After stopping by Family Talkwith James Dobson, Robert Jeffress appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show where he expounded on his claim that the Supreme Court’s decisions in Engel v. Vitale, Roe v. Wade and Lawrence v. Texas is leading to the ultimate “implosion” of America. He said the first Supreme Court ruling which he argued set off “explosives” to the country’s “spiritual and social structure” is Engel, the Supreme Court decision which deemed public school-organized prayers unconstitutional.
Jeffress said the decision is wrong not because it barred the practice of government-sponsored prayers but because it doesn’t allow the government to endorse one religion over another. He acknowledged that many evangelical Christians rightfully do not want to pray non-sectarian, generic, government-composed prayers at school. Jeffress argued that his problem with Engel is that it doesn’t allow the government to endorse Christianity, maintaining that “neutrality is really hostility toward religion.”
Jeffress’ claim contradicts the stated argument of many Religious Right activists who advocate for school-organized prayer and a constitutional amendment overturning Engel and say that their stance has nothing to do with government endorsement of Christianity but simply about the need for children to pray.
Jeffress: I use the analogy of when we imploded about a million square feet of our facility at First Baptist Dallas and I learned a lot about how implosions work, what you do is you attach explosives to some key structural supports, you explode those supporting structures, there’s a delay and then the structure falls in on itself, it collapses. I said in this book “Twilight’s Last Gleaming,” there have been three explosive decisions by the Supreme Court in the last fifty years that have so destroyed the spiritual and social structure of our country that I believe our collapse is inevitable. We are living right now in that delay period between the explosions and the ultimate implosion. As you mentioned, that first decision was 1962, Engel v. Vitale, I know Christians say, ‘well that’s no big deal to remove a non-sectarian prayer,’ but it’s all the decisions that cascaded from that and it’s the basis on which that decision was made. It is impossible for the government to be neutral toward religion, neutrality is really hostility toward religion and especially the Christian religion.
In case we needed any more evidence that the former mainstream of the GOP has gone completely off the deep end, Republican presidential candidates spent several minutes at last night’s CNN debate discussing which of them is least in favor of allowing rape victims to have access to emergency contraception. Watch:
The exchange came at the heels of a week that was chock-full of shockingly regressive Republican attacks on women. PFAW’s Marge Baker summed last week up in the Huffington Post:
Just this week, we have seen not just the stunning spectacle of major presidential candidates coming out against birth control coverage, but Republicans in the Senate holding up domestic violence protections because they protect too many people; a potential vice presidential candidate pick poised to sign a law requiring women to receive medically unnecessary vaginal probes without their consent; a leading presidential candidate claiming that "emotions" will get in the way of women serving in combat; and a House committee holding a hearing on birth control access -- with a panel consisting entirely of men.
And that’s not to mention billionaire Santorum supporter Foster Friess’s saying he didn’t see why birth control was expensive because, “Back in my day, they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives. The gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly."
The GOP candidates’ exchange over emergency contraception for rape victims took this tone-deafness to a new level of insensitivity. Does Mitt Romney really think he’ll appeal to female voters by attacking not just contraception but emergency care for rape victims?
It looks like not. TPM reports that since Romney started attacking birth control, he’s “suffered a precipitous drop in support among women voters.”
Conservative columnist and frequentFoxNewsguest Jesse Lee Peterson today asserted that he is “certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian.” Peterson, head of Brotherhood Organization Of A New Destiny, agreed with Rick Santorum’s remarks on how Satan is attacking the United States and even went on to link Satan to Obama’s election in 2008: “I do agree with Santorum that this is a 'spiritual war' and that 'Satan is targeting the U.S.' which is precisely why I believe Barack Obama was selected and elected.” He said that Obama is “an American hating Socialist” who is “more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ”:
"I am certain without a doubt that Barack Hussein Obama is NOT a Christian. It's unfortunate that Rev. Graham and Rick Santorum won't be completely honest about Barack Obama even though his deeds are contrary to Christian values.
