American Family Association

Sandy Rios Hails Failure of Violence Against Women Act, Attacks Biden's 'Private Behavior with Women'

The Violence Against Women Act expired this year after House Republicans blocked a reauthorization that boosted protections for Native Americans, immigrants and the LGBT community. This development has overjoyed Religious Right activists, who have long opposed the anti-violence law.

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, speaking today with Ed Bartlett of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, criticized the indisputably effective law and attacked Vice President Joe Biden, warning that “if we knew Joe Biden’s private behavior with women it might not be a pretty picture.” Rios stated that Biden’s “crassness, crudeness and disrespect for women” raises doubts about his work on VAWA while Bartlett used Biden’s own admission that abuse occurred in his household when he was younger as a reason to block the law.

Rios was also upset that VAWA may soon include protections for the LGBT community. Bartlett contended that these new protections prove VAWA is too easy on women since “studies have shown that lesbian-perpetrated domestic violence is higher than violence among heterosexual couples.”

However, according to the Center for American Progress, “Studies have found that domestic violence occurs among same-sex couples at comparable rates to straight couples.” While Bartlett admits that domestic violence is a concern among same-sex couples, he and Rios seem to believe that is a reason to oppose the inclusion of LGBT protections in VAWA.

Rios: Then we have this whole business of reaching out to the LGBT community and now that’s confusing because that’s women against women in many cases. That would have to be women against women.

Bartlett: Exactly, you’re right. In fact, studies have shown that lesbian-perpetrated domestic violence is higher than violence among heterosexual couples. So that again shows that this is a problem not limited to male perpetrators and female victims.

Rios: You know the person that has been pushing for all these years is Vice President Joe Biden, I find that very curious, what can you say about that?

Bartlett: I’ll tell you something that most people don’t know about Vice President Biden. He himself as a child was subjected to very serious physical abuse by his female sister, his sibling. Most people don’t know that but he has actually stated that in hearings held in the Senate. There’s a high irony here, a fellow who as a child was subjected to female violence is now denying the very existence of that.

Rios: I also think it’s ironic. I have a personal opinion because of Joe Biden’s repeated behavior. I know he’s become the brunt of jokes because he’s always saying something silly. But one theme in his jokes is crassness, crudeness and disrespect for women. He’s supposed to be some champion for women and yet he comes out and says these outrageous things which are insulting. I think if we knew Joe Biden’s private behavior with women it might not be a pretty picture.

Rios even argued that the law has had “an extremely detrimental, unfair, tilted, bad effect on men.” Bartlett dismissed reports that women face disproportionate rates of domestic violence and said that VAWA was actually passed by those seeking “to undermine family stability.”

Rios: The problem with this particular law, as I understand it, is it has had an extremely detrimental, unfair, tilted, bad effect on men. Give us an example of how that has happened.

Bartlett: Sandy, you’re right and it’s happened in many ways. Part of what many people believe is the agenda is to undermine family stability by stereotyping men as being abusive. So over and over when you go to the websites of these various domestic violence organizations, they quote arrest statistics but they don’t quote the actual statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, which are the best statistics of all, which show that this is an equal opportunity problem. So we have men being stereotyped as being abusive, obviously that’s not good for strong, respectful gender-relationships in our country.

To be clear, the CDC and the Department of Justice [PDF] both find that women are much more likely than men to experience intimate partner violence. The DOJ found that “intimate partners were responsible for 3% of all violence against males and 23% of all violence against females in 2008,” and the CDC reports that “about 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner” in their lifetime.

Fischer Says the Anti-Gay Right is Tired of Getting 'Pushed Around' and 'Backing Down' and Vows to Push Back

Over the weekend, Bryan Fischer was interviewed by WorldNetDaily about pastor Louie Giglio's withdrawal from participation in President Obama’s inauguration; a topic on which Fischer has not been reluctant to voice his outrage.

