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PFAW Applauds Obama’s Change to Deportation Policy

President Obama announced a new immigration policy today that would allow undocumented residents who would qualify under the DREAM Act to gain work authorization and avoid deportation.

“The President’s announcement today is a victory for common sense,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “This country was built on the premise that each of us is responsible for our own actions. It’s outrageous to punish and deport hard working young people who were brought to this country at a very young age and who want nothing more than to stay here and contribute to their communities.

“While it’s disappointing that Republicans in Congress, even some who have sponsored the DREAM Act in the past, have chosen to play politics with immigration, President Obama’s order today is an important step forward for the country. It draws a sharp contrast between this President’s willingness to stand up for what’s right and the GOP’s willingness to sacrifice the economy and basic fairness in order to cater to an increasingly extreme base.”

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Joseph Backholm Thinks Marriage Equality will Fail because it relies on 'Emotional Manipulation'

Celebrating his success in putting Washington’s marriage equality law up to a popular referendum, Joseph Backholm of Preserve Marriage Washington and the Family Policy Institute of Washington once again appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show and told her that he is confident of winning in November because the case for same-sex marriage, he claims, doesn’t rely on logic. Instead, Blackholm said that unlike anti-gay activists, proponents of marriage equality depend on demonizing the opposition and “emotional manipulation” to win support.

Backholm: The narrative on the other side of this issue has basically been, ‘good people support redefining marriage, bad people don’t; you’re a good person, so join us.’ So a bunch of people who—generally we consider ourselves to be kind and thoughtful and ‘live and let live’ kind of people, that’s kind of the American way—and so by virtue of that people just migrate by default to where they perceive the people to be. Their narrative depends entirely upon that, so logical discussions about this subject rarely take place with those folks. But when they happen, the logic behind their argument really does tend to fall apart. It’s also because that is what they depend on so heavily, it’s why I’m supremely confident that in the long term we win this discussion because you can’t rely on emotional manipulation forever.

PFAW Condemns Latest GOP Excuse to Block Judicial Nominations

Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell announced Wednesday that he will block the confirmations of federal circuit court nominees from now until after the November elections, citing what he claims is a Senate tradition sometimes called the “Thurmond Rule.” Ten percent of federal judgeships are vacant, creating caseload backlogs so large that 30 of those seats are considered “judicial emergencies.”

“Senate Republicans have once again put politics ahead of the needs of the American people,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “Blocking the president’s well-qualified nominees seriously hampers the ability of the federal courts to serve Americans who seek justice in a court of law.

“Acting on the president’s nominations is the Senate’s responsibility to the American people. Unfortunately, politics is the GOP’s top priority, and it’s clear that Senator McConnell would prefer to keep the judiciary dangerously understaffed in hopes of someday filling those seats with a Republican president’s nominees. Because obstruction has been their strategy since losing the White House, most of the nominees caught in their trap would ordinarily have been confirmed long ago. Thanks to the GOP’s decision to shirk its responsibility by playing games, the backlog of nominees continues to grow and the American people are denied a fully functioning justice system.

“The President’s nominees awaiting confirmation are well qualified and will serve fairly and impartially. Almost all received strong bipartisan support from the Senate Judiciary Committee. There is absolutely no legitimate reason to block these confirmations, and the GOP should be ashamed to cite an indefensible tradition to justify this act.”

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Dwight McKissic Calls on SBC to Condemn Obama for Backing Marriage Equality, Likens Move to September 11th and Hurricane Katrina

Southern Baptist preacher Dwight McKissic, who has described the gay rights movement as “satanic” and even asserted that the Antichrist will be gay, was so distraught over President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality that he likened it to the September 11 terrorist attacks and Hurricane Katrina:

President Obama has betrayed the Bible and the Black Church with his endorsement of same-sex marriage. The Bible is crystal clear on this subject, and the Black Church strongly opposes same-sex marriage. His endorsement is an inadvertent attack on the Christian Faith. America is now a candidate for the same judgment received by Sodom and Gomorrah. This was a sad, sad day and a very bad decision, by our beloved President. The moral impact of this day and decision is equal to the military impact of AL-Queda [sic] when they attacked the Twin Towers on 911. Today’s announcement is a moral earthquake equivalent to a tsunami or hurricane that will have far more devastating results than Katrina.

This means that parents are now going to have an extremely difficult time teaching their children that marriage biblically and traditionally is between a man and a woman, when the President that many love and admire is now on record endorsing sodomy. This is painful and shameful. The Black Church should galvanize, mobilize and address this matter with the same (if not greater) intensity, velocity and resolve as we did the Civil Rights Movement. If we don’t, our children and grandchildren will pay a far greater price in suffering from a governmental sanction of same-sex marriage than we would have under segregation.

