back to the “sexual revolution” and, in particular, the widespread availability and use of contraception.
A panel on “Understanding the Sexual and Cultural Revolution” will feature the Family Research Council’s Pat Fagan, who has argued that the Supreme Court decision ending bans on contraception for unmarried people was wrong because “functioning societies” ought to “punish” and “shame” people who have sex out of wedlock. Fagan links the “contraceptive mindset” to any number of social ills. “Since the introduction of contraception, everything else has fallen,” he has said.
Joining Fagan on the “sexual and cultural revolution” panel will be the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Katie McCoy, who has argued strongly against efforts to allow women to serve as Southern Baptist pastors.
A forum on “The Beneficial and Harmful Influences of Feminism,” moderated by WCF’s Larry Jacobs, will feature declared anti-feminist activists Babette Francis of the Australian Endeavor Forum and Gayle Ruzicka, the head of the Utah chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, who is also a radical anti-gay activist.
WCF has set aside time to showcase the latest round of attacks against Planned Parenthood, with a panel featuring Live Action’s Lila Rose, Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest (who happens to be the daughter of WCF head Janice Shaw Crouse), and Priests for Life’s Alveda King. King has falsely claimed that hormonal birth control “exposes” women to breast cancer and insisted that this is part of an elaborate money-making scheme by Planned Parenthood. Moderating the panel will be a representative of Heartbeat International, a network of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that claims it can replace Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that it does not prescribe birth control.
The fight against legal abortion, contraception and egalitarian gender roles is tied in with a founding principle of the World Congress of Families: the fear that demographic change is dooming European and American culture.
A panel on “demography,” moderated by Personhood USA’s Keith Mason and notably consisting entirely of men, will likely address some of these fears, and in particular the idea that contraception is the root cause of a perceived cultural decline. The panel will include Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute, who has argued that “[i]n its own way, contraception is an even greater tragedy than abortion” because it “involves the deliberate rejection of God’s creative power.”
Also speaking on the panel will be WCF’s Don Feder, who told a WCF event in Belgrade earlier this year that contraception leads to “death” by “preventing life from happening,” and who warned at the Moscow conference last year that humanity is financing “ its own extinction” through birth control.
Joining them will be Igor Beloborodov, a Russian demographer who warned at a 2011 demographic forum featuring a number of American activists that birthrates were falling as a result of people who want to “push up sales of contraceptives, to increase the number of abortions, to make homosexuality more popular.” He presented this slide listing “global threats to family and life,” including “small families,” “homosexuality” and “feminism”:
The World Congress of Families will also include staunch opponents of comprehensive sex education in schools, including Dr. Miriam Grossman and the Eagle Forum’s Gayle Ruzicka, who have both supported instituting abstinence-only sex-ed in Utah. This is an especially interesting dynamic given that WCF extended an invitation to Elizabeth Smart, an abduction survivor turned anti-sex-trafficking advocate from Utah who has spoken about how the lessons she had learned in abstinence-only sex-ed contributed to her reluctance to flee her captor.
Also speaking at the event will be proponents of rolling back no-fault divorce laws, a little-noticed flip side to the conservative campaign against marriage equality for LGBT people. Repealing state no-fault divorce laws, which allow married couples to end their marriages without one party being found to be at fault, is a plank of Carlson and Mero’s “natural family” manifesto. A panel on divorce at the Utah summit will include Beverly Willett, the cofounder of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, which aims to make it more legally difficult for most couples to divorce and Michael McManus, who has also advocated against no-fault divorce laws.
Republican politicians RandandRon Paul have long been bigfans of radical conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, so it is no surprise that Ron Paul was a guest on Jones’ “InfoWars” program today, discussing renewed calls to pass gun restrictions following the recent string of mass shootings.
The elder Paul told Jones that eventually the people will be driven to violence, which would then lead to calls for authoritarian government and gun confiscation.
“If push comes to shove and there’s violence in the street, they’re going to look for a strongman, they’re going to look for somebody who is an authoritarian and said the violence in the cities won’t last, and then people will say, yeah, that’s right, we can’t have anarchy, and they will capitulate,” he said. “The day will come.”
The only form of gun control that’s appropriate, he said, “is taking the guns away from the bureaucrats, the government and taking the guns or restricting the guns use of the president starting wars.”
Rick Wiles invited climate change denier and End Times predictor Cliff Harris on his “TruNews” program last week to talk about the climate change debate, which they agreed was a “hoax” being used to grow the size of government.
