In an interview yesterday with Pittsburgh’s KDKA, Paul Ryan took the opportunity to stand behind his record of trying to force rape victims who get pregnant to give birth to their rapists’ children. Ryan, speaking with KDKA political editor Jon Delano, said he would follow the lead of Romney, who supports an exception for rape. But he made it clear that he doesn't personally support one.
Ryan’s record on reproductive rights is virtually identical to that of Todd “legitimate rape” Akin. Both oppose abortion in the case of rape, and the GOP platform committee yesterday reaffirmed this position on behalf of the entire party.
But still, you might have expected Ryan to back away from the issue during his first interview since Akin captured the spotlight. Nope, Ryan’s a true believer. Pregnant rape victims be damned:
Delano: “Should abortions to be available to women who are raped?”
Ryan: “Well, look, I’m proud of my pro-life record. And I stand by my pro-life record in Congress. It’s something I’m proud of. But Mitt Romney is the top of the ticket and Mitt Romney will be president and he will set the policy of the Romney administration.”
Delano: “Despite Ryan’s views, Romney says he will allow exceptions for rape and incest."
Delano: "Ryan says women won’t fall for these side issues."
Ryan: "And I don’t think they’re going to take the bait of all these distractions that the President is trying to throw at them."
Today on the 700 Club, Pat Robertson blamed this year’s severe drought on Americans who infringe on God’s law, although Robertson did not specify which laws were broken. “Somehow in this country we feel that we can ignore the laws of God with impunity, and the truth is we can’t, God always has the last say,” Robertson said, “we need to do some praying.” “The heavens have been shut up and it’s time for those folks in the Midwest to do some serious praying,” Robertson counseled. Earlier this year, Robertson maintained that tornadoes in the Midwest could have been stopped if only people had prayed them away.
BreakPoint ministry, founded by the late Chuck Colson and chaired by Timothy George, appears to be making a clean break with junk historian David Barton. While Barton and his deputy Rick Green continue to claim their only critics are left-wing, anti-Christianacademic elitists, more and more conservatives are distancing themselves from Barton.
Just as Barton projects his own right-wing political views and fundamentalist version of Christianity onto the Founders, Tom Gilson writes for BreakPoint that many Christians readily accepted Barton’s version of history because it validated their own political and religious beliefs: “He gave us what we wanted.” Consequently, “Barton’s errors are not only his” as they “also belong to those of us who bought his message carelessly, unquestioningly, too eagerly, and too comfortably.”
Gilson points out that Barton’s work faced significant scrutiny long before evangelical historians began criticizing Barton’s “scholarship” as “serious questions that have surrounded Barton’s work for a long time” and the Christian publishing giant Thomas Nelson pulled “The Jefferson Lies” from publication, and yet many Barton fans agreed with his claim that any criticism is a result of the “liberal academy’s antipathy to Christianity.” “It’s not political opinion that’s stacking up against him now,” Gilson writes. “It’s well documented facts.”
David Barton was American evangelicals’ favorite historian. He taught us about the Founding Fathers’ almost uniform commitment to Christian principles, and secular historians’ attempts to bury our Christian heritage under reams of revisionist distortions. He gave us firepower in support of our mission to return America to its godly founding principles.
He gave us what we wanted. But now David Barton has been credibly charged with serious distortions of his own.
The story has been told in both the secular and the Christian press: Barton’s most recent book, The Jefferson Lies, was riddled with misinformation. Its publisher, Thomas Nelson, pulled it from distribution. Barton is standing firm in his position, but reliable historians—strongly conservative Christian scholars among them—continue to hold him in error, and not just because of this work but because of others as well.
I am no historian, so I am in no position to form an independent judgment of his veracity. Few of us are. But that doesn’t excuse our eager acceptance of his inaccuracies. With a bit of care, any of us could have known of the serious questions that have surrounded Barton’s work for a long time. These recent revelations are nothing new, except in the degree to which conservative Christian scholars are involved in calling him to account.
Nevertheless we became for him a devoted cadre of disciples. We knew our country’s founding principles were vitally important. However, so is historical accuracy. It looks as if Barton compromised one to make a case for the other.
If the signs have been there for some time, why then did we love Barton so? And is it possible that we share the blame? Barton fended off criticism by blaming it on the liberal academy’s antipathy to Christianity. That had more than a little believability to it. I am quite sure that liberal academics often hold to an ideological agenda that motivates them to discredit Christianity’s part in our nation’s history. Thus, it was easy (and it still is) to be suspicious of their criticisms in this case. But the ideology defense is no help when it’s conservative Christians making a case against Barton—especially when it’s a case as verifiable as this is proving to be. It’s not political opinion that’s stacking up against him now. It’s well documented facts.
