Conservatives See 2016 as Key to a More Conservative SCOTUS

Four of the nine Supreme Court Justices will be in their 80s during the first term of whoever is elected president next year, meaning he or she could usher in an enormous shift in the Court’s makeup.  The Court issues enormously consequential rulings on numerous issues affecting everyone across the country – LGBT equality, money in politics, workers’ rights, religious liberty, workplace discrimination, abortion rights, and many others.  With the current Court so often divided 5-4, usually tilting toward far-right conservatives, it’s clear that the Supreme Court is perhaps the most important issue in the 2016 presidential election.

You certainly don’t need to persuade conservatives.  In fact, according to press reports, the far-right Judicial Crisis Network is launching a new website and ad campaign to pressure GOP presidential hopefuls ever rightward on the issue of Supreme Court nominations.  A reported in The Hill, the group blasts the arch-conservative Chief Justice John Roberts and very conservative Anthony Kennedy as insufficiently conservative.

“Demand justices with a proven record of upholding the constitution. We can’t afford more surprises,” a narrator says as the video shows the faces of Roberts, Kennedy and former Justice David Souter, who retired in 2009.

The three justices are “examples of bad GOP appointments,” the Judicial Crisis Network said in a statement announcing the advertisements.

[JCN] says it made the $200,000 television and digital ad buys ahead of the Republican presidential debates to get candidates on the record about their approach to Supreme Court picks. The next Republican debate is Wednesday.

The television and digital ads are set to run in Iowa, New Hampshire and Washington, D.C. starting Monday, the group said.

Roberts and Kennedy … not conservative enough?  Along with Scalia, Thomas, and Alito, they formed the five-person majority that gutted the heart of the Voting Rights Act (Shelby County), opened the floodgates to corporate money in politics (Citizens United), twisted religious liberty into a tool to deprive others of their legal rights (Hobby Lobby), and regularly misinterpret and severely undermine our nation’s anti-discrimination laws (Ledbetter, for a start).  True, Justice Kennedy authored the Court’s key opinions recognizing the constitutional rights and basic humanity of LGBT people, but he is no liberal.

If conservative activists succeed in electing a conservative president who wants to drive the currently far-right Supreme Court even farther rightward, the repercussions will be enormous.

But imagine instead if Americans elect a president who wants to restore a high court that recognizes and protects our constitutional and statutory rights to liberty, equality, and democracy … Again, the repercussions for people across the entire country would be enormous.

There is one thing where we agree with the JCN.  As their ad says:

On the most important issues, the Supreme Court decides.  The next president could appoint a new majority to last a generation.

Keep that in mind between now and Election Day.  You can be assured that conservatives will.


Mat Staver: Kim Davis Is A Savior, It's Justices Ginsburg And Kagan Who Are Breaking The Law

Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel and one of the lawyers representing Kim Davis, stopped by “Crosstalk” last week to discuss her case, praising Davis as a savior of persecuted Christians in America and comparing her to the biblical figure Esther, who convinced King Ahauserus not to exterminate the Jews, and to the parents of Moses, who refused to kill him despite pharaoh’s decree.

“People throughout history, through the Scriptures — you know, Moses’ parents, they had to choose whether to obey God or man back then, when Pharaoh says you need to give up your baby boys because he’s going to kill them,” Staver said. “And the Book of Hebrew says they did not fear the king’s edict, and they ultimately hid the baby boy, and of course that baby boy was Moses.”

While Staver praised Davis as a savior for attempting to stop her entire county office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he said that Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan should be impeached for not recusing themselves from the Obergefell decision, since both had officiated at weddings for same-sex couples. (Staver made the remark in response to a caller who falsely identified the justices who had presided over gay couples’ marriages as Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor; however, he has previously said that Ginsburg and Kagan should have recused themselves.)

Religious Right Attorney Debunks Kim Davis Defenders' 'Religious Liberty' Arguments

Ken Klukowski, the former head of the Family Research Council’s Center for Religious Liberty, admitted on a right-wing radio show last week that Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis was on “shaky legal ground” for ordering her deputies to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

While few legal observers ever thought that Davis had a case — to the point that some suspected that her attorneys must have been deliberately giving her bad advice — Klukowski’s former group, the FRC, has defended Davis and announced today that it will honor her at its upcoming summit for challenging “legal tyranny.”

FRC President Tony Perkins appeared last week at a rally in Kentucky defending the clerk and insisted in an interview with Megyn Kelly of Fox News that Davis was not stopping her deputies from issuing marriage licenses. However, that was exactly what Davis was doing, and Klukowski honed in on that fact in an interview with conservative broadcaster Eric Metaxas last week.

Klukowski told Metaxas that while he is sympathetic to Davis’ plight as a fellow gay marriage opponent, he said that Davis’ refusal to let deputy clerks issue marriage licenses to legally eligible couples was indefensible and incompatible with religious freedom.

