Yesterday on “The Steve Malzberg Show,” Rick Santorum offered his opinion on the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which was successfully repealed yesterday, and a case in Illinois where the Department of Education sided with a transgender girl who accused her public school of carrying out discriminatory policies.
Santorum, naturally, is not a fan of protections for trans youth, which he labeled as “dangerous.”
Just discussing the issue of transgender youth in schools, Santorum said, would harm kids: “I don’t know why children at that age — why this is even an issue, the idea that we are introducing this type of real dangerous confusion for young people at this early age, do we really care about what we’re doing to millions of children who don’t have gender confusion and basically introducing the subject and saying, ‘maybe you should, maybe this is something you should start thinking about at age seven.’ I mean this is really dangerous and it’s going too far because it is having an impact on not just folks who may be in a difficult situation at an early age but many who would never have been in that situation but now are being confronted with it.”
As the dust settles from many important elections around the country yesterday, we have some great news to report.
In the race PFAW put our focus on in Virginia, we won! Progressive Jeremy McPike captured the Senate seat. I’m happy to report that PFAW’s work in this election on the air and on the ground -- which Virginia and regional PFAW members supported with their volunteer time and hundreds of PFAW members from around the country stepped up to support with donations -- was effective.
In addition to the victory in this race, we made important inroads into the Latino community that will be critical in 2016, when Virginia is expected to be perhaps THE most important swing state and the Latino vote could be THE deciding factor. We were proud to produce the first ad ever to use Donald Trump’s hateful immigrant-bashing rhetoric as a vote motivator, rightly tying that bigotry to the Republican brand.
In other great news from Virginia, a radical anti-gay and anti-immigrant county supervisor in northern Virginia, who PFAW’s Right Wing Watch has long tracked, lost his seat. As Right Wing Watch has reported, Republican Eugene Delgaudio has said the “homosexual lobby” wants to make it legal to “rape and murder young boys” and has warned that allowing LGBT people to adopt would lead to gay men “skipping down to adoption centers to pick out a little boy for themselves.” He also referred to his county’s growing Latino immigrant population as “hordes” that are exacting “a greater and greater toll.”
And in both Maine and Seattle, voters dealt a serious blow to big money in politics!
In Maine, a Clean Elections initiative passed by 10 points that strikes back against Citizens United and bolsters the state’s public financing system. In Seattle, by an even wider margin of 20% voters passed a sweeping initiative to limit the influence of big money in politics by, among other things, capping contributions by corporations with city contracts or that spend significant funds lobbying, making it illegal for city officials and their top aides to take lobbying jobs immediately after leaving office, empowering low-dollar donors, and increasing transparency and accountability.
Election Day didn’t bring only good news though.
The results statewide in Virginia were a mixed bag, and because of strong Republican showings in other parts of the state, effective GOP gerrymandering, and, yes, a ton of money spent, the GOP was able to maintain party control of the state Senate.
And in other parts of the South, far-right -- and I mean veryfar-right -- Republicans won races for governor that will have a tremendously detrimental impact on the people of those states.
In Kentucky, the election of Republican Matt Bevin to governor yesterday means that the more than half a million Kentuckians who have health insurance thanks to the Affordable Care Act could lose their health care very soon. Bevin has promised to eliminate Kynect, Kentucky’s state exchange established under the ACA, and could undo the Medicaid expansion accepted by the outgoing Democratic governor, Steve Beshear, which insured 400,000 people alone and cut the state’s uninsured rate by more than half.
It’s worth noting that Tea Party Governor-elect Matt Bevin’s winning strategy was to turn out his right-wing base by campaigning on themes such as the backlash to marriage equality, support for county clerk and Religious Right cause célèbre Kim Davis, and promises to defund Planned Parenthood.
And, in Texas, there was the defeat of Houston’s Equal Rights Ordinance, leaving Houston the largest city in the country and the only major city in Texas with no nondiscrimination protections for LGBT residents. That election was especially ugly. Anti-equality groups resorted to fearmongering and inflamed prejudice, distorting the true purpose of the ordinance by referring to it derogatorily as the “Bathroom Ordinance.” Sadly, there is still a lot of work to do in Texas and the South.
