The 2014 Equine Posterior Award: Vote For Your Favorite Right-Wing Extremist

It’s time to cast your vote for the winner of People For the American Way’s annual Equine Posterior Achievement Award, which recognizes the worst of the worst in right-wing extremism.

Our 2014 nominees outdid themselves this year in promoting conspiracy theories, inventing persecution myths and pushing bigotry, and now it’s your turn to decide who wins this year’s coveted award.

Ted Cruz: Last year's EPAA winner Ted Cruz didn’t run for office in 2014, but that didn’t stop him from rallying Religious Right voters. The possible 2016 presidential hopeful spent the year supporting anti-government rancher Cliven Bundy and helping to block the nomination of Debo Adegbile.

Cruz was an outspoken opponent of the proposed amendment to overturn Citizens United, claiming it would “repeal the First Amendment” and “muzzle” pastors. Also threatening the free speech of pastors, Cruz contended, are equal rights for LGBT people, to which he is as vehemently opposed as ever.

The Benham Brothers: After reporting on HGTV’s plans for a new home improvement reality show starring notorious anti-gay, anti-choice extremist David Benham and his brother Jason back in May, the Benham brothers have now taken their tale of "persecution!" throughout the Religious Right speaking circuit.

When HGTV dropped the show just hours after our first reporting on their anti-gay activism, including their claims that homosexuality is “destructive” and “demonic, Religious Right leaders from Pat Robertson to Bryan Fischer wasted no time in drumming up a “Christian persecution” narrative and declaring the Benhams modern-day martyrs. The Benhams enthusiastically embraced their new role, repeatedly likening themselves to ISIS beheading victims and making an appearance at the 2014 Values Voter Summit.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: What a year for Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt! Klingenschmitt, whose whole career has been based on a myth about his supposed religious persecution in the military, used his “Pray in Jesus Name” program this year to spread the word that it’s basically child abuse for a kid to be raised by gay parents, and that transgender people are just in need of an exorcism and a spanking. (Of course, this is a man who once tried to perform an exorcism on President Obama.)

But in between spouting anti-gay vitriol and denouncing Obamacare, Klingenschmitt somehow managed to run a campaign for a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives and won! Congratulations to Colorado’s new anti-gay, demon hunting state legislator.

Jody Hice: Jody Hice is a Georgia Republican who won a seat in the U.S. House this year despite saying that women should ask their husbands for permission before entering politics, that homosexuality “enslaves” people, and that Muslims shouldn’t have First Amendment rights. He blamed everything from the Sandy Hook School shooting to the Penn State abuse scandal on the separation of church and state. He’s a big believer in the power of “blood moons” and he thinks our public schools are a lot like Nazi Germany.

And, again, he will soon be a member of Congress.

Texas State Board of Education: This year, we nominate the Texas State Board of Education for an Equine Posterior Achievement Award for their approval of social studies textbooks that were more about the ideological beliefs of the board members than, you know, actual history.

While the approved textbooks were an improvement on the original proposed content, which included blatant denial of climate change and negative stereotypes of Islam as a violent religion, the final editions emphasize the biblical influence in America’s founding, even going so far as to reference Moses as an influence on the Constitution and the Old Testament as the root of democracy.

Glenn Beck: This year Glenn Beck assured his viewers that his many prophetic visions and predictions would finally, definitely come true. It’s hard to imagine where Beck found the time for all his clairvoyance and divine inspiration, what with everything else he accomplished this year including devising plans to fix the VA and destroy ISIS. But 2014 hasn’t been a banner year for Beck. In March, he was sued for defamation after falsely accusing one of the victims injured in the Boston Marathon bombing of being behind the attack. (Unfortunately for Beck, a federal judge recently allowed the lawsuit to move forward.)

Pat Robertson: This year, EPAA staple Pat Robertson kept up the HIV fear-mongering with his assertion that you can get AIDS from a towel -- you may remember last year, when he accused gay people of intentionally spreading HIV by cutting people with special rings.

There was hardly a news story this year that Robertson didn’t weigh in on, from Michael Brown’s death to marijuana legalization, and even Robin Williams’ suicide. He spread the word about the demonic threat posed by Ouija boards and the serious risk of fighting climate change. But it wasn’t all doom and gloom for Pat Robertson his show can cure the neck injuries and asthma of its viewers, after all.

