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Why November 8, 2016 is Judgment Day for the Supreme Court -- and Our Rights

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

What would have happened if a President McCain had appointed conservatives to the Supreme Court, instead of Justices Sotomayor and Kagan, before the Court ruled on marriage equality in the Obergefell case? And what if a President Kerry had filled the seats that Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito took before the Court decided theCitizens United campaign finance case? Clearly both those rulings would have come out very differently, with enormous consequences for all Americans. As we approach the tenth anniversary of the Roberts-Alito Court and as the 2016 elections get more and more attention, these examples and many more should alert us that Election Day 2016 is truly judgment day for the Supreme Court and for Americans’ rights and liberties. 

Today, People For the American Way released a comprehensive report, Judgment Day 2016, which looks at pivotal Court decisions since Roberts and Alito joined the Court that were decided by a single vote. Many have seriously harmed the rights of ordinary Americans and promoted the interests of powerful corporations. Examples include Citizens United, the ruling striking down a key part of the Voting Rights Act inShelby County v. Holder, the decision allowing corporations to claim religion and  deny contraceptive coverage to women in Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, and the holding reinterpreting the Second Amendment and severely limiting efforts to limit gun violence in District of Columbia v. Heller. All these and many other decisions could be overruled or limited if a progressive justice replaces just one conservative on the Court, significantly blunting the right-wing judicial assault on a broad array of our rights and liberties.

But there have also been many critical 5-4 decisions over the past ten years where the Court’s  moderate justices, usually joined by Justice Kennedy, have succeeded in protecting Americans’  rights and liberties. In addition to Obergefell, which found a constitutional right to marriage equality, examples include Massachusetts v. EPA, where the Court upheld EPA authority to regulate greenhouse gases; Alabama Democratic Conference v. Alabama, which invalidated a state redistricting scheme that used race to harm minority voters; and Boumediene v. Bush, which narrowly ruled that prisoners detained at Guantanamo can challenge their detention through habeas corpus petitions. All these and many other rulings could be overturned or limited if a right-wing justice replaces just one of the moderates on the Court. A Supreme Court with a far-right supermajority would put more and more of our rights at risk.

Why is this particularly important now? During the first term of whoever is elected President in 2016, four Supreme Court justices - including extreme conservative Antonin Scalia, conservative swing vote Anthony Kennedy, and moderates Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer - will be over 80 years old. Given that the average retirement age for justices since 1971 is 78, the odds are overwhelming that the President elected next year will be able to nominate one or more justices who could produce a critical shift in the Court’s ideological balance.

Leading presidential candidates from both parties have already recognized the importance of future Supreme Court appointments and made clear their intent to nominate justices in accord with their views on crucial constitutional issues. In criticizing the Court’s recent 5-4 decision in Obergefell striking down discriminatory marriage bans, for example, Republican candidates Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio pledged to appoint to the Court “people with a proven record of judicial restraint” and “justices committed to applying the Constitution as written and originally understood,” in the hope of undermining or reversing the Court’s decision. On the other hand, in criticizing the Court’s 5-4 decisions striking down federal campaign finance law in Citizens United and part of the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County, Hillary Clinton pledged to “do everything I can to appoint Supreme Court justices who protect the right to vote and do not protect the right of billionaires to buy elections.”

PFAW’s report carefully reviews 5-4 decisions in eleven key areas where the next President and Supreme Court justice could make such a crucial difference to all Americans. These include money in politics; civil and voting rights (including immigration); LGBT rights; reproductive freedom and women’s rights; workplace fairness; protecting the environment; religious liberty; gun violence; marketplace and consumer fairness; access to justice; and protection against government abuse. In addition to past 5-4 rulings in these areas that could be limited or overruled, the Court is quite likely to be deciding cases on these and other key subjects in the years to come.

 Conservatives clearly understand the crucial importance of the Court and the next election in all these areas, with one far right activist noting that “we cannot overstate the importance of the Supreme Court in the next election.” In fact, her group - the Judicial Crisis Network - recently launched an ad campaign criticizing Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Kennedy as not conservative enough,  and demanding that Republican candidates pledge to appoint even more conservative justices. The group noted that Court decisions affect “every aspect of our lives today” and that “the next President could appoint a new majority to last a generation.” Hopefully, statements like that will help all Americans to pay close attention to the Supreme Court in the 2016 election and to recognize that November 8, 2016 truly is judgment day.

