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Meet The World Congress Of Families, The International Conservative Network Meeting In Utah Next Week

by Miranda Blue, Isabel Carter-Kahn and Peter Montgomery

This is the first in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. In this post, we provide an introduction to the event’s hosts and recipients of its awards for international activism. Subsequent posts will explore the World Congress of Families’ organizing against LGBT equality and women’s rights and its role in growing international social conservative networks.

Next week, hundreds of activists from around the world will gather in Salt Lake City for the ninth World Congress of Families, a gathering of individuals and organizations promoting what organizers call the “natural family.”

The World Congress of Families is a project of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, founded in 1997 by conservative historian Allan Carlson. The Howard Center has a relatively small budget — less than half a million dollars in 2013 — but works with organizers and funders in host countries to throw what it calls the “Olympics” of social conservatism. This is the first time the Congress has been held in the U.S. and will count as guests the governor of Utah as well as Rafael Cruz, father of Texas senator and Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz. The event is set to honor activists who advocated for laws criminalizing homosexuality and even meetings between gay people, free speech in favor of gay rights and abortion.

The vision of the “natural family” promoted by WCF is one that excludes LGBT people and precludes reproductive rights. In 2005, Carlson and the Sutherland Institute’s Paul Mero released “The Natural Family: A Manifesto,” a call to arms against the societal changes that resulted from the twin developments of “industrialism and the assault of new, family-denying ideas.”

They offered instead a vision of a return to an economy run by large families operating as independent economic units — a potentially appealing thought until you realize what the economy they envision means for women. In Carlson’s and Mero’s “natural family” dream, they “envision young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers; and we see young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” For women, this involves rejecting what they call the “contraceptive mentality” and opening their homes to “a full quiver of children” — a nod to the “Quiverfull” ideology promoted by the self-proclaimed “Christian patriarchy” movement. They insist that “culture, law, and policy” should take into account that “women and men are equal in dignity and innate human rights, but different in function” — a separate-but-equal ideology that drives women out of public and economic life and rejects the rights of those who do not fit into this narrow view of gender roles.

It is this vision that WCF aims to promote around the world, through government policies aiding the “natural family” and in resisting international efforts to protect the rights of women and LGBT people.

The U.S. event offers WCF an opportunity to reestablish itself after the debacle of the last Congress, which was meant to be held in Moscow — home of a spate of new anti-LGBT laws — but was abruptly “suspended” after Russia invaded Ukraine and some of the conference’s organizers were hit with U.S. sanctions. The conference went ahead, but without the official World Congress of Families label. Instead, WCF leaders attended in their personal capacities. The executive director of the Utah event is Janice Shaw Crouse, a former Concerned Women for America official who appears to have parted ways with her former employer over the wisdom of participating in the Moscow summit.

Hosting the World Congress of Families gathering in Salt Lake City is the Sutherland Institute, which describes itself as “a conservative public policy think tank” whose mission is “to shape Utah law and policy based on a core set of governing principles.” The Sutherland Institute, whose budget is about $1.5 million, is affiliated with the State Policy Network, a group of right-wing think tanks. While the Institute is not formally affiliated with the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (the LDS or Mormon Church), it promotes conservative views influenced by LDS theology, sometimes staking out policy positions to the right of the Church itself. The Institute is named for George Sutherland, a U.S. Supreme Court justice from Utah who joined other conservative justices to overturn progressive legislation in the 1920s and led a group known as “The Four Horsemen” who struck down FDR’s New Deal for several years.

Sutherland describes seven principles of “authentic conservatism” – personal responsibility as the basis of self-government; family as the fundamental unit of society; religion as the moral compass of human progress; private property as the cornerstone of economic freedom; free markets as the engine of economic prosperity; charity as the wellspring of a caring community; limited government as the essence of good government. The Institute brags about its work to weaken unions and calls for the abolition of the state income tax on corporations.

In other words, the Institute promotes both the Tea Party’s hostility to government regulation and the Religious Right’s desire to use government to promote “traditional” views of family, parenting, and marriage.Sutherland helped pay for the legal counsel hired by the state to defend its anti-gay-marriage amendment.

The Institute called the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling an “abdication” of the rule of law. Then-President Paul Mero, argued that freedom is incompatible with gay rights, because “bad behavior is the enemy of freedom.” Sutherland supports Sen. Mike Lee’s First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow broad anti-gay discrimination in the name of religious liberty. It also wants to do away with no-fault divorce laws.

In 2014 the Institute produced a 10-page defense of a Utah law requiring restaurants to erect a “Zion Curtain” or “Zion Wall” to prevent restaurant-goers from being able to witness the preparation of alcoholic beverages. Although Sutherland was criticized for supporting what many considered “nanny-state” legislation, former President Paul Mero said the law “disrupts a culture of drinking” and promotes a “culture of sobriety.”

The Sutherland Institute has strong ties with WCF’s sponsor, the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society. Mero, the founding executive vice president of the Howard Center, reportedly helped attract the WCF to Salt Lake City. After 14 years as Sutherland’s CEO he was asked to step down by the Institute’s board last August, for what were described as operational rather than philosophical differences. Mero reportedly agreed to continue to serve on executive committee for the WCF. Sutherland board chair and interim president Stanford Swim serves on the boards of the Howard Center and the State Policy Network.

This year, the World Congress of Families will present its Woman of the Year Award to Theresa Okafor, Familia Et Veritas awards to Luca Giuseppe Volonte and Andrea Williams and an International Pro-Life Award to Father Maxim Obukhov. The backgrounds of these four activists provide insight into the values that the World Congress of Families seeks to promote around the world.