Ben Carson: Right-wing activist and potential presidential candidate Ben Carson kicked off 2014 with a rousing CPAC speech denouncing “extra rights” like marriage equality for gay people. Despite repeatedly speaking out against marriage equality and calling it a Marxist plot, Carson believes that gay rights supporters are trying to inhibit his right to free speech. Carson also shared his many opinions on the situation in Ferguson, Missouri, blaming Michael Brown’s death on his lack of a father figure, and accusing protestors of being part of a “me generation” started by women’s libbers.

Bryan Fischer: Bryan Fischer spent a lot of 2014 being grossed out, horrified, and otherwise offended by openly gay football player Michael Sam. After that, he said that commemorating Harvey Milk is a lot like honoring Jeffrey Dahmer, asked Michelle Obama to start an anti-lesbian campaign, and expressed his preference for sharia law and displeasure with Pope Francis. Perennial EPAA nominee Fischer also chimed in on Ferguson, claiming that Michael Brown was possessed by a homicidal demon.

Kevin Swanson: Religious Right broadcaster Kevin Swanson took to the airwaves in 2014 to warn his audience about the sinister motives of “The Hunger Games” movies, the potential for LGBT nondiscrimination laws to protect murderers and rapists, and the threat of “Antichrist” Presbyterians. But maybe most memorable were Swanson’s ruminations on popular culture, including his speculation that Beyonce may be possessed by a demonic spirit, and his claim that the Disney movie “Frozen” is a Satanic movie that turns kids gay.

Jindal Rally Organizers Remove Controversial Prayer Guide, Still Think Gays Are Responsible For Natural Disasters

Last week, we reported that the anti-gay, Christian nationalist organizers of a supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting next month had reused some materials from a similar rally hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry back in 2011, including a prayer guide blaming LGBT rights and legal abortion for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people and abortion, it turns out, didn’t go over so well in the state that was hardest hit by the 2005 storm, and after reporters in Louisiana started asking the organizers and Jindal’s office about the prayer guide, it was scrubbed from the rally’s website.

But disappearing one document can only do so much to hide the fact that Jindal is partnering with some pretty extreme organizations to put on his "The Response" event. In fact, the offending document was replaced on the event’s website by a letter from organizer Doug Stringer which only slightly more vaguely blames “earthquakes, floods, fires, and an escalation of natural disasters across the country and the world” on “the continued moral failures of our leaders.”

And when the New Orleans Times-Picayune approached Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the event’s main funder the American Family Association, about the controversial prayer guide, he told them that his group stood by the original content. "We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgment on an unrepentant nation,” Fischer told the Times-Picayune, before explaining that it’s “fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Still, the AFA initially issued a prayer guide that has offended many Louisiana residents. It implied legal abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography use contributed to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. Though the prayer guide has been taken down, Fischer reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday. He said Louisiana should be especially concerned about the morality of the country, given its vulnerability to natural disasters.

"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation," Fischer said, "It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Rafael Cruz: Marriage Equality A 'Delusion,' Government Is 'Cramming' Immorality 'Down Our Throats'

While speaking at a “God Calling” event hosted by the Greater Orlando Tea Party back in September, Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and adviser Rafael Cruz warned that “wicked” elected officials in government are bent on “legislating their immorality and cramming it down our throats.”

Cruz said during the question and answer session of the event that advances in marriage equality and abortion rights are the fault of conservative Christians who didn’t get involved in politics. However, Cruz said, Christians who believe in the “social gospel” are wrong to get involved in politics since they don’t espouse right-wing ideas and even back the “delusion” of marriage equality for same-sex couples.

Responding to a question about how pastors should speak about marriage equality, he said that church leaders need to talk about the issue even if their views upset people. In the same way, he said, church leaders should speak out strongly against legal abortion despite “the fear that there is going to be a young lady in the congregation who has had an abortion and she is going to be offended.”

“But you see, the opposite is true, because that young lady who has had an abortion has something eating at her heart continuously and she needs healing for what’s troubling her heart. The best thing you can do is talk about it and offer counseling and restoration and healing and forgiveness,” he said. “We cannot just hide it, we need to address it not only to be able to bring healing to those that are scarred by it but also to prevent others to fall in the same pit.”

Cruz then waded into how churches should take a firm stance against pornography, which he said is at least partly responsible for “the great majority” of sexual assaults.

Pat Robertson Supports Cuba Opening In Principle But Opposes It Because Obama

Televangelist Pat Robertson kicked off “The 700 Club” today with a joke about President Obama’s move to restore diplomatic relations with Cuba, saying, “If our president had been an Indian, he would have sold Manhattan for twenty-four bucks.”

