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Religious Right Leader Sued For Sexual Battery, Treating Young Follower Like A 'Personal Sex Object'

Warning: this post includes sexually graphic language.

In a bombshell lawsuit that exposes the shocking ways women are treated in the Quiverfull movement — the patriarchal program popularized by the Duggar family and its TLC reality show 19 Kids and Counting — attorneys representing Lourdes Torres have revealed details of the abuse she received from Doug Phillips of Vision Forum.

The lawsuit [PDF], which includes counts of sexual battery and assault, details the “inappropriate, unwanted, and immoral sexual acts committed by Douglas Phillips against Ms. Torres,” noting that Phillips “methodically groomed Ms. Torres” since she was 15 years old “so that she would eventually participate in illicit sexual rendezvous with him promising that she could one day marry him” and “repeatedly told Torres that this was possible because his wife, Beall Phillips, was going to die soon.”

Phillips, one of the most prominent leaders of the Quiverfull movement, last year admitted to having “a lengthy, inappropriate relationship with a woman.” Phillips is extremely close to the Duggar family. In 2010, Torres was featured at the end of a video message at Phillips’ “Baby Conference” thanking Michelle Duggar, to whom Phillips had presented a “Mother of the Year” award.

Torres also briefly appears in a video posted by Phillips, “72 Hours in the Terminal,” where she is shown seated with Phillips’ family. She also has roles in the Vision Forum films “Alone But Not Alone” and “Return of the Daughters,” an anti-feminist documentary. In a 2003 blog post, Phillips wrote of attending Torres’ graduation, commending her parents for “bringing their daughter into mature Christian womanhood.”

The lawsuit contends that Phillips worked to “indoctrinate [Torres] with the patriarchal mindset” and “subtly began to manipulate Ms. Torres, so that he could use her for his sexual gratification. This calculated, planned, and methodical grooming process went on for many years.”

“Douglas Phillips used Ms. Torres—against her wishes and over her objections—as a personal sex object. Douglas Phillips repeatedly groped, rubbed, and touched Ms. Torres’s crotch, breasts, and other areas of her body; rubbed his penis on her; masturbated on her; forced her to watch him masturbate on her; and ejaculated upon her. This perverse and offensive conduct repeatedly took place over the course of several years,” the lawsuit reads.

While Ms. Torres would have felt compelled to submit to Douglas Phillips, the purity culture would have meant at the same time, her submission made her ‘damaged goods’ in her eyes, the eyes of her family, and her community—raising the cost for her to come forward to call him to account. She was, in fact, in a ‘no-win’ situation.”

...

Douglas Phillips entered Ms. Torres’s bedroom and without her consent began touching her breasts, stomach, back, neck, and waist. Phillips then began to masturbate and ejaculated on her. Ms. Torres asked Phillips to stop and broke down crying. Despite Ms. Torres’s repeated requests for Phillips to stop masturbating and ejaculating on her, Phillips proceeded to return and repeat this perverse and offensive conduct. Each night that Phillips returned, Ms. Torres requested that he stop. Defendant blatantly disregarded her requests but continued to masturbate and ejaculate on her each night.

Douglas Phillips, on the evenings he visited Ms. Torres, persuaded her that he was not doing anything wrong, that he intended to marry Ms. Torres, and that his wife would die shortly and enable him to marry Ms. Torres. He further repeatedly told Ms. Torres that he loved her, that he would take care of her, and that what they were doing was not wrong. He also stated that if it was wrong, it was completely her fault.

Torres’ lawyers write that even after Vision Forum’s board was informed of Phillips’ alleged actions, “the board of Vision Forum Ministries decided to keep Phillips in the company’s highest position of leadership. This move is consistent with the ideals and beliefs of the patriarchal movement: that women exist solely for the control and pleasure of the men.” The board only took action when it became “apparent that Phillips’s behavior toward Ms. Torres could no longer remain confidential.”

The lawsuit also goes into detail on the ways the Quiverfull movement manipulates and shames women, imposing “absolute control of women” while cutting them off from “access to outside intervention and support.” It alleges that Phillips’ wife sent Torres a threatening email in an attempt to silence her. 

Read excerpts of the lawsuit here [PDF], emphasis added:

There is a pervasive sense within Phillips’s tight circle of people that they are engaged in a cosmic war, and that they avoid contact with the government and other outside groups that might hold them accountable or ask questions. Phillips used his training as a lawyer to help foster an unregulated community that operated as a “total institution” where Ms. Torres would have limited access to outside support as she came to see her situation as abusive.



As one component of the “total institution,” Douglas Phillips’s community had its own church-court system. Disputes were brought before a board of all male elders in what resembled a legal proceeding without any of the rights of the accused in secular courts. For Ms. Torres, this system would force her to go up against Phillips—the most powerful man in the extended community—who is a trained attorney known for his skills at argument and intimidation. If Ms. Torres were to lose, she likely would be excommunicated from her church and all other churches that are legitimate in the eyes of her community. Seeking advice from others would have been labeled as gossip and treated as a very serious sin. One could be excommunicated for this, a practice that very much protects the men in power. Ms. Torres had watched others be abused under this one-sided dispute resolution process.

Douglas Phillips held a high position of trust in Ms. Torres’s life, personal family circles, social circles, and her religious circle. Phillips carefully, intentionally, and effectively closed off all access to outside intervention and support necessary for her to challenge him.

As described herein, Douglas Phillips used Ms. Torres—against her wishes and over her objections—as a personal sex object. Douglas Phillips repeatedly groped, rubbed, and touched Ms. Torres’s crotch, breasts, and other areas of her body; rubbed his penis on her; masturbated on her; forced her to watch him masturbate on her; and ejaculated upon her. This perverse and offensive conduct repeatedly took place over the course of several years.



Phillips was the dominant authority figure in Ms. Torres’s life and family. He made himself her spiritual father. He was her authority figure with regard to where she lived, where she worked, where and how she worshipped, her education, her interpersonal relationships, her time and schedule, and even acted as her counselor. In other words, Phillips was the pastor of her church, her boss, her landlord, and the controller of all aspects of her life—obedience to Phillips was as obedience to God in this total institution.



