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YEP Primary Winners

People for the American Way extends its congratulations to two Young Elected Progressives (YEP) endorsees who emerged victorious in Massachusetts’ legislative primary elections yesterday.

Sean Garballey, who is currently a state representative for the 23rd District of Massachusetts, ran to retain his current seat, which he acquired in 2009; he was unopposed.

Carl Sciortino is a Democratic member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives and has represented the 34th District since 2005. Carl ran unopposed to retain his current seat.

PFAW

Highlighting YEP Endorsees

PFAW takes an expansive approach when looking for endorsees, selecting progressive candidates running for a variety of elected positions across the country. Here is just a small sample of our endorsee list that we’d like to highlight today. These candidates have advocated for progressive causes in their respective communities and represent the future of the country; it is thus important that you and I show them our support.
 
Adam Goode is running for reelection to the Maine House of Representatives. Goode currently serves on the Joint Standing Committee on Insurance and Financial Services and is a member of the Worker Rights Board of Eastern Maine. He has proven to be a leader in engaging Mainers in the decision-making process as well as fighting for health care reform. Learn more about Goode here.
 
Adam Lawrence is running for election to the Michigan House of Representatives in the 99th District. Currently, Lawrence serves as a community organizer and recently graduated and received his master’s degree from Central Michigan University. He hopes to greatly improve public education funding and help veterans and seniors receive entitlements. Click here for more information about Lawrence.
 
Andrew Gillum is the National Director of People For the American Way Foundation’s Young Elected Officials Network and is running for reelection to the Tallahassee City Commission. Since being first elected in 2003, Andrew has been a leading progressive voice, fighting for working families and small businesses, forming community partnerships, and improving youth academic, personal, and professional development. For more information on Gillum, click here.
 
Andrew McLean is running to represent Gorham in the Maine House of Representatives. He has worked in education at the University of Southern Maine in Gorham. McLean is a progressive champion and has been endorsed by Victory Fund and will lead on education and economic opportunity for Gorham and for Maine as a whole.
 
Ben Allen is the current School Board President in Santa Monica, California and is running for reelection. He is also an adjunct professor at UCLA. He was unanimously voted in as President by his fellow School Board members. He is fighting to receive more government funding from the state as well as improving race relations between the students within the Santa Monica and Malibu area schools. Click here to learn more about Allen.
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Bill Donohue and the Catholic League Once Again Rise to the Defense of Pedophile Priests

In another shameful episode of the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue apologism of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, Donohue played down the crimes of a Catholic priest, who in August “pleaded guilty to four counts of producing child pornography and one count of attempting to produce child pornography using girls as young as 2 years old,” and the Bishop who was convicted yesterday of shielding the priest. “The case did not involve child sexual abuse—no child was ever abused, or touched, in any way by Father Sean Ratigan,” Donohue said. “Nor did this case involve child pornography.” Following Bishop Robert Finn’s conviction, Donohue claimed that the “chorus of condemnations targeting Bishop Finn” are “as unfair as they are contrived.”

Let’s get rid of some myths. Bishop Finn was not found guilty of a felony: he was found guilty of one misdemeanor, and innocent of another. The case did not involve child sexual abuse—no child was ever abused, or touched, in any way by Father Sean Ratigan. Nor did this case involve child pornography. Here’s what happened.

On December 16, 2010, a computer technician found crotch-shot pictures of children, fully clothed, on Ratigan’s computer; there was one that showed a girl’s genitals exposed. The next day Ratigan attempted suicide. The Vicar General, Msgr. Robert Murphy, without seeing the photos, contacted a police officer about this matter. The officer, after consulting with another cop, said a single photo of a non-sexual nature would not constitute pornography. After a few more of the same types of photos were found, an attorney rendered the same judgment: they were not pornographic.

Finn then asked a psychiatrist to evaluate Ratigan. The bishop was given the judgment of a professional: the priest was not a risk to children (he was diagnosed as suffering from depression). Finn then placed restrictions on Ratigan, which he broke. When it was found that Ratigan was again using a computer, upon examination more disturbing photos were found. Murphy then called the cops (Finn was out of town) and a week later Ratigan was arrested. Yesterday, Finn was found guilty of one misdemeanor of failing to report suspected child sexual abuse.

The Catholic League supports harsh penalties for child sexual abusers, and for those who cover it up. But it also supports equal justice for all, and given what we know of what is going on in many other communities, religious as well as secular, we find the chorus of condemnations targeting Bishop Finn to be as unfair as they are contrived.

As the New York Times reported, Father Ratigan “had taken hundreds of pornographic pictures of young girls,” including on the playground at the school which employed him and some of the photos even “show girls’ genitalia through their clothing.” The school’s principal sent the Bishop a letter noting that Ratigan “put a girl on his lap on a bus ride and encouraged children to reach into his pockets for candy, and that parents discovered girl’s underwear in a planter outside his house.”

The case began when the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, a charismatic parish priest who had previously attracted attention for inappropriate behavior with children, took his laptop computer in for repairs in December 2010. A technician immediately told church officials that the laptop contained what appeared to be pornographic photographs of young girls’ genitals, naked and clothed.