Theresa Okafor

Okafor, from Nigeria, is the World Congress of Families Regional Director in Africa. In 2009, she was successful in bringing a World Congress of Families event to Nigeria. She is the CEO of Life League Nigeria and the director of the Foundation for African Cultural Heritage.

The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage is a coalition organization that encompasses 20 “family values” organizations such as Association of Concerned Mothers, Nigerian Association for Family Development, Doctors Health Initiative, Life League Nigeria, the Christian Association of Bishops Conference of Nigeria and the Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs, Nigeria. Her groups have supported and lauded Nigeria’s Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act, which banned all same-sex relationships and gay people gathering in groups of two or more. The act led to the arrest of dozens of people.

The Foundation for African Cultural Heritage releasedvideos of a press conference it organized to support the bill, during which speakers called homosexuality “abhorrent” and compared it to alcoholism. At a World Congress of Families annual gathering in Madrid in 2012, Okafor speculated in a speech that Western countries advocating for gay rights in Africa were involved in a “conspiracy” to “silence Christians” with the terrorist group Boko Haram:

Unfortunately, in Nigeria where I come from, we have these fundamentalists, the Boko Haram – I’m sure you’ve heard about them in the news – bombing churches. They seem to be helping some people in Western countries who are out to silence Christians. The Boko Haram are targeting Christians in Nigeria, so you wonder if there’s a conspiracy between the two worlds.

In the speech she also speculated that efforts to promote LGBT rights in Africa are “another ploy to depopulate Africa,” a sentiment she expresses repeatedly.

Okafor also has ties to the American group Family Watch International, which works to stop advances in LGBT equality and reproductive rights at the UN, cosponsoring the group’s Global Family Policy Forum in Gilbert, Arizona.

Luca Giuseppe Volonte

Luca Volonte is an Italian politician and the president of the Novae Terrae Foundation, which states on its website that it is committed to “promot[ing] human rights from the religious point of view.” The “Goals” section of the group’s mission page emphasizes its focus on contrasting Christianity with “Islamic culture.”

Volonte serves along with the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown on the board of trustees of CitizenGo, an international organization that promotes petitions backing conservative positions, including opposition tosame-sex marriage and abortion rights. In response to Target’s decision to stop segregating its toy aisles by gender, CitizenGo released a petition saying the new policy was a result of “sexual radicals ” who “want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children.”

In 2010, Volonte won the chair of the European People’s Party in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. As chair, Volonte led the successful effort to withdraw a report on "discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

Volonte was appointed chairman of the anti-LGBT Institute for Human Dignity, a Catholic NGO based in Rome, in 2013. The institute released a declaration defining human dignity as:

That man is made in the image and likeness of God; that this image and likeness proceeds in every single human being without exception from conception until natural death; and that the most effective means of safeguarding this recognition is through the active participation of the Christian faith in the public square.

This declaration was adopted by the European Parliament's Working Group on Human Dignity , a coalition that promotes Europe’s “Judeo-Christian” heritage, as their foundational document.

In 2015, Novae Terrae announced a partnership with the European Large Families Confederation.

Andrea Williams

Andrea Williams is the CEO of Christian Concern, a United Kingdom based group that promotes a “Christian voice” in government. In the “About” sections of Christian Concern’s website, the organization states that it pursues these goals because “ ...in the last few decades the nation has largely turned her back on Jesus and embraced alternative ideas such as secular liberal humanism, moral relativism and sexual licence. The fruit of this is rotten, and can be seen in widespread family breakdown, immorality and social disintegration.” The organization attempts to move policy on “abortion, adoption and fostering, bioethics, marriage, education, employment, end of life, equality, family, free speech, Islamism, religious freedom, the sex trade, social issues and issues relating to sexual orientation.” Christian Concern has campaigned against numerous pieces of LGBT anti-discrimination legislation, citing that they would create discrimination against Christians.

Williams encouraged Jamaica to keep same-sex intimacy (still referred to in the country’s legal code as “buggery”) illegal at a conference organized by the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society and the Christian Lawyers’ Association in Kingston that she attended with extreme American anti-LGBT activist Peter LaBarbera. At the conference, she suggested Olympic diver Tom Daley is gay because his father died, and that “sometimes a level of abuse” is responsible for one becoming gay.

Williams is the director of the Christian Concern offshoot Christian Legal Centre, whose website says it “defend[s] many Christians who have suffered for their beliefs,” in a similar fashion to the American Alliance Defending Freedom. The Christian Legal Centre has provided legal support to a woman who sued an art gallery for displaying an image of Jesus with an erection and to a man who was relieved of his position as a police officer after sending homophobic emails.

In concert with Alliance Defending Freedom, Christian Concern also runs the Wilberforce Academy, which says its aim is to “train and equip the invited students on what it means to proclaim Christ in public life.” Williams has said this on the Alliance Defense Fund:

The ADF are a fantastic organization. We have been inspired by their work and that of the Blackstone programme, which seeks to raise a new generation of lawyers to defend Christianity in the public sphere. They've got some of the best attorneys in this field and we have the great privilege of hosting them, but they don't pay anything towards the academy.

In 2010, Williams was elected to a five year term as a member of the Church of England General Synod.

Maxim Obukhov

Father Maxim Obukhov is credited by Religious Right leaders as the founder of the pro-life movement in Russia and led the effort to bring the World Congress of Families to Moscow last year. He was instrumental in convening a World Congress of Families “demographic summit” in Russia, which resulted in a statement addressed to world leaders. Part of the statement read:

We call on the governments of all nations and on international institutions to develop immediately a pro-family demographic policy and to adopt a special international pro-family strategy and action plan aimed at consolidating family and marriage, protecting human life from conception to natural death, increasing birth rates, and averting the menace of depopulation.