Later in the show, however, Robertson said he actually supports “opening up to Cuba” … in principle. But since President Obama did it, now Robertson is against it and thinks it shows Obama’s “weakness.”

“Now listen, I am for opening up to Cuba, we have been sending aid in there, we’ve had missionaries and stuff going on in Cuba,” he said. “You know, it’s cool, we want to say the Cubans are friends, we want that and we want Cuba to be free.” But he argued that America’s 52-year-old sanctions against Cuba were just about to work in toppling the Cuban government until Obama’s announcement offered Cuban leaders a “bailout.”

He then got a little confused about the state of Latin American politics, calling the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez — whom Robertson once wanted assassinated — the current leader of El Salvador: “They were dependent on money from Nicaragua, excuse me, from the regime of Chavez in El Salvador…But Chavez is out of money and that country is gone and busted.”

Robertson also attacked “King Obama” for hiring aides who “don’t love America” and failing to help political prisoners in Cuba, even though Cuba agreed to release fifty-three political prisoners, along with a U.S. citizen and an American intelligence agent.

Michele Bachmann: 'Any Normal Human Being' Would Support The Tea Party

After bragging about how she manages to outsmart liberals time and time again, Rep. Michele Bachmann told WorldNetDaily in a lengthy interview published today that “any normal human being” would back the Tea Party movement.

“So the Tea Party I think is a very important — and those ideals are a very important movement. People still believe in Second Amendment rights, people still believe in upholding the rights of the unborn, a number of us still continue to contend for traditional marriage between one man and one woman. These are all important value sets and I think that is part of the lamp that I tried to carry is to continue the values that brought us up to be the greatest country in the world in all of human history,” she said. “We have a Judeo-Christian history. We are not a theocracy but we live on principles that are Judeo-Christian principles.”

She said that just like the Pilgrims, the U.S. isn’t building a theocracy, while warning that “we wouldn’t be” America “if we throw out and eschew those values, the morality and the principles of the Judeo-Christian ethic.”

Texas School Board Let Anti-Muslim Group Pressure Publishers To Rewrite Religion Textbooks

Last month, the Texas State Board of Education approved a set of social studies textbooks after some disputes between Christian Right members of the board and scholars who had reviewed the texts. Although experts recruited by the Texas Freedom Network to review the proposed texts managed to convince textbook companies to remove some objectionable material, some claims demanded by conservative members of the board remained, including assertions that Moses was a direct influence on the founding of the U.S.

In an article for Religion Dispatches today, one of TFN’s reviewers, David R. Brockman, who teaches religious studies at Southern Methodist University, writes about his experience as a textbook reviewer and his frustrations with the board’s process for reviewing curricula on world religions. “The curriculum standards and the adoption process in Texas don’t simply lack balanced and accurate coverage of the world’s religions; they work against it,” he writes. “And while textbook publishers generally struggle against this tide, they are sometimes dragged along with it.”

In one example, Brockman writes that the Christian Right bloc on the school board “insisted that the publishers address” a last-minute set of comments submitted by Truth in Texas Textbooks, a group associated with the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America, whose reviewers, with one exception, had no “relevant social studies credentials” and demanded that the textbooks include hostile and sometimes false comments about Islam. Although the textbook companies mostly refused TTT’s requests (many with clear exasperation), a few were successful, including a redefinition of the word “jihad”:

The problem is that, in 2014 at least, the conservative majority on the SBOE quite clearly gave comments from ideologically-driven pressure groups (such as Texas Eagle Forum and Texas Values Action) greater weight than comments from credentialed field specialists (such as myself and my fellow reviewers).

A mere two weeks before the SBOE was to take its final vote on the textbooks, and long after other public groups had filed their comments, Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT), which has allies on the SBOE, presented their reviews—469 pages of material. Two days before the final adoption vote was to take place, Christian Right members of the SBOE made much of the TTT criticisms and insisted that publishers address them.

To judge from its website, the only TTT reviewer with relevant social studies credentials was a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. However, he reviewed only one world history textbook, and quite appropriately restricted his comments to his areas of expertise.

The other reviewers on TTT’s list appear to have no academic credentials in history, geography, economics, or religious studies (though they do include a Ph.D. in “educational leadership,” and a professor of foreign languages). Despite a lack of pertinent credentials, the TTT reviewers weighed in on a wide range of topics, including prehistory, climate change, economics, political science, and U.S. government.

But they directed special vitriol at the alleged “dangers” posed by Islam. One reviewer wrote of Islam’s “threat to the Western world,” while another lumped Muslims together with communists and socialists commenting, bizarrely, that “The greatest fear for a communist, a socialist or a Muslim is Truth.”

