Last night, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to proceed on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, despite strong opposition from the Religious Right. But as the legislation moves to the House, the fight is far from over. The Family Research Council has joined Religious Right activists and organizations including Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer, Concerned Women For America, the Southern Baptist Convention, in opposing the reauthorization because it includes new provisions protecting LGBT people, immigrants and Native Americans. In an email alert last night, the FRC denied the positive impact of VAWA, which has contributed to a dramatic decrease in intimate partner violence, and said that the “real abuse” is VAWA’s cost to taxpayers.
Last year, when it first came up for reauthorization, Democrats intentionally loaded the bill with provisions the GOP cannot support--like millions more in spending and special rights based on certain sexual behavior. Their goal was to make the legislation so objectionable that Republicans would be forced to oppose it and fuel the lie that the GOP is anti-woman. Sen. Pat Leahy's (D-Vt.) version, which leaders will vote on this week, is a five-year extension of the Act. Among the bill's most egregious parts is a provision that would ban funds to grantees who may have religious objections to homosexuality--even if no documented case of refused services has been found. It also includes special assistance for homosexual victims.
Although Sen. Leahy promises to have a 60-vote block of support, FRC has warned the Senate that we will be scoring the vote. You can help by contacting your Senators and urging them to vote against VAWA and end the real abuse of taxpayer dollars.
Back in 2010, when a federal district court in California heard the first legal challenge to the anti-gay Proposition 8, the judge asked the attorney defending Prop 8 how marriage equality would hurt the ability of straight couples to bear and raise children. The attorney sputtered and answered, “I don’t know.” A key witness for Prop 8’s supporters had the same answer, and later changed his mind to support marriage equality.
Four years later, the case is coming before the Supreme Court, and marriage equality opponents are still struggling to answer that question. In an amicus brief [pdf] filed with the court last week, the anti-gay Liberty Counsel took a shot at it. If marriage equality is achieved, Liberty Counsel argues, “Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.”
Not only does Proposition 8 further the state’s interest in steering childrearing into the husband-wife marriage model, but it furthers the important interest in providing male and female role models in the family. Male gender identity and female gender identity are each uniquely important to a child’s development. As a result, one very significant justification for defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is because children need a mother and a father. We live in a world demarcated by two genders, male and female. There is no third or intermediate category. Sex is binary. By striking down Proposition 8, this Court will be making a powerful statement: our government no longer believes children deserve mothers and fathers. In effect, it would be saying: “Two fathers or two mothers are not only just as good as a mother and a father, they are just the same.”
The government promotion of this idea will likely have some effect even on people who are currently married, who have been raised in a particular culture of marriage. But this new idea of marriage, sanctioned by law and government, will certainly have a dramatic effect as the next generation’s attitudes toward marriage, childbearing, and the importance of mothers and fathers are formed. By destroying the traditional definition of marriage, the family structure will be dramatically transformed. Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.
The repercussions of this are incalculable and will reshape the culture in which we live. Many children learn appropriate gender roles by having interaction with both their mother and their father and by seeing their mother and their father interact together with one another. By redefining marriage to state that this is not a family structure that the state wants to foster and encourage, this Court will be overturning centuries of historical understandings of family and the home.
To give you an idea of the kind of parenting that Liberty Counsel supports, its lawyers Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, who are named on its brief, are also representing a woman accused of kidnapping her daughter rather than let her have contact with her other mother (the woman’s former same-sex partner).
Earlier this week, we looked at the slightly conflicted amicus briefs that the Family Research Council submitted to the Supreme Court ahead of its consideration of two major marriage equality cases. Today, Warren Throckmorton alerts us that the “ex-gay” group Parents and Friends of Gays and Ex-Gays (PFOX) has submitted its own brief to the Court.
The PFOX amicus brief [pdf], unsurprisingly, argues that gays and lesbians should not be a “protected class” under the law because homosexuality “is not an immutable characteristic.” As evidence, it presents the stories of four self-proclaimed “ex-gays” whose lives purportedly show that “sexual orientation can shift over time and does so for a significant number of people.”
One of the stories the brief presents is that of “Richard Cohen, M.A…an ex-gay who is now married with 3 children. He struggled for much of his life with unwanted same-sex attraction. Richard is the founder of the International Healing Foundation (IHF) and the author of Coming Out Straight, Gay Children Straight Parents, Let’s Talk About Sex, and Alfie’s Home.”
As it happens, Cohen is one of the most prominent purveyors of reparative therapy, the harmful process of trying to “cure” homosexuality that was recently banned for minors in California. And his book Alfie’s Home, cited in PFOX’s Supreme Court brief, is the most horrifically disturbing children’s book we have ever seen. We know, because we are unlucky enough to have a copy in our research library. Here is some of what the Justices have in store if they check out Cohen’s work:
Alfie’s Home was published in 1993 by Cohen’s International Healing Foundation. It starts out with a picture of the protagonist on a boat with his dad.