"Both these men oppose Obama's recent contraceptive mandate and assault on the Christian conscience. They know that for 20 years Obama worshipped in Rev. Jeremiah Wright's racist Black Liberation Theology-based church. They fully grasp the spiritual connection America has with Israel and see that Obama is no friend of the Jewish State. Rev. Graham has said that Obama is more concerned with the plight of Muslims than the Christians that are being murdered in the Muslim countries. Still these Christian leaders cannot tell the truth about Obama. Why?
"I do agree with Santorum that this is a 'spiritual war' and that 'Satan is targeting the U.S.' which is precisely why I believe Barack Obama was selected and elected. I'm convinced that the weak-kneed timidity that's preventing many white conservative Christians from pointing out Obama's wickedness is a result of their fear of being labeled 'racist.'
"Evil understands that most white Christians have been intimidated and are too afraid to stand up to it. Especially when it is operating in the form of an American hating Socialist black president who appears to be more in harmony with Muhammad than he is with Christ."
Right-wing columnist Jeffrey Kuhner visited the Janet Mefferd show earlier this week to discuss a recent column he wrote for the Washington Times, positing that “Obama is America’s Lenin.” In the column, Kuhner attacks the Obama administration’s recent birth control regulations, claiming that "like many secular leftists, [Obama] seeks to destroy Judeo-Christian civilization,” that he is “in the pocket of the pro-abortion feminist lobby,” and that “Mr. Obama is our first non-Christian president.”
Kuhner went into more detail in his interview with Mefferd, saying “I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism” and claiming that while the president is not a practicing Muslim he is “clearly a cultural Muslim.”
Mefferd not only agreed with Kuhner’s analysis, she was willing to go even farther, warning, “We know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.”
Kuhner: This is a violation of the First Amendment. This is a violation of separation of church and state. This is a blatant war on Christianity. It is a war on our conscience rights. It is a war on our basic human freedoms. And I never thought I would see the day in America, that I would see the ugly specter of Leninism, the ugly specter of Marxism, where you now have state coercion of religion, where you have a blatant, flagrant attempt to purge Christianity from the public square, being so openly and blatantly embraced by the president of the United States.
Janet, if this mandate goes through, if Obamacare is not repealed, I believe it will break the back of our constitutional republic, I believe it will be the end of the First Amendment as we’ve known it, and I believe we are on a path towards radical, secular liberalism, which in many ways is just a form of cultural Marxism.
Obama is our Lenin. He is embarking on a cultural, social, political transformation of this nation, and that is why Christians of all denominations, of all faiths, must stand up and vote this man out of office in November.
Kuhner: So I believe he is somebody who’s the product of the multicultural, neo-Marxist left. He despises Christianity. He despises our biblical principles. He despises the civilizational roots of American society. And he’s also, I believe –and there’s no getting around this – not that he’s a practicing Muslim or a believing Muslim, but he’s clearly a cultural Muslim.
And Janet, I have to say this, many people don’t understand this aspect of communism. Communism never sought to completely eradicate religion. Even they knew that was impossible. What they said was this: ‘We don’t want it in public. If you want to worship, that’s fine, do it in your own home, do it in your own head, do it in your own bedroom. But don’t take your faith outside the home, it doesn’t belong here.’
Mefferd: Well, I tell you, that sounds awfully familiar, and we know what Stalin ended up doing to millions and millions of people who would not bow the knee to him.
Virginia governor Bob McDonnell announced this afternoon that he has, in fact, changed his mind on a newly-passed state bill that would require women seeking abortions to first undergo a vaginal probe without their consent. McDonnell had spoken in support of the bill before it sparked a national outcry. He then remained conspicuously silent for several days before coming out with recommended amendments to the bill to make it slightly less repulsive.
For this reason, I have recommended to the General Assembly a series of amendments to this bill. I am requesting that the General Assembly amend this bill to explicitly state that no woman in Virginia will have to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound involuntarily. I am asking the General Assembly to state in this legislation that only a transabdominal, or external, ultrasound will be required to satisfy the requirements to determine gestational age. Should a doctor determine that another form of ultrasound may be necessary to provide the necessary images and information that will be an issue for the doctor and the patient. The government will have no role in that medical decision.
McDonnell’s backtracking on this component of the mandatory ultrasound bill is a partial but important victory for reproductive rights advocates who explained clearly in Virginia and around the nation what an atrocity the bill would have been.