PFAW

Mike Huckabee: America Will Not Survive Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Mike Huckabee spoke to Trinity Baptist Church’s “Calling America Back to God Rally” in Van Wyck, South Carolina. Huckabee claimed that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was illegitimate, saying that the court “cannot overturn God when it comes to the definition of what marriage is.”

“They can no more redefine the purpose of marriage then they can redefine the laws of gravity and say that we can all go floating everywhere we go and don’t need to take cars anymore,” he quipped.

Later in his remarks, Huckabee addressed Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis’ legal battle, defending her for preventing county clerks from issuing marriage licenses to eligible couples. “I think we put the wrong Democratic woman in jail,” he said. (Davis has since become a Republican).

Huckabee said that Americans have “rebelled against a holy God” and tried “to rewrite the word of God to make it tune to our lifestyle.”

“We cannot possibly survive if we defy any standard that God has given to us,” he said, before calling for a “spiritual revival” that would cause God to “give us the political reformation that we need.”

When Donald Trump 'Waged War' On Christmas

Donald Trump offered up his typical word salad to the Values Voter Summit today, but this time while hoisting his Bible in the air and claiming that it is “the reason” that he is leading among evangelical voters in Iowa and declaring that it is “the key” to saving America.

One of the threats to America, Trump said, is the so-called War on Christmas.

“The word ‘Christmas.’ I love Christmas," he said. "I love Christmas. You go to stores, you don’t see the word ‘Christmas.’ It says ‘Happy Holidays’ all over. I say, 'Where’s Christmas?’ I tell my wife, ‘Don’t go to those stores. I want to see Christmas. I want to see Christmas.’ Other people can have their holidays but Christmas is Christmas. I want to see ‘Merry Christmas.’ Remember the expression ‘Merry Christmas’? You don’t see it anymore. You’re going to see it if I get elected, I can tell you right now.”

Of course, Trump himself has waged war on Christmas:

As has the Trump Hotel Collection:

But we are just glad that Trump is ready to take on the important issues of the day… like the War on Christmas.

Far-Right Gets Its Wish: Speaker Boehner Resigning From Congress

During the 2013 government shutdown fight, Rep. David Nunes, R-Calif., referred to the extremist members advocating a shutdown as “lemmings with suicide vests.” But the far-right flank, often called the “Suicide Caucus,” has only grown in power since then and has recently gained momentum in its push to remove John Boehner, who they say hasn't done enough to fight President Obama, from his position as speaker of the House.

The "Suicide Caucus" is particularly angry that the House Republican leadership approved an increase in the debt ceiling and hasn’t successfully defunded Planned Parenthood or the Affordable Care Act. Of course, there was little Boehner could do to accomplish any of these goals, since Republicans could not override an inevitable veto from the president or overcome opposition from Senate Democrats. But the “Suicide Caucus” doesn’t exactly function according to logic.

Many of the most radical members of Congress became more organized with the formation of the House Freedom Caucus, which The Economist described as a group dedicated to making “reckless and unrealistic” demands of Boehner, “consistent with their record of attempting wild, hapless heists against both Mr. Obama and the Republican leadership.”

With Boehner announcing his resignation today, it’s important to remember that the people who have spent years calling for Boehner’s ouster also represent the far-right flank of the party. As Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., put it, “this is a victory for the crazies.”

Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., who organized a failed attempt to topple Boehner earlier this year, blasted Boehner for leading a system that was reminiscent of “China, Cuba or any other communist country.” Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, for whom Boehner had some choice words after he ranted about the size of immigrants' calves, criticized Boehner for how he handled immigration issues, claiming that the speaker was “throwing tantrums” and “taking a shovel and digging himself into a hole a little bit deeper.” Like King, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, R-Kan., attacked Boehner’s leadership, claiming that he “surrendered to the left” and “let Pelosi and Reid run the House and the Senate.”

And, of course, the "Suicide Caucus" treats Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, as its leader, which Boehner doesn't exactly like.

The anti-Boehner caucus also got help from conservative talk radio. American Family Radio's Sandy Rios dubbed Boehner a “big liar,” AFR's Bryan Fischer compared him to Pontius Pilate and syndicated radio host Michael Savage referred to the speaker as a “deranged drunk.”

One of Boehner’s most vocal opponents was Glenn Beck, who told his listeners that they should consider themselves “done with the Republican Party” if Boehner won re-election to his post as speaker (which he did).

