Bobby Jindal Wants The EPA To Go After Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal appeared on “Washington Watch” to blast a federal court decision blocking his effort to defund Planned Parenthood in the state.

“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)

He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”

Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).

He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.

Rand Paul Says He Isn't Comparing Bernie Sanders To Pol Pot … Yet

Last week, Sen. Rand Paul went after Sen. Bernie Sanders, comparing the Democratic presidential candidate to Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot and warning that his ideology could likewise lead to “mass genocide.”

In an interview yesterday with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson, the Republican senator and presidential candidate doubled down on his warning, but clarified that he wasn’t comparing Sanders to Pol Pot … “yet.”

I want to go head to head with this, I think, crazy notion of collectivism, crazy notion of socialism. And I want to make sure that all these young people realize is what socialism is is a lack of choice. You won’t be able to make what you want, you won’t be able to buy what you want. It’ll be controlled by the government. If you disobey, you’ll be fined. If you do it again, you’ll be imprisoned. If you continue doing it, what has often happened under socialism is the inherent force morphs into something even more dastardly. And that’s what happened under Stalin, under Mao, under Pol Pot.

And people say, ‘You’re calling Bernie Pol Pot.’ Not yet. But what I’m saying is the underpinnings of the belief in socialism is the implication of force in that you will force people to do what the states want them to do and that you take away their choices. And I think if young people knew that it was anti-choice, that socialism took away their choices to buy, sell, and do and work where they want to work, I think they’d be running away from it. But Bernie’s offering a version to them where he doesn’t quite inform them of the horrors of socialism.

Student Uses Online Video to Help Get Big Money Out of Politics and Spread the Word About Campaign Finance Reform

Democracy For All Video Challenge Gives Americans Platform to Protest Billions of Dollars Spent on Elections

WASHINGTON – With the 2016 presidential race in full swing and more than 85 percent of Americans wanting to see a change in the way political campaigns are funded, an online video competition is encouraging people to express their views on big money in politics. The Democracy For All Video Challenge, spearheaded by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way, selects a different best video every week from submissions made by people across the country.

The video selected this week was made by Tomas Gaspar, a sophomore at Lake Michigan College majoring in pre-nursing. Gaspar’s video shows voters being turned away from the ballot box unless they have money to donate and highlights the frustration felt by Americans who feel they are being shut out of the political process.

“I decided to produce a video because it gave me the opportunity to express my own views as well as providing a chance to influence other people, and I found that to be very powerful,” said Gaspar. “We have so many tools at our disposal to reach others; I think people need to take a more active role in communicating about important issues."

The video can be viewed at www.democracyforall.com/entries/greedy_ballot_box. All of the winning videos to-date are available to view at www.democracyforall.com/winners. People can enter the video challenge by submitting 30-90 second videos between now and Dec. 2. Full details are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

“Instead of telling people how they should think, we are letting people tell us what they think,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No To Big Money which created the video challenge. “We want to engage people in the political process and not preach to them; this video challenge gives people an opportunity to express how they feel with the hope that it will be a call to action for others.”

The Democracy For All Video Challenge was created by Say No To Big Money and People For the American Way to tap into the creative potential of people in the United States who support a constitutional amendment that would allow for reasonable limits to be set on money in elections. A panel of judges selects the most impactful videos with $1,000 being awarded to the best video each week. At the conclusion of the video challenge, five best in category videos will be awarded $5,000 each, with $25,000 being awarded to the best overall video. Rather than hire an advertising agency to produce the spots, the sponsor organizations developed the Video Challenge to enable the true voice of Americans to be heard and give people across the country a chance to earn money for their efforts.

The Democracy For All Amendment, currently being considered by Congress with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, would overturn decisions such as Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 

People For the American Way (PFAW) is dedicated to making the promise of America real for every American. That means equality. Freedom of speech. Freedom of religion. The right to seek justice in a court of law. The right to cast a vote that counts. The American Way. Our vision is a vibrantly diverse democratic society in which everyone is treated equally under the law, given the freedom and opportunity to pursue their dreams, and encouraged to participate in our nation’s civic and political life. More information is available at www.PFAW.org.

Say No To Big Money is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit corporation for the public benefit with the mission of supporting the ratification of the Democracy For All Amendment that will regulate campaign contributions. Say No To Big Money is nonpartisan and does not promote or take sides on any political issues nor endorse candidates or elections. More information is available at www.SayNoToBigMoney.com.


Why Is Jeb Bush Courting Pat Robertson?

This piece originally appeared in The Huffington Post.

Jeb Bush, battling slumping poll numbers, will travel to Regent University this Friday for an interview with the school's founder, televangelist Pat Robertson.

Jeb's decision may be mystifying, particularly to millennial voters who knowRobertson mostly as a televised buffoon given to outrageous and embarrassing comments, bad advice, faulty predictions, and personal conversations with God about presidential politics. But while Robertson's influence has diminished over the years, he has had a lasting (and damaging) impact on American culture and politics.

Like the late Jerry Falwell, Robertson was a pioneer in the use of television to build a Christian ministry, and Robertson joined Falwell and other televangelists who teamed up in the late 1970s to create the Religious Right political movement. Falwell was a fundamentalist Baptist and Robertson a charismatic Pentecostal, but they found common ground in promoting a sustained, religion-based attack on separation of church and state, feminism, gay rights, unions, and other enemies of the right-wing political strategists, like Paul Weyrich, who recruited them into politics

Robertson actually ran for the Republican presidential nomination in 1988. He didn't get very far as a candidate, but he built a huge list of supporters. Political operative Ralph Reed turned that list into the Christian Coalition, which at the beginning of the 1990s set itself the goal of taking working control of the Republican Party.