In 2009, Obukhov drafted an official proposal for WCF to come to Moscow, and the plan was solidified. However, the conferencewas cancelled in response to backlash over President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Crimea. An “International Family Forum” sprang up in its place, and many of the same pro-family leaders from the United States and around the world were in attendance.

Obhukhov created the Zhizn Center, an organization connected with the Russian Orthodox Church that dedicates itself to the “dissemination of Christian views on questions of family and marriage” and against abortion rights . He is also secretary of the Church’s bioethics committee and an expert on bioethical issues for the Moscow Patriarchate. World Congress of Families claims the Zhizn Center runs more than 30 crisis-pregnancy centers.

Obhukvhov was part of a group established by the Duma’s committee on family, women and children in 2010 for the purpose of drafting anti-choice legislation. Parts of the legislation drafted by the group, which included no medical professionals, were used in a health reform bill signed by President Dmitry Medvedev in 2011. Proposals that did not make it into legislation attempted to end federal support of all abortion services, require that women receive the approval of their spouses before having an abortion, and require prescriptions for the morning-after pill. Obukhov opposes hormonal birth control.

Obukhov has told LifeSiteNews that he believes the Obama administration’s sanctions on Russian lawmaker Yelena Mizulina, author of the infamous “gay propaganda” ban, following the Ukraine conflict were evidence of Christian persecution. Obuhkov said, "President Obama is using the economic sanctions against Yelena Mizulina to send a very clear message to Russian Christians. There is much talk about a cold war, but President Obama has openly declared war upon Christians who oppose the culture of death both at home and abroad."

PFAW's Right Wing Watch Riles Up the Far Right

At Right Wing Watch – a project of People For the American Way – we know we’ve done our job when we’ve made the Right Wing really, really mad. So if the coverage we’ve been seeing in the right-wing media is any indication, we’ve been doing our job especially well lately. Here’s a roundup of some recent anti-endorsements:

  • The conservative blog Newsbusters calls Right Wing Watch PFAW’s “hit squad” in an article we couldn’t have written better ourselves. In addition to crediting PFAW with “destroying Reagan Supreme Court nominee Robert Bork’s reputation in the 1980s,” the article touts some of Right Wing Watch’s greatest successes – including its coverage of the anti-choice and anti-gay HGTV stars David and Jason Benham. Newsbusters correctly notes that Right Wing Watch broke the news when then-presidential candidate Scott Walker defended mandatory and medically unnecessary ultrasounds as “a cool thing out there” (though they incorrectly allege that the reporting “twisted” Walker’s words). And while the Newsbusters article fails to achieve its goal of discrediting Right Wing Watch, it does provide many great examples of Right Wing Watch’s reporting appearing in major news outlets like USA Today, MSNBC, Salon, Slate, and the Huffington Post.
  • In an interview with Family Research Council Vice President Jerry Boykin, far-right radio host Rick Wiles suggested that the gunman in the recent mas shooting at Umpqua Community College might have been inspired by reading Right Wing Watch. Boykin went on to accuse Right Wing Watch of using the “exact same tactics as ISIS and Al-Qaeda.
  • Despite messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn’s doomsday prophecy, the United States didn’t experience a cataclysmic disaster this past September, which must have rattled right-wing pundits like Glenn Beck and Pat Robertson who have spent months anticipating it. Right Wing Watch pointed out that the prophecy didn’t come true -- much to the frustration of WND, a Religious Right news site that Right Wing Watch has been reading and covering for years. WND took specific issue with Right Wing Watch blogger Brian Tashman, who had reported on the Cahn prophecy, for his “slander” and “lack of truthfulness.” It’s not clear how pointing out that the world didn’t end last month qualifies as slanderous, but you can read the rest of WND’s criticism here.
  • Right Wing Watch might consider outlandish criticism from the Radical Right to be a sign of a job well done, but many on the Right feel the same way about a mention on Right Wing Watch. Ann Corcoran, an anti-refugee resettlement advocate, has made several appearances on Right Wing Watch for her xenophobic remarks about Syrian refugees, posted on her blog that she considered the coverage to be “a great honor” and “a goal to work toward” for other right-wing activists.

Right Wing Watch is as committed as ever to monitoring and exposing the activities of the right-wing movement – no matter what they might say about us. Read more Right Wing Watch coverage.

PFAW

Wayne Allyn Root: Tipping At Restaurants Is 'What Makes America Great'

Right-wing activist Wayne Allyn Root joined Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway on Thursday to discuss the reported FBI investigation into the fantasy sports business, which he said, along with restaurant owner Danny Meyer’s decision to ban tipping in his restaurants, shows that “socialism is just filtering into everything we do in this country.”

Root recalled a detailed story about being refused an off-menu item at a restaurant in Great Britain, which he attributed to the lack of tipping, whereas tipping is “what makes America great.”

This led him back to the topic of the fantasy sports investigation. “Socialism is just filtering into everything we do in this country,” he said, “and to go after a business that’s a hot business, fantasy sports, simply because a bunch of people are making millions of dollars is more of the jealousy of the Obama administration against anyone who actually profits in the United States of America.”