But it’s also important to remember how far anti-choice politicians will go if they aren’t called out on their activities. Just last week, Virginia's House passed not only the invasive ultrasound bill, but also an extreme “personhood” bill that could endanger legal birth control. Last year, Gov. McDonnell signed unnecessary regulations meant to shut down most of the state’s abortion clinics.
At the same time as Virginia was considering its new assaults on choice, the House held a hearing on President Obama’s requirement that insurance cover contraception, and invited only men. Both major GOP presidential candidates came out for an anti-contraception policy that’s to the right of most Catholics.
McDonnell claims he didn’t know the details of the atrocious ultrasound bill when he previously supported it. But the truth is probably a lot more cynical – he wants to be the GOP vice presidential nominee, and he knew he couldn’t get away with something this extreme. When it came to mandatory invasive ultrasounds, McDonnell got caught between the anti-choice base and everybody else. Every anti-choice politician with national ambitions should face the same pressure.
Pat Robertson on the 700 Club today defended Rick Santorum from criticism about his attacks on President Obama’s Christian faith and claims that Satan is attacking the United States of America, including the country’s universities and mainline Protestant churches. The televangelist claimed that denouncing Santorum’s remarks are part of a plan to “take God out of our society,” warning that freedom doesn’t exist in a “secular society.” Robertson, who last week maintained that Obama is intent on becoming a dictator, said that America may soon have a “secular atheist dictatorship.”
Last week, we wondered if Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, a possible GOP vice presidential contender, would reconsider his position on a shocking anti-choice bill passed by the state’s legislature after it provoked a national outcry. The bill would require women seeking abortions to first undergo a medically unnecessary, highly invasive trans-vaginal ultrasound without their consent – a process which, under any other circumstances, would be considered rape under state law.
Gov. McDonnell had spoken in support of the bill before it was passed, but once the outcry against it began, fell oddly silent. Now, the Washington Post reports, he may be backing away from his support for the bill and looking for a compromise that will allow him to keep his anti-choice cred, while disassociating himself from one of the most egregious instances of the War on Women to come out of last week:
Gov. Robert F. McDonnell is backing off his unconditional support for a bill requiring women to have an ultrasound before an abortion, focusing new attention on one of the most controversial pieces of legislation in Virginia’s General Assembly this year.
Until this weekend, McDonnell (R) and his aides had said the governor would sign the measure if it made it to his desk. McDonnell, who strongly opposes abortion, will no longer make that commitment.
But delegates and governor’s staff were scheduled to meet Tuesday night to strike a compromise after learning that some ultrasounds could be more invasive than first thought, according to two officials who were aware of the meeting but not authorized to speak about it publicly. Many of the bill’s supporters were apparently unaware of how invasive the procedure could be, one of the officials added.
I doubt that McDonnell didn’t know the details of the bill before he spoke in favor of it. But after last week, he knows that signing it will hurt him among all but the most extreme anti-choice voters.
The American Family Association’s women’s group OneMillionMoms is wagingacampaign to convince JC Penney to fire Ellen DeGeneres as their spokesperson because DeGeneres is openly gay, predicting that the retailer “will be losing more than they’ll be gaining.” Today, OneNewsNow, which like OneMillionMoms is a branch of the AFA, posted an article today from the Associated Press which tried to link a drop in JC Penney’s credit rating to “‘gay’ activist Ellen DeGeneres”:
The American Family Association has a long history of exaggerating the impact of their boycott campaigns, even taking credit for a decline in Ford Motors sales by attacking the company’s “support [of] homosexual groups.” Plus, it is highly unlikely the Associated Press would include scare-quotes around the word ‘gay.’
Of course, the Associated Press story on JC Penney’s credit rating doesn’t mention DeGeneres at all:
The AFA’s distorted version of the DeGeneres story is yet another reason why one shouldn’t trust a news service which called champion sprinter Tyson Gay “Tyson Homosexual,” floated whether Satan is “the major factor” behind the purported power of homosexuals, and wondered if the Little Mommy Cuddle 'n Coo doll is “promoting Islam.”
