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Linda Harvey Cites Harassment Hoax To Rail Against 'Diabolical' Transgender Rights

Yesterday, Linda Harvey of Mission America cited a hoax story of a transgender girl in Florence, Colorado, supposedly harassing other students in school. Even though the story was debunked earlier this month, Religious Right activists and conservative news outlets ran with the story.

The Pacific Justice Institute concocted the smear campaign against the Colorado student, who has since been placed on suicide watch, and has since admitted that it has no evidence to back up the charges.

But since such fictitious tales like a boy getting disciplined in school for praying and Planned Parenthood teaching how to cover up domestic abuse never seem to die if they support Religious Right conspiracy theories, Harvey played up the discredited harassment claims anyway and called it a sign that liberals are “using our children as guinea pigs” for their “diabolical experiments.”

Do you ever feel like you’ve just landed on a different planet? I do when I learn about situations like the following. Several girls at a school in Colorado are finding out just exactly what is involved in transgender rights. An older boy has been entering the girls’ restroom at Florence High School in Florence, Colorado, claiming he’s a female and then he’s apparently been harassing some of the actual, biological girls. But when the girls’ families contacted the school, did this legitimate complaint receive respectful attention from officials? Not exactly. The school is defending this aggressive boy and his rights and the privacy rights of the girls are being waved away as not that important.



There are always going to be healthy boundaries of privacy and modesty that we as Christians learn through our respect for ourselves as males and females and our respect for others, from little children to the elderly. These appropriate boundaries are being challenged and where possible smashed by the left, sometimes using our children as guinea pigs for these diabolical experiments. We must be courageous to stand up to these challenges and teach our children to do the same.

Iowa Senate Candidate Bruce Braley Stands Against Citizens United

The Democratic frontrunner in the 2014 Iowa Senate race, US Representative Bruce Braley (D-IA01), is placing the issue of money in politics front and center in his campaign.

On Sunday, Representative Braley sent an email to his supporters requesting they sign a petition to stand with him “to stop more money from flooding our election system.” The letter referred to McCutcheon v. FEC – a campaign finance case that the Court is hearing this term – and the infamous Citizens United decision, which Braley said is “destroying the election process.”

The American public overwhelmingly agrees with Representative Braley’s assessment, but Braley, a longtime supporter of campaign finance reform, has proven he’s not in the “money in politics” fight just because of public opinion.

Prior to Citizens United in the 111th Congress, Braley cosponsored the “Fair Elections Now Act,” a bill that provided for public financing of congressional campaigns. Following Citizens United, in 2010 and 2012 he cosponsored the DISCLOSE Act, which, had it not been blocked by Republican filibusters, would have stopped “dark money” social welfare organizations and trade associations from spending anonymously in federal elections.

Braley has personal experience with these Citizens United-empowered dark money groups. As People For the American Way documented in “Citizens Blindsided,” during the 2010 election, Braley was the target of a large influx of anonymous outside spending from the American Future Fund, a secretive group without an office or even a website.

In May 2012, Braley spoke about the attack ads in an appearance on The Rachel Maddow Show. In the interview, Braley referred to Citizens United as the “worst thing to happen to democracy in [his] lifetime” and spoke about the implications of the decision:

… now, we can see that very powerful moneyed interests are trying to buy the government they want and have no restrictions—literally—on what they can spend. And that’s why Americans have to wake up and realize they need to ask the tough questions when they see these ads on TV and they have innocuous names – paid for by the American Future fund. Most people don’t realize that this is really a highly coordinated effort to get rid of people who speak truth to power and aren’t going to be swayed by some of these powerful special interests [emphasis added].

In 2014 in Iowa, voters have the chance to stand with Representative Braley and against “these powerful special interests.” They want to dominate the political process by buying it; he wants to keep the “for sale” sign off the US Senate.

 

PFAW

E.W. Jackson: God Created The Tea Party

Following his outburst against gay service members at a 2011 Virginia Family Forum meeting, E.W. Jackson claimed that God is behind the Tea Party movement. Jackson, who is now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, said that the 2008 election “broke my heart” and didn’t understand why God would allow the “grave danger” of Obama’s election…until realizing it was part of God’s plan to beget the Tea Party.