While speaking to WND, Fischer predicted that this development would serve as a catalyst for anti-gay Christian activists to stand up and declare that they tired of "getting pushed around" and will start to push back against these "bullying tactics from the left":

I think more and more Christians and social conservatives are going to say, "Look, I’m tired of us getting pushed around here. You know, the values that we believe in this area are values that were shared by the Founding Fathers. They’re the same set of moral values that built the United States into the greatest, and strongest and most prosperous nation in the world."

I’m tired of backing down on this issue. I’m tired of apologizing for this. I’m tired of Christian leaders who apologize for this. It’s time for us to show some strength and some moxy. So I think we’re going to start to see some push-back against these bullying tactics from the left.

Fischer: We Are the Victims of 'a New Moral McCarthyism'

Yesterday, Bryan Fischer responded to the news that pastor Louie Giglio had withdrawn from participation in President Obama’s inauguration by declaring that anti-gay Christians were "the new Rosa Parks" and the victims of modern-day Jim Crow laws.

He returned to the topic today, citing a piece by Al Mohler  to declare that anti-gay Christians are now the victims of "moral McCarthyism":

Fischer: High-Capacity Magazines Necessary to Defend Yourself from a Posse

On yesterday's broadcast, Brian Fischer discussed an incident in Georgia in which a woman used a .38 caliber handgun to shoot an intruder who had broken into her home to make the case for the need for high-capacity magazines on the grounds that just because a simple handgun was effective in this situation, what if someone needed to defend themselves from a "posse"?

Buster Wilson: 'There is Nobody Out There that is Any More Hateful' than 'Big Gay' Bloggers

American Family Radio general manager Buster Wilson is joining his AFA colleague Bryan Fischer in expressing his outrage over Louie Giglio’s decision to withdraw from inauguration ceremonies, unleashing a tirade against Think Progress, The New Civil Rights Movement, the Southern Poverty Law Center and us, declaring us the most hateful and mean people in the land. He said that the Christians in America may soon face imprisonment and death over their views on homosexuality. Wilson also claimed that gay rights supporters consider themselves “wiser” than God and Paul the Apostle, apparently unaware that many Christians do not subscribe to the AFA’s anti-gay agenda and interpretation of scripture.

Think Progress, The New Civil Rights Movement, Right Wing Watch, how many other places, how many supported groups in what Bryan Fischer has aptly named the Big Gay movement, think themselves wiser, smarter, more proficient in life than God almighty or the great Apostle Paul. For they take anybody, even pastor Louie Giglio, with the influence that this man has in the world today, they think that anybody, even this man, if they say what the Bible says about homosexuality that they are a dangerous, lying, hateful individual and you should shun them. Make no mistake about it church, that’s where we are today. We are at the place, maybe we’re not thrown in jail for it like pastor Youcef Nadarkhani in Iran, maybe we’re not slaughtered or beheaded for it yet, but make no mistake about it, if you stand and proclaim what the word of God says about certain things, primarily about homosexuality, you are going to be ostracized, you are going to be mocked and ridiculed, you are going to be called names, you are going to be marginalized and you are going to be cast out.

After warning that Christians will be made out to be “lying, hateful” people, he later proclaimed that gay rights bloggers are “lying, hateful people” as “there is nobody out there that is any more hateful than these people are.”

I know for certain, Think Progress is neither. They neither think nor are they progressive, in the traditional sense of the word. These people are hate-filled, mean-spirited, lying, hateful people. If you can take pastor Louie Giglio and marginalize him so much that he looks evil you are some kind of character.



I don’t know how to process that these groups that are so—they call us a hate group. Let me tell you something, there is nobody in the nation that is more hateful than The New Civil Rights Movement, Right Wing Watch and Southern Poverty Law Center and now you can add to the list in my opinion, Think Progress, there is nobody out there that is any more hateful than these people are.