Now, McKissic is calling on the Southern Baptist Convention to condemn President Obama’s support for marriage equality and the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell:

Whereas, the Southern Baptist Convention previously recognized, “Redefining the concept and legality of marriage to mean anything other than the union between one man and one woman would fundamentally undermine the historic and biblical foundation of a healthy society (Genesis 1:28; 2:24; Matthew 19:4-6),” and “equating same-sex relationships with heterosexual marriage would create a host of religious liberty and freedom of conscience conflicts; now, therefore, be it” (SBC Resolution “On Protecting The Defense Of Marriage Act (doma),” June 2011),

Whereas the sitting President of the United States previously formally certified a repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, allowing for public recognition of homosexual persons in the military, instead of honoring Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice which precludes homosexual behavior among active service personnel,

Whereas the President now has publically voiced his personal support of same-sex civil unions, and that the legal approval of such unions is a matter for each individual state of our country to decide,



Resolved that we affirm that pastors should preach the truth of God’s word on marriage, homosexual behavior, purity, and love with all boldness and without fear of reprisal, and be it further,

Resolved that we proclaim that Christ offers forgiveness for homosexual behavior for those who turn from their homosexuality and believe on Christ for the forgiveness of sin.

Jim Martin Says if Lying was a Crime, Obama would be 'Behind Bars'

Jim Martin of the pro-corporate, Koch Brothers-funded 60 Plus Association, which claims to be the conservative alternative to the AARP, told attendees at the Faith and Freedom Coalition’s Washington D.C. summit today that if lying was a crime, President Obama would be in jail. “Candidate Obama said we won’t deal with lobbyists, we’ll be open, we’ll be out front, we’ll be transparent,” Martin said in reference to the negotiations over the health care reform law. “Look, if lying were a federal or criminal offense, then the President of the United States and half of his senior staff would right now be behind bars, it is that simple.”

Watch:

Rep. Huelskamp Claims the Left Plans to 'Repeal any Religious Liberties or any Religious Values' in America

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-TX) today spoke to the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon about the sale of bibles in LifeWay stores, which is affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention. The stores were selling Bibles with the emblems of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps. However, the store’s permission to use such trademarks “was revoked when the military revamped its trademark licensing regulations in 2011.”

A LifeWay spokesman told Fox News that “after selling existing inventory of those bibles, B&H [Publishing] replaced the official seals with generic insignias which continue to sell well and provide spiritual guidance and comfort to those who serve.” The Defense Department also “stressed that the revocation was solely a trademark issue.”

But Religious Right groups instead are blaming the decision on the Military Religious Freedom Foundation, and Huelskamp alleged that the Obama administration is the main culprit. He said that “folks on the left” would “like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society,” and argued that the administration seeks to use the military as a “training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.”

Perkins and Huelskamp later twisted the story to claim that soldiers are now being deprived of Bibles, even though the only thing that changed was the logo and not the publication, and suggested that the move could contribute to mental health problems and suicide among soldiers.

Perkins: Your thoughts on this latest attack, it’s the only way I can describe it, on the religious freedom of men and women who serve in the military?

Huelskamp: You just mentioned in a way it was simply a capitulation and the fact that the Department of the Defense and this administration will bend over backwards to protect, I guess, the rights of atheists to determine our policies in the military, which simply does an incredible disservice to the brave men and women who defend and guarantee our rights. The idea that a particular Bible is a national security threat, that would be silly if it wasn’t so serious in terms of the threats that are coming from the folks on the left that would like to delete, exclude and repeal any religious liberties or any religious values throughout our entire government and our entire society, it is a real threat to the future of this country I believe.



Huelskamp: I believe that the only way Washington is going to respond is if something will happen will happen at the polls this Fall.

Wildmon: So you think this is a reflection of the Obama administration through the Pentagon, capitulating on this?

Huelskamp: I believe so, and we see that through other agencies. You have these leftist groups from the outside and somehow they get word about something and then they come in and send these threatening letters and then the administration says ‘well my goodness I think you’re right.’ This happens in the military, I believe it happens other ways as well. It’s a cultural issue, it’s an issue of whether we’re going to just change the way Americans think and we’re going to use, in this case, the military as our training ground for a radical, leftist agenda.



Perkins: The very thing that can help our members of the military deal with these issues is being driven from the military, it makes absolutely no sense.

Wildmon: Congressman, are you on a committee that oversees this kind of thing?