One thing is clear: yesterday’s wins AND losses both point to the need to keep fighting.
Americans deserve better than the regressive, draconian agenda that right-wing Republicans are offering. And because the Right is so well-funded and tenacious, we must fight to defend our gains -- some on the Right are already talking about legal challenges to yesterday’s victories for the People over big money in politics.
In a 2013 episode of his “Generations Radio” program, Kevin Swanson and his cohost Dave Buehner discussed a Colorado bill that allowed civil unions for same-sex couples. Buehner recounted how he had sent letters to members of the Colorado state legislature urging them to vote against the civil unions bill, causing one member of the Colorado Senate Judiciary Committee to write back and tell him that times change and the definition of family must change with them.
Both Buehner and Swanson were aghast at the response, speculating on the myriad implications of acceptance of LGBT rights. “Does that mean that child molestation will be okay in 2040?” Swanson asked. “Yes, Absolutely,” Buehner replied, “because … it would be wrong for a society that would not discriminate against homosexuality to discriminate [against] pedophilia.” Swanson went on to list incest and rape as examples of other sins comparable to homosexuality that could be justified by the same argument.
Swanson, who is organizing a conference with presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal this weekend, concluded that the state senator “just needs to copy that letter, or save it ... That would be a good letter to use for cannibalism or incest or anything else in the years to come.”
In a speech last month, Rafael Cruz repeated his claim that America will be no more if Hillary Clinton becomes president.
Cruz told an audience in Minnesota that they should support his son, Sen. Ted Cruz, in his effort to “take this country back” because “we don’t have any more time.”
If his son fails to win the GOP presidential nomination, he warned, a “mushy, middle-of-the-road, stand-for-nothing moderate like Jeb Bush” will come out on top, “and if Jeb Bush gets the nomination, Hillary will be our next president and this country will be destroyed.”
Marco Rubio’s presidential campaign announced last week that its operation in Alabama would be chaired by state Rep. Will Ainsworth and former state Republican Party chairman Bill Armistead, according to AL.com.
The choice of Armistead and Ainsworth is slightly surprising from a candidate who is trying to position himself in contrast to some of his more far-right competitors in the GOP race.
We first encountered Armistead in the lead-up to the 2012 election, when he urged an audience to watch the insane birther film “Dreams From My Real Father,” which posits that President Obama has been hiding the fact that his real father was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis, who groomed him from birth to stage a communist takeover of America. “This is absolutely frightening,” Armistead told the audience. “I’ve seen it. I verified that it is factual, all of it. People can determine.”
Armistead is also apparently a fan of the work of another anti-Obama conspiracy theorist, Wayne Allyn Root, once distributing to the state party’s email list a column by Root alleging that the president is a clinically diagnosable sociopath.
So, how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.
"The probate judge in Marshall County, who is a Democrat, must not capitulate to the ungodly and immoral attacks on traditional marriage," he continued. "If I were in his shoes, I would stand strong and hold my ground in defense of God's law, not the unconstitutional and immoral law being manufactured by liberal activists."
"Marriage can exist only between a man and a woman because it is an institution created and ordained by God, and it is the analogy he used for salvation," Ainsworth said. "Every society that has allowed the marriage covenant to be destroyed has withered away and vanished. I do not believe we should hate homosexuals because every person should be treated with love and respect, but something that is immoral does not become moral simply because an activist judge decided it is legal."
Ainsworth commented on many new writer and politicians saying Alabama needs to avoid "being on the wrong side of history" in trying to prevent gay marriage.
"If the choice is between being on the wrong side of a distorted, immoral, liberal perception of history, or violating God's laws, teachings, and biblical admonitions, I will happily disappoint the liberals every time," Ainsworth said. "During the campaign, my signs carried the slogan 'Fight Obama,' and, make no mistake, the gay rights agenda is the bedrock of Obama's agenda. I will use the upcoming session to look for every legislative remedy and tool that can be used to protect our traditional, conservative Alabama values, and I will continue the fight even after others have surrendered."
After the Supreme Court struck down same-sex marriage bans nationwide, Ainsworth said, “God has told us that marriage exists only between a man and a woman, and His ruling supersedes any ruling by nine appointed judges.”