Other TTT comments were just plain false: “Islam is spread by the sword while monotheistic religions are not.”

(Try telling that to an Aztec or Inca—not to mention the fact that Islam is a “monotheistic religion.”)

Yet despite TTT’s lack of credentials and the obviously biased and tendentious nature of their critiques, conservative SBOE members insisted that publishers give them the same level of attention they gave comments from credentialed scholars.

Sadly, in some cases, publishers actually changed their text to suit TTT, as when Pearson Learning ( see page 16) removed from its world history text the factually correct statement that jihad “is most frequently used [by Muslims] to describe an inner struggle in God’s service.” In its place Pearson inserted more ambiguous wording: “For some Muslims, [jihad] means a struggle against one’s evil inclinations. For other Muslims, it refers to a struggle or violent holy war to defend or spread Islam.”

While this change may please TTT and other anti-Islam groups, it deprives students of the important fact that the “holy war” interpretation of jihad is held by only a small minority in the Muslim community today.

Michele Bachmann Says She 'Defeated' Progressives By Outsmarting Them

Rep. Michele Bachmann told the far-right outlet WorldNetDaily in an interview published today that while she is leaving Congress, she is most proud of her work opposing Obamacare, the Dodd-Frank financial industry reform, the 2009 stimulus, auto industry bailouts and TARP. Although all of those measures passed, Bachmann offered her wisdom to conservatives on how she is able to defeat liberal policies time and time again.

Bachmann said she uses “evidence-based arguments” against liberals who are only able to “argue from emotionalism, they don’t argue from a logical, linear point of view, and I take them on at their false premises.”

“That’s the best way to defeat them, by the way. Defeat them with evidence and defeat them with their false premises and I did that,” she said, adding that she was able do this despite the “constant criticism” she received.

The Associated Press, whose chief fact checker said his job required a “self-imposed Michele Bachmann quota” because she made so many false claims, and Politifact, which found that Bachmann had by far worst record of any 2012 presidential candidate when it comes to making accurate statements, must have missed Bachmann’s many “evidence-based” arguments.

Patrick Leahy and This Year's Success on Judges

This year's great success on judicial nominations owes a great deal to Sen. Patrick Leahy.

Stewart Rhodes: Bundy Ranch Standoff Nearly Turned Military Against Feds, Started Civil War

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes told a gathering of “constitutional sheriffs” last month — which also featured Rep. Steve Stockman of Texas — that federal officials eventually backed down in the standoff at the Bundy Ranch earlier this because they knew that if they didn't the U.S. military would turn against the federal government, igniting a second civil war.

Noting that a number of military veterans joined the armed anti-government protest at the Nevada ranch, Rhodes said that “the politicians and the would-be dictators in Washington, D.C…have to worry if they go too hard, if they drop the hammer too blatantly on Americans like at Bundy Ranch, that the Marine Corps would flip on them. And I think it would. And same goes for the tip of the spear in the Army, Army Airborne, special forces, your Navy Seals, all of those groups out there, the more hardcore they are as warriors, the more likely they are to look at something like that and say, ‘that’s it, I’m done’ and join the resistance.”

“And so that’s why [federal officials] are careful about what they do,” he added. “It’s not out of charity or concern for your lives that the don’t drop the hammer.”

Citing a Washington Times report that the Obama administration “considered but rejected deploying military force” against the armed groups trying to stop the Bureau of Land Management from collecting decades of grazing fees from Cliven Bundy, Rhodes said, “Thankfully they did not, because if they had, that would have kicked off a civil war in this country. It would have.”

The only way to avoid a civil war, he said, was for sheriffs and other officials like those in the audience to refuse to be "the muscle for idiots like Cuomo or Obama or Holder who don't understand warfare."

"Do not open the door on U.S. soil for sheepdog and sheepdog violence," he warned.

Bill Kristol: CIA Torture Will Have 'No Lasting Effects' Since It Wasn't 'Real Torture'

Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol is urging likely GOP presidential candidates to defend the CIA in the wake of the Senate Intelligence Committee’s torture report, telling Newsmax TV host Steve Malzberg today that Republicans should emulate Dick Cheney’s recent media tour in defense of the agency’s treatment of detainees.

According to Kristol, CIA detainees didn’t experience “real torture” and merely endured “unpleasant” interrogation that “you recover from and seems to have no lasting effects at all.”