Huelskamp: I am not; I serve on the veterans’ affairs committee as well for folks that finished their military service. Suicide is a real concern. When you separate people from their faith and separate people from their Creator, you expect bad things to happen. Tony is definitely right, the real folks that lose out on this are the men and women that need this truth and need this faith. In the past, in the history of our country, it’s been understood. I have an uncle that’s a chaplain, he’s served in multiple conflicts and has been there and understands as many other chaplains do that this is our role is to protect the faith of our brave men and women. And here they are defending religious liberty and freedom around the world and at home, in their own backyard it is under attack.

Florida Family Association Claims a Victory in Campaign against Degrassi

The anti-LGBT Florida Family Association has long attacked Degrassi for trying to have teenagers “embrace and accept the transgender or homosexual lifestyle,” and is now declaring victory for having convinced at least one company to publicly state it will not advertise on the show: Kelloggs. David Caton of the FFA, who says that Degrassi promotes “very bizarre sexual role-playing with transvestism, homosexuality” and “is probably one of the worst shows that we’ve ever seen,” posted an email that appears to come from a Kellogg’s spokesman agreeing to drop advertising on Degrassi, telling Caton that Degrassi does “not meet our criteria” and that “Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising” on only one of the show’s episodes.

MTV tried to convince mainstream advertisers that the content of Degrassi presented important teen issues in a responsible manner. However, the super majority of mainstream companies stopped advertising on this show after Florida Family Association repeatedly informed them about the extreme content involving bizarre sexual role playing and drug abuse and overdose of the program.

The interactions of three Degrassi characters demonstrate one faction of the irresponsible content of this show. The transgender female to male character Adam is intimately interested in a bi-sexual female Fiona. However, Fiona is confused as to whether she is lesbian or bi-sexual while she interacts with Riley. Riley is an open homosexual and starting quarterback for the high school football team. The odds of this mix of sordid sexual deviations occurring in any high school at this high social clique level are a million to one. Yet, MTV targets our children and teens on their Teen Nick channel with this garbage numerous times a week and tries to sell it as programming that treats serious teen matters responsibly.

Florida Family Association has issued several email alerts regarding Degrassi over the past two years which have resulted in a large number of companies pulling off the program. The last email campaign identified Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate as new advertisers and encouraged them to stop supporting Degrassi with their advertising dollars. All four companies, Nationwide, Hewlett Packard, Verizon and Colgate, have not advertised in the recent months.

Kellogg's responded to one of many emails the Florida Family Association office sends out to companies each week that advertise during numerous shows.

Dear Mr. Caton,

We appreciate you bringing this recent advertising placement concern to our attention. We have a long standing advertising placement policy which helps ensure that we place our advertising in environments that reflect the positive image of our brands. When applying this standard, we find that many programs, including Degrassi, do not meet our criteria.

After investigating with our advertising agency and Nickelodeon, it appears that Degrassi ran in a different time slot than usual on May 11 and Teen Nick inadvertently placed our advertising on this one episode. We are working with Nickelodeon to tighten their internal processes to avoid mis-placement in the future.

Sincerely,

Joanna K. Grennes
Sr. Director Consumer Communications
Consumer Affairs Department

Ralph Reed’s Tea Party Luncheon

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition kicked off its 2012 conference with a splashy show of the Reed’s political muscle in the form of three U.S. Senators.  Rob Portman of Ohio, Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and Marco Rubio of Florida all delivered speeches that reflect Reed’s goal for 2012 and beyond: merging the messages and organizing energies of the overlapping Tea Party and Religious Right movements to elect conservative Republicans.

“American exceptionalism” was a major theme of the day – defined generally as America being uniquely blessed by God for its commitment to limited government and free-market economics grounded in a belief that individual rights come from God.  And – no surprise -- President Obama was portrayed as an enemy of faith and freedom.

Portman declared that the Obama administration had treated freedom of religion as a “second-class right.”  He argued that life should be held sacred “from conception til death.”

 DeMint charged the President with wanting a country and economy run from the top down, and called for a stop to government “purging faith” from the American way of life. “We need to realize we’re blessed,” said DeMint. “We need to know that we’re in trouble. And we need to know that 2012 may be our last chance to turn this thing around.”

Reed introduced Rubio as one of the greatest talents and most transformational figures that any of us have ever seen.  Rubio, who is hawking a new book, argued that social and fiscal conservatism are indistinguishable, and that the notion of God as the source of freedom is essential to freedom itself.  “You cannot have your freedom without your faith, because the source of your freedom is your faith.”  He argued that calling for the wealthy to pay more taxes is “divisive” and pits Americans against each other for the purposes of winning an election, claiming, “that is never who we have been.” (Surely even Rubio does not actually believe that the Republican Party and Tea Party have never run divisive campaigns in order to win elections.)