To accept any human teacher without checking on his message with due diligence is to abandon our responsibility to the truth. David Barton’s errors are not only his. They also belong to those of us who bought his message carelessly, unquestioningly, too eagerly, and too comfortably.
After likening the backlash to Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” to the Pharisees’ persecution of Jesus, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is now comparing Akin to a victim of rape. After listing the growing chorus of conservative activists and media personalities who have called on Akin to quit the senate race, Fischer lamented that “everybody is gang tackling Todd Akin.” “You talk about a forcible situation, you talk about somebody being a victim of forcible assault, that would be Todd Akin,” Fischer maintained.
American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is continuing his full-throateddefense of embattled Congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin, who said this weekend that women can’t get pregnant from what he called “legitimate rape.” Speaking with AFA president Tim Wildmon on Today’s Issues, Fischer compared the media’s criticism of Akin with the Pharisees’ attacks on Jesus, saying that “the scribes and Pharisees were the first ones to play gotcha politics.”
“You know the Gospel writers say that they kept looking for some way to trap Jesus in something that he might say, just one single word they could jump on to try to discredit him and that’s what they did with Todd Akin and his comments about rape,” Fischer said.
Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly is joining her Religious Right allies at the Family Research Council and the American Family Association in defending Todd Akin over his “legitimate rape” claims:
Republican party leaders may be working to push Rep. Todd Akin out of the Missouri Senate race, but leading social conservatives continue to rally to his side. Fellow Missourian Phyllis Schlafly said late Monday that Akin should remain in the race and compared his treatment by party leaders to former Va. Sen. George Allen, who lost support in his 2006 race for reelection after calling a young aide to his opponent “macaca.” “He’s not for rape. That’s ridiculous,” said Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum. “They’re making a big thing about an unfortunate remark.” “You saw what they did to George Allen in Virginia, which I thought was a shame,” she said of party leaders urging Akin to leave his race against Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill. “I don’t think people like that should make the decision. The people of Missouri should make that decision.”
Schlafly backed Akin early on in the race and her endorsement is prominently displayed on Akin’s website, but he may consider finding other defenders since Schlafly herself refuses to recognize the existence of marital rape: “By getting married, the woman has consented to sex, and I don't think you can call it rape,” Schlafly said back in 2007. In fact, she doubled down on those remarks in an interview the year later:
Could you clarify some of the statements that you made in Maine last year about martial rape?
I think that when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about, I don't know if maybe these girls missed sex ed. That doesn't mean the husband can beat you up, we have plenty of laws against assault and battery. If there is any violence or mistreatment that can be dealt with by criminal prosecution, by divorce or in various ways. When it gets down to calling it rape though, it isn't rape, it's a he said-she said where it's just too easy to lie about it.
Was the way in which your statement was portrayed correct?
Yes. Feminists, if they get tired of a husband or if they want to fight over child custody, they can make an accusation of marital rape and they want that to be there, available to them.
So you see this as more of a tool used by people to get out of marriages than as legitimate-
Yes, I certainly do.
Like Schlafly, Akin once voiced his disapproval of marital rape laws by warning that they could be used as “a legal weapon to beat up on the husband” in a divorce proceeding.
Back in May we reported on an amazing conspiracy theory that seemed to bring all of the far right's fears about Obama, Islam, environmentalism and immigration together: essentially, President Obama is going to collapse the world economy, causing Muslim immigrants to flood the U.S. and give Obama the opportunity to settle them on land seized under Agenda 21 and establish Sharia law. But that was just scratching the surface.
Author Avi Lapkin has been making the rounds in churches warning audiences of the nefarious plot, and is frequentlycited as a “scholar” by the American Family Association’s news division, OneNewsNow. Yesterday he appeared on Today’s Issues with the AFA’s Tim Wildmon and Marvin Sanders, who said that Lipkin “shines the light of truth on what’s going on in the Middle East” and “has a clear picture” of “what’s going on in the Middle East.”
So what did Lipkin tell them? After once again warning of the Obama-immigration-Agenda21-sharia plot, Lipkin said that the Muslim population in the U.S. isn’t 0.6 percent, as official estimates assert [pdf], but actually 10 percent because the government is flying millions of Muslims into the country on charter jets. Once they come in, they marry American women turn them into “baby factories for Islam.”
What you have today is close to ten percent of the population is Muslim. You have 307 million Americans, you have 9 million Shiite Iranians who fled from Iran after 1979 when the Shah fell—these were allies of the U.S. if they had not fled they would have been killed by Khomeini—7 million Arabs, about 16 million between the Shiites and the Sunnis, four million Farrakhan Nation of Islam, that’s 20 million. I can tell you with all authenticity because I’ve been collecting this information all around the country that there are charter jets bringing Muslims into this country every day for free, at the expense of the U.S. taxpayer of course, people in Washington are bribed, the floodgates are open and they’re bringing in Muslims from Somalis, Palestinians, Bosnians, Algerians, Egyptians. Nobody even has a clue to exactly how many, I predict there are between 20 to 30 million Muslims in America and this fact is not lost on the election campaign in November.
