On Monday, President Obama publicly urged the Federal Communications Commission to adopt strong rules preserving net neutrality, the principle that internet service providers must treat all data equally.
Obama’s comments placed a previously fairly niche technical issue right into the middle of the national political debate, forcing commentators to take a side on something many of them did not seem to understand. But luckily, many conservative politicians and pundits have an easy way of deciding where to stand on an issue: if Obama is for it, it will destroy America and they are against it!
1. Ted Cruz
Sen. Ted Cruz got the right-wing net neutrality pile-on started with a tweet calling the proposal “Obamacare for the Internet."
"Net Neutrality" is Obamacare for the Internet; the Internet should not operate at the speed of government.
It didn’t really make sense, but as Matt Yglesias notes, that wasn’t the point: “What, if anything, that phrase means is difficult to say. But its political significance is easy to grasp. All true conservatives hate Obamacare, so if net neutrality is Obamacare for the internet, all true conservatives should rally against it.”
2. Bryan Fischer
As soon as Cruz spoke out, his far-right acolytes seem to have felt obligated to follow. On his radio program on Monday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer struggled to grasp the proposal that he was definitely against, claiming that it would ban internet providers from charging customers more for faster service — something that already happens and that has nothing to do with net neutrality.
3. Glenn Beck
Glenn Beck is outraged that President Obama wants to end “the freedom of the internet” and ruin something that’s “working pretty well” because “the government is not involved in it at all.” Apparently unaware that current FCC regulations allow his online network, The Blaze, to stream on an open internet, Beck claimed that regulations preserving net neutrality would end this supposedly government-free system in which he operates his business.
Beck’s cohost Pat Gray accidentally debunked his own point by comparing Internet regulation to the interstate highway system, which he seems to also think remains open and accessible because it’s free from government interference.
The Tea Party group FreedomWorks got into the game yesterday with a video “clearing up” net neutrality for its supporters.
“Supporters of the plan call it a [uses finger quotes] ‘free and open Internet’ but in reality it’s anything but,” says Somberg. “What net neutrality does is force providers to treat all Web content equally — the same speeds, the same prices, the same access.”
This is simply untrue.
Net neutrality merely says that ISPs can’t slow down, block, or prioritize any content. It doesn’t mean that everything gets treated with the same speed — just that an ISP does nothing to impede or boost any particular content company’s speed. So if it’s fast coming in from the company, it should be fast going out to the end-user. And if the host is slow, then it remains slow.
5. Alex Jones
Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones added his own special twist to the net neutrality debate, claiming that it is a “high tech version of what the Soviets and the Nazis and the Chinese Communists and Fidel Castro and every other nut ball did.”
Bonus: David Barton
While net neutrality might have just recently crossed the radar of many right-wing commentators, make-believe historian David Barton has been beating the anti-net-neutrality drum for years. In 2011, Barton called net neutrality “socialism on the internet” and “redistribution of wealth through the internet” and insisted that it is "wicked stuff" that goes against the dictates of the Bible and the Founding Fathers.
This launched Barton into a discourse on the concept of “fairness,” which he said “is a word no Christian should ever use in their vocabulary” because “what happened to Jesus wasn’t fair.”
Tomorrow, for the first time, the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., will host a Muslim prayer service and Bryan Fischer is predictably outraged, urging his listeners to call the cathedral and complain that allowing this prayer service to take place violates the Ten Commandments.
On his radio program today, Fischer gave out the cathedral's phone number and encouraged his listeners to call and voice their opposition by complaining that the prayer service is really an effort to convert the cathedral into a mosque and is in violation of the very first of the Ten Commandments.
"This is one of the Ten Commandments," Fischer said. "You shall have no other gods before me. Allah is another god. The Bible says you, as a nation, shall have no other gods before me ... Make your objections known, that you object to the National Cathedral being turned into a mosque. That was not the purpose for which it was built. The purpose for which it was built is to worship the God that made America great and you object to it being used to worship a god of a completely different religion":
Sandy Rios of the American Family Association is angry that President Obama may announce a major overhaul of immigration policy just before Thanksgiving, saying that the proposed deportation relief for many undocumented immigrants, such as the parents of U.S. citizens, shows the left’s contempt towards family values.