Phillips’s patriarchal movement teaches that men are, and should be, in the absolute control of women. Patriarchy considers women to primarily exist for the purposes of producing children, caring for the men, and rearing the children. Females in the patriarchal movement are discouraged from attaining higher education of any kind and are told that their sole purpose is to marry a man within the movement to meet the purposes described above. In other words, women within this movement are perceived to exist only for the end-goals communicated by the male leaders that perceive themselves as the “patriarchs” of this world.



While Ms. Torres would have felt compelled to submit to Douglas Phillips, the purity culture would have meant at the same time, her submission made her “damaged goods” in her eyes, the eyes of her family, and her community—raising the cost for her to come forward to call him to account. She was, in fact, in a “no-win” situation.



Voddie Baucham, a leader in the patriarchal and quiverful movement, explains the patriarchal men’s desire to be revered by younger women: “A lot of men are leaving their wives for younger women because they yearn for attention from younger women. And God gave them a daughter who can give them that.” The attitudes that produce these ideas are what leads to physical, mental, verbal, spiritual, and sexual abuse of both women and daughters within the patriarchal movement.



Females within the movement are manipulated by the male leaders. The males control and manipulate them into believing that the world revolves around the male “patriarchs.” Women, as scapegoats, are blamed for the inappropriate conduct of the men, thus preserving the men’s self-perceived collective self-image is preserved and concomitantly lowering the women’s self-esteem, so that women will fall into deeper submission under the men’s patriarchal authority. Women within this movement are instructed to do anything to please the male leaders.

As a result of the manipulation of this movement, Ms. Torres’s thinking was altered. As described herein, Douglas Phillips—standing in a position of influence and prominence within patriarchy—methodically groomed Ms. Torres so that she would eventually participate in illicit sexual rendezvous with him promising that she could one day marry him. This grooming began when Ms. Torres was a fifteen-year-old child. Due to the years of continued conditioning and indoctrination by Phillips and the patriarchal leaders, Ms. Torres was incapable of giving consent to Phillips’s sexual advances.

Phillips promised Ms. Torres that he would marry her and that she would be the person who would have the great privilege of being his wife. In Ms. Torres’s eyes he was the primary leader of this movement and the most powerful male figure in her universe. Phillips repeatedly told Torres that this was possible because his wife, Beall Phillips, was going to die soon.



As a non-profit entity, Vision Forum Ministries is controlled by a board of directors. Douglas Phillips was the President of the organization. Vision Forum Ministries’ board was made aware of Phillips’s illicit sexual behavior in early 2013. Despite the fact of having this knowledge, the board of Vision Forum Ministries decided to keep Phillips in the company’s highest position of leadership. This move is consistent with the ideals and beliefs of the patriarchal movement: that women exist solely for the control and pleasure of the men. When it was apparent that Phillips’s behavior toward Ms. Torres could no longer remain confidential, it was only then that the board of directors of Vision Forum Ministries decided to remove Phillips from leadership. At this point, Phillips issued carefully worded public statements about his sexual improprieties, and the Vision Forum ministries board began to strategize as to how it could bring Phillips to a place where he could make a “comeback” and regain the public leadership of the ministry.



Douglas Phillips entered Ms. Torres’s bedroom and without her consent began touching her breasts, stomach, back, neck, and waist. Phillips then began to masturbate and ejaculated on her. Ms. Torres asked Phillips to stop and broke down crying. Despite Ms. Torres’s repeated requests for Phillips to stop masturbating and ejaculating on her, Phillips proceeded to return and repeat this perverse and offensive conduct. Each night that Phillips returned, Ms. Torres requested that he stop. Defendant blatantly disregarded her requests but continued to masturbate and ejaculate on her each night.

Douglas Phillips, on the evenings he visited Ms. Torres, persuaded her that he was not doing anything wrong, that he intended to marry Ms. Torres, and that his wife would die shortly and enable him to marry Ms. Torres. He further repeatedly told Ms. Torres that he loved her, that he would take care of her, and that what they were doing was not wrong. He also stated that if it was wrong, it was completely her fault.



While Ms. Torres was helping Douglas Phillips with his business endeavors, he repeatedly used any time alone with her to gratify his sexual desires. He would place his hand under her shirt, rub her legs, stomach, and neck, kiss her face and body, rub his penis on her, masturbate in front of her and on her, and ejaculate on her—all while assuring Ms. Torres that she would soon be his wife, praising her for her chastity and loyalty.

Ms. Torres was unable to consent to the sexual contact and repeatedly asked Defendant Douglas Phillips to stop. However, Ms. Torres did not tell anyone about Defendant’s conduct because he manipulated her into believing that it would ruin his reputation, destroy his ministry, and get her in trouble with the church.



On October 3, 2013, Ms. Torres received an e-mail from Beall Phillips threatening her if she did not keep silent about what happened to her, i.e., her abuse:

During the last ten weeks, and ultimately for the last nine months, you have been lighting bombs all across the country. Right now, you may have a perception of peace, but what you don't know is that these bombs are about to explode in a manner that will change all of our lives forever. It will affect your life, your marriage prospects . . . your parents . . . and thousands of other people. It is far worse than you imagine. The VFM board has encouraged me to let you know about these and to work with you to give you an opportunity to stop impending destruction.



He intentionally used his position within the patriarchal movement to manipulate Ms. Torres to gratify his own sexual desires, and any time Ms. Torres resisted or requested that his advances stop, he would spend time talking to her about his plans for their future together—fully aware that based on his teachings, adopted and personalized by Ms. Torres, that a woman’s value and role in society depended on marriage. Ms. Torres did in fact rely on Defendant’s statements. She did not at all times refuse Defendant’s sexual advances, but submitted to them based on the fraudulent statements Defendant had made to her.



Phillips carefully, intentionally, and effectively closed off all access to outside intervention and support necessary for her to challenge him. He had been her mentor, counselor, pastor, elder, employer, and friend since she was fifteen-years-old. She had been at his home serving in his family several days a week between 2000–2007, at his urging she had forgone opportunities to attain higher education, and she had accepted his teachings that the woman’s role was to serve men in the home, and believed Phillips when he stated that she was “part of his family” and he would take care of her.