Father Ratigan attempted suicide, survived and was sent for treatment. Bishop Finn reassigned him to live in a convent and ordered him stay away from children. But Father Ratigan continued to attend church events and take lewd pictures of girls for five more months, until church officials reported him in May 2011, without Bishop Finn’s approval. The bishop was found guilty on the charge relating only to that time period.

Father Ratigan pleaded guilty in August to federal child pornography charges, and is awaiting sentencing.

Ms. Peters Baker told the judge in opening arguments that Bishop Finn had been given ample warning that Father Ratigan was a danger to children. She said that the priest had even admitted to Bishop Finn that he had “a pornography problem.”

The prosecutor said: “Defendant Finn is the ultimate authority. The buck does stop with him.”

In May 2010, the principal of the Catholic elementary school where Father Ratigan was working sent a memo to the diocese raising alarm about the priest. The letter said that he had put a girl on his lap on a bus ride and encouraged children to reach into his pockets for candy, and that parents discovered girl’s underwear in a planter outside his house. Bishop Finn has said he did not read the letter until a year later.

The prosecutor said the photographs discovered on Father Ratigan’s laptop in December 2010 were “alarming photos,” among them a series taken on a playground in which the photographer moves in closer until the final shots show girls’ genitalia through their clothing. Confronted with the photographs, Father Ratigan tried to commit suicide, but survived and was briefly hospitalized.

Dobson and Passno Mourn that Feminist 'Lies' Have Ruined both Women and Men

For the second edition of James Dobson’s Family Talk program criticizing the feminist movement with former Focus on the Family vice president Diane Passno, the two fielded questions from an audience of young adults. One young woman asked what they would recommend to a person like herself who is “not ready to be a mom and a wife” but does have career aspirations. Passno, who is promoting her new book that criticizes feminism, told her that it is wonderful she has so many “opportunities that women of my era never had,” seeming to overlook the fact that the tremendous growth in opportunities for women is one of the accomplishments of the feminist movement. But she did caution her that she may only have those career aspirations because of what she hears from her parents and colleagues.

Questioner: What is your advice to young women like myself who—I’m not ready to be a mom and a wife and I have aspirations and I do have longings and hopes and desires to do things, is there a balance for that future? What’s your advice to me now as singles who are built with passions to serve the Lord and to do different things?

Passno: It’s wonderful. You have opportunities that women of my era never had and so I can totally understand when you say ‘I’m really not ready for marriage, I don’t even have a boyfriend and actually I’m really looking forward to taking my education and having a great career.’ My caution to you would be this: career isn’t everything and always use discernment in your professional life. Are you doing what you’re doing because you’re getting plaudits from your parents? From people you went to college with? Are you climbing up the corporate ladder because it’s what you’ve been told is important? Just remember to submit yourself daily to the Lord and He will guide you to where He wants you to be.

As Passno and Dobson later explained, the culture has been inculcated with “lies” from the feminist movement, leaving society with unhappy childless women, immature men, and remorseful feminists.

Dobson: You know what’s happening over and over now is that young women hear this message and they either postpone or decide not to have babies and then at 33 and 34 and 35 they start to panic and they realize they’ve missed an opportunity and it’s getting very late and there are many childless women today who would love to hold a baby and they were sold a lie. I resent the lies that are being told to the young women that are out there because in twenty years they will regret it, many of them will regret it and it will be too late.

Passno: I resent the lies that are fed to the young men as well because we have a generation of men who don’t know what it means to make a commitment, who don’t know what it means to protect a family, who don’t know what it means to cherish a woman and remain pure until marriage. The feminist movement has distorted so many things that were precious and that the Lord said in Scripture were precious.



Passno: There are many older feminists who are now looking back at their lives and questioning what they indoctrinated this generation with and they’re questioning it and they’re going ‘maybe I didn’t have all the answers,’ and unfortunately so many of them will never look to Christianity for the answers.

Dobson: And their children are even more confused because they’ve gotten mixed messages and the passion with which the early feminists started has now kind of diminished with time in the present generation.

8th Circuit Rules Against Disclosure Law

A sharply divided court blocks Minnesota's campaign finance disclosure rules for organizations making independent expenditures in state elections.
PFAW

Harvey: 'Seriously Evil' Bill Restricting Ex-Gay Therapy Puts Youth 'At Risk'

Mission America’s Linda Harvey is weighing in on the debate over California’s SB 1172, the legislation detested by anti-gay activists because it will prohibit counselors from engaging in discredited sexual orientation conversion therapy with minors. Harvey said the bill is another move by the “aggressive homosexual lobby” to keep children and teenagers from hearing the truth about sexuality, and she is hoping that more Americans will begin to “see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk” before other states consider similar bills. Later, she decried the legislation as “seriously evil” as it could lead gay and lesbian youth “down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy.”

If Governor Jerry Brown signs a bill just passed by both houses of the California assembly, that state will essentially ban heterosexuality for some kids. Despite a huge controversy, Senate Bill 1172 recently passed anyway, it bans all forms of sexual orientation change efforts by licensed counselors for people under the age of 18, even if the patient and parent want this type of therapy. For some teens, this means they will never hear that a person who has same-sex attractions does not have to act on those desires. They may also never hear the fact that no science has demonstrated that people are born gay, but reality doesn’t stop the aggressive homosexual lobby. It is expected that this law will be signed by the Governor. California has many radicals in its legislature and the bill’s sponsor claims that efforts to help teens who have homosexual feelings to change are always harmful, that’s simply not true. I’m sure you are thinking ‘well that’s goofy California, how can we expect anything else?’ Yet similar bills may soon be introduced in New Jersey and a few other states. It’s the latest strategy of those who oppose biblical morality to portray high sexual standards as being mean and hateful. Good luck with that because most of America is starting to see how false and harmful the gay agenda is and it’s our youth who are particularly at risk.



