Back in April we reported on a suit filed against TBN – the right-wing televangelism powerhouse based in Orange County, California – by Brittany Koper, a granddaughter of TBN founders Paul and Jan Crouch and a former senior executive at the organization. The suit alleged “multiple cover-ups of sexual and criminal scandals,” including a cover-up of a “bloody sexual assault.” A new suit, filed last week by Koper’s 19-year-old sister Carra Crouch, sheds signficant light on the allegation.
A granddaughter of Trinity Broadcasting Network founders Jan and Paul Crouch filed a lawsuit Monday alleging that she was plied with alcohol and raped by a TBN employee when she was just 13 — and that her family covered up the incident, rather than report it to authorities, to protect TBN’s reputation.Carra Crouch, now 19, was distraught after the 2006 assault by a 30-year-old man, and told her grandmother what had happened. “Jan (Crouch) became furious and began screaming at Ms. Crouch, a thirteen year old girl, and began telling her ‘it is your fault,’” according to the suit.Carra Crouch then told John Casoria, TBN’s in-house counsel and her second cousin; he became agitated and told her that he didn’t believe her, it says. “He elaborated by stating he further believed she was already sexually active ‘so it did not really matter’ and he ‘believed she may have propositioned him,’ ” the suit alleges.
The 30-year-old TBN employee, who Crouch had known for years, wound up in her room and ordered a bottle of wine from room service on Trinity’s account (“Trinity Broadcasting makes a regular practice of providing alcohol to its employees during business meetings”), the suit alleges. He coerced her to drink it “in an attempt to get her intoxicated,” and she did, it says. She asked him to leave her room, and he responded by giving her a glass of water to “help her feel better.”Carra Crouch drank the glass of water and passed out immediately, according to the suit. When she awoke the next morning, the man was lying next to her, there was blood on the bed sheets, and she had “severe pain and soreness in her body in places which indicated she had been molested and raped,” it alleges. She locked herself in the bathroom and screamed at the man to leave her room, and returned to California that day.That glass of water, Crouch now believes, contained a date rape drug which caused her to pass out.
Casoria, TBN’s in-house attorney, fired him over the telephone, saying Trinity had gathered enough evidence to terminate him with cause, that the evidence was “most probably sufficient to bring criminal charges” against him, and that Trinity would not disclose the evidence to the police if he would not file for unemployment, worker’s compensation or an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission claim, the suit alleges.
The U.S. Supreme Court this morning refused to reconsider its flawed Citizens United decision and summarily reversed a Montana Supreme Court decision by a 5-4 majority. The ruling struck down the state’s century-old Corrupt Practices Act, which prohibited corporate spending in elections. The Montana court had defended the constitutionality of its longstanding law, citing the state’s unique history of political corruption, the many factors that distinguish state and local races from the federal races, and the overwhelming power of corporate election spending to corrupt or create the appearance of corruption.
“In the two years since the Citizens United decision, the damage our democracy has suffered has been obvious,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “The decision has profoundly distorted our electoral system and handed unprecedented power to corporate interests. The Court’s insistence that unlimited corporate spending doesn’t create the appearance of corruption flies in the face of common sense, the opinion of the American people and the facts. Aside from the five people who wrote the original decision two years ago, it’s difficult to find anyone who thinks that candidates can benefit from million dollar checks written to their SuperPACs without the ‘appearance of corruption.’ When faced with facts that clearly disprove a central premise of Citizens United, it’s unfortunate that the Supreme Court chose to double down on its error.
“Today’s decision affirms the need to reverse Citizens United by amending the Constitution. I’m proud of the hundreds of thousands of Americans who have joined our movement to do just that.”
Americans overwhelmingly support constitutional remedies to overturn Citizens United. Under the banner of United For the People, more than 100 organizations, over 250 states and localities, and nearly 1700 public officials have officially endorsed amending the Constitution to overturn Citizens United.