Wiles warned that leaders like Pope Francis, Al Gore and Bernie Sanders are part of a plan to “use global warming to impose global socialism” during which they will “take control of property, eliminate private property rights take control of natural resources.” Wiles said the pupose of this plan is to impose “a centralized global government controlling the activities of every human being on the planet. That’s what Al Gore and all those socialists are after, and they’re using the climate as the justification.”
Wiles also proposed that this is a sign of the second coming of Christ, “this is evidence of Jesus Christ coming back.” Harris offered that mass support for Bernie Sanders’ presidential campaign is also evidence that the second coming is imminent.
Harris warned that a leader like Sanders would be disastrous because he would allow ISIS to infiltrate the United States “in a big wave” with Syrian refugees. “If we do not elect, in this country, in 2016, elect somebody that’s strong, somebody that’s godly… I believe we are in for a horrendous time in this country,” Harris said. “If people think things are bad now, they haven’t seen anything, Rick.
Liberty Counsel is incensed that the Associated Press noted in a recent article that its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, once threatened to sue a library for encouraging kids to read “Harry Potter” and that he recently falsely claimed that 100,000 people in Peru gathered to pray for Kim Davis. The AP also dared to note that Liberty Counsel has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
All three claims are true, but Staver insisted in a letter to the AP’s assistant general counsel on Monday that the article was “defamatory” because it delivered an “unmistakable message to a reasonable person” that “Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel are liars and haters.”
“At a minimum, AP should permanently remove the link and the cache,” Staver wrote.
While Staver claims that the SPLC only lists Liberty Counsel as a hate group due to its biblical beliefs, the SPLC makes clear that its listing of anti-LGBT hate groups is “based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
The AP included in its story a quote from Staver disputing Liberty Counsel’s hate group designation, but the designation was well-earned, as the right-wing legal group has a record of spreading misinformation about the LGBT community. Staver alone has:
Yesterday on Daystar’s “Marcus and Joni,” Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson lashed out at critics who said that he would never have a chance to win the presidency.
He said that instead of retiring, God opened the door for him to enter the presidential race “much to the consternation of all the professional class and all the pundits” who said it was “impossible” for a “political neophyte” like him to build a national campaign.
“And yet, you see, it’s happening,” Carson said. “They don’t understand the power of God.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson advised a “700 Club” viewer today to leave his church if it approves of same-sex marriage, warning that such a church is satanic as homosexuality represents the “last phase in human rebellion against God.”
“You got two of these people and you’re going to marry them and you somehow going to think that’s in the church?” he asked. “If I were you, I’d complain bitterly and I’d get out of that church as fast as I could. I mean, what fellowship has Christ with Belial? You don’t want to have fellowship with those people.”
Irony died a little bit today on “The 700 Club” when televangelist Pat Robertson defended Ben Carson’s statement he would never vote for a Muslim candidate for president unless that candidate renounced their religion, warning that a Muslim president would be dangerous because any “committed Muslim” would try to impose religious law on America.
Hailing Carson for “telling the truth” about Islam, Robertson said that “a committed Muslim would do exactly what ISIS is doing” and “put in Sharia law.”
“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)
He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”
Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).
He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.
Last week, Sen. Rand Paul went after Sen. Bernie Sanders, comparing the Democratic presidential candidate to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and warning that his ideology could likewise lead to “mass genocide.”
In an interview yesterday with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, the Republican senator and presidential candidate doubled down on his warning, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing Sanders to Pol Pot … “yet.”
I want to go head to head with this, I think, crazy notion of collectivism, crazy notion of socialism. And I want to make sure that all these young people realize is what socialism is is a lack of choice. You won’t be able to make what you want, you won’t be able to buy what you want. It’ll be controlled by the government. If you disobey, you’ll be fined. If you do it again, you’ll be imprisoned. If you continue doing it, what has often happened under socialism is the inherent force morphs into something even more dastardly. And that’s what happened under Stalin, under Mao, under Pol Pot.
And people say, ‘You’re calling Bernie Pol Pot.’ Not yet. But what I’m saying is the underpinnings of the belief in socialism is the implication of force in that you will force people to do what the states want them to do and that you take away their choices. And I think if young people knew that it was anti-choice, that socialism took away their choices to buy, sell, and do and work where they want to work, I think they’d be running away from it. But Bernie’s offering a version to them where he doesn’t quite inform them of the horrors of socialism.
