American Family Association

Fischer: 'The Gay Gestapo ... Is Basically The Same As Islam'

Bryan Fischer remains furious about the Supreme Court's decision not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans, declaring on his radio program today that gay activism and radical Islam both operate underneath the same "dark, totalitarian" spirit.

"It's convert, submit, or die a political death," Fischer said, linking the push for marriage equality to radical Islam. "Convert, submit, or be banished. I mean that's really what we're dealing with. This is the same kind of totalitarian strain that you see in Islam and this is the gay gestapo pushing this and their message is basically the same as Islam."

Saying that gay activists are intent on persecuting, imprisoning, or destroying anyone who does not agree with their agenda, Fischer said that "if that sounds just like Islam to you, it's because it is. It's exactly the same dark, totalitarian dynamic that you have in Islam":

An 'Utterly Exasperated' Mike Huckabee Threatens To Leave The GOP Over Gay Marriage

This morning's broadcast of the American Family Association's "Today's Issues" program was dedicated to promoting the AFA's "A Time to Speak" documentary, which is aimed at getting pastors to mobilize their congregations to vote in the upcoming elections.

One guest on the program was Mike Huckabee, who began his interview by threatening to leave the Republican Party if the GOP does not take a stand against the Supreme Court's decision yesterday not to hear appeals of lower court rulings striking down gay marriage bans in several states.

Incensed by the decision, Huckabee declared that "I am utterly exasperated with Republicans and the so-called leadership of the Republicans who have abdicated on this issue," warning that by doing so the GOP will "guarantee they're going to lose every election in the future."

"Guarantee it," he said before proclaiming that the Republicans are going to "lose guys like me and a whole bunch of still God-fearing, Bible-believing people" if the party does not stand and fight on the issues of gay marriage and abortion.

"I'm gone," Huckabee warned. "I'll become an independent. I'll start finding people that have guts to stand. I'm tired of this":

Sandy Rios: Riots And Starvation Coming To America

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios dedicated much of her radio show today to attacking the Supreme Court for refusing to hear appeals on several marriage equality cases, which led her to discuss the purported threats to religious freedom that marriage equality is bringing to America.

Rios warned that religious liberty is in peril and viewers should purchase a new AFA DVD, “A Time To Speak.”

“If we don’t do something, I think we’re going to see — and this is radical — I think we’re going to see riots in the street, we’re going to see starvation, we’re going to see things we have never seen before, we’re going to see a complete breakdown in terms of law enforcement, it’s going to be a nightmare,” she said. “This will be what you are handing to your children if you don’t speak up now. I’m not sure we can pull it back, but are you going to say in retrospect that you did nothing?”

Later in the show, Rios spoke to Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute about the supposed death of religious freedom in America, linking it with the news out of the Supreme Court.

Rios said “leaders the [gay rights] movement” are “fascists when it comes to this issue” who “will not stop until people who object are brought to their knees,” an assessment that Shackelford agreed with, and in turn denounced gay rights advocates for using “unconscionable” tactics and pushing “the ultimate intolerance.”

Holding The Religious Right To Its Own Standard

A few weeks ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was speaking to students at the University of Minnesota Law School when she made the rather straightforward observation that if 6th Circuit Court of Appeals follows other recent court decisions and strikes down gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, then the prospects of the Supreme Court taking up the issue of marriage equality would be less likely in the near term.

The reasoning behind this statement is that if appellate courts consistently strike down such bans, then the Supreme Court will not need to get involved right away whereas, if the 6th Circuit were to uphold such bans, that would create a conflict among recent appellate rulings and so, as Ginsburg said, "there will be some urgency" for the Supreme Court to take up with issue in order to address those conflicting rulings.

There is nothing controversial or improper about this obvious observation, but anti-gay Religious Right groups have seized upon it to launch a campaign demanding that Ginsburg recuse herself from any Supreme Court case involving the issue of marriage equality on the grounds that she has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct by "making public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action."

As Liberty Counsel, which first launched this effort, declared:

“In casting a vote publicly before the case is even heard, Justice Ginsburg has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is now her duty to recuse herself from cases involving same-sex marriage.”

According to Canon 2 of the Judicial Code of Conduct, “A judicial employee should not lend the prestige of the office to advance or to appear to advance the private interests of others.”

Canon 3(D) declares, “A judicial employee should avoid making public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action.”

“Justice Ginsburg’s comments implied that the merits of the state constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman were such that the Supreme Court would have to overturn them with haste, if upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Staver. “This is an inappropriate comment for any judicial employee, much less a Supreme Court Justice!”

The call has since been echoed by the Foundation for Moral Law, Faith 2 Action, and the American Family Association, where Bryan Fischer and former Liberty Counsel attorney Steve Crampton recently discussed the need for right-wing activists to "beat on our pots" in order to create so much political pressure on Ginsburg and Justice Elena Kagan that they have no choice but to recuse themselves from any such cases.