The Supreme Court invalidated most provisions of Arizona’s draconian anti-immigration law, known as S.B. 1070, including Section 6 which granted state police greater authority than federal officers to make warrantless arrests of anyone they suspected of being undocumented. The decision upholds, however, the clearly discriminatory Section 2b – the “show me your papers” provision – which allows police to demand proof of immigration status from individuals they stop, detain or arrest. The Court did not rule on challenges to that provision which question its discriminatory effects. It will likely hear additional challenges on those grounds at a later time.
“Today’s decision is a partial but important victory against S.B. 1070,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, “and yet another reminder of how important it is that Congress move quickly to pass comprehensive immigration reform. The Court’s decision to uphold, for now, one of the most oppressive provisions of S.B. 1070 makes it painfully obvious how damaging the Republican obstruction on comprehensive immigration reform has been. No one should be forced to prove their right to be in this country simply because of the way they look, dress, or speak. These are not the American values we treasure, and we will continue to fight against these provisions in the courts, the Congress, and the halls of state legislatures.
“It’s deeply concerning that Section 2b is still in effect—especially given the reckless and dangerous rhetoric of Governor Brewer and Sheriff Arpaio. Today’s decision is important, but it is certainly not the end of this fight.
“The President recently took a courageous step to help young people – brought to the United States through no fault of their own – stay in this country and continue to contribute to their communities. Republicans in Congress should follow this example and suspend their obstruction of meaningful comprehensive reform to address the immigration crisis. Continuing to shirk that responsibility encourages dangerous state laws that threaten our civil liberties and harms hardworking individuals who have worked hard to live up to American ideals.”
Truth in Action Ministries has released yet another short film chronicling America’s supposed moral decline and spiritual collapse. In Losing Liberty, hosts Jerry Newcombe and Jennifer Kennedy Cassidy, daughter of late televangelist D. James Kennedy, insisted that America is a “Christian nation” but that secularists are “working day and night to unmoor of us from our Christian foundations.” According to the film, America is turning into a dystopian society much like The Hunger Games, the trilogy about a dictatorial regime which forces children to fight to the death each year. “One can’t help but wonder, will our future will be similar if our nation continues in the direction we are headed,” Carmen Pate asks.
After activist Dee Wampler insisted that America was much better off in the 1950s and 1960s, South African evangelist Peter Hammond said there is a “secular humanist assault on our Christian heritage” that is leading to tyranny. “It’s the Christian foundation of our foundation that brought us freedom,” said John Rabe, who hosts the organization’s radio show Truth that Transforms alongside Pate, “to turn away from that would take what’s already disastrous and make it infinitely worse.”
As Hammond discussed “everything that is evil in this world,” the film displayed images of the September 11 attacks, bombings, drug abuse, Adolf Hitler…and a married lesbian couple and the kiss between characters Kurt and Blaine on Glee!
Much like American Religious Right activists who reminisce about the 1950s, when much of the country had legal segregation, Hammond asserted that the 1994 election in South Africa, the first free election following the fall of Apartheid, demonstrated the “disastrous” impact of “evangelical apathy.”
Evangelicals “refused to vote because they didn’t like what was happening in our country at that time,” Hammond said, “all that happened is less Christian candidates got elected and more anti-Christian candidates got elected, and the country got more anti-Christian and soon they legalized abortion and pornography, homosexuality and before we knew it we had desecration of Sundays to a massive increase of crime.” He then went on to blame the Obama administration for having “encouraged” anti-Christian persecution and violence abroad.
Watch highlights here:
Bob Maginnis of the Family Research Council spoke to Lee Webb of CBN News this week about the Defense Department’s decision to recognize June as Gay Pride Month, warning that it is part of a plan by gays and lesbians “to advance their radical agenda.” The FRC senior fellow began the interview by falsely claiming that a Pentagon survey “found that there would be many that would leave and some that would reconsider” if Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is repealed, however, the survey actually noted that very few service members would consider leaving the military and an Army Times survey following the policy’s repeal found that number to be even lower. Maginnis went on to claim that “if homosexuals want to parade their homosexuality as their defining characteristic of who they are rather than that they’re a soldier or sailor” it would lead to “dysfunction” and undermine “cohesion, trust” and “morale” by upsetting those who believe gays are “not pleasing to God.”
Webb: Is it your prediction that many in the service, not just chaplains but those who are religiously opposed, morally opposed to homosexual behavior will be leaving the ranks soon because of this?