But it goes bad fast, going right for the right-wing myth that homosexuality is caused by childhood sexual abuse…
…and by insufficiently attentive parents:
Eventually, Alfie seeks help and takes part in the “touch therapy” advocated by Cohen…
…which leads him to “realize that I’m not gay” and start dating a woman:
You can see Cohen’s “touch therapy” in practice in this 2006 CNN interview:
Well, here’s some medical research we hadn’t heard about. Generations Radio host Kevin Swanson, who last week delved memorably into feminist theory, tells us this week that “certain doctors and certain scientists” have researched the wombs of women on the pill and found “there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb…Those wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”
Swanson: I’m beginning to get some evidence from certain doctors and certain scientists that have done research on women’s wombs after they’ve gone through the surgery, and they’ve compared the wombs of women who were on the birth control pill to those who were not on the birth control pill. And they have found that with women who are on the birth control pill, there are these little tiny fetuses, these little babies, that are embedded into the womb. They’re just like dead babies. They’re on the inside of the womb. And these wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.
Peeples: We’ve actually heard on both sides of that. We’re researching that and want to make sure we speak correctly to that in our second film. But we have medical advice on both sides of the table there, so we want to make sure that we communicate that properly.
Swanson: It would seem, and I realize that people are a little split on what are all the effects of the birth control pill, but it would seem that there’s a tremendous risk in the use of it for the life of children.
Earlier in the interview, Peeples and Swanson discuss how birth control came to be widely used and accepted by many churches. Women, Peeples laments, “desire the men’s role” and are now missing out on “the role God put them in that he laid out in Genesis.” Before World War II, Peeples claims, “abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together” until “Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically.”
Peeples: It starts with men and women fighting and not being happy with the role that God put them in that he laid out in Genesis. So whenever you seek to desire, when women seek to desire the men’s role, they lose the part and the idea of what children does, not just for the kingdom and not just does with their family, but does for their gender role.
Swanson: Are you saying that the population control stuff, egalitarian feminism, birth control, abortion, they’re all sort of interrelated?
Peeples: Yeah, it wasn’t until after World War II that they begin to separate them. Abortion, sterilization, eugenics and birth control were all tied together, they were all kind of a package for eugenics and population control. Hitler took the fall for taking it very aggressively and dramatically, and so they said, ‘Hey, let’s kind of take this back, let’s get rid of the negative things and let’s play on Christian liberty, let’s play on freedom, let’s play on people kind of taking this upon themselves to control population rather than forcing it on them. So, again, it’s just another effect of not researching our history to know what happened in the world alongside of the Church.
The Religious Right is mobilizing against Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Defense Secretary, and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) is saying exactly what they want to hear. In an interview with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council yesterday, Rubio suggested that if Hagel is successfully confirmed then countries like Iran and Syria may consider going to war against Israel, which will “end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region.”
Rubio: Israel’s enemies look for daylight of any kind in order to move forward on actions. Just today we are reminded of that, there was a joint statement by Iran and Syria threatening to attack Israel and you know probably the only thing that keeps them from doing that other than the Israelis’ abilities to defend themselves is their relationship with us. I think in a very dangerous world if we have a Secretary of Defense who says things that are counterproductive to that relationship, it might actually lead to some terrible miscalculation which may actually end up pulling us into an armed conflict in that region and we would like to avoid that at all possible—so I just don’t think he is the right person for this job.
Perkins: I couldn’t agree more.
Televangelist John Hagee, who leads Christians United For Israel, also appeared on Perkins’ show and called Hagel a “danger to America’s security” and a “very dangerous threat to Israel’s survival” who will give Iran the “green light” to attain nuclear weapons and “attack Israel.”
Chuck Hagel is a danger to America’s security; he is a very dangerous threat to Israel’s survival. The reason why Iran wants him to be the Secretary of Defense is because in 2001, 2004 and 2007 he opposed any kind of sanctions against Iran. Hagel has been the Senator in the U.S. Senate that stood with Iran on every occasion and Iran feels like if they can get him in office they have a green light to becoming nuclear, a green light to attacking Israel, a green light to accomplish everything that they’ve ever wanted to against America and Israel. They are for him, that should make every American wake up that the nomination of Chuck Hagel as Secretary of Defense is dangerous to our national security.
Earlier this month, Erick Stakelbeck of the Christian Broadcasting Network told Fred Grandy on Secure Freedom Radio that Hagel is an “anti-Semite.”
Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber on Faith & Freedom called Hagel an “Islamist sympathizer” who is “sympathetic” to those “who seek to destroy America and Israel.”