Beck’s choice to replace Boehner? None other than Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, the top conspiracy theorist of the House GOP.

After Gohmert tried, and failed, to win the speakership earlier this year, he explained that Americans would only turn to him to be speaker in a time of war or a similar crisis, when everyone would realize that he was the right choice all along. “The only way a guy like me could ever get elected to be speaker would be is if we were during a time of all-out war and people had figured, ‘Wow, Louie’s been right all along and maybe we should give him a chance,’” he said. “That’s the only — we’re not going to elect me in a time of undeclared war and I know that and I understood that.”

But who could better reflect the Republican Party’s decline into a hotbed of radicalism and conspiracy theories than Gohmert?

Boehner Tried to Lead the Party of Reagan, Got Fired by the Party of Trump

In response to Speaker John Boehner’s announcement of his resignation next month, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan issued the following statement:

“John Boehner’s resignation should put any doubts to rest that the inmates are running the asylum in today’s GOP. Throughout his career, John Boehner has been radically anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-worker and anti-regulation. At his party’s behest, he’s spent his time as Speaker taking dozens of votes to repeal Obamacare, launching frivolous lawsuits against the President, slashing the social safety net and blocking efforts at meaningful immigration reform. The fact that he’s resigning in order to avoid a coup precipitated by the idea that he’s ‘too moderate’ would be funny if it weren’t so frightening.

“Ultimately, it’s clear that John Boehner’s greatest sin wasn’t that he was too moderate, but that he tried to be a grown-up in a party that demands petulance and temper tantrums as its agenda for governing. Boehner tried to lead the party of Reagan. He got fired by the party of Trump.”

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Rick Wiles Thinks Obama Stole The 2012 Election Because He Doesn't Know Anyone Who Voted For Him

End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles invited Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy In Media onto his “Trunews” program yesterday to discuss Ben Carson's remark that he would never support a Muslim candidate for president. Wiles and Kincaid said that the Republican presidential candidate didn't go far enough, wondering why Carson didn't assert that we already have a Muslim president in the White House.

A larger conspiracy, Wiles said, must be at work, which led him to imply that the same people who are covering up the truth about President Obama's Muslim faith are the very same ones who helped Obama steal the 2012 election. Wiles knows that Obama only defeated Mitt Romney by nefarious means because he, Wiles, doesn't personally know anyone who supported the president’s reelection. 

"Barack Obama was speaking to empty coliseums, empty auditoriums," Wiles said. "Mitt Romney was attracting these huge, enthusiastic crowds. It was obvious there was momentum for the Romney campaign. So on election night with suddenly Obama to win re-election it was very weird, it was strange, it was like, where are these Obama supporters? I never met anybody that was enthusiastic about re-electing Obama and suddenly he wins re-election."

Wiles said his gut feeling told him that Obama's re-election wasn't legitimate: "There was just that feeling on Election Night, something really strange and weird and evil and corrupt just happened tonight." 

Rafael Cruz: 'Appalling' That Houston Elected A Lesbian Mayor

Rafael Cruz believes that his son, Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is on a divinely inspired mission to overturn the city of Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance. The elder Cruz, who also serves as a campaign surrogate for his son’s campaign, is not just upset that Houston approved an ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, but is also furious that the city even elected an openly gay mayor.

In a speech earlier this month on behalf of the group working to repeal Houston’s ordinance, Cruz lit into the Supreme Court for striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, claiming that the court "had no jurisdiction to rule over marriage."

He said the court's decision on marriage, which he has blamed on Satan, should inspire more conservative Christians to run for higher office.

"It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor," Cruz said, referring to Annise Parker. He blamed the church's inability to stop a lesbian from winning elected office on the separation of church and state, which he called "a lie."

Supreme Court Nominations: An Issue Affecting All Other Issues, in 2016 and Beyond

In the past decade, scores of Supreme Court decisions addressing some of the most fundamental questions in our country have hinged on the vote of a single Supreme Court justice. Who can marry? Can everyone access the ballot box? Can women be denied reproductive health care? Can corporations flood elections with money?

In past 5-4 decisions on questions like these, from Citizens United to Hobby Lobby to Obergefell, the impact of each presidential Supreme Court nomination on our rights and liberties is clear. And for future decisions, Election Day 2016 – when Americans elect a president who will almost certainly be nominating one or more new justices – becomes a “judgment day” for our rights going forward.