Maginnis: Certainly the survey that the Pentagon did found that there would be many that would leave and some that would reconsider. A lot depends upon what the homosexual community does within the ranks of the military, are they going to use this to advance their radical agenda or are they going to be quiet about it and blend in? Keep in mind, the military is about removing distinctions among people, we works as teams, we try to accomplish things as crews and units and not as individuals. Unfortunately, if you stick out, if you make your particular behavior or profile to be an anomaly in a unit, whether it be homosexual or anything, you’re really not a team member, so we’ll have to wait and see.
Webb: In keep with what you just said, it seems like they are not willing to be part of a unit if they are seeking recognition through a Gay Pride Month, is that the way you’re seeing this?
Maginnis: I am concerned about the conformity to military standards because after all the military is about removing those distinctions, fighting and being prepared to fight across the world as one type of unit. If homosexuals want to parade their homosexuality as their defining characteristic of who they are rather than that they’re a soldier or sailor, then that’s dysfunction. It undermines cohesion, trust and confidence; it undermines morale. Of course, for those in the military that are people of faith, it also runs contrary to that very faith. I am very concerned about the promotion of homosexual marriage, about the removal of the idea that heterosexuals and homosexuals are different, well in fact they are and those of us of faith have reason to believe that those distinctions are not pleasing to God.
Michele Bachmann took her propensity for promoting conspiracy theories to another level this week while speaking with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, after warning of not just a media plot to use “flattery” to sway the Supreme Court decision on health care reform but also new claims about the Obama administration and the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood. She told Rios that Obama undercut the Magna Carta and “spit at the Constitution and at the will of the American people” with his move to block the deportation of some younger undocumented immigrants, proving that he is “the most dangerous President we have ever had in the history of the United States.” Bachmann, who last year said Americans were concerned about “the rise of the Soviet Union,” also criticized Obama for having “whispered to the Russian, Communist president that he would be more flexible in his second term.”
Rios: They said that even if the mandate is struck down they are going to keep other parts of it, what’s your comment about that? What do you know about that?
Bachmann: That was already violated last Friday when President Obama said that he was not going to enforce the law when it came to illegal immigration for people of a certain age. This President is not bound by the law; this is huge. Even King John under the Magna Carta had to be bound by the law, that’s what it said, that the King is under the law, that’s the essence of the Magna Carta and the very earliest form of Western, English law. But Barack Obama is not. Barack Obama sees that he is the law. That’s unbelievable. And so if the President is saying that if the Supreme Court is striking down the law and yet he is going to ignore the court and continue to put this unconstitutional law in place? That tells us who he is.
Remember, this is the same President who whispered to the Russian, Communist president that he would be more flexible in his second term. He sees himself as a law unto himself rather than a man bound by the Constitution. That’s why I say he is the most dangerous President we have ever had in the history of the United States.
When I look at the sacrifice that was made to this country, I’m absolutely outraged that a President would continue to spit at the Constitution and at the will of the American people and instead insist on his own way. This has been infantile the way that this President has governed. We better do something about it, rather than just shaking our heads, it’s time for us to stand up and actually do something between now and November when we have a chance.
Later in the interview, Bachmann insisted that “there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood” and that security agents are no longer allowed to learn about terrorist attacks, apparently referring to efforts to stop using discredited, anti-Muslim material.
Bachmann: It appears that there has been deep penetration in the halls of our United States government by the Muslim Brotherhood. The Muslim Brotherhood has been found to be an unindicted co-conspirator on terrorism cases and yet it appears that there are individuals who are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood who have positions, very sensitive positions, in our Department of Justice, our Department of Homeland Security, potentially even in the National Intelligence Agency. I am calling upon the Justice Department and these various departments to investigate through the Inspector General to see who these people are and what access they have to our information.