In fact, just yesterday, Fischer wrote a column arguing that Ginsburg and Kagan would be "committing a federal crime" if they did not recuse themselves:

The Supreme Court will, perhaps even in this session, take up the issue of sodomy-based marriage. If it does, justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan will have an obligation to step off the bench for those cases on the grounds that their impartiality has been severely compromised.

Both have performed sodomy-based “wedding” ceremonies. Kagan performed her first one on September 22 of this year, and Ginsburg has done the deed multiple times, including at least one in the Supreme Court building itself. Thus they have clearly tipped their hand by their actions as well as their words. They have publicly demonstrated that their minds are already made up on the issue. It is inconceivable that either of them now would vote against the “marriages” they themselves have solemnized. They would stand self-condemned.

...

[T]he necessity for Kagan and Ginsburg to recuse is not just a matter of fairness or rightness. It’s also a matter of law. They have a statutory obligation to recuse. If they refuse to step off the bench when and if marriage cases come before them, they would be breaking federal law. They would be, from a strictly legal standpoint, committing a federal crime. Their sacred responsibility is to uphold the law, not break it.

So it was with great interest that we read this article in The Washington Times yesterday reporting on remarks made by Justice Antonin Scalia at Colorado Christian University in which he stated that the separation of church and state is "utterly absurd" and the idea that the government must remain neutral on the issue of religion is "just a lie":

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday that secularists are wrong when they argue the Constitution requires religious references to be banished from the public square.

Justice Scalia, part of the court’s conservative wing, was preaching to the choir when he told the audience at Colorado Christian University that a battle is underway over whether to allow religion in public life, from referencing God in the Pledge of Allegiance to holding prayers before city hall meetings.

“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said.

“That’s a possible way to run a political system. The Europeans run it that way,” Justice Scalia said. “And if the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute. But to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”

...

“We do him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies,” Justice Scalia said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”

The biggest danger lies with judges who interpret the Constitution as a malleable document that changes with the times, he said.

“Our [the court‘s] latest take on the subject, which is quite different from previous takes, is that the state must be neutral, not only between religions, but between religion and nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said. “That’s just a lie. Where do you get the notion that this is all unconstitutional? You can only believe that if you believe in a morphing Constitution.”

Given that Scalia was very clearly "making public comment" in a way that directly relates to a whole host of church-state separation questions that could potentially come before the Supreme Court at any time, we trust that these Religious Right groups will now demand that he recuse himself from any such cases as well, right?

Fischer: Ban Muslim Immigration Because We Don't Know Who Is Carrying 'The Decapitation Virus'

On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer reiterated his belief that the government ought to ban immigration from nations where the Ebola virus is present as well as from Muslim-majority nations because, just as there is no way to determine who is carrying Ebola until the disease emerges, there is also no way to know which Muslims are carrying "the decapitation virus."

"I think our policy toward Islam should be the same as our policy toward Ebola," he said, asserting the America just cannot take a chance on allowing a potential Ebola carrier to enter this country. "Now we ought to be saying exactly the same thing about people who come from Muslim-majority countries because we have no way of knowing who might be carrying the decapitation virus.'

"We simply don't know," Fischer continued. "And so we say to them 'look, I'm sorry we can't let you into our country. I don't believe that you represent a threat of any kind but we simply don't know. We have no way to tell, we've got no kind of scanning device that can identify whether the decapitation virus is in you, whether it's alive in you, whether it's going to erupt'":

Bryan Fischer Links Oklahoma Beheading To Satanic 'Black Mass'

On his radio broadcast yesterday, Bryan Fischer not only linked the incident in which an Oklahoma man attacked and beheaded a former coworker to Islam and drug decriminalization efforts, but also managed to tie it to a recent Satanic "black mass" that took place in Oklahoma City.

"Remember that it was in Oklahoma City where the city fathers said 'you can have your Satanic ritual in the heart of our city,'" Fischer said. "And then literally, I mean this literally, ladies and gentlemen, all Hell has broken loose in the state of Oklahoma. Oklahoma City allows a Satanic ritual and all of a sudden, we start hearing about people having their head cut off in the name of the demon god Allah. Just a coincidence? I'll leave it up to you to make up your own mind":

Ted Cruz And GOP Leaders Record Ads For Far-Right Groups: 'God's People' Must 'Restore' American Values

David Lane is an extremely influential but notoriously media-shy Religious Right activist who regularly organizes secretive events at which leading Republican politicians speak to pastors in key swing states in an effort to mobilize conservative Christian voters. He is also a full-blown Christian nationalist who believes that the Bible should serve as "the principal textbook" for public education and has warned that the United States would see car bombings all over the nation as a result of God's judgment because "homosexuals [were] praying at the inauguration" of President Obama.

So naturally, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Rick Perry have all now recorded radio ads on behalf of Lane's current voter mobilization effort, which is being funded by the political arm of the anti-gay hate group the American Family association no less. 

As CBN's David Brody reported last night:

The Brody File has exclusively obtained brand new radio commercials recorded by possible GOP presidential candidates, urging conservative Christians to get out and vote in the upcoming Midterm Elections. Below you can listen to the spots recorded by Senator Ted Cruz, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and Texas Governor Rick Perry.