A new PFAW report out today, “Judgment Day 2016,” looks at 80 5-4 decisions the Court has issued since Bush-nominees John Roberts and Samuel Alito joined the Court ten years ago in key areas like money and politics; civil and voting rights; LGBT rights; women’s rights; workplace fairness; protecting the environment, and more. On a range of issues, the report underscores what’s at stake when Americans vote next November.

As principal report author and PFAW Senior Fellow Elliot Mincberg put it:

In the 2016 election, the Supreme Court is on the ballot…Our next president may very well be nominating three or more Supreme Court justices who could tip the balance in critically important cases.

You can read the report here.

PFAW

Seven Times Conservatives Have Admitted They Don't Want People To Vote

Earlier this week, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said that he didn’t want “stupid” people — i.e. people who won’t vote for him — to vote at all. Then a Republican state representative in Florida was caught suggesting that the party beat Rep. Corrine Brown by redrawing her African-American-majority district to include a large population of prisoners, who are not allowed to vote in Florida.

These are just two of the instances of Republican lawmakers admitting that their electoral strategy hinges not just on winning votes, but on suppressing the votes of people who they think will oppose them.

Paul Weyrich

More than 30 years ago, an influential conservative leader explained why his movement shouldn’t “want everybody to vote.”

Paul Weyrich, an operative considered to be the “founding father of the conservative movement” because of his hand in founding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), the Heritage Foundation, Moral Majority, the Council for National Policy and other influential conservative groups, laid out the GOP’s voter suppression strategy in a 1980 speech in Dallas.

"I don't want everybody to vote,” he said. “Elections are not won by a majority of people. They never have been from the beginning of our country, and they are not now. As a matter of fact our leverage in the elections quite candidly goes up as the voting populace goes down."

Phyllis Schlafly

In 2013, North Carolina lawmakers pushed through a package of voter suppression bills , including restrictions on early voting, something that many African American voters had taken advantage of the previous year.

Conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly rejoiced in the news , saying that the early voting restrictions were “particularly important” because early voting had tended to help Democrats:

The reduction in the number of days allowed for early voting is particularly important because early voting plays a major role in Obama’s ground game. The Democrats carried most states that allow many days of early voting, and Obama’s national field director admitted, shortly before last year’s election, that “early voting is giving us a solid lead in the battleground states that will decide this election.”

Franklin County, Ohio, GOP

In 2012, Republican officials in Ohio repeatedly attempted to cut back early voting hours , fighting off legal challenges from President Obama’s reelection campaign.

Doug Preisse, the chairman of the Franklin County Republican Party (whose area includes the city of Columbus), put his party’s case frankly in an email to the Columbus Dispatch:

I guess I really actually feel we shouldn’t contort the voting process to accommodate the urban — read African-American — voter turnout machine.

Mike Turzai

Before the 2012 presidential election, Pennsylvania Republican House Leader Mike Turzai declared that a new voter identification law would “allow Governor Romney to win the state of Pennsylvania, done.”

Greg Abbott

In 2013, then-Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott — who has since become the state’s governor – responded to the Justice Department’s accusation that recent redistricting had discriminated against minorities by explaining that the goal was just to discriminate against Democrats and “effects on minority voters” were merely “incidental”:

DOJ’s accusations of racial discrimination are baseless. In 2011, both houses of the Texas Legislature were controlled by large Republican majorities, and their redistricting decisions were designed to increase the Republican Party’s electoral prospects at the expense of the Democrats. It is perfectly constitutional for a Republican-controlled legislature to make partisan districting decisions, even if there are incidental effects on minority voters who support Democratic candidates.

Gohmert: Confirming Gay Army Secretary Will Make Muslims Think We Approve Child Sex Abuse

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, urged the Senate to block President Obama's nominee for Secretary of the Army, Eric Fanning, because having an openly gay Army secretary may send the message that the U.S. condones the sexual abuse of children.

In an interview with Gohmert yesterday on his “Washington Watch” radio program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that the Senate should refuse to confirm a new Army secretary following a New York Times report alleging that U.S. officials in Afghanistan told service members to look the other way on cases of sex abuse among allied Afghan fighters. Perkins said that the Senate should tell the president that "we are not going to confirm your nominee, especially this guy."

"What do you think they will think,” Gohmert wondered, “when they hear that not only did we tolerate what was being done to their boys by people under our authority but we turn around and approve a Secretary of the Army that they as moderate Muslims believe is just an atrocious thing? They're going to think that that is quite consistent with us approving of what was going on between the older men in authority and these boys."