There are no words to describe how seriously evil this is. It can affect certain children in a make it or break it way. Imagine you are the parent of a thirteen year old son who announces that he think he might be gay and wants to start daring other guys! You as a well-informed Christian know this is not the way he was born and that he could easily start down the road of spiritual, emotional and physical tragedy. But no counselor in California can now share this information with your son if they choose to follow this law.

SBC's First Black Leader Teams up with Group that Says African Americans 'Rut Like Rabbits' and Calls Obama a 'Street Thug'

Earlier this summer the Southern Baptist Convention was embroiled in a fiasco over SBC “chief ethicist” and political activist Richard Land’s racially inflammatory comments regarding President Obama and the Trayvon Martin case, remarks that later turned out to be plagiarized. After initially refusing to apologize, Land ultimately apologized, lost his radio show and announced his retirement.

One of the people who pressed Land to apologize was Dr. Fred Luter Jr., the African American pastor who was later elected to head the SBC. Luter said of Land’s comments at the time, “It doesn’t help. That’s for sure.”

Luter is now slated to appear at a Religious Right simulcast, iPledge Sunday, hosted by the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, a group whose very own spokesman and Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy, Bryan Fischer, has used racially offensive language just as bad if not worse than Land’s, and far more frequently.

The group Faithful America is asking Luter to cancel his appearance at the event whose organizer proudly promotes “racial rhetoric to demonize President Obama.”

The Rev. Fred Luter Jr. is the first African American to serve as president of the Southern Baptist Convention. He helped get the denomination to formally apologize for its racist history and even rebuked a fellow Southern Baptist leader for making offensive comments about the killing of Trayvon Martin.

When Rev. Luter was elected this summer, he said that the racial rhetoric used to criticize President Obama shows "that we have a long, long, way to go in America as far as racial reconciliation." Now he has an opportunity to stand up and show real leadership by pulling out of this event and disavowing the hateful rhetoric of his fellow conservative evangelicals.

Rev. Luter: If you want the Southern Baptist Convention to overcome its racist past, you must cancel your appearance at iPledge Sunday and denounce the religious-right extremists who've used racial rhetoric to demonize President Obama.

Fischer, a birther and conspiracy theorist who has defended the three-fifths compromise and regularly refers to Obama as an imam, a dictator and a Hitler clone, has said that:

  • Obama is a racist: “President Barack Obama nurtures this hatred for the United States of America and, I believe, nurtures a hatred for the white man.”
  • Obama is like a “street thug” and a “juvenile delinquent” who is “destroying America.”
  • Obama’s re-election will lead states to “talk about secession” and warned the health care reform law may bring about armed revolt “to resist the tyranny imposed on us.”

In addition, Fischer claimed that African Americans “rut like rabbits” due to welfare.

Welfare has destroyed the African-American family by telling young black women that husbands and fathers are unnecessary and obsolete. Welfare has subsidized illegitimacy by offering financial rewards to women who have more children out of wedlock. We have incentivized fornication rather than marriage, and it’s no wonder we are now awash in the disastrous social consequences of people who rut like rabbits.

Fischer even alleged that African Americans are “like drug-addled addicts.”

The only reason we can see why the Democrat Party still has support in the African American community is because the Democrat Party promises them more goodies, the Democrat Party is handing out stuff, basically getting them addicted. It’s like the government is one big giant methadone clinic and they’re just handing out these injections to people in the form of welfare benefits to get them hooked, so they got to hook up with their supplier once a month, they got to get their fix, they got to hook up with their dealer on a street corner once a month and get their fix from the federal government. They’re like drug-addled addicts and the Democrat Party has gotten them addicted to welfare benefits. That apparently is the only reason they continue to support this party.

Luter rightfully led the SBC to reprimand Land over his inflammatory comments, but partnering with the AFA and its racially-charged rhetoric directed at Obama and the African American community only undercuts his message of racial reconciliation.

Family Research Council Says Starbucks' Support for Marriage Equality Led to Billions in Losses

In a radio bulletin that either reveals a stunning level of ignorance or sheer insanity, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign to boycott Starbucks over its stance on gay rights called “Dump Starbucks”—which so far has collected fewer than 50,000 signers—is responsible for a $10 billion reduction in market capitalization. “Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country,” Perkins said. “And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars.”

That’s right, the FRC chief says that the company’s decision to endorse marriage equality in its home state led to its recent troubles, while providing no evidence as to how NOM and its fewer than 50,000 fellow boycotters contributed to Starbucks’ drop in stock value.