Listening to Rubio, you can understand why GOP strategists have such high hopes for him. He calls on people to help their neighbors. He says the conservative movement is not about imposing its values on others or leaving people behind.  He says conservatives want drinking water to be clean and the air to be breathable. (In reality, of course, policies backed by today’s far-right GOP would indeed impose their values on others, leave millions of Americans behind, and eviscerate regulations that protect our families’ food, air, and water.)

Before the conference started, an FFC press release claimed that its activists will be “phoning, mailing, and knocking on the doors of 27 million conservative and pro-family voters, distributing 35 million voter guides, and making a total of 120 million voter contacts” in 2012. At today’s luncheon, Reed encouraged members of the audience to imagine what could happen with another 10 or 20 senators like Rubio.  Yes, just imagine.

Linda Harvey Wonders how to 'Peacefully but Permanently' Put an End to Gay Pride Events

Linda Harvey of Mission America today asked listeners to think about what people could “do peacefully but permanently to put an end” to gay pride celebrations, which typically take place in June. Incensed by President Obama’s LGBT Pride Month proclamation, Harvey said that Obama holds “an incorrect view of homosexuality, which is not a basic right,” and is “dissing” people of faith. Harvey, who does not believe that LGBT people exist, later claimed that the Obama administration’s support of “risky lifestyle choices” undercuts the First Lady’s efforts to promote healthy living:

Once again this year, June is filled with cities holding gay pride celebrations. Every year I continue to challenge believers to pray about what we can do peacefully but permanently to put an end to these events in our cities. I will admit, I have not come up with the answer, but there is no question that God will help us if we ask Him. It’s also terribly sad when we have a president who has once again this Spring issued a presidential proclamation declaring June as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month. In the proclamation which you can find by going to the website WhiteHouse.gov, the president alludes to these deviant behaviors as being part of an effort towards civil rights, which is incorrect. The homosexual political agenda being forced on America is ‘stronger than hate,’ the proclamation says. Once more, the president disses and dismisses those who have religious or personal beliefs that might contradict what he thinks is right, no allowance for other viewpoints. The proclamation speaks with compassion about those who are ‘denied basic rights.’ Again, this is an incorrect view of homosexuality, which is not a basic right.



There are many health care risks and elevated costs associated with these behaviors, which are not inborn identities. So the Obama administration has endorsed poor health care and risky lifestyle choices and helped to codify these into health care law. And yet, Michelle Obama wants people to eat right and exercise? It’s another example of misplaced priorities and confused ethics.

Apparently, Criticizing David Barton is now Proof that he Speaks the Truth

Historians across the board, including evangelicals, have roundly criticized and debunked the work of Religious Right pseudo-historian and WallBuilders president David Barton, whose shoddy history has been repeatedly documented on this blog. However, Barton’s influence among social conservatives and leading Republicans, including presidential candidates, continues to grow.

As exhibited today in a WallBuilders Live interview with David French of the American Center for Law and Justice, it appears that Barton’s clout has increased not despite the overwhelming criticism he has received for his faux-history and extremist views but because of it. French told Barton’s deputy Rick Green that disapproval of Barton’s work is proof that he is speaking the truth!

Green: We’re worried about cratering because someone might say, ‘that’s mean-spirited’!

French: Exactly, or, ‘you’re a bigot,’ and then all of a sudden you are immediately backpedalling. It shows the power that we have allowed peer and cultural regard to have over our lives and heart. One of the best things that any Christian can do is to begin to just break away from that, to become indifferent to that.

You guys, you and David, get such hate all the time from folks who are just appalled that you are bringing truth about America’s heritage into the public square, a truth they have been spending generations trying to squelch. I’m sure it hurts on some occasion when you see it but it’s also a sign that you guys are making incredible progress and incredible headway and you’ve gotten a message out that I can just tell in the Christian community in the past five to ten years, there’s a difference in knowledge about America because of the work that you guys have done.

Green: Hey man, if you’re not taking flak you’re not over the target right?

French: Exactly.

Green: It could be a good thing. I think you’re dead-on, if you are speaking truth, if you are doing something that’s going to make a difference, you’re going to take some criticism. We need to challenge this generation to actually be excited about the opportunity to stand for truth.

Barton certainly has made a “difference in knowledge about America”…by consistently fabricating and disseminating false claims about American history.

Bryan Fischer Goes Ballistic over New Yorker Profile

Yesterday we wrote about an excellent, and in-depth, profile of Bryan Fischer by veteran reporter Jane Mayer in this week’s New Yorker. Fischer took to his radio show to respond to the piece, and let’s just say it seems to have hit a nerve. If you weren’t already planning on reading it, you’ll definitely want to after watching Fischer get so worked up about it (highlights below and full video here):  

Fischer variably called the profile “shoddy,” “laughably bad,” “juvenile,” “poorly written,” “unprofessional,” “distorted, misleading, false, and deceptive,” “offensively bad,” and “an embarrassingly bad piece of journalism” that is “like something you would get in a middle school journalism class.” He said that Mayer “ought to be ashamed of herself” and is an “inexcusably bad journalist.”
 