Ms. Torres has constant anxiety that Defendant Douglas Phillips will attempt to contact her again. Ms. Torres is prone to outbursts of anger, physical trembling, and crying when she contemplates the previous years of abuse, has trouble sleeping at night due to fear, often experiences a lack of appetite and nausea, and has actually been forced to leave home and many friends behind due to their connections to Defendant Douglas Phillips. She has sought professional counseling and is being counseled through her trauma.

Russian Anti-LGBT Crackdown Exporting Homophobic Violence Throughout Region, Experts Warn

Russia's ban on gay "propaganda" and copycat laws throughout the region have created a "license to commit violence against" LGBT people, "give the permission" for "street violence" and "create legitimacy for violence," according to human rights advocates working in Russia, Ukraine, Moldova and Kyrgyszstan who spoke last night at a panel at Columbia University.

Russia's spate of anti-gay laws has quickly influenced neighboring countries, part of what Columbia professor Tanya Domi called "the Putin project" of solidifying Russia's influence in the region.

American activists including National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown, anti-gay agitator Scott Lively, and the World Congress of Families – which receives support from a who's who of American anti-gay groups – have lent support to Russia's anti-gay laws.

Matthew Schaaf, a Russia expert at Freedom House, said that while there were plenty of logistical questions about the enforcement of the ban on gay "propaganda" to minors that was passed last year, one effect of the law is clear.

"What we've actually seen is that this law in Russia and other restrictions on LGBT people and people who advocate for LGBT rights is essentially a license to commit violence against them, to discriminate against them," he said. "It creates an environment where these people are positioned as being others, as not being us, as an influence that we need to control and to destroy."

Schaaf said that the anti-gay bills are "part of an overall crackdown on civil society in Russia."

He mentioned the newly released Russian state cultural policy, which explicitly rejects "the principles of multiculturalism and tolerance" and denies state support to "cultural projects which impose alien to society values."

"What is common to all of these different issues is a rhetoric of some kind of external, existential threat to Russia, to Russian culture, to Russia as a country, to the borders of Russia, to the Russian people, to the Russian economy, and so on," Schaaf said. "So, if you're hearing this message, you're hearing a message that's frightening: that the country is under assault by these horrible, horrible forces."

"This is what Russia is exporting to other parts of the world, and they're aggressively pushing this agenda on many, many, many levels," he added.

Olena Shevchenko, who chairs the Ukrainian LGBTI advocacy group Insight, said that pushing anti-gay laws is part of a "Russian foreign strategy" as Russia is "pushing this border between [its] traditional values concept and human rights in Western Europe."

Anna Kirey of Human Rights Watch put it in terms of LGBT rights being a unit of geopolitical "currency."

"It feels like it's this big political game where Russia is creating this certain currency that they sort of use politically…to mobilize supporters," she said. "LGBT rights now in this region are definitely one of these currencies to create opposition to the West and more support for the Eurasian Customs Union in different countries."

Shevchenko noted that Russia's move toward anti-gay legislation "influenced Ukraine immediately."

In late 2012, Ukraine – which was the first former Soviet republic to decriminalize homosexuality – took the first step toward passing its own "propaganda" ban imposing fines or up to five years in prison for "any positive depiction" of LGBT people.

The BBC interviewed the pastor of an evangelical church in Kiev who had pushed for the bill, which he described as a "national security" measure. "Here's the issue," he told the BBC. "In a real democracy, my freedom and rights are limited by the freedom of someone else."

Shevchenko said that a similar sentiment was behind wide support for anti-gay laws in Ukraine. "Many people think that equality for LGBT people will be a threat to the rights of majority," she said. "Basically it will be a threat to the right to discriminate."

She added that anti-LGBT hate speech from politicians and the media essentially "give permission [for] street violence towards LGBT people" and lead to the "legitimization of violence."

"Basically, they think it allows them to go on the streets and discriminate and to beat them and to rape, when it comes to LB and transgender women," she said.

Kirey, a researcher at Human Rights Watch who has done extensive work in Kyrgyzstan, spoke of a similar situation in that country, where a Human Rights Watch report in January found a pattern of police violence and extortion against gay men.

Kyrgyz authorities met the HRW report with denial and even laughter, she said…and then two months later introduced their own Russian-style gay "propaganda" ban.

"Right now in the region, any conversations about LGBT rights are immediately put in the box of 'propaganda,'" said Kirey. She added that such legislation not only "create[s] legitimacy for violence" but also "shrinks the space where LGBT activists are able to raise their concerns, which is very upsetting."

"Literally, people are now thinking that they have the permission of the government to continue these homophobic crimes, which is a very scary development," she said.​

Mychal Massie Compares Tea Party Critics To Saddam Hussein And Slave-Owners

Right-wing columnist Mychael Massie is upset that some conservatives are beginning to criticize the Tea Party, pointing to Michael Reagan’s recent claim that Republicans would have won control of the US Senate “if the Tea Party hadn’t been so stupid in several races.”

Writing today in WorldNetDaily, Massie complains that Tea Party activists are being treated as “slaves” by politicians who are “cracking the whip for us to get back in line and do as they tell us,” comparing critics of the movement to Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein.

I find it deeply troubling when Michael Reagan, son of the late President Reagan, makes disparaging remarks about the likes and dislikes of tea-party movement people and the candidates we support. It’s as if we are not supposed to have an opinion. We are just supposed to keep quiet, send our money and vote how they tell us. As an illusion of participation, they will let us amuse ourselves believing we matter in the primaries; but they keep that season short-lived, cracking the whip for us to get back in line and do as they tell us.

I say those days have come and gone. We will not return to the plantation, and many of us are prepared to lose to prove that point. Establishment Republicans don’t own us or our votes – we aren’t their slaves. Our minds belong to us, and if they want to point to questionable decisions We the People have made, let them look in the mirror.



Our Founding Fathers created a government that was simple enough for any American citizen to represent the will of the people. But venal, nefarious, power-hungry malevolents have risen up and corrupted the system. Once in office, those who promised to represent us pass secret laws and provisions designed for them to make gain from their positions.