It didn’t take long for Starbucks to lose bucks over marriage. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington. In January, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz said endorsing same-sex marriage would be good for business. Boy was he wrong! Siding with radical homosexuals has its price in this country. And in Starbucks case, the cost is about ten billion dollars. That’s how much the coffee giant’s lost in stock value since the campaign to Dump Starbucks got underway. In the last eight months, the company's missed sales projections and watched stocks dive from $61 to $48, for a loss of more than $10.2 billion. How many companies will fall for the lie that endorsing same-sex marriage will help business? J.C. Penney’s tried it. Target’s tried it. Now Starbucks. And every time, there’s a reason to believe that alienating millions of customers will directly affect a company’s bottom line. On the flip side, look at Chick-fil-A. They found out that supporting traditional values pays just as many cultural dividends as financial ones.

Charlotte Prayer Rally Repents for 'Homosexuality and its Agenda that is Attacking the Nation'

David Benham organized a prayer rally in Charlotte to coincide with the opening of the Democratic National Convention called Charlotte 714, based on 2 Chronicles 7:14, along with groups like the North Carolina Values Coalition and Operation Save America, which is led by his father Flip Benham.

While speaking to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the prayer rally, Benham said that Charlotte was chosen not only because it is the site of the DNC but also because the city was one of the few areas to vote against Amendment One, the same-sex marriage ban voters passed in May. Benham called Charlotte’s vote against anti-gay discrimination a sign of the “very desperate spiritual situation and moral situation in our country,” requiring “a citywide church service of repentance.”

Later, Benham told Mefferd that America’s Christian majority must repent for tolerating abortion rights, no-fault divorce, legal pornography, “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation” and the “demonic ideologies” that he says have taken over the education system.

In North Carolina you know we just fought for Amendment One which was a constitutional amendment that simply said, this is exactly what the amendment said is the only legal marriage in North Carolina was between a man and a woman. We received—it was such a battle in North Carolina it blew me away. I already knew in my heart as most all of us Christians in America know that we are in a very desperate spiritual situation and moral situation in our country but it really hit home during Amendment One, so much so that when Amendment One passed I realized the only three counties in North Carolina that actually voted against the amendment were Charlotte, Raleigh and Asheville, our three cities. So we had all the rural areas and all the suburban areas but we lost all the cities. So I felt like, OK it’s time that we have a citywide church service of repentance and that’s the reason that we decided to do it right in the heart of Charlotte the night before the DNC.



We will always finger point but we don’t realize that OK if 87% of Americans are Christians and yet we have abortion on demand; we have no-fault divorce; we have pornography and perversion; we have a homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation; we have adultery; we have all of the things; we even have allowed demonic ideologies to take our universities and our public school systems while the church sits silent and just builds big churches. We are so complacent, we are so apathetic and we are very hypocritical in the church, that’s why the Bible says judgment begins in the house of God. So when we prayed at 714 we asked God and our city to forgive us for allowing these things in the house of God.

Chance to Vote on Citizens United!? Yes, This November

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

In today's polarized political climate, there are a few things on which American voters overwhelmingly agree. For all our disputes, we can find common ground in this: we're completely fed up. About 80 percent of us don't think Congress is doing a good job. Only aboutone third of us view the federal government favorably. In a precipitous drop, less than half of Americans have a favorable view of the Supreme Court. Across all political lines, 75 percent of Americans say there is too much money in politics, and about the same percentage think this glut of money in politics gives the rich more power than the rest in our democracy.

Interestingly, another thing that most Americans have in common is that 80 percent of us have never heard of Citizens United v. FEC, the case in which the Supreme Court ruled that corporations have a First Amendment right to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections. Our feelings of frustration with Washington are deeply connected with the widespread, and entirely founded, suspicion that our elected officials aren't representing voters, but are instead indebted to the wealthy interests that pay for their campaigns. This distrust has only deepened as politicians and the courts have handed over more and more power to those with the deepest pockets.

Citizens United is only the most famous of the recent spate of Supreme Court decisions aimed at eliminating hard-won campaign finance regulations. In fact, shortly before Citizens United, the George W. Bush-created right-wing bloc of the Supreme Court issued major rulings that had already begun to undermine decades of federal clean election laws.

And we are only partway down the slippery slope. It keeps getting worse as the Supreme Court gradually dismantles state-level clean elections laws, as it did in Arizona, and clarifies that its sweeping decision in Citizens United applies to states as well, as it did in Montana. Indeed, it won't be long before this or some future right-wing Supreme Court cuts to the chase and lifts the century-old ban on direct corporate contributions to political candidates, one of the most basic checks we have against widespread corruption.

Believe it or not, this November, we'll have the chance to vote on whether this slippery slope continues, or whether we stop it and roll it back. Each of these regressive campaign finance rulings has had a monumental impact on our democracy. It's easy to forget that they have been made by one-vote 5-4 majorities of the Supreme Court. That means we're just one Supreme Court vote away from stopping the trend in its tracks -- and even reversing it. Although Mitt Romney has flip-flopped on many issues, he's crystal clear about how he feels on this issue and exactly what kind of judge he would appoint to the Supreme Court and the lower federal courts. He has said he believes "corporations are people" and he means it. He's promised to nominate more Supreme Court justices like the ones who handed down Citizens United. And his chief judicial adviser, former judge Robert Bork, is legendary in his opposition to individual voting rights while advocating expansive corporate power. On this issue in particular, President Obama has been very clear and comes down unambiguously on the opposite side. Look no further than his Supreme Court picks so far. Elena Kagan and Sonia Sotomayor have consistently resisted the right-wing court's radical transformation of our democracy. In fact, his nominees now represent half the votes in the High Court who are standing up for democracy against "government by and for" the highest bidder.

