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Boykin Sees Religious Right Advocacy as Continuation of the War on Terror

The conservative Christian magazine WORLD profiled Jerry Boykin, the former general turned conservative activist. Boykin left the military shortly after he was reprimanded by President Bush for making speeches, while in uniform, that depicted the “war on terrorism” as a holy war against Islam. In the article, Boykin describes his new post at the Family Research Council as a continuation of his old job at the Pentagon in fighting terrorism, telling WORLD, “Staying in the battle is the right thing to do.”

Even before becoming executive vice president of the FRC last July, Boykin was touting all sorts of bizarre, anti-Muslim and right-wing conspiracy theories and working with groups like the Oak Initiative, a project of televangelist Rick Joyner.

Boykin said that after turning down multiple offers from Tony Perkins to join the FRC, he finally decided to accept Perkins’s proposal because he “learned not to tell God you wouldn’t so something because before long that is the very thing He will have you do.”

“Boykin hopes to apply the strategies he learned in the Special Forces,” WORLD’s Edward Lee Pitts reports, and Boykin warned that there is an attempt to “remove God from society” and replace God with “evil.”

Last year, Boykin, 64, became the new executive vice president of the Family Research Council (FRC), the D.C.-based group that has been promoting a Christian worldview in the public policy arena since 1983. It’s a task made more warlike as the nation’s capital becomes enemy territory for social conservatives.

Boykin handles day-to-day operations as the organization’s second-in-command, interacting with lawmakers, managing interviews with the press, and serving as a public face. Going into an environment where his group is considered an outcast is not a new task for Boykin, an original member who became commander of the Army’s elite counterterrorism group Delta Force.

It also isn’t Boykin’s first time patrolling Washington politics. As a deputy undersecretary of defense for intelligence under then-Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, Boykin endured a year under the political microscope. Memories of what turned into an ordeal a decade ago led Boykin to turn down the job offer from FRC President Tony Perkins initially. But God had other plans.



Retiring from the Army in June 2007, the New Bern, N.C., native vowed to reembrace rural life and never to return to Washington. When Perkins first offered Boykin the chance to join the FRC, Boykin refused, saying he felt emotionally unprepared for a return to the city. For a year and a half Perkins kept asking and Boykin kept saying no.

But family and friends unanimously told him he should reconsider. “I’ve learned not to tell God you wouldn’t do something because before long that is the very thing He will have you do,” said Boykin. “Staying in the battle is the right thing to do.”

Now, Boykin says he believes the controversy over his talks to churches is being used to prepare him to be able to fight the country’s culture battles: “The movement needs some grizzled old people not easily frightened by what the opposition does. Once you’ve been kicked around a bit it doesn’t hurt so much.”

Boykin hopes to apply the strategies he learned in the Special Forces, starting with having an appreciation and understanding of the opposition: “I give a great deal of credit to liberal progressive organizations in this country for message unity.” Too many social conservatives, he said, have become apathetic, expecting that someone else will defend their beliefs.

“Not enough of us are out there fighting,” said Boykin, who attributed that to the stream of media ridicule often faced by outspoken social conservatives.

Boykin, who on a recent mid-January day was preparing to visit House Speaker John Boehner’s office on Capitol Hill, described the country he’s fought for as “almost rudderless,” where a whole generation has failed to learn about the nation’s religious roots. He plans to focus this year on the nation’s debt, its growing addiction to entitlements, the integrity of the family, and the sanctity of life.

“When you remove God from society,” he said, “that void is filled with something else, and in most cases that something else is evil.”

PFAW: Senate Immigration Framework an Important Step in the Right Direction

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way praised the bipartisan immigration reform framework presented today in the Senate, which includes a path toward citizenship for undocumented immigrants.

“This bipartisan framework is a hugely important step toward reforming our immigration system in a way that reflects our values and also bolsters our economy,” said Michael Keegan, president of People For the American Way. “For too long, extreme voices on the Right have kept us from meaningful, necessary immigration reform. The framework presented today rightly includes a path to citizenship, recognizing and enhancing the contributions of millions of American workers.”

“This framework sets the right course for meaningful, comprehensive immigration reform,” added Keegan. “We must make sure that as the details of the bill are filled in, that its original purpose and values are preserved. There will be extremist voices attempting to stop or dilute these reforms at every turn. We must remain vigilant to ensure that we achieve common-sense, constructive reform.”