What happens after they come here is that they marry Christian women, Jewish and Christian American women and then these women become baby factories for Islam because it’s the religion of the father. So if a Muslim father marries a Christian or Jewish mother the children are going to be Muslim. Then they get passports because they married an American woman and once they get passports they bring in their families from the Middle East. So what we’ve seen happening is not one university but we’ve seen hundreds of universities doing this and that’s one of the reasons why I’m saying this is very stealth like, it’s very insidious. Nobody sees it happening but you have a process paid with oil money to bring in millions of Muslims into this country very quietly with student visas and other things but eventually its family reunification. I’ve been following this for the last thirty years and most Americans can’t believe anything I’m saying but I’m on the cutting edge of this.
He later said that an attack on Iran’s nuclear program is imminent but that nuclear disarmament and the promotion of democracy are not the real reasons for the hostility to the Iranian regime. According to Lipkin, the real reason behind the looming attack is that Obama is a Sunni Muslim who is controlled by the leaders of Saudi Arabia who want Iran’s oil wealth and are intent on stopping Iran from preventing the rise of…the one world government.
Lipkin explains that the Illuminati and the Free Masons control the world and pick America’s presidents and want to use Iran’s oil as part of their nefarious and secretive agenda to control the world.
I’m predicting that the globalist one world government insists on getting that oil and to do that you have to overthrow the regime. The problem is not the nuclear threat, the problem is the regime. Fourthly, I think Obama’s a Muslim, he’s a Sunni Muslim on orders from Saudi and the Saudis are afraid to get their heads chopped off by the Shiite Iranians, therefore the Saudis are commanding Obama to terminate the Shiite regime. All of this is in my teachings. So the four reasons for war with Iran, the nuclear threat and democracy are the least of the reasons.
I think what we’ve been seeing over the last few decades is that America has been having its leaders chosen, Democrat or Republican, chosen by the one world government, the Masons, the Illuminati, the Trilateral Commission, whatever you want to call these people, these are people who control the world. Unfortunately, Jesus Christ is not important to them, what’s important to them is oil and money. Christianity and Judaism can be sacrificed relatively speaking as long as they have oil and the cash and the Muslims have that, but it’s the Sunnis who have it and the Shiites who are trying to bring it all down. So the Shiites and the Sunnis are working at cross-purposes and what we see here is an alliance between the Sunni Muslims, the Christians and Israel against Shiite Iran.
To: Interested Parties
From: Jodi Hirsh, People For the American Way of Pennsylvania
Re:Senator Toomey Can Help Get Pennsylvania’s Judicial Nominees Confirmed by Encouraging his Republican Colleagues To Cooperate
Last month, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved two nominees to fill two long-vacant seats in Pennsylvania’s federal courts. Each has broad bipartisan support and is strongly supported by both Sens. Casey and Toomey. Yet over four weeks later, neither has received a vote from the full Senate. Sen. Pat Toomey has recently urged their prompt confirmation, correctly stating that “The one thing standing between the confirmation and these two gentlemen putting on the robes and serving, is a vote on the Senate floor.” That’s true. And he says he will push for a floor vote in September. That’s good.
But in addition to making statements he needs to press members of his own party for action.
In fact it is Senate Republicans, including Sen. Toomey, who have systematically slow-walked nearly every judicial nomination that President Obama has made. Confirmed district court nominees under President Bush at this point in his presidency waited on average just 33 days from committee approval to a vote from the full Senate. In contrast, district court nominees under President Obama have waited an average of 96 days, or three times as long. This is not because Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid refuses to schedule votes. It is because Reid can’t schedule a vote without the minority party’s consent, and that consent has routinely been denied even for nominees with strong bipartisan support like the two pending in Pennsylvania, just one of the many stalling tactics they have used to keep President Obama’s nominees off the courts
Pennsylvania nominees Matthew Brann of Canton and Malachy Mannion of Scott Township are not alone in waiting for Senate votes. There are now 22 judicial nominees who have been approved by the Judiciary Committee and who are waiting for a simple up-or-down vote from the Senate. Nineteen were approved by the Judiciary Committee with strong bipartisan support. Seven of these have been waiting since April or earlier for a vote. A third of these are women and people of color, nominees who would help diversify the federal bench. And most have been waiting for a Senate vote far longer than Mannion and Brann.