“Remember Obamacare was finally voted in on Christmas Eve? This is what they do because they have no regard for, I’m not saying Thanksgiving is sacred, but it’s sacred in the sense that people are thankful, bow before God, celebrate the holidays with their families, at least Americans used to, but the left doesn’t, that’s not so much important to them,” she said.
“What’s important to them is having their way and altering and changing this country as aggressively as they possibly can no matter what it takes.”
This week, spokesmen for the American Family Association and National Religious Broadcasters, two of the country’s top Religious Right groups, came out strongly against net neutrality, while simultaneously demonstrating that they have no idea what net neutrality actually is. Yesterday, both groups weighed in again, as NRB’s Craig Parshall spoke with Dan Celia of the AFA, both of them completely misrepresenting net neutrality as a threat to freedom.
Parshall and Celia were upset by President Obama’s recent call to reclassify broadband services as a public utility in order to preserve net neutrality rules jeopardized by a recent D.C. Circuit Court ruling. Under net neutrality, internet data must be treated equally by providers rather than allow companies like Comcast or Verizon deliver data at different speeds or charge premium rates.
Celia, however, sees net neutrality as a Big Government plot, describing Obama’s announcement as a “social-control grab, power grab” and a sign of “scary, scary times.”
“This is a huge power grab,” Parshall replied. He said he doesn’t have an issue with companies like Comcast or Verizon but “has a much bigger problem with Apple and Google and Facebook” who he says “have decided that they’re not going to allow certain orthodox Christian or conservative viewpoints being aired on their platform.”
Parshall then absurdly claimed that people should oppose net neutrality if they want to “protect the internet” as a free and open “village green being the place where the public can get together to exchange ideas, that’s going to go the way of the Dodo bird.”
In other parts of the interview, Celia wondered if net neutrality undermines the “freedom of speech” and the ability to “proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” while Parshall maintained that net neutrality is wrong because “if it ain’t broke don’t fix it,” which completely misunderstands the fact that it is net neutrality opponents who seek to dramatically alter internet regulations.
Charging different prices for different internet speeds is already a common practice, obviously, but Fischer laughably claims that net neutrality — which is the standard that is currently in place — would outlaw this practice.
"We can't let internet providers give people who are willing to pay more money faster speeds on the internet," Fischer said, paraphrasing his misunderstanding of net neutrality. "We can't charge people less if they're willing to accept slower speeds on the internet":
Bryan Fischer kicked off his radio program today with a reading from the Book of Deuteronomy which, he claimed, proves that God supports a flat tax.
Echoing the sorts of claims that we routinely hear from David Barton, Fischer read from Deuteronomy 14, in which God instructed the Israelites to "be sure to set aside a tenth of all that your fields produce each year," citing it as evidence that "God believes in a flat tax."
"That's what a tithe is, it's a tax," Fischer said. "It's a tax on the labor of your hands, it's a tax on the fruit of your labor. It's a tax on the grapes that you produce, the grain that you harvest, the wine that you produce, the oil that your olive trees produce. It's a ten percent tax. It was a flat tax":
Anti-gay activists havefrequentlyinsisted that their anti-gay bigotry is an intuitive, natural part of who they are, and today Bryan Fischer made the case that yes, homophobic people are simply born that way.
The American Family Association spokesman told a listener on his radio program, “Focal Point,” that the reason a term like “sodomite” has fallen out of favor is because it “refers to an ugly practice.” People recoil at the thought of “homosexual behavior,” Fischer explained, because God wants them to do that.
“Sodomy is the technically, lexically, medically, legally correct term, you can find the term sodomy – it’s an ugly word because it refers to an ugly practice,” he said. “There’s a reason we recoil from that word. It’s not the word, it’s what it describes, it’s what it refers to. We have a natural revulsion to that kind of behavior just as we do. We got that from God. God reacts the same way to homosexual behavior, to sodomy, as we do.”
On “Focal Point” today, host Bryan Fischer onceagain linked the supposed moral failings of Native Americans to the seizure of their land by European colonists.