Elections are supposed to be about the will of the people. The people are you and me. It is not the right of Karl Rove, Michael Reagan, Reince Priebus or any other establishment politician to make light of us or dictate how we should vote. If it was wrong for Hugo Chavez and Saddam Hussein to do it, then it’s wrong for them.

The only reason the tea-party movement did not replicate the stunning upset victories in 2012 is because the GOP hierarchy – complicit with the NAACP, the Democrats and the national mainstream media – spent the two years prior bastardizing and labeling the tea-party movement as being comprised of racists and hicks from “Nowheresville.” 

We the People must remember what we accomplished in 2010 without GOP blessings or help. There is nothing We the People cannot accomplish when we band together and stand firm. And that is exactly what we must do in 2014.

WorldNetDaily Says Lunar Eclipse Was A Divine Warning To Obama

WorldNetDaily manages to fit criticism of President Obama into nearly everything it publishes, including its story on Monday’s lunar eclipse.

Citing the president's comments from January — “I’ve got a pen and I’ve got a phone” — about using executive orders and executive actions in the face of congressional obstruction, right-wing pastor Mark Biltz told WND today that the “blood moon” is a divine warning to Obama that God has “more than a pen and a phone in his hand.”

“In the book of Joel it mentions three times about the sun and the moon going dark and in context it also mentions Divine wrath against all countries that want to divide or part the land of Israel,” Biltz said, touching on a frequent Religious Right claim that Obama administration efforts to broker a Mideast peace deal will lead to divine punishment.

“Like Pharaoh the leaders and pundits of today will realize when it comes to crossing the red lines of the Creator of the universe he has more than a pen and a phone in his hand.”

Barack Obama quite recently, expressing his frustration that Republican members of Congress won’t give him what he wants, threatened arbitrary executive action, promising that he has a “pen and phone.”

But there are “flashing red warning lights” in the heavens that should command peoples’ attention right now, because the one behind those warnings, God, had “more than a pen and a phone in his hand,” according to the author of “Blood Moons: Decoding the Imminent Heavenly Signs.”

Pastor Mark Biltz, whose book is creating a tidal wave of interest right now with the first of four lunar eclipses expected to become visible early Tuesday, was speaking to Breaking Israel News.

“I believe that the blood moons have great historic and prophetic significance just as they did following 1948 and 1967. In the book of Joel it mentions three times about the sun and the moon going dark and in context it also mentions Divine wrath against all countries that want to divide or part the land of Israel,” he said.

“I believe the moons are like flashing red warning lights at a heavenly intersection saying to Israel as well as the nations they will be crossing heavenly red lines and if they do, they will understand as Pharaoh did on Passover night 3,500 years ago that the Creator backs up what He says.

“Like Pharaoh the leaders and pundits of today will realize when it comes to crossing the red lines of the Creator of the universe he has more than a pen and a phone in his hand.”

South Carolina GOP Lawmaker: LGBT Rights As Bad As 'Skinheads And Radical Islam'

Last week, we reported that South Carolina state senator Mike Fair had succeeded in getting the University of South Carolina-Upstate to cancel a satirical performance called "How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less" because he thought it was "recruiting" students to become lesbians.

Well, the show may be canceled, but the outrage machine rolls on. The State reports that Fair "said in a TV interview [last] week that Upstate students needed to be exposed to gay-themed materials and programs like 'they do skinheads and radical Islam. They don't need to be exposed to it.'"

State Sen. Lee Bright, who represents the area in the state legislature and who is challenging U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham in the GOP primary this year, joined Fair in the effort to cut the school's budget in punishment for planning to host the show and for assigning LGBT-friendly reading material. "I think we've got their attention," Bright said. "Folks in Spartanburg aren't looking for that kind of bent at their local college."

And now, a candidate for state superintendent of education is piling on, issuing a press release calling the show "dangerous" and "destructive" and calling for everyone involved to be fired. Superintendant candidate Gary Burgess wrote, in a press release flagged by the Charleston City Paper:

Sexual orientation, and teaching children about sexual orientation, is exclusively the purview of the home and Houses of Faith. A seminar teaching young adults how to be heterosexual or homosexual is completely off limits to schools, colleges, and universities. How much training does it take to have human beings, sexual creatures, participate in sex? This is ludicrous. This is dangerous. This is destructive ...

These programs, which try to indoctrinate our children, must be completely defunded, and those who use tax dollars in such a way should be fired.

Meanwhile, Leigh Hendrix, the South Carolina native who wrote and performs "How To Be A Lesbian In 10 Days Or Less," says she is "really surprised" by the backlash to her show, noting that "the title is far more provocative than the piece."

Minnesota Safe Schools Bill Becomes Law

In the wee hours of April 9, the Minnesota House of Representatives took the final vote on the Safe and Supportive Schools Act. That afternoon Governor Mark Dayton signed it into law.
PFAW

Don Feder Angry 'Noah' Didn't Blame Flood On Gay People

World Congress of Families spokesman Don Feder is upset that the movie “Noah” focused on climate change, suggesting that the flood actually represented divine punishment for homosexuality.

Feder joins the many anti-gay activists who insist that gay people are to blame for the biblical flood.

“Try to imagine Hollywood making a movie that inveighs against sexual immorality, when the entertainment industry goes Lady Gaga over gayness and presents cohabitation, adultery and abortion as lifestyle choices,” Feder writes.

Instead, he says that the film's message against human-induced climate change is proof that “warmingism” is a religion that treats its critics as “heretics.” He adds that “Enviros would have auto-da-fes in front of the United Nations building if not for concern about pollutants released by burning flesh.”

Scripture is a bit vague on the reasons for the flood. The Bible explains: "Now the earth was corrupt before God. And the earth became full of robbery. And God saw the earth, and behold it had become corrupted." (Genesis 6:11-12).

Corrupt in what way? Would God destroy the world over larceny? Later in Genesis, the Canaanite cities of Sodom and Gomorrah are blotted out, this time by fire, over sexual deviancy. The term "sodomite" doesn't refer to someone who knocks-over convenience stores.

Try to imagine Hollywood making a movie that inveighs against sexual immorality, when the entertainment industry goes Lady Gaga over gayness and presents cohabitation, adultery and abortion as lifestyle choices.