Jesse Lee Peterson: Obama Launching A 'Race War,' Keeping Black Americans In 'Bondage'

On the Monday edition of VCY America’s “Crosstalk” radio program, right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson spoke with host Jim Schneider about the “racial agitators” who are supposedly keeping black Americans in “bondage” by protesting the shooting of “thug” Michael Brown, and blamed Brown’s death on the way he was raised by his parents.

Depicting Obama as a great national divider who encourages disunity among racial groups, Peterson questioned why support of the president was still strong within the black community. “According to the polls that I’ve seen, about 86 percent of black people still support Barack Obama, knowing that he supports abortion on demand — if a baby should come out alive, let the baby down on the medical table. They know now that he supports homosexuality, same-sex marriage. They know that he’s a racist and that he hates Christians, he hates the Jews,” he said. “He never tries to unite the races but divide them with lies, rather than unite them with truth.”

Peterson then blamed Brown’s death on the teen and his parents, dismissing the idea that racism was at all a factor. “When Michael Brown decided that he was going to rob a store and attack a police officer, he decided that he was ready to die,” he continued. “That was his decision, and so I blame Michael Brown and I blame his parents who did not raise him right. They did not raise a good citizen, they raised a thug, and they failed him and it is there fault along with Michael Brown. It had nothing to do with race at all.”

After Schneider brought up several black members of Congress who took part in a demonstration protesting police brutality, Peterson accused civil rights advocates of fanning the flames of racial animosity in order to preserve their power: “We are eventually, short of a miracle from God, we are going to have a race war on our hands. And that’s what Obama and others want, so they can come in and just put us in bondage even more so.”

Peterson also attacked the people who attended “thug” Michael Brown’s “disgusting” funeral for having “talked about that guy as though he is Jesus Christ.”

“They sent out a message to the rest of the black children and youngins that you could be a thug and because a white man was involved in it, we’re going to honor you as though you are a hero,” he said. “If that wasn’t evil then I don’t know what is.”

Larry Pratt Accuses Congresswoman He Threatened Of 'Hissy Fit': 'You're Nuts, Lady, Shut Up'

Back in March, Larry Pratt, executive director of Gun Owners of America, gave a radio interview in which he told the story of one of his group’s members threatening a member of Congress, which Pratt thought was just fine because the fear of being shot is “probably a healthy fear” for elected officials to have. A few months later, the exchange made it into a Rolling Stone profile of Pratt and caught the eye of Rep. Carolyn Maloney, who it turns out was the threatened congresswoman in question, and who immediately notified the Capitol Police.

Pratt’s group reacted to this news by calling Rep. Maloney “foolish” and claiming that she just didn’t understand “key historical documents.” And since then, Pratt has repeatedly doubled down on his comments, saying that elected officials should live “in constant trepidation” of citizens turning to the “cartridge box,” arguing that politicians fearing for their lives “ is what the Second Amendment is all about,” and hoping for an increase in politicians “dispatched” while trying to avoid “metal jackets.”

Pratt, in fact, was so delighted by the story of threats to Rep. Maloney that he told it last month to a gathering of the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association in Washington, a group that believes states and counties should ignore federal gun laws.

Rep. Maloney, Pratt said, “went off on a hissy fit” after hearing his comments. The Capitol Police, he added, “came back with a conclusion that there was no articulable threat, which I think was a nice way of saying, ‘You’re nuts, lady, shut up.’”

Tom DeLay: Obama 'Surrendered' To Cuba To Help 'His Socialist Friends'

Tom DeLay, the former House Republican majority leader, appeared on Newsmax TV today to denounce President Obama’s pledge to reestablish ties with Cuba and the his swap of three convicted Cuban agents for imprisoned American contractor Alan Gross, an American intelligence agent, and Cuba’s promise to release of dozens more political prisoners.

“This is surrender,” DeLay said. “This is a president who is a socialist to begin with reaching out to his socialist friends and opening up relationships with one of the most oppressive regimes in the world. The only worse one I can think of right now is North Korea.”

DeLay later insisted that Obama wants to “surrender to them” as a way to punish Cuban Americans for disproportionately voting Republican: “Frankly, I think this could also be payback by Obama to those Cubans who normally support Republicans.”

Ken Blackwell Likens Obama To Convicted Killer Rap Brown

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell compared President Obama to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for killing a sheriff’s deputy, a crime which Al-Amin has maintained he did not commit. Blackwell was speaking with the radio program’s guest host Richard Land, a right-wing pastor who left his Southern Baptist Convention post after making racially insensitive, plagiarized comments on his since-cancelled radio show.