He added: "This is not a good move, but the president's priority has not been the lives of our military."

Mike Huckabee: Obama Wears 'Costumes' In Other Countries Yet Allows Gay People To See Pope Francis

Mike Huckabee continued his campaign of outrage against President Obama for daring to include pro-gay-rights and pro-choice Christians among the thousands of people invited to a reception with Pope Francis this week, telling Newsmax TV yesterday that the president was “disrespectful” and “not being a very gracious host.”

Huckabee was galled that Obama invited these “dissidents” to “instruct the pope on what the doctrine of the church should be,” especially since, he claimed, Obama goes out of his way to accommodate other world leads by bowing to heads of state and even “will often take on robes and various costumes to fit into the local culture.”

Obama did in fact bow to the pope when he arrived in the U.S. yesterday, following a long line of U.S. presidents who have bowed when meeting foreign leaders.

Alex Jones: Pope's Plan To Fight Climate Change Will Leave One Billion People Dead

Alex Jones is not the biggest fan of Pope Francis, telling “InfoWars” viewers yesterday that the “slimebag” pope wants to destroy America’s borders, preserve the power of pedophiles, establish a “one world religion” and turn Americans into “abject slaves.”

He also expressed just a tiny amount of displeasure with Francis’ call for nations like the U.S. to commit to fighting climate change.

“If he gets his way, a billion people will starve to death in the next ten years,” Jones said. “I’m going to vomit.”

New PFAW Report Examines Supreme Court Nominations as a Critical 2016 Election Issue

WASHINGTON – With little over a year left before 2016 election, People For the American Way released a report today analyzing recent 5-4 decisions from the Supreme Court and the effect that new Justices could have on the Court’s direction. 

The report, “Judgment Day 2016: The Future of the Supreme Court as a Critical Issue in the 2016 Presidential Election,” examines more than 80 5-4 decisions the Court has issued since President George W. Bush pushed the nation’s highest court far rightward by putting John Roberts and Samuel Alito on the Supreme Court in 2005-6. In light of the narrow majorities in landmark decisions such as Obergefell v. Hodges (protecting the right of same-sex couples to marry), Citizens United v. FEC (finding that corporations have a right to make unlimited campaign expenditures), Burwell v. Hobby Lobby (finding that corporations can claim religious rights to exempt themselves from federal laws about contraceptive coverage), and Shelby County v. Holder (overturning a key section of the 1965 Voting Rights Act), the report highlights the fact that Election Day 2016 is  “Judgment Day” for the rights of all Americans going forward.

The report reviews and analyzes 5-4 court decisions in eleven key areas:

•        Money and politics
•        Civil and voting rights
•        LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) rights
•        Reproductive freedom and women’s rights
•        Workplace fairness
•        Protecting the environment
•        Religious liberty
•        Gun violence
•        Marketplace and consumer fairness
•        Access to justice
•        Protection against government abuse

“In the 2016 election, the Supreme Court is on the ballot,” said Elliot Mincberg, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, principal author of the Judgment Day 2016 report. “Closely-divided 5-4 Supreme Court rulings in recent years have wreaked havoc on Americans’ rights and, in some cases, only narrowly averted doing so. Our next president may very well be nominating three or more Supreme Court justices who could tip the balance in critically important cases. This report highlights what’s at stake for our rights when Americans cast their ballot next November.”

You can read the full report here.

Elliot Mincberg is available to speak with press. To arrange an interview, please reach out to Layne Amerikaner or Drew Courtney at media@pfaw.org.

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Judgment Day 2016: The Future of the Supreme Court as a Critical Issue in the 2016 Presidential Election

Of all the important issues at stake in the 2016 presidential election, one stands out for right-wing conservatives: the future of the Supreme Court. For the rights of all Americans, November 8, 2016, is truly judgment day.

Tony Perkins Agrees With Caller Worrying That Ahmed Mohamed Could Blow Up The White House

On Monday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council president and self-styled religious liberty champion Tony Perkins tried to make the case that Islam is not protected under the U.S. Constitution.

After insisting that Islam should not be considered a religion deserving of the same protections as Christianity, Perkins addressed the arrest of Texas teenager Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school.