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African American Ministers in Action Praise Inclusion of Path to Citizenship in Bipartisan Senate Immigration Proposal

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action today praised the bipartisan immigration framework unveiled today in the Senate, which includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants and their children.

“For too long, inadequate and inhumane immigration laws have hurt our immigrants and held all Americans back,” said Reverend Timothy F. McDonald, III, chairman of African American Ministers in Action. “Today’s proposal is an important step forward as we strive for an immigration system that helps our country thrive while treating all people with humanity and respect. Our brothers and sisters who come to this country for a better life – from Latin America, Africa, the Caribbean and around the world – are as deserving of the opportunity for full citizenship as any of the millions of men, women and children who have come to this country throughout our history.  We join others in the faith and progressive communities in expressing our thankfulness to lawmakers of both parties who are keeping this basic principle in mind as they strengthen our immigration laws.”

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Obama Highlights Judges in Response to Filibuster Deal

The president again signals the priority he places on judicial nominations during his second term.
PFAW

Recess Appointments Ruling Shows Consequences of GOP Obstructionism

There would be no litigation on recess appointments but for Republicans' refusal to allow the Senate to vote on President Obama's nominees.
PFAW

Klingenschmitt: Obama Pushes 'Demonic Rule' by Backing Gay Rights

Religious Right activist and gay exorcist Gordon Klingenschmitt emailed members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project this week criticizing Presidnet Obama for endorsing gay rights during his inaugural address. Klingenschmitt, who believes Obama is ruled by approximately fifty demons, said that Obama’s support for gay equality is “an open invitation to the devil” and “demonic rule.” According to Klingenschmitt, Obama is “making Satan equal to God” as “he declares the demonic to be godly.”

Every kid deserves a mom and dad. We must defend traditional marriage.

Sadly, Obama equates sin with holiness, confusing lust with love, thereby confusing the demonic with the Holy Spirit, when Satan can never be equal with God. There is one reason homosexual sodomy will never be "equal" to traditional marriage: Satan will never be equal to God.

To discern selfish lust from selfless love, and the evil spirit from the Holy Spirit is critical to discerning whether sin can ever "equal" holiness, in human morality. Because every form of sin (including heterosexual sin) is a defiant human act of rebellion to God's commands, then sin is also an invitation to allow demonic rule, always without exception.

Thus "equality" for Obama is the same as making Satan equal to God, because he declares the demonic to be godly, when in fact nobody can serve two masters. Allowing sin to rule our national policies is an open rejection of Almighty God, and an open invitation to the devil, to manifest in our hearts.

Would you pray with me, for our President to repent, and renounce evil, and invite the Holy Spirit to rule his heart? Then let's petition all 100 Senators to protect traditional marriage.

WND: Fly On Obama's Face Proves He Is Satan

Have you ever had to deal with a housefly? Maybe one even landed on you once?

Well, according to WorldNetDaily, you might just be a minion of Satan, if not Satan himself.

WND super-reporter Aaron Klein scoured the web to find people who said that the fact a fly landed on Obama’s face at a press conference means he could be “possessed by a demonic entity.” WND was so proud of Klein’s reporting that they asked members in an email, “Is Obama biblical ‘Lord of the Flies’?” in an attempt to liken Obama to Beelzebub, or Satan.

Prophecy websites are having a field day with the worldwide attention President Obama is getting for sparring with a fly yesterday.

News reports have recounted Obama’s history of attracting flies during recorded interviews and speeches.

Already, religious and other websites are using the headlines to point out that a biblical reference for Satan, the Semitic deity Beelzebub, literally translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies.”



Those reaching to connect Obama’s fly troubles with the darkest biblical references won’t have much difficulty.

One name commonly used to refer to Satan is Beelzebub, which translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies.”

A posting at the popular Free Republic Web forum discusses Beelzebub and asks, “Is the White House fly infestation evidence of demonic presence and influence there?”

The End Times blog named Obama the “Lord of the Flies.”

The blog connects Obama to Beelzebub, writing, “This really isn’t an academic question. The Lord of the Flies is real.

” Over at RevalationNow.net, a posting by “editorial staff” muses about whether Obama is possessed by a demonic entity.

“I feel like I am watching a horror movie and the secret evil character is revealed by the evil signs around him,” the post reads.

Beelzebub is first referenced in 2 Kings 1:2-3, 6, 16, in which Beelzebub is described as the god of the Philistine city of Ekron.

Jewish scholars have interpreted the title “Lord of Flies” as the Hebrew way of comparing followers of the Canaanite deity Baal to flies.