Land told Blackwell that he thought that during 2008 presidential campaign President Obama came across like Martin Luther King, Jr., even though Land was a harsh critic of Obama during that race, labeling him a “first-class arsonist.” “We so wanted Martin Luther King,” Land said, “and I’m afraid we’ve gotten Stokely Carmichael instead.”

“Not even that, we’ve gotten Rap Brown, which is even worse,” Blackwell responded.

Land suggested that King would join their criticisms of Obama: “Can you imagine how Dr. King would react to what’s been going on?”

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, said Obama’s “very existence” proves that America isn’t a racist country, “but he blew it” on racial reconciliation. Land posited that Obama could have been America’s version of Nelson Mandela and ushered in the end of racism.

Right's Favorite Sheriff: Michael Brown 'Chose Thug Life,' Was 'A Co-Conspirator In His Own Demise'

Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke has become something of a folk hero on the Right since he ran radio ads urging county residents to not rely on calling 911 in an emergency and to arm themselves instead and told Alex Jones that he foresees a “second coming of an American Revolution” to fight gun control. The sheriff’s popularity has only increased in the past month as he has taken to Fox News to denounce the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, and around the country and accuse President Obama of encouraging rioting and building a “racial divide” in America.

Clarke, who is African American, continued his commentary on the Ferguson protests in an interview this week on “The Palin Update,” where he declared that Michael Brown, the unarmed black teenager shot by a Ferguson police officer, “was on a path that was leading him to a very dark place” and “couldn’t deal with authority.”

“What we’re talking about in the case of Michael Brown is a lifestyle choice,” Clark added. “He chose thug life. And that’s unfortunate, but that’s what happened. Like I said, he didn’t deserve to die, but he was a co-conspirator in his own demise.”

Jindal Claims Obama Refuses To Stand 'On The Side Of Those Fighting Against Terrorists'

In an interview with Steve Deace yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal praised Sen. Ted Cruz and Sen. Mike Lee’s efforts to force a government shutdown last weekend and criticized the Republicans who were openly exasperated with Cruz and Lee’s gambit, which ultimately backfired.

“This president has done severe damage to our foreign policy, to our military, to our economy, to our freedoms, we need leaders who will stand up to him and understand what’s at stake here,” Jindal said.

He said that Republican leaders are enforcing a “double standard” by criticizing conservatives like Cruz while supposedly letting president Obama get away with “forcing liberal radical judges on our courts” and “using the EPA to go after our economy” while the president — who has steadily increased U.S. national security aid to Israel — “refused stand with Israel against Hamas” and “unequivocally say ‘We’re on the side of those fighting against terrorists.’”

“Nobody was there when they were forcing liberal radical judges on our courts, nobody was there when they were using the EPA to go after our economy, nobody said that when this president refused to stand with Israel against Hamas, when he refused to unequivocally say ‘We’re on the side of those fighting against terrorists,’ nobody was out there wringing their hands, I don’t get this double standard,” he said.

“We need Republicans who understand they’re not trying to please the New York Times editorial page, they’re not trying to please the Washington Post editorial page, and if they’re making them happy they’re probably doing something wrong,” he concluded.

End Times Preacher's Chanukah Message: Gay Rights & Harry Potter Lead To Fascism

Messianic End Times rabbi Jonathan Cahn, a favorite doomsday preacher among right-wing activists, told WorldNetDaily in an interview today that Chanukah is a time for Americans to reflect on the purported dangers of books like Harry Potter, as well as gay rights laws, which he warned will outlaw the Bible.

According to Cahn, the struggle of the Maccabees is seen today in American society among those who oppose secular government, LGBT equality, the so-called War on Christmas and the country’s transformation into “a post-Christian society” that will ultimately “produce a Hitler or a Stalin, and the antichrist.”

Cahn urged WND readers to become modern-day Maccabees who will fight gay rights and Harry Potter even “if it costs us our life.”

“We are living in such times,” Cahn said. “Believers, if you are a true believer, you’re going to be a thorn in the side of the world. We are already witnessing it. There is a spirit of antichrist in the world.”

Suddenly Christmas becomes taboo. It gets changed to a winter recess. Manger scenes spark lawsuits by atheists, and courts rule in favor of the atheists.

“Did anyone think years ago a manger scene would be controversial?” Cahn asks. “And things that were considered abominations are no longer controversial.”

“So there’s a war going on against anything that’s linked to God, particularly Messiah. There’s a spirit of antichrist that wars against anything, any tradition of the natural order,” Cahn said. “Amazing really.”