In one of the radio spots, Senator Ted Cruz tells the Christian audience, “The Bible is full of stories of men and women whose faith in God led them to take action during difficult times, trusting in Him for His glory. Today God’s people are once again being called to action as we seek to restore the values our nation was founded upon and to honor the legacy of those who have given their lives in defense of our freedom.” He then implores the audience to get out and vote.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal says the following in one of his radio spots: “Throughout the Bible, God’s people are driven to action by their faith in difficult times. Today we’re being called to action to restore the values our nation was founded.” Then, once again there is a call to action to vote.

The radio spots will run nationwide on American Family Radio, the Bott Radio Network and the National Religious Broadcasters Network. That means that these spots will be on close to 300 radio stations across the country in more than 35 states and reaching over nearly 70 million people.

The spots are part of the American Renewal Project’s, “Get Out The Vote” effort. The American Family Association political arm called AFA Action funds it. Part of their stated goal is to, “inform, equip, and activate individuals to strengthen the moral foundations of American culture.” David Lane, the influential evangelical organizer behind this effort also holds his popular, “Pastors and Pews” events around the country in multiple states including the early GOP Primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Those events are geared for pastors to get energized and mobilized so they can get more of their parishioners excited about voting their values.

Fischer: Oklahoma Beheading Shows Dangers Of Decriminalizing Drugs

Last week, after being fired from his job at a food processing plant in Oklahoma, a man named Alton Nolen attacked and beheaded a former coworker. Seizing on reports that Nolen was a convert to Islam who went by the name Jah'Keem Yisrael, Bryan Fischer has now flown into a frenzy that this crime is proof that ISIS is now in the United States.

But it turns out that, according to Fischer, Islam is not solely to blame for this crime as efforts to legalize or decriminalize drugs are also responsible.

You see, Nolen was sentenced to six years in prison on drug charges back in 2011, but was released after less than two. Then, over a year later, he killed a coworker which is why Fischer declared today that he doesn't want to hear any more "nonsense" about legalizing drugs!

"Everybody wants to legalize drugs, we've got to reduce the penalty for drugs, we're over-criminalizing drugs" Fischer said dismissively. "If he had done his full six years ... then Colleen Hufford would still be alive today. So I don't want to hear any more nonsense about legalizing [or] decriminalizing drugs":

You will not be surprised to learn that, contrary to Fischer's position, Nolen's release from prison had nothing to do with efforts to legalize or decriminalize drugs:

He began his six-year sentence for cocaine possession April 26, 2011, records show. Because of plea agreements with prosecutors, he was allowed to serve the three prison sentences at the same time.

He was released on March 22, 2013, records show. Because of credits, he was able to complete all three prison sentences in just two years.

...

Prison records show Nolen was given credit for time spent in jail before prison, good conduct, a transition program and other reasons. One month, he got 151 days total off his time to do, the records show.

Who Does Glenn Beck Really Stand With: Russian Gays Or America's Religious Right?

Shortly after Russia passed its new spate of anti-gay laws, Glenn Beck said he was so offended by one Russian commentator who called for the mass killing of gays and lesbians that he would “stand with GLAAD” against the growing tide of anti-gay bigotry and “hetero-fascism” in the country.

At the same time, however, Beck was heaping praise on anti-gay activists such as Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who endorsed draconian anti-gay laws in Russia and Malawi.

Then, this weekend, Beck took the same stand against growing Russian “hetero-fascism” in his closing speech at the Values Voter Summit, even though many of the summit’s sponsors and his fellow speakers have openly backed harsh anti-gay laws in Russia and throughout the world.

To begin with, Tony Perkins, the president of the summit’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, defended Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill when it included provisions making homosexuality a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death.

Beck’s fellow Values Voter Summit speakers included not only Staver and Perkins but also Peter Sprigg, the FRC spokesman who called for the U.S. to export gay people and criminalize homosexuality. The American Family Association also sponsored the summit, and its spokesmen Bryan Fischer and Sandy Rios have also endorsed Russia’s anti-gay policies, with Fischer even backing Uganda’s law.

Maybe Beck was trying to hold Religious Right leaders at the summit to task for their support of brutal anti-gay policies. But if that’s the case, Beck should start confronting them directly when they come on his show, rather than singing their praises and appearing at their conferences while calling policies they support “fascist.”

Jerry Boykin Hopes For Imminent Christian Conversion Of Israel's Jews

In his interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios at the Values Voter Summit this morning, top Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin discussed his recent trip to Israel, where he said he had met with many “fulfilled Jews, that’s what we tell Jews who have accepted Jesus Christ” which led him to hope that  many more Israeli Jews will soon convert to Christianity.

“When God deals with Jews, he does so in such a unique and powerful way and when a Jew comes to faith in Christ, they are such wonderful believers and such wonderful representatives of the power of the Holy Spirit,” Boykin gushed.

“I love their style,” Rios agreed. “I love their power, their strength, their commitment to their country. It makes me long for it.”

