Maine's investigation of the National Organization for Marriage's campaign finance practices has resulted in the release of several internal fundraising and planning documents. HRC has posted them online where NOM-watchers are poking through them. For sheer reprehensibility, it's hard to top hiring (or at least planning to hire) someone to find and exploit children who are willing to publicly betray their gay parents.
But that kind of "ends-justify-the-means" approach to politics has been the hallmark of NOM and its campaigns in California, Maine, and elsewhere. Those who have been on the receiving end of those dishonorable and untruthful campaigns won't be surprised by much of what's in the NOM documents. But the brazenness of the language around racial wedge politics long practiced by the religious right should make it easier to expose the group's Machiavellian heart. And it may be useful in blunting their efforts to make opposition to marriage equality a "marker of identity" for Latinos and African Americans.
The NOM documents from 2009 discuss a number of organizational projects and strategies, including a "Not a Civil Right" project:
The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks -- two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots.
And just in case that isn't clear enough: "Fanning the hostility raised in the wake of Prop 8 is key to raising the costs of pushing gay marriage to its advocates and persuading the movement's allies that advocates are unacceptably overreaching on this issue."
NOM's stated plans to overturn marriage equality in Washington, D.C. include an effort to "find attractive young black Democrats to challenge white gay marriage advocates electorally."
NOM's strategists said they needed "to accomplish a sophisticated cultural objective: interrupt the attempt to equate gay with black, and sexual orientation with race. We need to make traditional sexual morality intellectually respectable again in elite culture. And we need to give liberals an alternative way of thinking about gay rights issues, one that does not lead to the misuse of the power of government to crush dissent in the name of fighting discrimination."
Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, director of People for the American Way Foundation's African American Ministers Leadership Council, released a statement on behalf of the Council's Equal Justice Task Force calling NOM's wedge strategies "deeply cynical" and "deeply offensive."
NOM also planned to target Latinos through a "community of artists, athletes, writers, beauty queens and other glamorous noncognitive elites across national boundaries" who can help "interrupt the process of assimilation by making support for marriage a key badge of Latino identity." NOM hopes that "[a]s 'ethnic rebels' such spokespeople will also have an appeal across racial lines, especially to young urbans in America." NOM said, "Our ultimate goal is to make opposition to gay marriage an identity marker, a badge of youth rebellion to conformist assimilation to the bad side of 'Anglo' culture."
NOM has had more success in some areas than others: most recently it failed in a stated priority of overturning marriage in New Hampshire, despite having made gains in the state legislature; and it failed to prevent marriage from advancing in New York. Its efforts in other states, like Iowa, are still underway. And it is pushing constitutional amendments in North Carolina and Minnesota. It also hopes to keep opposition alive "behind enemy lines" in states that have made marriage equality a reality.
But even in 2009, the top priority for 2012 was clear: defeating Barack Obama. In order for the group to achieve victory on marriage, "the next president must be a man or woman who expressly articulates a pro-marriage culture, and appoints sympathetic Supreme Court justices." In order to help achieve that objective, the group discussed plans to "sideswipe Obama" by portraying him as a "social radical" and by taking steps to "[r]aise such issues as pornography, protection of children, and the need to oppose all efforts to weaken religious liberty and the federal level." No wonder Maggie Gallagher is such a fan of Rick Santorum -- his campaign plan mirrors NOM's.
In addition, it is utterly clear that the bishops and NOM were ready to make "religious liberty" a campaign issue well before the recent controversy over insurance coverage for contraception: "Gay marriage is the tip of the spear, the weapon that will be and is being used to marginalize and repress Christianity and the Church." NOM's documents also affirm the group's "close relationships" with Catholic bishops, with whom it would work to engage Catholic priests nationally as well as locally.
You can fault NOM for many things, but not for thinking small. NOM's planning documents discuss strategies for exporting its model and playing a major role internationally. It calls for a global "counterrevolution" against marriage equality, something that is, unfortunately, well underway, with disastrous consequences.
This piece originally appeared on Huffington Post.
Eric Segall, a professor of constitutional law at Georgia State University, has just written a provocative book called Supreme Myths: Why the Supreme Court Is Not a Court and Its Justices Are Not Judges. The thesis is that the Supreme Court, unbound by any court above it, unfastened by the vagueness of constitutional text, and uninhibited by the gift of life tenure, operates like a freewheeling political "veto council" and not like any court that we would recognize as doing judicial work. Professor Segall challenges the legitimacy of the Court's decisions and essentially mounts an attack on the whole institution of constitutional judicial review except where the text of the Constitution is perfectly plain and clear.