After the Judiciary Committee vets a nominee, especially a consensus nominee like most of the ones now pending, the Senate should quickly cast a yes-or-no vote. There is no legitimate reason for delay. In past administrations, we have seen multiple confirmation votes per week. But since May, Senate Republicans have allowed only one a week. There is no reason for this but partisan obstruction, pure and simple. Rather than being toward the bottom of a list of 22 nominees, Brann and Mannion should be at the top of much smaller list composed only of the few nominees approved by the committee in late July and early August, with the full expectation of confirmation on the day the Senate returns from recess.
For Mannion and Brann to have a realistic chance of being confirmed this fall, Senator Toomey will need to talk to his fellow Republicans – especially Minority Leader Mitch McConnell – and demand votes not only for Pennsylvania’s nominees, but for all of the many district court nominees ahead of them in line. Until those other nominees get votes, two courtrooms in Pennsylvania’s Middle District will remain empty.
Anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy is joining other conservatives in blasting the Southern Poverty Law Center, and last week on Secure Freedom Radio told CSP’s Fred Grandy that the group is “in the service of people who are really the perpetrators of the worst of the anti-Semitism and hatemongering” by opposing anti-gay and anti-Muslim hate groups. Grandy even said that the group is a “decidedly an anti-Semitic organization” because it calls out the extremist views of Daniel Pipes and David Horowitz.
Grandy: The Southern Poverty Law Center, which at least generations ago had a very pristine reputation when we were still fighting the civil rights battle, but now they’ve sunk to a new low and of course one of their partners in this effort right now is the Muslim Public Affairs Council with whom they have conspired to create what is not just I think a coalition of hate crimes centered on organizations like the Family Research Center [sic] because of their support of traditional marriage but this has now become decidedly an anti-Semitic organization as well, tearing into Daniel Pipes at the Middle Eastern Forum or David Horowitz at his Freedom Center and of course we’re part of that mix as well. Interestingly enough Frank, when they were having this conversation on the phone, this conference call about hate crimes the night after the shooting at the Family Research Center [sic] no mention of that hate crime was even brought up.
Gaffney: This is a really extraordinary thing, as you say the Southern Poverty Law Center has fallen dramatically from its past and is now in the service of people who are really the perpetrators of the worst of the anti-Semitism and hatemongering and so on.
Today in the Washington Times, Gaffney said that “the SPLC is hanging out with today’s counterpart to the KKK and the pre-eminent threat to civil rights” and aiding the advancement of Sharia law. “If you lawfully object to, say, the erosion of traditional marriage or open borders, you stand to be condemned by the SPLC as a hater,” Gaffney said. “It seems that if you are militantly in favor of the radical homosexual agenda or racist groups such as La Raza, however, you get a pass from that organization.”
Last week’s near-massacre at the Family Research Council (FRC) put into sharp relief a curious fact: The people most aggressively denouncing others for their “hatemongering” sure are engaging in a lot of it themselves, with dangerous and potentially lethal repercussions.
Take, for example, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). Back in the heyday of the civil rights movement, the SPLC helped counter the Ku Klux Klan and other racists and anti-Semites. At the moment, though, the SPLC is hanging out with today’s counterpart to the KKK and the pre-eminent threat to civil rights — especially those of women — in America: Islamists bent on insinuating here their anti-constitutional, misogynistic and supremacist doctrine known as Shariah.
A case in point occurred Wednesday night, just hours after a gunman named Floyd Lee Corkins entered the headquarters of the FRC. Mr. Corkins apparently was bent on killing as many of the center’s employees as possible, perhaps because of the social conservative group’s listing (along with this columnist and a number of others) earlier this year by the SPLC as among the worst hate groups and bigots in America.
It turns out that, as with the Family Research Council, what seems to qualify one for smearing by the Southern Poverty Law Center is disagreement with its political agenda. If you lawfully object to, say, the erosion of traditional marriage or open borders, you stand to be condemned by the SPLC as a hater. It seems that if you are militantly in favor of the radical homosexual agenda or racist groups such as La Raza, however, you get a pass from that organization.
Earlier this evening, the Christian Defense Coalition became the first anti-abortion group to call on Todd Akin to withdraw from the Senate race in Missouri. In a statement distributed by the right-wing Christian Newswire, the head of the Christian Defense Coalition, Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, described Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” as “offensive, repugnant and troubling.”
Mahoney said that while he respects “the record of Congressman Akin, especially in the pro-life community,” his comments were “so offensive and indefensible” that he must “assume the full consequences and responsibility for making them.” He can do so, Mahoney said, by “removing himself from the Missouri Senate race.” Mahoney also expressed his concern that if Akin doesn’t withdraw, “these comments will follow the Congressman throughout the entire campaign.”