“The Tea Party is a move of God to stir this nation’s back to its conscience and back to its senses,” Jackson told conservative activists. “I remember saying, God we prayed Lord but we didn’t win, but you know what God said to me? ‘You won, you won.’ I couldn’t figure out what that meant until I began to hear some of the things I heard and then I realized what it meant: it meant that maybe the best thing that has ever happened to this country was the election of the last president because he has awakened a sleeping giant and I trust that now that we’re awake we will never go back to sleep again.”

Of course, recent polls show that opposition to the Tea Party nationwide and among Virginians has hit record highs.

Cruz To Join Christian Nation Activists In South Carolina

Update, 10/30: The Dallas Morning News is now reporting that Mike Lee will not be attending the summit.

Ted Cruz and Tim Scott will be joining Religious Right leaders in South Carolina, an early primary state, in the beginning of November for a Renewal Project conference organized by David Lane.

Lane believes that the US may soon face car bombings as a form of divine retribution over gay rights and legal abortion, and believes that his Renewal Projects can activate enough pastors and conservative voters to save America.

Wayne Slater of the Dallas Morning News reports that Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) will be attending as well. It is a tad ironic that Lee, a Mormon, would be addressing a summit hosted by Lane, who promoted attacks against “the false god of Mormonism” during the last primary campaign against Mitt Romney.

But Lane’s push to move the GOP towards embracing the Religious Right’s agenda has made him a weighty figure, as over the summer Republican leaders including Cruz, Rand Paul and Reince Priebus attended his Iowa summit.

American Family Association founder Don Wildmon, Religious Right historian William Federer and pastors Laurence White and Ken Graves are also listed as featured speakers.

Wildmon for decades has preached the virtues of censorship and supposed evils of homosexuality, while Federer believes that President Obama and Hillary Clinton are advancing Sharia law and has predicted that the military will be used to oppress gay rights opponents (along with several Obama “October surprises” which never materialized).

Not to be outdone, White has regularly predicted America’s imminent doom and Graves made a name for himself by offering his special insights on gay family dynamics.

Fact Checker Rewrites History of GOP Obstruction of Judicial Nominees

When Democrats have filed cloture on judicial nominations, it has been a response to unprecedented GOP obstruction.
PFAW

E.W. Jackson: God Will Stop Blessing Military Because of Gay Rights

At a 2011 Virginia Family Foundation summit, E.W. Jackson – now the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor – said that God will stop blessing the U.S. military because of a rule that allows chaplains to marry gay service members following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell. Jackson told the group that “our military is under attack” by those who want to allow chaplains to marry same-sex couples.

Jackson, who has made a career out of making extreme anti-gay statements, warned: “How in the world can we expect our military to be blessed by the hand of almighty God if we allow our military to become the equivalent of Sodom and Gomorrah? God is not pleased.”

Watch:

E.W. Jackson: More Guns Needed In Schools

E.W. Jackson, the Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, told a Republican forum prior to his nomination that a plan to have armed guards in schools didn’t go far enough to prevent school shootings.

He said that “every person who had a concealed carry permit and was trained to use a firearm” should be “allowed to bring that firearm to school,” adding that he believes it is a Second Amendment right to bring guns to schools.

Jackson has been endorsed by the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America, and earlier this year blamed urban violence on young people “treating [their] bodies as sexual objects.”

Cuccinelli, 2009: Republican Areas Are The 'Real Virginia'

Back in 2009, then-State Senator Ken Cuccinelli told the Shenandoah County Republican Party that it was nice to leave Richmond for the heavily Republican county because “the real Virginia is here.”

Cuccinelli, now the GOP nominee for governor, made the remark while defending Sarah Palin’s famous comment that conservative areas represent the “real America” and are more “pro-America” than the rest of the country.

Cuccinelli was also echoing the remarks of the McCain-Palin campaign’s Nancy Pfotenhauer, who said in 2008 that the more conservative regions outside of northern Virginia are the “real Virginia.”