Some 2008 Obama voters may not be thrilled by the last four years. Some may even be considering giving Mitt Romney a chance, despite their misgivings. But no matter who your candidate is, what issues you care about or on what side you come down on them, most importantly your vote this November will likely determine the Supreme Court for a generation. If Romney has the opportunity to replace one of the more moderate Supreme Court justices, the Court's far-right majority will not remain narrow. The votes will be there to dismantle any remaining limits of money in politics for the foreseeable future. Conversely, future Obama appointments give Americans the chance to halt this downward spiral and the opportunity to reclaim our democracy.

Whatever the issues you most care about, this November's election will be a choice between two Supreme Courts. And the two alternatives could not be more different. Quite simply, this is the chance that the overwhelming majority of Americans -- who recognize that there is too much money in politics and that it is corrupting our government at every level -- finally have to vote on it.

Will we seize this opportunity?

PFAW

Trade Associations Funnel Secret Corporate Campaign Cash

“[T]he big winners” of Citizens United are trade associations and their corporate members that can now spend undisclosed, unlimited amounts of money to affect elections.
PFAW

Obama Administration is a Phyllis Schlafly Nightmare: 'Whatever the Feminists Want, the Feminists Get'

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly yesterday spoke to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios to denounce the Democratic National Platform’s support for reproductive freedom and marriage equality. According to Schlafly, “the feminists completely control the Obama administration” and “whatever the feminists want, the feminists get,” including endorsements of abortion rights and same-sex marriage. There is “support of everything the feminists want,” Schlafly lamented, “It’s a very destructive force in our society.”

Rios: According to the platform, there is no place for politicians or the government to get in the way of abortions, so they’re saying that abortion—

Schlafly: Sandy, let me explain. The feminists completely control the Obama administration. Valerie [Jarrett] is considered the most powerful person in the country. Whatever the feminists want, the feminists get. That’s why we’re getting support of abortion by the Obama administration, and paying for it, forcing is to pay for it, which is what they want, and support of same-sex marriage, and support of everything the feminists want. It’s a very destructive force in our society.

Rios: It’s certainly not a forward movement, it’s a backward movement, I think.

Schlafly even claimed that progressives want people “to look to the government for everything,” unlike during the Great Depression when “we didn’t look to the government for any solution and they didn’t give us any solution and we grew up to be the greatest generation.” While Schlafly denies that the government didn’t play a role in ending the Great Depression, she appears to forget that there was significant government intervention through the New Deal and other government-driven programs to stimulate the sluggish economy:

Rios: You know Phyllis just philosophically, this is what the left always says, they always say that conservatives are old fashioned, they mock the old sitcoms you know where they had separate beds, twin beds, they mock the sitcoms of the 50s, the Andy Griffith’s, the Dick Van Dyke’s, they think that’s funny and amusing and to be progressive, to be modern, to be in-this-decade—the Constitution is old and outdated too, by the way, that’s what they think—they always make that argument that to be forward moving is to throw off any of the constraints of the past. Can you just from your perspective of life, why would we hang on to boundaries, regulations and rules from the past? Isn’t this a new day?

Schlafly: Because they work. Our Constitution has lasted over two centuries; no other country’s has done that. When our borders are open people want to come in, they’re not trying to get out, I think that’s a pretty good test of whether a country is successful or not. We built a great country of great prosperity and enormous freedom and some people don’t like that, they want to look to the government for everything. I grew up during the Great Depression, we didn’t look to the government for any solution and they didn’t give us any solution and we grew up to be the greatest generation.

Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family Unveil New Anti-Anti-Bullying Strategies

Alliance Defending Freedom, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, has been working with Focus on the Family to put together an “anti-bullying yardstick” that provides quite weak and watered-down measures to fight bullying. But backing ineffective measures to combat bullying may be the point, as the Religious Right has fiercely opposed comprehensive anti-bullying policies because of protections that would help curb anti-LGBT bullying, even to the point of supporting loopholes for bullies. Ironically, just today the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) released a report detailing the disproportionately high rates of bullying faced by LGBT youth, and how such bullying is less likely to materialize in schools with stronger anti-bullying policies.

ADF attorney Matt Sharp appeared on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday to denounce “oppressive” anti-bullying policies, and while Sharp insisted that the campaign is not linked to either the ADF or Focus’s anti-LGBT advocacy, it probably didn’t help that he was speaking to a talk show host who has consistently denounced LGBT rights and people. Just before Sharp appeared on her program, Mefferd criticized the Democratic Party for backing marriage equality by asking, “where’s the lightning?”

Sharp said that gay rights groups are using bullying as “an avenue for them to insert their homosexual agenda into the schools” and promote “the re-education of students.” He claimed ADF and Focus will provide an alternative to “the propaganda of homosexual activist groups that seek to promote their agenda in the schools,” describing their “propaganda” as books that dare to recognize the reality that some children are raised by same-sex couples!