He said that by trying to “exercise my governmental authority to order the other public servants here, that they are not going to do this either, that’s where I believe she is on, respectfully, she’s on very shaky legal ground. That would be the difference between a conscientious objector in the military who says, ‘I want to serve my country so I am going to volunteer for the military but because of my faith I don’t believe in bearing weapons.’ He can still serve, he’ll just be assigned to a noncombat role, he’ll never have to pick up a weapon. The equivalent here would be someone saying, ‘I will take command of this infantry unit, I am going to take command of this rifle company, but not only am I not going to fight I am also going to order all the troops under my command that because of my religious objection they are not going to fight either.’”

Metaxas, however, saw it a bit differently, and compared Davis to a Nazi officer who refused a command from Adolf Hitler to send his military unit to murder Jews.

Klukowski responded by saying that Davis’ defenders are turning the First Amendment on its head: “The First Amendment has never been construed as saying that whatever your personal beliefs are that if you are in a position of authority, if your power is in fact a governmental power, the power of the state, that you have the right to make other civil servants, who have their own rights under the First Amendment, to make them act in conformity with your personal religious beliefs. Then you have the issue of, well, what are their religious beliefs? What are their personal beliefs?”

He went on to say that there is no legal precedent saying that officials can “combine” their “personal individual liberty” with “your governmental power to also make other public servants partake in your objection.”

Larry Pratt: Arrest Judge Who Found Kim Davis In Contempt

Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt called last week for the arrest of Judge David Bunning, the Bush-nominated federal judge who held Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in contempt after she repeatedly defied court orders to let her office issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Pratt told Sam Bushman of the far-right “Liberty Roundtable” radio program on Wednesday, “This district court judge merely withdrew his horns, they haven’t been cut off. And we’re not finished until we can cut that district judge Bunning’s horns off.”

“In fact, he’s the one who should be put in jail for violating his oath of office,” Bushman said.

“Thank you!” Pratt responded.

“It’s an assault on the Constitution,” Pratt added of Bunning’s decision to detain Davis for five days, “it’s something that Joseph Stalin could only have dreamed about, and here we’re doing it to ourselves. It’s really incredible. We have lawyers like this Judge Bunning that are so ignorant of this American republican system that they don’t seem to know their left hand from their right.”

"Either they’re so ignorant and they don’t know," Bushman replied, "or they have hatred and contempt to where they think they are superior, judge, jury and execution is what it turns out to be, they just didn’t get to execute Kim because we all came to her defense."

On the same program, former sheriff and Oath Keepers member Denny Peyman echoed Pratt’s call for Bunning’s arrest.

UPDATE: In a phone call, Bushman told us that he didn't mean to imply that Judge Bunning wanted to execute Kim Davis, but was merely playing off the phrase "judge, jury and executioner" in describing a judiciary that he told us is trying to "concentrate all power." Bushman also objected to the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, telling us he'd prefer the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”

Jindal: America Is 'Trying To Criminalize Christians'

Bobby Jindal, who has conveniently changed his mind just in time for the presidential election on whether clerks should have to perform their job duties when it comes to issuing marriage licenses, appeared on “The Steve Deace Show” last week to continue to make his claim that clerks like Kentucky’s Kim Davis should be allowed to impose their personal religious views on public offices.

“Apparently, if you mishandled classified information in America, you can run for president, but if you don’t believe in gay marriage you go to jail,” the Louisiana governor and GOP presidential candidate said, repeating his new talking point.

The Louisiana governor then claimed that practicing Christianity is now a crime in America and that the Supreme Court had no authority to rule on marriage.

“This is ridiculous,” he told Deace. “The fact that they are now trying to criminalize Christians, whether it is clerks or business owners, in America we should not have to choose between keeping our jobs, we should not have to choose between keeping our businesses and being able to follow our conscience. I agree with you, I don’t think any earthly court can change the institution of marriage as instituted by God as being between a man and a woman. I think this is nonsensical.”

Jindal said that as president, he would issue an executive order on his first day in office to protect people practicing anti-gay discrimination, insisting that the Davis case may inspire the IRS to “go after Christian schools, Christian pastors and Christian churches.”

Religious Right Martyr Kim Davis To Receive Award For Fighting 'Legal Tyranny'

As many predicted, Kim Davis is cashing in on her new role as a right-wing celebrity. The Family Research Council announced today that Davis will receive its “Cost of Discipleship Award” at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.

FRC head Tony Perkins has already compared Davis to the previous award winner, Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who, unlike Davis, actually faced persecution for her faith, as she was arrested and imprisoned by Sudan’s government for converting to Christianity. Leading up to Ibrahim’s appearance at the FRC event, Perkins attempted to use her story to attack the Obama administration, even though her U.S. supporters actually thanked the State Department for working diligently to secure her release. An attorney working on Ibrahim’s case, who is also a Religious Right figure, criticized Perkins for his rhetoric.

In announcing the award, Perkins praised Davis for her “courage” in standing up to “militant secularists”:

“We are pleased to announce that Kim Davis will be honored at this year's Values Voter Summit. After meeting with her last week, I can tell you that Kim Davis wasn’t looking for this fight, but she is not running from it either. What militant secularists are almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, millions of Americans stand with her and for the religious freedom upon which our nation was founded.

“Far from the media's portrayal, Kim isn't trying to impose her views on anyone, she is simply asking that her orthodox religious views be accommodated.