The televangelist’s “progressive” views on transgender issues didn’tlastlong, shockingly enough, and today he lambasted the Obama administration after the Education Department found that “an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions.”
Robertson suggested that the transgender student may just want to stare at naked girls: “This transgender stuff, I mean, this was a boy and this boy, we don’t know what surgery was performed on him, if any, we don’t know what his parts are, and yet he wants to go into the girls’ locker room and see all these disrobed little girls running around.”
“They don’t want some little boy in their locker room,” he continued. “He says, ‘I’m not a little boy, I’m a little girl.’ Whoever heard of such nonsense in a great nation like the United States of America? Why are we doing this? And the federal government is doing everything it can to push this agenda.”
In preparation for this weekend’s event, we’ve been going back to the archives of Swanson’s “Generations Radio” program, which include a 2013 program in which he responded to a Christian listener who objected to his anti-gay rants by calling gay marriage “a death penalty crime from the word of God” and agreeing with his cohost’s assessment that the Bible allows two men to marry if “at the ceremony, you stone them.”
In the May, 2013, program, Swanson read from a letter from a pro-gay-rights Christian listener, calling the letter “outrageous,” “perverted” and “as bad as it gets” and comparing the letter-writer to the Pharisees.
“He’s in support of a death penalty crime from the word of God, he’s in support of homosexual marriage,” Swanson said. “Amazing.”
Swanson lamented that so few Christians were willing to stand up for the Old Testament prohibitions on homosexuality and object to other sins plaguing the nation “because it takes courage and it takes faith to talk to the sick body of our dying carcass of a nation.”
Swanson’s cohost, Dave Buehner, also thought it was amusing that the letter-writer had said that the Bible doesn’t forbid gay marriage, saying, “nowhere does it forbid marrying a giraffe” either.
“Let’s grant him his point,” Buehner said. “A man can marry a man or a man can marry a giraffe and then at the ceremony, you stone them.”
“Okay, all right,” Swanson replied. “So he’s right. This is how bad it gets, my friends.”
Only Pat Robertson could manage to transform a question about why bad things happen to children into a rant about gay marriage, and the right-wing televangelist managed to do just that today on “The 700 Club.”
When a viewer wrote in to ask why God would allow tragedies like child abuse to occur, Robertson responded by whipping up fears that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision will pave the way for the legalization of pedophilia.
“The time is going to come in America, the Supreme Court said homosexuality is a constitutional right, now they’ve said homosexual marriage is a right, then they’re going to say polygamy is a constitutional right, then they’re going to say polyamory is a constitutional right, then they’re going to say pedophile [sic] is a constitutional right,” he said. “You mark my word. They’re talking about transgender and sex change and all of this stuff. We have lost our mind, collectively, and it’s going to get worse and worse and worse and worse. Trust me.”
He went on to say that “sex with little babies” is widely encouraged in Islam: “There is no such thing as pedophilia in that religion.”
In a speech in Minnesota last month, Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate Rafael Cruz declared that President Obama is on the cusp of confiscating people’s guns, which is why it’s a good thing Americans own so many firearms.
The elder Cruz managed to turn the subject to guns after he fielded a question about whether the federal government should crack down on states like Colorado that have legalized marijuana. Cruz said that the federal government must enforce its drug laws in such situations because, as he explained, the people of Colorado want them to, even though a referendum legalizing marijuana passed with 55 percent of the vote.
This led him to rail against President Obama for considering executive actions on gun law reform, which he cited as another case of the administration flouting the law.
“He’s talking about doing an executive order to put gun control because he can push gun control,” he said. “Let me tell you something about gun control. Look at history. Every king or dictator that has taken the guns away from the population then use it against the population. But praise God there are 300 million guns in America in the hands of private citizens and I don’t know a single one that is willing to give those guns back to the government.”
Cruz went on to allege that “the violence and the racial strife that we are seeing” has been “fueled by this administration,” claiming that the demonstrators in Ferguson, Missouri, were flown in from across the country.
“This administration wants to create strife,” he said. “The whole concept of social justice is all about dividing everybody into a series of smaller groups, make every group seem like a victim and put one group against the other. They are trying to create this strife.”