Mahoney is not what you would call a liberal. He was a longtime associate of Randall Terry, the extremist anti-abortion activist and former leader of Operation Rescue. In February, Mahoney was arrested in front of the White House while protesting President Obama’s health care bill. In March he participated in an effort to “encircle” the Supreme Court and pray for Obamacare to be struck down. And next month in Charlotte, he plans to lead protests against Obama and offer “live ultrasounds” throughout the city.
Earlier today, Mitt Romney described Rep. Todd Akin’s comments on “legitimate rape” as “insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong.” In a separate interview, Romney said, “I can't defend what he said, I can't defend him.”
Romney may not be able to defend Akin, but his running mate Paul Ryan knows some people who can. He’s set to headline next month’s Values Voter Summit alongside a who’s who of Akin defenders and endorsers.
The event’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, leapt to Akin’s defense. The group’s political action committee complained today that Akin was “getting a very bad break here” and pledged to “support him fully and completely.”
Speaking from the RNC platform committee meeting, FRC president Tony Perkins warned Sen. Scott Brown to back off from his criticism of Akin: “He has been off the reservation on a number of Republican issues, conservative issues I should say. His support among conservatives is very shallow.”
The American Family Association is another major sponsor. The group’s spokesperson, Bryan Fischer said that Akin was “absolutely right.” Continuing, he said that the trauma of a “real, genuine rape, a case of forcible rape” would make it impossible or difficult for a woman to conceive. Meanwhile, of the high-profile endorsers listed on Akin’s website, Mike Huckabee and Reps. Michele Bachmann, Steve King and Jim Jordan will be featured speakers at the Values Voter Summit.
While Akin himself has tried in various ways to distance himself from his own comments, his supporters at FRC, AFA, and elsewhere have enthusiastically embraced them. There is no doubt that they will use the Values Voter Summit to buttress their newly minted martyr.
The real question is whether the Romney campaign will have Ryan go ahead and headline the event. Ryan, who has previously sought to redefine rape and ban abortion even in cases of rape and incest, would definitely fit in. But the problem is that he might fit in too well.
After badly losing his race for U.S. Senate in Virginia with just 5 percent of the vote in the Republican primary, Bishop E.W. Jackson is onceagain railing against the Democratic Party and told conservative radio host Steve Deace on Friday that Democrats are like slave masters. “I liken them to slave masters who brag about how good their slaves are and how well-behaved they are but let them try to be free,” Jackson maintained, “let them try to escape and then you find out that they don’t really think very much of them.” Jackson said if African Americans don’t “kowtow” to the Democrats and their supposed “hatred of Christians” then, just like slaves, they “will be punished.”
Jackson: They’re not just operating in disagreement with us, they’re operating in hostility. They are engendering a type of hatred of Christians, ‘Christians are bigots, Christians are narrow-minded, Christians are hateful people’ because we won’t endorse their ideas. I think that that atmosphere is part of what created the attack on the Family Research Council this week. We ought to understand, these folks aren’t just saying ‘well we just don’t agree with you’ they’re saying ‘we’re going to stop you, we’re hostile to you, we’re going to put you down.’ With regards to Joe Biden, look this is an indication again of the kind of paternalistic, condescending, supercilious attitude that these folks have toward black people and other minorities. They don’t love us. I liken them to slave masters who brag about how good their slaves are and how well-behaved they are but let them try to be free, let them try to escape and then you find out that they don’t really think very much of them. Well let somebody try to escape, let somebody try to say ‘you know what I don’t agree with the Democrat Party or with liberalism’ they treat you like a slave who would dare bite the hand that feeds you because they act like they are responsible for whatever progress black people have made in America and so therefore you owe them and you better kowtow to whatever they say or you will be punished.
As reported earlier, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer is jumping to Todd Akin’s defense over his claim that “legitimate rape” rarely results in pregnancy. Fischer today said that the trauma of a “real, genuine rape, a case of forcible rape,” would “make it impossible for her or difficult in that particular circumstance to conceive a child.” Of course, rapedoesnot make pregnancy either impossible or unlikely, and there are other types of rape than “forcible rape,” such as statutory rape or cases where consent isn’t offered or is impossible.
Family Research Council's Connie Mackey is also defending Akin in an email to members:
"This is another case of 'gotcha politics' against a conservative leader. Todd Akin has a long and distinguished record of defending women, children and families. He has fought against forcing taxpayers to subsidize abortion giant Planned Parenthood, which is the bedrock of Claire McCaskill's base of support. When speaking about the issue of rape, let's not forget the cover-up of statutory rape by Planned Parenthood, which to my knowledge has not been addressed by Senator McCaskill.