“The courage of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis isn't just changing the conversation -- it's changing the political landscape. In places like Missouri, where state officials watched with horror as Davis was hauled off to jail for her Christian beliefs, leaders are moving quickly to protect their people from the same fate. The Supreme Court created this mess -- now it's incumbent on states to protect the victims mired in it.

“While the Court redefined marriage, it did not redefine the First Amendment. Thank goodness for people of courage like Kim Davis, who refuses to let religious liberty be trampled by legal tyranny. We applaud her. In the face of intense pressure, she's shown more courage than 99 percent of the elected officials in Kentucky,” concluded Perkins.

Another county clerk in Kentucky who is trying to prevent same-sex couples from receiving marriage licenses, Casey Davis (no relation), is also scheduled to speak at the summit. He has gone so far as to say that he may die in his fight against gay marriage.

Perkins addressed the rally in front of the Kentucky prison where Davis was detained after a federal judge held her in contempt of court but doesn’t seem to know some basic facts surrounding the case. For example, Perkins told Fox News that Davis wasn’t barring her deputy clerks from issuing marriage licenses, even though Davis explicitly said at the time that she was doing just that.

Rep. Trent Franks: Prepare For Judgment For Legal Abortion, Like 'Altars Of Baal'

Rep. Trent Franks, R-Ariz., was Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ guest on his “Washington Watch” program on Saturday, where he warned that continued legal abortion “rivals almost anything that happened on the altars of Baal” and will lead to God’s judgment on liberals and on America as a whole.

“As a nation, we are accountable for what we know,” Perkins said, “and we do know now, without excuse, what Planned Parenthood is doing. I tremble for my nation, for this country, to move forward in choosing the wrong path when we now know what is happening in these abortion clinics across the nation.”

“You know, for some reason, and I don’t understand it,” Franks said, “all through history, God has always done His part, but He’s required us to do ours. And He ultimately wins the battle, but what happens in history is oftentimes directly reflective of man’s responsibility or irresponsibility. And for some reason, we are created to be responsible and to listen to God’s foundational precepts. And when we don’t, it brings great suffering on us and upon those we love and upon the greater human family. And right now, you are so right, we have seen the evil of Planned Parenthood and the murder of these little children that rivals almost anything that happened on the altars of Baal. And if we don’t, as a nation, say, ‘No, we reject that,’ I’m afraid we’ll bring great sorrow upon all of us.”

Franks went on to warn pro-choice liberals that if they believe in God, they should be “trembling.”

“You know, I have absolutely every conviction that God is on His throne and He’s going to prevail here,” Franks said. “But in human terms, if Christians and people of good will and people who have a respect for their fellow human beings don’t begin to assert themselves soon, the barbarians are going to overrun the gates.”

“I really fear for” pro-choice people, he said. “Because there are two questions I would ask the left: What if these really are babies? And what if there really is a God? Those are things that if I had to ask in their position, there would be great trembling in my life if I held their position.”

Oath Keepers Sheriff Wants To Arrest Judge Who Jailed Kim Davis

Last week, the armed militia group Oath Keepers caused a bit of a stir when they announced that they were converging on Rowan County, Kentucky, to “protect” anti-gay county clerk Kim Davis from being detained again for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Soon afterwards, the Oath Keepers leadership called off the mission when Davis, through her attorneys at Liberty Counsel, declined their offer of an armed guard to stand off against federal officials, but not before members of the group had already started to arrive in the county.

One of the organizers on the ground for the Oath Keepers’ short-lived Kim Davis mission was Denny Peyman, a former sheriff of Jackson County, Kentucky, and member of the “constitutional sheriffs” movement, which believes that county sheriffs are the nation’s highest law enforcement officers and therefore have the power to unilaterally arrest federal officials.

In an interview with the far-right radio program Liberty Roundtable last Wednesday, the day the Oath Keepers publicly announced their Davis mission, Peyman said that if he had been sheriff when Davis was found in contempt of court for defying court orders to issue marriage licenses, he would have blocked U.S. Marshals from arresting Davis and would have instead personally arrested the judge who found her in contempt.

“I would have loved for that to happen when I was in office,” he said. “It would have been a completely different scenario would have come out of this whole thing.”

“Yeah, Denny Peyman would have bust out and arrested that judge for violating due process, huh?” asked Sam Bushman, the program’s host.

“Exactly,” Peyman responded. “The judges all take care of each other. I’ve turned in enough evidence and stuff and all they do is seal it and make sure it doesn’t get back out. They take care of each other. When I arrested the judge here and stuff, they basically protected him, because they could be next and they know that.”

Later in the interview, Bushman and his cohost Curt Crosby said that the people sheriffs should really be arresting are Hillary Clinton, Mitch McConnell, John Boehner and President Obama.

Peyman agreed: “You know, you put a couple of people away, the rest of them might straighten out, you think?”

Update: In a phone call, Bushman disputed the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, insisting that we instead use the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”

Anti-Planned Parenthood Activist Troy Newman's Terrifying, Woman-Shaming, Apocalyptic Manifesto

The anti-abortion movement has been attempting to remake itself in recent years as a kinder, gentler cause more concerned with women’s health than with the apocalyptic warnings associated with the movement's more extreme fringes. The recent set of videos smearing Planned Parenthood by falsely alleging that the women’s health organization sells fetal tissue for profit are part of this trend.