Pat Robertson, in other words, helped create today's polarized politics -- a Republican Party that is much further to the right than Ronald Reagan's and far less willing to engage in the compromises required to govern, and a Religious Right movement that continues to poison our political climate by treating politics as spiritual warfare and political opponents as demonic enemies of faith and freedom.

A memorable example of that attitude came just after the 9/11 attacks, in which Robertson joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the attacks on gays, feminists, defenders of church-state separation, and People For the American Way. But we can hear the same attitude from GOP candidates and right-wing activists every day.

Regent University, where Jeb Bush will speak on Friday, is part of the massive cultural and political infrastructure that Religious Right leaders like Robertson have built in recent decades. Religious Right schools of government and law produce people like Michele Bachmann and former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell, who see public office as a way to make America conform to their "biblical worldview."

Another part of Robertson's infrastructure is the American Center for Law and Justice, which he created to be a Religious Right counterpart to the ACLU. The ACLJ has undermined church-state separation in the U.S. and promotes global culture war through offices in Europe, Russia, and Africa. While it portrays itself as a champion of religious freedom, the ACLJ fought bitterly against the building of a Muslim community center that was falsely dubbed the "Ground Zero Mosque." 

ACLJ founder and chief counsel Jay Sekulow is scheduled to moderate the audience Q&A at Bush's appearance. He may or may not mention that his son Jordan, executive director of the organization, was hired earlier this year as an adviser to Jeb's Right to Rise PAC.

Jordan Sekulow's hiring was seen as a signal that the Bush campaign was serious about competing for conservative evangelical voters who might initially be more excited about other candidates. Bush's pilgrimage to Regent University is another sign that even "establishment" Republican candidates are dependent on the Religious Right activists who make up a big part of the party's base.

And Bush, whose plans to run as the financially dominant above-it-all powerhouse were derailed by Donald Trump, is back to the GOP primary slog. And he's looking for support from Religious Right leaders with their own political agenda, one that threatens the rights of women, LGBT people, religious minorities, and anyone who doesn't meet their definition of a real American.


Religious Right Activists Argue For Recriminalization Of Birth Control In 'The Birth Control Movie'

A couple of years ago, we heard about a new movie called “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” when its director, Kevin Peeples, appeared on the radio program of one of its stars, Kevin Swanson, and Swanson asserted that “wombs of women who have been on the birth control pill effectively have become graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

We stumbled on the movie again recently while researching the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, which will feature some of the activists who appeared in Peeples’ film, including WCF founder Allan Carlson and anti-abortion and anti-Planned Parenthood activist Lila Rose. This is hardly surprising, since one of the tenets of the “natural family” ideology promoted by WCF is resistance to contraception in order to create large families governed by traditional gender roles.

This time, in preparation for WCF, we decided to watch the whole movie. It is mostly taken up by historical arguments against Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, and hero worship of Anthony Comstock, the famous crusader against legal birth control whose laws were struck down after a campaign by Sanger. (The movie’s creators have also produced an animated account of Comstock’s life called “Fighter” aimed at painting Comstock as a role model for young boys.) The film makes the argument that Protestant churches that oppose legal abortion must also, by necessity, oppose birth control and laments the social movements and Supreme Court decisions that led to the decriminalization of birth control in the U.S.

Rose, an anti-abortion activist and mentor of anti-Planned Parenthood activist David Daleiden, makes the argument in the film that birth control has “led in many ways to abortion in our country” whereas “there was a time when birth control was unthinkable, when contraception was unthinkable because, people who got married, a beautiful part of marriage was the hope for children together.”

(No matter that abortion rates have been plummeting in recent years, thanks in part to widely available contraception.)

Rose also claims that Planned Parenthood is “encouraging sexual activity and experimentation at early ages” in order to increase the number of abortions it provides to “resolve the sexual activity that was started and encouraged by Planned Parenthood in the first place.”

As it happens, “Birth Control: How Did We Get Here?” premiered at the 2013 World Congress of Families in Sydney, accompanied by a panel discussion with Peeples, Carlson and Scott Matthew Dix, one of the film’s producers.

Steve Hotze: Trans People Like Those Who Think They're Cows And Cockroaches

Anti-LGBT activist Steve Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas spoke to Sam Malone earlier this month to promote the campaign to repeal the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he suggested will lead to a wave of sexual violence against women.

Hotze also attacked transgender women as perverts who want “special rights.”

Think about it, some strange men, some perverted men, perverted in their thinking who think they’re women. You can think whatever you want to think, you can think you’re a frog, you can think you’re a cockroach, you can think you’re a cow and you may moo all day long, but the long and the short of it is you’re not, you’re a male. If you’re born with male parts, you’re a male, your sex is male, your gender is male no matter what you think. And this idea that we’re going to give special rights and privileges based on a person’s perverted thinking about whether or not they’re a man or a woman is just absolute nonsense.

Hotze later said that the ordinance will let “perverted men” be “as strange, as weird, as perverted, as deviant as you want to be,” which led him to berate Caitlyn Jenner.

“You can be like Bruce Jenner and dress up like a woman and get on a stage and talk with a low voice and get an award because you had courage to dress like a woman,” he said. “That’s the most asinine thing I’ve ever seen in my life. I thought to myself when they gave him that award and those people stood up and cheered for them, ‘Have they got rocks in their heads? What’s going on here? Is everything in the world is upside down?’”