Perkins said that President Obama’s supportive tweet about the case showed that the president is trying to “vilify authorities” while “trying to placate an ethnic group in this country that has been associated with terrorist activities.” (Among the many things wrong with this statement is the fact that Islam is not an ethnicity.)

“Often times, and I’m not saying that this is the case with Ahmed in Irving, Texas, I am just saying that this is how they operate, is that you will sometimes see terrorists come in and do a dry run to see where the security lapses are and what the responses are and they will just test the systems, again I’m not saying what happened here, but it could have been and you wouldn’t know unless you began asking questions and you began to investigate,” he later said.

A caller, Michael, then chimed in with various scenarios about the student, including one suggestion that Ahmed could actually have been plotting to get the White House invitation so he could then blow it up: “This child’s dad ran for the president of Sudan twice, and we know how Sudan is. Here in America, now we know that the radical Muslims, they’ll tie explosives to the kids, so what makes us think that they didn’t come do this? We’ve got a president that invites this child, and I’ve got nothing against this kid, the president invites him to our White House, now what if, let’s just say for example, what if this child is carrying a bomb? Is it still smart?”

“I agree one hundred percent with your analysis,” Perkins said.

Brigitte Gabriel: Refugee Crisis Part Of Obama's 'Plan' To 'Intermingle America'

Conservative pundit and short-lived Republican presidential candidate Dennis Michael Lynch guest-hosted Steve Malzberg’s Newsmax TV show yesterday, where he invited ACT! for America’s Brigitte Gabriel to discuss her efforts to keep the U.S. from resettling refugees from Syria’s civil war.

Gabriel, who will be speaking alongside several GOP presidential candidates at this week’s Values Voter Summit, claimed that Muslim refugees currently in the country “are not assimilating because they have a different value system,” which “will prevent them from assimilating no matter how long they stay in our country.”

“They are coming to your neighborhood,” she warned, “they are coming to your state, you need to know who’s coming and how many of them are coming and whether you can stop it.”

Lynch then asked Gabriel about his theory that President Obama is intentionally allowing ISIS to gain territory in order to cause a refugee crisis that will in turn “transform” America.

“He said he was going to fundamentally transform America,” Lynch said. “I’ve always believed he was going to do it through immigration. There is a part of me that believes he did not want to take out ISIS, he does not want to take out ISIS, because it creates an incredible refugee issue. … Do you think this is all part of his plan?”

“Yes it is,” Gabriel agreed, “and he is already partly changing America because that’s his values. He does not believe in American exceptionalism, he believes that America has to be on par with the rest of the world and therefore we are all one, and that’s why he wants to intermingle America, to have a population of every corner of the world, whether or not they are equal to us or not.”

Michael Savage: Gay Army Secretary Could Bring Child Abuse To Military

On Monday, conservative talk radio host Michael Savage decried President Obama’s decision to appoint Eric Fanning, an openly gay man, as Secretary of the Army, suggesting that Fanning’s appointment would lead to a “culture” of child abuse in the military.

Savage read from a recent New York Times report describing the disturbing allegations that the U.S. military ordered service members to overlook abuse of children by local Afghan soldiers who were fighting the Taliban, reportedly justifying letting the abuse continue by saying it was part of their Afghan allies’ “culture.”

“Well, maybe the whole culture of the Army soon, given Obama’s recent appointment,” Savage remarked.

Last week, Savage said that Obama’s nomination of Fanning proves that he is a “psychopath.”

Pat Buchanan Compares Kim Davis' Anti-Gay Stand To His Own Efforts To Stop Desegregation

In an interview with Newsmax TV yesterday, Pat Buchanan compared Kentucky county Kim Davis’ defiance of court orders to issue same-sex marriage licenses to his own efforts to convince President Nixon to defy a Supreme Court ruling on school desegregation.

Host Rick Ungar asked Buchanan to explain why he would oppose a devout Muslim becoming president out of fear that his or her religion would trump the Constitution, when Mike Huckabee and other GOP candidates frequently say that their Christian religion trumps U.S. law.

Buchanan responded that there were plenty of examples of people rightly following “natural law” rather than obeying the courts, such as protesters in the Civil Rights Movement. He added that his father, a devout Catholic, would likewise have disobeyed a law requiring him to provide “abortifacients and contraceptives to his employees.”

Buchanan added that he himself had advocated civil disobedience when he urged President Nixon to defy a 1971 Supreme Court decision that “called for district-wide desegregation and allowed for the use of busing to achieve integration.”