In 2006, then-Sen. George Allen told a Democratic campaign worker of of Indian descent: “Let's give a welcome to Macaca here. Welcome to America and the real world of Virginia.”

Cuccinelli also discussed his fight to defund Planned Parenthood and defend anti-gay marriage laws in a video of the event posted by a Virginia Republican activist.

Meet the Group Trying To Stop President Obama From Filling Vacancies on Federal Courts

Later this week, the Senate will vote on ending the Republican filibuster of Patricia Millett, the first of President Obama’s three nominees to fill vacancies on the influential US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit. Republican senators have no beef with Millett personally (she’s a renowned appellate attorney, military spouse and black belt), but they’re still threatening to block all three nominees because, they contend, President Obama is attempting to “pack” the 11-member court by going through the constitutionally mandated process to fill its three vacancies.

Backing up this obstruction effort, one familiar outside group has again stepped up to carry Republicans’ water: the Judicial Crisis Network.

In the 2004, as the battle was heating up over confirming some of President Bush’s most far-right nominees, former Bush-Cheney religious right outreach staffer Gary Marx and former Justice Thomas clerk Wendy Long teamed up to found a group called the Judicial Confirmation Network, housed in the offices of the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice and dedicated to “working to ensure a fair appointment process of highly qualified judges and justices.”

Four years later, the Judicial Confirmation Network found itself in a bind when President Obama was elected to be the one nominating federal judges. All of a sudden, JCN lost interest in working to confirm “highly qualified judges and justices” to the bench. So, in 2010 the group changed its name to the Judicial Crisis Network and announced that its mission would heretofore be “to confront the radical legal and legislative threats facing our country” – that is, trying to prevent President Obama from filling seats on the federal courts with highly qualified judges and justices.

Today, the Judicial Crisis Network has emerged as the primary outside group working to prevent the Senate from confirming President Obama’s three nominees to fill the three vacancies on the influential US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit. JCN is running radio ads targeting moderate senators urging them to filibuster the three nominees and has launched a snazzy website with infographics purporting to show that President Obama’s nominating qualified people to existing judicial vacancies amounts to “court packing.”

Our colleague Paul Gordon has done a thorough point-by-point takedown of JCN’s “court packing” infographics, but the bottom line is this: Like Senate Republicans who are now trying to permanently cap the DC Circuit at eight judges, JCN sang an entirely different tune when it was a Republican president was doing the nominating.

In the era when JCN was the Judicial Confirmation Network, President Bush had four nominees confirmed to the DC Circuit, bringing its total number of active judges up to 11. Meanwhile, due to Republican obstruction, President Obama has had just one nominee confirmed to the court, bringing the total number of judges on the court to eight.

JCN and Republican senators contend that the DC Circuit’s caseload is significantly lower now than it was then, meriting a reduction of the number of judges on the court. That’s simply not true [pdf]. For instance, in June 2005, when the Senate confirmed far-right Bush nominees Janice Rogers Brown and Thomas Griffith to the tenth and eleventh seats on the DC Circuit, there were 1,313 cases pending before the court. Today, as the GOP is trying to cap the court at eight judges, it is facing 1,479 pending cases.

In 2005, the Judicial Confirmation Network was reminding senators of their “obligation to bring these nominations to the floor for a fair vote.” Today, the Judicial Crisis Network is urging senators to deny floor votes to nominees in the same position.

Later today, JCN’s chief counsel Carrie Severino will be a witness at a House hearing on the DC Circuit titled “Are More Judges Always the Answer?” We can guess that Severino’s public answer to that question will be “no.” But a more forthright answer would be, “It depends who’s nominating them.”
 

Concerned Women for America Tries to Discourage Young People From Getting Health Insurance

Much of the success of the Affordable Care Act depends on enough young, healthy people signing up for health care coverage to offset the cost for insurance companies of covering a larger pool of older and less healthy people. That’s why ACA’s supporters are investing a lot of time and energy in signing these “young invincibles” up for coverage….and why the law’s opponents are determined to discourage young people from acquiring health insurance plans. (See the ridiculous, more than a little ironic, ad by the Koch-backed Generation Opportunity showing a scary Uncle Sam delivering a gynecological exam.)