David Daleiden Explains How Discredited Sting Taught Him To Confront The 'Enemy' Of Planned Parenthood

As we explored in our recent report on the Center for Medical Progress’ attacks on Planned Parenthood, CMP founder David Daleiden worked in concert with a few longtime anti-choice activists in his effort to claim that Planned Parenthood violated federal laws with its fetal tissue donation program. One of those activists was Mark Crutcher, who through his Texas-based group Life Dynamics, conducted a very similar undercover video “sting” of fetal tissue donation practices in the late 1990s, with a similar goal of undermining legal abortion.

Crutcher’s claims fell apart when his key witness admitted at a congressional hearing that he had lied about witnessing “profiteering by fetal-tissue providers.” The Omaha World-Herald reported at the time:

[U]nder questioning from the committee, Alberty admitted that he had lied in previous statements made to Life Dynamics, an anti-abortion group in Texas. In a videotape produced by Life Dynamics, a disguised Alberty charged that he had witnessed profiteering by fetal-tissue providers, among a number of charges he later denied in a sworn affidavit.

Alberty also admitted receiving more than $10,000 from Life Dynamics.

On Thursday, Alberty contradicted himself repeatedly, at one point telling the committee he didn't remember if he had put on a dress to disguise himself in the Life Dynamics video.

"When I was under oath, I told the truth," Alberty told the committee. "Anything I said on a videotape when I wasn't under oath is a different story."

Another focus of Life Dynamics’ “investigation” was a middle-man whom they said profited from fetal tissue after obtaining it from a Planned Parenthood facility in Kansas. Planned Parenthood was never implicated in any wrongdoing, and federal prosecutors never found evidence to bring charges against the man Life Dynamics had targeted.

In an in-depth interview with the “Catholic Answers Focus” podcast last week, Daleiden recalled that in 2010 he had a “very detailed” three-hour conversation with Crutcher about this failed sting operation, from which he came away determined to copy Crutcher’s actions, only this time he would be better prepared to confront the “enemy” of Planned Parenthood.

“I felt like it deserves to have a very detailed and sophisticated exposé done about it again, and done in a way that would go even farther than what was done before and do it in a way that wouldn’t allow it to just be ignored or swept under the rug,” he said, “so that was the original inspiration.”

“So I think that Mark Crutcher did groundbreaking work and I think that it was a great victory just for him to get the information out that he did,” Daleiden said. “But I think definitely you always want to learn from how something was done before and if, I wouldn’t say so much mistakes, but just areas where the enemy pushed back really hard and kind of what the best tactics of the enemy were, and wanting to make sure we could learn from the past and have a way to neutralize those in the future.”

He added that as well as learning about “the best tactics of the enemy,” he decided to focus on Planned Parenthood “so that nobody could deny that this was a Planned Parenthood problem and so Planned Parenthood would have to be held to account for their actions.”

Cheryl Sullenger, a top official at Operation Rescue, another extreme anti-choice group that Daleiden turned to for help, has said that Daleiden came into the project sharing “our vision for obtaining criminal prosecutions” of Planned Parenthood officials in order to “bring an end” to “the abortion industry in America.”

Six states have so far closed investigations into Daleiden’s claims, finding no wrongdoing by Planned Parenthood.

Planned Parenthood Attackers Slam Group For Ending Fetal Tissue Reimbursements They Criticized

Over the summer, anti-choice activists began accusing Planned Parenthood of illegally profiting off the fetal tissue that a handful of its clinics allow women to donate to medical research. Although only one percent of Planned Parenthood’s clinics currently even offer that option, the women’s health provider’s critics have spent months baselessly claiming that the organization is profiting off the practice.

Those claims have not held up to scrutiny and last week Planned Parenthood announced that its two remaining clinics that legally accept reimbursement for fetal tissue donation will no longer do so in order to completely dispel the rumor that the organization is profiting off donations for medical research.

But, of course, with anti-choice activists Planned Parenthood just can’t win. After the anti-abortion movement spent months claiming that Planned Parenthood’s acceptance of reimbursements for fetal tissue was a big money-making scheme, one Religious Right group is now claiming that the organization’s decision to stop accepting those reimbursements is an even bigger money-making scheme.

In its weekly email newsletter on Friday, the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission acknowledged that Planned Parenthood could never have made much money from tissue donation even if it was breaking the law and alleged that the organization is now absorbing all the costs of tissue donation because “they can make even more money by not accepting direct reimbursements.”

PP believes that by giving up the reimbursements, they can win a PR victory by convincing the public that this was merely an indirect attack on abortion rights.

The second, unstated, reason is likely that PP knows they can make even more money by not accepting direct reimbursements. Less than 1 percent of PP’s clinics earn any money by being compensated for fetal tissue donations. But now PP can solicit funding from 100 percent of their donor base to cover the cost of the fetal remains they provide to researchers.

It not surely no coincidence that PP announced the policy just before they begin their fundraising campaign for end-of-year donations. By overhyping their role in fetal tissue research—what they call “this limited but important work”—they will convince their donor base that they have made a noble sacrifice that will require compensation. Overall, PP is likely to make much more money from pro-abortion advocates by fundraising off this issue than they ever made in direct compensation from actual fetal tissue donations.

Right-Wing Activists Claim DOJ Domestic Terrorism Chief Will Target Veterans And Conservatives

Earlier this week, the Justice Department announced the creation of a new position for a “domestic terrorism counsel” to fight homegrown extremism, which DOJ national security head John Carlin said could be “motivated by any viewpoint on the full spectrum of hate — anti-government views, racism, bigotry, anarchy and other despicable beliefs” because “when it comes to hate and intolerance, no single ideology governs."