He added that the Bible predicted that the “fruitcakes” defending Houston ordinance would then criticize people like him as “perverted” and “the ones who don’t think straight.”

GOP Congressman Ties Kim Davis To UCC Shooting Victims

Earlier this month, Rep. Pete Olson appeared on Houston’s “The Sam Malone Show” to attack President Obama over his reaction to the Umpqua Community College shooting in Oregon.

The Texas Republican said that the president spoke with “no factual information” about the massacre and simply thought, “Hey, it’s a crisis and that’s good politics for me.”

After addressing the conflicting reports about whether the perpetrator targeted Christians, Olson managed to link the massacre to Obama’s response to the case of Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who was temporarily placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after she repeatedly refused court orders to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Enough of our President Obama about bigotry, about attacking people for their religions,” he said, “I mean good gosh, he sat on the sidelines with Ms. Davis there in Kentucky, he just sat by and sat by and let her get thrown in prison for following her religious beliefs.”

GOP Rep: Obama Letting In Syrian Refugees So They'll Vote Democratic

In an interview last month with Houston-based talk radio host Sam Malone, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, blasted plans to bring in vetted refugees from the Syrian conflict to the U.S., doubting that they would be genuine refugees and insisting that President Obama and “Chamberlain Kerry” only want them for their votes.

Poe said that while the Obama administration “won’t take care of our veterans,” it will “open the doors to people we don’t even know.”

“It’s a political maneuver on the part of the president just to get more people in the U.S. so they’ll support the Democratic Party, I think it’s a long-term goal,” he said.

Wiles: 'Somebody With A Lot Of Money' Orchestrating Syrian Refugee Crisis

Inveterate conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles invited two prominent anti-immigration activists onto his “ Trunews” program yesterday to discuss attempts to resettle the millions of refugees from Syria’s civil war, but couldn’t get too far into the discussion before announcing that someone “orchestrated” the refugee crisis in order to destroy “the existing order.”

The refugee crisis, along with the “contrived, orchestrated, choreographed crisis” of unaccompanied Central American children fleeing to the southern U.S. border last year, he said, must be part of a grand plot run by “somebody with a lot of money.”

“I am convinced all of this is orchestrated,” he said. “Somebody with a lot of money wants a chaotic scene in the world, they want mass migration. It’s breaking down borders, sovereignty, culture, it’s destroying the existing order.”

Jessica Vaughan of the Center for Immigration Studies, who was making her second appearance on Wiles’ program, responded cautiously, saying, “Well, I don’t know if it’s orchestrated, but it is obvious that there are organizations with an ideological agenda who are certainly taking advantage of it to push their political and ideological aims.”

Refugee Resettlement Watch’s Ann Corcoran seemed more willing to embrace Wiles’ theory, saying, “I hope someday we will find out who it is behind this and who these powers are” but that in the meantime, she agrees with Vaughan.

John Zmirak: Muslim Immigrants Will Cause 'Inevitable Civil War In Europe'

John Zmirak, editor of James Robison’s The Stream website, joined Alaska GOP politician Joe Miller on his radio program this week to defend Ben Carson’s controversial comments blaming the Holocaust on gun control.

Zmirak said that while countries like the U.S. and Israel are founded on the right to bear arms (Israel actually has much tougher gun laws than the U.S.), Europeans will only take up individual arms when they are forced to fight “an inevitable civil war” against “millions of Muslim immigrants.”

“If the government fails, if they don’t deport these millions of Muslim immigrants someday, the individual people are going to have to take arms,” he said. “I’m afraid that we’re looking at an inevitable civil war in Europe, when the Muslims take power and the remaining non-Muslims fight back. I’m not optimistic about the future of Europe.”

Warrant Out For His Arrest, Ron Luce Appears On 'Praise The Lord'

Having a warrant out for his arrest isn’t stopping Ron Luce, the founder of Teen Mania Ministries, from going on a national TV. Last week, Trinity Broadcasting Network (TBN) hosted Luce on its flagship televangelist broadcast, “Praise the Lord,” where Luce, unsurprisingly, didn’t face any questions about a financial scandal surrounding his ministry.

Teen Mania has close ties to right-wing groups and politicians — including receiving an enthusiastic endorsement from Rick Santorum — who are desperate to find young people to campaign against supposed evils like gay marriage, despite accusations that the group employs cult-like practices.

A Colorado court issued a warrant for Luce’s arrest after he failed to appear for a breach of contract lawsuit, which he said he did on the advice of his lawyers.

“They’re now at a point where they can’t pay back people,” according to one of the group’s former directors. “People are being suckered.”

Luce is facing lawsuits outside of Colorado as well, WORLD Magazine reports:

Individuals and churches continue to report paying for events that end up being canceled and not receiving refunds. Some say they were offered a small percentage of the amount owed but returned it because they didn’t receive assurance that the rest would come later.

“I’m angry because they are continuing to hurt others,” said Pennsylvania resident Jolie Roth. “They are continuing to steal and lie from fellow Christians ‘in the name of Jesus.’”

Today, Charity Navigator ranks Teen Mania as the nation’s fifth-most insolvent charity, with a net worth of negative–$5.2 million.

Last year, after Teen Mania’s 472-acre property went into foreclosure, the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability revoked its membership. ECFA president Dan Busby declined to comment on Teen Mania’s current situation but noted ministries in decline often miss the window of opportunity to merge with another ministry: “As a result, the ministry ends up in a free fall.”