It is easy to share Professor Segall's exasperation these days, but his argument is not wholly convincing. It understates how often our other courts--federal appeals and district courts and state courts--operate in a political vein and how often they too find themselves in deep ideological conflict. It also understates how clear, coherent, and logical the Warren Court was when it interpreted even vague constitutional language, like "equal protection" or "freedom of speech." Yet, Segall's clarion call to roll back judicial review today will be read by conservative judges as an invitation to negate and undo essential lines of doctrinal development that began in the Warren Court, especially the "right to privacy" decisions under Due Process, like Griswold v. Connecticut and Roe v. Wade, which Professor Segall in no uncertain terms asserts were wrongly decided.
The claim that the Supreme Court is "not a court" distracts us from what is truly at issue today. The Supreme Court is a court alright--indeed, it is the most powerful court in America, perhaps the world, and there's not much getting around that. It takes cases and controversies, writes opinions that refer to precedents and principles, and operates with the full panoply of constitutional powers reserved to the judiciary. The problem is that it is not a court committed to the rights of the people or to strong democracy unencumbered by corporate power. Indeed, it acts with most energy vindicating the rights of the powerful and the unjust. Alas, this hardly makes it an outlier in American history.
With its 2010 decision in Citizens United, the Roberts-led Court essentially cemented the institution's return to a class-bound right-wing judicial activism. Just as the Supreme Court went to war against social reform and President Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal in the 1930s, just as it nullified the meaning of Equal Protection in sanctifying "separate but equal" in Plessy v. Ferguson in 1896, just as it expressed the Supreme Court's pro-slavery and racist jurisprudence in the Dred Scott decision in 1857, the Citizens United decision secured the contemporary Court's unfolding legacy as the unabashed champion of corporate power and class privilege.
The 2011-2012 Supreme Court Term
Several cases currently on the Court's docket will tell us whether the Roberts Court will accelerate its assault on public policies that advance the rights and welfare of the vast majority of "natural persons" in the country. Consider:
Legal War on "Obamacare": Health Care Reform and the Contractible Commerce Clause: Of course, the blockbuster of the Term is the cluster of cases that the Court is hearing on the constitutionality of Obamacare. There are two principal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The first, and certainly the one with the most political traction on the GOP campaign trail, is the claim that Congress has exceeded its Commerce Clause powers by compelling taxpayers to buy themselves health insurance or else pay a penalty in the program. However, the political ubiquity of this claim contrasts sharply with its feather-like legal force. Commerce Clause jurisprudence is replete with cases of Congress regulating national economic policy by compelling individuals to take actions that they would prefer not to take, such as serving customers in their restaurant that they don't want to serve or recognizing a union in their factory and reinstating workers who they fired for organizing it (see my Report for PFAW Foundation, The True Spirit of the Union: How the Commerce Clause Helped Build America and why the Corporate Right Wants to Shrink It Today, for a detailed accounting).
The ACA comes well within Congress's broad authority to address issues of national importance that affect the lives of millions of people moving and working in the streams of interstate commerce. Despite recent efforts by conservative Justices to constrict Congress's powers under the Commerce Clause, the vast majority of lawyers still believe that such powers are expansive and will be upheld even by the Roberts Court. An ABA poll of legal academics, journalists, and lawyers that allowed respondents to remain anonymous showed that fully 85% believe that the Court will uphold the ACA in full, and with a 6-3 vote seen as the most likely outcome. While the Supreme Court in the Citizens United era has been ready and willing to ignore precedent and defy logic in order to achieve its political goals, this law is so mainstream that even they are not expected to do so in this case.
The second challenge, a bit of a sleeper that saw little success in lower courts but now fascinates conservative lawyers, is that Congress has exceeded its powers under the Spending Clause and violated federalism by tying too many strings to federal Medicaid funding and thereby "coercing" states into accepting federal policies. The idea is that Medicaid has grown so big and pervasive that any conditions attached to it constitute a kind of Godfather offer that the states simply cannot refuse. From a doctrinal standpoint, the claim is somewhere between unlikely and silly, which is why no federal law or program has ever been found to unconstitutionally coerce the states under the Spending Clause . Experts in the ABA poll mentioned above predict that this outlandish argument will be rejected in an 8-1 split. A decision to strike down the ACA on this basis would be a stunning development indeed. As with the Commerce Clause issue, a decision to strike down the Medicaid expansion as unconstitutionally coercive would be recognized instantly as an exercise of political will rather than legal judgment.