So, naturally, WorldNetDaily reported on the story today with the headline “New Obama Czar Will Hunt ‘Right-Wing’ Extremists” and interviewed a pair of right-wing activists who warned that it is all a plot to “target” and “intimidate” political opponents in the “old Soviet model.”

Judicial Watch’s Tom Fitton told WND that the new position will “become the vehicle through which the Justice Department can target those who oppose the Obama agenda,” adding, “If a totalitarian leftist had to write a description for a government operation to suppress his enemies, this would be it.”

The Rutherford institute’s John Whitehead, meanwhile, warned that the DOJ will use the new position to go after gun owners, veterans, “abortion activists, tea-party activists [and] constitutionalists.”

Somehow, this reaction does not surprise us. After all, when the Department of Homeland Security released a report on domestic right-wing terrorism back in 2009, right-wing groups raised a stink, leading to the “gutting” of the DHS unit investigating such attacks.

As the Obama administration comes down to its final months in office, look for more brazen, racially charged steps that target law-abiding American citizens who express political views that don’t line up with those of the administration, Fitton said.

“This is going to become the vehicle through which the Justice Department can target those who oppose the Obama agenda,” he said. “This is a solution in search of a problem.”

“The fantasy of right-wing extremists trying to overthrow the government has always been a liberal fantasy,” Fitton said. “They write books off it. They make movies off it and raise money off it. Now they’re endorsing it as reality, and it’s truly frightening.”

By shifting resources away from international terrorist organizations and putting them into a new focus on domestic lone-wolf “extremists,” the Obama administration is sending a message to its enemies, Fitton said.

“The term ‘anti-government views’ ranges from Bernie Sanders to Donald Trump, in my estimation. When they talk about ‘racist views,’ are they talking about La Raza (The Race), or are they talking about people opposed to the immigration crisis at our border?”

“This is a leftist fantasy,” he continued. “If a totalitarian leftist had to write a description for a government operation to suppress his enemies, this would be it.”


..

“Anybody with a gun now, in my opinion, is an extremist, at least as viewed by this government,” Whitehead said. “You’re going to be watched. Be careful what you say on Facebook. The wrong kind of joke will put you on the extremist list, because the government agents – I will tell you this – they do not have a sense of humor.”

If you want to see the future of law enforcement, watch the film “Minority Report,” a drama about “pre-crime” fighting police engaged 24/7 with a population addicted to social media and the Internet, Whitehead said.

“They’re already saying ‘we’re going against violent extremists,’ but who are they?” Whitehead said. “Well automatically under the Obama administration you are an extremist if you own a gun.”

“So we’re dealing with an entity that has no idea about representative government. They’ve made up their mind who constitutes an extremist, and an extremist is a terrorist, an enemy of the state,” Whitehead said. “Veterans are already on the list, as are abortion activists, tea-party activists, constitutionalists. I know the vets are because we have them calling us every day.

“These are all things that should be debated openly, but now you’re having cities moving into U.N. programs, police being federalized and internationalized and now targeting their own people as enemies of the state,” he added. “I’m a student of history, and I see us repeating history. We’re following the Chinese model, which is basically the old Soviet model.”

Rand Paul Warns Sanders Presidency Could Lead To 'Mass Genocide'

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., joined South Carolina radio host Vince Coakley yesterday to discuss the first Democratic presidential debate, where he said the candidates were “all trying to outdo each other in their disdain for the economic system of capitalism that made us great.”

The Republican presidential candidate linked Sen. Bernie Sanders, a self-proclaimed democratic socialist in the mold of Northern European countries, to the murderous communist regimes of Stalin, Mao and Pol Pot, saying that “most of the times when socialism has been tried” there “has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it.”

“It amazes me and it actually kind of scares me,” Paul said. “I’ve been spending more time going after Bernie and socialism because I don’t want America to succumb to the notion that there’s anything good about socialism. I think it’s not an accident of history that most of the times when socialism has been tried that attendant with that has been mass genocide of people or any of those who object to it. Stalin killed tens of millions of people. Mao killed tens of millions of people. Pol Pot killed tens of millions of people. When you have a command economy, when everything is dictated from one authority, that’s socialism, but it doesn’t come easily to those who resist it.”

Whatever one might think of Sanders’ political ideology, there is a vast gulf between the kind of socialist policies he is discussing and the total economic and social control imposed by communist dictatorships.

Trump: My Health Plan Isn't Socialized Medicine Because 'I Don't Put A Label On It'

Republican presidential frontrunner Donald Trump, who previously endorsed single-payer universal health care but has since retreated to vague and bombastic descriptions of a “terrific” replacement for Obamacare, is planning on releasing a more detailed health care plan soon and joined Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway yesterday to discuss it.

Trump’s description of his plan lacked details, but, of course, centered on the great “deals” that he would cut with health care providers, meaning that most people would choose private insurance because they would have a “great plan” and everybody else would go to hospitals for care “because you make a deal with these hospitals so they can’t rip off the country.”

“We can make a deal with hospitals where the people who can’t buy their plan — which will not be that much because everyone’s going to want to be private, everybody’s going to want to buy these plans — but we can make a deal where we take care of people with hospitals,” he said.

Trump repeatedly defended the necessity of universal health care, saying, “I don’t want to see people dying in the streets,” but insisted that what he was advocating was not “socialized medicine” because “I don’t put a label on it.”

“I keep talking about the Republicans, they have heart, but some people would [say], oh, is this socialized medicine?” he said. “It’s just, it’s not, I don’t put a label on it.”