Although the videos, produced by the so-called Center for Medical Progress, have prompted investigations in several states (none of which have turned up any wrongdoing) and even a congressional hearing this week, they are in fact the product of some of the most extreme anti-choice activists in the country. The group is run by a young and previously little-known activist, David Daleiden, but it appears to rely heavily on the knowledge and resources of its board member Troy Newman of Operation Rescue.

Newman, who now advises activists on how to harass abortion patients and providers in the hope of shutting down clinics, has a long history of championing the most extreme wing of the anti-choice movement.

His ideology is perhaps most clearly spelled out in “Their Blood Cries Out,” a book he published in 2000 and revised in 2003, that attempts to convince Christians to join the abortion “rescue” movement in order to absolve the nation of its “bloodguilt” for abortion and prevent God from destroying America in punishment.

Although “Their Blood Cries Out” is now out of print, it has had some influence among anti-abortion activists. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life wrote the foreword to the 2003 edition. Scott Roeder, the anti-abortion terrorist who killed abortion provider George Tiller after spending time with Operation Rescue, had a signed copy. (There are long passages in the book comparing Tiller to Adolf Hitler.)

“Their Blood Cries Out” is not written in focus-grouped, more moderate language that even activists like Newman are now attempting to use. Instead, it’s an Old-Testament-heavy tirade that calls for the execution of abortion providers, calls women who have abortions “murderesses” and warns of God’s impending judgment on the nation for legal abortion, a judgment that Newman says has already begun through calamities such as the 9/11 terrorist attacks and the AIDS epidemic.

Newman wrote the book with contributions from Cheryl Sullenger, his Operation Rescue colleague who spent time in prison in the 1980s for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Here are the six most terrifying passages of Newman’s tour de force:

Execute Abortion Providers

Newman explains that abortion providers and women who seek abortions bear “personal bloodguilt” for their actions, while the nation as a whole bears “community bloodguilt” for failing to stop them — the church through failure to win souls and the government through a failure to prosecute abortion as murder, as he says the Bible commands.

He illustrates the levels of “bloodguilt” with this chart:

Although he never explains exactly what he thinks the civil punishment for women who have abortions should be, Newman directly calls for the execution of “abortionists” as “convicted murderers” who are bringing God’s judgment on America:

When moms, dads, abortionists are added together, well over 100,000,000 people bear personal bloodguilt for at least one abortion. The doctrine of community bloodguilt found in Scripture further implicates the entire nation. The perpetrators are far too numerous and the bloodguilt has spread too far. We deserve God’s judgment.

In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head.

He explains that the only way to purify the land is through atonement…or the “lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture":

The innocent blood of the New Covenant in Christ has the power to atone for all the innocent bloodshed from the beginning of time to the end, and to purify the whole earth - the land. Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

… And Maybe Even The 'Murderesses' Who Have Abortions

While Newman never explicitly calls for the execution of women who have had abortions, as he does abortion providers, he makes very clear that he sees these women as equally culpable for the supposed crime.

He tells the story of a woman in California accused of paying two men $1,000 and some “sexual favors” to murder her husband. Both the woman and the men who executed the hit, he reports, received the same sentence. How, Newman asks, is this different from abortion?

There was no outpouring of public concern from the community declaring her a victim of society. There were no help centers set up to give aid to all future contract killers so that they might find alternatives to murdering their husbands. The churches did not welcome her on the condition that neither of the parties would discuss the crime. There was no legislation brought forward by the National Organization for Women to pardon her and all future murderesses. There was no sympathy publicly expressed for her — only the satisfaction that comes from witnessing justice.

Why, then, do we consider any differently the women who seek to hire killers to murder their pre-born children? Why the hesitancy to say that not only the mothers, but also the fathers who willfully abort their babies, are guilty of murder? Why is there such outrage expressed at the notion that those who know of the crime but do not intervene, like most of the churches in America, share a portion of the guilt?

Who holds the fathers, the mothers, the neighbors, the pastors, and the bystanders guilty? Who would dare?

God can! God does!

By comparing abortion directly to any other act of premeditated contract killing, it is easy to see that there is no difference in principle. However, in our society, a mother of an aborted baby is considered untouchable where as any other mother, killing any other family member, would be called what she is: a murderer.

'No Comfort' For Women Until They Admit To 'Murder'

In a chapter titled “Moms Who Murder,” Newman writes that while it may be “politically correct” not to tell a woman who has had an abortion that she is a murderer, that is the only way to lead her to “repentance”:

In our current social climate, it is acceptable to lay blame for abortion at the feet of the abortionists, the social liberals who encourage the abortions, and the law-makers who allow and even pay for them. But the mother is the one person we are not allowed to call guilty. Ironically, she is the one who needs most to see what she has done.