Fischer recounted the Biblical tale of the Amorites, a group that had “lapsed into superstition and paganism and idolatry and sexual immorality and savagery” until they were vanquished by the Israelites. He then paraphrased God as saying, “I’m going to be patient with the Amorite people for 400 years, and if they continue to sin at the rate they’re sinning, every time they sin they’re putting a little more slop in the slop bucket, and if they keep doing that the slop bucket’s going to get full, and I’m going to have to empty out that slop bucket.”
Fischer then used the story to justify the violent expulsion of Native American people from their territory at the hands of white settlers. “This may even be a part of American history, when we think about the moral right for the nation and the peoples that God brought into this land to exercise sovereign control over the land,” he said. “Part of that equation may have to do with the immorality of those nations that were exercising sovereign control over this land at the time.”
Fox News political commentator Todd Starnes appeared on the American Family Association’s election night program with Tim Wildmon, Bryan Fischer, and Ed Vitagliano to discuss the results of the midterm elections and the implications of a Republican-controlled Congress.
Starnes urged the newly-empowered GOP to scale back the powers of the Obama administration and minimize the impact of any presidential executive orders. “We have to stop this president and hit this administration,” he said. “And the only way to do that is to get a Republican majority in there.”
Starnes also spoke about future judicial nominees who will now face confirmation votes in a GOP-led Senate. “Right now, we have to worry about activist judges that will be appointed to the bench,” he said. “You have the possibility that a Supreme Court justice may have to be nominated; these are some big, big issues.”
“God forbid a Supreme Court justice, one of the conservatives or even Kennedy, dies or leaves office while Obama is still in office,” Wildmon chimed in. “These are more than liberals…We have anti-American, ACLU-types in four positions on the Supreme Court.”
On Sunday evening, anti-gay Religious Right activists gathered in Houston, Texas for an "I Stand Sunday" event, designed to protest subpoenas issued by the city government to five local pastors in response to a lawsuit filed by activists attempting to overturn the city's nondiscrimination ordinance.
The American Family Association's radio broadcasting arm was among the main sponsors of the event and Bryan Fischer was there in person to cover the rally, so naturally he declared on his radio broadcast today that this prayer event played a key role in the Republican victories in last night's election.
"It occurred to me last night," Fischer said, that "a good part of Sunday night was a lot of these pastors in Houston and a lot of people all around the country kneeling in prayer on the floor of that auditorium, repenting of sins, seeking God for forgiveness for ourselves and for this land. And then, on Tuesday, we have this dramatic victory. I've got to believe there's a connection there":
On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer declared that it was imperative for conservative Christians to get out and vote today because America is "turning into Nazi Germany."
Fischer, who once declared that calling your opponent a Nazi was proof that you had lost the argument, stated that just as Adolf Hitler was legitimately elected, so too were "the Nazi-esque mayor of Houston [and] the Nazi-esque mayor of Coeur d'Alene."
Upon taking office, Fischer continued, Hitler's first order of business was to tell the church to stay out of politics and to accept that it was to have no influence on the operation of the government and now the same things are happening in America today.
"Is this the United States in 2014 or Nazi Germany of 1933?" Fischer asked. "I'll let you decide":
In an appearance on American Family Radio today, conservative talk show host Michael Savage warned that the U.S. has turned into Sodom and Gomorrah, helping to place us on the path to a civil war.
Savage, who is promoting his new book, “Stop the Coming Civil War” told his hosts at the American Family Association that a civil war in America is on the horizon because “people cannot take this anymore” and that the president may even consider stealing the midterm elections.
“We all know that the day of the masses believing that President Obama was discovered floating in a papyrus basket on the shores of Lake Michigan in the reeds is over, they no longer believes he was found floating in a papyrus basket and he was sent here to part the Red Sea for us. In fact, many have seen that he has actually created a Red Sea around us, and I don’t mean ‘red Republican and blue Democrat,’ I mean red communist,” he said. “There’s no question in my mind that this is the most totalitarian regime in American history.”
Later in the program, Savage said that America is no longer following the Bible, which he claimed “is the basis of our U.S. Constitution,” and now “we may as well be living in Sodom and Gomorrah. The Weimar Republic was mild compared to what this country has become.”