When Rios asked Boykin if he felt “a powerful movement” toward Christianity in Israel, Boykin responded that he did, but “the movement is more powerful among the Arabs,” which he saw as a good sign for ultimately converting Jews.

“There are more Arabs that are citizens of Israel that are coming to Christ, coming to faith, than there are Jews,” he said. “But eventually those Jews are going to figure out these Arabs are worshipping a Jew, and that’s going to stop a lot of them in their tracks and they are going to try to figure this out, and I believe it’s going to usher in a revival when they do.”

Jerry Boykin: 'Don't Pray For God's Blessings On America,' 'Pray That God Will Forgive Us' For Abortion And Pornography

In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios at the Values Voter Summit this morning, Family Research Council Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin predicted that God will soon humble America with a Civil-War-like reckoning for legal abortion and pornography, which he equated with “the evil, the sin of slavery.”

“If we ask God to humble us, if we ask God to bring us to a point where we do turn back to him… we’ve got to be prepared for greater persecution, we’ve got to be prepared to be knocked to our knees, not just invited to our knees, but knocked to our knees,” he said.

“Pray that God will forgive us,” he added. “Don’t pray for God’s blessings on America, I stopped doing that three years ago.”

He then said that legal abortion, pornography, and families “disintegrating at an incredible rate” have brought the country to a similar point that brought about the Civil War, which he said happened because “Americans realized that slavery was wrong and they began to repent for the evil.”

Every great revival in America, every great awakening in America started with an attitude of repentance. If you look at the Civil War, it came about because Americans realized that slavery was wrong and they began to repent for  the evil, the sin of slavery, which brought about the second Great Awakening, which brought about the Civil War. That’s where we are right now, where we’ve brought so much evil, we’ve killed 55 million of our children, we’ve destroyed our families, they’re disintegrating at an incredible rate, pornography is a multi-billion dollar evil. All that is evil that we’ve brought into our society and called it good.

Tony Perkins And Sandy Rios: Islam Is The 'Total Opposite Of Christianity,' 'Honors A God Of Death'

In an interview on American Family Radio at the Values Voter Summit this morning, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios discussed what they believe is President Obama’s attempt to purge Christianity from the military. They said America must fight Islam, which they described as “a movement that honors a god of death” and the “total opposite of Christianity.”

“Faith is a very strong component in a lot of lives of those who serve in our nation’s military,” Perkins said.

“And you know, the counter to that, of course, the Islamic movement, one of their goals, their top of the charts goal, is to express themselves as a religious movement, a movement dedicated to Allah,” Rios responded. “They don’t hide it, they call his name when they murder, so we are opposing a movement that honors a god of death, really. So this is no time to be shy about who it is that we serve.”

“Right, we’re 180 degrees from those that are pushing the Islamic religion, ISIS and others,” Perkins responded. “Contrary to what the president says, they are Islamic and they are pushing that religion, which is the total opposite of Christianity.”

Perkins then added a plug for Christianity’s “exclusive invitation” to salvation.


 

 

Tony Perkins Compares 'Bullying Of The Left' To Imprisonment Of Meriam Ibrahim

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios broadcasted her radio show live from the Values Voter Summit this morning, and her very first guest was Family Research Council president and VVS host Tony Perkins. (The American Family Association is also a major sponsor of the event.)

The two got things started by talking about Meriam Ibrahim, the Sudanese Christian woman who was imprisoned for refusing to convert to Islam, who will be speaking at the summit tomorrow. Perkins, of course, quickly compared Ibrahim’s plight to the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America, telling Rios that the story provides a good example to American “Christians who are so quick to go silent on their faith because of the intimidation and the bullying of the left.”

“We’re not backing up, we’re not going anywhere, we’re going to stand and defend our rights as Americans and we’re going to speak the truth,” he said. “We’ll speak it in love but we’re going to speak the truth.”

Later in the program, the two defined what the “values” in Values Voter Summit means.

“You know, when we say ‘VVS,’ the ‘values’ does mean values,” Perkins said.

“Not the ones the president describes, this redefinition of, what, multicultural, diversity, fairness, whatever. Those are not American values,” Rios replied.

“Those are the values that lead to a global nondescript society,” Perkins agreed. “That is not what made America an exceptional nation. It is those Judeo-Christian values that made the West distinct from the East.”
 

Bryan Fischer Says Any Objective Observer Can See That President Obama Hates America

During his remarks before the United Nations yesterday, President Obama made a reference to the killing of Michael Brown and the resulting tensions in Ferguson, Missouri, noting that while America has its difficulties, we are also "a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make our union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation."

To Bryan Fischer, this was just another perfect example of Obama's unrelenting contempt for this country, saying on his radio program today that any objective observer can see that Obama fundamentally hates America.

After playing an audio clip of Obama's remarks, Fischer slammed the president for "dragging America's dirty laundry out in front of the eyes of the entire world to make the world think bad thoughts about America, again acknowledging that America is the source of all the evil in the world ... Every time that he talks to the world, he has to say something that is condemning and critical of the United States of America."