Even in the pro-life movement, rescuers, those who take direct action to save a life, want to call abortion murder, but they are hesitant to call the mother a murderer to her face for fear of offending her and the “politically correct” crowd. By confronting the woman with her sin, our objective is to get her to see the evil that has resulted from her actions. By withholding truthful confrontation from her, we prevent her from being brought to repentance and ultimate restoration.

He continues on the “contract killer” theme:

Those responsible for innocent bloodshed should not be excused or comforted in their sin, yet, as a society, women who have abortions are treated as victims and those who support them in the decision to kill are considered heroes who were willing to stand by their friends or family members during a time of crisis. In reality, the woman is the same as a contract killer, hiring out the murder of her defenseless child, and the supporter is a co-conspirator, aiding and abetting the crime. They believe that their charitable act of lending support will some how make up for their participation in murder. Until they can both face the fact that they bear responsibility for the murder of an innocent child and own up to it, there should be no comfort for them.

'Abortion Is A Sacrifice To Demons'

Newman writes that “in addition to murder, abortion is also a form of idolatry.”

In a chapter called "Baal is Alive and Well on Planet Earth," he explains that like Baal worshipers in the Old Testament, Americans are now engaged in “idolatrous child sacrifice.” Both, he says, are the brainchildren of Satan: “Throughout history the Enemy has been known to take the innocent blood of every boy or girl he can get, whether it is through Baal worship or abortion”

“Dead babies defile our land and God is furious. We must expect to suffer the same consequences as that of Old Testament Israel," he writes, reminding readers that said consequence was "complete annihilation.”

He continues:

The correspondence to today’s society is striking. Our American culture figuratively worships at the altar of Baal and Astoreth. It rabidly promotes and defends with religious fervor a corrupt lifestyle of illicit sex, then aborts the offspring that results, sacrificing them, as it were, upon the altar of “convenience as the sacrament of “Choice.”

The argument can logically be made that abortion is a sacrifice to demons. The evil spirits to which children were sacrificed in the Baal groves are probably the same ones hanging out down at the Planned Parenthood offices!

The nation is being ravaged by a horde of thieves and murderers. Our government school system has been invaded by Midianites who are razing our crops before the children have a chance to bear fruit. The Midianites are encamping all around us, desecrating our land with drugs, homosexuality, pornography, lewdness, foul language, anti-God legislation, prostitution, idolatry, and divorce.

He adds:

Abortionists and "safe sex" proponents are as the prophets of Baal and Ashteroth. Jezebel rules in Congress, Planned Parenthood, and in many of our churches ... Then, as now, sexual immorality leads to child killing. The spirit of Jezebel, embodied in the widespread practices of recreational sex and abortion, is prosperous here in the United States and the Baal/Ashtoreth trade -- as reflected in pornographic films, books, videos, TV, magazines and the Internet -- is big business

It's time, he writes, to "send the likes of Jezebel back to the pit of hell."

9/11 And AIDS Were God’s Warnings About Abortion

After concluding that "judgment for America is a foreseeable inevitability” because of legal abortion, Newman explores what that judgment might look like. He posits that God is already "warning this nation, preparing her for a day of reckoning” through everything from road rage to terrorist attacks to AIDS.

It is possible that America is already within the clutches of remedial judgment. One needs only to analyze the current societal dilemmas to see the hand of God moving upon our land. The historical record of the Bible shows that God chastens before He sends cataclysmic destruction.

Listing a parade of current "societal dilemmas," including the “drug epidemic,” “school shootings,” “unbridled pornography,” “divorce, marital infidelity, and rebellious children,” “terrible violence, from rape to road rage” and “unprecedented terrorist attacks,” Newman writes, “In all of these, it may be that God is showing that His hand of protection is being withdrawn.”

He has more solid evidence that disease and natural disaster are warnings from God:

There is good reason to believe that the root cause of droughts, floods, and wildfires is not global warming but God’s discipline on a rebellious nation stained with bloodguilt. AIDS, cancer, mutated antibiotic-resistant bacteria, and other plagues meet the criteria for being judgments from God… Since Scripture tells us that God places wicked people to rule over nations that are in rebellion to Him, wicked leaders and ungodly Congressional officials are manifestly a judgment from the Lord.

(Newman has recently called the drought in California and other unfriendly "weather patterns" part of God's judgment for abortion.)

But what will the final judgment look like? He writes that "there can be no doubt" that God is preparing an "oppressor" to arrange for the “final and total destruction” of America. Possible God-sent adversaries, he speculates, are "Islamic jihadists," China, or “a world organization such as the pro-abortion United Nations."

If You Disagree, Enjoy Hell

Newman's message to "those who are unconvinced that abortion is wrong, unwilling to admit any responsibility, or refuse to lay down their lives for the cause of righteousness":

Those in that unrepentant state are unable to discern God's heart in this matter and will probably go to their grave blood-guilty, their souls corrupted with the innocent blood of murdered children. They can only look forward to the time when, at death, they will hear the innocent children howling their names in testimony against them, demanding vengeance.

Kim Davis Declines Oath Keepers' Offer Of Armed Guard

Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":

Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.

Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.

Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis.  We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process.   That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.

This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).

We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David  Thoreau.  We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny.  Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation.   We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.

Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":

As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done.   That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial.   As I told one person who wrote in:

You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit.  Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime.   I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them.  I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush.  I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.   And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights.  But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.

Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment.   I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature.  But sad nonetheless.

Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."  It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot.  Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it.  I oppose it.  - Stewart

Is Jeb Bush Out Of Values Voter Summit?

Every year, Republican leaders flock to the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which gives them a chance to curry favor with Religious Right activists and gives FRC President Tony Perkins a chance to assert his political influence.

So it caused a minor hubbub last year when Perkins pointedly refused to invite presidential hopefuls Jeb Bush and Chris Christie to speak at the summit, saying that they “shouldn’t take it the wrong way” but they “just weren’t on the top of the list” for “values voters.”

We were interested, then, to see that Bush is not listed as an invited speaker at this year’s summit:

When, as recently as July, Bush was listed as invited:

Bush, for his part, seems to have been doing what he can to woo Perkins, meeting with him at the Conservative Political Action Conference this year and saying that he has “a lot of respect for Tony and his group.”

Interestingly, the Christian Post reported yesterday that Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump had turned down his invitation to speak at the summit and Perkins was miffed, saying that Trump was “not interested” in speaking with evangelicals:

Although some polls have shown that the misogynistic real estate mogul who once favored abortion and carries liberal views on same-sex marriage has had no trouble gaining the support of Evangelicals , Perkins asserted that Trump's refusal to speak at the conference is a sign that he has no interest in conversing with Evangelicals.

"We have got the Values Voters Summit coming up and Donald Trump has passed. He is not going to come," Perkins said. "I think that is going to send a message to Evangelicals and values voters that he wants their support, but he is not really interested in having a conversation with them."

"I think that is probably about the time, in about three or four weeks, people are going to start thinking more seriously about this as we move forward into the year," Perkins continued. "[Trump's absence], whether it was intended to or not, it will send a message."

"I think [Trump] is going to have to have conversations with Evangelicals and talk about issues they care about. He hasn't really done that in a way that is convincing," Perkins argued. "Could [Trump] make some progress with Evangelicals? I think he could if he tried, but I don't really see that happening right now."

Tony Perkins Blames Economic 'Roller Coaster' On Planned Parenthood, 'Moral Climate'

On his “Washington Watch” radio program today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins took a call from a listener who asked him about the End Times rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s “Shemitah” theory, which holds that some big event will happen this month as a sign of God’s wrath.

Perkins said that he was trying to arrange for Cahn to come on his show soon, noting that “we’re coming up to that point” that Cahn is predicting.

He then tied the whole thing into attempts to defund Planned Parenthood, saying that business groups were wrong to be concerned about the economic implications if the debate leads to a government shutdown this month because the real problem with the economy right now is “the moral climate.”

“I’ve been giving a lot of thought to that because there are a lot of things converging right now,” he said. "And this goes back to a point I didn’t get to, but those in the business community are really leaning heavy on Congress to not get into this fight on Planned Parenthood that could lead to a government shutdown or could affect the debt limit because we don’t want to in any way affect the economy."

“Well, folks, I’m telling you what, the economy’s going to be affected, if we can’t get the moral climate, the moral foundation of America straight, that’s why our economy is like a roller coaster. There is no stability in our society. Who knows, I mean there might be another riot. We are living in such a volatile time it is hard to predict anything.”

Last month, televangelist Pat Robertson similarly blamed a stock market plunge on Planned Parenthood funding.

Mike Huckabee: Gay Marriage Ruling Is 'Illegal' Because It Confuses People

As Steve Benen noted yesterday after Mike Huckabee claimed that the Dred Scott decision is still the “law of the land” and is just being ignored by elected officials, when it comes to the implementation of marriage equality, the GOP presidential candidate has invented “his own brand of crackpot civics.”

Huckabee put his made-up civics beliefs on full display in an interview yesterday with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins in which he claimed that Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear could “very simply” fix the situation with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, by removing clerks’ names from marriage licenses altogether … while simultaneously claiming that the governor actually has no authority to do so.

This, Huckabee explained, shows why the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality was “so illegal … because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”

“The governor can fix this very simply by simply saying he’ll change the form,” Huckabee said. “Now the question is, does he have the authority to do that? And if so, under what authority? This is where this all gets very confusing. And it’s why the haste to rush into implementing same-sex marriage is so ridiculous and, frankly, Tony, it’s why it’s so illegal is because this has left the whole country in a state of ambiguity and confusion.”

Huckabee went on to cite the Tennessee judge who denied a straight couple a divorce this month in a stunt ruling meant to protest the Obergefell decision, which the former Arkansas governor said was just a sign of all the confusion about gay marriage.

“It’s chaos, confusion that’s been created,” Perkins agreed, “and this is just the beginning of what we’re going to see play out here.”

Huckabee then proceeded to roll out some other desparate legal theories about Davis, claiming that she is not required to follow laws that were implemented after she took office and even claiming that she could be guilty of a felony in Kentucky “if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license.”