Concerned Women for America is now joining other right-wing groups in trying to discourage young people from signing up for insurance on the ACA’s exchanges. In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network on Friday, CWA spokeswoman Alison Howard said healthy young people shouldn’t be called “young invincibles” but “young subsidizers” and insisted “they’re not buying in to having to subsidize a government-run program that’s a complete fail.”

Howard urged listeners to "continue to pray for our nation's leaders, that they have wisdom and clarity of how to fix this very broken problem and help us completely heal as a country."

Numbers USA To Marco Rubio: Too Little, Too Late

Sen. Marco Rubio’s politically transparent U-turn on immigration reform may not be paying dividends among anti-immigrant activists as he would have hoped. The Florida Republican recently came out against the very comprehensive reform legislation he sponsored and helped pass in the Senate, but one of the country’s top opponents of his bill think it’s too little, too late.

NumbersUSA Director of Government Relations Rosemary Jenks told Sandy Rios yesterday that Rubio has already “poisoned the well” and now her group will urge congressman to vote against any immigration bill coming out of the House.

Rios: Do you think that Marco Rubio’s shift, slight shift, is helpful?

Jenks: Unfortunately, Rubio set out his positions in the Gang of 8 bill and that bill has essentially poisoned the well. We can’t go forward with a piecemeal approach now because that bill is sitting there, waiting for the House to pass any immigration bill so that Harry Reid can take that bill and substitute in S. 744, the Senate Gang of 8 bill, and then send it back to the House for a conference. That’s the path. So at this point, because that bill has poisoned the well, it’s too late for Marco Rubio to say, ‘oh you know I believed in a piecemeal approach all along and that’s what we should do.

Senator Nelson cosponsors ENDA, leaves 3 votes to go, contact your senators now

Every vote will be critical to passage. Thank those already in support for protecting LGBT workers. Tell those who aren't yet on board to say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists.
PFAW

Bradlee Dean: Communists Invented Word 'Racism'

Bradlee Dean tours schools and churches around the country to instruct kids about Christian Nationalism and the evils of abortion rights and homosexuality, but sometimes on his Sons Of Liberty radio show he also delves into history. Over the weekend, for example, Dean said that the word “racism” wouldn’t even exist…if it weren’t for “that devil Trotsky.” 

While speaking to his wife/co-host Stephanie Dean (his former co-host and Dean’s entire staff recently quit) about why a new article called him “anti-gay” rather than “pro-family,” Dean latched onto an urban legend about how Leon Trotsky coined the word “racism” in order to “to browbeat dissenters.”

“So what they do is they would just belittle them — by the way, this is what you’re seeing across America today, that is communism from A-Z and it was contrived directly from that devil Trotsky,” Dean said.

He even claimed that Trotsky was a propagandist for Joseph Stalin…even though they were fierce rivals and Stalin actually had him killed.

This is this rhetoric that comes from Trotsky back in the 30s. Trotsky had actually brought up the word ‘racist’, it was contrived from that devil back then, he was a revolutionary under Stalin. Just saying, responding what to you just asked me pretty little princess, he used the word racist to browbeat dissenters. In other words, he created the word racism to combat those that weren’t in agreement with their ideology, their totalitarianism. So what they do is they would just belittle them — by the way, this is what you’re seeing across America today, that is communism from A-Z and it was contrived directly from that devil Trotsky.

Bryan Fischer Will Not Have Sex With A Man!

Speaking yesterday with a caller who identified himself as a “non-practicing homosexual,” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association reaffirmed his belief that homosexuality “is a matter of choice.” When the caller asked if Fischer “could have sex with a man,” Fischer was flummoxed and said he would never even begin to think about having gay sex.

When the caller pointed out the hypocrisy in Fischer’s position that gay men should simply just “choose” to see women, the AFA spokesman, still puzzled, said, “If an individual does not have a legitimate way to satisfy their sexual impulses, then the path that God has designed for them is the path of abstinence, chastity and celibacy.”

Watch:

Caller: Could you have sex with a man?

Fischer: I’m sorry?

Caller: Could you have sex with a man?

Fischer: Would I?

Caller: Could you?