Courts play a critical role for our nation and our communities.
All Americans count on being able to “get their day in court.”
Court delays damage small businesses, whether they are seeking to vindicate their rights as plaintiffs or to put a lawsuit behind them.
Courts – the infrastructure of justice – are just as important to the rule of law as roads and bridges are to transportation. Without enough judges, that infrastructure is crumbling.
Making our courts fully functional is an issue of good government.
Federal judges are required to give priority to criminal cases over civil ones. Since the number of criminal cases has surged over the past several years – a 70% increase in the past decade – judges are forced to delay the civil cases, often for years. This means long delays for Americans seeking justice in cases involving:
predatory lending practices
Many plaintiffs are forced into inadequate settlements and small businesses are pressured to make unnecessary settlements to end the expense and uncertainty of litigation.
Example: In Colorado, Amy Bullock sued a truck manufacturer in 2008, saying a faulty design had caused her husband’s death. The judge has delayed the trial twice to handle all his criminal cases, and now her trial won’t even start until March 2012 at the earliest.
A Serious Vacancy Crisis is Damaging the Federal Court System
Nearly 160 million people live in circuits or districts with a courtroom vacancy that could have been filled last year, if the Republicans were not preventing votes. This is the longest period of historically high vacancy rates on the federal judiciary in the last 35 years.
There are now 20 nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee who are waiting for a simple up-or-down vote from the Senate:
18 were approved by the Judiciary Committee with very strong bipartisan support, and 13 were approved without any opposition at all.
11 have been waiting for three months or more for a vote from the full Senate.
10 are nominated to fill vacancies classified as judicial emergencies.
15 of the 20 are women or people of color and one is an openly gay man.
George W. Bush’s judicial nominees received floor votes very soon after committee approval, on average:
Circuit court nominees: 30 days (Bush at this point in his term) vs. 135 days (Obama)
District court nominees: 23 days (Bush at this point in his term) vs. 91 days (Obama)
Both combined: 24 days (Bush at this point in his term) vs. 100 days (Obama)
The extremeandhystericalarguments emanating from the Religious Right over the contraception mandate in insurance plans would continue to amuse if not for the fact that their pathetic arguments only trivialize actual cases of religious persecution. While speaking with American Family Association president Tim Wildmon, talk show host Janet Parshall claimed that the health care reform law shows that President Obama is “blinded by a doctrine of death” and is a “person whose heart is hardened.” She warned of an “erosion of free speech” and “an erosion of our practices” under the Obama administration:
Chuck Colson even told Jim Daly on Focus on the Family Radio that the contraception mandate may even lead government to dictate to churches on the doctrine of the Trinity:
Not to be outdone, Rob Schenck of the National Clergy Council compared the contraception insurance coverage mandate to Nazi Germany, saying that churches should prepare to follow the example of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who was executed by the Nazi government for his involvement in the resistance movement and the plot to kill Adolf Hitler:
In recent days, Jewish rabbis have joined all Catholic bishops in the United States in expressing alarm over the President's "healthcare" mandates and other violations of the Constitution. The National Clergy Council deliberated for the last week on what it would do, consulting pastors, moral theologians, organizational executives and activists from around the US. As a result, the Reverend Rob Schenck, president of the Washington, DC based group, will begin the holy season of Lent 2012 by appealing to President Obama for answers with a "State of Emergency and Time for Speaking" declaration to be hand-delivered to the White House on Ash Wednesday morning, February 22, 2012.
As Rev. Schenck explains in the document, the action he and his committee have taken is inspired by the Nazi-era hero Dietrich Bonhoeffer, "the German pastor and martyr, who is an exemplar of what it means to hold to and to exercise one's religious, moral, and ethical convictions, even to the surrender of every other right, including the right to one's life." Bonhoeffer wrote on the "status confessionis," a time when churches must speak out. Schenck says in his letter this is such a time, "during which we must take extraordinary action to respectfully resist your decrees, state our deeply held and felt reasons for doing so, and call our coreligionists, and all people of conscience to stand with us." President Obama was publicly given a copy of a recent biography on Bonhoeffer by the author, Eric Metaxas, when Mr. Metaxas and the President shared a podium at the February 2 National Prayer Breakfast in Washington.
Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel Action even likened the situation to the American Revolution:
Barack Obama is literally forcing insurance companies and self-insured religious organizations to provide contraceptives and abortifacients to Americans who want to pay for neither.
As I told you on Friday, President Obama has once again grossly overstepped the constitutional authority of his office. Thankfully, it appears that Americans have finally had enough.
Former Attorney General Edwin Meese, a leading member of President Ronald Reagan’s Cabinet, recently said the Obama administration is “…as close to a monarchy as there’s been since the days of George III.”
In reality, our situation today may be even worse than during the founding era since King George III merely TAXED the goods that inspired the Boston Tea Party. Even so great a despot as he did not imagine he could FORCE the colonials to BUY the stuff!
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins today appeared on the American Family Association’s Financial Issues with Dan Celia, where he said that President Obama’s eventual Republican opponent must try to “dial back the decay” in the culture. Perkins, who has claimed in the past that Obama has a “disdain for Christianity” and demanded Christian supporters of the president “repent,” said that the administration has pushed “anti-family, anti-religious, anti-Christian policies,” most notably the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, which overturned the military’s ban on openly gay service members.
Perkins said Obama is “forcing open homosexuality on the military” which he said would lead to “not only cultural impacts upon this nation but from a national security standpoint it’s going to undermine our military.” While military leaders, including the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, endorsed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Perkins claimed that they actually opposed the repeal. Maybe Perkins was confusing real military leaders with himself, who said that the elected officials who voted to repeal the policy would have blood on their hands.
Perkins: When we look historically at what has happened in elections we see that like in this administration where the push of anti-family, anti-religious, anti-Christian policies from this administration, and I know people are criticized for saying that, but the evidence is there. Historically what happens is when the Republicans are elected on the heels of an administration like this we see them babysitting the decline and not going back and retaking territory that has been lost in the culture.
For instance, let me talk about very solid issues here, the issue of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, forcing open homosexuality on the military, that is going to have very significant not only cultural impacts upon this nation but from a national security standpoint it’s going to undermine our military. That’s what the military leaders testified before Congress, that didn’t matter to Congress, they were pushing this through in the wee hours of the lame duck session of Congress. I guarantee you, normally, the Republicans when they’re re-elected, if they were to recapture the White House, they wouldn’t touch that, they would just say ‘we wouldn’t advance that anymore.’ I’m telling you we’re at a point where we got to dial back the decay, we’ve got have somebody that’s bold enough to come in and undo some of these radical policies from this administration.
Rick Santorum raised eyebrows last week for making claims that he has been making for years, including his criticism of public schools. As the Los Angeles Timesreported, Santorum called public schools “anachronistic” and compared them to factories:
In his remarks to the Ohio Christian Alliance, however, Santorum went further, seeming to attack the very idea of public education.
In the nation’s past, he said, “Most presidents homeschooled their children in the White House.…
Parents educated their children because it was their responsibility.”
“Yes, the government can help,” he continued, “but the idea that the federal government should be running schools, frankly much less that the state government should be running schools, is anachronistic.”
He said it is an artifact of the Industrial Revolution, “when people came off the farms where they did homeschool or had a little neighborhood school, and into these big factories … called public schools.”
While industry has evolved, public schools remain stuck in the factory era, he said, “back in the age of Henry Ford. You get what we give you. One color, two models. It wouldn’t work for Henry Ford today, and it won’t work for America today.
Santorum has long opposed public education and in his 2005 book It Takes a Familymarveled how “so many kids turn out to be fairly normal, considering the weird socialization they get in public schools.” In fact, public schools are consistently in the crosshairs of Religious Right activists, as seen in this anti-public education film made by Truth in Action Ministries:
While Santorum is an unapologetic opponent of public schools, or as he calls them, “government-run schools,” he has no problem making taxpayers cover the tab for his homeschooling. While a U.S. Senator, Santorum moved his family to Virginia but still stuck Pennsylvania taxpayers with the bill for his decision to have his children attend a cyber-school:
The Republican senator owns a home in Penn Hills, but lives in Leesburg, Va.