The name Beelzebub is found throughout the New Testament, mostly as a reference to the prince of demons.

In Mark 3:22, the Pharisees accuse Jesus of driving out demons by the power of Beelzebul, prince of demons. The name also appears in the expanded version in Matthew 12:24, 27 and Luke 11:15, 18-19.

Beelzebub also makes a cameo as the prince of demons in the Testament of Solomon, a Hellenistic Jewish text.

When Everything Is Partisan, Just Do What's Right

I suppose I shouldn't have been surprised when Republicans started complaining that President Obama's second inaugural address was too "partisan" and lacked "outreach" across the aisle. But who was left out? What did they find "partisan"? The acknowledgement of climate science? The idea that women should receive equal pay for equal work? The nod to civil rights struggles of our past and present? The hope that no American will have to wait in hours-long lines to vote? The defense of the existence of a social safety net? The determination to offer support to the victims of a historic storm and to find real answers to the epidemic of mass shootings? In the not-too-distant past, none of these would have raised eyebrows except on the very, very far right. But I guess that's the point: what was once the radical fringe is now in control of the Grand Old Party.

In many ways, Monday's inauguration ceremony was a Tea Party Republican's nightmare-come-true. The openly gay poet. The Spanish sprinkled into the benediction. The one-two-three punch of "Seneca Falls to Selma to Stonewall." It was the embodiment of all that the far right has tried to wall itself off from as the country begins to include more and more of the real America in its democracy.

What would have pleased this faction, short of winning the presidential election? I imagine they would have preferred a paean to the America of their imaginations -- where the founders were flawless and prescient about the right to bear assault weapons and the Constitution was delivered, amendments included, directly from God; where there are no gay people or only silent ones, where the world is not getting warmer; where there have been no struggles in the process of forging a more perfect union. This, of course, would have been its very own kind of political statement -- and one that was just rejected by the majority of American voters.

If embracing America as it is rather than as a shimmery vision of what it never was constitutes partisanship, and if it turns off people who cling to that dishonest vision, let's have more of it.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

The Agenda 21-Gun Control Conspiracy You've All Been Waiting For

Former Pennsylvania GOP state lawmaker Sam Rohrer, now with Let Freedom Ring and the Pennsylvania Pastors Network, appeared on VCY America’s Crosstalk this week to argue that a literal reading of the Bible reveals that gun rights come directly from God. However, he went on to say that Jesus’ teachings on non-violence should not be taken literally.

Responding to a caller who asked if there was a connection between new gun laws and Agenda 21, a nonbinding framework for sustainable development that is the source of many conservative conspiracies, Rohrer maintained that government will use both policies to increase its control over people’s lives and to reduce the population, explaining that as a result of new gun and environmental laws there will be “people who will probably lose their lives and there will be a loss of population.”

Caller: A couple months ago you had a program on about Agenda 21 and it seems to me like there is a plan to undermine our whole society in order to accomplish the goal of reducing our population. I think this is part of it, gun control. If we can remember about the Hegelian dialectic, that is where you start out with a thesis and you want an antithesis, you do things in order to bring about a synthesis, right? I believe that this is a plan in order to bring about the things that they want to accomplish so gun control is a part of it.

Rohrer: I think without question. I have spoken a lot on Agenda 21 even years ago before it became a public manner. There are attempts out there clearly, whether it’s to diminish or lower the number of the population is one thing, but certainly control I think is the common aspect behind it. Agenda 21 is a control of our property, it’s a control of our legal system to the local level; so is the intent to take away the ability of people to defend themselves, ultimately government says I don’t want a challenge and so taking away the ability to defend oneself is effectively consolidating the control of government. At the end of the day I think the result of that is that you will have people who will probably lose their lives and there will be a loss of population, but it’s really a gaining and a garnering and centering of control.

Creationism Advocate Bobby Jindal Warns GOP Against Becoming 'the Stupid Party'

At a Republican National Committee winter summit yesterday, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal scolded his fellow Republicans for acting like “the stupid party,” which he said damaged their credibility in the last election:

In his remarks to the gathering, he also offered some tough medicine for the GOP, including this piece of advice: “We must stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.” Whether or not Jindal ultimately emerges as a top presidential contender, look for him to be a major presence, not just in Louisiana, but around the country as well as a key figure in helping the party chart its course forward.