Fischer: Anti-Gay Activists are Now 'the New Rosa Parks' and Victims of Jim Crow

To say that Bryan Fischer was outraged over evangelical pastor Louie Giglio's withdrawal from participation in President Obama’s inauguration over an anti-gay sermon he delivered would be a massive understatement, as Fischer has been venting his fury all day on Twitter and then let loose on his radio program, finally declaring that anti-gay Christians are "now the new Rosa Parks" and the victims of modern-day Jim Crow laws:

Fischer: Natural Disasters are God's Spankings

As is his custom, Bryan Fischer began today's radio program with a reading and discussion from the Bible, in this case a passage from the book of Joel which Fischer said revealed that all natural disasters were sent by God in order to correct humanity just as parents have to spank disobedient children in order to teach them a lesson:

Tim Wildmon Exposes Obama's Devious Plan to Collapse the Economy

American Family Association president Tim Wildmon appears to be convinced that President Obama is planning to destroy the economy in order to create “some kind of national emergency or something” that will allow him to take absolute power.

Wildmon wrote a column last week attacking Obama for seeking to raise taxes on top earners and chided him for ignoring the Simpson-Bowles plan. Of course, that plan calls for steep tax increases.

Speaking to fellow AFA radio host Dan Celia today, Wildmon contended that Obama wants to “see the economy collapse on purpose.” Celia added that Obama is a “radical Marxist” who “is desperate for more social control and power.” He further revealed his economic expertise when he struggled to describe Keynesian economics as he clearly has no idea what Keynesian economics is.

Wildmon: I’m just throwing the questions out there because the actions of the President lead me to believe he may in fact see the economy collapse on purpose. To what end, I’m not sure exactly, maybe so he can do something at that point. Probably about three to five percent of the American public actually believes what I suggested here. Do you have any logical explanation? There is something a “legitimate” economic ideology that’s taught in even schools, called Keynesian, is that what it’s called, Keynesian economics. I guess more people would say that’s what he subscribes to rather than this idea of intentionally trying to bankrupt the country. How do you explain his actions or inactions with all this?

Celia: I don’t disagree with when you look at the fruit, that’s what you see. I think it could be also that this is someone who is desperate for more social control and more power. Obviously one way you get that, the way that radical Marxists—which I believe he is—history shows that once you get everybody standing in a breading, you can accomplish pretty much anything you want with false promises or false ideology.



Wildmon: I’m just going on the facts that President Obama, his actions and his inactions lead me to suspect that he doesn’t have a problem with our country going bankrupt because then he can do things that he wants to do because of some kind of national emergency or something.

Dear Religious Right, This is What Intentional 'Misrepresentation' Looks Like

At this point, we don't really expect much from Bryan Fischer ... but still, some basic honesty would be nice.

On his radio program today, Fischer was discussing remarks Sen. Harry Reid delivered on the Senate floor last week blasting the failure by Congress, thanks to House Republicans, to pass a relief package for those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.  In his remarks, Reid noted that Congress passed legislation aiding victims of Hurricane Katrina within ten days back in 2005, while victims of Sandy have had to wait over two months for assistance.

But in Fischer's deluded world, Reid's remarks were "a damning indictment of [President] Obama's FEMA."

Fischer was fully aware that Reid was criticizing Congress for failing to appropriate the money that FEMA needs to carry out relief work but flagrantly misrepresented his statement to claim that Reid was admitting that when President Bush was in charge, Katrina victims received assistance within days, while Sandy victims under Obama have been forced to wait months:

The next time any Religious Right activist wants to complain that we "misrepresent" their views or take their statements "out of context," we'll just point them to this Fischer clip as an example of what real, actual intentional misrepresentation looks like.

Bryan Fischer Praises Scott Lively and Suggests his Critics are Satanically Inspired

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer yesterday on Focal Point defended his close ally Scott Lively, downplaying his work shaping Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill and advocating for the imprisonment of gay people as simply giving “talks supporting natural marriage.” But Fischer, who shares Lively’s views on criminalizing LGBT status and blaming gays for the Holocaust, asserted that Lively “did the same kind of stuff over there that we do every day on Focal Point.” Fischer said the left seeks to “exterminate pro-family voices” and “want us to be destroyed,” which is interesting because the bill in Uganda makes the “promotion homosexuality” a crime.