The cult of global warming has all of the characteristics of a religion – prophets (Al Gore, Hollywood savants, and scientists in mad pursuit of government research grants), evil (the internal combustion engine, coal-fired plants, population growth), good (measures designed to curb CO2 emissions) and salvation/redemption (draconian fines for carbon-polluters, severe limits on human reproduction – to erase carbon footprints – and eventual repeal of the industrial revolution). Dissenters aren't merely wrong, they are heretics labeled climate change "deniers." Enviros would have auto-da-fes in front of the United Nations building if not for concern about pollutants released by burning flesh.



Although adherents won't admit it, warmingism is also based on faith – a belief in the depravity of industrial society and the evil of progress. Unfortunately for its proponents, warmingism is demonstrably false and is increasingly refuted by reality. The earth isn't getting warmer. The ice caps aren't shrinking. The rise in sea-levels is insignificant and ecological doom is nowhere on the horizon. …

After spending decades (centuries if you want to go back to the French Revolution) trying to destroy religion, the left is now using religion to advance its pet causes. Coming soon, "Sodom and Gomorrah: The True Story" – wherein destruction is visited on the Mesopotamian metropolises for their homophobia, sexism and income inequality.

Anne Paulk Warns Of Gay 'Brainwashing,' Laments 'Disobedient' Ex-Ex-Gay Ex-Husband

In an appearance on Vocal Point in March, ex-gay activist Anne Paulk lamented that teachers have “brainwashed” students into supporting gay rights, pushing society into a “downward spiral” dominated by “gay propaganda.”

Our children, the younger generation, have been inundated with cultural training or diversity training or tolerance training at their schools, brainwashing essentially, to not actually engage the topic [of homosexuality] from multiple sides or actually examine evidence. They’ve been told what to think over and over again and then punished or made fun of or put off to the side and stand out if they disagree with this gay propaganda. It’s not a matter of data or science or anything else, it’s a matter of intimidation and pressure tactics, and our kids have fallen right into that. It’s now grown up and impacted the younger adult generations and so the impact of that is tremendous and it will continue a downward spiral if we don’t engage the currnet generation with the truth.

When host Jerry Newcombe noted that Paulk’s ex-husband, John Paulk, was the poster boy for the ex-gay movement until he announced last year that he is still gay and renounced ex-gay therapy, Paulk responded that John has been “disobedient” to God: “He walked back into it, that’s true. Can that happen? Absolutely. People can fall, Christians can be disobedient and people who once had a struggle can once again engage that struggle whether it’s alcohol, drugs or any other type of sin struggle, we are not immune to our past, we must either surrender or be invaded by once was and so that is the challenge.”

Newcombe dismissed ex-ex-gays like John Paulk as similar to people who, for a time, stopped cigarette smoking “but unfortunately went back into it.”

PFAW: Scandal Surrounding Senate President is More Evidence of Big Money Assault on Wisconsin

MADISON – Wisconsin Senate President State Senator Mike Ellis’ announcement Friday that he will not seek re-election, which arrived after Ellis was caught on camera claiming he might set up his own political action committee to attack his Democratic opponent, is evidence of the big money assault on the Wisconsin Legislature, said People For the American Way Regional Political Coordinator Scott Foval.

“Mike Ellis apparently felt he had no choice but to raise big cash just to compete, and allegedly was willing to compromise his ethics in the process,” Foval said. “The fact that the Senate President got caught planning to form a super PAC to attack Penny Bernard Schaber is just evidence of a larger problem – too much political money driving who gets elected in Wisconsin.”

People For the American Way and its allies have repeatedly highlighted how Wisconsin Republicans have enacted policies that benefit the wealthy and powerful corporate interests. Since 2010, Wisconsin’s GOP legislators have enacted restrictions on women’s health, restrictions on voting rights, and restrictions on collective bargaining for public employees, as well as a budget that favors wealthy tax payers rather than the middle class. PFAW’s Foval called on citizens to fight back against big money in politics and strike back at the voting booth.

“The time has come for Wisconsin’s voters to take back our state by registering to vote, hitting the streets to knock doors, and voting for progressive candidates who represent the people instead of big money donors,” Foval said.  “This isn’t cause for celebration. It’s a call to put our heads down, and get to work to elect new leadership to the Wisconsin Legislature and Governor’s office.”

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Conservative Activist Suggests Hillary Clinton Staged Shoe-Throwing Incident

UPDATE: Rush Limbaugh also seems to think the incident was staged.

Fox News contributor Bernard Goldberg is promoting the claim that Hillary Clinton staged the incident where a woman threw a shoe at her during a speech in Las Vegas.

On a post for Goldberg’s website, blogger Arthur Louis writes that “Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her,” having “calculated that this would make her seem presidential.”

“Hillary, claiming to be unsure what was thrown, called out ‘Was that a bat?’ I don’t think she meant bat as in baseball,” he continues. “I think she meant bat as in creepy flying rodent. Perhaps she based her guess on the premise that likes attract.”

Along with many other anti-Clinton conspiracy theories, several conservatives similarly accused Clinton of faking a blood clot in her head in order to avoid congressional hearings on Benghazi.

Via Alex Seitz-Wald:

A couple of nights ago, as Hillary Clinton started to address a gathering of recycling experts in Las Vegas, a woman came striding down the aisle toward the stage and threw a shoe at her. Hillary, claiming to be unsure what was thrown, called out “Was that a bat?” I don’t think she meant bat as in baseball. I think she meant bat as in creepy flying rodent. Perhaps she based her guess on the premise that likes attract.



The incident called to many minds the occasion, late in his second term, when George W. Bush, during a public appearance, was forced to duck two shoes thrown by a Muslim journalist. He did so coolly and deftly, like a veteran baseball player trying to avoid being beaned by Roger Clemens. Hillary, on the other hand, ducks flying shoes like a girl, as you can plainly see on the video.

There is a political axiom, I believe first posed by Euclid or Archimedes, that when Hillary does something, or when something happens to her, she has carefully calculated it beforehand. This is almost always true, the one trivial exception being the nomination and election of Barack Obama in 2008.