He said that the president is doing this because he is following Saul Alinsky’s book “Rules for Radicals,” warning that Hillary Clinton will similarly implement this Alinskyite plot. The solution, he said, is to “stop this concept of hyphenated Americans and get back to ‘we’re all Americans.’”
Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke, an outspoken critic of PresidentObama, Black Lives Matter, and LGBT rights, hosts a weekly podcast, “The People’s Sheriff,” on Glenn Beck’s TheBlaze Radio Network. Clarke spent last week’s podcast analyzing a New York Times piece by Harvard professor Sendhil Mullainathan, which argues that while police killings are a race problem, they are a problem that is not necessarily rooted in racial bias on the part of individual officers.
During his discussion, Clarke responded to Mullainathan’s claim that low-income African Americans are overrepresented in the population of drug dealers due to fewer job options by alleging that the real reason black people are more likely to have interactions with law enforcement is because of “dysfunctional black subculture.”
Clarke continued, “Let me tell you why blacks sell drugs and involve themselves in criminal behavior, instead of a more socially acceptable lifestyle: because they’re uneducated, they’re lazy, and they’re morally bankrupt. That’s why.”
A few days later, Sheriff Clarke took to Twitter to share his thoughts on Black Lives Matter:
Before long, Black Lies Matter will join forces with ISIS to being down our legal constituted republic. You heard it first here.
While Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who has attempted to deny marriage licenses to gay couples in her county and has been very upfront about her desire to use her public office to impose her religious beliefs on others, her lawyers at the Religious Right group Liberty Counsel have attempted to reframe her case as one about religious liberty, claiming that the clerk is merely seeking a personal exemption from putting her name on licenses.
Some in the Religious Right, it turns out, are unhappy with Liberty Counsel’s strategy and are urging Davis to go on openly defying the law in order to uphold what she sees as a divine mandate to stop gay marriages.
In an interview with former Missouri Republican state legislator Cynthia Davis in September, far-right activist Matt Trewhella insisted that by relying on religious liberty “nonsense,” Liberty Counsel was suppressing Davis’ true calling to “interpose” herself against gay marriage and thus save America from God’s judgment.
“What she should be doing is simply saying: ‘This is an immoral decree by the Supreme Court. I took an oath to uphold the Constitution. It’s repugnant to the Constitution. I will not issue marriage licenses to homosexuals, I will only issue marriage licenses to heterosexuals,’” Trewhella said.
The Kentucky clerk, Trehwella said, must openly defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling because “when God looks for someone to stand in the gap against the tyranny, against wickedness being promulgated within the culture through the civil authority, if someone stands in the gap and defies them, then God relents in His judgment, but if they don’t defy the higher authority and they just go along with it, God allows His righteous judgment to come upon the land.”
“So, for her to be hiding behind the idea of ‘religious liberty’ is an absurdity,” he continued. “She shouldn’t be just trying to keep little Kim Davis from having to have her hand in the process of this abomination, two men or two women marrying. Her duty is far bigger than that. She actually has the duty to defy the higher authority completely and interpose on behalf of righteousness and therefore abate the just judgment of God upon our nation. That’s what true interposition of the lesser magistrate entails.”
Later in the interview, Trewhella insisted that Davis is a “good woman [who] just wants to openly defy and not issue to homosexuals” but had gotten “bad advice from her attorneys” because “standing on religious liberty is utter nonsense.”
He recommended that she instead seek the legal counsel of Michael Peroutka, a Christian Reconstructionist activist and Maryland county official, who said at a rally in support of Davis that the Supreme Court’s decision “is not law” because it is “not harmonious” with the word of God.
Far-right members of Congress take a dislike to something, say . . . the critical reproductive and preventive healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood, and they write a line or two into an appropriations bill that says that government money cannot be used for that purpose. All kinds of programs and laws are subject to this kind of indirect assault: Just prohibit any money from being spent on it.
Last week, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles lashed out at Chick-fil-A for yielding to the “Obamanista homosexual communists” that “went after Chick-fil-A with a vengeance” several years ago over the company’s ties to anti-LGBT groups, calling events like “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day” a mistake.
Wiles was especially angry that the restaurant sponsored a Pride Parade and LGBT film festival (the twoevents were sponsored by franchise owners, not the company itself), and that CEO and president Dan Cathy expressed regret about how the company became involved in the marriage debate.