Of course, should the Court uphold the ACA, as expected by most lawyers, that should not distract anyone from the damage it is doing in other ways, from the constitutional glorification of corporate political power to the continuing erosion of public health, environmental and workplace standards.
Immigration Law: the Arizona Case: Arizona v. United States addresses Arizona's efforts to develop and enforce an immigration law all its own. The statute in question provides law enforcement officers with the power to arrest someone without a warrant based on probable cause to believe that the person committed a deportable act. It also makes it a criminal offense for an undocumented immigrant to apply for a job without valid immigration papers. This presents a clear case of a law that is preempted by federal laws governing and defining U.S. immigration policy, which is committed by the Naturalization Clause of the Constitution to Congress. This case should offer no dilemma for conservatives on the Court, who almost always side with the Executive branch in preemption controversies relating to national security, police enforcement and immigration law. However, underlying all of the debate is legislation hostile to one of America's most scapegoated populations, the undocumented, and that political reality may change the legal calculus.
Attack on Labor Unions: From the repressive "labor injunctions" of the late-19th and early 20th-centuries to the Supreme Court's decisions undermining the right to organize during the New Deal, periods of judicial reaction have always included judicial assaults on the rights of labor to organize unions and fight for their interests. This period is no different, and the Supreme Court has given itself an opportunity, probably irresistible to the five conservative Justices, to take another whack at labor this Term. The case is Knox v. SEIU. It poses the question whether public sector unions must notify members of the union's political expenditures every time they happen so that employees who pay union agency fees to the union for purposes of collective bargaining only may demand a proportional rebate in advance for political expenditures. Or, alternatively, does it suffice to give an annual budgetary statement with notice of political expenditures and invite the "objectors" to seek a rebate at that point? The case, fairly frivolous on its face, but deadly serious in its political mission and reception on the Roberts Court, is obviously designed to further hobble unions and render them ineffectual political actors. The irony is that, through decisions like Abood v. Detroit Board of Education (1977) and Communication Workers of America v. Beck (1988), the Court has granted muscular rights and powers to dissenting union members that are totally undreamed-of when it comes to dissenting corporate shareholders. Company shareholders who object to corporate political expenditures have no right to a proportional rebate of their corporate shares, much less that they must be told of such corporate treasury political expenditures in advance. While defenders of the Court's decision in the Citizens United case love to observe that the decision opened the floodgates not just on corporate treasury money but on union treasury money too (as if the two were comparable!), they never follow through and make the obvious point that corporate shareholders should, therefore, enjoy the same rebate rights against "compelled speech" as union members presently enjoy. In any event, the war on unions continues and accelerates, with the Supreme Court poised again to undercut the political effectiveness of public sector labor unions, the last meaningful bulwark of labor solidarity in America.
The Surprising Early Return of College Affirmative Action to the Court: In Fisher v. University of Texas at Austin, the Supreme Court has, surprisingly, decided to review its holding in Grutter v. Bollinger and explore dismantling what remains of affirmative action in the next Term. The 2003 Grutter decision preserved a soft form of affirmative action at the college and university level for young people who belong to racial and ethnic minority groups, but only for a period that Justice Sandra Day O'Connor suggested would be 25 years. Now, just nine years later, the ruling bloc is ominously poised to wipe out affirmative action entirely, a prospect we must judge a rather likely prospect given the Court's express loathing of progressive race-conscious measures and its brazen disregard for the original meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly contemplated such measures. Justices Scalia, Thomas, Alito, and Roberts insist that the Equal Protection Clause compels government to be "color-blind" even if seeks to remedy the effects of historical and continuing racism. This rhetorical gloss is a fundamental distortion of the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment, whose framers clearly championed race-conscious measures, like the Freedmen's Bureau, to assist the historical victims of racism. The current project of using the Equal Protection Clause against racial and ethnic minorities seeks to deny any relationship between historical and present-day discrimination and continuing inequalities of opportunity.
The Supreme Court is, of course, still a court, no matter how much certain Justices behave like partisans. Yet, the Court's ideological politics are in full swing these days as the 5-4 conservative majority fleshes out one-sided doctrines in areas from corporate political rights to corporate commercial speech rights to affirmative action to Congressional power to union rights. This is a Court that almost always chooses corporate power over democratic politics and popular freedoms. In a Court of logic and precedent, a Court without aversion to the channels of popular democracy, the challenge to Obamacare would be a total non-starter. But here we are again, waiting to see whether the Court will follow the path of justice or the path of power.
Jamin Raskin is an American University Law Professor, Maryland State Senator and People For the American Way Senior Fellow.