So it would not be stretching logic to suppose that Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her. Remembering the Bush incident, she may have calculated that this would make her seem presidential. This would explain why Ms. Ernst was not pounded to a pulp by Hillary’s bodyguards, and why she seems on the verge of getting off scot free. Don’t be too surprised, the next time you visit Phoenix, if you see her sitting at a table in a downtown Hillary for President store front, stuffing and sealing envelopes.

I am just guessing, of course, but let’s all watch for possible further evidence that Hillary is trying to remind us of other presidents in their finest hours.

Voting Rights Advocates Rack Up More Wins

Earlier this month, PFAW reported on what has gone right for voting rights at the state level in 2014. While there is much more work to be done to enact needed reforms and to step up and counter threats when the right to vote is under attack, states like Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina have shown that we can win. Now we've uncovered even more evidence of why we can and should keep fighting the challenges that lay before us.
PFAW

Kevin Swanson Compares Gay-Inclusive Honey Maid Ad To Axe Murder, Cannibalism

Colorado-based pastor Kevin Swanson of Generations Radio is joining the Religious Right outrage frenzy over a gay-inclusive TV ad produced by Nabisco’s Honey Maid.

On Friday, he told co-host Steve Vaughn that the company’s “disgusting” attempt to “promote” homosexuality is just like encouraging axe murder.

When you come down to things like axe murder or homosexuality and you say, ‘we’re really going to promote it and we’re going to encourage everybody in America to engage in this or at least support this thing,’ there will be people on the other side who will take an adamantly opposed position to your support of axe murdering or homosexuality. They will be intolerant, they will be very intolerant of that which is evil, like axe murdering. Here’s my prognostication for Nabisco: I think they’re going to lose business. They say ‘we’ve got lots and lots and lots of positive comments,’ I think they said 50,000 positive comments or something.

Tough bananas, there are still going to be 28 percent, 38 percent, 47 percent of the market that will not go with it. So their decision to step out and say, ‘we’re going to take the lowest road possible on this, we’re going to support one of the most egregious things ever concocted since Nero — Nero being the one who came up with homosexual marriage, the namesake for it — we’re going to support the Neronic agenda,’ there will be I think 28 percent, 38 percent, it may eventually go as low as 28 percent, but you’re still going to get a pretty substantial bunch of Americans that will say, ‘hey, this is disgusting, Nabisco is disgusting.’

He also took issue with Honey Maid’s video response to its critics, wondering whether the next ad will include a “family where a dog is the wife with a human husband.”

Swanson also claimed that God will object to the TV ad because “the problem with this ‘love’ thing is you can define it anyway you want. Homosexuals love their friends and cannibals love their victims, they taste good.”

Nabisco apparently came out with this ‘Wholesome’ ad for ‘Wholesome Honey Maid and Teddy Grahams,’ it’s causing a huge stir. The company is fighting the negativity with another ad called ‘Love.’ Here’s what happened: Nabisco presented an ad in which they equated mixed race families to single parent families to homosexual families, whatever that is, maybe they had another family where a dog is the wife with a human husband. Does the dog eat wholesome Nabisco doggy bones? So they come out with an ad, then they got backlash because not everybody felt it was wholesome.



Artists printed out the negative comments, rolled them all up and created a sculpture that reads ‘Love’ in cursive script. Isn’t that cute? That’s kind of cute. I wonder what God thinks about that? Didn’t God define love? See the problem with this ‘love’ thing is you can define it anyway you want. Homosexuals love their friends and cannibals love their victims, they taste good.

Gordon Klingenschmitt Warns 'Obama Has Now Gone To Full Perversion As A Matter Of Policy'

Gordon Klingenschmitt, the GOP politician and gay exorcist who believes that the Employment Non-Discrimination Act is a demonic plot to make Christians “starve to death” and “participate in sodomy,” yesterday pointed to 2011 OPM guidelines on transgender personnel as proof that “Obama has now gone to full perversion as a matter of policy.”

In an email to members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project, Klingenschmitt said that job protections for transgender employees will “violate the privacy rights of all women and little girls, exposing them to naked men with mental disorders.”

“Worse yet, if Nancy Pelosi's ENDA becomes law, all Christian business-owners nationwide will be punished if they refuse to open ladies’ restrooms to cross-dressing men,” he added.

The Obama Administration has opened womens [sic] restrooms to cross-dressing men.

President "Obama's Office of Personnel Management has published what it calls 'Guidance Regarding the Employment of Transgender Individuals in the Workplace.' This document speaks of 'sex' as something a person has 'assigned' to them only after they make it through the birth canal," reports TownHall.com. …

Obama has now gone to full perversion as a matter of policy. When violating the privacy rights of all women and little girls, exposing them to naked men with mental disorders who pretend and deceive themselves, he now requires we believe their deception with them.

Worse yet, if Nancy Pelosi's ENDA becomes law, all Christian business-owners nationwide will be punished if they refuse to open ladies' restrooms to cross-dressing men.



Friends, their version of tolerance now requires bankrupting Christian employers, or any public restaurant or retail store that refuses men full access to women's bathrooms. We must take action to stop ENDA from becoming law.

What If Hobby Lobby Wins?

David Barton, an influential conservative activist who helped write the Republican Party’s 2012 platform, argues that the Bible opposes the minimum wage, unions and collective bargaining, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and progressive taxation in general. Should a company whose owners share Barton’s views be allowed to ignore laws that protect workers by claiming that those laws violate the company’s religious beliefs?

That’s a questions being asked as the U.S. Supreme Court considers whether it will recognize for the first time ever that for-profit corporations can make religious freedom claims under federal law.

When an actual human being goes to court with a claim that the federal government is violating their freedom to practice their religion, judges consider several questions in applying the Religious Freedom Restoration Act: Does the law or policy in question place a substantial burden on the person’s religious exercise? If so, can it be justified because the law is advancing a compelling government interest and doing so in the least restrictive way?

That’s pretty straightforward, even if individual cases require tough judgment calls about what constitutes a substantial burden and a compelling government interest. But what happens when a for-profit corporation claims a law violates its exercise of religion? Can a business have a religious conscience?