PFAW Releases Spanish-Language GOTV Radio Ad in Virginia

With Election Day two weeks away in Virginia, People For the American Way (PFAW) today launched a Spanish-language radio ad covering Northern Virginia including the pivotal State Senate District 29 that encourages voters to cast a ballot against GOP extremism on Election Day. The ad focuses on how Latino voters in Virginia have the first chance to stand against that the anti-immigrant rhetoric from Donald Trump and the Republican Party on a national and local level.

PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager explained:

“Virginia voters have the first opportunity in the country to push back against the immigrant bashing from Donald Trump and the Republican Party as a whole by turning out to vote against Republicans come Election Day 2015.”

PFAW Coordinator of Political Campaigns Carlos A. Sanchez added:

“By highlighting in Spanish how local and national Republican politicians from Ken Cuccinnelli to Donald Trump have demonized immigrants, our ad urges voters to stand up against them by going to the polls on November 3rd.”

The ad is part of PFAW’s Latinos Vote! program and will run through Election Day in Northern Virginia, encompassing the critical State Senate District 29. In addition to the radio ad, civil rights icon and PFAW board member Dolores Huerta will be traveling to Virginia at the end of October as part of our efforts get out the vote among Latino voters in Virginia.

Listen to the ad, in Spanish, here:



MAMÁ: Pásame la sal. Ahora sí mi'jita. A votar.
HIJA: Ay mom, what for?
MAMÁ: ¿Cómo que para qué? Para empezar, para callarle la bocota a Trump.
HIJA: Really?
MAMÁ: Claro que really. ¿O a poco estás de acuerdo con lo que dice de los hispanos?
HIJA: You know I don't.
MAMÁ: Y a ver ¿Quieres que tus hijos tengan pre-school, que reciban una buena educación y que puedan ir a la universidad por un costo razonable?
HIJA: Of course I do.
MAMÁ: Pues decisiones como estas son las que estás apoyando con tu voto. Por eso tenemos que votar por los demócratas. Y más cuando son elecciones locales.
MAMÁ: Porque Trump no es el único. Los Republicanos de Virginia han propuesto rastrear a los inmigrantes como si fueran paquetes y hasta nos han comparado con ratas.
HIJA: Unbelievable.
MAMÁ: Sí. Por eso hay que votar demócrata y en contra de Trump y los Republicanos, mi'ja. El 3 de noviembre.
HIJA: Mom, you are right. We have to vote.
VO DISCLAIMER: Este anuncio fue pagado por People for the American Way.

English Translation:

MOM: Pass me the salt.  Time to vote, mi'jita.*
DAUGHTER: Oh, what for mom?
MOM: What do you mean what for? For starters, to shut Trump's big mouth.
MOM: Yeah, "really". Or do you agree with what he says about Hispanics?
DAUGHTER: You know I don't.
MOM: And tell me: Do you want your children to have pre-school, that they get a good education and are able to attend college for a cost that’s reasonable?
DAUGHTER:  Of course I do
MOM: Well, these are the kind of decisions you are supporting with your vote. That's why we have to vote for the democrats. And even more in local elections.
MOM: Because Trump is not the only one. Republicans in Virginia have proposed tracking immigrants like packages and even compared us to rats! 
DAUGHTER: Unbelievable.
MOM: Yes. That’s why we have to vote for Democrats and say NO to Trump and the Republicans mi'ja. On November 3rd.
DAUGHTER: Mom, you are right. We have to vote.
VO DISCLAIMER: People For the American Way sponsored this ad.
*Mi'jita is an expression/short for "my little daughter"


Meet The World Congress Of Families, The International Conservative Network Meeting In Utah Next Week

by Miranda Blue, Isabel Carter-Kahn and Peter Montgomery

This is the first in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this post, we provide an introduction to the event’s hosts and recipients of its awards for international activism. Subsequent posts will explore the World Congress of Families’ organizing against LGBT equality and women’s rights and its role in growing international social conservative networks.

Next week, hundreds of activists from around the world will gather in Salt Lake City for the ninth World Congress of Families, a gathering of individuals and organizations promoting what organizers call the “natural family.”

The World Congress of Families is a project of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, founded in 1997 by conservative historian Allan Carlson. The Howard Center has a relatively small budget — less than half a million dollars in 2013 — but works with organizers and funders in host countries to throw what it calls the “Olympics” of social conservatism. This is the first time the Congress has been held in the U.S. and will count as guests the governor of Utah as well as Rafael Cruz, father of Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The event is set to honor activists who advocated for laws criminalizing homosexuality and even meetings between gay people, free speech in favor of gay rights and abortion.

The vision of the “natural family” promoted by WCF is one that excludes LGBT people and precludes reproductive rights. In 2005, Carlson and the Sutherland Institute’s Paul Mero released “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” a call to arms against the societal changes that resulted from the twin developments of “industrialism and the assault of new, family-denying ideas.”

They offered instead a vision of a return to an economy run by large families operating as independent economic units — a potentially appealing thought until you realize what the economy they envision means for women. In Carlson’s and Mero’s “natural family” dream, they “envision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” For women, this involves rejecting what they call the “contraceptive mentality” and opening their homes to “a full quiver of children” — a nod to the “Quiverfull” ideology promoted by the self-proclaimed “Christian patriarchy” movement. They insist that “culture, law, and policy” should take into account that “women and men are equal in dignity and innate human rights, but different in function” — a separate-but-equal ideology that drives women out of public and economic life and rejects the rights of those who do not fit into this narrow view of gender roles.

It is this vision that WCF aims to promote around the world, through government policies aiding the “natural family” and in resisting international efforts to protect the rights of women and LGBT people.