“When she was elected to that position,” He said, “she was operating under the Kentucky constitution that expressly says that marriage is between a man and a woman. … So that’s what she was elected on, that is the job she is doing. And there is a specific statute in Kentucky law that if she just arbitrarily changes the wording of the marriage license, that’s a felony. So here’s the question: Which law does she follow? The ambiguous and unconstitutional judicial tyranny ruling of the Supreme Court that has not yet been codified? Or does she follow the specific constitutional and statutory requirements under Kentucky law, under which she was elected?”

“And I just really am disapponited that some of the people think the way to handle this is just have public officials resign their jobs,” he added, “because they’re going to go ahead and surrender to what Jefferson called judicial tyranny.”

Coalition Nearly 200-Strong Takes a Stand and Says "NO" to Harmful Policy Riders

Far-right members of Congress take a dislike to something, say . . . the critical reproductive and preventive healthcare services offered by Planned Parenthood, and they write a line or two into an appropriations bill that says that government money cannot be used for that purpose. All kinds of programs and laws are subject to this kind of indirect assault: Just prohibit any money from being spent on it.

5 Of The Most Absurd Moments At the Tea Party Rally Against the Iran Deal

Earlier this week, headliners such as Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, Sarah Palin, Glenn Beck, and numerous Republican congressman spoke at a rally on Capitol Hill aimed at rallying congressional opposition to the nuclear deal with Iran. These are some of the stand-out moments from the three-hour event.

1 . When Donald Trump assured the crowd that Iran is terrified of him

After entering to R.E.M.’s “It’s the End of the World as We Know It” (which R.E.M., it turns out, did not appreciate), Trump wasted no time in simultaneously bashing the Obama administration and extolling the merits of his own negotiating power.

“I’ve been doing deals for a long time,” he said. “I’ve been making lots of wonderful deals, great deals, that’s what I do. Never, ever, ever in my life have I seen any transaction so incompetently negotiated as our deal with Iran. Never.”

Trump is so confident in his deal-making skills that he believes if he is elected president Iran will bend to his will before he even takes office. Trump asserted that the four Americans currently held hostage by the Iranian government “are never going to come back with this group,” referring to the Obama administration and members of Congress who support the nuclear deal with Iran. However, according to Trump, “those four prisoners are back in our country before he ever takes office,” simply because Iranian leaders will be too scared of Trump to defy him.

2 . When Sarah Palin didn’t make any sense

As Sarah Palin took to the podium, she thanked the crowd for showing up in the D.C. heat to help “bring sanity to this discussion.” She didn’t exactly lead by example.

“Only in an Orwellian Obama world full of sprinkly fairy dust blown from atop his unicorn as he’s peeking through a really pretty pink kaleidoscope would he ever see victory or safety for America or Israel in this treaty,” the former GOP vice presidential nominee said.

3 . When Sarah Palin referred to Black Lives Matter protestors as Obama’s “dogs”

In between lauding the crowd and criticizing the Iran Deal, Palin took a minute to thank American police officers. However, her delivery of this message was careless and offensive.

“Since our president won’t say it, since he still won’t call of the dogs, we’ll say it: Police officers and first responders all across this great land, we got you’re back! We salute you!”

Palin, who has a history of racially insensitive remarks, seems oblivious to the implications of referring to Black Lives Matter protestors as Obama’s animals, especially at a rally that was already displaying hostility towards the movement.


4 . When the audience supported Donald Trump’s sexism

When Donald Trump took the stage, an audience member raised this homemade poster of Rosie O’Donnell’s face.

At the first Republican presidential primary debate in August, moderator Megyn Kelly had remarked that Trump did not seem to have a “politician’s filter,” especially when it came to comments about women. Trump responded by saying he only had referred to Rosie O’Donnell as “ fat pigs, dogs, slobs, and disgusting animals.” His words were met with laughter and applause at the August debate, so it is no surprise that the poster was met with laughter and jeers by nearby crowd members.

5 . When the audience believed that Obama hates America

It is no surprise that the protestors at this rally believe that Obama supports the nuclear deal because he wants to aid Iran and destroy America, since many of the speakers that they came to see preach this on a regular basis. Rep. Louie Gohmert has expressed his beliefs that progressives and radical Muslims are working together to destroy America and that Obama has connections with Islamic states, Mark Levin has claimed that Obama is more Muslim than Christian , and Glenn Beck has repeatedly said on his radio show that Obama is planning a military takeover of the United States.

Here are some of the signs that rally-goers held.


Bush Will Back GOP Nominee, Even If It’s Trump

Last week, Jeb Bush said “Of course I would” support Donald Trump if he won the Republican nomination. Bush’s embrace of Donald Trump and, in turn, Trump’s xenophobia, racism, sexism, and homophobia is disturbing but unsurprising. As PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager put it:

“Naturally Jeb Bush has no qualms about supporting Donald Trump. From speaking out against increases to the minimum wage to opposing a woman’s right to choose, Bush and Trump are united in pushing an extreme agenda that would be devastating to working class families. Moreover, the fact that Bush would support Donald Trump and his mass deportation policies shows that Bush’s loyalties lie only with the extreme Republican base, not immigrants or working families.”