Sharp: It’s important for schools to have proper respect for the First Amendment rights of students to express their views on religion, politics and other subjects without fear of being labeled as bullies or being punished by an oppressive anti-bullying policy that violates their rights.

Mefferd: Definitely, so we’ve seen a lot of these activist organizations getting involved in the schools, GLSEN is one that comes to mind because they’re been so big and have been so active, talk a little bit about what they have done in the way of anti-bullying policies?

Sharp: Yeah, we’ve seen several instances where they will come into schools and place pressure upon schools to adopt their model policies that are really just an avenue for them to insert their homosexual agenda into the schools. We actually saw a situation not too long ago up in Iowa where the group was promoting the re-education of students and tolerance training and all of this stuff that was meant to normalize same-sex marriage in these books they were giving to young elementary students portraying a family with two daddies and two mommies and things like that. The school district really didn’t know how to respond so it was important for us to get involved with them and help them to know that you don’t have to cave into these groups, there’s alternatives, that’s why we’re really excited about teaming up with Focus on this to provide an alternative to schools, to help them know what a proper anti-bullying policy that protects all students equally looks like without having to accept the propaganda of homosexual activist groups that seek to promote their agenda in the schools.

Sharp later asserted that groups like GLSEN “focus upon specific characteristics and elevate those to say ‘bullying against this is really bad and we don’t want that in school but other types of bullying may be tolerable.’” Actually, that is exactly what the ADF is doing by supporting religious exemptions for bullying. He even speak about bullying as almost only dealing with physical harm, which again ignores the serious harm posed by verbal abuse, cyber-bullying and harassment.

His argument is that enumeration, the policy of mentioning certain distinguishable characteristics tied to bullying to help combat bullying not only after it occurs but also to prevent it from happening in the first place, somehow doesn’t protect all students. For example, research shows that students with mental and physical disabilities are more likely to face bullying, and therefore enumerated anti-bullying policies frequently list ability as a highlighted characteristic. Similarly, studies demonstrate that LGBT and LGBT-perceived youth have a higher likelihood of being bullied.

Policies that mention sexual orientation and gender identity, along with ability, race, class, sex, national origin and religion, as characteristics that are linked to bullying help strengthen anti-bullying programs and don’t leave anyone out, as Sharp implies.

But ADF and Focus don’t really have a problem with enumeration, they just have a problem with anti-bullying plans that may be used to protect LGBT students. If ADF or Focus simply took a principled stand against enumeration in anti-bullying policies, then why haven’t these groups denounced them before they began including characteristics like sexual orientation and gender identity?

Indeed, putting an added emphasis on factors that are commonly connected to bullying does not make any student less protected—or as Sharp baselessly argues, allow for other cases of bullying—but help reduce bullying and create a safer climate for all students.

Artur Davis Blames the Left for Perpetuating Racial Divisions

During an interview with Brett Decker of the right-wing Washington Times, former Democratic congressman Artur Davis blamed the left for racial animosity in the U.S. Davis left the Democratic party after he lost the 2010 Alabama Democratic gubernatorial primary by a wide margin, and has reinvented himself as an anti-Obama Republican, possibly with the hope of running for Congress again. Davis told the Washington Times that the “racial divide will fester as long as the left pursues an identity politics of grievance.” He even said that calling out overt and implicit racism is another way the “left adds to the racial divide,” and praised the GOP’s “roll call of Americans of color who have won the privilege to speak for more than their own kind,” like Allen West and Nikki Haley. “In the Democratic Party, with precious few exceptions, minorities are consigned to represent and to speak for their own,” Davis maintained. Apparently Davis didn’t watch the Republican speakers he named as many of them cited their experience as racial and ethnic minorities in their speeches, and it is beyond dispute that the Democratic Party includes a far higher number of voters and elected officials of color.

Decker: Barack Obama’s promise to guide America to a more unified post-racial future has not been fulfilled. In fact, this president has divided the nation to a frightening degree. What do you think needs to be done to heal the racial divide? Is it unfair for me to say the Democratic Party takes the black vote for granted and pursues policies — such as opposition to school choice — that keep many African Americans down?

Davis: The racial divide will fester as long as the left pursues an identity politics of grievance. The left adds to the racial divide every time its politicians or acolytes equate ordinary conservatism with racial intolerance, and link opposition to the Obama administration to racial backlash. The Democratic Party has unwisely distanced itself from policies like parental choice, vouchers and the overhaul of tenure that would have a transformative effect in the lives of black children, and there is an opening for Republicans to appeal to minorities by claiming priorities like education reform in the course of the next decade.

It should be noted that Republicans far more than Democrats are providing a pathway for African-Americas, Latinos and Indian Americans who dare to move beyond being spokespersons for their own communities. Condi Rice, Susanna Martinez, Nikki Haley, Brian Sandoval, Tim Scott, Allen West, Bobby Jindal, Marco Rubio: They are a roll call of Americans of color who have won the privilege to speak for more than their own kind, and Mia Love and Ted Cruz will join them this November. In the Democratic Party, with precious few exceptions, minorities are consigned to represent and to speak for their own.

Democratic Party Platform Stands Up for Democracy, Supports Constitutional Amendment to Overturn Citizens United

People For the American Way today applauded the announcement that the Democratic Party platform will contain support for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court's decision in Citizens United v. FEC.