Penn Hills School District is paying $38,000 this year for five Santorum children to attend Pennsylvania Cyber Charter School based in Midland, Beaver County. The district has paid an additional $62,000 for his children to attend the school since 2001.
Penn Hills School District, which is required by state law to pay cyber charter tuition costs for students living in the district, is investigating whether Santorum is actually a resident.
A statement issued by Santorum's press office on Tuesday (yesterday) stated he had been in contact with the school district officials and is awaiting questions from them that he will answer to clarify his residency and the education of his children.
Santorum and his wife, Karen Garver Santorum, have owned the house at 111 Stephens Lane since 1997. They pay about $2,000 annually in property taxes to the district.
But records at the Allegheny County Election Office also show that the couple are not the only people claiming the home as their residence.
Bart and Alyssa DeLuca, both 25, are registered voters listed for the same address. They are not related to Penn Hills Mayor Anthony DeLuca or his father, state Rep. Tony DeLuca.
Alyssa, Karen Garver Santorum's niece, registered as a voter living at the Santorum house in September 2000. Then Bart registered with the election office in June 2001 by using the same address.
Over the weekend, Rick Santorum made news when he attacked President Obama's "phony theology." Santorum clarified that he was talking about the president's environmental record and not his faith, insisting that he was not claiming that Obama was not a Christian.
But back in 2008, Santorum had a slightly different view, which he related during remarks he delivered at an Oxford Center for Religion and Public Life event on "The Press & People of Faith in Politics."
During the Q&A following his speech, Santorum was repeatedly asked about Barack Obama's Christian faith, which he asserted was simply "an avenue for power" for Obama while claiming there was a "conscious disconnection" between Obama's proclamations of faith and his stances on public policy issues.
In fact, said Santorum, there really is no such thing as a "liberal Christian" at all and anyone who doesn't share his right-wing views doesn't really have any right to claim to be a Christian:
[I]s there such thing as a sincere liberal Christian, which says that we basically take this document and re-write it ourselves? Is that really Christian? That’s a bigger question for me. And the answer is, no, it’s not. I don’t think there is such a thing. To take what is plainly written and say that I don’t agree with that, therefore, I don’t have to pay attention to it, means you’re not what you say you are. You’re a liberal something, but you’re not a Christian. That’s sort of how I look at it.
When you go so far afield of that and take what is a salvation story and turn it into a liberation theology story, which is done in the Catholic world as well as in the evangelical world, you have abandoned Christendom, in my opinion. And you don’t have a right to claim it.
During the same Q&A, Santorum also complained about his treatment at the hands of the press when he was in office, claiming that he was constantly referred to as an "extremist" or "fundamentalist" or "zealot" simply because he stood in opposition to "sexual freedom":
And it’s just insidious. And it’s most of the time focused on the sexual issues. If you’re a hard-core free-market guy, they’re not going to call you “zealous”. They’re not going to call you “ultra-conservative”. They’re not going to do that to you.
It comes down to sex. That’s what it’s all about. It comes down to freedom, and it comes down to sex. If you have anything to with any of the sexual issues, and if you are on the wrong side of being able to do all of the sexual freedoms you want, you are a bad guy. And you’re dangerous because you are going to limit my freedom in an area that’s the most central to me. And that’s the way it’s looked at.
Woodstock is the great American orgy. This is who the Democratic Party has become. They have become the party of Woodstock. The prey upon our most basic primal lusts, and that’s sex. And the whole abortion culture, it’s not about life. It’s about sexual freedom. That’s what it’s about. Homosexuality. It’s about sexual freedom.
All of the things are about sexual freedom, and they hate to be called on them. They try to somehow or other tie this to the Founding Father’s vision of liberty, which is bizarre. It’s ridiculous.
Republican presidential frontrunner Rick Santorum raised a lot of eyebrows this weekend when he attacked environmentalism as anti-Biblical and said that President Obama has a “phony theology” that sides with “radical environmentalists” over the Bible. While it was remarkable to hear these theories coming from a major presidential candidate, the theories themselves are nothing new. Instead, Santorum was drawing from a dual line of attack on environmentalists and progressive people of faith that has recently come into wide use among the Religious Right.