Gary Bauer of the Campaign for Working Families said he is working with Republicans and leaders like Hagee to block Hagel, whom he claimed will “embolden our enemies and invite acts of aggression and terrorism.”
The Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a hearing this Thursday to consider Barack Obama's ill-conceived and dangerous nomination of former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense.
Last night I was honored to attend a great gathering of pro-Israel Christians in Washington, D.C. With just a week's notice, Christians United for Israel Action Fund brought 500 people from 46 states to our nation's capital to stand for a strong national defense and a solid U.S./Israeli alliance, and against the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be the next Secretary of Defense.
Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Pastor John Hagee delivered passionate speeches outlining why Hagel would be a disaster for our national security and for the balance of power in the Middle East. I reminded the audience about Hagel's incredibly bad voting record, but also pointed out his repeated use of rhetoric most often associated with anti-Semites.
Today, the members of Christians United for Israel Action Fund, fired up from our time together last night, visited over 65 Senate offices, making the case against Hagel in person on Capitol Hill. I accompanied Pastor Hagee to a meeting with Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), an outstanding conservative champion and the ranking Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee.
As Iran continues its reckless pursuit of nuclear weapons and its meddling in the Middle East, the nomination of Chuck Hagel sends the worst possible signal of weakness and ambivalence to our enemies as well as our allies.
In fact, I fear that Hagel's nomination will embolden our enemies and invite acts of aggression and terrorism. Add to this Obama's recent arms transfer of F-16s and M1 tanks to Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood-controlled government and you have a prescription for disaster.
This piece is the first in a series of guest blog posts on “Why It’s Time to Dump DOMA.” In the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court arguments on the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act, we’re asking friends of PFAW to share why dumping DOMA matters to them. Be sure to check back soon for the latest post in the series.
Jon Stewart once said he was fine with gay people getting married, and even fine with them having children, but…“two Jewish mothers?”
I am the twin sister of a brilliant, if sometimes hard to understand, Princeton computer science and philosophy major. I am a product of the New York City public school system and a junior at Oberlin, a small liberal arts college in Ohio. I am a twenty-year-old woman and I am the daughter of two strong and courageous Jewish women.
Since the Supreme Court announced it would take the case of 83-year-old Edith Windsor, a case challenging the federal Defense of Marriage Act, many wonder if marriage equality is in the near future. Edie Windsor, a widow after 40 years with her partner Thea Spyer, was saddled with a federal estate tax bill of $363,000 when her partner Thea passed away. This story is deeply moving and familiar in the concerns it raises. My family also deals with what we call the “gay” tax. We pay thousands of extra dollars each year so one of my moms can be covered by the other’s health insurance plan. If they were married, it would be free. Both of my moms had to buy extra life insurance, because if one died we wouldn’t be able to afford the "gay" federal estate tax imposed on us from the ownership transfer of our apartment. If my parents were married, it would be inherited with no taxes at all.
People ask me all the time what it was like growing up with two moms and I always answer the same way. Instantly defensive, as the self-proclaimed spokesperson for what my moms call the “first generation of gaybies,” I say that growing up with two moms is not different at all. I was lucky, I reply, to have two loving parents at all, and their parenting – not their gender – is what has made the most difference in my upbringing.
And I mean it.
But the truth is, it’s also different – the differences are just harder to talk about. Having two moms has meant that people have questioned my sexuality and my brother’s sexuality. It has meant that people have questioned the way I was raised. It has meant that people feel justified in openly discussing and sharing their opinions about my personal life. It has meant having to consciously decide in every new group whether to cautiously mention ‘my moms’ or to safely and cowardly stick with ‘my parents.’ It has meant hiding part of my identity.
When Mitt Romney said that he “didn’t know they had families,” referring to same-sex couples, I was shocked and then horrified. How could a man running for president not know families like mine exist? How could he erase families like mine from his view of America?
We need to dump DOMA now to let the whole of the United States know that such discrimination and misinformation is harmful to LGBT families. Legal advocates sometimes point to unfair taxation to explain why DOMA is unconstitutional, but the problem goes beyond monetary inequality. DOMA has to go, not just because of my family or because of extra taxes, but because of the bigger message it sends. DOMA has to go because it teaches that our country can devalue some people while taxing them more. It teaches that gay families do not matter.
Sam Paltrow, Oberlin College
Member of affiliate People For the American Way Foundation’s Young People For Program
We’ve heard a lot of the Religious Right complaining about “special rights” for gays, but Bill Donohue of the Catholic League is taking that charge to a whole new level. Donohue reacted to a story about a woman, Stephanie Fryns, who rescued a dog from a kill shelter after a Facebook posting reported that the dog had been abandoned “because his owner says he’s gay.” According to ABC, Fryns said “she saw Elton on an adoption website and had made plans to rescue him even before his story went viral.”