“What has been recognized for thousands of years, as long as man’s recorded history, all of a sudden in the last few years man is changing it,” he continued. “Like marriage, like male and female, of course. This is the spirit of antichrist.”

He sees America as morphing into a replica of Europe, which is a post-Christian society. “What happened in Europe is happening here, that a nation that existed only because of God is now changing and trying to eradicate God,” Cahn said.

“A pre-Christian society will produce someone like an Alexander the Great or a Caesar,” Cahn said. “A post-Christian society will produce a Hitler or a Stalin, and the antichrist.”

The spirit of antichrist seeks to remove God from every corner of the culture. The Bible and prayer were removed from schools in 1960s. The Ten Commandments were later removed from courthouses, a process that continues. “Hate laws” have been passed in many cities making it a crime to say anything that paints homosexuality in a negative light.

“What that means is that the Bible then becomes a criminal offense,” Cahn said. “They’re not daring to enforce the implications of these laws but it’s there, it’s just the beginning, but they will.”

More recent Hollywood productions targeting young people are likely to feature blatantly unbiblical themes.

“What is the biggest thing in youth movies? It’s ‘Harry Potter.’ There are many youth who have gone into the occult because of ‘Harry Potter,’” Cahn said. “But the other thing about it, there is no God there. It’s a godless universe filled with witchcraft and man nullifying God.”

This is the kind of cultural rot that the Maccabees resisted.

So Hanukkah unlocks a mystery here because it gives the end time picture of a spirit behind the age, links it to Zeus, which is the same god or spirit behind the origin of Europe, the same god that was behind the war against Israel in Hanukkah, the war against the saints in Revelation, the same god that desecrated the temple – Zeus.

“Of course it’s not Zeus, he doesn’t exist,” Cahn said. “It’s a deeper spirit of another god the bible says the god of this world, who appears in many forms, whose name is Satan.” It’s this same satanic spirit that will war against the saints in the end times.

The culture of the Greeks at the time of the Maccabees was a culture filled with sexual perversity, Cahn said.

This crept into Israel. The culture of the end times will be no different, with the same sins creeping into the church.

The Maccabees fought with that same spirit.

“They said, ‘You know what, we don’t care about protecting ourselves anymore. We care about God’s way, and we’re going to live or die nobly. We’re going to go for it no matter what happens. We’re not going to compromise,’” Cahn said. “If it costs us our life, fine. We’re going to be free now. No fear! That’s the way you have to live.

Pat Robertson: Gays 'Will Die Out Because They Don't Reproduce'

On “The 700 Club” today, Pat Robertson took a question from a viewer who said she attends a church whose members aren’t allowed to date, leaving many church members “frustrated because we’re getting older and no one is getting married.”

Robertson found this to be absolutely ridiculous because a church with a no-dating policy will eventually “die out”… just like gay people.

“You know, those who are homosexual will die out because they don’t reproduce,” he said. “You know, you have to have heterosexual sex to reproduce. Same thing with that church, it’s doomed, it’s going to die out because it’s the most nonsensical thing I’ve heard in a long time.”

Pat Robertson: Hillary Clinton Suffered Secret 'Minor Strokes,' Would Lose To Bush-Kasich 'Dream Ticket'

On “The 700 Club” today, Pat Robertson discussed former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s announcement that he is exploring a presidential run, speculating that a “dream ticket” of Bush and Ohio Gov. John Kasich would defeat Hillary Clinton “in a walk” because he’d read something about Clinton having health problems including “little minor strokes.”

Robertson brought up Clinton’s admission that she hasn’t driven a car since 1996, when she was first lady. Although this isn’t surprising for someone who’s been under Secret Service protection for decades, Robertson speculated that it was because of an “ischemic things where she’s had little minor strokes.”

“I was reading that the reason she doesn’t drive, she hasn’t driven in maybe a decade or so, that she has some kind of ischemic things where she’s had little minor strokes, I don’t know if they’ve released the medical thing on her, but I think Hillary’s yesterday’s news,” Robertson said, perhaps a reference to Dr. Karl Rove’s diagnosis of the former secretary of state.

“Sometimes time goes by and you miss your chance, and coming back a second time, it may not play,” he said.

Robertson, who said in 2008 that God had told him who would win the presidential election, but refused to say at the time who it was, said today that he "thought for sure” that Clinton “was going to be the next president.” In what is perhaps bad news for Bush and Kasich, this was not the first time that God has provided Robertson with the wrong election prediction: He also told Robertson that Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama in 2012.