That crucial question is being considered by the Supreme Court in two cases brought by for-profit corporations claiming their religious freedom is violated by a requirement that their insurance plans include comprehensive contraception coverage. In Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby Stores and Conestoga Specialties Corp. v. Sebelius, business owners say their companies should not be required to provide their employees with insurance that covers kinds of contraception that violate the business owners’ religious beliefs or what they say are the religious beliefs of the corporation itself.

Legal scholars have weighed in on both sides of the claim. While federal courts have never recognized a for-profit corporation’s right to make a religious exercise claim, they have also never explicitly ruled that there is no such right. In the cases now before the Supreme Court, two appeals courts disagreed with each other. The Tenth Circuit sided with Hobby Lobby but the Third Circuit said, “[W]e simply cannot understand how a for-profit secular corporation—apart from its owners—can exercise religion.”

If the Supreme Court sets a new precedent granting for-profit corporations a soul, so to speak, where will it end? Law professors Ira Lupu and Robert Tuttle warn that it would produce “a massive redistribution of legal leverage away from employees and to their employers.” And, they write, “If Hobby Lobby’s claims prevail…other employer claims under RFRA will be very difficult to deny. Some current cases involve objections to coverage of all pregnancy prevention services. In the future, others may involve protection of employees with respect to different medical services, collective bargaining, family leave, or invidious discrimination.”

The Becket Fund, the conservative legal group representing Hobby Lobby, dismisses concerns about opening the floodgates to all kinds of religious objections, saying it hasn’t happened under RFRA to date. But of course, no Court has yet invited the flood of objections by giving business owners the right to claim corporate exemptions for religious belief.

Justice Elena Kagan raised this concern during oral argument, asking Hobby Lobby’s lawyer Paul Clement about employers who might have religious objections to sex discrimination laws, minimum wage laws, and child labor or family leave laws. Clement said he doubted the “parade of horribles” would happen. But Justice Kagan replied that if the Court were to adopt his argument, “then you would see religious objectors come out of the woodwork with respect to all of these laws." Solicitor General Paul Verrilli noted that if the Court grants corporations a right to make free exercise claims, judges will have to grapple with potential harm to employees and other third parties.

But it’s not just employees who could be hurt by such a ruling – it could be companies themselves. David Gans, writing for Slate, made an interesting observation: corporate America is staying out of this case almost completely, which is surprising given its eagerness to use federal courts to promote corporate interests. Gans says that not a single Fortune 500 company filed a brief in the case. Neither did the Chamber of Commerce or the National Federation of Independent Business. The corporate voices that did weigh in — the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce and the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce — oppose Hobby Lobby’s claims because recognizing a corporate right to the free exercise of religion would “wreak havoc in corporate boardrooms.”

Gans cites a brief from a group of corporate law scholars “who argued that Hobby Lobby’s argument would eviscerate the fabric of corporate law” because ascribing a business owner’s religious views to the corporation would treat the owner and company as one and the same. “Such an unprincipled, idiosyncratic exception from corporate law fundamentals, the scholars argued, would breed confusion in the law, lead to costly litigation, and undermine critical aspects of corporate law designed to spur creativity and innovation.”

Mary Ann Glendon, a law professor who serves on Becket’s board, has argued that if we want businesses to behave responsibly, “they must be treated as having some moral agency.” The Supreme Court, she says, “should take the opportunity to confirm that businesses can and should have consciences.” It’s a nice thought. But given right-wing efforts to merge the Tea Party and Religious Right, and foster a growing belief that far-right economics and anti-government ideology are grounded in religious dogma, it seems highly unlikely that the consequence of giving conservative business leaders a powerful new tool for undermining government regulation would be more socially responsible corporate behavior.

Tony Perkins' Disingenuous Boycott 'Outrage'

On Saturday, Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins chatted about Chick-fil-A president Dan Cathy’s decision to play down his opposition to marriage equality, with Perkins suggesting that he is a “coward.”

The two also stepped up their attack on gay rights and liberal activists who backed a boycott of the restaurant chain and said that they would never target businesses over their views on gay rights.

Huckabee said that “nobody” is targeting left-leaning CEOs like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and Perkins charged that such boycotts wrongly “silence” political speech and undermine freedom and liberty.

Of course, Perkins was being totally disingenuous as he has personally endorsed several boycott campaigns…including a boycott of Starbucks over its stance on gay rights.

Perkins and his group, the Family Research Council, championed a boycott of Girl Scouts cookies, and helped lead boycott campaigns targeting companies like McDonalds and Wal-Mart [PDF] over their stances on gay rights.

Last year, Perkins called for a boycott of Betty Crocker after the company donated custom cakes to same-sex weddings after Minnesota approved marriage equality.

Despite this clear double standard, Perkins continues to get away with his claim that only gay rights advocates target businesses and that Religious Right activists — always the victim — would never ever do such a thing.

BarbWire: Obama, Pro-Gay Rights Christians Are 'Servants Of Satan'

Lee Duigon of the Chalcedon Foundation, a Christian Reconstructionist group whose founder R.J. Rushdoony supported the death penalty for gay people, writes today in BarbWire that President Obama and pastors who officiate same-sex weddings, among others, are evil “servants of Satan.”

He adds that he doesn’t understand why “libs ‘n’ progs and atheists and other specimens of the Far Left” are offended when he calls them Satanic: “I don’t see why that should be hard to understand.”

For people whose chief mode of discourse consists of shouting and calling names, any time they encounter someone who doesn’t go along with them, libs ‘n’ progs and atheists and other specimens of the Far Left are surprisingly thin-skinned.



Being a servant of Satan involves more than just sinning. After all, we are all sinners; otherwise, we wouldn’t need a Savior. It’s like the difference between an ordinary homosexual, a sinner like the rest of us, and a flatline Protestant minister who performs same-sex parodies of marriage in his church. The latter is a servant of Satan. And in this day and age, we’ve raised up a bumper crop of them.

I don’t see why that should be hard to understand, except to those who don’t want to understand–maybe because a lot of their heroes are servants of Satan. Margaret Sanger, Richard Dawkins, Alfred Kinsey, the current occupier of the White House, Mikey Weinstein – we could spend a whole day listing them. But they are all servants of Satan, because they all preach and teach that evil is good, and good is evil; they all seek to nullify God’s laws; and they have all labored to create a world from which God’s laws are erased.