The posting came from a Facebook group “which tries to find homes for dogs in kill-shelters,” but Donohue said that the shelter was behind the posting and suggested it had an unfair bias in favor of gay dogs.
Donohue claimed that “the shelter is not exactly inclusive in its policies” and maintained that the story is proof that “being gay is not only a bonus for humans these days” but also “a definite plus for dogs as well.” “As for straights, the lonely and the disabled, that’s another story altogether,” he said.
In the state of Washington, a debate is currently raging over whether to expand the list of conditions legalizing euthanasia to include those who are not terminally ill, as well as those who are mentally disabled.
By contrast, this week in Tennessee a dog was rescued from being euthanized (one news outlet said he was being spared “the Gas Chamber”) because the condition driving the dog’s death was his alleged homosexuality (the owner was ticked when he saw his Fido hunch another male dog). For reasons that appear entirely reasonable, the gal who rescued the dog named him Elton.
The place where Elton was dropped, Euthanasia Jackson TN, encourages dog adoption, but it also promotes dog euthanasia. Not, however, in Elton’s case: the shelter has no stomach for putting dogs down on the basis of sexual orientation. It must be said, though, that the shelter is not exactly inclusive in its policies. To wit: Had poor Elton not been identified as a homosexual, his heterosexuality would not have been enough to save his hide.
The moral of the story is: Being gay is not only a bonus for humans these days, it is a definite plus for dogs as well. As for straights, the lonely and the disabled, that’s another story altogether.
The anti-immigrant Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is none too happy with this week’s bipartisan Senate immigration reform proposal, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, FAIR communications director Bob Dane singled out Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida, one of the GOP’s strongest voices in favor of reform. Dane said that Rubio is like Pac-Man, who “ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared [until] he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left.”
Echoing right-wing immigration reform opponents like Jim DeMint, Steve King and Bryan Fischer, Dane argued that supporting immigration reform would ultimately lead to the GOP’s “self-destruction” because undocumented immigrants are “heavily government-dependent” and are “all going to vote Democrat.”
Rios: Are you disappointed that Marco Rubio has come down the way he’s come down on this issue?
Dane: Look, Rubio is a good guy. It reminds me of the old Pac-Man video game. When Pac-Man ran along the edge of the screen on the right side and then disappeared, he sort of suddenly reappeared on the left, back onto the playing field. The Republicans are pushing amnesty. Rubio is either going to be the hero or the goat on this, this could go either way, this is a very high-wire act for him.
It’s a knee-jerk reaction by Republicans to Romney’s poor showing with Hispanics in the recent election. But they’ve got to be very careful. Frankly, our opinion is the Republicans, the GOP is setting the stage for a self-destruction. Here’s why. An amnesty bill is going to split that party. The Republicans aren’t going to get any credit. And finally, what sense does it make to grant an amnesty to 12 million heavily government-dependent illegal aliens when they’re all going to vote Democrat?
The White House announced two new federal appeals court nominees today, Jane Kelly of Iowa to serve on the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and Gregory Alan Phillips of Wyoming to serve on the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.
Kelly’s nomination is notable for a number of reasons. If confirmed, she will become only the second woman ever to serve on the Eight Circuit Court of Appeals, which oversees seven Midwestern states, and the first from Iowa. She would also help to bring a greater diversity of professional backgrounds to the federal bench, coming to the position after a career as a highly-regarded federal public defender.
Kelly’s nomination underscores the Obama administration’s remarkable success in bringing a diversity of voices to the federal bench. A record 41 percent of President Obama’s confirmed nominees have been women and 36 percent have been people of color. In addition, Obama has nominated more openly gay federal judges than all previous presidents combined. Despite the Senate GOP’s routine stalling of the president’s nominees, he has succeeded in bringing unprecedented gender and racial diversity to the federal bench.
Both Kelly and Phillips have been nominated to vacancies that have not yet opened up (Kelly’s vacancy opens tomorrow and Phillips’ in April). If the Senate confirms them quickly it will avoid adding two more vacancies to an already over-burdened federal court system. Promptly filling the 10th Circuit vacancy is especially critical since the 12-judge Tenth Circuit is on track to have vacancies in one third of its seats. A nominee for one of the three current vacancies on the circuit, Robert Bacharach of Oklahoma, has been waiting over seven months for a Senate vote, despite strong support from his two home-state Republican senators.
For decades, the Right has attempted to discredit Hillary Clinton with attacks ranging from the disturbing (killing people) to the bizarre (killing cats). But after serving four years as Secretary of State, Clinton is leaving office with sky-high approval ratings. Before she steps down on Friday, we decided to look back on some of the most extreme and befuddling accusations she has faced from the far-right during her term as the nation’s top diplomat.