"Anybody listening to one of his international speeches and just was being objective," Fischer said, "they would have to come to the conclusion ... [that] this is a guy who that does not like the United States of America":

For the record, here is the section of President Obama's speech that Fischer believes is proof that he fundamentally hates America:

I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders.  This is true.  In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri -- where a young man was killed, and a community was divided.  So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.  And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.

But we welcome the scrutiny of the world -- because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make our union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation.  America is not the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even a decade ago.  Because we fight for our ideals, and we are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.  Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary.  Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy -- with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and every religion; and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and their circumstances and their countries for the better.

The Right Enemies: A Look Back At Right-Wing Attacks On Eric Holder

Attorney General Eric Holder, who today announced his plans to resign, has been a leader in addressing systems of racial discrimination and protecting the fundamental rights of every American to be treated equally under the law and participate in our democracy.

Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that the Right loves to hate him.

In February of this year, the American Family Association demanded Holder’s impeachment after he had the audacity to treat married same-sex couples like married opposite-sex couples with regard to a host of legal rights and recognitions. Shortly after, both Faith and Freedom Coalition head Ralph Reed and Republican Rep. Tim Huelskamp echoed the call for Holder’s impeachment because of his support for marriage equality. Televangelist Pat Robertson also joined the impeachment parade, alleging that under Holder, “sodomy” was being “elevated above the rights of religious believers.”

Holder’s commitment to redressing racial injustice was no more warmly received by the Right than his work in support of LGBT equality. After Holder spoke out against voter ID laws, which disproportionately harm people of color, Texas Gov. Rick Perry accused him of “purposefully” “incit[ing] racial tension.” Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt argued that Holder’s open discussion of racial discrimination in the criminal justice system means that he is the real “racist,” asserting last year that Holder wants to “intimidate the rest of the country so that we don’t think about defending ourselves” against “attacks by black mobs on white individuals.” Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went so far as to say that Holder would never “prosecute someone if the victim is white.” And after Holder visited Ferguson, Missouri last month, David Horowitz outrageously commented that the attorney general was leading a black “lynch mob.”

And those are just a handful of the attacks the Right has leveled against Holder for his work protecting equality under the law.

The fact that the far Right has reacted with so much vitriol to the attorney general’s leadership is a sign not only of how uninterested they are in the civil rights that the Justice Department is meant to protect, but also of how effective Holder’s work has been. The next attorney general should share Holder’s deep commitment to protecting the rights of all Americans – and, by extension, make all the “right” enemies among those hoping to turn back the clock on civil liberties.

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

Bryan Fischer Says Obama Is Seeking 'To Minimize The Number Of Dead Terrorists' In Airstrikes

At the end of yesterday's radio program, Bryan Fischer suggested that the Obama administration's airstrikes against ISIS and other militants in Iraq and Syria are being carried out in a manner intentionally designed "to minimize the number of dead terrorists."

Fischer asserted that the administration is carrying out the airstrikes at night and is only targeting empty buildings because "they apparently do not want to kill terrorists."

"Ladies and gentlemen, the terrorists are the enemy," he said, "and these strikes seem to be calculated to minimize, rather than maximize, the inflicting of casualties on our enemies."

Fischer, of course, once again has absolutely no idea what he is talking about, as these strikes have reportedly killed the leader of the al-Nusra Front as well as hundreds of other militants.

PFAW & Allies Send Open Letter To RNC Chair: 'Where Does The GOP Stand On Gay Bashing?'

In anticipation of this weekend’s annual Values Voter Summit, a multi-day event where GOP elected officials and presidential hopefuls rub elbows with Religious Right leaders, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan joined the leaders of the Southern Poverty Law Center and five other civil rights and LGBT organizations in an open letter calling on Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ask members of his party to disassociate themselves from the summit.

The letter, printed in the Washington Post and The Hill this morning, highlights the repeated and vicious demonization of LGBT people by the groups responsible for the summit, including its host, the Family Research Council:

Its president, Tony Perkins, has repeatedly claimed that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem.” He has called the “It Gets Better” campaign — designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow — “disgusting” and a “concerted effort” to “recruit” children into the gay “lifestyle.”

… Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a summit sponsor, has said the U.S. needs to “be more like Russia,” which enacted a law criminalizing the distribution of LGBT “propaganda.” He also has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews.”

By participating in the summit, Republican Party leaders risk legitimizing this kind of virulent extremism. Given that reality, the letter asks a simple question: where does the GOP stand on gay bashing? Reince Priebus himself has said, “People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect.” But will he walk the talk and, as the letter asks, “tell the members of your party to shun groups that demean other people and deny them dignity?”

You can read the full letter here.
 

This post originally appeared on the PFAW blog.

Scott Lively Doesn't Hate Gays, Just Wants Them To 'Enjoy The Blessings Of Being Able To Live A Heterosexual Life'

In an interview with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios this morning, globe-trotting anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that he doesn’t hate LGBT people or “want them to be harmed in any way” or “put in jail.”