Fischer, of course, doth protest too much. He threw around a lot of names and accusations but did nothing to call into question the veracity or quality of the article. And he seemed genuinely shocked that a reporter would take the time to speak with people he’s known throughout his life, and that some of those people might not agree with him or hold him in the same high esteem he holds himself. “This was my own life, she’s talking about my life here,” he complained.
 
“If I was a journalist,” said Fischer, “I'd be embarrassed frankly to be associated with a piece of tripe like this.” But I think it’s safe to say that he has a weak grasp on what journalism is. Regardless, Fischer says he’s going to take his ball and go home: “This is it. I am never ever gonna cooperate with an organ of the mainstream media for a profile on me ever again.”
 

Questions arise in Alabama after Public TV Employees were Fired after Rebuffing David Barton Programming

In no uncertain terms, David Barton is not a historian, but a hyper-partisan political activist whose writings have been so repeatedly and thoroughly debunked that he is not taken seriously outside of certain conservative circles. Indeed, right-wing figures regularly hail Barton, whose only degree is a B.A. in religious education from Oral Roberts University, as not just a historian but perhaps even the greatest historian.

Since Barton’s discredited claims about American history have such a following it was no surprise to see that a member of the Alabama Educational Television Commission pressured the state’s educational public television outlet to air one of Barton’s “history” series. And yesterday, the Current Public Media blog reported that Alabama Public Television managers Allan Pizzato and Pauline Howland were fired possibly after refusing a request from commissioner Rodney Herring, a Republican Party official and donor, to broadcast Barton’s program:

The Alabama Educational Television Commission came out of an executive session Tuesday afternoon and ordered veteran pubcaster Allan Pizzato and his deputy Pauline Howland to clean out their desks and leave APT’s headquarters in Birmingham.

Pizzato had served 12 years as executive director of APT, a statewide network governed by a board of seven political appointees.

Howland, deputy director and chief financial officer, described the firings in an interview with Current and said she was "baffled" by the dismissals. But she also recalled how Pizzato had asked staff in April for advice about a series of videos that AETC commissioners wanted APT to air.

The videos featured David Barton, an evangelical minister and conservative activist whose publications and media appearances promote his theories about the religious intentions of America’s founders. He frequently appears on political commentary programs hosted by conservative Glenn Beck.



AETC Commissioner Rodney Herring, an Opelika-based chiropractor, had provided the series to APT for broadcast consideration. Herring joined the commission last year and was elected board secretary in January. As of late Wednesday evening, Herring did not return a voice message from Current.

Kyle Whitmire of the weekly newspaper Weld for Birmingham also reported on the firings and pressure from “members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton”:

Sources who spoke on condition of anonymity told Weld on Tuesday that APTV executive director Allan Pizzato and chief financial officer Pauline Howland were ordered to clean out their desks and escorted from the building on Tuesday, and the two executives were not allowed to speak to staff or explain the change on the premises. The sources requested anonymity because they are not authorized to make public statements about APTV’s internal affairs.



In recent months, APTV has been pressured by members of the commission to air programing produced by David Barton, a Texas evangelist. Barton’s organization, Wall Builders, has produced a series of videos promoting a religious conservative view of American History. The Wall Builders website explains its purpose is to promote Christian religious values.

As Kyle has noted, Barton’s new “Building on the American Heritage Series” features not only the same faux-history but also Creationist and anti-choice claims, demands for greater intolerance of gays and lesbians and an appeal for the criminalization of homosexuality:

But this kind of rhetoric may find its way onto Alabama’s public television soon, all under the guise of “history.”

Tony Perkins Praises ExxonMobil's 'Courage' for not 'Fueling the Homosexual Agenda'

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on his daily radio bulletin applauded ExxonMobil shareholders for voting down a proposal to prohibit job discrimination based sexual orientation, even claiming that the vote was part of a “backlash” against President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality. By not “fueling the homosexual agenda,” Perkins said the oil giant’s decision showed “courage” and was a “stand for true American values.”

Perkins: At ExxonMobil, the shareholders put their stock in something other than political correctness. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins in the Family Research Council in Washington. It won't change the price of gas, but it may comfort you to know that at ExxonMobil, your business isn't fueling the homosexual agenda. At Exxon's annual meeting, shareholders refused to add special protections based upon "sexual orientation" to the employment policy. It was the 13th straight year the company wouldn't cave to the pressure. While the outcome wasn't a surprise, the margin of victory certainly was. Eighty percent of the company voted "no"--that was the highest number since 1999. That was a huge shock to liberals who were pushing the change, who said the resolution had 40% support in years past. But that was before the President forced Americans into a debate about homosexual marriage. Now, the backlash is starting to show, and it's not just political. Maybe Exxon's courage will fuel other companies to stand for true American values.