Bush, Trump, and the rest of the GOP presidential candidates have shown time and again during the primary campaign that no idea is too extreme if it can win votes from the party’s radical base. 

From ignoring the science of climate change to supporting tax plans that favor the wealthiest in our society while harming  working families, on critical issues, PFAW Coordinator of Political Campaigns Carlos A. Sanchez pointed out, “Trump and his less flamboyant competitors all share virtually identical positions.” At points, Trump has even been the voice of moderation in the GOP field. As PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker wrote last month, Trump has been one of the few Republican presidential candidates to speak out against the undue influence of big money in elections.

In every primary election, candidates cater to their base. But Republicans have outdone themselves this year. Pledging to support Trump if he becomes the party’s nominee, as Jeb Bush and other Republican candidates have done, is just the latest example of how extreme Bush, Trump, and all of the leading GOP candidates are.


Ted Nugent: Verizon Dropped Sportsman Channel Because Obama Hates America

Earlier this month, Verizon announced that it was dropping The Sportsman Channel from its lineup from its Fios service “due to its low viewership.” But NRA board member and Sportsman Channel fan Ted Nugent knows the real reason for the Verizon lineup change: President Obama and the media’s “anti-Americanism.”

Nugent called into Alex Jones’ “Infowars” program yesterday to rail against Verizon for giving “the toxic middle finger of communism” and “anti-Americanism” to viewers like him, which he managed to link to President Obama, the Affordable Care Act, the 2012 Benghazi attack and the IRS.

“My God, Alex, the number of freedom-abusing, freedom-destroying, fundamental transformation, abuse of power and corruption and fraud and deceit and anti-Americanism that runs amok in this country from the president on down, it breaks the hearts of good Americans by the hour across this country,” he said.

“When Verizon cancels Sportsmen’s Channel, it’s a direct result of the anti-gun, anti-freedom, anti-hunting, anti-wildlife, anti-science, anti-Americanism that has infested our media across this land,” he declared.

The Sportsman Channel itself has framed the Verizon decision as censorship, telling visitors to its website : “Your lifestyle, Your freedom, Your rights – TAKEN.”

Tony Perkins' Surprisingly Apt Kim Davis Analogy

The Religious Right activists who frequently claim that they are simply seeking to “live and let live” in a country that increasingly favors LGBT rights and other social progress sometimes compare themselves to the Pilgrims, citing the historical myth that the American concept of religious liberty originated with early Puritan governments.

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made this argument on his “Washington Watch” radio program today in response to a caller who claimed that the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to bar her entire office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, portends laws making it “illegal to pray in the military” and is reminiscent of Nazi “legislation trying to annihilate the Jews.”

“It’s just kind of sad that if you have religious beliefs you can’t be an elected official,” the caller said.

Perkins agreed, attacking the “intentional” “misconception” that “religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice” rather than the freedom of people like Kim Davis to impose their religious views on everyone else.

“Do you really think that William Bradford and the Pilgrims came to America, to this land, seeking just to move their church membership because they couldn’t find a church that they really liked there in England or Holland, where they were before they came back to England?” he asked. “I don’t think so. And, in fact, they had religious freedom in Holland but they didn’t have the ability to build community and a framework to live under based on their religious freedom. That’s why they risked it all to come to what we now know as the United States of America.”

“They came here for the same thing that Kim Davis is asking for,” he said, “religious freedom. Not freedom of worship, but the freedom of religion.”

Perkins may have accidentally made the perfect Kim Davis analogy. The Puritans traveled to Plymouth Colony after a stint in Holland where, as historian Robert Tracy McKenzie notes, they “encountered a religious tolerance almost unheard of in that day and age.” In America, he writes, “they hoped to live by themselves, enjoy the same degree of religious liberty and earn a ‘better and easier’ living.” In doing so, they set up a theocracy, where, as PBS writes, they sought “religious freedom—but only for themselves.”

Perkins is absolutely right that Kim Davis and her supporters are seeking something similar to what the Pilgrims sought in the 17th century : not the freedom of religion, but a religious state, governed by them.

FRC Official: Call Gay Marriage 'Garriage' And Lesbian Marriage 'Larriage'

Pat Fagan, the director of the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute, suggested yesterday that marriage equality opponents start referring to gay men’s marriages as “garriage” and lesbians’ marriages as “larriage,” with the overarching term for “homosexual marriage” being “harriage.”

Fagan made his proposal in a question to Ryan T. Anderson, the marriage equality opponent who was presenting on his new book “Truth Overruled” at FRC’s office.

"A proposal," Fagan said, "something along this line, that we in the pro-family movement start using related terms, but keep ‘marriage’ for what it always was. So we might call — and this is to be worked out — but something like, if you're talking about gay marriage you call it ‘garriage.’ If it’s lesbian, you call it 'larriage.' If you want a generic homosexual marriage it’s ‘harriage.’ But getting these words into use I think is key. And that will take time, but whomever holds the language ultimately holds the whole game.”

Anderson, who has been doing his best to soften the public face of opposition to marriage equality, politely told Fagan that while his “broader point” was “exactly right,” his “only concern with the three terms that you suggest is how will that be heard by other people?”

H/T reader Erik

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