“He said, ‘Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by recognizing the mistakes that you make, and you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.’ Well, we learned a lot about you too, Mr. Cathy,” Wiles said. “Personally, I think Chick-fil-A should add another meat to the menu: Yellow-bellied weasel.” AUDIO
If you ever think that courts don’t matter, ask yourself this: Why are major corporations and arch-conservative judges going to such lengths to prevent you from having your day in court when someone has violated your legal rights?
The New York Times has an in-depth three-part series of reports on arbitration, the system by which ordinary people are increasingly being coerced into surrendering their right to the protections provided by the American judicial system.
Agreements to resolve disputes by arbitration are increasingly becoming a standard part of the all-or-nothing contracts that enormous corporations force individuals to sign as a condition of doing business with them. With private arbitration, you surrender your right to a courtroom with a neutral judge and a wide variety of substantive and procedural protections for all parties.
Instead, the company picks a private arbitrator whose living depends on getting cases from corporate interests. The protections of the court system are cast aside. And you can’t have class action lawsuits, which are often the only way to hold wrongdoers accountable when they harm large numbers of individuals relatively small amounts, so it is often not worthwhile for a wronged party to pursue arbitration.
Contracts have existed for centuries. In theory, they are negotiated by two people or businesses in a process of give-and-take, where both parties fully understand what they are agreeing to. But as anyone who has cable TV or a cell phone can tell you, most contracts we sign are handed to us “as is,” take it or leave it.
If you don’t agree to the terms imposed by some enormous corporation with millions of customers, the cost to you (life without a phone) is a lot more than the cost to the company (the loss of one of millions of customers). With vastly unequal bargaining power, the consumer has little choice but to agree. And, in fact, most people sign consumer contracts or click the “I agree” box online with little to no knowledge or understanding of the agreement.
As the Times reports:
By inserting individual arbitration clauses into a soaring number of consumer and employment contracts, companies like American Express devised a way to circumvent the courts and bar people from joining together in class-action lawsuits, realistically the only tool citizens have to fight illegal or deceitful business practices.
Over the last few years, it has become increasingly difficult to apply for a credit card, use a cellphone, get cable or Internet service, or shop online without agreeing to private arbitration. The same applies to getting a job, renting a car or placing a relative in a nursing home.
By banning class actions, companies have essentially disabled consumer challenges to practices like predatory lending, wage theft and discrimination, court records show.
“This is among the most profound shifts in our legal history,” William G. Young, a federal judge in Boston who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan, said in an interview. “Ominously, business has a good chance of opting out of the legal system altogether and misbehaving without reproach.”
How did we reach a point where individuals can be routinely victimized by large corporations and denied access to the courts to vindicate their legal rights?
To a great extent, the blame can be laid at the feet of five people: The conservative majority of the Supreme Court. Their devastating 5-4 rulings like those eviscerating the Voting Rights Act or allowing billionaires and special interests to spend unlimited money in politics are well known. Less well known are 5-4 decisions in arbitration cases. Particularly notorious are AT&T v. Concepcion, where the conservatives ruled that giant corporations can use arbitration agreements to undermine state consumer protection laws across the country, and American Express v. Italian Colors Restaurant, where the conservatives empowered monopolists to use arbitration agreements to bypass federal antitrust laws.
As if this weren’t bad enough, arbitration is hardly the only weapon corporate interests are using to block their victims from vindicating their rights in court.
In fact, just today, the Supreme Court is hearing oral arguments in Spokeo v. Robins, where corporate interests claim that their victims can’t sue in federal court if their “only” injury is that a right created by Congress was violated.
Last month, the Court heard oral arguments in Campbell-Ewald Company v. Gomez, where a large company argued for the power to terminate a class action suit against it early on by quickly offering a settlement to the lead plaintiff representing the class.
Fair and just courts are vitally important in providing equal justice under the law to those who would otherwise be powerless against the enormous entities who have so much more power and resources. So it is no surprise that those powerful interests are so dedicated to blocking ordinary people from having their day in court.
David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County and a risingmedia star on the Right, claimed yesterday that President Obama is a “heartless, soulless bastard” because he has spoken out about “goons” and “criminal creep[s]” who have been killed by law enforcement officers, falsely claiming that the president had not spoken out about the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer.