Jennifer LeClaire, the news editor of the Religious Right magazine “Charisma,” said today that while we can have fun on Halloween, we should watch out because it is a “very demonic, very evil” occasion.
While speaking with the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon and Ed Vitagliano about the “dangers” of Halloween, LeClaire warned that Halloween is a Satanic druid holiday.
This did not sit well with the West Virginia Family Foundation — a state affiliate of the American Family Association — which sent out an email to supporters today with the headline, “November Election & Gay Agenda Is Upon Us!”
The group’s chairman, Ray Lambert, writes in the breathless email that the state’s refusal to keep fighting marriage equality in court means that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin “cast his lot with Sodom and Obama” and that his “legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior.”
“Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia?”Lambert asks. “The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous.” Not only that, he warns, but schools will be forced to “provide new gay recruits.”
Lambert refers readers to Brian Camenker’s anti-gay group MassResistance for confirmation of his claims and to learn more about “the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.”
On the issue of Gay Marriage, West Virginians have been betrayed by our Governor, liberal federal judges and our own liberal West Virginia (WV) legislators!
I'm especially alarmed at how fast Governor Tomblin "threw in the towel" on our state's DOMA law which opened up our state to gay marriages. His announcement was fast and very unexpected. I think our Governor wrongly believes that homosexuality is worthy of special considerations. Governor Tomblin's legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior. He could have been known as the Governor who strengthened our state's marriage law but, sadly, he has cast his lot with Sodom and Obama. I believe it was done for political favor from his party.
Senate Speaker Jeffrey Kessler, from Wayne county, is eager to pass pro-homosexual laws. His pet law requires Christian and conservative business owners, and landlords, to employ or rent to men and women who practice sodomy. He overlooks existing civil rights law that guarantee us all freedom of religion. His view is that "gay rights" trumps Christians' rights.
Called the Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA), his legislation grants civil rights status to those who commit sodomy. This has far reaching ramifications, especially for Christians, whose Bible identifies sodomy sin. Abusing one's self through sodomy is a behavior, just like someone abusing tobacco, drugs, alcohol or even body piercings. Human behaviors can change and many step out of the gay lifestyle altogether. And because their "behavior" is mutable, unlike race, origin, age, etc. which is immutable. Society reserves civil rights protections for what we are, not the ever changing what we do.
Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia? The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous. Our schools will provide new gay recruits, just as it's being done today in Massachusetts' LGBT Conferences. More proof can be seen at the first annual Appalachian Queer Film Festival in Lewisburg. This four day event, going on now, brings Anne Sprinkle in to headline the event. Anne is characterized as the most vile and depraved lesbian in America by Peter LeBarbara, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. Will Lewisburg become the Key West or San Francisco of Appalachia. Isn't it strange that our WV newspapers aren't covering this "queer event"? Could it have something to do with the nearing election? I think so; just more media manipulation of the masses.
To see where WV is headed, visit Mass Resistance's web site. It's a conservative Massachusetts organization that's been fighting against sexual perversion for ten years since Governor Romney brought gay marriage to their state. You'll see WV's future if we don't stand firm against the gay agenda in our state. Educate yourself with these web sites plus one more, Family Research Institute. This organization brings scientific facts on homosexuality that counters the liberal media's sanitizingof homosexuality. You'll be amazed at the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.
Similar dire warnings about the federal hate crimes law that was passed five years ago today have proven to be utterly false.
The apocalyptic rhetoric is a reaction to the advances in LGBT rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in dozens of states and the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in municipalities across the country. Along with categories such as race, gender, religion, age and ability, more localities are recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as traits warranting protection from discrimination in the public domain.
As anti-gay politicians lose in the courts, Congress, state houses, town halls, and perhaps most importantly, at the ballot box, many have taken to conflating political defeat with a loss of rights and liberty. Only by depriving other people of their rights, so they claim, can conservatives and people of faith in this nation truly be free.
This month, many Republicans latched onto a complicated legal case in Houston to justify their hyperbolic warnings about impending doom for Christians in America. After Houston passed an equal rights ordinance this year, a pastor-led group tried — and failed — to collect enough valid petition signatures to force a referendum on repealing the ordinance. When a group of conservative activists and pastors filed a lawsuit demanding that officials accept the invalid petitions, pro-bono attorneys working for the city subpoenaed several pastors’ communications, including sermons, on petition collecting and related issues like homosexuality as part of the discovery process.