The Religious Right’s relatively new antipathy to environmentalism is largely the result of the hard work of E. Calvin Beisner, a purveyor of dominion theology and the leader of The Cornwall Alliance, a group with financial ties to the oil industry. The Cornwall Alliance’s sole purpose is to convince the Religious Right to buy into the Corporate Right’s climate change denialism and help them demonize environmentalists. The RWW report details the growing partnership:
The Cornwall Alliance is led by E. Calvin Beisner, who believes that since God granted humans “dominion” over the earth, humans have a right to exploit all natural resources. As Randall Balmer writes in Thy Kingdom Come, Beisner “asserts that God has placed all of nature at the disposal of humanity.” Balmer quotes Beisner’s own summary of his dominion theology: “All of our acquisitive activities should be undertaken with the purpose of extending godly rule, or dominion.” As Balmer notes, “the combination of dominion theology from the Religious Right and the wise use ideology of corporate and business interests has created a powerful coalition to oppose environmental protection.”
According to a report by Think Progress , the Cornwall Alliance is a front group for the shadowy James Partnership. Both the James Partnership and the Cornwall Alliance are closely linked to the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), an anti-environmental group that is “funded by at least $542,000 from ExxonMobil, $60,500 from Chevron, and $1,280,000 from Scaife family foundations, which are rooted in wealth from Gulf Oil and steel interests.” CFACT is also part of a climate change denialist network funded by the ExxonMobil-financed Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Beisner has been extraordinarily successful in convincing the Religious Right that environmentalism presents a threat to Christianity. Earlier this month, he told Fischer that the EPA is violating the separation of church and state by helping to promote the upcoming film version of “The Lorax.” Why? Because he claims that environmentalism is itself a religion. This is rhetoric that Santorum, in saying that Obama’s theology is influenced by “radical environmentalists,” has swallowed whole.
Also active in the effort to recruit the Religious Right to the Corporate Right’s view of environmentalism has been David Barton, self-proclaimed historian and all-purpose fake expert. In 2010, he appeared on the Glenn Beck show along with Beisner explain that environmentalists want us to “live in fear”:
Barton -- who is no more a historian than Beisner is a scientist – is a widely influential figure in the Right, cited by prominent figures including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee, and who has even been invited to testify before the Senate about climate change.
Santorum’s remarks were so shocking because this is the first time they have been heard on the national political stage – but his talking points on environmentalism and progressive faith have already been polished and accepted as gospel by the movement the Religious Right.
Family Research Council vice president Rob Schwarzwalder yesterday called for a boycott of Starbucks and warned that the company may be endangering the country’s economic health by supporting marriage equality in Washington. “By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit,” Schwarzwalder writes, “[Starbucks CEO Howard] Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.”
It’s difficult to see how ensuring that gays and lesbians have the right to marry would “vitiate the already weakened family unit” and consequently damage the economy, as studies show that marriage equality is actually aboontotheeconomy. Researchers have also found the legalizing same-sex marriage doesnotimpact the divorce rate of married opposite-sex couples. But according to Schwarzwalder, marriage equality has “dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture.”
My home state of Washington has produced some of America’s leading corporations and entrepreneurs: Microsoft and Bill Gates; the Nordstrom, Boeing and Weyerhaeuser families and their eponymously named companies; the Eddie Bauer sporting goods empire; and the nearly omnipresent Starbucks (almost 11,000 stores worldwide). Starbucks emerged in the 1970s at Seattle’s Pike Place Market. One of my sisters bought me a bag of cocoa powder from this location more than three decades ago; if I still had it, it likely would fetch a nice collector’s price.
For many years, I’ve enjoyed going to Starbucks, becoming acquainted with any number of “baristas” and drinking enough of its variously flavored beverages that “grande” characterizes my waistline as much as the size of a given drink. Even when traveling in the Middle East, the taste of a frappuccino has been a welcome reminder that one can go home again. And I’ve always been glad to go into a place that, in some ways, still reminds me of home (there’s a reason Starbucks’ interiors usually are muted; it’s a Pacific Northwest thing).