Watch:

Later, Fischer also prayed on behalf of Lively and suggested that his critics are inspired by Satan, asking God to “send confusion into the camp of the Enemy.”

Fischer: Modern Assault Weapons the Same as Hunting Rifles used in the American Revolution

We have heard a lot of, well, interesting arguments against a potential ban on assault weapons in order to curb gun violence, and American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer wants to add his two cents. He argues that modern-day assault weapons are protected by the Constitution because they’re “nothing more than a fancy-pants hunting rifle” equivalent to what the Founding Fathers “used to defeat the British.” In Fischer’s eyes, there’s no difference between an AR-15 and a musket.

Watch:

Fischer: What they’ve done is — whoever controls the language is going to control the debate. They picked the word ‘assault weapon’ to make it sound bad, to make it sound mean. They’re trying to say the Second Amendment does not protect assault weapons; I say exactly the reverse that is exactly what it protects, that is exactly what it was designed to protect. It was designed to protect the right of the American people to keep and bear arms, the same kind of arms, rifles, assault weapons, military-style weapons that were used to defeat the British. They just used their hunting rifles and used them to defend their independence. So the Second Amendment is exactly designed to protect assault rifles, that’s just nothing more than a fancy-pants hunting rifle.

Fischer: Businesses Threatened by 'Flaming Homosexual' Job Applicants and the 'Return of Jim Crow Laws'

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer today blew up over the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), warning in a blog post that “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws.” On his radio program Focal Point, Fischer warned that if ENDA is signed into law businesses will be faced with a barrage of “flaming homosexual” job applicants. “The homosexual lobby,” Fischer said, “will send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” in order to provoke Christian business-owners “not to hire him.”

Sandy Rios: Clinton Blood Clot an Alinskyite Feminist Lie

Naturally, the American Family Association is promoting conspiracy theories about Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s medical condition. Today, the AFA’s Sandy Rios argued that Clinton is lying about the blood clot that was located between her brain and skull and about her earlier health problems. Citing the tabloid The National Enquirer, which says Clinton has brain cancer, Rios concludes that Clinton isn’t sick at all but rather orchestrating a lie straight from the Saul Alinsky playbook!

Rios finds a clue in the fact that Clinton’s doctors “are both women and they have these very strong female names” and therefore must be playing along in the blood clot deceit. She claims that “the doctors have refused to make statements” and “have not been allowed to ask questions.” (The doctors did in fact release a statement to the press.) The self-proclaimed “pro-family activist” even argued that Clinton isn’t telling the truth about her “supposed” health condition since she looked “happy” (gasp!) after she left the hospital.

She’s out of the hospital, so they say, but did anybody see that yesterday? They saw pictures of her riding in the car, a camera caught her, she looked perfectly happy, laughing. Leaving the hospital but there had been no report that she had left the hospital and then suddenly the State Department issues a statement, ‘oh yes she’s out of the hospital.’ This has been a bizarre story to me. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t one of the skeptics, I am a skeptic, I’m a huge skeptic. Let me just give you the exaggerated claims here. The National Enquirer printed a story saying that Hillary Clinton is having a ‘brain cancer drama.’ And then of course we’ve had detailed reports of this blood clot that supposedly happened as a result of a fall which supposedly happened as a result of a terrible flu which that had caught.

I read an article in the Washington Post just a couple of days ago where her two doctors, and I’m sorry I can do this because I’m a girl, they are both women and they have these very strong female names and I say to myself: you know what, I just, I’m sorry, I just—do you know that the doctors have refused to make statements? They have not been allowed to ask questions, it’s just been statements from the State Department reporting how dreadfully awful, terrible the disease, that Hillary Clinton has is.

I think the point I want to make is that Hillary Clinton has a long history. Many of us remember what a liar she is. She sat at the feet of Saul Alinsky, she wrote her master’s thesis on how to do propaganda and lie; I see her finger prints on Benghazi, I see her finger prints on this illness. I have to say this is like the ‘Boy that Cried Wolf,’ when you lie that many times in your life, when you won’t testify in all of these scandals with your family, when you destroy women that your husband’s been involved in by lying about them, when you create this vast right-wing conspiracy, then who can believe you when you say you’re sick? I’m sorry, I’m not there.