Fischer: No.

Caller: I thought it was a choice?

Fischer: Sure it is, I’m just saying it’s emotionally, morally, mentally impossible for me—

Caller: But you just told me that you couldn’t do it?

Fischer: Yeah, I couldn’t do it, there was no way; there is nothing in me that would let me do that.

Caller: OK. How do you think I feel about women?

Fischer: I don’t know. How do you feel about women?

Caller: There ain’t no way.

GOP Congressman: Tornado Relief Different Than Sandy Aid Because Oklahomans Showed 'Self-Responsibility'

When Moore, Oklahoma, was hit with a devastating tornado last spring, a number of Oklahoma lawmakers were put in a tough position. While both Oklahoma senators and Reps. Jim Bridenstone, Markwayne Mullin and James Lankford had voted against a $50 billion aid package to provide disaster relief to the East Coast after Hurricane Sandy, they had no problem with asking for federal aid for their own state. Ultimately, affected communities in Oklahoma ended up receiving over $25 million in federal aid.

But that hasn’t stopped Oklahoma Republicans from downplaying the role the federal government played in disaster relief in Moore. Like Sen. Jim Inhofe, who said that federal aid to Moore would be “totally different” than Sandy relief, Rep. Mullin told a town hall meeting this summer that the aftermath of the Oklahoma tornado, unlike Sandy, showed the triumph of “self-responsibility.” The tornado in Oklahoma actually “proved my point” on Sandy relief, he said, because unlike those affected by Sandy, “we started taking care of ourselves, neighbor taking care of neighbors, and that’s what we had to do.”

This may come as a surprise to the many Sandy survivors who lent helping hands to their neighbors during and after the storm.

Mullin’s remarks came in response to a question about the Patriot Act and NSA surveillance, which he used as a pivot to talk about the role of government in disaster relief.

“At some point, like I say, we’ve got to be responsible for ourselves,” he said. “So, I can’t tell you exactly how I’ll vote on [Patriot Act repeal] because I haven’t seen it, but I can tell you what I’ll refer back to: self-responsibility. I’m ok with voting no on some of this stuff, but I’m also ok with knowing I’ve got to stand on my own two feet.”

Leader Reid announces ENDA vote – contact Senate now

Every vote will be critical to passage. Thank those already in support for protecting LGBT workers. Tell those who aren't yet on board to say yes to common sense and no to anti-gay extremists.
PFAW

Fischer: Military Preparing To Kill Christians, Surround Values Voter Summit

The American Family Association is once again telling its radio network’s listeners that the Obama administration is preparing the military to kill Christians. Upset that the AFA was included on an Army training session’s list of hate groups, AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer on Friday charged that the Armed Forces will use “lethal force” against Christians and Tea Party activists, and may even “surround” the hotel hosting next year’s Values Voter Summit.

“The military is being conditioned to use weapons on the American Family Association. The soldiers are being conditioned in their brains to think of evangelicals, Tea Partyers, the American Family Association and the Family Research Council as domestic enemies that may have to be neutralized by lethal force,” Fischer maintained. “The people you got to watch out for, you may have to turn your tanks on, are American Family Association.”

Watch:

Tea Party Groups Warn GOP 'Traitors'

Tea Party groups are still reeling from the unsuccessful push by Sen. Ted Cruz and his allies to use a government shutdown to force the defunding of the Affordable Care Act, blaming RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) for their failure.

Tea Party Nation emailed members today urging them not to support so-called RINOs, even in the general election:

In every state where there is a RINO running for the Senate and certain establishment Republicans are running for reelection in the House, like John Boehner and Eric Cantor, conservatives need to agree on one challenger to support against the incumbent.

If that challenger wins, then everyone supports the challenger in the November 2014 elections. If the challenger fails, then instead of grudgingly supporting the establishment Republican, we all then need to fall back to supporting an independent or a third party candidate who is worthy of support.