Anti-Clinton conspiracy theorists claim that her supposed Muslim Brotherhood sympathies have turned her into a covert advocate of Sharia law. Bachmann said that Clinton was working “to take away the free speech rights of the American people” and “our right of free speech and expression, religious practice, freedom of assembly, freedom of the printing press” in order to “empower the Islamists.”
Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy claimed that Clinton had accepted “submission to the stealthy Islamist effort to enforce in this country the supremacist doctrine known as shariah” and the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin said the administration had shown “support for the infiltration of the Muslim Brotherhood into our government.” Rick Joyner, the televangelist who has worked closely with Gaffney and Boykin, was left wondering why Clinton was “advocating” Sharia:
4. LGBT Rights Advocacy Will Destroy America
While the Right’s Benghazi, Muslim Brotherhood and Sharia law claims didn’t hold water, they at least got one thing right: Clinton acted as a champion for LGBT equality while leading the State Department. The Religious Right fumed at her work on behalf of gay rights and exploded inanger following a speech in Geneva in which she defended the rights of LGBT people and called for the decriminalization of LGBT status.
Liberty University’s Mat Staver warned that Clinton was backing a “radical sexual anarchist agenda” while Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention said that Clinton’s support of “sexual paganization” would bring about God’s judgment on America. Pat Robertson reacted to Clinton’s speech by warning that God may destroy the U.S.
At the Values Voters Summit, phony “ex-terrorist” Kamal Saleem even warned that Clinton was planning to “shut down” churches and synagogues this month. Since Clinton serves just one more day at the job, she better speed up with her diabolical plans!
Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio has a dark view of what will come if Colorado passes a bill allowing civil unions for same-sex couples. As soon as 2022, Swanson warns, the government will snatch kids from homeschooling families and deliver them to members of the North American Man/Boy Love Association, a tiny fringe group that looms large in the nightmares of the anti-gay movement. He cites the discredited Regnerus study, which drew conclusions about LGBT parenting without actually studying LGBT parents.
Swanson: You need to understand the agenda here. What’s happening is they want homosexuals to be able to be involved in adoption and foster care as much anybody else. So picture a nice little homeschool family, just trying to do the right thing. An anonymous tip comes in, social services swoops in, they grab the kids in the year 2022 and the kids get remanded into a home with homosexuals and these particular homosexuals happen to be tied into NAMBLA and other things. You know what’s going to happen. There will be proper indoctrination into a certain kind of worldview, shall we say.
Buehner: One that the Bible calls for capital punishment. That kind of worldview. It’ll be a tragedy in that house.
Swanson: Yeah. It’s a tragedy. It’s a tragedy. And I think there are a lot of concerned parents. There are concerned Catholic parents. There are concerned homeschool parents. And especially when you get a Regnerus study that comes out and says they’re ten times more likely to be touched sexually by a parent in a homosexual home than, you know, the normal American secular home. Wow. That’s frightening.
But it won’t end there. Swanson walks us through his version of gay history, from “weird” and “decadent” marriages during the reign of Nero to the early 20th century when there were only “three homosexuals in the world” to the present day when “we have a problem that’s probably about 10,000 times if not 100,000 times worse than it was 100 years ago.” We’re coming full circle, Swanson argues, and soon gay-friendly churches “will do their best to burn Christians at the stake or do what Nero did… because that’s sort of the history of homosexuals.”
Ladies and gentlemen, this is not the first time society’s had to deal with this kind of issue, but man, it is out of the closet, it is probably more significant, it is probably more widespread than it has ever been in the history of the world. Just remember about 100 years ago, you had three homosexuals in the world as far as anybody really knew. There was a Canadian named Robert Ross, an Englishman named Oscar Wilde, an American named Walt Whitman. They led the charge in the early 1900’s and wound up in and out of the prison system and in court and so forth for a period of time. And again, there was only about three that anybody knew of and it was hardly anything that was mentioned among the established world at that time, that is in Europe, Canada and America. But you did have those three men, as far as history bears out, Robert Ross, Oscar Wilde and Walt Whitman were well-known for some level of homosexual activity, although they could not call themselves homosexuals at that time.
Well now, of course, it’s the most out of the closet and the encouragement to the homosexual lifestyle is everywhere and we have a problem that’s probably about 10,000 times if not 100,000 times worse than it was 100 years ago. I don’t know how far this one’s gonna go my friends. I’m not sure the world has ever gone to homosexual marriage. I think Nero tried it, it was very, very odd, very weird, very, very decadent for the Roman Empire. It’s about the worst the Roman Empire ever, ever got, under Nero. And of course the persecutions that came with Nero were intense for the Church of Christ in Rome at that time. Today, it might be a little different because you have a lot of quote-unquote apostate Christian churches that have adopted homosexuality and they will do their best to burn Christians at the stake or do what Nero did, I’m sure, in the years to come, because that’s sort of the history of homosexuals and what they have done ever since they were banging on the doors outside of Lot’s house.