Of course, this is the same Bobby Jindal who is literally dumbing down Louisiana’s education system by advocating the teaching of creationism in taxpayer-funded schools.

Jindal signed into law and vocally supported the ironically-named Louisiana Science Education Act, which has been described as a “thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism into the science classrooms of his state.”

Last year, Jindal established a private school voucher program that will bring taxpayer dollars to schools that explicitly teach creationism:

Whatever the merits of this program might be, observers in the state were stunned when they saw some of the schools on the list of those eligible to accept the vouchers. They include a school whose students will be taught to “discern and refute the lies commonly found in textbooks,” including, of course, evolution. Another school prepares students to “defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible,” and yet another assures students that no instruction is included in its textbooks “that would conflict with young earth creationism.”

One of the schools funded by Jindal’s program teaches that the alleged existence of the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution:

This 2012-2013 school year, thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.

Since Jindal is trying to portray himself as the intellectual savior of the GOP – and thanks to politicians like Rick Perry and Todd Akin it’s a pretty low bar – maybe he can start by repealing the laws that encourage the teaching of pseudo-science in Louisiana’s schools.

GOP Electoral College Scheme Advances in Virginia

On Wednesday, Republican state senators in Virginia cleared the first hurdle in their push to fundamentally change how state Electoral College votes are allocated.
PFAW

Swanson Explains the 'Perfect Correlation' Between 'Faithfulness to God's Word' and National Wealth

Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio devoted part of his program today to explaining why some nations are wealthier than others. “It’s almost a perfect correlation between degree of faithfulness to God’s Word and the piece of the pie they get out of the gross world product,” Swanson explained. This, he said, is why Protestant nations are doing well and Italy, where “the faith has faded” is struggling:

The Protestants’ ratio for wealth, in terms of wealth to population, they’re at a 4.4. Catholics at 1.5, Orthodox are 1.9, communists are .5, Buddhists are at .34, the Muslims at .23, and the Hindus at .2. Friends, I mean it’s incredible. It’s almost a perfect correlation between degree of faithfulness to God’s Word and the piece of the pie they get out of the gross world product.

Turns out the meek do inherit the Earth. Evildoers shall be cut off but those that wait upon the Lord, they shall inherit the Earth. For yet a little while, the wicked shall not be. But the meek shall inherit the Earth and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace. A good man leaves inheritance to his children’s children. The wealth, the sinner’s laid up for the just. You know, believe that God can pull that off in history? Believe that Jesus Christ can pull that off in history? Well, they do actually. As it turns out, God does pull this off in history.

Protestants have by far, by far, by far the largest proportion of the Gross World Product as compared to the proportion of population, at a 4.4 ratio. Catholics come in number two at 1.5, the Orthodox are at 1.0. And again, as the fate begins to fade, you know, you begin to see the faith fade and fade away and fade away into the memory of the average citizen who actually kind of goes to church but doesn’t have any idea what the Church has to say or has to do about anything, and ergo, the lowest birthrate in Europe is Italy, ok? Get it? Get it? They’re not, the Catholic faith doesn’t really sink into the warp and the woof of these people anymore, pretty much the faith has faded.

Swanson goes on to explain why he thinks certain nations have failing economies. Libya’s economic woes, he contends, exist because “they’ve driven out every Christian and every Jew they could find”:

I looked at the significant nations, with the worst nations in terms of GDP in decline even as we speak. As it turns out, Dave, the nations destroying their own economies right now, seven Islam, four Roman Catholic, two Buddhist and one Orthodox – Greece is the Orthodox nation destroying their economy right now. So, of the very, very worst nations in terms of GDP and decline, friends, it’s Islam, Roman Catholic, Orthodox. And the very, very worst state, the very, very worst is Libya. The worst in terms of GDP in decline. It turns out that between 1960 and the present day, Dave, they’ve driven out every Christian and every Jew they could find. They drove out all the Jews, all the Christians, and they finally got their own country. And the Muslims have the very, very worst nation in the world when it comes to GDP in decline.
 

 

White House Petition for Constitutional Amendment on Campaign Cash Clears Threshold

25K call on President Obama to use State of the Union to endorse amendment movement

Today, a petition on the White House website urging President Obama to “use the State of the Union to call for a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics” exceeded the 25,000 signatures necessary to guarantee an official White House response.  The petition, launched by the groups Free Speech For People, Avaaz, People For the American Way, and Demos on January 8 took less than two weeks to cross the threshold.