Meanwhile, the Tea Party Leadership Fund is urging “true conservatives” to run campaigns against the 87 House Republican “traitors” who backed a deal to end the government shutdown and prevent a default on the debt:

FRC Cites Bogus George Washington Story To Promote Christian Nationalism

The Family Research Council is outraged that the Air Force Academy has made it optional to say “So help me God” in its honor oath, claiming that the new policy is discriminatory against religious cadets…even though anyone can still say the phrase. On his radio program today, Tony Perkins of FRC said that the new policy is disrespectful of George Washington:

Who's running the United States Air Force: General Mark Welsh or Mikey Weinstein? Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Anti-Christian crusader Mikey Weinstein recently probed the Air Force Academy. The Air Force Academy Superintendent responded in 68 minutes, when he marked down his objections to the phrase, "So help me God," contained in the Academy honor code. Weinstein has been trying to drive Evangelicals out of the Academy for over a decade. During the tenure of one Superintendent, he boasted that he had a bath code that immediately connected him with the Academy boss. His complaint this time was a poster that included the honor oath with the phrase, "So help me God." Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson said the oath is being reviewed because the Academy values an inclusive environment that promotes dignity and respect for all. Really? Does that include those like General George Washington who initiated the phrase, "So help me God," or does that inclusion only make room for those who want to dismantle America's Christian heritage?

On the same note, FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell cited Washington as a reason to keep the phrase a requirement:

Let's see: Why is that phrase so offensive? George Washington was a pretty successful general. And he took the oath as our first President in New York City on April 30, 1789.

When Chancellor Livingston swore Washington in as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, Washington added four words to the Constitutionally prescribed oath:

So Help Me God

Question for Mikey and Murfs: If George Washington could add those four words, and if every President since could add those four words, why should they offend an Air Force Academy cadet?

But as George Mason University history professor Peter Henriques writes, the story about Washington is most certainly a myth. In fact, James Madison excluded the words “So help me God” while working on a committee drafting an oath bill.

There is absolutely no extant contemporary evidence that President Washington altered the language of the oath as laid down in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” A long letter by the French foreign minister Comte de Moustier, who attended the ceremony, repeated the oath verbatim and did not include the additional words. Apparently, it was not until 65 years after the event that the story that Washington added this phrase first appeared in a published volume. In his book, The Republican Court, Rufus Griswold cited a childhood memory of Washington Irving as his source. It took another 27 years before the first clearly documented case of a President adding the words, “So help me God,” was recorded — when Chester A. Arthur took the oath in 1881.



Proponents of the myth contend that Washington had expressed no personal objection to saying “So help me God” and had routinely taken such oaths during the colonial era. Perhaps, they contend, he simply added it as an afterthought or because he was caught up in the solemnity and reverence of the moment. While at first glance this is plausible, it seems certain that any such modification of the oath would have created comment at the time that would have survived in the historical record.

The reason for this assertion is at exactly the same time as these inaugural events were unfolding, the first Congress was debating what oath the new members of the new federal government should take so as to comply with the Constitution. Article Six called for an oath but specifically added, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Early arrivals to the House of Representatives had taken an oath that included the words, “So help me God.” But, following the lead of a committee led by James Madison, legislators passed a new oath act on April 27, 1789 — just three days before Washington’s inauguration — that excluded the words “So help me God.” The Senate, after adding unrelated amendments, passed the bill on May 5, 1789. Would the Senate have passed an oath bill without the words, “So help me God,” only five days after the great hero of the American people “solemnly” and “with fervor” added them to his own oath? And do so without any contemporary comment surviving?

Taken together, the complete lack of contemporary evidence, George Washington’s political philosophy of strictly following the Constitution and the concurrent debate over the proper wording of oaths under the new Constitution make it virtually certain that George Washington did not add the words “So help me God” to his inaugural oath.

The New York Times adds:

It’s no surprise, then, that Washington should become the subject of the recent genre of biographical writing that focuses on the machinery of fame and the ways in which it manipulates, ignores, embellishes or distorts the known facts about a famous individual’s life and work. In “Inventing George Washington,” Edward G. Lengel — editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington and a professor at the University of Virginia — says he intends to examine “Washington myths and mythmakers” and trace “the means by which they have defined and redefined the founder from the beginning of the 19th century up to the present day.”

...