Democracy For All Video Challenge Gives Americans Platform to Protest Billions of Dollars Spent on Elections
WASHINGTON – With the 2016 presidential race in full swing and more than 85 percent of Americans wanting to see a change in the way political campaigns are funded, an online video competition is encouraging people to express their views on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.
The video selected this week was made by Tomas Gaspar, a sophomore at Lake Michigan College majoring in pre-nursing. Gaspar’s video shows voters being turned away from the ballot box unless they have money to donate and highlights the frustration felt by Americans who feel they are being shut out of the political process.
“I decided to produce a video because it gave me the opportunity to express my own views as well as providing a chance to influence other people, and I found that to be very powerful,” said Gaspar. “We have so many tools at our disposal to reach others; I think people need to take a more active role in communicating about important issues."
“Instead of telling people how they should think, we are letting people tell us what they think,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “We want to engage people in the political process and not preach to them; this video challenge gives people an opportunity to express how they feel with the hope that it will be a call to action for others.”
The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.
The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy.
People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.
Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.
Like the late Jerry Falwell, Robertson was a pioneer in the use of television to build a Christian ministry, and Robertson joined Falwell and other televangelists who teamed up in the late 1970s to create the Religious Right political movement. Falwell was a fundamentalist Baptist and Robertson a charismatic Pentecostal, but they found common ground in promoting a sustained, religion-based attack on separation of church and state, feminism, gay rights, unions, and other enemies of the right-wing political strategists, like Paul Weyrich, who recruited them into politics.
Robertson actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He didn't get very far as a candidate, but he built a huge list of supporters. Political operative Ralph Reed turned that list into the Christian Coalition, which at the beginning of the 1990s set itself the goal of taking working control of the Republican Party.
Pat Robertson, in other words, helped create today's polarized politics -- a Republican Party that is much further to the right than Ronald Reagan's and far less willing to engage in the compromises required to govern, and a Religious Right movement that continues to poison our political climate by treating politics as spiritual warfare and political opponents as demonic enemies of faith and freedom.
A memorable example of that attitude came just after the 9/11 attacks, in which Robertson joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the attacks on gays, feminists, defenders of church-state separation, and People For the American Way. But we can hear the same attitude from GOP candidates and right-wing activists every day.
Regent University, where Jeb Bush will speak on Friday, is part of the massive cultural and political infrastructure that Religious Right leaders like Robertson have built in recent decades. Religious Right schools of government and law produce people like Michele Bachmann and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who see public office as a way to make America conform to their "biblical worldview."
Another part of Robertson's infrastructure is the American Center for Law and Justice, which he created to be a Religious Right counterpart to the ACLU. The ACLJ has undermined church-state separation in the U.S. and promotes a global culture war through offices in Europe, Russia, and Africa. While it portrays itself as a champion of religious freedom, the ACLJ fought bitterly against the building of a Muslim community center that was falsely dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque."
Jordan Sekulow's hiring was seen as a signal that the Bush campaign was serious about competing for conservative evangelical voters who might initially be more excited about other candidates. Bush's pilgrimage to Regent University is another sign that even "establishment" Republican candidates are dependent on the Religious Right activists who make up a big part of the party's base.
A couple of years ago, we heard about a new movie called “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” when its director, Kevin Peeples, appeared on the radio program of one of its stars, Kevin Swanson, and Swanson asserted that “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”
We stumbled on the movie again recently while researching the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, which will feature some of the activists who appeared in Peeples’ film, including WCF founder Allan Carlson and anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. This is hardly surprising, since one of the tenets of the “natural family” ideology promoted by WCF is resistance to contraception in order to create large families governed by traditional gender roles.
This time, in preparation for WCF, we decided to watch the whole movie. It is mostly taken up by historical arguments against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and hero worship of Anthony Comstock, the famous crusader against legal birth control whose laws were struck down after a campaign by Sanger. (The movie’s creators have also produced an animated account of Comstock’s life called “Fighter” aimed at painting Comstock as a role model for young boys.) The film makes the argument that Protestant churches that oppose legal abortion must also, by necessity, oppose birth control and laments the social movements and Supreme Court decisions that led to the decriminalization of birth control in the U.S.
Rose, an anti-abortion activist and mentor of anti-Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, makes the argument in the film that birth control has “led in many ways to abortion in our country” whereas “there was a time when birth control was unthinkable, when contraception was unthinkable because, people who got married, a beautiful part of marriage was the hope for children together.”
Rose also claims that Planned Parenthood is “encouraging sexual activity and experimentation at early ages” in order to increase the number of abortions it provides to “resolve the sexual activity that was started and encouraged by Planned Parenthood in the first place.”