Huelskamp 'Not Convinced' Sandy Relief Bill Is Necessary; Claims Obama's Policies are Akin to Communism

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) appeared on the radio show of American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer today where the far-right congressman said he found no reason for a Sandy relief bill, arguing that FEMA “can’t spend all the [money] quick enough.” Of course, FEMA just today said that the flood insurance program is about to run out of funds and officials from Sandy-affected states roundly criticized the House Republican leadership for refusing to put the urgent care package up to a vote. But the congressman maintained the bill is “loaded up with pork” and that he is “not convinced yet” that a Sandy relief package is needed, seemingly dumbfounded that “for some reason” people want the aid.

While discussing the fiscal cliff deal, Huelskamp told Fischer that Obama has the view that “government should run everything” which he got straight from “the communist centers of the world.” “Far too many of my Republican colleagues don’t understand that about the President, what his ultimate goals are,” Huelskamp said, “that’s frustrating given that we know where the President is at.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/2/13

  • PFAW: Empty Courtrooms in Obama’s First Term: A Slow Start on Judicial Nominations Magnified Many Times Over By Republican Obstruction.
  • Chris Rodda: Barton’s “Jefferson Lies” Once Again Listed as a Thomas Nelson Book on Amazon –Thomas Nelson Probably Won’t Like That .
  • Joe Hagan @ New York Magazine: Blues Cruise.
  • Jeremy Hooper: How dare the 'warlike' bloggers quote Dr Dobson accurately?!
  • Matt Gertz @ Media Matters:  NRA Blames Violent Films For Mass Shootings, But Their Museum Features "Hollywood Guns."
  • Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: House GOP blocks Violence Against Women Act.
  • Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Leading Conservative Religious Organization Warns That Christians Will Soon Be Treated Like Blacks In Jim Crow Era.

Fischer: Fiscal Cliff Legislation is 'Demonic'

Bryan Fischer is not at all pleased with the legislation passed last night by the House of Representatives in an effort to avoid the "fiscal cliff, "declaring that it is a violation of the Ten Commandments' prohibition on covetousness, meaning that the Democratic Party is driven by a "Satanic" ideology and the resulting legislation is "demonic":

Sandy Rios Exposes the Left's Plot to use Christmas to Distract Conservatives

American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios today “exposed” the left’s plan to set crucial legislative votes around the Christmas season in order to distract conservative activists who are too busy celebrating the holiday to wage political battle. Pointing to the 2009 Senate Christmas Eve vote to pass the health care reform law and the push by LGBT rights advocates in Illinois to legalize same-sex marriage in January as proof, Rios claimed that crafty liberals know that “Christian people who care about Christmas [are] the same ones who are concerned about implementing homosexual marriage” and blocking the health care law. “This is how they win their battles,” she said.

It’s interesting how the left pushes this stuff, so much of this always comes down to Christmas. Remember last year, the Obamacare bill? They kept members of Congress debating on Christmas Eve, you know they have no concern, no real concern about what this season means to people because it doesn’t mean much to them. Other than just a family holiday, I don’t think they understand; there’s no reverence for it. So they voted Christmas Eve last year for Obamacare. Now interestingly enough the same tactic is being employed in Illinois in a very different way. When we come back in January we will discuss this. Suddenly, as of last Friday, gay activists in Illinois want homosexual marriage in Illinois, they want it. So it looks like a vote will take place, are you ready? Sometime between January 2nd and 9th. So pro-family forces are trying to gear up, guess what time of year this is? Guess what weekend this is? The weekend before Christmas when churches are doing special programs, music, pastors are preparing profound sermons as an outreach to the community; this is what Christian people who care about Christmas being the same ones who are concerned about implementing homosexual marriage. This is how they win their battles.

Of course, the House Republican leadership just (unsuccessfully) pushed their Plan B legislation a mere five days before Christmas, but apparently it’s only a problem when liberals hold votes during the holiday season.