While many groups from the left and right alike called out the subpoenas as overly broad and intrusive, the Religious Right cited the legal move as proof that pastors will be, as the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody put it, “hauled off to jail for a hate crimes because they are speaking for traditional marriage.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who in 2012 warned that America was “at the edge of a precipice” and would soon see non-existent “hate speech” laws used “against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages [or] who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage,” agreed with Brody’s assessment.
(In a similar episode this month, the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel business filed a lawsuit against their hometown over a nondiscrimination ordinance, arguing that city officials have threatened them with prosecution and jail time for denying service to same-sex couples — even though officials haven’t pursued any legal action against the couple.)
We’ve seen this movie before. In 2007, members of a group called Repent America were charged after disrupting a gay pride event and refusing to abide by police orders. The way conservatives tell the story, godly missionaries were punished by law enforcement for exercising their First Amendment rights and “sharing the gospel,” but as court records show, the group tried to disturb the peace and protest inside an event without a permit.
In fact, if Religious Right were correct in their warnings, America should have experienced a wave of arrests targeting pastors, church-goers and Republicans following the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Predictions about the criminalization of the Bible, pastors locked in jail cells and concentration camps for Christians never came true, mainly because these prophecies had no basis in reality.
The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law was passed by Congress five years ago today, and so far, the far-right’s twisted and baseless claims about the law have all been proven false. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped making the exact same discredited arguments five years after the bill’s passage:
End of Free Speech
Despite the hate crimes law’s provision making clear that it is applicable only to cases of violent crime and nothing “shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs,” Religious Right activists and their allies in the GOP nonetheless predicted that the 2009 law would bring free speech to an end.
“Gay activists will use it against preachers who present the Biblical view of homosexuality,” Rick Scarborough said at the time. “The federal hate crimes law doesn’t target crime, but free speech.” He also warned that the law’s passage would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality,” telling members of his group, Vision America, that he may face arrest for “speaking out against sexual deviancy.”
Scarborough, a Texas anti-gay pastor and political organizer close to Ted Cruz, hasn’t backed down from his claims even years after the law has gone into effect. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Scarborough declared that the “infidels” in the Obama administration are “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christians wouldn’t rise up against the attacks, he feared, “until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”
The Traditional Values Coalition went as far as to claim that the hate crimes law would imprison Jesus Christ.
“I believe that ‘hate crimes’ is the most dangerous bill in America, it is precisely what they are using to silence Christians around the world,” Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist with the group Faith 2 Action, said in an interview the year before the bill was passed. “How much of a stretch is it, really, to say that because I would say to you homosexuality is a sin or it’s dangerous behavior, before that speech alone is worthy of jail time? And that’s what we’re facing.” Porter told a Washington, D.C., rally shortly after the law was passed that it “criminalizes Christianity” and “sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech.”
In an 2009 email message with the subject line, “The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that “what ‘hate crimes’ legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.”
He also alleged that the law would “gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda” and that it “punishes a person’s beliefs — part of the Left's intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”
“If federal thought crimes laws are passed, your right to share politically incorrect parts of your Christian faith could become a federal crime,” Perkins warned. At another conservative event, Perkins said hate crimes laws will curtail freedom and breed “chaos in America.”
Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America even encouraged opposition to the law by alleging that “there is a direct connection between the sins and crimes of abortion and the sodomite agenda and the Islamic terrorism that threatens our nation.”
One group of GOP and Religious Right figures claimed the law would be “a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression.”
E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor and GOP politician, told a conservative rally that the law “represents a virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred” that is “another step in the process of robbing all Americans of the very freedoms the founding fathers pledged their lives for and the civil rights martyrs gave their lives for.”
Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, best known for his work supporting George W. Bush’s re-election campaign and the passage of his state’s gay marriage ban, said that the hate crimes law would force him out of the pulpit.
“This deceptive ploy of liberal, homosexual agenda begins to lose its allure once you pull the mask back and take a closer look,” Parsley said. “The legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people not for their actions but for their culturally incorrect thoughts. This legislation could become law, and you and I could find ourselves forbidden to speak from God’s word right here in America. I could no longer share my heart with you on critical issues, such as this, through the medium of television, or even in the pulpit of my own church.”
We can report that despite Parsley’s grim predictions, he is still very much “sharing his heart” as a preacher.
Outlawing the Bible
One group of Michigan pastors, joined by local Republican politician and American Family Association state chairman Gary Glenn, filed an unsuccessful legal challenge against the hate crimes law soon after it was enacted. The group’s legal representative, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, contended that “the sole purpose” of the law was “to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”
Pastor Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ also offered an ominous warning: “If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested.” One WorldNetDaily commentator said the law would “crack down” on Christians for “reading the Bible.”
“Christianity Is Now Outlawed,” declared the Christian Seniors Association, a front group of the Traditional Values Coalition, in a fundraising letter following the law’s passage. “Did you know that the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature?’” the letter continued.
“Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs,” said Andrea Lafferty of the TVC. “The ultimate objective of this legislation is to claim that ‘hate speech’ — criticism of homosexuality — incites individuals to violence and must be suppressed and punished. This will violate the First Amendment rights of any person or group that opposes the normalization of homosexuality in our culture.”
In the paranoid conservative alternate reality, pedophilia has been legal for five years now thanks to the updated federal hate crimes law.
“The main purpose of this ‘hate crimes’ legislation is to add the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ ‘either actual or perceived,’ as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations: zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?” asked televangelist Pat Robertson.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, similarly charged: “We have a record roll call vote that shows every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voting to have pedophiles protected.”
King’s colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further and said that as a result of the hate crimes law, courts would “have to strike any laws against bestiality” along with laws targeting “pedophiles or necrophiliacs.” Gohmert went on to warn that the law would effectively turn the U.S. into Nazi Germany.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, for his part, predicted that the law would extend legal protections to “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality.”
Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center claimed the law “elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”
Porter dubbed the law the “Pedophile Protection Act,” “summarizing” the law by completely making things up: “Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered [sic], cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.”
Pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia are still against the law and such laws have not been affected by the Hate Crimes Act, while declining “an unwelcome advance of a homosexual” is still very much legal. However, we are still waiting with bated breath for Porter’s lawsuit detailing how she was forced and legally bound to succumb to the charms of a homosexual enticer.
Can the Religious Right Be Trusted?
The many frantic, unfounded warnings about the perils the 2009 Hate Crimes Act are just one example of anti-gay activists’ penchant for manufacturing myths and brazenly distorting cases of supposed persecution.
Apocalyptic warnings and blatantly dishonest remarks have always been characteristic of the Religious Right's crusade against LGBT rights and we can expect such activists to continue to engage in such shameless fear mongering and misinformation before the 2014 election.
But, like the Religious Right’s warnings about the effects of the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, these dire predictions should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer reacted to a situation in Idaho where the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel have sued the state for the right to discriminate against gay customers on religious liberty grounds by proclaiming that gay activists are seeking to impose "secular sharia" on every Christian in America.
"It's never enough for the homosexual lobby," Fischer said. "That's what we have got to understand, ladies and gentlemen. It is never, ever enough for the homosexual lobby. They will not be content until you and I are completely silenced, repressed, punished, locked away and locked up. Do not mistake me on this! They are determined and they are relentless."
Gay activists are, in fact, just like Nazis and radical Mullahs, Fischer said, except they seek to impose "secular sharia" in America:
On his Fox News program yesterday, Shepard Smith blasted "the hysterical voices on the radio and the television" that are irresponsibly hyping fears of Ebola and causing panic.
Why would Smith do this? According to the American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, it is because Smith is a gay "card-carrying liberal" who is seeking to provide cover for President Obama because Obama "supports the homosexual agenda."
"Shepard Smith is a card-carrying liberal," Fischer explained. "He has been outed as an active homosexual, so he's down with the entire homosexual agenda. People think he's on Fox so he's conservative. Anything but."