Citizens United Continues to Stack the Deck

Two short paragraphs from a Wall Street Journal article about billionaire casino mogul Sheldon Adelson’s political contributions vividly illustrate the damage to democracy done by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision:

Mr. Adelson has told friends that he intends to give at least $100 million to conservative causes and candidates this election cycle. He contributed some $250,000 to Republican Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin, who just won against a labor union-forced recall election there.

But he has also told his friends and colleagues that he would prefer to keep his contributions under wraps in order to avoid controversy, and will likely focus donations mostly on non-profits affiliated with political PACS, which don’t have to disclose the names of donors. He is expected to donate to the conservative non-profit Crossroads GPS, which was founded by Republican strategist Karl Rove, a longtime friend of Mr. Adelson, according to Republican fundraisers.

The article was prompted by recent revelations that Mr. Adelson donated $10 million – the largest amount single donation so far – to a super PAC supporting Mitt Romney.

Adelson is credited for single-handedly keeping Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign afloat (for a while, at least), and he has long been pressured by Republican fundraisers to support Mr. Romney. Thanks to Citizens United, one very wealthy individual has the power to donate unlimited amounts to super PACS that are unaccountable to the public. And, as is the case with special interests who try to use their enormous wealth to skew elections, Adelson would prefer to keep his activities a secret so no one even knows who’s buying the race. Thanks to Citizens United, he can do exactly that.

PFAW

Barber: Arrogant Obama 'Infuriated Black Pastors Across This Country'

Mat Staver and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel on Faith & Freedom today were rankled by a speech Attorney General Eric Holder delivered to a meeting of the Conference of National Black Churches and the Congressional Black Caucus where he denounced the new wave of voter suppression measures like voter ID laws and curtailing early voting that have a disproportionate impact on people of color.

Naturally, Barber tied this back to the issue of gay rights, arguing that black voters should no longer trust President Obama since he “infuriated black pastors across the country” by endorsing marriage equality. “Now he goes to them with hat and hand and expects them to fire up the base for his cause when he has alienated them in such a way,” Barber asserted.

Staver went on to say that most African Americans oppose marriage equality because it “compounds the breakdown of the family.” However, the latest polling shows that 59% of African Americans support marriage equality and 90% of black voters approve of President Obama’s job performance. Similarly, last June Barber predicted that Jewish voters will rebuff Obama’s “anti-Semitism” but a strong majority of Jewish voters continues to back Obama.

Staver: Anything that is biblical, anything that you want to speak on with regards to the Bible or our culture is not off-limits simply because politicians are also talking about it.

Barber: You mentioned biblical issues, that brings up another case tied into this idea of the Obama administration going to these black churches. Again, it just displays an amount of hubris and arrogance on the part of this administration and this President that I’ve never seen before. This after on the heels of the President thumbing his nose at these very black pastors around the country by coming out in support of counterfeit, same-sex marriage. He has infuriated black pastors across the country with this and now he goes to them with hat and hand and expects them to fire up the base for his cause when he has alienated them in such a way.

Staver: In fact, he talked to some black pastors before he went out to do this announcement on same-sex marriage and they opposed it, many of them did oppose it. Now there were some obviously that were in favor but there were many black pastors, and I would say there are most black pastors by far that don’t agree with same-sex marriage. They understand the breakdown of the family. Of many communities, you see the breakdown of the family with regards to the father, and same-sex marriage creates a fatherless home, it just does, it creates a fatherless situation. It compounds the breakdown of the family. Most black pastors and people in the black community understand that. So he’s thumbed his nose at them and then he wants to now recruit them.

Bryan Fischer in the New Yorker: Extreme, Rigid and the Product of a Broken Home

The New Yorker is out with an excellent new piece by Jane Mayer that explores how Bryan Fischer came to be the bigoted firebrand known so well to readers of this blog. Over the years we’ve covered a seemingly endless stream of outrages by Fischer, who serves as American Family Association’s Director of Issue Analysis and host of “Focal Point” on AFA’s radio network. Yet Fischer only recently emerged on the national scene when he led the successful effort to oust an openly gay spokesman from the Romney campaign.

The New Yorker profile, appropriately titled “Bully Pulpit,” is Fischer’s first national media close-up, and the results are none too pretty. Mayer spoke with former and current friends and co-workers of Fischer, and the portrait that consistently emerges is of an extreme and rigid man who consistently drives friends away and is compensating, to this day, for childhood traumas.
 