“I think that [Davis] did the right thing,” Buchanan said, “she defied the law and went to jail and paid the price, that’s the price of civil disobedience of an unjust law. But I do believe this. When I was in the Nixon White House, I urged the president to defy court orders mandating court-ordered busing from counties into cities, which were tearing apart cities and towns, defy the court and work with the Congress of the United States to really circumscribe the jurisdiction of the court under … Article III, Section II of the Constitution. In other words, it would be a constitutional confrontation, you’re exactly right. I don’t disagree with that, if you believe your position is correct.”

In a column last year, Buchanan similarly compared resistance to same-sex marriage to busing opponents’ efforts to nake “our black-robed radicals back down.”

Mike Huckabee Has The Most Absurd Reaction To Obama's Pope Francis Remarks

At a White House ceremony welcoming Pope Francis today, President Obama called out violence against Christians around the world and thanked Francis for speaking out about such persecution:

You remind us that people are only truly free when they can practice their faith freely. Here in the United States, we cherish religious liberty. Yet around the world at this very moment, children of God, including Christians, are targeted and even killed because of their faith. Believers are prevented from gathering at their places of worship. The faithful are imprisoned. Churches are destroyed. So we stand with you in defense of religious freedom and interfaith dialogue, knowing that people everywhere must be able to live out their faith free from fear and intimidation.

Mike Huckabee, however, took issue with Obama’s remarks… because of Kim Davis:

The Obama administration, of course, had nothing to do with Davis’ case, as Huckabee’s Vine implied.

But it revealed how the Religious Right thinks about “persecution.”

Davis’ detention by U.S. Marshals due to her continued refusal to let deputy clerks issue marriage licenses in defiance of a court order was seen by conservatives like Huckabee as part of the “criminalization of Christianity,” no different than actual violence perpetrated against Christians in parts of the Mideast or the imprisonment of Christians in countries like China.

Huckabee marked the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests last year by declaring that “China is becoming more like the United States used to be and the United States is becoming more like China used to be.” He has also claimed that pastors will soon face “criminal charges” for refusing to gay couples’ weddings and said that gay rights supporters won’t stop “until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel.”

“We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity,” he often states.

“We’re seeing, certainly at the national level, internally, this battle on marriage, but globally what we’re seeing is that there is an assault on the Christian faith in general,” Huckabee said in response to a pastor who likened gay marriage activists to ISIS members during a conference call earlier this year.

Huckabee isn’t the only one making such dramatic claims about anti-Christian persecution in America.

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council compared Davis to a woman who was imprisoned in Sudan for converting to Christianity and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who also led Davis’ unsuccessful legal battle, likened Davis to Jewish victims of the Holocaust.

Davis, who was trying to impose her own religious views on others, is not a victim of religious persecution, but that won’t prevent politicians like Huckabee from using her case to whip up claims that American Christians, just like Christians in China or the self-styled Islamic State, are facing oppression from the government.

Donald Trump Heading To Extremist Religious Right Summit

It appears that Donald Trump is stepping up his outreach to the Religious Right, as the Family Research Council today confirmed that the Republican frontrunner will be attending its annual conference, which has become something of a cattle-call for the most radical speakers in the country.

The chief organizer of the Values Voter Summit, FRC’s Tony Perkins, criticized Trump when the candidate initially declined an invitation to the summit, claiming that Trump was neglecting conservative evangelicals and wasn’t trying to “talk about issues they care about” in “a way that is convincing.”

But given that the Values Voter Summit has traditionally been an event at which speakers are wildly cheered for delivering bigoted remarks and self-righteous tirades, Trump will probably fit right in.

Indeed, Trump has embraced the Right’s “persecution complex,” decrying the “War on Christmas” and warning that “before you know it, you won’t be able to go to church.”

He also expounded on his feelings about God during an interview on the Christian Broadcasting Network today:

Well I say God is the ultimate. You know you look at this? Here we are on the Pacific Ocean. How did I ever own this? I bought it fifteen years ago. I made one of the great deals they say ever. I have no more mortgage on it as I will certify and represent to you. And I was able to buy this and make a great deal. That’s what I want to do for the country. Make great deals. We have to, we have to bring it back, but God is the ultimate. I mean God created this (points to his golf course and nature surrounding it), and here’s the Pacific Ocean right behind us. So nobody, no thing, no there’s nothing like God.
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