Clarke launched into the rant on his weekly program on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze radio network, declaring that “black-on-black crime is a human rights abuse and should be investigated as such by the United Nations” and that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States,” not police brutality.
He lit into a New York judge who had sentenced the police officer’s killer to rehab rather than prison time for a recent drug crime, calling her a “criminal-coddling, criminal-advocating, empathy-for-the-criminal, despicable human being.”
“By the way, we still have not heard from President Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin and communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty,” Clarke continued. In fact, Obama spoke about the slain officer, Randolph Holder, to a gathering of police chiefs last week.
Therefore, we were less than surprised to hear him say in a radio broadcast last month that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people and a good thing!
While discussing a World magazine article on treatments for people with HIV/AIDS, Swanson said that gay people are receiving too much help from the government, saying they are “especially favored by the government and given a fair amount of support for their homosexual activity and the disease that seems to accommodate their activity.” He went on to say that HIV/AIDS is “God’s retribution to their sexual habit,” citing Paul’s Letter to the Romans and dismissing other interpretations of Paul’s writing as erroneous.
Swanson added that gay people should be glad that God punished them with HIV/AIDS, explaining that it is a sign of “God’s kindness” as it gives them time to think things over and renounce homosexuality, thus saving them from Hell.
“It’s also a wakeup call,” he said. “Be thankful that God doesn’t kill you all at once. He slows you down for a moment, he makes you sick, he gives you a heads-up.”
He urged gay people to learn from Kelly Gissendaner and Karla Faye Tucker, two women on death row who converted to Christianity before being executed for murder.
Tomorrow, the city of Houston will vote on the future of its nondiscrimination measure, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The way anti-LGBT activists see it, the law will destroy religious freedom and jeopardize the safety of women and children, dramatic events that haven’t occurred in the hundreds of cities and counties with similar nondiscrimination measures. Of course, regularly telling outright falsehoods about the supposed threats of the LGBT community has never held back the Religious Right.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most absurd attacks used by right-wing activists who hope to lie their way to victory tomorrow.
5) Josh Duggar Weighs In
Before resigning from his post at the Family Research Council following revelations about child sexual abuse and, later, extramarital affairs, Josh Duggar was an outspoken opponent of nondiscrimination ordinances, which he said would harm women and children. Duggar told one FRC event that the HERO ordinance represents “injustice and evil” as it reveals an effort to “put us behind bars.”
4) ‘The Country’s Gone’
Televangelist Pat Robertson has also promoted baseless claims that Houstonians will no longer have religious freedom if HERO survives tomorrow’s referendum, railing against its supporters as “terrorists” and warning that nondiscrimination measures could bring about God’s wrath.
“If people are having all these sex changes, what do you do with them?” he asked. “You’ve got Bruce Jenner, he was the guy on the Wheaties box, and he gets ‘Woman of the Year’ after a sex change operation?”
A “700 Club” reporter then spoke with Houston pastor Ed Young, who said that if Christians do not defeat the ordinance, “we are gone in the 21st century.”
“We are being discriminated against, not the other way around,” he said.
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas added: “If Houston falls and Texas falls to the homosexual political movement on this issue, the country’s gone.”
3) HERO Activists Like ISIS
Another televangelist targeting the measure, Donnie Swaggart, said that Houstonians need to rise up before they find out that the Bible has been banned in the city.
“The war on the church and Christianity and our beliefs and the war on God, all of this is to shut the Bible up, they want the Bible gone,” he said. “These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.”
2) Don’t Vote For Satan
Colorado state legislator and televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt believes that HERO will be defeated, in part because people will stand up to the transgender women who he says seek to “expose themselves to little girls” in restrooms and are possessed by “a demonic spirit.”
“Father, save the children from the perverts in Houston,” he prayed.
1) ‘Appalling’ That ‘We Have A Homosexual Mayor’
Rafael Cruz, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, has traveled around the country warning about the supposed dangers of the HERO ordinance, which he called “absolutely crazy.” His son’s own denouncement of the equal rights measure, he said, was proof that “the hand of God” is working in the anti-HERO campaign.