Pastor: 9/11 and CT School Shooting were 'Gracious' Acts of God's Judgment

Pastor Bill Elliff of the Arkansas-based The Summit Church and the Religious Right group OneCry appeared on AFA Today with host Buster Wilson this week where he explained that the September 11 attacks and the elementary shooting in Newtown, Connecticut were “gracious” acts of divine punishment. He said that God allowed the two tragedies to occur because of “our humanistic pride” and secular government in order to “bring us to our senses and bring us back to him.”

Wilson was positively dumbfounded as to why people would be offended by such rhetoric and similar language by AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who said that God refused to stop the school shooting because he’s a “gentleman,” and Elliff worried the U.S. is going the way of the Roman and British empires.

Wilson: I have never seen the vitriol that has been unleashed against us, some of us here at this ministry, since we’ve been publicly saying: you know what one of the problems is for the last fifty years we’ve been saying to God we don’t want you, there’s a wall of separation between us, and the place you’ve seen that amplified most has been in the public schools. We have received just unbelievable vitriol for saying that, seeing it as too simplistic, one person wrote ‘this is 2013, are we still wrestling over Creationism?’ We are in a changing, almost post-Christian America is what it seems like at time, what’s gonna happen if we don’t turn back to the Lord and see great revival brought about?

Elliff: I think what’s going to happen is what’s happened to every society before us who has not turned back. I was thinking the other day probably in Rome they thought ‘this could never happen to us’ and England in its prime they said ‘this could never happen to us.’ There is something about our humanistic pride that causes us to think, we could never go down as a nation.



Elliff: I’ve often thought about 9/11 and what happened there. God doesn’t cause evil, he didn’t cause the shooting the other day. But when we say, ‘Lord we can live life without you,’ then he says, ‘okay, I’ll let you feel that.’

Wilson: Let you get a taste of it.

Elliff: I thought at 9/11 what happened was God’s protective hand was removed and we felt what pure evil is like. We felt that this last week. That was pure evil, it’s the devil who has come to steal, kill and destroy. He’d just as soon kill a baby or a child in the womb as anything else. God allows that moment, we’re pressing the issue by turning from him, but he allows that moment to bring us to our senses and say, ‘God we desperately need you.’ So really it’s gracious. The pain that comes, the judgment that has really come by our turning away from the Lord is a merciful thing that God does to bring us to our senses and bring us back to him.

Elliff explained that the shooting was a sign of God’s discipline as “judgment comes to a nation it is God saying, wake up, you have walked away from me and I have loved you and I have so much desire to protect you but when you walk away you forfeit that.”

Elliff: We look at what has happened recently here in the school shooting and the so many things that have happened in the past few years. If we put all of those in biblical context and surround it with the Scripture we would come to different conclusions about what was happening. I was thinking the other day that God has instituted pain in our body, you know when you get a rusty nail that goes up to the sole of your foot that’s a real good thing that you feel pain because it causes you to make an adjustment. God’s judgment is like that. It’s a loving God saying to us when judgment comes to a nation it is God saying, wake up, you have walked away from me and I have loved you and I have so much desire to protect you but when you walk away you forfeit that.

Franklin Graham on Sandy Hook: 'This is What Happens When a Society Turns Its Back on God'

Franklin Graham called in to American Family Radio today to talk with the AFA's leading conspiracy theorist Buster Wilson about a variety of issues, including last week's shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which Graham blamed on television and music and video games before inevitably blaming the supposed removal of God from our schools and public places, saying "these politicians in Washington; we've taken God our of our school, we've taken him out of our government and now we seem shocked at all of these things.  Why are we shocked? We shouldn't be shocked.  This is what happens when a society turns its back on God":

Connecticut and The Cause Of Our National Political Paralysis

Call it an occupational hazard for someone who pays close attention to the right wing in America. On Friday, even while my mind and heart were struggling with how to take in, much less make sense of, the news about the killings at a Connecticut elementary school, another part of me was steeling itself for what I knew was to come.