There is also another issue that is going on that doesn’t get talked about at all in the media and it is very sensitive. We currently have orders by President Obama for a purge in the FBI and now in the military of any training materials that teach FBI agents or people in the military about Islam and these materials are being purged. So the motivations behind terrorism and the understanding of the ideology of why people are committing terrorist acts, that is being purged out of the training materials. There was a request for this to be done by over forty Muslim groups and the President ordered this purge to occur and it’s happening now, they are purging libraries. We have other governments that have censored libraries but not the American government, now the American government is purging in the libraries in the FBI and in our military any training materials that could in any way be construed as negative about Islam.
Rios: Let me jump in and let me just say that also the trainers, many that you and I know, that are the experts on this issue are being blackballed from the Pentagon and from FBI training because they hold the wrong view.
Bachmann: That’s right. They are being blacklisted. Your listeners need to know, the experts that are training our FBI to find these terrorists, those experts are being blackballed and they are no longer allowed to teach our FBI agents. I am standing outside right now in front of our United States Capitol and a few months ago an illegal alien strapped a bomb onto himself and he was going to blow up the Capitol, and now our new agents are unable to learn that information.
While most readers found the recent Time Magazine profile of Justice Anthony Kennedy to be an innocuous piece about the justice who has emerged as a deciding vote on some of the more divisive Supreme Court decisions, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) sees a surreptitious effort by the media to convince Kennedy to uphold the health care reform law.
While speaking to Sandy Rios of the American Family Association earlier this week, Bachmann warned that if Kennedy is “succumbing to flattery in the media” then “he could potentially be persuaded to go the way of the left,” as liberals “are not above doing anything that they can to influence that one swing voter.” She insisted that if the ruling is upheld, potentially due to media influence, it will mean “the end of our Constitution and the end of our Republic as we know it” in addition to “one of the final so to speak nails in the coffin to our country.”
Rios: I’ve been out of the country Michele but when I came back one of the first things I did was spotted TIME Magazine, I don’t know if you saw this, but Anthony Kennedy’s face, they did an entire, many, many, many pages profile of Anthony Kennedy with his picture on the cover, a very flattering profile as you can imagine. I thought at the time, that was just last weekend, I thought, ‘this doesn’t seem appropriate to me.’ They are getting ready to make all these major decisions and they are talking about that he is the main vote on the court because he is the swing vote, this is what they always say, and they do this total puff piece on him, didn’t you think that was a little unseemly?
Bachmann: I think that what we need to recognize is that the left is committed to outcome-based Supreme Court decisions, they want what they want, bottom line, the end justifies the means, they want socialized medicine, they want the government to control it and so they are not above doing anything that they can to influence that one swing voter. By everyone’s estimation, Anthony Kennedy is the justice who will make the decision if we have socialized medicine, which in my opinion will be the end of our Constitution and the end of our Republic as we know it. It will bankrupt us, there is no question Obamacare will do that, and it will change our relationship to government forever. I think it will be one of the final so to speak nails in the coffin to our country. If he makes that decision and if he is succumbing to flattery in the media, and these are human beings we’re talking about, he could potentially be persuaded to go the way of the left, that could be, and I think that’s why it wouldn’t surprise me at all that we are seeing these big, flattery pieces.
Kevin Swanson of Generations with Vision Ministry this week on his radio show hailed the roundly criticized Mark Regnerus study on gay parenting, but warned that the purportedly harmful effects of same-sex parents are still unknown. After maligning other studies that didn’t observe significant differences between the children of same-sex and opposite-sex couples with cohost Dave Buehner and making a comparison between studies of gay parents with studies of suicide bombers, Swanson declared that the “generational outcome of kids raised in homosexual families” will be “mind-blowing” and “one of the most devastating things we have ever seen in the history of mankind”:
Swanson: They were saying ‘hey all the studies today pointed out that there is no real difference between children raised in homosexual families and those raised by the average nuclear family out there,’ now what [Mark] Regnerus was saying is that apparently these other studies are looking at whether or not these young people grow up to accept the homosexual lifestyle themselves. So of course the measures tend to feed those who wanted to see that the outcome was good, in other words, the studies are going to be relative to what the studies perceive to be the good, a good outcome. A good outcome is going to be something that is going to be worldview oriented and oriented to the people that are doing the studies.
Buehner: So what you’re saying is, let’s say you were a Palestinian parent and you were raising your child to be a good Palestinian, that would be a child who puts on the suicide vest.