With Microsoft and several other major firms, Starbucks last month endorsed the effort of some of the Evergreen State’s leading politicians to enact homosexual “marriage.” Although this initiative passed in the state legislature and was signed into law by departing Gov. Christine Gregoire, it likely will be on the state ballot in November.
What is a bit maddening, given Starbucks’ strident advocacy for the redefinition of marriage, is CEO Howard Schultz’s claim that he is non-political. As he said just a few days ago, ”I have no interest in public office … I have only one interest, and that is I want the country to be on the right track.”
To Schultz’s credit, he authored a pledge, now signed by a fairly large group of CEOs, in which they promise, “I join my fellow concerned Americans in pledging to withhold any further campaign contributions to elected members of Congress and the President until a fair, bipartisan deal is reached that sets our nation on stronger long-term fiscal footing.”
This is admirable, and no doubt motivated by a patriotic desire to see the U.S. once again become the engine of economic growth that, for so many decades, it has been. Yet the key to a strong economy is a strong family – a family composed of a father, a mother, and children. The hard data prove it. By supporting a movement that would further vitiate the already weakened family unit, Schultz is tacitly but actively advocating the continued erosion of the institution – the two-parent, heterosexual, traditional and complementary family unit – without which no economy or society generally can thrive.
Additionally, Schultz’s decrying of divisiveness rings a bit hollow when he plunges his company feet-first into the culture wars. The effort to redefine marriage to include same-sex partners is a radical social innovation, one fraught with dangerous implications for individuals, families, and culture. Claiming to be post-political and then allowing one’s chief corporate spokesperson to say that same-sex “marriage” is “is core to who we are and what we value as a company” are assertions that don’t quite add up.
Yesterday, the New Jersey Assembly joined with the State Senate and passed a bill endorsing same-sex marriage in a 42 to 33 vote. If marriage equality becomes law, New Jersey will become the eighth state to destroy what the Assembly speaker called one of the “last legalized barriers to equal rights.”
In a pivotal moment, New Jersey lawmakers did more than stand up for the institution of marriage; they chose to begin legally recognizing and protecting the civil rights of every resident of their state. They showed that no matter who one loves, the state should not limit the ability to fully commit to that person. As Newark Assemblywoman Cleopatra G. Tucker put it, “I came to the conclusion that the people sent me here from my district, here to protect what’s right…To protect the rights of everyone.”
Unfortunately, Governor Chris Christie has sworn to veto the new legislation, insisting that the legislature subject the basic civil rights of their fellow citizens to a referendum.
Proponents of marriage equality are not accepting this alternative, and are preparing to form even stronger coalitions to override Gov. Christie’s impending veto. Polls indicate growing support for same-sex marriage among voters, a trend that will likely continue over the next two years, providing the support the legislature needs to override the veto.
New Jersey’s legislature made history by passing a marriage equality bill. Governor Christie should do the same by signing it into law.
The Senate today confirmed Jesse Furman to sit on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York, over five months after his nomination was approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee. The vote came after the GOP quietly ended its five-month filibuster of Furman’s nomination, which was all but unheard of for an unopposed district court nominee.
President Obama’s judicial nominees have waited an average of 91 days for an up-or-down vote from the Senate after being approved by the Judiciary Committee. For President Bush’s nominees at this point in his presidency, the average wait was 23 days. The Senate GOP was roundly criticized last week for obstructing the nomination of Circuit Court nominee Adalberto Jordan, who was confirmed in a 94-5 vote after four months of delay.
“Americans across the board are fed up with Republicans in Congress,” said Marge Baker of People For the American Way. “Watching the Senate GOP’s charade around judicial nominees, there’s no wonder why. Republicans in the Senate filibustered Adalberto Jordan, a consensus pick for a judicial emergency on the 11th Circuit and the first Cuban American on the court, for four months – and once their filibuster was broken, stalled him for two more days for absolutely no reason. Then, they filibustered Jesse Furman, an unopposed district court nominee who has been waiting over five months for a vote, but at the last minute backed down.
“The GOP backed down under pressure from Americans who expect better of their elected officials. Republicans in the Senate should stop the obstruction charade altogether and allow up-or-down votes on the remaining 20 nominees on the calendar.”