And come it has. Rather than contributing to constructive discussion about a way forward on issues like the insufficient availability of mental health treatment and the extravagant availability of equipment designed for large-scale killing, Religious Right leaders and their Tea Party allies have wasted no time in placing blame for the killing on their usual targets: liberals, teachers, religious pluralism, judges, and the separation of church and state. Yet again.

These past few days have reminded me how Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, while the smoke had not even cleared from the destruction of the World Trade Center, blamed liberals, feminists, gays, People For the American Way, and others for the attacks. Falwell was shamed into an apology, which he later recanted. But Religious Right leaders are showing no shame in using this tragedy to push their agendas in offensive and destructive ways.

On his radio station Monday morning, James Dobson cited lack of belief in God, legal abortion, the advance of marriage equality as reasons for the school shooting: "I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us. I think that's what's going on."

The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer also blessed his listeners with his personal insight into what he says was God's gentlemanly reason not to protect those children from harm:

God is not going to go where he is not wanted. Now we have spent since 1962 - we're 50 years into this now - we have spent 50 years telling God to get lost. Telling God, 'We do not want you in our schools.'...In 1962 we kicked prayer out of the schools. In 1963 we kicked the word of God out of the schools. In 1980 we kicked the Ten Commandments out of schools. We've kicked God out of our public school system. And I think God would say to us, 'Hey, I'll be glad to protect your children, but you've got to invite me back into your world first. I'm not going to go where I am not wanted. I am a gentleman.

Presidential aspirant Mike Huckabee made similar comments as did others. The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody defended them from their critics, saying their views were shared by millions of evangelicals.

Why look at what these people are saying? Because of the real power they now hold. What they say is what keeps us from even discussing, never mind solving, this country's critical problems.

Even efforts to bring people together to comfort the suffering brought attacks. Operation Save America called Sunday's interfaith memorial service "an affront to Almighty God" and added that "We expelled God from school and banished Him from the schoolyard. He was replaced with metal detectors, condoms, policemen, anti-bullying policies, No-gun zones, and violence of unprecedented order."

One of the most dismaying statements came predictably from Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, who responded to President Obama's remarks at the memorial service on Sunday with this tweet:

Absolute slime ball, #Obama exploiting memorial service to push radical#GunControl. His extremism knows no lows#Newtown

It is amazing what can be conveyed about our politics in 140 characters or less. It strikes me that Barber's tweet is emblematic of everything that the radical right has done to distort our political system and destroy our ability to even have a reasonable conversation about critical problems the country needs to solve.

Would that this was just about guns. This frenzied effort to forestall even a conversation about the ready availability of military-style weapons - and this is even before the NRA itself wades in - points to a larger picture.

Just five years ago, we were able to have some reasonable political conversations, even across party lines, about important issues like climate change and immigration reform. Of course, there were significant disagreements about the exact nature of the issues and the proper policy responses. But more recently, any effort to even acknowledge the existence of climate change runs up against a solid wall of denialism from the right wing and most importantly from legislators who now so fear the far right. Similarly, some conservatives who championed comprehensive immigration reform five or six years ago saw the effort savaged by the right wing who sounded the alarm of losing white America.

On the fiscal front, Grover Norquist's no-taxes-ever pledge, backed with the kind of political intimidation that deep-pocketed ideologues have perfected in the Tea Party era, have made it nearly impossible for the country to seriously address both its short-term job shortage and its long-term deficit problem. And we saw last year that the fear of a right wing primary challenge is much greater than the fear of damaging the credit rating of our country.

The horrific shootings in Connecticut may be leading some elected officials to consider tackling some problems that have been ignored or considered politically off-limits. But we should not have to rely on tragedies to overcome obstacles to needed action. While the far right's ideological enforcers can be counted on to fight any move by conservatives toward common sense and common ground, such movement is essential. As we are sometimes so painfully reminded, Americans need a functional political system, one with the ability to address urgent political questions to achieve much needed compromises. And quite simply, none of this can happen until we have political leaders with the courage to stand up against the far right's willingness to paralyze our country.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post.

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