Peter LaBarbera Furious At Evangelical Leader For Acknowledging That Homosexuality Exists

Al Mohler, an influential Southern Baptist leader and president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, is releasing a new book this month that urges conservative Christians to boycott gay people’s weddings — including their own children’s — lest they signal “moral approval” of the marriage. But at the same time, Mohler is under attack from some on the Religious Right for being not harsh enough on LGBT issues because he recently criticized “ex-gay” therapy, saying that many people will face a “lifelong battle” with “these patterns of sin” rather than being easily changed.

Among those slamming Mohler is Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, who told Janet Mefferd last week that Mohler was leading a “retreat” in the culture war because he suggested that sexual orientations are something that exist.

“Al Mohler has given credence to the idea of homosexual sexual orientation,” LaBarbera said. “And we know that sexual orientation is a political construct, it’s something that’s helped the homosexual movement advance. Because if people feel that people who struggle with homosexuality have a natural so-called orientation, they of course believe that they’re not really responsible for their behavior as much as they would be for any other sin. So, once again, we start treating this particular sin as a special sin needing all sorts of special terminology and semantics and caveats that are not biblical. And I think he’s starting to go down that route and it troubles me, because he’s probably regarded as the leading intellectual, one of them, in the evangelical Christian movement."

Kobach's Voting Restrictions Hitting Young, New Voters The Hardest

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is a leader of the GOP’s anti-immigrant and restrictive voting efforts, and has been trying out some of his most extreme ideas in his home state.

Kobach helped to push through one of the nation’s most restrictive voting laws, requiring people registering to vote to produce documentation of citizenship, such as a birth certificate. Because of this law, 36,000 people in Kansas have started voter registrations but not completed them, and now Kobach is purging that list of people who haven’t followed up to complete their registrations.

The New York Times today looked at the list of incomplete registrations in Kansas and found that a disproportionate number of people it affected were young and that the vast majority were new voters:

An analysis by The New York Times of the list of voters showed that more than half of them were under 35, and 20 percent were from 18 to 20 years old. Fifty-seven percent of the people on the list did not declare a party; 23 percent were Democrats; and 18 percent were Republicans. The vast majority — 90 percent — had never voted before.

“This disproportionately hits 18- to 24-year-olds,” said Jamie Shew, a Democrat and the county clerk for Douglas County, Kan. “For a lot of them, they say, ‘I’m not going to worry about it.’ They’re busy and this is just one more thing to do.”

Under the law, which was passed in 2011, registrants must prove citizenship by producing a document from an approved list, which includes birth certificates, passports and naturalization records. They may bring the document to a county clerk’s office or email a photo of it. Under Mr. Kobach’s new rule, if they fail to do so, they would be removed from the voters list after 90 days. Residents can try to register again even after being removed from the list.

The 36,000 people on the list represent about 2 percent of the state’s 1.7 million registered voters. The Wichita Eagle reported in September that more than 16 percent of people who have tried to register to vote since the law went into effect in January 2013 have been placed on the list.

Perkins: 'Emasculation Of Our Culture' Leading To Women In Military

On yesterday’s “Washington Watch” program, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin reacted to Army Secretary John McHugh’s recent statement that if “your objective is true and pure equality” in the military, then women will eventually be required to register for the draft.

Perkins and Boykin were, unsurprisingly, not too happy about this.

“Let me go on record, General,” Perkins said. “I like the difference between the sexes. I like the smell of perfume. Look, I’m fine with wearing cologne but I don’t want to smell some other cologne. I like perfume. I like the fact that there’s a difference between men and women. In western civilization for the longest, we have not only protected that but we’ve elevated in many ways the status of women in our society by treating them differently.”

“This is the natural progression as we’ve seen the emasculation of our culture. And that’s what’s really behind this, is to say there’s no difference between men and women,” he added.

Huckabee: Don't Take Syrian Refugees Just Because They're 'Not Living A Very Fancy Life'

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee falsely suggested that the U.S. is not thoroughly vetting the Syrian refugees it is accepting, saying that unlike Vietnamese refugees who were resettled in the U.S. after the Vietnam War, Syrians are merely seeking U.S. benefits because they are “not living a very fancy life.”

While it is true that non-Syrian migrants have attempted to join the refugees traveling to Europe, the U.S. is vetting Syrian refugees identified by the UN who are living in UN refugee camps.

The U.S. should not let Syrian refugees “get on a plane and send them to the United States and be in a culture that they’re totally unprepared for, and perhaps we’re unprepared for why they’re coming,” Huckabee said.

“This country is willing to take in people who are desperate,” he said. “I remember after the Vietnam War, Arkansas took in an enormous number of Vietnamese refugees. And guess what? Those folks worked their tails off, they learned English, their kids ended up becoming the valedictorians half the time. But that was because they wanted to come to America, they wanted freedom, and they decided that they wanted to be part of this great country. And they have certainly succeeded at that, owning businesses and prospering. But just to say that if somebody is not living a very fancy life and they’d like to come here because we’ve given them free benefits, no, we can’t do that.”

Mike Huckabee Shills For Hate Radio Network

American Family Radio, the radio network operated by the American Family Association, held a fundraising drive today during which AFA President Tim Wildmon called up Mike Huckabee to ask for his words of support.

The GOP presidential candidate hailed Wildmon’s media outlet for promoting the “voice of Christian America,” gushing that the network offers information that people “are not going to get on NPR.”

Of course, American Family Radio is the home of some of the most virulent radio commentators out there, including Bryan Fischer, who was so extreme and bigoted that he was denounced by the GOP’s last presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, for his “poisonous language.”