DeMint was unhappy with President Obama’s immigration proposal and the bipartisan framework presented this week in the Senate, both of which include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. Democrats, he claimed, “are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration.”
Unfortunately, and I’ve worked with the folks who are advocating for this for a number of years and it appears the Democrats are much more interested in new voters and union members than they are in fixing the system and honoring our heritage of immigration. I don’t think we can help our naturalized American citizens by tearing down those things that create the opportunity in our country, and border sovereignty, rule of law, those things create the freedom and opportunity that immigrants come here for. And if we change the things that make us successful then we hurt the very people that we’re saying we want to help. So this is an irrational approach in my mind. I know there’s some people involved with this who want to do the right thing and solve the problem. But I’m afraid the people driving this, like the president, are just more interested in the citizenship track than they really are fixing our system.
DeMint, the architect of the 2010 Tea Party takeover, also denied that the GOP needs to moderate its positions to appeal to more voters after its drubbing among women, young people, African-Americans, Latinos and Asian-Americans in 2012. “We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies,” DeMint said. “And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies.”
We have ideas that we want people to embrace because those ideas make our country better and lives better for Americans. So it’s easier for Obama, who just finds out what people want to hear and he tells them that. He doesn’t have to deliver any particular policy or laws. We do. But we have success stories all over. We have fantastic job creation where energy is being developed in states. We have job creation where you have freedom in the workplace not to join a union, that’s why Boeing is in South Carolina. We’re just not telling our story well and we’re not doing a good job of showing the victims of progressive liberal policies. And there are a lot of them around the country and minorities are the biggest victims of these policies. I’d say Republicans have done a miserable job of communicating. And that’s why I left the Senate. We need to take our message directly to the American people and make those ideas so winsome that candidates have to embrace them.
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly is upset that the Boy Scouts of America may ditch its nationwide ban on gay membership and he is using Elie Wiesel, the Holocaust survivor and author, to make his case. Daly cites Wiesel in a blog post which claims that allowing “openly practicing homosexuals” in the Boy Scouts will undermine “the character and safety of the boys.”
To the shock and disappointment of many of us, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement yesterday indicating the possibility of changing its policy that prevents the participation of openly practicing homosexuals.
Neutrality is often an attractive option, especially when the goal is to not offend. But in this case, I'm reminded of what the great humanitarian and political activist Elie Wiesel once wrote about trying to remain neutral when it comes to moral affairs:
We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere.
At stake in this debate is not just the golden brand of the Boy Scouts but most importantly the character and safety of the boys involved.
That’s right: Daly is using a Wiesel quote to compare the Boy Scouts becoming neutral on gay members to countries that were neutral during the Holocaust.
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today called on the Republican governors of Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Ohio to reject plans to rig their states’ electoral vote apportionment. Today, a Virginia state Senate committee resoundingly rejected a similar plan by a vote of 11-4.
A People For the American Way petition denouncing the election-rigging scheme has gathered over 80,000 signatures.
“The GOP should be trying to earn the respect of voters, not rigging the system against voters’ wishes,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “The Virginia Senate’s rejection of this plan should be a warning for those proposing it in other states. This is an extremist gambit, and it damages the credibility of those who support it. It is stunning that this scheme has gotten as far as it has. Governors Walker, Corbett and Kasich should take the lead in their states and stop this undemocratic plan before it goes any further.”
As we noted earlier today, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer has claimed that both the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” and the end of the ban on women serving in combat positions will deter so many volunteers that the military will be forced to reinstate the draft.
On Focal Point today, Fischer drew a direct line between “Big Gay” and women in combat. “Malicious” and “sinister” gay rights activists, he claims, are “trying to destroy the military,” which will ultimately mean “they’re going to have a tough time filling their ranks with qualified soldiers. So they’re going to have to go to the draft, and that means your daughters are going to be pulled into the draft and they could be sent into combat to die, whether they want to do it or not, because of Big Gay.”
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded President Obama’s proposal for comprehensive immigration reform, which includes equal rights for same-sex couples.
“The president has proposed a common-sense and necessary approach to immigration reform, which includes protections for LGBT families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Any effective immigration reform must include equal rights for LGBT people. Our immigration policies must place a priority on keeping families together, including LGBT families. Too many bi-national, same-sex couples have seen their families torn apart by a federal government that refuses to recognize their relationships. That policy runs counter to our values and weakens us as a nation.”
“We are glad that President Obama recognizes the need to protect LGBT families,” added Keegan. “We will fight to make sure that all families are recognized in the final law.”
On his radio program on Friday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins added his voice to the Religious Right’s collective outrage over the Pentagon’s decision to allow women to serve in combat positions. The move, Perkins warned, will decrease morale and deter volunteers to the point that “we will have to reinstate the draft.”