The U.S. event offers WCF an opportunity to reestablish itself after the debacle of the last Congress, which was meant to be held in Moscow — home of a spate of new anti-LGBT laws — but was abruptly “suspended” after Russia invaded Ukraine and some of the conference’s organizers were hit with U.S. sanctions. The conference went ahead, but without the official World Congress of Families label. Instead, WCF leaders attended in their personal capacities. The executive director of the Utah event is Janice Shaw Crouse, a former Concerned Women for America official who appears to have parted ways with her former employer over the wisdom of participating in the Moscow summit.

Hosting the World Congress of Families gathering in Salt Lake City is the Sutherland Institute, which describes itself as “a conservative public policy think tank” whose mission is “to shape Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles.” The Sutherland Institute, whose budget is about $1.5 million, is affiliated with the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks. While the Institute is not formally affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church), it promotes conservative views influenced by LDS theology, sometimes staking out policy positions to the right of the Church itself. The Institute is named for George Sutherland, a U.S. Supreme Court justice from Utah who joined other conservative justices to overturn progressive legislation in the 1920s and led a group known as “The Four Horsemen” who struck down FDR’s New Deal for several years.

Sutherland describes seven principles of “authentic conservatism” – personal responsibility as the basis of self-government; family as the fundamental unit of society; religion as the moral compass of human progress; private property as the cornerstone of economic freedom; free markets as the engine of economic prosperity; charity as the wellspring of a caring community; limited government as the essence of good government. The Institute brags about its work to weaken unions and calls for the abolition of the state income tax on corporations.

In other words, the Institute promotes both the Tea Party’s hostility to government regulation and the Religious Right’s desire to use government to promote “traditional” views of family, parenting, and marriage.Sutherland helped pay for the legal counsel hired by the state to defend its anti-gay-marriage amendment.

The Institute called the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling an “abdication” of the rule of law. Then-President Paul Mero, argued that freedom is incompatible with gay rights, because “bad behavior is the enemy of freedom.” Sutherland supports Sen. Mike Lee’s First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow broad anti-gay discrimination in the name of religious liberty. It also wants to do away with no-fault divorce laws.

In 2014 the Institute produced a 10-page defense of a Utah law requiring restaurants to erect a “Zion Curtain” or “Zion Wall” to prevent restaurant-goers from being able to witness the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Although Sutherland was criticized for supporting what many considered “nanny-state” legislation, former President Paul Mero said the law “disrupts a culture of drinking” and promotes a “culture of sobriety.”

The Sutherland Institute has strong ties with WCF’s sponsor, the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society. Mero, the founding executive vice president of the Howard Center, reportedly helped attract the WCF to Salt Lake City. After 14 years as Sutherland’s CEO he was asked to step down by the Institute’s board last August, for what were described as operational rather than philosophical differences. Mero reportedly agreed to continue to serve on executive committee for the WCF. Sutherland board chair and interim president Stanford Swim serves on the boards of the Howard Center and the State Policy Network.

This year, the World Congress of Families will present its Woman of the Year Award to Theresa Okafor, Familia Et Veritas awards to Luca Giuseppe Volonte and Andrea Williams and an International Pro-Life Award to Father Maxim Obukhov. The backgrounds of these four activists provide insight into the values that the World Congress of Families seeks to promote around the world.

Theresa Okafor

Okafor, from Nigeria, is the World Congress of Families Regional Director in Africa. In 2009, she was successful in bringing a World Congress of Families event to Nigeria. She is the CEO of Life League Nigeria and the director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage.

The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage is a coalition organization that encompasses 20 “family values” organizations such as Association of Concerned Mothers, Nigerian Association for Family Development, Doctors Health Initiative, Life League Nigeria, the Christian Association of Bishops Conference of Nigeria and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Nigeria. Her groups have supported and lauded Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which banned all same-sex relationships and gay people gathering in groups of two or more. The act led to the arrest of dozens of people.

The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage releasedvideos of a press conference it organized to support the bill, during which speakers called homosexuality “abhorrent” and compared it to alcoholism. At a World Congress of Families annual gathering in Madrid in 2012, Okafor speculated in a speech that Western countries advocating for gay rights in Africa were involved in a “conspiracy” to “silence Christians” with the terrorist group Boko Haram:

Unfortunately, in Nigeria where I come from, we have these fundamentalists, the Boko Haram – I’m sure you’ve heard about them in the news – bombing churches. They seem to be helping some people in Western countries who are out to silence Christians. The Boko Haram are targeting Christians in Nigeria, so you wonder if there’s a conspiracy between the two worlds.

In the speech she also speculated that efforts to promote LGBT rights in Africa are “another ploy to depopulate Africa,” a sentiment she expresses repeatedly.

Okafor also has ties to the American group Family Watch International, which works to stop advances in LGBT equality and reproductive rights at the UN, cosponsoring the group’s Global Family Policy Forum in Gilbert, Arizona.

Luca Giuseppe Volonte

Luca Volonte is an Italian politician and the president of the Novae Terrae Foundation, which states on its website that it is committed to “promot[ing] human rights from the religious point of view.” The “Goals” section of the group’s mission page emphasizes its focus on contrasting Christianity with “Islamic culture.”

Volonte serves along with the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown on the board of trustees of CitizenGo, an international organization that promotes petitions backing conservative positions, including opposition tosame-sex marriage and abortion rights. In response to Target’s decision to stop segregating its toy aisles by gender, CitizenGo released a petition saying the new policy was a result of “sexual radicals ” who “want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children.”