The petition can be found here: http://wh.gov/P9j7

Fixing our campaign finance system has long been a cause President Obama supports, though he failed to make progress on it during his first term.  During his re-election campaign, President Obama told supporters that: "Over the longer term, I think we need to seriously consider mobilizing a constitutional amendment process to overturn Citizens United . . . . Even if the amendment process falls short, it can shine a spotlight of the super-PAC phenomenon and help apply pressure for change."

The petition calls on the President to reiterate and strengthen this call in the State of the Union, and comes just days after President Obama delivered an inaugural address that many believe reflected a renewed willingness on his part to fight for core goals he has long supported even in the face of challenges. 

"Americans everywhere are asking President Obama to take the lead on the one issue that unlocks all the others: getting big money out of our political system, to restore our government of, by, and for the people," said Peter Schurman, Campaign Director at Free Speech For People. "'We the people' means all the people, not just the wealthy few, and not the corporations."

Ian Bassin, Campaign Director at Avaaz, said: "We the people have spoken and the message is clear: We're sick of oil industry money setting our energy agenda, the Wall Street dollar determining our economic policy, and gun company cash dictating how we protect our kids.  We need elections not auctions and we're counting on President Obama to lead us there, starting with his State of the Union."

The petition may also be the last White House petition to garner a response after receiving 25,000 signatures.  It also may be the most serious of the latest round.  Last week, after responding to petitions to deport Piers Morgan and to build a Death Star, the White House upped the threshold for guaranteeing a response to 100,000.  But petitions like this campaign finance one that were launched before the change were grandfathered at the 25,000 threshold.

“This petition provides more evidence for what we already know – that Americans want a solution to the corrupting influence of big money in our democracy,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “We saw massive amounts of money pour into last year’s elections, much of which was undisclosed. Using the megaphone provided to them by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision, corporate special interests are drowning out the voices of ordinary voters. President Obama calling for a constitutional remedy in the upcoming State of the Union Address would draw attention to this critical situation and mobilize even more Americans into action.”

"This is the moment President Obama should take a strong and decisive step toward ending big money's stranglehold on our politics and our economy, and cement his legacy by leading the effort to finally forge a democracy in which the strength of a citizen's voice does not depend upon the size of her wallet," said Demos Counsel Adam Lioz.

After the coalition involved in launching this petition posted it to the White House website, its growth came from citizens expressing their frustration with the flood of money infecting our political system.  Much of this public frustration stems from the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2010 decision in Citizens United v. FEC that corporations have a constitutional right to spend unlimited sums to influence elections.  In the wake of that decision, more than $6 billion was spent in the 2012 elections, much of it by corporations and anonymous billionaires. Congress responded by proposing amendments to reverse that decision and eleven states and nearly 500 cities and towns have joined this call.

This petition tees up for President Obama the key question of what he’ll do next to deliver on a core, unfulfilled promise of his first campaign: to change the way Washington works.  The groups behind the petition will continue to campaign until he does.  

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PFAW: Filibuster Reform Provides Only Modest Relief for Ending ‘Unprecedented GOP Obstruction’

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way called the filibuster reform deal set to be announced by Senators Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) only a modest step in addressing the extraordinary GOP abuse of Senate rules.  Among the provisions of the expected reform deal are a rule addressing filibusters of the motion to proceed to legislation and a rule reducing the maximum post-cloture debate for district court nominations to two hours from thirty.

“It’s important that we as a country acknowledge the need to address the unprecedented obstruction undermining the Senate’s ability to do its work,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “Americans elect members of Congress to do their jobs and solve the pressing issues facing the country.  That’s not possible when one party is committed to mindless obstruction.”

People For the American Way has long documented the harm this obstruction causes to our judicial system. As detailed in PFAW’s recent memo, “Empty Courtrooms in Obama’s First Term: A Slow Start on Judicial Nominations Magnified Many Times Over By Republican Obstruction,” Senate Republicans have blocked the nomination and confirmation of federal judicial nominees at an unprecedented rate during President Obama’s first term, leading to record vacancy levels in the federal courts.  While there were 55 vacancies when President Obama took office, that number leapt to 90 during his first year and has rarely dropped below 90 since then. As the second term begins, there are over 100 vacancies.