                 (Photo by Alec Soth for the New Yorker)         
 
As you would expect, the article includes a number of outrageous and offensive remarks and claims made by Fischer, both to Mayer and previously (many of which were first reported on this blog). Here are some notable examples from the profile:
  • “Fischer declared that ‘homosexuality gave us Adolf Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews.’
  • “Like the saying goes, ‘I’ve never met an ex- black, but I’ve met a lot of ex-gays.’ If one person can do it, two people can do it.”
  • “He then denied, as he does routinely, that H.I.V. causes AIDS, calling it a ‘harmless passenger virus.’”
  • “Fischer thinks that Islam is a violent religion, and argues that Muslims should be stopped from immigrating and barred from serving in the U.S. military. He believes that the country was a Christian nation when the Bill of Rights was written, and therefore non-Christians ‘have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of religion.’ He has said that Native Americans are ‘morally disqualified’ from ruling America, and that African-American welfare recipients ‘rut like rabbits.’”
  • “Obama, he has said, ‘despises the Constitution” and “nurtures a hatred for the white man.’”
  • “Fischer advised a caller that, in some instances, a child as young as six months could be spanked.”
Readers who are already familiar with Fischer’s extremism will likely be much more interested in the details about how he came to be what he is today, starting with his upbringing and relationship with his parents:
Fischer’s political activism, however, began years before the advent of same-sex-marriage laws. In fact, his preoccupation with family dysfunction seems to have started with his own. Though Fischer loves to talk, he does not like to talk about his childhood, and spoke about it only grudgingly. He was born in Oklahoma City, in 1951, and his father, John, a descendant of German Mennonites, was a Conservative Baptist minister whose pacifism was so strict that he became a conscientious objector during the Second World War—a choice that makes Fischer uncomfortable. […]
 
Fischer didn’t volunteer anything about his mother, but, when pressed, said, “My parents divorced when I was about twenty. It just rocked my world.” His mother, who worked as an interior decorator at a furniture store, was “chronically late,” and the bus driver on her route to work would always hold the bus for her. Eventually, he said, “my mom fell for the bus driver,” deserting him, his father, and his younger sister. “I don’t want to go into it,” Fischer said. “But I saw the devastating impact it had on other people in my immediate family.” Asked how his father fared, Fischer turned away, then said, “He looked like an Auschwitz survivor. It was akin to that ordeal.”
 
Dennis Mansfield, a Christian conservative who was friends with Fischer for twenty years, said that Fischer also “had a deep-rooted disappointment in his father, for not being strong enough.”
Later, as a student at Stanford, Fischer gravitated to David Roper, a chaplain at the school, and began attending his evangelical church in Palo Alto. Fischer told Mayer that he was attracted by the “manliness” of the church: “It was the first time I’d been around a real muscular Christianity,” he told me. “It had a kind of strength and virility to it that would appeal to men.” Roper told Mayer he found this characterization “odd” and is no longer close to Fischer.
 
Manliness and strength continued to be major forces – and sources of strife – in Fischer’s life. Roper left Palo Alto in 1978 and recruited Fischer and Terry Papé, a fellow student, to join him in Boise after they graduated. In 1993, Roper retired and chose Papé to lead the congregation, passing over Fischer, who was crushed. Manliness was to blame:
“Bryan was very popular when he came to Cole,” Papé recalled. “But, over time, those relationships were strained, because of his very strong personality. When it comes to his perspective, it’s very difficult to get him to budge. He loves a good argument, but he doesn’t like being persuaded he might be wrong.” In 1993, Fischer was crushed when Roper retired and endorsed a different successor. […]
 
But friction had grown between the two men—and between Fischer and the congregation— over various doctrinal issues. “The central issue was gender,” Fischer told me. The church, he said, had “adopted policies that would have allowed women to exercise authority over men.” He opposed this, citing the Apostle Paul.
Fischer then started his own church in Boise, the Community Church of the Valley, and pursued a hard line on gender and family issues:
In church, Fischer preached that it might be preferable if Americans married upon becoming sexually mature. “I’m not saying go out and get your fifteen-year-old engaged,” he said. But he argued that “we have artificially delayed the age at which people are expected to marry,” and observed, “Mary, the mother of Christ, was probably a teen-ager when she was betrothed to Joseph.” In another sermon, he preached that women were equal to men in worth but “not equal in authority.”
 
“Somebody’s got to have the tie-breaking vote,” he explained to me. “According to God, that’s the husband and father.”
Fischer was appointed in 2001 as the chaplain of the Idaho Senate and began developing a statewide reputation for hard-right political activism. He also alienated many people, including Dennis Mansfield, an elder at his church and a longtime friend, who told Mayer about a pattern he noticed over the years: Fischer would “develop a closeness to a friend and then, as soon as they had a disagreement, they’d be cut adrift.”
 