In 2010, Volonte won the chair of the European People’s Party in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. As chair, Volonte led the successful effort to withdraw a report on "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Volonte was appointed chairman of the anti-LGBT Institute for Human Dignity, a Catholic NGO based in Rome, in 2013. The institute released a declaration defining human dignity as:

That man is made in the image and likeness of God; that this image and likeness proceeds in every single human being without exception from conception until natural death; and that the most effective means of safeguarding this recognition is through the active participation of the Christian faith in the public square.

This declaration was adopted by the European Parliament's Working Group on Human Dignity , a coalition that promotes Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage, as their foundational document.

In 2015, Novae Terrae announced a partnership with the European Large Families Confederation.

Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams is the CEO of Christian Concern, a United Kingdom based group that promotes a “Christian voice” in government. In the “About” sections of Christian Concern’s website, the organization states that it pursues these goals because “ ...in the last few decades the nation has largely turned her back on Jesus and embraced alternative ideas such as secular liberal humanism, moral relativism and sexual licence. The fruit of this is rotten, and can be seen in widespread family breakdown, immorality and social disintegration.” The organization attempts to move policy on “abortion, adoption and fostering, bioethics, marriage, education, employment, end of life, equality, family, free speech, Islamism, religious freedom, the sex trade, social issues and issues relating to sexual orientation.” Christian Concern has campaigned against numerous pieces of LGBT anti-discrimination legislation, citing that they would create discrimination against Christians.

Williams encouraged Jamaica to keep same-sex intimacy (still referred to in the country’s legal code as “buggery”) illegal at a conference organized by the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society and the Christian Lawyers’ Association in Kingston that she attended with extreme American anti-LGBT activist Peter LaBarbera. At the conference, she suggested Olympic diver Tom Daley is gay because his father died, and that “sometimes a level of abuse” is responsible for one becoming gay.

Williams is the director of the Christian Concern offshoot Christian Legal Centre, whose website says it “defend[s] many Christians who have suffered for their beliefs,” in a similar fashion to the American Alliance Defending Freedom. The Christian Legal Centre has provided legal support to a woman who sued an art gallery for displaying an image of Jesus with an erection and to a man who was relieved of his position as a police officer after sending homophobic emails.

In concert with Alliance Defending Freedom, Christian Concern also runs the Wilberforce Academy, which says its aim is to “train and equip the invited students on what it means to proclaim Christ in public life.” Williams has said this on the Alliance Defense Fund:

The ADF are a fantastic organization. We have been inspired by their work and that of the Blackstone programme, which seeks to raise a new generation of lawyers to defend Christianity in the public sphere. They've got some of the best attorneys in this field and we have the great privilege of hosting them, but they don't pay anything towards the academy.

In 2010, Williams was elected to a five year term as a member of the Church of England General Synod.

Maxim Obukhov

Father Maxim Obukhov is credited by Religious Right leaders as the founder of the pro-life movement in Russia and led the effort to bring the World Congress of Families to Moscow last year. He was instrumental in convening a World Congress of Families “demographic summit” in Russia, which resulted in a statement addressed to world leaders. Part of the statement read:

We call on the governments of all nations and on international institutions to develop immediately a pro-family demographic policy and to adopt a special international pro-family strategy and action plan aimed at consolidating family and marriage, protecting human life from conception to natural death, increasing birth rates, and averting the menace of depopulation.

In 2009, Obukhov drafted an official proposal for WCF to come to Moscow, and the plan was solidified. However, the conferencewas cancelled in response to backlash over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea. An “International Family Forum” sprang up in its place, and many of the same pro-family leaders from the United States and around the world were in attendance.

Obhukhov created the Zhizn Center, an organization connected with the Russian Orthodox Church that dedicates itself to the “dissemination of Christian views on questions of family and marriage” and against abortion rights . He is also secretary of the Church’s bioethics committee and an expert on bioethical issues for the Moscow Patriarchate. World Congress of Families claims the Zhizn Center runs more than 30 crisis-pregnancy centers.

Obhukvhov was part of a group established by the Duma’s committee on family, women and children in 2010 for the purpose of drafting anti-choice legislation. Parts of the legislation drafted by the group, which included no medical professionals, were used in a health reform bill signed by President Dmitry Medvedev in 2011. Proposals that did not make it into legislation attempted to end federal support of all abortion services, require that women receive the approval of their spouses before having an abortion, and require prescriptions for the morning-after pill. Obukhov opposes hormonal birth control.

Obukhov has told LifeSiteNews that he believes the Obama administration’s sanctions on Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, author of the infamous “gay propaganda” ban, following the Ukraine conflict were evidence of Christian persecution. Obuhkov said, "President Obama is using the economic sanctions against Yelena Mizulina to send a very clear message to Russian Christians. There is much talk about a cold war, but President Obama has openly declared war upon Christians who oppose the culture of death both at home and abroad."