“While these reforms will offer some relief against the persistent obstruction, they fall far short of what is necessary to fix the problem,” Baker continued.  “Limiting the time that votes on district court nominees can be delayed after cloture is invoked is important, but the problem extends far beyond the district court level.  We are disappointed, in particular, that the party leaders were unable to agree on reforms that would prevent needless delay of confirmation votes for critically important circuit court nominations when 60 senators have already voted to end a filibuster.  With four long-pending circuit court nominations held up for months – two since March, one since April, and one since June – and denied a vote even during the lame duck, this does not bode well for how Republicans intend to treat President Obama’s circuit court nominees during the 113th Congress.”
                                                                                      
Beyond judicial nominations, obstruction impacts the Senate’s entire legislative agenda.  During President Obama’s first term, the number of motions to prevent bills from being openly debated reached a historic high. Republicans are now abusing procedural tactics to impede even the most routine functions of government.

“It’s time for Senate Republicans to understand how impatient the American people have become with their tactics blocking progress on a variety of issues critical to our country’s wellbeing,” said Baker.  “These reforms take modest steps in that direction, but we will continue to be vigilant in fighting this needless obstruction.”

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Of, By and For Actual People

In 2011 comedian Stephen Colbert announced his plan to form a political action committee, noting that he believed in "the American dream."

"That dream is simple," he joked. "That anyone, no matter who they are, if they are determined, if they are willing to work hard enough, someday they could grow up to create a legal entity which could then receive unlimited corporate funds, which could be used to influence our elections."

While this may have been Stephen Colbert's satirical "American dream," this weekend we saw communities around the country pursuing a true American ideal -- a democracy of, by and for the people that is not undermined by unlimited corporate and special interest political spending. A democracy that encourages all people to participate. A democracy in which the voices of everyday Americans are not drowned out by massive -- and often secret -- outside spending in our elections, such as the out-of-state money that flooded down ballot federal races in the 2012 election cycle.

It is a fitting coincidence that this year, both Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, and the third anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC fell on the third weekend in January. Corporate money in politics and voter suppression are interrelated threats to the foundations of our democracy. That's why, under the banner of Money Out/Voters In, Americans carried out more than 100 "Day of Action" events in 33 states this past weekend, drawing attention to the appropriate juxtaposition of two of the most pressing issues facing our country.

In Wichita, Kansas, organizers held a mock trial to re-decide the damaging Citizens United decision. In cities including New Orleans, Detroit, Philadelphia and Buffalo, ministers led teach-ins on voter suppression and Citizens United from a faith perspective. In Lancaster, PA, they held Money Out/Voters In street theater. And in Richmond, California, activists marched to the Chevron refinery to demonstrate against the excesses of corporate power in our political system.

These organizers were building on a momentum to restore our democracy that has been gathering even more steam in recent months. On Election Day we saw Americans defying efforts to suppress their vote, standing in lines for hour upon hour to exercise their fundamental right as citizens. Despite the restrictions on early voting and voter ID laws targeting those who have traditionally faced disenfranchisement, the 2012 election saw historically high African American and Latino turnout. Youth voters defied all predictions and turned out in record numbers.

Election Day also saw organizers in cities and states across the country successfully push for legislative remedies to the influx of corporate and special interest money in our democracy. In Colorado, Amendment 65 -- an initiative instructing the state's congressional delegation to support a Constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United -- was approved, with more than seven in ten Colorado voters in favor of the amendment. Voters in Montana approved a similar initiative instructing their congressional delegation to propose a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United. The measure was approved overwhelmingly. All in all, eleven states and over 350 local governments have passed legislative resolutions or ballot initiatives to overturn Citizens United.

Because, in fact, corporations are not human beings, and democracy is a system made for people. Americans are demonstrating in city after city that we understand this and that we demand solutions.

Stephen Colbert's satirical "dream" may be one of corporate political influence, but my dream -- and one that I share with the American people, as has been so clearly demonstrated in recent months -- is one of taking back our democracy from special interests and restoring political power to everyday Americans.

This post was originally published at the Huffington Post.

PFAW

Religious Right Angry over 'Dangerous' Decision to End Ban on Women in Combat

While the Religious Right reacted with apoplectic rage following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the lifting of the ban on women in combat has brought dejected but relatively subdued responses from conservatives.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, who in December spoke out in favor of the ban by lying about the Israeli military’s policy on women in combat, tweeted that the decision was part of Obama’s plan to “feminize and weaken the U.S. military.”

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness said that “lives could be lost unnecessarily” by the new policy, which “will harm men and the mission of the infantry as a whole.” “The administration has a pattern of irresponsible actions like this using the military to advance a social agenda,” she said, “This kind of a social experiment is a dangerous one.”

Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed maintained that the Obama administration is “putting women in combat situations is the latest in a series of moves where political correctness and liberal social policy have trumped sound military practice.”

Richard Viguerie’s group claimed that “Obama’s plan to introduce women into frontline combat roles in the U.S. military is a dangerous and irresponsible social experiment, not an opportunity for women to serve their country and advance in their chosen profession.”

Radio talk show host Janet Mefferd on her Facebook page wrote that the move is further proof that the Obama administration is “intent upon undoing this great country” and will “stop at nothing to achieve it.”

Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin, who was reprimanded by President Bush after he made anti-Muslim and political speeches while in uniform, called the decision “another social experiment”:

The people making this decision are doing so as part of another social experiment, and they have never lived nor fought with an infantry or Special Forces unit. These units have the mission of closing with and destroying the enemy, sometimes in close hand-to-hand combat. They are often in sustained operations for extended periods, during which they have no base of operations nor facilities. Their living conditions are primal in many situations with no privacy for personal hygiene or normal functions. Commanders are burdened with a very heavy responsibility for succeeding in their mission and for protecting their troops.

This decision to integrate the genders in these units places additional and unnecessary burdens on leaders at all levels. While their focus must remain on winning the battles and protecting their troops, they will now have the distraction of having to provide some separation of the genders during fast moving and deadly situations. Is the social experiment worth placing this burden on small unit leaders? I think not.

Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America said that the “majority of women” don’t care about the ban or want its elimination:

News of Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's intent to lift the long-standing ban on women serving in direct combat is further proof that this administration simply does not care about the issues about which the majority of women care. Once again, their interest on women issues is driven by special interest groups. The point of the military is to protect our country. Anything that distracts from that is detrimental. Our military cannot continue to choose social experimentation and political correctness over combat readiness. While this decision is not unexpected from this administration, it is still disappointing. Concerned Women for America (CWA) and its more than half-a-million members around the country will continue to do all we can to see that our men and women in uniform are governed with the respect and resources needed to do the hard task of fighting for and protecting our freedoms.

“God help us,” lamented Denny Burk of the Southern Baptist Convention, who seemed to suggest that women shouldn’t be in the armed forces at all:

Are the fortunes of women in our country really enhanced by sending them to be ground up in the discipline of a combat unit and possibly to be killed or maimed in war? Is there a father in America who would under any circumstance risk having his daughter shot or killed in battle? Is there a single husband in this country who thinks it okay for his wife to risk being captured by our enemies? To risk becoming a prisoner of war? Is this the kind of people we want to be? Perhaps this is the kind of people we already are. I would sooner cut off my arm than allow such a thing with my own wife and daughters. Why would I ever support allowing someone else’s to do the same? Why would anyone?

What kind of a society puts its women on the front lines to risk what only men should be called on to risk? In countries ravaged by war, we consider it a tragedy when the battle comes to the backyards of women and children. Why would we thrust our own wives and daughters into that horror? My own instinct is to keep them as far from it as possible. Perhaps this move makes sense with an all volunteer force, but what if the draft is ever reinstituted? Are we really going to be the kind of people who press our wives and daughters to fight in combat?



Everyone in America ought to be scandalized by this news, but I’m wondering if it will even register on the radar of anyone’s conscience. To the extent that it doesn’t, we reveal just how far gone we are as a people. God help us.

Aaron Ahlert of FrontPageMag said the move is “sure to have deadly consequences” and represents the Obama administration “forcing gender radicalism down America’s throat.”

It didn’t take long for the Obama administration to advance a pernicious piece of its promised radical agenda. Two days after the president laid out his far-left vision during the inauguration, senior defense officials announced that Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta will lift the military’s ban on women serving in combat. The move overturns a 1994 provision that prohibited them from being assigned to ground combat units. Panetta has given the various service branches until 2016 to come up with exemptions, and/or make any arguments about what roles should still reman closed to women. Thus, another bit of gender radicalism has been shoved down the nation’s throat through executive fiat — and this one is sure to have deadly consequences.

...

It stretches the bounds of credulity to believe that sexual tension, regardless of the legitimate or illegitimate motivation behind it, would be lessened under front line, life-threatening combat conditions. Nor is it inconceivable to think that close personal relationships of a sexual nature would make some soldiers take the kind of unnecessary risks to save a lover that might not only endanger themselves, but their entire unit.

...