"Since the Supreme Court handed down its Citizens United decision, Americans across the political spectrum have called for decisive action to limit the influence of money in our elections," said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. "There are legislative solutions, like the DISCLOSE Act, that can help fix the damage done by Citizens United. But there are only two ways to fully undo the damage of Citizens United: to elect a president who will nominate fair-minded Supreme Court Justices, and to pass a constitutional amendment. We can, and we must do both."

A Reuters poll earlier this year found that 75 percent of Americans think there is too much money in politics. Over one million people have signed a petition calling for a constitutional amendment to undo Citizens United.

"The will for a constitutional amendment is there," continued Keegan. "Americans are sick and tired of seeing our elections dominated by moneyed interests. The inclusion of this amendment in the Democratic platform shows that Americans are ready to take back our elections."
 

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Dobson and Passno Deride Feminists for Becoming an 'Exact Replica of Male Chauvinist Pigs'

James Dobson dedicated yet another program on Family Talk to criticizing the “radical feminist movement,” this time interviewing Diane Passno of Focus on the Family, the Religious Right group founded by Dobson. Passno is out with a new book, Feminism: Mystique or Mistake?, which features a foreword by conservative talk show host Janet Parshall. Passno claimed that the feminist movement has “distorted” its Christian past and “is now completely antagonistic to the Christian faith,” and revealed her own unfamiliarity with feminism by arguing that contemporary feminism solely relies upon a “love affair with abortion” and a belief that men are not “necessary.” She told Dobson that women no longer scrutinize “the nonsense that’s being shoved down their throats” and the modern feminist has become “an exact replica of ‘male chauvinist pigs’ of thirty years ago.”

Passno: What’s so tragic about the feminist movement today is that what started as a Christian movement based on Christian principles and the wonderful examples that Jesus gives in Scripture—there’s so many women that are mentioned specifically in Scripture whose lives He touched and whose lives He changed for the better—and a movement that started in that way has become so distorted and is now completely antagonistic to the Christian faith.

Dobson: With a lot of either unintended consequences or consequences that were hidden. The National Organization for Women and what I would call the radical feminist movement really boils down to two issues today; you got them on the tip of your tongue?

Passno: Yes, you can define feminism today really as having two foundational issues. One is abortion, and of course this is a result of their love affair with abortion and so many of our listeners know that and understand that. What is less understood is the fact that what the feminist movement has done it’s gone from wanting equality with men to being a movement that doesn’t think men are really necessary at all.



Passno: I’m terribly disappointed in women today and I’m terribly disappointed that they are so quiet about some of the nonsense that’s being shoved down their throats and they swallow it, never question it. As a result, women, feminists today, are an exact replica of male chauvinist pigs of thirty years ago.

Democratic Platform Open to a Constitutional Amendment

The Democratic platform recognizes that an amendment may be needed to restore our democracy after Citizens United.
PFAW

Lively: Intimidate Pro-Gay Rights Officials with 'Angry Crowds with Tar and Feathers in Hand'

After claiming to take an exit from anti-gay advocacy, Scott Lively now says that anti-gay activists aren’t working hard enough. In a WorldNetDaily column, the activist who urged Uganda to imprison gays who refuse sexual orientation conversion therapy and blames the Holocaust on gay people said that the anti-gay movement has been too nice and must now bring out “angry crowds with tar and feathers in hand” to intimidate officials who back “gay fascism bills,” or anti-discrimination measures. Lively offered to lecture about how gays are responsible for the Holocaust and advocate the “recruitment of children into a homosexual identity” in order to help turn an anti-gay “snowball” into an “avalanche.”

Now we know that when the leftists attempt to push a “gay fascism bill” in politically conservative areas, our response must be to create controversy to draw public attention to the bill so that the people wake up and realize there’s a problem. Throw out the old playbook of acting nice and trying to persuade the public officials through reason. They think they are smarter than you all anyhow and have already made up their minds. They need to see angry crowds with tar and feathers in hand coming to run them out of office! Indeed, the Mayor of Springfield complained to the media that he was extremely bothered by threats of recall by the citizens.

If you find out there’s a “gay fascism bill” coming to your conservative town and need help exposing it to the public, just give me a call and I’ll come to help. Invite me to give a speech on my book “The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party” or address the global threat of homosexuality – or to give a give a sermon or lecture on ANY aspect of the homosexual issue. When they hear I’m coming to town every left-wing fanatic for miles around will start wailing and gnashing their teeth, and normal people will start popping their heads up to see what’s going on. Once that snowball of public controversy starts down the hill it takes very little effort to keep it rolling till it smashes right through the doors of city hall like an avalanche.

Friends, I believe the worm has begun to turn and the backlash against the fascistic “gay” agenda has finally started. As Christians we need to steward this process and keep it civil and positive. Our goal is not merely to stop their agenda, it is to advance our own: a genuinely family-friendly society grounded in healthy biblical values. To that end, it is time for our side to begin showing the contrast in clear unequivocal terms. We need to expose every aspect of the homosexual lifestyle and agenda to public scrutiny and at the same time remind everyone that God’s plan for sex and marriage produces as much good and health as “sexual freedom” produces harm and disease.