Instead, he said, “I want them to receive salvation in Jesus Christ, repent of their sins, and be able to enjoy the blessings of being able to live a heterosexual life and have a wife or a husband — depending on what their gender is — and the great blessings that come from doing things the God designed us to live. “

Earlier in the interview, Lively repeated his contention that a Human Rights Campaign report detailing his work pushing anti-gay laws throughout the world was “ trying to incite murder against me.”

“It’s a hit list, and a hit list file, it’s like the 10 Most Wanted list,” he told Rios.

“This is nothing less than directions to the next Floyd Lee Corkins on who to assassinate and where to find them and inflammatory rhetoric to get them all wound up in order to feel motivated to be able to do it,” he said, referring to the mentally disturbed man who attempted a shooting at the Family Research Council. “It’s a hit list for assassination.”

“Every leftist organization in America knows they have people that follow their rhetoric who are willing to commit murder,” he added.

When Rios responded that she herself had had “vile” things said about her, Lively responded, “It’s demonic, it’s literally demonic. What you’re seeing is demonic expression through human agents that have given themselves over to the Devil.”

Bryan Fischer Wants To Require All Immigrants To Convert To Christianity

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer recommended that the United States adopt an immigration policy based upon the Bible, meaning that all immigrants must convert to Christianity and completely leave behind their native practices, beliefs, culture, and language.

If we "did immigration God's way," Fischer said, that would mean that "those who came to our shores would be expected to adopt our religious values and traditions — that would mean Christianity and not Islam — and they would leave behind their religion and their god."

"That would mean leaving behind Islam and Allah," he explained, as well as adopting Judeo-Christian values, which means they they would not be allowed to complain about the sale or consumption of bacon or the inability to obtain Halal foods.

"If this were to happen," he concluded, "we would have one god, we would have one law, we would have one culture, and we would have one language":

Interestingly, Fischer made this recommendation once before but the idea was so outrageous that the American Family Association yanked his original column and changed it.  Despite that, Fischer, of course, has not actually changed his views one iota.

Tony Perkins Uses Meriam Ibrahim To Promote Anti-Obama, Anti-Gay Agenda

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has excitedly touted a big “get” for this week’s Values Voter Summit: Meriam Ibrahim, the Christian woman who was persecuted by the Sudanese government over charges of apostasy. Evangelicals in the U.S. were part of the international chorus of voices who worked to keep a spotlight on Ibrahim’s plight, and Ibrahim may wish to thank some of the activists who advocated for her freedom.

But Perkins and FRC have another agenda entirely: They have been using Ibrahim as a prop in their relentless, over-the-top attacks on the Obama administration — and their claims that Christians in America are themselves facing government persecution.

Ibrahim’s vividly compelling case — for being a Christian, she was shackled to a prison floor with one small child while pregnant, then gave birth in jail — drew worldwide attention. Ibrahim had a Muslim father but was raised by a Christian mother, and in 2011 she married a Catholic American, Daniel Wali.  She was arrested last September after being charged with apostasy — abandoning the Muslim faith — and for adultery given that the court didn’t recognize her marriage to a Christian.  This May she was sentenced to receive 100 lashes and be hanged.

An Amnesty International campaign on her behalf generated more than a million signatures. European leaders condemned her treatment and called for her release. In the U.S., religious and political leaders called for her freedom. A petition on the White House website pushed by Perkins and others gained more than 50,000 signatures.

On May 15, the White House condemned her sentence in a statement by National Security Council Spokesperson Caitlin Hayden, which urged the government of Sudan to respect Ibrahim’s religious freedom andto respect the fundamental freedoms and universal human rights of all its people.” The State Department also expressed concerns in May; Secretary of State John Kerry released a statement in June.

Ibrahim was freed on June 23, then re-arrested and detained briefly when she tried to leave the country. She was sheltered by the U.S. embassy for about a month until she was permitted to leave Sudan in late July. She is now living with her husband and children in New Hampshire.

Perkins has repeatedly used Ibrahim’s plight as a way to hammer the Obama administration. 

In late May, Perkins fumed:

While many international groups have taken up efforts to pressure the Sudanese government to release Meriam and her children, the Obama administration has said little, and done nothing.

Think about this: two innocent American children are imprisoned abroad as their life hangs in the balance. If President Obama will not act in a situation like this, what will he act upon? Does Obama care?

Fox News’ hosts got in on the act, even as its own website was contradicting those claims.  A May 31 Fox News story by Joshua Rhett Miller was headlined, “US 'fully engaged' in case of Sudanese woman sentenced to die for Christian faith.” It included a quote from the State Department:

Through the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum, the White House and the State Department, we have communicated our strong concern at high levels of the Sudanese government about this case,” State Department spokeswoman Nicole Thompson wrote FoxNews.com in an email. “We have heard from many, many Americans that they are deeply alarmed by [Ibrahim’s] plight. We have conveyed these views to the Government of Sudan.”