If that’s not serving Satan, what is?

Florida & Oregon Drop Out Of Kris Kobach's Faulty Voter Roll Crosscheck Program

The Miami Herald reported Friday that Florida and Oregon have dropped out of Interstate Crosscheck, the disputed voter-fraud detection service run by Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, with Oregon election officials citing "unreliable" data from the program.

Interstate Crosscheck’s reports in 2013 include Florida data based on the 2012 election. However, Florida is absent from the 2014 report.

We asked a spokeswoman for Republican Secretary of State Ken Detzner why Florida dropped out.

“The Department of State and Supervisors of Elections currently work with elections officials in other states to update registrations regarding residency, and we are always exploring options to improve the elections process,” Brittany Lesser said.

Oregon is another state that changed its mind about sharing its voter data with the Kansas project. Its explanation was more blunt than the one we got from Florida.

“We left because the data we received was unreliable and we felt joining the ERIC project would better meet our needs, said Tony Green, spokesman for Oregon Secretary of State.

ERIC is a project of the Pew Charitable Trust  to improve the accuracy and efficiency of state voter registration systems. States must pay to participate in ERIC while the Kansas project is free.

Voting rights opponents went into full-blown panic mode last week when North Carolina elections officials, citing data from Kobach's program, announced that 35,000 people who voted in North Carolina could have also voted in another state. That this number turned out to be completely overblown -- and that the state's top elections official urged caution in jumping to conclusions  -- did not stop Dick Morris and the Tea Party Nation from claiming that as many as a million Democrats voted twice in the 2012 elections.

via Rick Hasen​

Edit Memo: Judicial Confirmations Under Bush and Obama — By the Numbers

To: Interested Parties
From: Marge Baker, Executive Vice President, People For the American Way
Date: April 11, 2014
Re: Judicial Confirmations Under Bush and Obama — By the Numbers

In recent days, Republicans have made much over the fact that President Obama has had more judicial nominees confirmed than George W. Bush did in his term. That’s unquestionably true, but taken alone, that factoid conceals more than it illuminates about the GOP's unprecedented campaign to obstruct the confirmation of President Obama's judges.

Most importantly, President Obama has been faced with significantly more judicial vacancies than had President Bush. So far, 270 vacancies have arisen since January of 2009. During the same period in the Bush administration, only 202 vacancies appeared. While President Bush had more than filled the vacancies which arose during his presidency, President Obama hasn’t been allowed even to keep pace with vacancies as they arise.

newvacancies

In order to fill those vacancies, President Obama has faced unprecedented obstruction of his nominees, including a record number of filibusters. In fact, more of his nominees to the lower federal courts have been subjected to cloture votes (35) than the nominees of every previous president, combined.

judicialnoms

Before they're confirmed President Obama's nominees have been forced to wait much longer for votes after being approved by the Judiciary Committee than President Bush's nominees. The wait times have become so extreme, that President Obama's district court nominees are, on average, forced to wait longer than President Bush’s circuit court nominees.

averagedays

As a result, Senate Republicans have significantly reduced President Obama's ability to address the judicial vacancy crisis in the courts right now. Currently, President Obama faces significantly more judicial vacancies than President Bush faced at this point in his presidency, including more than 50% more judicial emergencies.

judicialnoms

Currently, 31 nominations have cleared the Judiciary Committee and are pending before the Senate, including 14 nominees who would fill seats designated as judicial emergencies. There's no reason for any of these nominations to be delayed, and confirming all of them would bring the vacancy rate roughly in line with the rate we saw eight years ago.

If Republicans are interested in treating President Obama now as President Bush was treated then, they should move quickly to confirm all the nominees currently pending on the Senate floor.

###

Safe Schools Letter Campaign Concludes with Nearly 30 Organizations Standing Together to Say Students Deserve Better

The letter-a-day campaign for safe schools that PFAW led concluded today, when we also marked the Day of Silence – an annual event organized by the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) that is meant to draw attention to the "silencing effects" of anti-gay harassment and name-calling in schools and to be a way for students to show their solidarity with students who have been bullied. Over the last month twenty-eight groups went on record with Congress in support of safe schools legislation. Together, we sent loud and clear the message that all students deserve far better than what they're getting when it comes to bullying and harassment in schools.
PFAW

American Decency Association: Gay Rights Have Turned America Into North Korea

Anti-gay activists are incensed that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal by a New Mexico photographer who violated the state’s anti-discrimination laws, and the American Decency Association is citing the case as proof that the United States has morphed into North Korea.

“Have we been transported to North Korea? Since when do we have to check our First Amendment freedoms at the door in order to live and work as a citizen of the United States?” the group asked, lamenting that the government is bent on “forcing Christians to closet their faith and bow before our nation’s golden idol giving glory, laud, and honor to all things homosexual.”

Each week it seems the courts and the culture delivers another blow in their attempt to take down biblical truth. Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court announced their refusal to hear the appeal case of Elaine Huguenin, the New Mexico photographer who was found guilty and punished by the New Mexico Supreme Court for putting her faith into practice – politely declining a request to take pictures of a lesbian couple’s “commitment ceremony” due to her religious beliefs.



With the U.S. Supreme Court’s refusal to hear this case and weigh in on the constitutional issue of religious rights vs. “gay rights” the justices have, in essence, spoken by their silence. And the verdict is that “gay rights” wins and the First Amendment loses.

The appalling New Mexico ruling will stand. A ruling where one justice actually stated that Christian business owners are “now compelled by law to compromise the very religious beliefs that inspire their lives." The ruling by this court went on to state that such coercion is "the price of citizenship."

The “price of citizenship”?? Have we been transported to North Korea? Since when do we have to check our First Amendment freedoms at the door in order to live and work as a citizen of the United States? What happened to the land of the free where we have the free exercise of religion?



Yet that is exactly what the government is doing (with a complicit stamp of approval from the U.S. Supreme Court) – forcing Christians to closet their faith and bow before our nation’s golden idol giving glory, laud, and honor to all things homosexual.
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