Swanson: Right, and blows up other people in mosques and supermarkets.
Buehner: That would be more measurable to be a good parent.
Swanson: Right, that would be the measure. So if you take a sample size of thirty and twenty-five grow up to put on suicide vests and blow up other people, then that would be a successful story, that would mean these young people grew up very balanced and ready for life. Well the same thing applies of course when you’re doing studies in universities concerning homosexual parenting. According to this guy, apparently he took forty measures of social and emotional relationship outcomes and found out there were substantial differences.
Another thing I think we’re going to find is we don’t have much data yet, he only had a sample size of something like seventy-three adults raised by gay fathers, so that’s not very many, that’s not a big sample size and chances are they are young adults. In fact, they were young adults. Apparently he looked at these young adults that had been raised, 3,000 randomly selected American young adults, probably not quite time yet to determine what the future of these people really looks like.
The generational outcome of kids raised in homosexual families I think is just going to be just mind-blowing. We’re not going to know how many suicides; we’re not going to know how messed up and trashed up these families are, these young people are, as they try to form their own families. Generation by generation by generation you know—you know—that these dysfunctional families that are not proper, traditional families, are going to be more and more dysfunctional as you get into later generations.
Now you’re probably not going to discover this at twenty-four years of age, but when these people turn thirty-six, when they turn forty-eight, when they turn fifty-seven, you’re going to see over the generations that what we’ve done in experimenting with kids, allowing them to be raised in these homosexual families is going to be one of the most devastating things we have ever seen in the history of mankind.
Joining other anti-gay activists in embracing a debunked study about the children of gay and lesbian parents, Linda Harvey of Mission America today warned that families led by same-sex couples represent “a picture of dysfunction.” Harvey, who this week in a WorldNetDaily column lamented that society is allowing “sexual deviance to be exalted,” urged listeners to “protect our kids” from gays who “insist on modeling their sexual immorality to their children” and expose “kids to serious kids”:
Harvey: Friends, this is a picture of dysfunction where the next generation is not simply disadvantaged by adults who insist on modeling their sexual immorality to their children, it’s also a picture of exposing kids to serious risks. We already knew this, of course, and now the picture is backed up by detailed facts. People of conscience need to continue to stand up against attempts to call homosexuality the same as committed male-female marriage. It’s not and it never will be. People who are drawn to homosexuality do not need to stay there, there’s no reliable evidence that these attractions are inborn and we know that starting with the word of God. Now we have verification of the truth about the outcomes of these relationships. Let’s protect our kids and educate all our family and friends.
Focus on the Family president Jim Daly hosted Al Mohler, the president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and a Focus on the Family board member, to discuss same-sex marriage and its supposed threat to religious freedom. Daly claimed that Satan himself is promoting same-sex marriage since “he hates marriage because it’s a reflection of God’s image.” “The Enemy hates that, it’s disgusting to him,” Daly said, “and with that, he wants to break it down, he wants to destroy it.” Later, Mohler maintained that “same-sex marriage is going to be the greatest challenge to religious liberty in our lifetimes” and will replace religious liberty with a more limited freedom of worship:
Daly: When you look at human sexuality, someone suggested to me the other day, they said, if you think about it, the Enemy of our soul, yes we refer to this entity as Satan, that he hates marriage because it’s a reflection of God’s image. In other words, in the Scripture it talks about us being made in God’s image, male and female, and when we come together in lifelong commitment to marriage we become one flesh, that the Enemy hates that, it’s disgusting to him and with that, he wants to break it down, he wants to destroy it.
Mohler: There’s no doubt that religious liberty is now very much on the line. As a matter of fact, same-sex marriage is going to be the greatest challenge to religious liberty in our lifetimes, and both sides on the controversy know it. You can look at the papers, the law articles, the kinds of things that are already on both sides of the argument. There’s a fundamental, shared understanding that this is going to be the big issue. You mentioned Christians running bed and breakfasts, Christians in any kind of employment situation or public services, photographers for weddings and frankly even churches are going to be very much on the line because what we’ve seen in recent political decisions is that religious liberty is really being reduced, and listen very carefully to what people are saying, is a freedom of worship. Religious liberty means much more than freedom of worship.