PFAW's Right Wing Watch Riles Up the Far Right

At Right Wing Watch – a project of People For the American Way – we know we’ve done our job when we’ve made the Right Wing really, really mad. So if the coverage we’ve been seeing in the right-wing media is any indication, we’ve been doing our job especially well lately. Here’s a roundup of some recent anti-endorsements:

  • The conservative blog Newsbusters calls Right Wing Watch PFAW’s “hit squad” in an article we couldn’t have written better ourselves. In addition to crediting PFAW with “destroying Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s reputation in the 1980s,” the article touts some of Right Wing Watch’s greatest successes – including its coverage of the anti-choice and anti-gay HGTV stars David and Jason Benham. Newsbusters correctly notes that Right Wing Watch broke the news when then-presidential candidate Scott Walker defended mandatory and medically unnecessary ultrasounds as “a cool thing out there” (though they incorrectly allege that the reporting “twisted” Walker’s words). And while the Newsbusters article fails to achieve its goal of discrediting Right Wing Watch, it does provide many great examples of Right Wing Watch’s reporting appearing in major news outlets like USA Today, MSNBC, Salon, Slate, and the Huffington Post.
  • In an interview with Family Research Council Vice President Jerry Boykin, far-right radio host Rick Wiles suggested that the gunman in the recent mas shooting at Umpqua Community College might have been inspired by reading Right Wing Watch. Boykin went on to accuse Right Wing Watch of using the “exact same tactics as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
  • Despite messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s doomsday prophecy, the United States didn’t experience a cataclysmic disaster this past September, which must have rattled right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson who have spent months anticipating it. Right Wing Watch pointed out that the prophecy didn’t come true -- much to the frustration of WND, a Religious Right news site that Right Wing Watch has been reading and covering for years. WND took specific issue with Right Wing Watch blogger Brian Tashman, who had reported on the Cahn prophecy, for his “slander” and “lack of truthfulness.” It’s not clear how pointing out that the world didn’t end last month qualifies as slanderous, but you can read the rest of WND’s criticism here.
  • Right Wing Watch might consider outlandish criticism from the Radical Right to be a sign of a job well done, but many on the Right feel the same way about a mention on Right Wing Watch. Ann Corcoran, an anti-refugee resettlement advocate, has made several appearances on Right Wing Watch for her xenophobic remarks about Syrian refugees, posted on her blog that she considered the coverage to be “a great honor” and “a goal to work toward” for other right-wing activists.

Right Wing Watch is as committed as ever to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement – no matter what they might say about us. Read more Right Wing Watch coverage.


Wayne Allyn Root: Tipping At Restaurants Is 'What Makes America Great'

Right-wing activist Wayne Allyn Root joined Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway on Thursday to discuss the reported FBI investigation into the fantasy sports business, which he said, along with restaurant owner Danny Meyer’s decision to ban tipping in his restaurants, shows that “socialism is just filtering into everything we do in this country.”

Root recalled a detailed story about being refused an off-menu item at a restaurant in Great Britain, which he attributed to the lack of tipping, whereas tipping is “what makes America great.”

This led him back to the topic of the fantasy sports investigation. “Socialism is just filtering into everything we do in this country,” he said, “and to go after a business that’s a hot business, fantasy sports, simply because a bunch of people are making millions of dollars is more of the jealousy of the Obama administration against anyone who actually profits in the United States of America.”

David Daleiden Explains How Discredited Sting Taught Him To Confront The 'Enemy' Of Planned Parenthood

As we explored in our recent report on the Center for Medical Progress’ attacks on Planned Parenthood, CMP founder David Daleiden worked in concert with a few longtime anti-choice activists in his effort to claim that Planned Parenthood violated federal laws with its fetal tissue donation program. One of those activists was Mark Crutcher, who through his Texas-based group Life Dynamics, conducted a very similar undercover video “sting” of fetal tissue donation practices in the late 1990s, with a similar goal of undermining legal abortion.

Crutcher’s claims fell apart when his key witness admitted at a congressional hearing that he had lied about witnessing “profiteering by fetal-tissue providers.” The Omaha World-Herald reported at the time:

[U]nder questioning from the committee, Alberty admitted that he had lied in previous statements made to Life Dynamics, an anti-abortion group in Texas. In a videotape produced by Life Dynamics, a disguised Alberty charged that he had witnessed profiteering by fetal-tissue providers, among a number of charges he later denied in a sworn affidavit.

Alberty also admitted receiving more than $10,000 from Life Dynamics.

On Thursday, Alberty contradicted himself repeatedly, at one point telling the committee he didn't remember if he had put on a dress to disguise himself in the Life Dynamics video.

"When I was under oath, I told the truth," Alberty told the committee. "Anything I said on a videotape when I wasn't under oath is a different story."

Another focus of Life Dynamics’ “investigation” was a middle-man whom they said profited from fetal tissue after obtaining it from a Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas. Planned Parenthood was never implicated in any wrongdoing, and federal prosecutors never found evidence to bring charges against the man Life Dynamics had targeted.

In an in-depth interview with the “Catholic Answers Focus” podcast last week, Daleiden recalled that in 2010 he had a “very detailed” three-hour conversation with Crutcher about this failed sting operation, from which he came away determined to copy Crutcher’s actions, only this time he would be better prepared to confront the “enemy” of Planned Parenthood.

“I felt like it deserves to have a very detailed and sophisticated exposé done about it again, and done in a way that would go even farther than what was done before and do it in a way that wouldn’t allow it to just be ignored or swept under the rug,” he said, “so that was the original inspiration.”

“So I think that Mark Crutcher did groundbreaking work and I think that it was a great victory just for him to get the information out that he did,” Daleiden said. “But I think definitely you always want to learn from how something was done before and if, I wouldn’t say so much mistakes, but just areas where the enemy pushed back really hard and kind of what the best tactics of the enemy were, and wanting to make sure we could learn from the past and have a way to neutralize those in the future.”

He added that as well as learning about “the best tactics of the enemy,” he decided to focus on Planned Parenthood “so that nobody could deny that this was a Planned Parenthood problem and so Planned Parenthood would have to be held to account for their actions.”