PFAW staff and supporters joined the throngs of supporters of the Affordable Care Act outside the Supreme Court today, while the Justices were hearing the second day of arguments on the constitutionality of the law.
Hundreds of activists chanted and carried signs supporting ObamaCare. For so many Americans, the ACA is the difference between receiving potentially lifesaving healthcare services and being denied for a preexisting condition or being financially devastated by an unexpected illness.
The ACA is a practical and constitutional approach to a solving a pressing national problem, and the Supreme Court should uphold the law.
The Religious Right’s favorite rabbi Daniel Lapin visited Benny Hinn on This is Your Day to promote his new book, Thou Shall Prosper: Ten Commandments for Making Money. The partnership between Lapin and Hinn makes a lot of sense: Lapin was involved in disgraced lobbyist Jack Abramoff’s corruption scandal and Hinn’s Word-Faith ministry is corrupt to the core, using his cash-for-healings scheme to finance his lavish lifestyle.
Lapin told Hinn that God put him on this earth “to bring ancient Jewish wisdom secrets of making money to everybody” and that he attends churches not to make money but because “it’s where the people are”…the people he wants to buy his book. He went on to tell Hinn that he is determined to fight the “assault” waged on civilization “by the twin forces of Islamic fundamentalism and intense secularism.”
Lapin shouldn’t need to lecture Hinn about making money, as the owner of a $30 million Gulfstream jet who lives in a $10 million seaside mansion in Orange County, California, and extravagant hotel rooms around the world seems to be doing quite well for himself.
Lapin: I know that part of the purpose that I was put here for was to bring ancient Jewish wisdom secrets of making money to everybody.
Hinn: Can I ask you a question sir, why would an orthodox rabbi go to churches?
Lapin: To paraphrase Willie Sutton the bank robber, ‘that’s where the money is,’ in my case it’s not where the money is but it’s where the listeners are, it’s where the audience is, it’s where the people are.
Hinn: Oh really, so that’s why you do it.
Lapin: I believe that it is vitally important to bring the wisdom of the Torah to everybody; I believe that is what’s going to salvage civilization. I believe civilization is under assault right now by the twin forces of Islamic fundamentalism and intense secularism.
Kirk Cameron was a guest on the 700 Club today to promote his new Religious Right documentary Monumental. Referring to his interview with Piers Morgan where he called homosexuality “destructive,” Cameron told CBN News reporter Heather Sells that he was “stoned, so to speak” for not bending “to the moral standards of the politically correct, those in charge.” Following the interview, Pat Robertson, who yesterday said homosexuality is “related to demonic possession,” said homosexuality and abortion rights represent the “attack of Satan” on marriage and procreation, and congratulated Cameron for his stand against homosexuality:
HRC got its hands last night on a December 2009 National Organization for Marriage strategy document, which was unsealed in connection to NOM’s court challenge to Maine’s campaign finance disclosure laws.
The most explosive revelation in the document is NOM’s explicit plan to drive a wedge between the gay community and blacks and Latinos. But another part of their effort to recruit “hearts and minds” to the anti-marriage cause is also startling. Not only did NOM propose to document anti-gay “victims” of gay rights with emotional videos– a plan they implemented with a set of glossy films in upstate New York, for instance – they proposed to hire a staff member at $50,000 a year “to identify children of gay parents willing to speak on camera”:
Did NOM end up hiring someone to find children of gay parents who they could portray as “victims”? If so, it seems that a year’s worth of full-time work didn’t turn up a single child of gay parents who was willing to be portrayed as a “victim” of marriage equality.
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver joined Jim Schneider on VCY America’s Crosstalk on Friday where Staver derided the Obama administration as “the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history” in response to the Department of Health and Human Services’ contraception mandate. Staver accused the administration of having a “very radical agenda that is very anti-life and anti-liberty” which he said is putting reproductive and gay rights ahead of the economy and even national security. “It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality,” Staver lamented, “and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.”
Schneider: Last Friday the Obama administration announced some new rules that now would require colleges and universities to provide their student health care plans covering female students in the US, that they would have to include coverage for free voluntary sterilization surgery and then also said that further women of college age who don’t attend college, don’t attend school, they also would get this free sterilization coverage whether they are insured through an employer, their parents, some form of government subsidized plan. Mat, how much further is this going to go?
Staver: What we have is a president and an administration that he has gathered that is the most radical, ideologically-driven administration in American history and the ideology is very much pro-abortion and pro-homosexual rights and that trumps everything, it seems to trump the economy, it trumps national security. Of all the myriad of things that the president and the administration could be working on to make America a better place, to bring more jobs and so forth, they are working on these kinds of micromanagement things to push a very radical agenda that is anti-life and anti-liberty. It’s to not just satisfy the radical fringe that supports this administration but it is to satisfy the ideology that comes with this administration, it is part and parcel of what they believe and who they are. In terms of where the end is, nothing should shock anybody at this stage in terms of where this will be going. It is in-your-face forced abortion funding, in-your-face forced homosexuality and in-your-face a deconstruction of moral principles.
Today on WallBuilders Live David Barton claimed that a Pennsylvania judge used Sharia law when dismissing charges against a Muslim man who had been accused of assaulting a man dressed as “Zombie Mohammad.” Cathy Young in Reason writes that the judge’s decision was “probably not” improper due to conflicting accounts and a lack of evidence, although the judge did seem to go out of bounds when lambasting the plaintiff “for his disrespect for other people's culture and faith” and suggesting that he was “way outside your bounds of First Amendment rights.”
Following the ruling, the right wing immediately heralded the case as an example of Sharia law in American courts and went ahead to completely distort the facts of the case.
Conservative pseudo-historian David Barton was no exception when he covered the story today on his radio program:
First, Barton claimed that the defendant “beat the dickens out of the guy” dressed as Mohammad, while as Young points out it was “unclear” what actually happened in the altercation.
Then, Barton claimed that “the judge is himself a Muslim.” The judge, a Lutheran, was thought to have said this during the hearing, but actually said “I’m not a Muslim.” The judge quickly clarified his remarks, and Barton either hasn’t done his homework or is willfully ignoring this fact.
He went on to claim that the judge said he “can beat the dickens out of you for making fun of Mohammad because you can’t do that,” even though, again, that is not what happened. The judge said in a statement that he lectured the defendant on Islam but that it had nothing to do with his ruling:
In short, I based my decision on the fact that the Commonwealth failed to prove to me beyond a reasonable doubt that the charge was just; I didn’t doubt that an incident occurred, but I was basically presented only with the victim’s version, the defendant’s version, and a very intact Styrofoam sign that the victim was wearing and claimed that the defendant had used to choke him. There so many inconsistencies, that there was no way that I was going to find the defendant guilty.
Later in the program, Barton went even further by arguing that secular law actually paved the way for Sharia in America. He maintained that since the “God-fearing system” was replaced with a “secular system,” Sharia has come to supplant “Judeo-Christian principles.”
I was really struck with a passage that Jesus has in Matthew 12. Matthew 12 he talks about how an unclean spirit had gone out of a man and in verse 43 it says it goes through dry places seeking rest and finds none, verse 44, then he says, ‘The unclean spirit says, ‘I will return to the house from which I came.’ When he comes, he finds it empty, swept and put in order. Then he goes and takes with him seven other spirits more wicked than himself.’ I thought, that’s that principle, if you don’t fill it with good stuff, bad stuff is going to find its way in and it will be a lot worse. So we had it filled with kind of a God-fearing system and then we made it a secular system, so now we made it seven times worse by saying, let’s take Sharia law, not only do we not want biblical stuff we don’t even want secular stuff, we want seven times worse than secular. The vacuum is going to get filled with something, and if we’re going to refuse to have some Judeo-Christian principles in there on which the founders built everything and that’s what they had as the undergirding , if we’re not going to do that, then what are we going to fill it with? Right now it appears that it is going to be Sharia.
PFAW joined a group of bipartisan organizations and public figures at a rally outside the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in Washington today to demand that the agency use its authority to require publicly-traded corporations to disclose their political spending. Currently, corporations can use their treasuries to spend unlimited amounts to influence our elections – but that money belongs to the corporation’s investors. If you’re one of the millions of Americans with a 401 (k) or similar retirement account, it could be your money being spent for political purposes without your knowledge or approval.
That’s why disclosure is so important. Democracy depends on transparency, and until we can pass a constitutional amendment to undo the harmful effects of Citizens United and related cases that have helped to bring on the current crisis in our elections, a SEC rule requiring corporate disclosure is a powerful start. At the rally, themed “Wake up SEC,” pro-democracy groups made the case that the SEC needs to do its job and protect Americans from the undue influence of wealthy corporations and special interests. The American people are increasingly alarmed by the effects of money in politics, and we need a regulatory agency that is not asleep at the switch.
To make the point, over 75,000 people sent letters to the SEC in support of the proposed rule.