"Why would he want to support President Obama?" Fischer asked, before playing Smith's segment on the Ebola panic. "Because President Obama supports the homosexual agenda":
“President Obama, he’s like a broken record, and he’s like, when we had on this Islamic thing, he’s just in love with Islam,” Wildmon said. “He just the other day, you had the situation, oh yeah, where the beheading took place of the first American. Foley, wasn’t that his name? Foley. So what does President Obama do? He spends the first minute or two apologizing — he wasn’t apologizing, explaining and lecturing to us how this was not Islam, Islam is peace. He talks about Muslims have had traditionally a great role in the fabric and forming of America, phrases like that and you’re going, what planet does this guy get his history from?”
“It’s always the Western secular liberals doing the defending of Islam for the Muslims,” Wildmon added.
It seems as if the entire Religious Right is in high dudgeon right now over a situation in which lawyers representing the city of Houston sought to subpoena sermons from local pastors as part of a lawsuit filed by anti-gay activists in response to the rejection of their petitions calling for a referendum on a newly enacted anti-discrimination ordinance.
The city has already backed down, but that is not stopping Religious Right groups from hammering away at city officials and using the issue to promote their persecution complex, even if doing so undermines their own previous stances, as it does with groups like the American Family Association.
Today the AFA climbed on board the outrage bandwagon, sending out an action alert slamming Houston Mayor Annise Parker and urging activists to contact her to voice their outrage over this purported violation of the First Amendment:
The mayor is demanding that sermon notes, emails, videos, and any negative comments about homosexuality or the mayor herself, be turned over to her. If the pastors refuse, the mayor has threatened to charge them with contempt of court and possible fines or jail time.
The mayor is using intimidation, threats and bully tactics in an attempt to silence anyone who will not embrace her lesbian lifestyle.
Does the First Amendment mean nothing to Mayor Parker? Does religious freedom and freedom of speech mean nothing to Mayor Parker? Does the people’s petition process mean nothing to Mayor Parker?
This is a rather odd position for the AFA to take since Bryan Fischer, the AFA's Director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy and the organization's primary spokesperson, has repeatedly gone on record stating that the First Amendment only applies to Congress.
In addition to asserting that the First Amendment only protects Christianity and not other religions like Mormonism or Islam, Fischer also insists that the First Amendment was designed only to constrain Congress, which means that state and local government are not bound by its language prohibiting the establishment of an official religion or interfering with its free exercise.
Fischer has made this case time and again while arguing that local government are free to discriminate against non-Christian religions or appear to explicitly endorse Christianity, asserting that both are perfectly constitutional since the First Amendment applies only to Congress:
First, the amendment applies only to Congress. "Congress shall make no law..." No other entity is restrained by the First Amendment. Since the amendment applies only to Congress, it is legally, historically and constitutionally impossible for a state, a county commission, a city council, a school board, a school principal, a school teacher or a student to violate the First Amendment. This is for one simple reason: none of them is Congress. Violating the First Amendment is something only Congress can do.
If the First Amendment only applies to Congress when it comes to establishing or discriminating against religion, as Fischer contends, then logically it must also only apply to Congress when it comes to restricting the free exercise of religion. And if that is the case, then city officials in Houston could not have possibly violated the First Amendment rights of local pastors by subpoenaing their sermons due to the simple fact that they are not Congress.
Fischer has repeatedly said on his AFA radio program and written on the AFA's website that "violating the First Amendment is something only Congress can do." If that is true, then why is the AFA now fuming about city officials in Houston supposedly violating the First Amendment, since that is not even technically possible, according to the organization's primary spokesperson?
On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer made the case that the government can never endorse any position that is contrary to the will of God because government was established by God specifically for the purpose of carrying out his will, which is why gay marriage can never be legal.
As Fischer explained, the entire idea of civil government came from God and therefore all earthly political and legal authority stems from God. As such, the purpose of civil government is to carry out the will of God, meaning that government can never remain neutral on moral issues.
"God has called government to take sides in the culture war," Fischer said, "and God is instructing civil government to take the side of that which is right and good. That means government and those who hold government power have a divine responsibility to know the difference between good and evil so that they can reward the former and punish the latter."
Thus, when government bans gay marriage, "it is doing a good thing," Fischer said. "It is doing a divinely ordained thing. It's doing its job. It's fulfilling its role as a minister of God":