Last month, we reported on Family Research Institute chairman Paul Cameron’s appearance on Voice of Christian Youth America’s flagship show Crosstalk, where he suggested that President Obama might be gay after he endorsed marriage equality. On Monday, Crosstalk host and VCY America founder Vic Eliason doubled down on the accusation, citing reports “on YouTube of people who claimed to have engaged in this type of behavior with the President of the United States.” While criticizing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta’s Gay Pride Month message, Eliason warned that rights for gays and lesbians will ultimately lead to the acceptance of cannibals, grave robbers, pedophiles and people who practice bestiality. Eliason, fearing that “the moral fabric of our country” is “literally in flames,” goes on to insinuate that Obama might be gay based on videos he found on YouTube:
[Panetta] said this, “We are people with different values.” We’ll let’s talk about different values. When I came to Wisconsin way back in the 50’s, there was a story running around about a guy named Ed Gein who was a grave robber and his values meant that he would rob graves and corpses and the things that came out of the—well I don’t want to go further into that story—except it was you know it was his values after all. I mean what’s wrong with having values like that? Then some years ago ten blocks up the street from where we’re sitting right now was Jeffrey Dahmer, whose values were along the same line homosexuality but in addition to that, literally the cannibalizing and killing of human beings, dismembering their bodies and all kinds of weird stuff. But that after all we have diversity, right? We have different values.
Then of course we have people who have different values even in different venues. There are those whose values mean it’s very desirable and their own desire to molest children. We call them pedophiles. Because it’s a moral behavior or immoral behavior if properly defined. Its molestation but that happens to be their set of values and how dare we say anything about that. And then of course I don’t go from the sublime to the ridiculous here, but bestiality. Bestiality!
I mean this this is vile behavior. God says this stuff is an abomination and is sin, but of course if we no longer have a moral compass and we no longer have a God, we have a whole bunch of them and we can sit here and look at leadership, the highest leadership now in our country, that has literally voted for and has the legend has it the allegations has it that in his previous history, there are reports out even on YouTube of people who claimed to have engaged in this type of behavior with the President of the United States. These are allegations but they are out there.
When I when I think of what is happening here folks, when I see the moral fabric of our country literally in flames; how do you define morality? I mentioned the allegations that had been circulating about the past of even our President. And again, those are allegations out there. You can even go to YouTube and there are videos of those who have claimed to engage with certain.
WASHINGTON – People For the American Way issued the following statement following the party line vote by the House Oversight & Government Reform Committee engineered by Committee Chair Darrell Issa (R-CA) to hold Attorney General Eric Holder in contempt of Congress. The Committee acted despite the Attorney General’s extensive efforts over the past several months to provide the Committee with the information it needed to conduct its investigation into Operation Fast and Furious.
“This is nothing more than a political witch hunt, perhaps best exemplified by the announcement of the NRA – which bizarrely sees the ‘Fast and Furious’ program as an effort to justify domestic gun control laws – that it would ‘score’ this contempt vote.” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “To be sure, Congress has a legitimate interest in investigating Operation Fast and Furious, but Chairman Issa and Republican majority on the Committee appear to be more interested in scoring political points than in getting to the bottom of what happened.
“The hoops the Committee is demanding the Attorney General jump through illustrate that these contempt hearings are as partisan as they are extreme. Over the course of this ‘investigation,’ the Committee has ordered the A.G. to produce documents whose confidentiality is protected by federal law, has refused to subpoena Bush Administration officials to testify about their knowledge of the operation during their time in office, has refused to allow public testimony from officials whose testimony counters Issa’s partisan narrative, and has repeatedly rejected the A.G.’s efforts to accommodate the committee, making compliance all but impossible.
“Attorney General Holder should be commended for the courageous steps he has taken to bolster civil rights and liberties in this country. Unfortunately, these Oversight Committee hearings do nothing but distract from those critically important efforts and undermine the Justice Department’s essential function – to enforce the rule of law.”