"Throughout his twelve years in Congress, Todd Akin has supported legislation that honors all human life. He has opposed the commodification of women in contrast to his opponent, Claire McCaskill, who has a long record of promoting the abortion industry while ignoring how abortion harms women. We know Todd Akin, and FRC Action PAC enthusiastically endorses his candidacy," Mackey concluded
In a column today, Crouse defends the convictions, writing that Pussy Riot “insult[ed] Christians” and that the band members should “accept responsibility for your actions” and “repent.”
So next time Concerned Women for America complains about the Obama administration’s supposed threats to freedom, just remember that they have no problem with Russia imprisoning political activists.
Have the women repented or taken responsibility for their actions? Their formal statements about the incident reveal their utter lack of morality, embrace of a "blame-everyone-but-us" ideology, and disdain for capitalism and individual responsibility. Like their U.S. counterparts, they want "human rights, civil and political freedoms" for themselves but not for Christian believers or anyone else with different beliefs.
The media -- both in Russia and in the U.S. -- ignores the religious bigotry directed at Christianity and, instead, jumps to the defense of anyone who shows intolerance towards the church. It is apparent from the closing statements of the three Russian feminists on trial that they are not sorry for their actions and, in fact, view themselves as the victims, not the Christians that they denigrated. The punk rock group entered the sanctuary with the intent to insult Christians, and when they were held accountable, they claimed that it was someone else's fault.
If you want to rage against that which you perceive to be unjust or unfair, it would go a long way toward credibility to also accept responsibility for your actions.
Mitt Romney is outraged! He's insulted! He's offended!
Why? A Republican Senate candidate dared to state a position on choice that is exactly the same as that of Romney's own running mate.
Missouri Rep. Todd Akin is attracting plenty of attention for his bizarre and idiotic justification for refusing to allow rape victims to have abortions. But the extreme policy position behind those comments - a policy that is the GOP standard -- should be getting just as much attention.
Akin explained this weekend how rape victims shouldn't be allowed reproductive choice because they already have access to some mysterious anti-pregnancy control system: "First of all, from what I understand from doctors [pregnancy from rape] is really rare. If it's a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down."
Romney responded today in an interview with the National Review:
"Congressman's Akin comments on rape are insulting, inexcusable, and, frankly, wrong," Romney said. "Like millions of other Americans, we found them to be offensive."
"I have an entirely different view," Romney said. "What he said is entirely without merit and he should correct it."
What is Romney's "entirely different view"? That Rep. Akin doesn't have a basic understanding of the female anatomy that he's so interested in legislating? That Akin feels the need to draw a distinction between "legitimate rape" and "illegitimate rape"? That Akin thinks rape victims shouldn't be able to choose whether to carry their rapists' children?
Romney should start by directing his outrage at his own running mate. Rep. Paul Ryan not only opposes abortion rights for rape victims, he was a cosponsor of a so-called "personhood" amendment that would have classified abortion as first degree murder and outlawed common types of birth control. Ryan has also bought into the "legitimate rape" nonsense, cosponsoring legislation with Akin that would have limited federal services to victims of "forcible rape" - a deliberate attempt to write out some victims of date rape and statutory rape.
Romney himself has flirted with the "personhood" idea, telling Mike Huckabee during the primary that he'd "absolutely" support such a measure. When he was later confronted about the comment at a town hall meeting, it became clear that Romney had no idea how the process he wanted to legislate actually worked.
And Romney hasn't always been keen to stand up for the victims of rape. In a Republican debate in February, he actually got in an argument with Newt Gingrich over who was least in favor of requiring hospitals to provide emergency contraception to rape victims they were treating.
Now the Romney campaign is trying to distance itself from Akin by saying that "a Romney-Ryan administration would not oppose abortion in instances of rape." But Romney has also vowed to nominate Supreme Court justices who would overturn Roe v. Wade, returning to states the power to outlaw or allow abortion as they choose. If Romney and anti-choice activists get their wish from the Supreme Court, a Romney-Ryan administration would have no power to stop states from imposing whichever abortion bans they decide to impose. The promise to carve out an exception for rape victims is not a promise they would be able to keep.
The real scandal of Rep. Akin's comments isn't the faulty sex-ed he's teaching. Instead, his comments expose the anti-choice movement's skewed and condescending view of women. Akin can't accept that a woman who fits his definition of virtue - the victim of a "legitimate rape" - would also need to seek an abortion, and he has made up false science to support that assumption. But with or without the weird right-wing science, that same false distinction underlies all anti-choice policies - including those embraced by Romney and Ryan.
Romney can feign all the outrage he wants at Rep. Akin's misogynistic pseudo-science. But until he can draw a clear distinction between Akin's policies and his own, his protests will ring hollow.
On Thursday, the day after his organization was violently attacked, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins falselyaccused the Southern Poverty Law Center of giving the suspected gunman “license” for the assault. He cautioned that the “Southern Poverty Law Center should be held accountable for their reckless use of terminology.”