He also revealed that much of the Religious Right’s work is driven by contempt for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor,” he said.
One Houston pastor, Dave Welch, similarly declared that Mayor Parker is a sinister figure who is waging a spiritual war against Christians.
“We allowed a lesbian mayor to be elected because most of the churches were asleep and just didn’t care.” he said. “They didn’t understand the consequences of putting somebody in political power, with the authority of the sword, who has literally rejected every element of the created order of God and his word and his moral truths. Why would we expect somebody to act lawfully when they are living lawlessly?”
He claimed that the U.S. is turning into Sodom now that it has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution” and cities like Houston are trying to “force women to go into men’s bathrooms and men to go into women’s bathrooms.”
“Now it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” he lamented, warning that “the wrath of God is revealed against this stuff.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”
In a trip to Russia last week, U.S. Religious Right leader Franklin Graham praised President Vladimir Putin’s protection of “traditional Christianity,” including the passage of the 2013 “gay propaganda” law that effectively criminalizes pro-gay-rights speech and advocacy.
In an interview with the Moskoviskij Komsomolets newspaper, Graham criticized President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and repeated his praise of Putin for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda,” adding that “homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children,” according to a transcript the newspaper provided of the interview:
I heard that you called Barack Obama ‘the leader of the antichrist movement.’ Is that true? What do you think about the current president of the United States?
I have met the president on several occasions. He’s a very nice person. But he supports and promotes policies that contradict the teachings of God. As a Christian I believe that abortion is murder, he supports it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage — those are sins against God, and the president is promoting them. I’m not against homosexuals as people. But God commanded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.
Graham echoed the messaging of Putin, who as the Washington Post notes, “has anchored his political brand in religious nationalism, centered on the Russian Orthodox Church,” telling the paper that as Americans have been “losing many religious freedoms,” there have been “positive changes” in that area in Russia.
[T]he situation in the US regarding religion is in decline. Secularism, which is almost no different from communism, is an atheistic movement. Our country is becoming more and more secular, more atheist, taking God out of government, taking God out of schools. We are witnessing America losing many religious freedoms. In your country over the past 30 years, we have seen positive changes. But over this same period of time in the US, the changes have been negative.
In a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was widely reported in the Russian news media, Graham reportedly told the Orthodox primate: “When I was a young man, we worried that the world would become atheist under the influence of communism, but while communism fell, atheism didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately my own president promotes atheism … I spoke about this with President Obama, but he did not understand. Unfortunately he does not have a Christian worldview.”
According to another report, Graham told Patriarch Kirill, “Many churches in America have started to support homosexuality. This is terrible, it’s a sin and it’s against God.”
“I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity,” Graham reportedly said.
Graham took part in a forum on “religion and peace” with a number of religious leaders, and Graham and Patriarch Kirill announced their plans to organize an international conference on Christian persecution in the Middle East.
On Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert guest hosted the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” where he fielded a question from a caller who wanted to know why Congress hasn’t attempted to impeach President Obama since “we have enough proof” that Obama “has committed treasonous acts.”
The Texas Republican praised the caller, saying that he was “so grateful that there are people like you that understand just how detrimental this president has been to the ongoing of this country, we’re really at risk, like, now,” but cautioned that impeachment isn’t likely to happen until Republicans win popular support for such a move.
Gohmert added that Congress would be right to impeach Obama but won’t do so because “there are not enough in the people in the country, across America, that want him removed from office before his office is over,” at least, not yet. As he explained, the GOP attempt to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen may pave the way for Obama’s impeachment.
“I would have hoped that once we start removing people from office because of the lies, misrepresentation and treason, if that comes out, or just so detrimental to the country, then we would have a case that could be made involving the president,” he said. “But the will of the American people is just not there, that’s my problem. He has done grave damage and this Iran deal, it’s really a treaty, he’s lied about it up and down, and now we’re finding out Iran is violating the treaty, yet this administration is defending Iran and betraying Israel right and left.” He went on to claim that the administration accused Israel of “war crimes” and “terrorism.”
After telling the caller that he appreciated his “concern because it tells me that you are a red-blooded American” and that “obviously you care about America,” he said that “we’ll keep pushing to see if there’s something to be done.”