Yet the video at the top of that very story on the Fox News website featured Perkins saying the U.S. government was doing “so far, nothing that we can tell” other than condemning Ibrahim’s treatment. Megyn Kelly fumed that the State Department had “refused to say bupkis” about what the U.S. government was doing. If Perkins or Kelly were aware of the possibility that U.S. officials may have believed that quiet diplomacy would be more effective, they gave no hint of it.

Other conservatives piled on: On June 11, Nina Shea at the Hudson Institute wrote, “And, as Ibrahim looks toward an appeals court review of her case, President Obama and the U.S. State department have been silent about it.”

On June 12, FRC and Concerned Women for America held a rally in front of the White House. Perkins was joined by Obama-bashers Sen. Ted Cruz and Rep. Trent Franks. Perkins’ remarks were wildly inflammatory.  “There was a time when people of faith could sit down inside the White House and talk about these issues,” he said. Claiming that administration inaction was threatening the lives of Ibrahim’s children, Perkins said, “If this president is content with the blood of small children on his hands, then God help him.”

Perkins continued throughout the summer to complain that the Obama administration was doing nothing to help Ibrahim, even though he was told otherwise on his own radio show by a Republican congressman. On June 23, Perkins had Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., on his radio show to talk about the case. As Brian reported in RWW, Meadows undermined Perkins’ attacks on the administration:

Asked if the State Department was working to help Ibrahim and her children, Meadows reported that the U.S. has in fact worked vigorously behind the scenes to free Ibrahim: “I got off of a call not more than an hour or so ago and a number of agencies across the board are working hand-in-glove to make sure that this is handled quickly and efficiently. And I am heartened by what I heard on that phone call and really encouraged that this is a government that cares about people. Sometimes I wish they would speak up louder and quicker, but I can tell you behind the scenes a number of agencies are working to make sure that they are safe.”

In July, Perkins testified about the case at a congressional subcommittee hearing. One of his fellow panelists, Grover Rees, who served as a U.S. ambassador during the George W. Bush presidency, said that even though Ibrahim’s husband had said he was rebuffed by a U.S. consular officer when he sought help, Rees believed that government agencies were doing what they could. Rees said that “the State Department seems to be making amends, supplying appropriate attention and care.”

Perkins has even kept up the Obama-bashing rhetoric since Ibrahim’s release and safe passage to the U.S. In August, Perkins cited the case as a reason people think Obama is a Muslim.

Perkins isn’t alone. In August, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer allied himself with ISIS’s characterization of Iraq’s Yazidi minority and griped, “Obama will fight for Satan-worshipers but not for Christians!”

ISIS has been beheading Christian children and crucifying Christians by the side of the road. Christians for months have been fleeing Iraq in droves ahead of the murderous hordes of Al Qaeda. And Obama yawns.

When Christian wife and mother Meriam Ibrahim is imprisoned in Sudan for being a Christian, and forced to give birth in a filthy jail cell while shackled to the wall, Obama yawns. While Christian pastor and American citizen Saeed Abedini languishes in the hellhole of an Iranian prison, Obama yawns.

But when worshipers of Lucifer get in trouble at the hands of the same blood-thirsty savages, suddenly Obama springs into action.

What this reveals about the president’s religious sympathies I will leave for others to decide. But it can’t be good.

Real Persecution vs the Religious Right’s Persecution Complex

We have previously suggested that American religious conservatives should be ashamed of equating their policy disagreements or losses in legal disputes with the kind of brutal religious persecution experienced by Meriam Ibrahim and so many Christians and other religious minorities around the globe. But Perkins and others have been happy to use her case to promote their narrative that Christianity in the U.S. is on the verge of being criminalized.

Advocates for LGBT equality are often portrayed as persecutors of Christians, as in Perkins’ statement in June that he was wondering, “When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?” As part of FRC’s announcement that Ibrahim would be speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Perkins said: 

"Meriam's bold stand for Jesus Christ as she faced death has touched the hearts of people in every nation. Her incredible example of courage should inspire Christians in America to be bold and courageous in their faith as we witness growing religious hostility here in our country.”

At a July 23 hearing by the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organizations, Perkins said:

“It is difficult to look at these facts [about Ibrahim’s case] and not understand then in the light of the current administration’s unilateral reinterpretation of religious freedom domestically. This administration believes religious beliefs should be quarantined to private spaces and excluded from the public space. This truncated view of religious freedom domestically, more accurately described as the freedom of worship, is matched by the administration’s failure to even address the growing threats to religious freedom internationally.”

In August, Dusty Gates, who works for the Catholic Diocese of Wichita, Kansas, wrote in Crisis magazine that liberals were uncomfortable supporting Ibrahim because they don’t support religious freedom in the U.S.

Naturally, this victory for freedom (liber) is being celebrated, at least to some degree, by liberals of all kinds. A human being freed from oppression, especially from such extreme persecution as Ibrahim faced, seems to be a grand slam for the liberal cause. But with the Ibrahim case, as well as the larger situation of global anti-Christian persecution, is causing liberals to sweat a little. Just as they stand up to cheer, it seems that their impending jubilation is cut short; subdued by a palpable fear that maybe they shouldn’t be celebrating the thing they want to celebrate. “A victory for freedom? Hoora… Oh wait, for religious freedom? Uh oh….”