On Friday, FRC’s second in command – Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin – appeared on the Glenn Beck Program and called the SPLC an “anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, Marxist organization.” Continuing, he said that the SPLC is an “evil group of people” who “are dangerous.”
[CNN] actually tried to justify the 'hate group' label that was placed on the Family Research Council by this anti-American, anti-Christian, anti-Semitic, Marxist organization called the Southern Poverty Law Center, which is just an evil group of people. They actually tried to justify this “hate group” label that they gave FRC.
These people are dangerous, they are evil, and my question is, Glenn, who are they to have any authority to declare anybody a ‘hate group.’
And remember, they also called Hitler right-wing, as well. I don’t mean SPLC, but people today on the left refer to Hitler as right-wing and compare conservatives to Hitler. Hitler was anything but right-wing. Remember he was National Socialist Party.
As Kyle pointed out last Thursday, the SPLC labeled FRC a “hate group” as a result of its “false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians.” Now Boykin is getting in the act with “false and demonizing propaganda” about the SPLC itself.
Boykin has previously argued that Hitler wasn’t a right-wing extremist, but in fact was a leftist. This time he trotted out that argument to show why organizations like the SPLC supposedly aren’t credible authorities on what constitutes a “hate group.” In the past, he has said that American Jews don’t understand Hitler and mistakenly back Democrats as a result.
Sarah Posner in Religion Dispatchesnotes that Akin, who has a masters in divinity, received his degree at a denomination which teaches that rape seldom leads to pregnancy and should not be relevant to laws on abortion rights, and as Kate Sheppard of Mother Jonespointed out, anti-choice luminary John Willke asserts that hormones make pregnancies resulting from rape “extremely rare” and Physicians for Life believes “the rate of pregnancy is actually very rare” because the stress from the rape “alter[s] bodily functions, the menstrual cycle included.”
Those opinions are commonplace among anti-choice activists.
Human Life International says “it is very useful to be able to show just how rare rape- and incest-caused pregnancies really are” in order to expose women who falsely state they were raped in order to have abortions: “Women who are willing to kill their own preborn children for mere convenience obviously see lying as a relatively small crime.”
40 Days for Life, the group which holds hundreds of protests outside of abortion clinics throughout the country, in “ProLife Answers to ProChoice Arguments” also says that pregnancies resulting from rape are “extremely rare” and “can be prevented”:
“What about a woman who is pregnant due to rape or incest?”
a. Pregnancy due to rape is extremely rare, and with proper treatment can be prevented.
b. Rape is never the fault of the child; the guilty party, not an innocent party, should be punished.
c. The violence of abortion parallels the violence of rate.
d. Abortion does not bring healing to a rape victim.
It remains to be seen which conservative leaders will condemn—or defend—Akin as pressure mounts on the candidate to quit the race.
Update: Fischer is now even claiming that “Todd Akin is right,” citing an article by Willke.
After trying to blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for the deplorable shooting that occurred at the Family Research Council’s office this week, FRC president Tony Perkins today also implicated the Obama administration in the shooting. While speaking with Rick Santorum today on Washington Watch Weekly about the Obama administration’s “attack on religious freedom,” Perkins said that what “we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council” is “clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom.” This shameful attempt to connect the Obama administration to the shooting is just the latest sign of the FRC’s attempt to exploit the tragedy for political purposes.
Perkins: What I would call an attack on religious freedom is trickling down in our country. It’s not just isolated to the administration but it’s as if the President and his administration’s indifference towards religious freedom has really created an open season all across this country. In fact next week down in Tampa as the Republican National Committee begins its work on its platform we’ll be working with Liberty Institute and we’ll be releasing a study that shows this increased hostility towards religious freedom in this country and I believe Rick in large part it’s driven in large part by the policies of this administration.
Santorum: When you look at what happened with the whole Chick-fil-A incident and across the country you see government officials, mayors of large cities, wanting to use the power of the government to force, to drive out Dan Cathy and the folks at Chick-fil-A from their cities. This is really unprecedented and you’re right it creates an atmosphere that when the government now is saying you folks are so evil that we can deny you access to participate in business within our city it leads to a lot of things that are going to not just constrict religious liberty but I think threaten a lot of other areas of our lives.
Perkins: Well I think as we witnessed this past week at the Family Research Council, clearly linked to that same atmosphere of hostility that’s created by the public policies of an administration that’s indifferent or hostile to religious freedom and groups like as I mentioned the Southern Poverty Law Center that recklessly throws around labels giving people like this gunman who came into our building a license to take innocent life.