Four years later, Fischer was kicked out on the street by his own congregation – again manliness was to blame:
“It was the gender issue again,” Fischer told me. “Because of my Scriptural convictions, I wasn’t able to budge. A female friend of the wife of an elder wanted a leadership role. I felt those roles should be reserved for men… . When I objected, they said, ‘You’re fired.’ It was very abrupt. I didn’t know what I was going to do next. It was very painful.” 
Fischer then fell into full-time political activism, founding the Idaho Values Alliance, which in 2007 became the state chapter of the American Family Association. Two years later he moved to Tupelo, MS to take on his current roles at AFA’s headquarters, which features a “statue of a fetus enshrined in a heart and a shoulder-high stone tablet inscribed with the Ten Commandments” out front.
 
Mayer’s profile provides an interesting look inside AFA, the tax-exempt and supposedly nonpartisan organization behind American Family Radio, which “comprises two hundred stations in thirty-five states.” At one point, Fischer’s producer began laughing after saying that “we have to be careful, because we’re not allowed to endorse.”
 
Mayer also relays a story about how AFA president Tim Wildmon texted Fischer during an on-air tirade about Newt Gingrich’s infidelities to warn him that “he might be alienating listeners.” This anecdote caught my attention because we’ve noted instances in the past where AFA has censored and edited Fischer’s articles on their website. Could it be that Fischer is on course to alienate yet another friend and benefactor? Only time will tell.

 

American Decency Association Joins JC Penney Boycott over Father's Day Ad

The American Family Association’s OneMillionMoms found another ally in its war on JC Penney, as the American Decency Association is now backing a boycott of the retailer for including a same-sex couple in an ad marking Father’s Day. The group maintains that JC Penney “insulted millions of us ‘traditional,’ i.e. ‘real,’ family people” by featuring two dads and their children in the ad:

The ad features a gay “family” – two men playing with two children – with these words: “What makes Dad so cool? He’s the swim coach, tent maker, best friend, bike fixer and hug giver — all rolled into one. Or two.”

How twenty-first century of JC Penney! All inclusive and stuff. It’s just too bad that by featuring this homosexual couple they have insulted millions of us “traditional,” i.e. “real,” family people. We know that a family is not a mix-and-match combination of its components. It’s a man and a woman and any children they may have or take legal responsibility for. And, in case you skipped biology, that means you can only have one father.

So why is JC Penney pandering to this four percent of the population by marketing to homosexuals rather than simply not encumbering itself in the culture war?

The ADA is encouraging members to email JC Penney and tell them that because of the store’s “pandering to the homosexual movement” they will no longer shop there:

I am extremely offended by your recent attempt to redefine "families" in your recent Father's Day ad featuring a homosexual couple. Your pandering to the homosexual movement is at the same time pushing away those of us who support traditional, i.e. real, marriage. It is not the place of a department store to be making preachy statements about issues like gay marriage at the cost of its customers. Until such time as I hear that you will no longer attempt to make moral judgments on these issues in your ad campaigns and will be backing out of the culture war, I will not be shopping in your stores. Please, stay out of the controversy and just sell your products.

Mat Staver Warns ENDA Will Result in the 'Death of Some Individuals'

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk yesterday that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”:

Staver: So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.

Staver also claimed that ENDA “will be the biggest club that the homosexual agenda will have to ultimately beat down people of faith and moral values” and could lead to the abolition of gender, morality and marriage in order to “undermine the very concept of God himself”:

Schneider: How critical is it Mat that our listeners contact their U.S. Senators at this time pertaining to ENDA?

Staver: I think it’s absolutely critical, we cannot have this law pass, we just simply cannot have it pass, it will literally reshape America and business and you will have your religious freedom on a collision course with this radical homosexual agenda. This will be the biggest club that the homosexual agenda will have to ultimately beat down people of faith and moral values.



Staver: Years ago I said what the ultimate goal of this homosexual agenda was not this sexual orientation where you are wired to a particular way but ultimately the abolition of gender. It’s hard for us to even comprehend that, how can you abolish the concept or the construct of gender, male and female, it’s so objective, it’s so obvious, how can you do that? But that’s exactly what they want to do: anything that you see is just fictitious; it’s only what’s in your mind. If you abolish the concept of gender you ultimately undermine morality, you ultimately have no morality and norms for men and women or sexual behavior. As Alfred Kinsey ultimately wanted to do, he wanted to undermine morality in marriage. Why? So he could undermine the very concept of God himself.

Hurwitz Finally Confirmed By Voice Vote

Senate Republicans agree to a voice vote to confirm a nominee who they claimed was not qualified to be a federal judge.
PFAW
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