Cheryl Sullenger, a top official at Operation Rescue, another extreme anti-choice group that Daleiden turned to for help, has said that Daleiden came into the project sharing “our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood officials in order to “bring an end” to “the abortion industry in America.”

Six states have so far closed investigations into Daleiden’s claims, finding no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood Attackers Slam Group For Ending Fetal Tissue Reimbursements They Criticized

Over the summer, anti-choice activists began accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally profiting off the fetal tissue that a handful of its clinics allow women to donate to medical research. Although only one percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinics currently even offer that option, the women’s health provider’s critics have spent months baselessly claiming that the organization is profiting off the practice.

Those claims have not held up to scrutiny and last week Planned Parenthood announced that its two remaining clinics that legally accept reimbursement for fetal tissue donation will no longer do so in order to completely dispel the rumor that the organization is profiting off donations for medical research.

But, of course, with anti-choice activists Planned Parenthood just can’t win. After the anti-abortion movement spent months claiming that Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of reimbursements for fetal tissue was a big money-making scheme, one Religious Right group is now claiming that the organization’s decision to stop accepting those reimbursements is an even bigger money-making scheme.

In its weekly email newsletter on Friday, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission acknowledged that Planned Parenthood could never have made much money from tissue donation even if it was breaking the law and alleged that the organization is now absorbing all the costs of tissue donation because “they can make even more money by not accepting direct reimbursements.”

PP believes that by giving up the reimbursements, they can win a PR victory by convincing the public that this was merely an indirect attack on abortion rights.

The second, unstated, reason is likely that PP knows they can make even more money by not accepting direct reimbursements. Less than 1 percent of PP’s clinics earn any money by being compensated for fetal tissue donations. But now PP can solicit funding from 100 percent of their donor base to cover the cost of the fetal remains they provide to researchers.

It not surely no coincidence that PP announced the policy just before they begin their fundraising campaign for end-of-year donations. By overhyping their role in fetal tissue research—what they call “this limited but important work”—they will convince their donor base that they have made a noble sacrifice that will require compensation. Overall, PP is likely to make much more money from pro-abortion advocates by fundraising off this issue than they ever made in direct compensation from actual fetal tissue donations.

Right-Wing Activists Claim DOJ Domestic Terrorism Chief Will Target Veterans And Conservatives

Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced the creation of a new position for a “domestic terrorism counsel” to fight homegrown extremism, which DOJ national security head John Carlin said could be “motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate — anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs” because “when it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs."

So, naturally, WorldNetDaily reported on the story today with the headline “New Obama Czar Will Hunt ‘Right-Wing’ Extremists” and interviewed a pair of right-wing activists who warned that it is all a plot to “target” and “intimidate” political opponents in the “old Soviet model.”

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told WND that the new position will “become the vehicle through which the Justice Department can target those who oppose the Obama agenda,” adding, “If a totalitarian leftist had to write a description for a government operation to suppress his enemies, this would be it.”

The Rutherford institute’s John Whitehead, meanwhile, warned that the DOJ will use the new position to go after gun owners, veterans, “abortion activists, tea-party activists [and] constitutionalists.”

Somehow, this reaction does not surprise us. After all, when the Department of Homeland Security released a report on domestic right-wing terrorism back in 2009, right-wing groups raised a stink, leading to the “gutting” of the DHS unit investigating such attacks.

As the Obama administration comes down to its final months in office, look for more brazen, racially charged steps that target law-abiding American citizens who express political views that don’t line up with those of the administration, Fitton said.

“This is going to become the vehicle through which the Justice Department can target those who oppose the Obama agenda,” he said. “This is a solution in search of a problem.”

“The fantasy of right-wing extremists trying to overthrow the government has always been a liberal fantasy,” Fitton said. “They write books off it. They make movies off it and raise money off it. Now they’re endorsing it as reality, and it’s truly frightening.”

By shifting resources away from international terrorist organizations and putting them into a new focus on domestic lone-wolf “extremists,” the Obama administration is sending a message to its enemies, Fitton said.

“The term ‘anti-government views’ ranges from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, in my estimation. When they talk about ‘racist views,’ are they talking about La Raza (The Race), or are they talking about people opposed to the immigration crisis at our border?”

“This is a leftist fantasy,” he continued. “If a totalitarian leftist had to write a description for a government operation to suppress his enemies, this would be it.”


“Anybody with a gun now, in my opinion, is an extremist, at least as viewed by this government,” Whitehead said. “You’re going to be watched. Be careful what you say on Facebook. The wrong kind of joke will put you on the extremist list, because the government agents – I will tell you this – they do not have a sense of humor.”

If you want to see the future of law enforcement, watch the film “Minority Report,” a drama about “pre-crime” fighting police engaged 24/7 with a population addicted to social media and the Internet, Whitehead said.

“They’re already saying ‘we’re going against violent extremists,’ but who are they?” Whitehead said. “Well automatically under the Obama administration you are an extremist if you own a gun.”

“So we’re dealing with an entity that has no idea about representative government. They’ve made up their mind who constitutes an extremist, and an extremist is a terrorist, an enemy of the state,” Whitehead said. “Veterans are already on the list, as are abortion activists, tea-party activists, constitutionalists. I know the vets are because we have them calling us every day.

“These are all things that should be debated openly, but now you’re having cities moving into U.N. programs, police being federalized and internationalized and now targeting their own people as enemies of the state,” he added. “I’m a student of history, and I see us repeating history. We’re following the Chinese model, which is basically the old Soviet model.”

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious