Anti-Contraception Rhetoric At GOP's 'Freedom' Summit

This past weekend’s National Religious Liberty Conference in Iowa has been getting national news coverage for the completely unhinged anti-gay statements of its organizer, Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson, including his warning that God will judge America because Dumbledore from the “Harry Potter” series is a “homosexual” and his truly remarkable recommendation of what to do if your gay child invites you to their wedding.

These diatribes against homosexuality at the summit, which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates, went hand-in-hand with calls to roll back women’s rights to use contraceptives, with both birth control access and gay rights seen as threats to the family and liberty.

As we noted before the summit, a number of speakers had ties to the “biblical patriarchy” or Quiverfull movement, which rejects birth control as part of a vision in which Christian families return to traditional gender roles in order to bear and raise as many children as possible. Although the Quiverfull movement is often dismissed as a fringe ideology espoused by people like the Duggar family, some of its anti-contraception ideology has worked its way into more “mainstream” right-wing advocacy

Swanson said as much in his closing speech at the Iowa conference, claiming that while the Quiverfull movement has experienced more “persecution” than anyone in the history of America, its ideas are now taking hold in the wider Religious Right.

“It’s interesting, some of the greatest preachers in America are effectively saying contraception was a problem from the beginning,” he said, specifically citing Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler and well-known pastor John MacArthur. “And they’re joining ranks with a fair number of those who used to be in the full quiver movement, who, by the way, have received so much persecution. I have never seen anybody receive such persecution, at least in this country, as the full quiver folks. And they didn’t always have their theology right, but now major theologians in America are saying, ‘I think we had a problem in these areas.’’

Conservatives are beginning to realize, Swanson said, that the wide availability and use of contraception is what led to marriage equality throughout the country.

“Why homosexual marriage?” he asked. “Well, 50 years of Playboy and Penthouse, pornography, illegitimate divorces and contraception.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Swanson seemed to equate hormonal contraceptives with abortion-causing drugs (a key part of the Right’s current anti-birth control strategy), claiming that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who secured a grant that led to the development of the birth control pill, was responsible for the “murder” of “billions of little babies thanks to the technology she developed in the 1960s.”

He seemed to make the same argument when he blasted the “tens of millions of sometimes Christian women” who use “abortifacients” that create a “hazardous condition” in “that birth canal up into that womb” — an apparent reference to hormonal birth control rather than to abortion-causing drugs.

“If they have created a hazardous condition, exactly what the lex talionis brings out,” he said, “then God most certainly knows that somehow a snake pit’s been put in that womb.”

This is in line with statements that Swanson has made in the past. In 2013, after filming an interview for an anti-contraception documentary — copies of which were distributed at last week's summit  Swanson claimed that women on the pill have turned their wombs into “graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Extreme as he is, even Swanson isn’t on board with the full Quiverfull agenda, writing in a blog post last year that although he agrees with the principle of men being the head of the family, he wouldn’t go as far as stopping women from taking college classes, going on mission trips or holding elected office.

But the Quiverfull ideology’s rejection of birth control as a social ill and its conflation of birth control and abortion isn’t just taking hold among extreme activists like Swanson — it’s increasingly becoming the norm in the wider Religious Right.

5th Circuit Immigration Ruling Shows Importance of Courts & Elections

One of the most important issues in any presidential election is the type of judges the person elected to the office would place on the bench.

PFAW Board Member Dolores Huerta Speaks Out for DACA+, DAPA

People For the American Way board member and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta speaks out against the 5th Circuit Court decision holding up President Obama's executive actions that protect families from deportation:

“Because of Republican-appointed judges on the court, families who have lived in and contributed to our country for years could be torn apart. Yesterday’s 2-1 decision from the 5th Circuit Court was fundamentally incorrect. It is a reminder of how much courts matter, as well as how important presidential elections are, since it’s the president who nominates justices.

“While every single one of the Republican presidential candidates has spoken out against President Obama’s executive actions, Democratic candidates have discussed ways to expand his actions to protect people from deportation. Latino communities across the country are listening, and in the next election we’ll hold Republican candidates responsible for their efforts to break up families.”


Dolores Huerta, Wisconsin Latino Leaders and Community Members Speak Out Against GOP Candidates’ Dangerous Agenda

Today, People For the American Way (PFAW) board member and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta joined Voces de la Frontera Action leaders and members for a press conference to address how the Republican candidates onstage tonight are driving an extreme agenda that’s out of line with Wisconsin families and Latino communities across the country.

People For the American Way board member and civil rights legend Dolores Huerta stated:

“When we think of people like Rubio and Cruz, they may have a Spanish last name, but they're attacking immigrants, working people, and our communities.

“The Republican candidates are going down the wrong path with all of these attacks they’re making on our community. They’re against raising the minimum wage, against fighting climate change, even though families are struggling and global warming is going to affect every one of us.”

Voces de la Frontera Action Executive Director Christine Neumann-Ortiz stated:

“Who sits in the presidency will either expand President Obama’s executive actions that protect families or promote policies of hatred. We’re committed to exposing Republicans’ mass deportation policies. We condemn not just Trump, but candidates such as Marco Rubio who affirmed once again that he would repeal DACA and deport DREAMers. The Republican candidates are appealing to voters based on bigotry.

“We’re also celebrating a local victory today: [Immigrants and all people in Milwaukee] can apply for a Milwaukee County ID, helping them feel more welcome in our communities. This victory is thanks to Latinos and other voters who elected progressives. And it reflects a shift in public support for immigrant rights,  that’s not reflected in this Republican presidential primary. The Republicans are on the wrong side of history.

“We’re committed to getting out the Latino vote, as it’ll be decisive in Wisconsin elections. Latinos vote for those who are denied the right to vote, for keeping families united, for economic justice.”

Dolores Huerta is available for follow-up interviews throughout the day. To schedule one, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org).



Phyllis Schlafly & Alex Jones: Don't Blame America For Slavery

Alex Jones invited Phyllis Schlafly on to “The Alex Jones Show” yesterday to discuss the perils of PC culture. Jones brought up the Left’s supposed misrepresentation of slavery in American history, saying, “They have completely stolen our history: ‘It wasn’t the West that ended slavery. No, now we invented it, fellas!’ I mean, it’s crazy!” According to Jones, the way slavery is now taught in American does not put enough of an emphasis on the wonderful feat America achieved in ending the institution.

Schlafly agreed, stating that the Left “just lie[s] about everything.” She went on to point out that “it was the people in Africa that sent their own people into slavery” and “of course, [America] eventually abolished slavery” which is “one of the great achievements of our country.”

Sandy Rios: Putin Is Promoting 'God's Way' While Obama Leads US On 'Horrifying' Path

In comments last week, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios joined the many Religious Right figures who have heaped praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin as he has attempted to paint himself as a hero of the Russian Orthodox Church, including backing a series of harsh anti-LGBT laws.

On Thursday, Rios broadcast an interview that she had conducted at the recent World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City with Vladimir Mischenko who works at a prominent Russian “pro-family” group.

Rios told Mischenko how impressed she was by Putin’s embrace of “God’s way” and the “natural family,” even as President Obama is leading America “on a trajectory that many of us find extremely horrifying.”

“It’s interesting to me that your president, Vladimir Putin, of course was a high-ranking member of the KGB, thoroughly absorbed in the communist system,” Rios said. “And he, now, has emerged as one of the most strong proponents of this whole family movement, whether it’s that marriage is between one man and one woman, the sanctity of human life.”

“Well, whatever his motivation,” she later added, “I think on this stuff he’s got it right and he has been a good leader. These are strange times, that the American president would be leading America, I’ll just say to you, on a trajectory that many of us find extremely horrifying and that Vladimir Putin after Russia was officially, governmentally our enemy for so many years, and certainly on these issues, should now be leading his people to more of God’s way, the natural family. It really is one of the great ironies that I’ve lived to see in my lifetime.”

GOP Confab Ends With Call To Execute Gays Who Don't Repent, Send Queen Elsa Back To Hell

It was a Saturday night spent learning about the evils of Dumbledore (gay), Gobber (also gay) and Elsa (lesbian-recruiting bride of Satan).

These rants about “Harry Potter,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Frozen” weren’t out of place at a conference led by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor who has warned on his radio program that these fictional characters — along with the Girl Scouts, women’s soccer and day care — are turning kids gays.

What was most remarkable about these polemics against fictional children’s book characters is that they came at an event that was also attended by three men vying for the Republican nomination for president, including a sitting governor and a sitting U.S. senator.

When Swanson announced that he was convening a conservative summit in Des Moines, Iowa, called “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference,” it was clear that it was designed to get the attention of Republican presidential candidates. Four agreed to participate, but one unnamed candidate later withdrew, reportedly after a wise campaign aide Googled Swanson's name and found his catalogue of crazy statements.

But Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal had no such qualms. All three joined Swanson on stage at the conference for individual Q&A sessions, where he inquired about their views on Kim Davis and the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision.

The trio declared their unequivocal support for Davis, the rogue Kentucky clerk who attempted to block marriage licenses for gay couples in her county, and derided the Obergefell ruling as an unlawful violation of both constitutional and biblical codes, so egregious that it should be rebuked if not outright ignored. Another speaker, Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate Rafael Cruz, called on government officials to defy a Supreme Court intent on “trying to cram homosexual marriage down our throats.”

As soon as Huckabee left the stage, Swanson declared that if his own son were to marry another man, he would only attend the wedding after smearing cow manure all over his body.

Swanson closed out the “liberty” conference with a fiery speech in which he proclaimed that although he does believe in the death penalty for gays, he wouldn't advocate for the government to execute gay people — or, at least, not yet.

The conditions aren't right, Swanson explained. The culture hasn't fully embraced his movement's version of Christianity, and therefore gay people don't know that homosexuality is a death penalty crime that they must renounce before it provokes divine destruction. He said he would recommend that the government wait to impose the death penalty until the culture shifts, giving gays time to repent.

Draconian measures to stop homosexuality are warranted, in Swanson’s view, not only because he believes the Bible mandates them, but also because he thinks that the gay threat is coming from all directions: country musicsoccer, schools, day care and Girl Scout cookies.

The views that Swanson expressed at the conference reflect his ties to a movement known as Christian Reconstructionism.

Reconstructionists not only call for "lesser magistrates" like Davis to defy rulings like Obergefell by invoking "God's authority," as Davis did, but also to demand that all government officials enforce Old Testament laws (or, at least, the Old Testament laws that they want enforced). After all, they say, whatever contradicts God's law is no law at all.

Philip Kayser of Biblical Blueprints told one breakout session at the conference that while it may be unrealistic to expect the national imposition of biblical law at this point, it can still be achieved at state and local levels. He urged government officials like Davis to flout the federal government in order to impose their religious beliefs over whatever jurisdiction where they have sway. Such “interposition” is justified, Kayser said, as long as public officials do it in a "biblical and Christ-centric" way. "In my book, she is a hero," Kayser said of Davis. "Magistrates must follow Christ in their interposition."

Kayser, like Swanson, has repeatedly backed instituting the death penalty for gay people in order to comply with biblical dictates, a position he outlined in a pamphlet he distributed at the summit. (Kayser’s pamphlet also calls for capital punishment for blasphemers, Sabbath-breakers, apostates and witches.)

Another Reconstructionist preacher who spoke at the conference, Joel McDurmon, has said that the U.S. must embrace and enforce Old Testament laws, but that is achievable only once the country is successfully evangelized.

Some Reconstructionists also back “biblical patriarchy,” the idea that Christians must follow strict gender roles within the family, which for women means bearing and raising as many children as possible in order to repopulate the earth with believers.

In order to change the culture in their direction, the thinking goes, believers must first have lots of children (birth control is considered just as bad as abortion, as it fills women's wombs with “dead babies,” at least according to Swanson). Then, these families must adhere to the rule of male headship over the family. These strong, male-led families then create strong, male-led churches, which will then create strong, male-led societies, ones where government welfare programs and intervention in the economy aren't needed, and cultural ills like feminism fall away as cosmopolitan liberals, with their low birth rate, are outvoted.

But for Reconstructionists, the war isn't just about demographics. It is also a cosmic battle.

That is where Elsa comes in.

While these women may be having a "Quiverfull" of children (a la the Duggars), Satan is coming for them, and he takes insidious forms, such as Disney movies.

As Swanson explained on his radio show last year:

How many children are taken into these things and how many Christians are taking their kids off to see the movie "Frozen," produced by an organization that is probably one of the most pro-homosexual organizations in the country? You wonder sometimes, I’m not a tinfoil hat conspiratorialist, but you wonder sometimes if maybe there’s something very evil happening here. If I was the Devil, what would I do to really foul up an entire social system and do something really, really, really evil to five- and six- and seven-year-olds in Christian families around America?
Friends, this is evil, just evil. I wonder if people are thinking: “You know, I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my five-year-old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.” I wonder if the average parent going to see "Frozen" is thinking that way.

One conference presenter, Geoff Botkin, told attendees that "Let It Go," the iconic song from “Frozen,” is "Satan's rebellion anthem," as it convinces children to rebel against God. He lamented that Christian families are unwittingly turning their kids over to Satan when they see "Frozen" or let them "sing 'Let It Go' while taking a shower."

As Botkin explained in his session, which focused on the "ten planks of communism," of the three major threats to America, Christians who don't abide by biblical law are the greatest, even worse than Islam and progressivism.

Even worse than Christians who aren't abiding by Old Testament dictates, he said, are the Christians who preach social justice, advocate liberal policies and are fully inclusive of women and the LGBT community. These scorned people of faith were also meeting that weekend in Des Moines to warn about cries of "religious liberty" becoming a cover for a larger right-wing agenda.

But three Republican presidential candidates, who have all turned the imaginary persecution of Christians in America into a central campaign message, didn't seem to mind that they were appearing at a conference whose organizer who is looking forward to the day when America is repentant enough that the government can impose the death penalty on gay people, rails against children's books and movies, and attacks large swathes of Christians as apostates.

Sandy Rios: Latino Advocacy Group 'Destroying The Country' With Criminal Justice Reform

American Family Association official Sandy Rios took on the issue of criminal justice reform on her radio program on Thursday, saying that the Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza is supporting reform as part of its goal of “destroying the country.”

Rios played a clip of Hillary Clinton’s recent verbal stumble while endorsing “ban the box” measures , when she said that such measures mean “former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process.”

This led Rios to speculate on which former presidents have criminal records, which she said might include Bill Clinton, a future President Hillary Clinton, and President Obama.

“I’ve heard many people say that if President Obama had had to go through an FBI background check, he would have never been president,” she declared.

Rios then returned to serious issues, saying that efforts to reform the criminal justice system are being supported by groups that want to destroy America.

“Well, guess who’s all about this criminal justice reform?” she asked. “It’s shocking, I know. But La Raza — you know what that is, right? It’s a leftist slash communist organization in America. ‘La Raza’ means ‘the race.’ And its goals for this country are pretty frightening. You know, they hate America, they think America, the land itself, should be turned back to … I think Mexico or people of Mexican descent. So, they are about the business of destroying the country, so they are all in favor of this.”

Maddow Calls Out GOPers For 'Kill-The-Gays Rally' Appearance

As the three Democratic presidential candidates were attending a South Carolina candidate forum hosted by Rachel Maddow on Friday, three Republicans running for president were at a conference organized by a radical right-wing pastor who has defended the death penalty for homosexuality.

On her program last night, Maddow filled her viewers in on Friday’s Republican campaign event, showing videos of Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee engaging in question-and-answer sessions with extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, who then went on to say that he would smear cow dung over his body to protest a gay couple’s wedding and urged the government to execute gays in the future if they don’t repent.

As Maddow also pointed out, Swanson’s views on homosexuality were well-known even before he hosted the weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference, and he wasn’t the only speaker at the conference who had called for homosexuality to be treated as a capital crime.

One conference speaker distributed literature at the event laying out how and why gay people should be put to death, discussing stoning and throwing people off cliffs as possible punishments. In fact, Swanson’s views are so extreme and so easy to find that one presidential candidate reportedly pulled out of the event once their campaign was tipped off to his radicalism.

“A pretty major theme of the event both in terms of the literature that was available at the event and the way the host of the conference spoke from the stage, a significant theme was the practical challenges and the timing of how exactly and when exactly the United States of America should start rounding up gay people in this country in order to execute them,” she said.

“It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms,” Maddow continued. “This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”

Seeing that the Republicans who appeared at this event will be at the Fox Business debates tonight, Maddow said it might be worth asking them why they would attend “a kill-the-gays rally.”

“I don’t know if that is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics,” she said.

Her remarks on the right-wing conference start at the 5:55 mark:

Tony Perkins: America About To Hit The Gay Iceberg

Last week on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke with a caller who said that “people are tired of the ultra-liberal agenda being shoved down their throat,” saying that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on marriage equality “woke a lot of people up” to the need to get involved in politics.

Perkins heartily agreed, claiming that Obergefell and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance exposed that the gay rights fight isn’t about love and civil rights but about destroying freedom.

“I think what we’ve seen in the wake of that June 26 decision,” he said, “is that while people said this is all about two people who love each other being able to visit each other in the hospital and all that kind of stuff, which was baloney, they could have done that before without redefining marriage for the rest of the nation, what we’re actually seeing and what Houston has shown people is this is about forcing this on the entire nation at the risk of losing religious freedom, the freedom of speech, of facing onerous government fines and intervention. In Houston, Texas, if you would stop someone from going into a bathroom or somehow prohibit someone in a public facility, you could face a $5,00 fine.”

“There’s a lot more to this agenda,” he said. “It’s like an iceberg, like that iceberg that the Titanic hit, he only saw the tip of it.”

Will Trump Boycott His Own Hotels After Starbucks 'War On Christmas' Rant?

Donald Trump has jumped on the latest “War on Christmas” bandwagon, telling supporters yesterday that he may boycott Starbucks and kick the company out of the Trump Tower because its new red holiday-themed promotional cups aren’t festive enough.

“If I become president, we're all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you,” he said.

We will wait to see if Trump will boycott his own hotel chain for similarly declaring war on Christmas:

Newt Gingrich: Congress Must Block Protections For Transgender Students

Last week, Newt Gingrich appeared on the Houston-area program “The Sam Malone Show” to promote his new novel, “Duplicity.”

The former House speaker kicked things off by praising Houston voters for repealing the city’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he said should inspire Congress to reject a Department of Education finding that Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students.

“I was delighted to see that the people of Houston voted for common sense,” he said. “In fact, I hope the Congress is going to pick up on Houston and do the same thing to a new Department of Education regulation that says that boys who want to can declare themselves transgender and use girls’ bathrooms in high school, which I think is just one of those things where you shake your head and you wonder how really lacking in understanding of human nature the bureaucrats are who write this stuff.”

He called the growth in transgender rights a “strange” cultural development, which he then used as a way to criticize President Obama’s policy in Syria: “They are as far out of touch with reality in foreign policy as they are in these cultural values they keep trying to impose on the rest of us.”

Right-Wing Summit: God To Punish Fans Of Frozen's 'Let It Go' As It's 'Satan's Rebellion Anthem'

Given that the chief organizer of last week’s “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference” — which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates — has said that the movie “Frozen” turns young girls into lesbians, it was not much of a surprise to learn that Queen Elsa would be a focal point of the summit.

It turns out that the spirit of the Disney movie’s hit song “Let It Go,” in which Queen Elsa sings about freedom after leaving her home, was not one of the freedoms valued at the “Freedom 2015.”

At a session titled “The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America’s Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From,” Geoff Botkin of the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences said that “Let It Go” is furthering America’s rebellion against God, warning that the country is already under 50 divine judgments that will only subside once the government and the wider culture begin to abide by biblical law.

He likened “Let It Go” to Eve’s temptation by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, deriding the song as “Satan’s rebellion anthem” that corrupts children.

The popularity of the song and its “spirit of licentiousness” shows that people don’t want to follow the totality of the Bible, he said, warning that God “will chasten our nation” as a result of the movie’s popularity.

Botkin also lamented that “Let It Go” fans are “rejecting God’s law” and therefore become “enemies of God” and God “does go to war against you.”

Botkin delivered most of his presentation beside a photo of the “Frozen” characters Elsa and Olaf:

Kevin Swanson Warns Criticism Of His Anti-Gay Comments Is Part Of Attempt To Shut Down Christian Media

When three Republican presidential candidates decided to address a conference in Iowa this weekend organized by Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson — a radical activist who thinks that Girl Scout cookies and the movie “Frozen” are turning girls into lesbians and has defended the death penalty for homosexuality — it showed once again that the Republican primary seems to be a competition of who can move farther to the right.

Swanson cleverly focused his Iowa conference on the theme of “religious liberties,” warning that “persecution against Christians is on the rise in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, China, Oregon, and Kentucky.” It was apparently an invitation that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — who are constantly harping on the theme that American Christians are on the road to facing persecution on par with Christians living under oppressive regimes — couldn’t pass up.

Swanson made clear what he meant by anti-Christian persecution in interview at the conference with Seattle-based radio host Michelle Mendoza, when he complained that media reports on his anti-gay comments, including his recent remarks that AIDS is “God’s retribution” for homosexuality, is part of a larger attempt to “shut down Christian media.”

Saying that the “liberal media” had taken his AIDS remarks out of context, Swanson proceeded to repeat the very same point to Mendoza.

“Any kind of disease,” he said, “this is the point I made in one of my broadcasts, any kind of disease is God’s wakeup call to us and it points us to the basic problem — Hey, there wasn’t disease, there wasn’t death in the world until sin came into the world with Adam and Eve. So, it’s a basic theological concept, every Christian in America would agree with me. Obviously, non-Christians may disagree but the fact of the matter is God has given us a warning. He gives us something of a warning with disease and death, and we ought to turn to Jesus Christ because he is the overall solution to this.”

Swanson said that in a conversation with Cruz at the conference, the Texas senator “agreed that it’s very possible that the FCC may shut down Christian media in the future if they continue to hold to the position that homosexuality is a sin.”

“Christian colleges may go away very soon, Christian media may go away very soon, conservative media may not survive, so this is going to affect every single part of life since the Obergefell ruling,” he said.

In an interview promoting the conference on the Kentucky radio program “Just Ask Joyce” last month, Swanson made a similar argument, warning that “you can kiss your liberties goodbye” if the right person isn’t elected president in 2016.

Christians must “prepare to see our radio programs and our ministries, and our churches, our schools, completely wiped out by … the homosexual forces” as a result of the Obergefell decision, he said. “This is a decision of seismic proportions for the entire socioeconomic system, for entire social systems, for entire civilizations, for our religions in our country.”

Kevin Swanson Defends Linking Gay Kiss To Colorado Wildfires

At this weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which featured GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, conservative radio host Steve Deace revealed that a Republican presidential candidate had dropped out of the summit after learning of the extremism of the conference’s organizer, Kevin Swanson. (Although Deace didn’t name the candidate, Ben Carson was at one point named as a confirmed speaker but later disappeared from the event’s schedule.)

Deace said that the candidate’s campaign manager had called him up and asked him about Right Wing Watch’s reporting on Swanson, including Swanson’s support for the death penalty for gay people and his blaming of natural disasters in his home state of Colorado on such affronts to God as gay people marrying and feminist women who wear pants. Deace said that he laughed and assured the campaign manager that these were all lies made up by Right Wing Watch, but that the candidate dropped out anyway.

It might be more difficult for Deace to pretend that we fabricated all of these statements after this weekend’s conference, where Swanson repeated both views with great enthusiasm. After yelling quite a bit about Leviticus, Swanson clarified on Saturday that he does not actually want the U.S. to implement the death penalty for gay people at the moment, but instead to wait and give them time to repent first.

Then, in the same speech, Swanson declared that anyone who believes in God must see that there “might be a connection” between wildfires and flooding in Colorado and the state’s government refusing to enforce biblical law, and specifically a picture that ran on the front page of the Denver Post showing Colorado’s House speaker kissing his husband after a vote on civil unions.

“You see, when this happens, it is the most egregious, the most abominable, the most arrogant insult to Almighty God,” Swanson said of the Denver Post photo. “And then, the very same year, we had the very worst fires, the most devastating fires we ever did in the state and the worst floods. In the very same year, we had the most devastating floods and the most devastating fires and the worst possible legislature in terms of well, any standard of God’s laws as conveyed in [the Bible].”

“You’ve got to believe that God is the judge of the earth and indeed there might be a connection between the worst flood, the worst fires, and the worst government in the history of the state of Colorado,” he said.

He then defended his statement that thanks to gay rights and pro-choice laws, Colorado might be becoming worse than North Korea, saying, “Well, they murder. We put homosexuals on the front page of newspapers.”

America is held to a higher standard, he said, because of its “godly heritage” stemming from “white guys” like Irish immigrants.

“We’ve got a heritage, we’ve got a great heritage, goes back 2,000 years,” he said.
“Seems to me there’s a lot of white guys in America with a lot of heritage that goes all the way back to the 500s and 600s with Patrick and others. Friends, is America a more evil nation than North Korea in the eyes of God? And I say maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But I’d say we’re getting pretty close.”

Public Policy Internship - Spring 2016

People For the American Way is a nationwide advocacy organization that mobilizes its members and activists to fight for public policies that reflect the values of freedom, fairness, and equal opportunity; to champion constitutional protections and civil rights; to hold public officials accountable to those standards; and to promote strong democratic institutions, including a federal judiciary that upholds individual rights. The Public Policy department lobbies Congress and the Executive Branch on behalf of the organization to affect public policy at the national level, and also conducts some state and local advocacy.
The available Public Policy internship will help with the following activities, especially as they relate to money in politics and People For the American Way's Government By the People campaign:

  • Perform research to identify potential organizational partners
  • Engage in outreach to recruit coalition partners
  • Draft outreach materials including issue-based fact sheets
  • Develop content for social media including memes and messaging copy
  • Attend hearings, briefings, press conferences, coalition meetings, and other internal and external events
  • Assist with various lobbying efforts
  • Provide administrative support
  • Other duties as assigned

Internships are unpaid, but we provide unpaid volunteer interns with an $8 per day per diem to help defray transportation costs to and from the People For office; some restrictions apply. We will also work with students to arrange academic credit and meet other program requirements.
To apply, send:

  • Cover letter
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  • References (2-3 contacts with email addresses, if available)


  • Email hr@pfaw.org. Please put "Public Policy Internship" in the subject line.

People For the American Way is an equal opportunity employer.

Kevin Swanson: God Will Judge America For Harry Potter's 'Homosexual Mentor'

Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson closed out his National Religious Liberties Conference today — following speeches yesterday by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — with an extended rant about the many reasons why America needs to repent in order to avoid God’s judgment, including legal abortion, birth control, immoral themes in country music and gay characters in “Harry Potter” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Warning that “we are on the very cusp of judgment as I see it and we need to call America to repent,” Swanson listed off the various sins of which Americans need to repent.

“America, repent of your rebellion against God!” he yelled. “America, repent of stumbling the little ones! America, repent of ‘Harry Potter’! America, repent of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!

“America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time, in order that little six- and seven- and eight-year-olds might stumble, in order that tens of millions of parents, it would be better that a millstone be hanged around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea than that there would be so many people stumbling so many children in public schools, in movie theaters, in homes in which children are raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!”

Earlier in the same speech, Swanson explained that although the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, he doesn’t want to implement it yet in the U.S. because he wants to give gay people time to repent as well .

Kevin Swanson: No Death Penalty For Gays … Until They Have Time To Repent

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal all spoke this weekend at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor and activist who frequently informs his followers that the biblical penalty for homosexuality is death and defended a proposed law in Uganda that would have imposed life imprisonment or capital punishment for homosexuality.

Two other speakers invited to the conference have similarly backed capital punishment for gay people, and one came prepared with a pamphlet he wrote explaining that view

In a closing keynote address to the conference this evening, Swanson clarified that he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.

Instead, he said, gay people first need time to repent of their sins, as do people who have committed adultery, gotten divorced or looked at porn, all of which he said are inviting God’s judgment on America.

Freedom 2015 Speaker: LGBT 'Abominations' Worse Than 'Tyranny Of King George'

In a speech today to the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which also featured Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, Nebraska pastor Phillip Kayser warned that America risks “God’s intense wrath” for engaging in “sexual sins” such as the “abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement.”

Kayser, who distributed at the conference a pamphlet arguing for the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy and witchcraft, was discussing “interposition,” the idea that “lesser magistrates” have the duty to stand against higher authorities when those higher authorities are disobeying God.

Kayser advised his audience that they must pick their battles in this area because “not every act of tyranny is equally heinous.”

For instance, he said, it isn’t necessary to defy certain unbiblical tax proposals, but it is absolutely necessary to defy same-sex marriage because it is “destructive to the family”; abortion because it is “murder” and will “inevitably lead to God’s judgment” on the land; and the “sexual sins” found in Leviticus 18 — which includes homosexuality, adultery and having sex with a woman who is menstruating — because “some sexual sins are so heinous that even pagan nations are eventually vomited out of the land for engaging in those sins.”

“And if we love our country and we don’t want to see God’s intense wrath falling upon it, we cannot ignore the abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement,” he warned.

“Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and their sacred honor to resist the tyranny of King George and Parliament,” he said. “And I think what we are facing today is a whole lot worse.”

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