Gates even slammed the welcome given Ibrahim by Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, saying the Nutter’s comparison of Ibrahim to Rosa Parks rather than to other religious martyrs was “a subtle attempt to hijack Ibrahim’s story: taking it out of its full context and using it as a vehicle for the liberal agenda.”

In June, Christian author Benjamin Corey called out right-wing claims of religious persecution in the United States:

Meanwhile in the United States, we’re going about our daily lives panicking with cries of religious persecution as well…although, they’re not the cries one would think. Instead of a collective focus on wide-spread human rights abuses and religious persecution in places like Sudan, North Korea where an estimated 33,000 Christians have been incarcerated in prison camps, or the estimated thousands who actually die for their religious faith each year, we’re focused on a first world version of persecution that’s not really persecution at all.

When A&E temporarily made the decision to disassociate with Phil from Duck Dynasty over anti-gay comments he made in the media, it was labeled as “persecution”.

When public business owners in the baking industry have insisted on the right to discriminate and faced just accountability, it becomes another example of “persecution”.

We even have potential presidential candidates perpetuating such a persecution complex, with figures like Rick Santorum falsely stating that people who oppose same sex marriage are being sent to re-education camps.

With all of the legitimate and horrifying human rights violations occurring in the world, some in America have sadly adopted a very first world, privileged, and self-centered version of persecution. Instead of doubling efforts to shed light on international abuses, we’ve seen a flood of first world persecution claims– from internet trolls right up to the right wing members of government.

…Let’s reserve the “persecution” word for the real thing– such as what we saw in the case of Meriam Ibrahim.

Using Ibrahim to Attack LGBT Human Rights

Perkins has also used Meriam Ibrahim’s case to promote his attacks on the Obama administration’s advocacy for the human rights of LGBT people who face brutal persecution in many countries. In June, he wrote,

President Obama, who can't find a few minutes to call for Meriam Ibrahim's release from a Sudanese prison, had plenty of time to fly to New York and fundraise for homosexual activists.

In a late August direct mail piece, Perkins complained angrily about the “utterly shocking” fact that the rainbow flag was flown over the US embassy in Israel during a gay pride celebration.

“This would be outrageous enough all by itself—but the reality of the big picture is more frightening by far. The global Obama crusade for gay rights is happening against a backdrop of the total collapse of his real foreign policy responsibilities. We are witnessing an unprecedented level of anti-Christian persecution around the world, a colossal, international, multifront assault on religious freedom. Yet in response to these atrocities, the administration has remained all but silent….This administration is pressuring other nations to adopt Barack Obama’s radical gay agenda—but not to observe the most basic universal human right of religious freedom.”

The rest of Perkins’ letter goes back and forth between portraying the administration as fixated on gay rights and unconcerned about persecuted Christians. “We had no choice but to stand up for Meriam — because the Obama administration wouldn’t, and didn’t.”

“I urge you to stand with FRC Action again today as we fight back against the Obama administration’s outrages — their devotion to the cause of sexual immorality and their simultaneous indifference toward Christians suffering persecution for their faith.”

All the while Perkins portrays advocacy for the human rights of LGBT people — who certainly face brutal persecution in many parts of the world — as extremism.

When we see the rainbow flag of the homosexual movement flying over our embassies in Tel Aviv, London, and Prague, we can see with our own eyes what an extremist is sitting in the Oval Office.

Similar language appears in a September 6 fundraising email from Perkins, which says in part:

With President Obama promoting the homosexual movement around the world through the Obama administration, yet not working to prevent Christians from being persecuted, jailed, even tortured and killed for their faith, FRC Action’s work has grown more important than ever before.

As far as we can tell, Perkins and other Religious Right leaders haven’t raised much of a ruckus about the persecution of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi who faces 10 years in prison and 1000 lashes after being convicted of “insulting Islam” by calling for religious tolerance, or about the imprisonment in Indonesia of Alexander Aan for publicly declaring himself an atheist.

The Values Voter Summit

Meriam Ibrahim may consider an appearance at the extremism-heavy Values Voter Summit as an opportunity to thank the thousands of Americans who advocated on her behalf while she was suffering in a Sudanese prison cell, and to celebrate the freedom of religion that she and her family enjoy in America.

Unfortunately, her attendance at the Values Voter Summit will put her in the company of people like the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who argues that the First Amendment does not protect religious minorities in the U.S., and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who argues that Christians whose beliefs on the equality of LGBT people differ from his do not deserve “true religion freedom.” And it will include many activists, like the Benham Brothers, who cry anti-Christian persecution despite their own record of working to restrict the religious and political freedoms of others.

Americans of every political and religious stripe can admire Ibrahim’s exceptional strength and courage in the face of real persecution. The same cannot be said for those who are trying to exploit her moral authority to advance their own political agendas.

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