I spoke with Senator Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma earlier today about this. He is the ranking member on the Senate Armed Services Committee and he is probably going to be joining me next week on the program. We talked about it and he says the Pentagon will – they don’t have to by law, they don’t have to get a congressional action – but they will be presenting their proposal to Congress. Congress could stop it. Now, I’m not very optimistic that Congress has the backbone to do anything about that. We’ve seen that before on ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’
We’re going to be tracking this very close because, again, this is a national security issue. I didn’t even get into the issue, don’t have time today, but with all of the social engineering that’s going on in our military, I do not think we’re far off from the very real possibility of having to reinstate the draft. Now think about that for a moment. Walk that out. We have to revert to the draft because all of the morale issues and what’s happening in the military, people are not volunteering to join, so we get into another major conflict, we have to reinstate the draft, and all of a sudden they’re drafting our daughters to serve in combat.
Perkins is not alone in his fears. The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer also warned last week that the new policy would cause a “complete sexual meltdown” in the military and a subsequent reinstatement of the draft.
It may be of some comfort to Perkins and Fischer to note that their similarly dire predictions about the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell” – including Fischer’s prediction that “the draft will return with a vengeance and out of necessity” – have not come to pass. Not only has the draft not been reinstated, a study by a group of military school professors one year after the repeal of DADT found that the repeal “had no overall negative impact on military readiness or its component dimensions, including cohesion, recruitment, retention, assaults, harassment or morale.”
The Religious Right continues to pushback against the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to reconsider their sweeping ban on gay members, many resorting to unfounded claims that homosexuality is tied to child abuse.
Talk show host Janet Mefferd pointed to a major sex scandal and cover-up in the BSA as a reason to maintain the prohibition on gay membership, and then agreed with a caller who compared letting gays serve as troop leaders to “letting the fox watch the hen house.”
Later, Mefferd attacked LGBT rights advocates for “trying to silence and trying to shame” supporters of the anti-gay policy and said that any shift in position will “decimate the Boy Scouts.”
WorldNetDaily’s David Kupelian wrote that “a little bit of America will die” if the Boy Scouts rescind their sweeping ban on gay members, and warned that the Scouts will lose the trust of the public and God. He also pointed to the Catholic Church as an example of how open homosexuality leads to sexual abuse, which is an odd choice seeing that the church, like the BSA, already has a prohibition gays in positions of authority.
Now the big question in all this, of course, is the following: With these sex-abuse cases within the Boy Scouting organization, just as those within the Catholic Church, are we dealing with actual “pedophiles” or with predatory homosexuals?
America is in a time of great crisis on many fronts, and much that is good we are in danger of permanently losing. The Boy Scouts of America is one of the most important and loved and truly valuable organizations in American history. It is literally a sacred trust between one generation and the next. The Supreme Court is on their side. Public opinion is on their side. God is on their side.
Why on earth would they trade all this away by giving in to pressure from people who detest them and everything they stand for?
A little bit of America will die if the Boy Scouts organization gives in to the pressure and makes this decision. You might want to let them know how you feel. You can reach the Boy Scouts of America at 972-580-2000. Tell them how much you appreciate them – and tell them to stand strong.
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality accused the Boy Scouts of “capitulating to immorality” and promoting “deviant sexuality among the boys.”
"If you take all that and you still come out strong, that's a victory," he says. "But if you allow all of that pressure to then change your values -- which is what they're doing here -- to accommodate homosexuality, then you've given in. You've let the bad buys win."
"It's very sad to see the Scouts cave on this," he continues. "If you capitulate to the homosexual lobby, you're capitulating to immorality; and you're not being morally straight as the Boy Scout creed says."
According to LaBarbera, parents do not want homosexual Scoutmasters going with their boys on campouts. "And you don't want homosexual Boy Scouts either because you don't want to have one homosexual Scout going around telling everybody about his homosexuality and how he's out and proud and everything. You don't want that influence of deviant sexuality among the boys itself."
"... Parents need to contact the Scouts and say Stick to the original policy ... Keep the Scouts morally straight."
Southern Baptist Convention vice president Sing Oldham claimed that the Boy Scouts are “spelling their own death knell.” SBC president Fred Luter warned that churches may withdraw their sponsorships of BSA troops:
"If that is what the leadership is doing, then I think it will be a sad day in the life of the Boy Scouts of America," Luter told Baptist Press. "This is a tradition that so many of us across the country grew up in. We were in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts in elementary school, and this organization has always stood for biblical principles -- all the things that grounded our lives as a young kid growing up. To now see this organization that I thought stood on biblical principles about to give in to the politically correct thing is very disappointing."