Religious Right activists are reviving their anti-anti-bullying campaign by attacking April 20th’s Day of Silence, an annual event when students protest bullying and anti-LGBT bias. Religious Right groups are once again promoting Focus on the Family’s Day of Dialogue, a counter event scheduled for the previous day. Candi Cushman of Focus on the Family on Friday joined Janet Mefferd to warn about how the Day of Silence “crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality and transgenderism.” Mefferd, delighted that the Day of Dialogue would stand opposed to the “deluge” of “gay propaganda,” was especially startled by the idea that gay rights advocates wanted same-sex couples to be allowed to participate in proms.
Mefferd: I just love the idea of the Day of Dialogue because we do see so many Christian kids hearing gay propaganda and being deluged with this stuff. Let’s go back to the Day of Silence, now how long has this been around and how has this played itself out in the schools?
Cushman: It’s been around for a longtime, nearly a decade now. It started just as a group of college students, actually this was first intended for older students but now GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, has done a good job of infiltrating this event all the way down to middle schools, sometimes even elementary I believe, and the event is now in I would say nearly 8,000 middle schools and high schools and some colleges today.
Mefferd: Wow. What goes on during the Day of Silence? Obviously they are silent and it’s all about bringing attention to the LGBT issues but how does it play itself out?
Cushman: Well they say it’s all about promoting safe schools and anti-bullying but if you look at what they actually encourage students and teachers to do it crosses the line in a lot of ways beyond bullying into indoctrination, just promoting homosexuality and transgenderism. For example they encourage teachers on this day to discuss LGBT, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender themes in the classroom, to have materials on homosexuality and transgenderism displayed, books about it in the classroom, they have encouraged students to lobby for things like a ‘queer friendly prom.’ So it really gets into transforming students into being actions for adult gay and lesbian causes.
Mefferd: Wait, queer friendly prom? Is that what I think it is?
Cushman: That’s their word. That any combination of genders can go to prom together. it’s a problem when you have these things endorsed by the school.
With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed.
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.”
Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity”:
Over the next three days, the ObamaCare oral arguments will be heard before the Supreme Court.
Roe v. Wade made it a "right" to end the life of an unborn child; ObamaCare forces every taxpayer to help pay to end the life of an unborn child.
We are fighting this atrocity, and we need your voice now.
As we have said since the beginning, ObamaCare uses taxpayer dollars to dramatically grow the abortion business. Now we know that President Obama is also forcing citizens to directly pay an abortion surcharge with health insurance plans.
Forcing us to pay for abortion is not only a moral outrage, it is a violation of our constitutional rights.
The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional”:
The groups will also lay 3,300 flowers around the court as a "prophetic witness" to the Justices, reminding them of the 3,300 children who die every day from abortion and the 3,300 women who are diminished through abortion.
Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of "Encircle the Court in Prayer", states;
"We are calling people from all America to come to Supreme Court and 'encircle it with prayer' from March 25 as we cry out to God for justice, human rights and religious freedom.
"Sadly, the President's Health Care legislation crushes religious freedom and liberty with unjust mandates on faith institutions and forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions.
"We will be praying that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional so Congress can put forward health care legislation that will respect religious freedom, protect human life and honor the principles of our Constitution.
"When Roe v. Wade was decided, the Christian community was detached and uninvolved. We want to make sure that is not the case this time as we challenge people of faith to publicly pray and speak out with boldness and passion."
Publicly Traded Companies Should Have to Reveal Political Activity, Groups Say at Action
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) should require publicly traded companies to disclose their political activity, People For the American Way, the Coalition for Accountability in Political Spending (CAPS), Public Citizen, Common Cause, U.S. Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG) and other groups said at a rally today held outside the SEC building. The action highlighted the need for disclosure of corporate spending in elections in the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, which allows corporations to spend unlimited amounts from their treasuries to influence elections.
As participants in the Corporate Reform Coalition, the groups also pressured the commission to act through an avalanche of public comments submitted to the commission. Currently, more than 75,383 people have submitted comments to the agency. The Supreme Court endorsed full disclosure by an 8-1 majority in the Citizens United ruling and one SEC Commissioner, Luis Aguilar, has voiced his support.
“As we work toward a constitutional amendment to undo the harmful effects of Citizens United, a rule requiring publicly-traded corporations to disclose their political spending would be a powerful step toward curbing the undue influence that well-heeled special interests hold in our elections,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way. “A functioning democracy requires transparency – and today we urge the SEC to take action to uphold that fundamental value.”
To learn more about the Corporate Reform Coalition, visit: http://www.corporatereformcoalition.org.