Once again, elections have consequences. Barack Obama has made it clear that part of his progressive agenda includes forcing gender radicalism down America’s throat, absent any input from Congress. Once, the United States military was all about projecting lethal power around the globe to protect America’s interests. Now, it is all about promoting diversity, inclusion and equality of outcome, irrespective of military readiness and cohesion. For progressives, who have elevated political correctness above all else–national security included–such radical egalitarianism is cause for celebration. For Donnelly and countless other Americans, it is anything but. “No one’s injured son should have to die on the streets of a future Fallujah because the only soldier near enough to carry him to safety was a five-foot-two 110-pound woman,” she contends.

New York Times Investigates Relationship Between American Dominionists and Uganda

Earlier this week, The New York Times posted an excerpt from a new Roger Ross Williams documentary on how the Religious Right in the U.S. is shaping anti-gay activism in African countries like Uganda. The documentary includes interviews with International House of Prayer (IHOP) leaders Lou Engle and Mike Bickle, whom we have followed closely here at Right Wing Watch, along with footage of IHOP missionaries at work in Uganda.

Engle organizes the anti-choice and anti-gay The Call rallies, which regularly feature Republican and Religious Right leaders. In 2010, he brought The Call to Uganda to help promote the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, which would have made homosexuality a capital offense. (He later backpedaled after facing scrutiny.)

IHOP, including many The Call figures, helped to organize Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2011 The Response prayer rally, which Bickle emceed.

In the film, Episcopal priest Kapya Kaoma makes a reference to Seven Mountains Dominionism, the belief that fundamentalist Christians have a mandate to take control of the seven major spheres of society: government, business, education, media, arts and entertainment, the family and the church. As Engle explains, there are “seven mountains of influence” that right-wing Christians must “reclaim” in order to win over society.

Engle and Bickle are also key players in the New Apostolic Reformation, a movement of self-appointed prophets and apostles who believe they are spokesmen for God on Earth. Bickle has claimed that gay people are the targets of “flaming missiles” from Satan and has warned that the “gay marriage agenda” is a sign of the End Times as it is “rooted in the depths of Hell.” At one IHOP service, Bickle also claimed that Oprah Winfrey is the harbinger of the Antichrist:

In 2008, Engle held massive rallies to encourage Californians to pass Proposition 8, which banned marriage equality, arguing that legalizing same-sex marriage “will unleash a spirit more demonic than Islam, a spirit of lawlessness and anarchy, and sexual insanity will be unleashed unto the earth.” His rallies have focused on creating a “movement” of ex-gays to stop a Satanichomosexual tornado” that will “destroy America.” (He specifically targeted Ellen DeGeneres for “conversion.”) In addition, he has warned that the separation of the separation of church and state and gay rights are putting the U.S. on the path to Nazism:

While Engle and Bickle have extended their influence to nations like Uganda in order to export their anti-gay politics, they have continued to increase their clout in America’s Religious Right.

Fischer: Abortion Rights Will Lead to Terrorist Attacks

Yesterday on Focal Point, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer marked the anniversary of Roe v. Wade by predicting that America “will have to pay” for legal abortion: “It could be through civil war, it could be through anarchy, it could be through Muslim fundamentalists and terrorists attacks on the United States, but one way or another we cannot escape God’s justice.”

He went on to argue that Planned Parenthood clinics are no different from Nazi death camps. “You see a Planned Parenthood clinic, just think Birkenau, just think Auschwitz, just think Bergen-Belsen,” Fischer said, “because that’s what you are looking at, you are looking at an equivalent of a Nazi gas chamber.”

Watch:

Later, he repeated the false charge that Planned Parenthood promotes domestic abuse to its members.

Just like other conservative leaders, Fischer never found time to watch the video he is so angry about. If he did he would learn that it’s a British anti-violence video that uses an intentionally misleading title to deliver the real message: “Don’t cover it up.”

PFAW Urges Congress to Pass Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today praised members of the House and Senate for reintroducing a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which House Republicans allowed to expire at the end of last year.

“Democrats in Congress are right to keep pushing until this bill becomes law,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “VAWA was passed and reauthorized twice with broad bipartisan support, and has succeeded for 18 years in making women safer. It’s absolutely shameful that Republicans blocked a routine reauthorization of the law. Fighting domestic abuse and sexual assault should be bipartisan priorities.”

“Tea Party Republicans are jeopardizing the safety of all Americans because they object to protections for LGBT people, immigrants and Native women,” continued Malachi. “This extremist obstruction must stop.”

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