Back in 2010, Kyle noted that the American Center for Law and Justice was organizing a campaign to stop the construction of the Park 51 Islamic Community Center near Ground Zero while simultaneously championing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, which they praised for making sure that never again will “our nation's houses of faith have their freedom to worship where and how they choose violated by ignorant or hostile zoning officials.” Now it appears that Pamela Geller, who worked alongside ACLJ executive director Jordan Sekulow against the establishment of Park 51, wants to repeal the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act altogether because it might benefit Muslim worshipers.
While speaking with conservative radio host Janet Mefferd yesterday, Geller called for the repeal of RLUIPA because “it’s become a weapon in which to club small towns and cities” where Muslims are seeking to establish mosques, lamenting, “the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.” She said that Muslims are “dishonest” with local governments by “circumventing the rules” on capacity requirements because they pray on their knees. Geller said that RLUIPA must be repealed for the sake of the “freedom from religion,” a phrase normally anathema to Religious Right audiences.
Mefferd: You had talked about the necessity of repealing the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act, I guess this is what Holder is using to pressure this Virginia board of supervisors to approve this mega-mosque, what is this Act and why is it necessary?
Geller: It’s not necessary, frankly. I urge the repeal of this Act. I’m not sure who it was, I could have it wrong, I don’t know if it was Orrin Hatch, this is not a finger pointing kind of a thing, it’s more ‘the road to Hell is paved with good intentions.’ It was unnecessary, it was an idea that there should be no religious persecution of houses of worship and so on and so forth, and that was all well and good, but it’s become a weapon in which to club small towns and cities.
Look, no one is saying that you can’t build a mosque, even with the Ground Zero Mosque; there are hundreds of mosques in New York City, we know there are thousands of mosques nationwide, but these giant structures, they completely change the complexion of a town. It could be a small town, residential. I’m telling you I have seen it time and time again, irrecognizable three to five years later. The call to prayer, the parking, hundreds of people. Again, there is an element of dishonesty here because as you know in Islam they got on their knees so you don’t count a chair with that. But it’s important because it’s a way of circumventing the rules, you can’t say ‘it seats 500 or it seats whatever.’ It’s not just freedom of religion here in America, it’s also freedom from religion here in America.
June 20, 2012
Fighting the Right, and Winning
Two weeks after PFAW played an integral role in flipping control of the Wisconsin Senate away from right-wing Republicans, and effectively halting Gov. Scott Walker’s extreme anti-middle class agenda, we continue to see victories and progress in the various areas of our work.
ALEC on the Ropes
Last week, Johnson & Johnson announced it was leaving the American Legislative Exchange Council, making it the 19th major corporation to sever ties with the right-wing bill factory since PFAW and our allies began a grassroots and media pressure campaign to get ALEC’s member companies to leave. For a long time, PFAW and our affiliate PFAW Foundation have tracked and exposed ALEC’s deleterious right-wing agenda and influence in state legislatures across the county.
President Leads the Way on Positive Immigration Reform
On Friday, President Obama announced a new immigration policy that would allow undocumented residents who would qualify under the DREAM Act to gain work authorization and avoid deportation. Marking a victory for common sense, basic fairness and the American Way, the move also shows a sharp contrast with a GOP whose moderate voices on immigration issues have been drowned out by the nativist far-right faction now firmly in control of the party.
Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney drew perhaps the hardest anti-immigrant line of all the candidates during the primary and in the wake of President Obama’s decision could only respond by saying his position was whatever Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s was. Meanwhile, the Cuban American Sen. Rubio himself proposed an alternative to the DREAM Act that would create an apartheid-style second class citizenship and is woefully unpopular with Latinos.
The upcoming election could very well be determined by Latino voters. That’s why People For the American Way is making sure Latino Americans are engaged and aware of how the Far Right’s attacks not just on immigrants, but on education, healthcare and voting rights affect their communities.
Fighting the GOP’s Judicial Obstruction
Last week started off on a good note with the Senate voting to break the filibuster of Andrew Hurwitz, confirming him to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and filling one of the 90 vacancies, and 31 officially-designated “judicial emergencies,” nationwide. Then, on Friday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell announced his party’s senators would completely refuse to do their job of confirming nominees to federal appeals courts until after November’s elections. Citing the so-called "Thurmond Rule," McConnell is misconstruing a nebulous Senate tradition to kick what has been three years of unprecedented judicial obstruction by Senate Republicans into overdrive.