In addition, Mr. Lengel says, many efforts have been made to “prove” that Washington added the phrase “so help me God” to the presidential oath of office in 1789, even though “the evidence is against” this argument: “There are no contemporary accounts indicating that Washington said ‘so help me God.’ Indeed, the Comte de Moustier, the French foreign minister, who stood near Washington as he took the oath and recorded it word for word, did not include the phrase in his meticulous account of the event.”

“In sum,” Mr. Lengel argues, “any attempt to prove that Washington added the words ‘so help me God’ requires mental gymnastics of the sort that would do credit to the finest artist of the flying trapeze. How much easier, then, just to assert over and over that it happened without making any attempt to justify it in the historical record and then appeal to it as a ‘tradition’ that must never be broken. Such, at least, has been the approach taken by defenders of this story since its first appearance in 1854, and the results have met their desires. Since Chester Arthur in 1881, presidents have included the words in almost every known oath of office, with greater and lesser degrees of drama. Though atheists, secular humanists and outraged academics occasionally pop up to protest, the tradition has become set in stone.”

Schlafly: 'It's The Statue Of Liberty, Not The Statue Of Immigration'

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly is sick and tired of people invoking the Statue of Liberty to advocate for fixing our immigration laws.

In a radio commentary today Schlafly – who previously argued that the Bible’s mandate for “compassion” doesn’t apply to immigrants – commemorates the anniversary of the dedication of the Statue of Liberty by declaring that the statue “has nothing whatsoever to do with immigration.” Instead, she argued, “people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plague on the base of the statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the statue as an invitation to open immigration.”

“Remember, it’s the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration,” she concludes.

While Schlafly is correct that the Statue of Liberty was not originally meant by the French to commemorate immigration, it quickly became a symbol of America’s promise for immigrants. As a National Parks Service historian told the New York Times, the statue “became really famous among immigrants. And it was really immigrants that lifted her up to a sort of a glory that was probably before America really fully embraced her.” The addition of the plaque with Emma Lazarus’ poem “The New Colossus” 20 years after the statue’s erection merely reinforced this symbolic value.

Schlafly somewhat undermines her case by quoting speeches from presidents who were very aware of the statue’s symbolic value. Schlafly selectively quotes Franklin D. Roosevelt’s speech at the fiftieth anniversary of the dedication of the statue…a speech that was all about the importance of immigrants to American life. Likewise, she quotes Ronald Reagan’s speech at the statue’s centennial, which was also focused on the statue’s symbolism of a nation of immigrants. “Which of us does not think of other grandfathers and grandmothers, from so many places around the globe, for whom this statue was the first glimpse of America?” he asked.

But no, Schlafly says, “The statue has nothing to do with immigration.”

The Statue of Liberty is probably the most identifying symbol of America. It's almost like a religious shrine for Americans. Today is the anniversary of its dedication on October 28, 1886. A gift from France, it was built by Gustav Eiffel, the builder of the Eiffel Tower, and designed by Auguste Bartholdi, who wrote this about the Statue of Liberty: "The statue was born for this place which inspired its conception. May God be pleased to bless my efforts and my work, and to crown it with success, the duration and moral influence which it ought to have."

On the Statue of Liberty's 50th anniversary in 1936, President Franklin D. Roosevelt stated: "The Almighty did prepare this American continent to be a place of the second chance.... Millions have ... found ... freedom of opportunity, freedom of thought, freedom to worship God." President Dwight Eisenhower stated in 1954: "It represents ... a nation whose greatness is based on a firm unshakable belief that all of us mere mortals are dependent upon the mercy of a Superior Being." When the Statue of Liberty was relighted after a restoration, President Ronald Reagan said in 1986: "I've always thought ... that God had His reasons for placing this land here between two great oceans..."

The Statue of Liberty memorializes the unique liberty we enjoy in America. It has nothing whatever to do with immigration. It's most unfortunate that people who had nothing to do with this great gift from the French were allowed to paste a plaque on the base of the Statue with a quotation that has misrepresented the Statue as an invitation to open immigration. The Statue has nothing to do with immigration.

Remember, it's the Statue of Liberty, not the Statue of Immigration.
 

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