Religious Right Cheers On Vladimir Putin As Anti-LGBT Violence In Russia Surges

While most of the news on Russia this week has been focused on the country’s ongoing financial collapse, it is important to highlight a report released by Human Rights Watch on Monday documenting the rise of anti-LGBT violence in Russia along with the ways the government, which recently passed new laws curbing LGBT rights, has ensured virtual impunity for the perpetrators of such attacks. Following the report’s release, Russia added a LGBT legal aid group to a list of NGOs that must register as “foreign agents.”

The uptick in violence against LGBT Russians certainly won't discourage Religious Right activists from supporting Putin, many of whom also seem more than willing to ignore his deadly incursion into Ukraine , support for laws curbing the freedoms of Russian evangelical Christians and other human rights abuses.

Nothing, it seems, can dissuade many of Putin’s American supporters, several of whom recently attended an anti-LGBT conference at the Kremlin, from believing that the U.S. should adopt anti-gay laws modeled on Russia’s, such as a ban on gay “propaganda” and adoption by same-sex parents.

In fact, many Religious Right activists in the U.S. believe that Putin is on a mission from God to save Russia, and the world, from the LGBT community.

Crush on Putin

It is no secret that many conservatives have fallen under Putin’s spell.

Matt Drudge has called Putin the “leader of the free world.” Sarah Palin has fawned over the Russian leader’s wrestling abilities. Franklin Graham has hailed Putin for “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda” and having “taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.” Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families, the group that helped organize the Kremlin meeting, praised Putin last year for “preventing [gay people] from corrupting children.”

Religious Right leader and Iowa GOP kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats has upheld Putin as a world leader in morality. Josh Craddock, who represents Personhood USA at the United Nations, came back from the Kremlin conference cheering on Russia as a “light to the world.” Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver expressed offense last year that Obama would dare criticize Putin.One Fox News host wished that Putin could be president of the United States, even for just 48 hours.

Any violence against Russian gays, one Religious Right group explained, is probably “provoked by homosexual activists.” Massachusetts-based pastor Scott Lively, who has taken credit for inspiring Russia’s “propaganda” law, dismissed anti-LGBT violence in Russia as a “hoax” and told right-wing radio show host Linda Harvey that if violent anti-gay incidents occur, other gay people were likely the perpetrators.

God Will Favor Russia Instead Of America, Thanks Obama

Anti-gay activists think that God has decided to bless Russia, thanks to Putin’s leadership, while punishing the U.S. for passing rebellious gay rights laws. Pat Buchanan clearly articulated this mindset in a column in April titled “Is God Now On Russia’s Side?,” in which he likened the U.S. and Western Europe to Sodom and Gomorrah and cheerfully proclaimed that “Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.”

In a February column, Don Feder of the World Congress of Families gushed that Putin had become the new Ronald Reagan: “As my friend and Russian pro-family leader Alexey Komov likes to say: 'Under Reagan, America helped to save us from communism. We'd like to return the favor.'”

Lively made the case last year that Putin is “the only world leader capable of standing up to the West” and could “inspire all the morally conservative countries of the world to adopt a similar law that he just adopted.” In the same interview, Lively called Obama the Antichrist.

“The country that’s acting like it’s part of the kingdom of the Antichrist is the United States of America, and Russia is standing against homosexual marriage, they’re standing for traditional family values,” Religious Right radio host Rick Wiles said in September. “The United States is exporting its wickedness, we’re using our power and might to force nations to change their laws to accept abortion, to accept homosexual marriage and homosexual rights, so which country is part of the Antichrist system and which is not?”

Wiles even predicted that the U.S. would soon go to war against Russia “with an atheistic, Jesus-hating, pro-homosexual, pro-lesbian, pro-transgender military and we're going to go up against another military carrying a Christian cross.”

Bring Anti-Gay Laws To The U.S.

Anti-gay activist Matt Barber said earlier this year that it was “encouraging” to see more anti-gay measures coming out of Russia, adding that he would like to see laws that “stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.”

Peter LaBarbera called Russia’s “propaganda” law an “acceptable” and necessary way to stop companies like Disney from “promoting lesbianism to kids,” while American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios said the speech-inhibiting law was just “common sense.”

One of Putin’s most vocal cheerleaders, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, has called him a “lion of Christianity” and repeatedly demanded that the U.S. enact similar bans on gay “propaganda.”

Since the U.S. hasn’t embrace such an anti-gay crackdown, Religious Right activist William Murray writes, Americans are now “fleeing” to Russia in order to avoid LGBT equality at home.

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