In the past, Huckabee has been a guest on Fischer’s show, “Focal Point,” where he suggested that President Obama’s youth was infused with anti-American and Islamic teachings. In a previous appearance on Wildmon’s program, the former Arkansas governor threatened to quit the Republican Party if it didn’t condemn gay marriage more passionately.

It would be odd if Huckabee wasn’t aware of all of the insane conspiracy theories and bigoted statements made by hosts such as Fischer, Wildmon and Sandy Rios, who anchors the network’s morning program.

Fischer alone has a long record of making racist statements against African Americans and American Indians, insisting that the government strip non-Christians of their First Amendment rights and make them convert them to Christianity and decrying gay people as demonic terrorists who are responsible for the Holocaust and should be banned from committing “homosexual behavior.”

He even trashed a Medal of Honor recipient, tied gay rights to ISIS and blamed the separation of church and state for school shootings. (Huckabee made a similar claim.)

Here’s just a sample of Fischer’s extremist rhetoric:

Rios, who hosts “Sandy Rios In The Morning” and also serves as the director of governmental affairs for the AFA, has vilified gay people as child molesterslinked gay rights to terrorist attackslashed out at Jewish Americans and pushed a variety of conspiracy theories.

Like Fischer and Rios, Wildmon has his own radical record, having decried environmentalist efforts as “anti-American” and “anti-Christian,” claiming that Obama’s re-election would lead to America’s destruction, attacking LGBT people as “vile,” “wicked” and “evil,” deriding the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling as a “spiritual 9/11” and calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies.

This is apparently the rhetoric that Huckabee believes is “the voice of Christian America” and one that Christians should eagerly support through their donations.

Rick Wiles: Persecution Of Kim Davis Leading To America's Destruction

Yesterday on "Trunews," Rick Wiles interviewed self-proclaimed prophet Mena Lee Grebin, which gave Wiles a chance to offer up his own predictions, even though he doesn't have the best track record.

Wiles declared that America is on the brink of destruction because its policymakers have embraced sin and persecuted people like Kim Davis. In retaliation, he said, God will send an "invading army" — possibly the "millions of Muslims" that President Obama "wants to bring into this country" — to conquer the U.S.

"We have institutionalized America's rebellion against God, it's now the law of the land and if you oppose it you are the criminal in this new paradigm," he said. "Now God's people are going to be punished for obeying God, as we saw with Kim Davis and we're going to see with a lot of people who are going to stand up and say, 'I will not disobey God,' and then they're going to say, 'Then you're going to go to prison, you're going to lose your job, you're going to lose your business.'"

Wiles added that eventually "there will be an invading army that will spew these people out of this land, this country will cease to exist as it has been for 300 years, there will be another race of people here, living in our houses, using our resources, dwelling in our cities, there will be another race of people here."

Ted Cruz Once Again Twists The Facts About Planned Parenthood

Yesterday, Planned Parenthood released a statement saying that of its three clinics that currently participate in fetal tissue research programs, the two clinics that accept reimbursements for expenses related to the donation of such tissue will cover their own costs from now on. Federal law already permits reimbursements to cover donation expenses and no investigation has ever found Planned Parenthood to be in violation of that law.

However, Sen. Ted Cruz has taken Planned Parenthood's statement as an admission of guilt that it was breaking the law, which shows that he either doesn't know the law or is willfully misrepresenting it to voters.

The Texas Republican told Newsmax host Ed Berliner yesterday that he is "glad that they've announced to stop committing federal felonies," insisting that Planned Parenthood was "caught on film repeatedly violating federal law, essentially admitting to a pattern of felonies." He then repeated his pledge to immediately launch a Justice Department investigation into the organization once elected president.

Rick Wiles: Obama Is 'The Most Racist Man Ever To Occupy The White House'

On Monday, "Trunews" host Rick Wiles sounded off against President Obama's Columbus Day proclamation, incensed that the president would dare mention how Columbus' expedition affected American Indians.

"The reason Barack Obama can't celebrate Columbus Day as a normal, patriotic American citizen," Wiles reasoned, is because "Christopher Columbus was a white, European, Italian. Mr. Obama is a racist. He is the most racist man ever to occupy the White House."

Wiles went on to claim that Obama also dislikes Columbus due to the explorer's Christian faith and "because Columbus knew that America would play a role in the war with Islam in the Last Days, and Mr. Obama is a Muslim jihadist. Mr. Obama is carrying out jihad against America."

Animated Video Wins $1,000 Cash in Contest to Get Big Money Out of Politics

Video with Splashy Animated Graphics from Student in Pittsburgh Is Seventh Weekly Prize Winner in Democracy For All Video Challenge

$57,000 in Cash Prizes Still Available With New Winners Announced Weekly

Today Say No to Big Money and People For the American Way announced the seventh of 14 weekly winners in a new contest tapping into the creative potential of Americans of all political stripes through short videos in support of a constitutional amendment to get big money out of politics.

This week’s winner of the $64,000 Democracy For All Video Challenge is an animated video from a student based in Pittsburgh that highlights the need for a constitutional amendment to reform our campaign finance system so other pressing matters can be solved.  The short video mixes animation and music with a written script on screen.  The video explains: “We cannot solve the urgent problems of our time from catastrophic climate change to historic economic inequality without a government that works for the people…The time for change is now. A healthy democracy needs all of our voices.”