Luter also said he believes the Boy Scouts will "lose a whole lot of our support," with Southern Baptist churches choosing instead not to sponsor a unit.
"A lot of them will just pull out," Luter said. "This is just something we don't believe in. It's unfortunate the Boy Scouts are making this decision."
Oldham even said that the SBC is ready with a replacement for the Boy Scouts, called the Royal Ambassadors:
"Churches of all faiths and denominations, including Southern Baptist churches, will be forced to reevaluate whether they can, in good conscience, continue to host Scout troops given that the Scouts appear poised to turn their backs on this clear biblical and moral issue," Oldham said. "If the Scouts adopt these changes, I anticipate the SBC Executive Committee will issue a statement at its February board meeting expressing its deep dismay at this decision of the Scouts. This move may result in a boost for the convention's Royal Ambassador program as churches scramble for an alternative boys organization that remains grounded in a consistent, biblical worldview."
The American Family Association in an action alert for members asserted that any policy change “will destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution.”
Next week, the Boy Scouts of America will decide on whether it will keep a long standing policy of not allowing homosexuals to serve as volunteer leaders, or to change that policy and allow open homosexuals to participate in the scouting program. See our story at OneNewsNow.
If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program, it will destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution.
While news articles conclude the latter as a forgone conclusion, the final decision has not been made.
The Family Research Council submitted two amicus briefs to the Supreme Court yesterday urging it to reject challenges to DOMA and to California’s Proposition 8. The briefs lay out some of the same arguments that we’ve heard many times from the FRC. But we were curious if the FRC would jettison one of its favorite talking points– the success of discriminatory measures at the ballot box –in light of last year’s resounding marriage equality victories in Maine, Maryland, Minnesota and Washington.
The answer was yes and no.
In its brief on Hollingsworth v. Perry, the Prop 8 case, the FRC goes back to the old talking point, ignoring the events of last November, to argue that “there is no ‘emerging awareness’ that the right to marry extends to same-sex couples.”
This Court has never stated or even implied that the federal right to marry extends to same-sex couples. And, with the exception of the district court’s decision below, which was affirmed on other grounds by the court of appeals, no state or federal court has held that the fundamental right to marry extends to same-sex couples. In sharp contrast to the “emerging awareness that liberty gives substantial protection to adult persons in deciding how to conduct their private lives in matters pertaining to sex,” Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 572, which, in turn, was based upon an examination of “our laws and traditions in the past half century, id. at 571, “[t]he history and tradition of the last fifty years have not shown the definition of marriage to include a union of two people regardless of their sex.” If anything, the fact that thirty States have amended their constitutions to reserve marriage to opposite-sex couples strongly suggests that there is no “emerging awareness” that the right to marry extends to same-sex couples.
But when the FRC wants to argue that gays and lesbians are not a “politically powerless” group deserving protection from discrimination, they flaunt the 2012 election results and point to how close previous anti-gay votes on state ballots were. This is from the brief on U.S. v. Windsor, the DOMA case:
Any lingering doubt that gays and lesbians are able to influence public policy, particularly with respect to the issue of same-sex marriage, should have been laid to rest by the results of the last election. Three States – Maine, Maryland and Washington, by popular vote, approved laws allowing same-sex marriage, and in a fourth State – Minnesota – voters rejected an amendment to the state constitution that would have prohibited same-sex marriage. Even in States where such amendments have been approved, the margin of victory has often been narrow, in some cases barely passing (as in California in 2008 and South Dakota in 2006), indicating that homosexuals, who comprise no more than one to two percent of the population, have succeeded in enlisting many heterosexuals to support their cause for same-sex marriage. In such a dynamic social and cultural environment, the belief that homosexuals are “politically powerless in the sense that they have no ability to attract the attention of the lawmakers,” strains credulity.
So when voters reject gay rights at the ballot box, they are reflecting public opinion. But when they vote in favor of gay rights, they have been “enlisted” to the cause by powerful gay rights lobbyists.
Leading up to the election, Harry Jackson confidently predicted and prayed for President Obama’s defeat. He claimed that “black and Hispanic Christians will put Romney ahead” after realizing that Obama “promotes abortion [and] same-sex marriage,” and that his reelection would bring divine judgment and suffering upon America. In fact, Jackson even said that God is working to remove elected officials who favor marriage equality from political office.
But Obama was re-elected and received the support of the vast majority of black and Hispanic voters, and now Jackson is arguing that God is moving to “take out” voters who chose “race over grace” and didn’t “care about homosexual marriage” (code words for Obama voters). In an appearance on the Trinity Broadcasting Network’s Praise The Lord, Jackson once again endorsed Seven Mountains Dominionism, which holds that right-wing Christians should dominate and lead the seven major spheres of society, and maintained that such Christians will replace the pro-Obama “false church.”