Last week’s vindication by the University of Texas at Austin of the Mark Regnerus’ study exposing the dangers of “gay” parenting is both another sign of the worm’s turn and a tool for every pro-family advocate to use.

Likewise, the choice of the Center for Marriage Policy to come against “gay marriage” on the grounds of public health, talking again about the diseases associated with homosexual conduct, is a very smart move. They have declared September “Protect Marriage Month” and are circulating a flyer detailing the many health risks of homosexuality. We need to bring back public discussion of AIDS as a “gay” disease, pederasty as major subculture of male homosexuality, mental health problems and domestic violence as major problems associated with lesbianism, the increasing recruitment of children into a homosexual identity through experimentation with “gay” sex, etc. – all the truths we stopped telling because the other side screamed so loudly about them.

Now is the time to step out from the behind the defensive bulwark of “traditional marriage” in which our only argument is that “marriage is between a man and a woman.” It is time to start taking back some of the ground we have ceded to the other side in the face of their overwhelming public-relations superiority. Their marketing strategy to cast homosexuality as benign and even socially beneficial has finally hit the brick wall of reality. The phony facade is beginning to crack and crumble like an eggshell does when a baby chick is ready to be born.

Lively gladly cites the recent report of the far-right Center for Marriage Policy, which declared September “Protecting Marriage Month” and in a flyer [PDF] calls homosexuality a “sexual disorder” and “perversion.”

Corporations promoting the gay lifestyle do their employees and the Nation a great disservice. Those who truly care about ending the AIDS crisis, saving others and our children from death or disability must focus on policy encouraging treatment and counseling for those caught up in a promiscuous lifestyle.

The fact that promiscuity is “normal” to the gay lifestyle indicates that it likely reflects a sexual disorder. Most homosexuals also sleep with the opposite sex, possibly infecting innocent wives, husbands, and children with HIV and other serious or untreatable infections.



Sexual perversion is not a discovery of science. It is the work of the sexual liberation movement. Their political agenda depends on us believing that sexual promiscuity and risky behaviors are normal and somehow worthy of being elevated to the status of genuine marriage.

We disagree with the sexual revolution. Science has proven that homosexuality is a harmful behavior which is dangerous to others and our children.

By protecting Marriage and encouraging homosexuals to turn the corner to live healthy lives, we share love and life with everyone.



We do not give smokers or illegal drug users special rights. We must discourage homosexuality and encourage therapy to save lives and protect the rest of America.

Copeland: My Books Helped Topple the Berlin Wall

Televangelist Kenneth Copeland is taking at least part of the credit for the collapse of the Berlin Wall, telling guest David Barton that German pastors used his books to topple the wall with the power of positive confession. A Word-Faith preacher, Copeland believes that Christians can use “positive confession” to speak things into existence, typically physical health and material wealth. During Believer’s Voice of Victory, he claimed that his books and those of fellow Word-Faith preacher Kenneth Hagin were used to bring down the Berlin Wall, to which the self-declared “historian” Barton eagerly agreed.

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Big Government the Right Likes: The Kind That Keeps People From Voting

This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.

The Republican Party claims to be the party of small government -- with the obvious exceptions of denying marriage equality and massive government oversight of women's medical decisions. But there is another kind of big government that the party has overwhelmingly, enthusiastically gotten behind: expensive and intrusive attempts to make it harder for Americans to vote.

A trio of federal court decisions in Florida, Ohio and Texas last week ripped the lid off the increasingly successful right-wing campaign to limit opportunities for low-income people, minorities and students to vote -- especially, and not coincidentally, in swing states. These decisions, from even-handed and moderate federal judges across the country, show just how far the Right has gone to use the power of government to disenfranchise traditionally disenfranchised groups.

In Florida, a federal judge permanently blocked a law that had made it almost impossible for good government groups to conduct voter registration drives -- which had led groups like the venerable League of Women Voters to all but shut down operations in the state. In Ohio, a federal court ordered the state to reopen early voting in the three days before November's election, which Republicans had attempted to shut down. Early voting on the weekend before the election was enormously successful in 2008 -- especially among African Americans -- and the judge found that Republicans had no legitimate reason to want it to stop.

And finally a federal court, which is required to review changes in election policy in states and counties with a history of voting discrimination, ruled that Texas' new voter ID law couldn't go forward because it "imposes strict, unforgiving burdens on the poor, and racial minorities in Texas."

The effort that Republican governors and legislatures across the country have gone through in the past two years to make it more difficult for citizens to vote is truly remarkable. They have been willing to buck both the law and the spirit of our constitutional democracy to bar groups of people from participating in it. And they have been willing to set up extra layers of government and bureaucracy -- things they claim to despise -- in order to keep people from the polls.

There are plenty of areas of genuine disagreement in our politics, but the right to vote shouldn't be one of them. In an interview with The Atlantic last week, Rep. John Lewis, a hero of the Civil Rights movement, said "there should be public outcry" and a "sense of righteous indignation" at what is happening to our elections. He's right.

It's astounding that nearly 50 years after the Voting Rights Act banned racial discrimination at the polls, it's still needed as a shield against such egregious violations of its principles. And it's astounding that the self-proclaimed party of small government wants to use government's power to keep people from exercising their fundamental right to vote.

PFAW
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