Dana Milbank writes in a column in today’s Washington Post, “Hateful speech on hate groups,” that the Southern Poverty Law Center “should stop listing a mainstream Christian advocacy group alongside neo-Nazis and Klansmen.” He’s talking about the Family Research Council, which he describes as “a mainstream conservative think tank founded by James Dobson and run for many years by Gary Bauer” which “advocates for a full range of conservative Christian positions, on issues from stem cells to euthanasia.” Going further, Milbank says it’s “reckless” for groups like SPLC to designate FRC as a “hate group.”
While reading all of this, I couldn’t help but wonder why a “mainstream conservative think tank” would defend a bill in Uganda that would put gays and lesbians in prison for life and put them to death for “serial” offenses, among other things. If Milbank had done his homework before writing his column, he would’ve been wondering this same thing.
The reality is that FRC is not a “mainstream conservative think tank.” That’s why FRC is one of only a handful of the many, many groups that oppose equality for gays and lesbians to be designated a “hate group” by SPLC. There’s a big difference between being conservative and being an extremist, but many in the media are missing the distinction. Kyle and Peter have already written about FRC’s history of extremism and SPLC’s criteria (here and here), but I’d like to focus on one particularly outrageous example here.
Back in June of 2010, FRC president Tony Perkins praised the infamous “kill the gays” bill in Uganda, referring to it as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.” The bill that Perkins defended called for life in prison for having sex, even once, with a member of the same sex, or touching someone of the same sex with the intention of having sex.
The bill went further, calling for the death penalty for “aggravated homosexuality.” To be clear, Perkins defended a bill that called for people to be put to death for the following (among other things):
having sex with someone of the same sex multiple times (a “serial” offender)
having sex with someone of the same sex who is your employee, student, or otherwise under your authority
having sex with someone of the same sex who is under the age of 18 (regardless of the age difference, e.g. a 19-year-old and a 17-year-old)
having sex with someone of the same sex that you got drunk
having sex with someone of the same sex who’s blind or deaf
having sex with someone of the same sex if you’re HIV+, even if you use protection and the virus is not transmitted
You can read the text of the bill here. I’m not exaggerating one bit.
When President Obama criticized the bill, Perkins devoted his weekly radio alert to attacking him over it, citing Obama’s “preoccupation with defending homosexuality.” He went on to mischaracterize the bill, claiming that it only called for the death penalty in instances like “intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS,” and was notably silent on life imprisonment for a single homosexual “act.”
FRC was eventually caught lobbying Congress on a resolution to denounce the “kill the gays” bill. They took pains to say they did not support the bill or the death penalty and were merely lobbying Congress to make the resolution “more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.”
Ok, so FRC didn’t support the “kill the gays” bill. Instead, FRC’s president devoted his weekly commentary to defending and praising the “kill the gays” bill and attacking President Obama for criticizing it. And FRC lobbied Congress to make sure that the “kill the gays” bill wouldn’t be mischaracterized.
At the recent National Prayer Breakfast, President Obama took the podium calling for greater civility in Washington, which in my opinion is a laudable goal. However, his comments quickly turned to his preoccupation with defending homosexuality.
The President criticized Ugandan leaders for considering enhance penalties for crimes related to homosexuality. The press has widely mischaracterized the law which calls for the death penalty, not for homosexual behavior which is already a crime, but for acts such as intentionally spreading HIV/AIDS, or preying upon vulnerable individuals such as children, which has been a problem in Uganda for years because the large number of orphans.
The President said that “We may disagree about gay marriage, “but surely we can agree that it is unconscionable to target gays and lesbians for who they are.” Mr. President as long as you characterize efforts to uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable, as attacking people, civility will continue to evade us.
(1) A person commits the offence of homosexuality if-
(a) he penetrates the anus or mouth of another person of the same sex with his penis or any other sexual contraption;
(b) he or she uses any object or sexual contraption to penetrate or stimulate sexual organ of a person of the same sex;
(c) he or she touches another person with the intention of committing the act of homosexuality.
(2) A person who commits an offence under this section shall be liable on conviction to imprisonment for life.
3. Aggravated homosexuality.
(1) A person commits the offense of aggravated homosexuality where the
(a) person against whom the offence is committed is below the age of 18 years;
(b) offender is a person living with HIV;
(c) offender is a parent or guardian of the person against whom the offence is committed;
(d) offender is a person in authority over the person against whom the offence is committed;
(e) victim of the offence is a person with disability;
(f) offender is a serial offender, or
(g) offender applies, administers or causes to be used by any man or woman any drug, matter or thing with intent to stupefy overpower him or her so as to there by enable any person to have unlawful carnal connection with any person of the same sex,
(2) A person who commits the offence of aggravated homosexuality shall be liable on conviction to suffer death.
(3) Where a person is charged with the offence under this section, that person shall undergo a medical examination to ascertain his or her HIV status.