After claiming that everyone from everyone from the IRS to gays and lesbians is a direct threat to African Americans, now Harry Jackson maintains that the Obama administration mandate for insurance plans to cover contraceptives is actually a means of anti-Black population control. Jackson links the requirement for employees to offer plans that include contraception to racist anti-Black actions in the past, but never explains how ensuring that insurance plans cover contraceptives is part of a “silent effort of the powerful to control black breeding,” arguing that “the black community does not need more birth control.”
But black Americans in particular would be wise to pay close attention, since the age old contraception battle has special historical significance to them. For over a century, "reproductive services" have been special code words for the constant, silent effort of the powerful to control black breeding. And this control has often come in the form of a "helping hand."
From the earliest days of our nation, people in power have wanted to control black reproduction. Before the Civil War, slave owners had a financial interest in increasing the birthrate among their slaves. This was a matter of simple economics: even before the transatlantic slave trade was outlawed, it had become cheaper to "breed" your slaves than to import new ones. Female slaves were pressured to become pregnant (often they were raped).
After emancipation, black birthrates (and marriage rates) were higher than whites, causing great concern in the growing movement known as Eugenics. An elite group of whites began to see the growth of the black population as a direct threat to their community. Blacks at this time actually had a higher employment rate than whites, because black men were willing to work for lower wages. In a time when many intellectuals were becoming paranoid about overpopulation, some began to fear that blacks would compete with whites for the resources needed to survive.
Powerful whites no longer wanted blacks to make more babies that they could enslave; now they wanted blacks to stop having babies that would compete for their jobs or overcrowd their cities. Their goals changed from forcing them to breed to preventing them from breeding.
Thus in modern times, no people group has been plied with more contraceptives than African Americans. People willing to turn a blind eye to the obvious still aren't convinced about whether abortion is aggressively marketed to blacks. But there can be no confusion about contraception being pushed on black women from the time they are middle school students to even the most highly educated married women. And in a way it is working: despite a terrifyingly high 70 percent illegitimacy rate, the black American population continues to decline as a percentage of the American population.
The black community does not need more birth control. We need men and women who respect their bodies and raise their children to do the same. We should put more energy and effort into educating people to make wise choices in relationships and being a family instead of mandating how they make those choices. Let's let our representatives know how we feel!
On the second anniversary of the signing of the Affordable Health Care Act, the Supreme Court prepares to hear arguments against its constitutionality, even though legal experts from across the ideological spectrum have concluded the Act is constitutional. Now, Americans who have been helped by the health care reform are speaking out in favor of the law.
The Affordable Health Care Act most effectively addressed three major systemic problems in American healthcare: frequent, unjustified rate hikes, discrimination against Americans suffering from pre-existing conditions, and young Americans losing coverage once they become ineligible for their parents’ insurance plan.
Prior to the Affordable Health Care Act: insured Americans spent around $1,000 caring for uninsured Americans, and paid skyrocketing premiums; insurance companies were allowed to deny coverage to those with pre-existing conditions, including children; young adults, the group most unlikely to have health coverage, was ineligible to stay on their parents’ insurance plan.
And after Obama signed the Affordable Health Care Act? Up to $1.4 million in rebates could be distributed to as many as 9 million Americans, upwards of 17 million children suffering from pre-existing medical conditions could not be denied coverage, and 2.5 million young adults became eligible to remain on their parents’ health care plan until age 26.
By 2014, every American will access health care regardless of their employment status. Fast forward to 2019, and middle-class Americans are expected to save $2,000 dollars based on the Affordable Health Care Act’s provisions. The budget deficit is supposed to decrease by $127 billion between now and 2021…
As long as the Affordable Health Care Act remains law.
If the Supreme Court does not strike down “Obamacare,” small businesses can receive tax credits to insure employees, 45 million women can easily access basic preventative care such as contraception and mammograms, and incentives for annual physician visits increase. And that’s just icing on top of the reform cake.
Or, the Supreme Court could declare the Act unconstitutional (an extremely unlikely, but nonetheless concerning possibility). In Massachusetts, Gale’s son with cystic fibrosis is not necessarily eligible for his parents’ health care plan anymore. Alice from Colorado has to start travelling to Mexico to fill her monthly insulin prescription again. And in Florida, Terry’s daughter might not survive a disease that attacks the arteries branching from her Aorta, so she most likely won’t become an elementary school teacher.