This invocation of the “Thurmond Rule,” named for South Carolina Republican Sen. Strom Thurmond, who famously conducted the longest filibuster in Senate history in an attempt to stop passage of the Civil Rights Act, is just the latest reminder that Senate Republicans will cling to anything they can to keep judicial vacancies open indefinitely until they can be filled by extreme right-wing ideologues.
PFAW is working with the White House and Senate Democratic leadership, as well as mobilizing activists, to break through this latest obstruction tactic. And we’ll be working hard to make sure voters remember Republicans obstruction and, come November, remind Mitch McConnell of the "Trent Lott Rule" -- invoke the wisdom of Strom Thurmond too many times and you're no longer a Senate Leader.
Stopping Right-Wing Election Theft
Protecting the right to vote has been a central mission of both PFAW and our affiliate PFAW Foundation for years. We’ve worked hard to expose the rash of aggressive voter suppression laws that have been passed in state legislatures across the country, particularly since the Tea Party “wave” election in 2010. We’ve seen burdensome voter ID laws, draconian restrictions on voter registration activities and, now, massive purges of voter files -- all of which are ostensibly aimed at stopping the imaginary problem of individual ‘voter fraud’ but do far more to disenfranchise eligible voters, especially from poor and minority communities.
In Florida, right-wing state officials have said they intend to push forward with a massive purge of their voter despite widespread reports of inaccuracies in their data, lawsuits from civil rights groups and stern warnings by the Department of Justice that the purge is not just reckless but illegal. We’re working hard to stop the purge and stop what happened in Florida in 2000 from happening again in 2012.
75,000 PFAW members have signed a petition urging Florida state officials to stop the purge and county supervisors of elections not to comply with it and implement the state’s recommended changes to their voter files. And PFAW Foundation is working with allies on the ground in Florida to contact potential eligible voters who have been targeted by the purge to make sure they know what to do to protect their rights and stay on the rolls.
We’re in the fight of our lives this election, but we’re confident that our strategies, hard work and the amazing commitment of supporters like you can help deliver the victories in November America so desperately needs. As always, thank you.
Michael Keegan, President
The failure of her alarming predictions about the consequences of repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to materialize hasn’t stopped Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness from railing against gay rights in the military, and now Donnelly is taking Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to task for delivering an “entirely inappropriate” Gay Pride Month message to service members. Donnelly, who supports the ban on gays in the military, accused the LGBT community of trying to “make other people feel like they are not welcome” in an interview yesterday with Janet Parshall. She said that Panetta’s message was part of a ploy by “LGBT activist groups” to “intimidate other people,” and Parshall lamented that she’s “never heard of a Heterosexual Month and they make up ninety-seven percent of the military.”
Parshall: We’ve got Leon Panetta, ‘June is called Gay Pride Month,’ and Leon Panetta in the Department of Defense is heralding gays in the military. Wow, I really would love to look into a crystal ball and see what we’re going to have in terms of numbers going down the road.
Donnelly: This is entirely inappropriate because the Secretary of Defense is treating a tiny minority of people in the military who are now allowed to be open, even though previously they were not even eligible to be in the armed forces, to have an event like this, which we predicted by the way. We predicted this a long time ago; this is a manifestation of LGBT law in the military. Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender policies and celebrations in the armed forces, this is all part of it.
Parshall: Leon Panetta celebrating in so-called Gay Pride Month that which makes up less than three percent, to the best of my knowledge, I’ve never heard of a Heterosexual Month and they make up ninety-seven percent of the military.
Donnelly: Right. What happened to the notion, ‘we just want to serve in the military, we just want to be quiet and modest and discreet, just like everyone else’? What happened to that? Well of course that was all phony because the LGBT activist groups know exactly how to intimidate other people, make other people feel they are not welcome, their views are not welcome, and name calling occurs quite a bit. That’s pretty much part of the pattern and it’s one of the reasons why the 1993 law regarding gays in the military should have been retained.