As it happens, “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” premiered at the 2013 World Congress of Families in Sydney, accompanied by a panel discussion with Peeples, Carlson and Scott Matthew Dix, one of the film’s producers.
Anti-LGBT activist Steve Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas spoke to Sam Malone earlier this month to promote the campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he suggested will lead to a wave of sexual violence against women.
Hotze also attacked transgender women as perverts who want “special rights.”
Think about it, some strange men, some perverted men, perverted in their thinking who think they’re women. You can think whatever you want to think, you can think you’re a frog, you can think you’re a cockroach, you can think you’re a cow and you may moo all day long, but the long and the short of it is you’re not, you’re a male. If you’re born with male parts, you’re a male, your sex is male, your gender is male no matter what you think. And this idea that we’re going to give special rights and privileges based on a person’s perverted thinking about whether or not they’re a man or a woman is just absolute nonsense.
Hotze later said that the ordinance will let “perverted men” be “as strange, as weird, as perverted, as deviant as you want to be,” which led him to berate Caitlyn Jenner.
“You can be like Bruce Jenner and dress up like a woman and get on a stage and talk with a low voice and get an award because you had courage to dress like a woman,” he said. “That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I thought to myself when they gave him that award and those people stood up and cheered for them, ‘Have they got rocks in their heads? What’s going on here? Is everything in the world is upside down?’”
He added that the Bible predicted that the “fruitcakes” defending Houston ordinance would then criticize people like him as “perverted” and “the ones who don’t think straight.”
Earlier this month, Rep. Pete Olson appeared on Houston’s “The Sam Malone Show” to attack President Obama over his reaction to the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.
The Texas Republican said that the president spoke with “no factual information” about the massacre and simply thought, “Hey, it’s a crisis and that’s good politics for me.”
After addressing the conflicting reports about whether the perpetrator targeted Christians, Olson managed to link the massacre to Obama’s response to the case of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was temporarily placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after she repeatedly refused court orders to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
“Enough of our President Obama about bigotry, about attacking people for their religions,” he said, “I mean good gosh, he sat on the sidelines with Ms. Davis there in Kentucky, he just sat by and sat by and let her get thrown in prison for following her religious beliefs.”
In an interview last month with Houston-based talk radio host Sam Malone, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, blasted plans to bring in vetted refugees from the Syrian conflict to the U.S., doubting that they would be genuine refugees and insisting that President Obama and “Chamberlain Kerry” only want them for their votes.
Poe said that while the Obama administration “won’t take care of our veterans,” it will “open the doors to people we don’t even know.”
“It’s a political maneuver on the part of the president just to get more people in the U.S. so they’ll support the Democratic Party, I think it’s a long-term goal,” he said.
Inveterate conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles invited two prominent anti-immigration activists onto his “ Trunews” program yesterday to discuss attempts to resettle the millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war, but couldn’t get too far into the discussion before announcing that someone “orchestrated” the refugee crisis in order to destroy “the existing order.”
The refugee crisis, along with the “contrived, orchestrated, choreographed crisis” of unaccompanied Central American children fleeing to the southern U.S. border last year, he said, must be part of a grand plot run by “somebody with a lot of money.”
“I am convinced all of this is orchestrated,” he said. “Somebody with a lot of money wants a chaotic scene in the world, they want mass migration. It’s breaking down borders, sovereignty, culture, it’s destroying the existing order.”
Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who was making her second appearance on Wiles’ program, responded cautiously, saying, “Well, I don’t know if it’s orchestrated, but it is obvious that there are organizations with an ideological agenda who are certainly taking advantage of it to push their political and ideological aims.”
Refugee Resettlement Watch’s Ann Corcoran seemed more willing to embrace Wiles’ theory, saying, “I hope someday we will find out who it is behind this and who these powers are” but that in the meantime, she agrees with Vaughan.
Zmirak said that while countries like the U.S. and Israel are founded on the right to bear arms (Israel actually has much tougher gun laws than the U.S.), Europeans will only take up individual arms when they are forced to fight “an inevitable civil war” against “millions of Muslim immigrants.”
“If the government fails, if they don’t deport these millions of Muslim immigrants someday, the individual people are going to have to take arms,” he said. “I’m afraid that we’re looking at an inevitable civil war in Europe, when the Muslims take power and the remaining non-Muslims fight back. I’m not optimistic about the future of Europe.”