Kirk Cameron appeared on Washington Watch Weekly with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council today to promote “Monumental,” where he praised the conservative movement and warned that Americans are forgetting the ideas of their forefathers. Just as Cameron told David Barton and Rick Green on WallBuilders Live that people must either choose whether they believe in God or put their “faith in the idea that we all from evolved from slime,” Cameron warned that “the anti-Christian agenda” wants to trick people into thinking they are “evolved amoeba” in order for them to lose their religious faith and liberty.
Cameron: The bottom line is we have so enjoyed sitting in the shade of the trees planted by our forefathers that we have gotten lazy, we’re sitting under the tree, enjoying the shade, and we’re not planting their seed with our children. That’s beginning to change, thank God, I love seeing the homeschool movement, I love seeing these conservative movements and the gospel being proclaimed boldly and fearlessly, not just in America but around the world. And then there’s an agenda to want to cut us off from our past, there are those who want to hide the past and our Christian heritage and if you can do so people lose their identity and they are looking for a new identity. If the anti-Christian agenda will say, ‘here’s your identity, you’re an evolved amoeba who ought to just go do whatever you want and don’t let anybody tell you different.’ Then they can get you to throw your faith, your character, your courage, and your liberty right out the window.
Last weekend, People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch captured video of prominent Louisiana pastor Dennis Terry introducing Rick Santorum at an event with an incendiary sermon in which he insists that those who don’t believe that America is a Christian nation “get out” of the country.
The video quickly went viral, and Santorum was forced to distance himself slightly from Terry’s remarks, saying “I didn’t clap when he said that.”
As PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery wrote in a column for the Huffington Post, the incident illuminates the Religious Right worldview that Santorum and supporters like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins – himself a parishioner of Terry’s – embrace:
While the media may understandably focus on Santorum's garbled economic message, his Sunday evening appearance is worth a longer look -- for what it tells us about Santorum and the Religious Right movement that is propelling his campaign.
The church at which Santorum appeared is Baton Rouge, La.'s Greenwell Springs Baptist Church, which Family Research Council President Tony Perkins describes as his home church. Perkins, in fact, was introduced at the event as a "dear friend" of Pastor Terry and as a church elder. Perkins, whose FRC has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for relentlessly promoting false and malicious propaganda about LGBT people, said of Greenwell Springs Baptist, "there is not a better church in the United States of America than right here." So in Perkins's mind, there is no better congregation than the one that applauded wildly at Pastor Terry's "Christian nation" assertions and his seeming suggestion that people who do not worship Jesus Christ should find some other country to live in.
Peter discussed his column and the Religious Right movement behind Santorum’s candidacy in an interview with TruthDig radio in Los Angeles yesterday. You can listen to the interview here.
We were deeply saddened by the news of John Payton’s passing. In addition to serving as President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, John was a longstanding board member of People For the American Way.
John’s death is a tragic loss for the Civil Rights community and the PFAW family. In addition to being a brilliant attorney who won important victories for equality at the Supreme Court, John was generous with his wisdom and passionately committed to the values that we fight for every day. Since he joined the PFAW board more than twenty years ago, his support and guidance have had an enormous impact on our organization.
President Obama was absolutely correct this morning when he called John “a true champion of equality.”
Our thoughts are with his family. He will be deeply missed.
While campaigning in Louisiana yesterday Newt Gingrich spoke to the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, who was upset that the Washington Post wrote “two pages” on Rick Santorum’s ties to Opus Dei and predicted that the media will attack Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith if he is the nominee. Gingrich, who has previously said that America has an “elite which favors radical Islam over Christianity and Judaism” and railed against the “anti-Christian, anti-Jewish” left, bemoaned that the “elite media” refuses to write about “Obama’s Muslim friends” or “the degree to which Obama is consistently apologizing to Islam while attacking the Catholic Church.” Gingrich does not specify which “Muslim friends” he thinks the media should be covering, or explain why it is a problem that the President may have Muslim friends. He concludes by calling on the media to address the reason why “we really worry a lot about the Quran and nothing about the Bible.”
Rios: Do you think there is any way in this world that the press is not going to be all over the details of Mormonism, do you think they are going to hold their powder on Mitt Romney in terms of his Mormonism and some of the passages in the Book of Mormon?
Gingrich: Of course, look you have to understand that the elite media is in the tank for Obama. They are going to do anything that helps re-elect Obama. They are totally committed to Obama. It is just astonishing to me how pro-Obama they are. Do you think you are going to see two pages on Obama’s Muslim friends? Or two pages on the degree to which Obama is consistently apologizing to Islam while attacking the Catholic Church? Do you see anybody in the elite media prepared to say, gee, isn’t this kind of odd, that we really worry a lot about the Qur'an and nothing about the Bible?