Click here to see End Corruption, Restore Democracy: http://www.democracyforall.com/entries/end-corruption-restore-democracy/

Previous contest winners include videos tying a lack of campaign finance regulations to student loan debt and the excessive political influence of the chemical industry.  Last week’s winner was a video honoring the improbable flight of Florida postman Doug Hughes – who flew a gyrocopter onto the US Capitol in April in order to bring awareness to the need to fix our country’s broken campaign finance system.

From its August launch through December 2, contest entrants can submit a 30-90 second video that includes a call-to-action in support of the Democracy For All Amendment for a chance to win thousands of dollars in prize money, including a $25,000 grand prize. Supporters of an amendment to fix the nation’s campaign finance system have already submitted a diverse array of entries. 



“This video captures the urgency of the reforming our broken campaign finance laws in a way that is concise, engaging and ultimately uplifting,” said Jeff Haggin, president of Say No to Big Money.

“I believe we need nothing short of a mass movement of civil resistance to get money out of politics, and I saw this video contest as another way to build that movement,” added winner Kyle Amsler. “I know that accessible, quality education and healthcare services are blocked by corporate interests in this country due to their ability to influence and ultimately corrupt our government for their own personal and business gain. That is fundamentally wrong and I intend to fight it.”

Click here to see more about the contest and additional entries: http://democracyforall.com/



The Democracy For All Amendment is a proposal being considered by Congress, currently with 138 cosponsors in the House and 41 supporters in the Senate, that would overturn decisions like Citizens United, the 2010 Supreme Court case that paved the way for unlimited political spending by corporations and the super wealthy. 



Say No to Big Money, the official sponsor of the contest, and People For the American Way are partnering with Act.TV, Agenda Project, American Family Voices, Coalition to Restore Democracy, Coffee Party USA, Courage Campaign, Common Cause, Free Speech For People, National Priorities Project, PF Pictures, People’s Email Network, Public Citizen, and US PIRG in this effort, with the support of more than 140 other organizations. 

Full contest details and rules are available at www.DemocracyForAll.com.

PFAW Executive Vice President Marge Baker and Say No to Big Money President Jeff Haggin are available to speak with press. To arrange an interview, please contact Alec Saslow at Alec@FitzGibbonmedia.com or 720-319-4948.

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Rafael Cruz Joining Anti-Gay World Congress of Families At Utah Conference

Rafael Cruz, the father and presidential campaign surrogate of Sen. Ted Cruz, will be speaking at this month’s World Congress of Families (WCF) event in Salt Lake City, according to what appears to be a recent addition to the event’s schedule. Cruz will be speaking alongside WCF founder Allan Carlson and Mark Regnerus, a sociologist whose discredited research on gay parents has been used to fight LGBT rights throughout the world: 

The WCF has caused controversy in recent years for its support of anti-gay and anti-reproductive-rights policies throughout the world, particularly its cheerleading for Russia’s crackdown on its LGBT citizens. The last WCF was scheduled to take place at the Kremlin in Moscow last year, with the financial support of a number of top allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin. WCF cancelled its participation in the event amid U.S. sanctions, but the event went ahead as planned, featuring a number of prominent Religious Right activists and with WCF officials attending in their personal capacities.

Anti-LGBT activism is only part of WCF’s mission to promote the “natural family,” a concept laid out in a manifesto by the event’s founder, Allan Carlson of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society. As we explained last month, Carlson’s concept of the “natural family” is one that excludes not only LGBT people but also full rights for women:

The World Congress of Families exists to promote what Carlson calls the “ natural family” — something that does not include LGBT people, reproductive rights or, often, women working outside the home.

In their “Natural Family: A Manifesto,” Carlson and Paul Mero, then the president of the Sutherland Institute, which is hosting next month’s event in Utah, laid out their vision of a world full of homes “open to a quiver of children,” with “young women growing into wives, homemakers, and mothers” and “young men growing into husbands, homebuilders, and fathers.” They call for “more babies and larger families” to counter the “war on human fertility”; gay marriage bans and tight divorce restrictions to “end the war of the sexual hedonists on marriage”; and the abolition of “state programs that indoctrinate children … youth, and adults into the contraceptive mentality.”

“We will craft schooling that gives positive images of chastity, marriage, fidelity, motherhood, fatherhood, husbandry, and housewifery. We will end the corruption of children through state ‘sex education’ programs,” they add.

Linda Harvey: LGBT Community Must Apologize To Children And Christians

Mission America's Linda Harvey is furious at Southern Baptist Convention official Rev. Al Mohler for his recent remark that the "Christian church has sinned against the LGBT community” by approaching LGBT issues “in a superficial way.”

As Harvey put it in her WorldNetDaily column today, "The self-labeled 'LGBT community' as a lobby does not deserve the apologies of the Christian church. Instead, this revolutionary collective needs to apologize to Christians, to families and to America for dragging us into a sewer and manipulating believers to go there with them."

She added that the LGBT community must also apologize for marriage equality and pride parades, especially to children.

The self-labeled “LGBT community” as a lobby does not deserve the apologies of the Christian church. Instead, this revolutionary collective needs to apologize to Christians, to families and to America for dragging us into a sewer and manipulating believers to go there with them.

We deserve an apology for the sin of homosexual pride parades. We deserve an apology for demanding the framework of marriage be re-made in your image, instead of the structure designed by God.

Our children deserve an apology for the millstone-worthy offense of being led into sin, being taught the lie that people are born to engage in sodomy or to amputate healthy body parts. The resulting corruption of untold numbers of children can only be surmised.

An apology needs to come from the Human Rights Campaign, Fairness Louisville, GLAAD, NGLTF and many other groups. Their leaders are in serious spiritual danger unless they repent.
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