American Vision

Cruz, Huckabee And Jindal Joining 'Liberty' Conference Promoting Christian Reconstruction And Biblical Patriarchy

As we’ve reported, Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are scheduled to speak at a “religious liberties” conference in Iowa this weekend organized by pastor and homeschooling activist Kevin Swanson. It’s bad enough that presidential candidates would want to associate with Swanson, whose record of wildly anti-gay, anti-women statements we have exhaustively chronicled. But the candidates will also be rubbing shoulders with an array of activists representing the extreme Christian Reconstructionist and Christian Patriarchy fringes of the Religious Right.

Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal likely agreed to join the conference because of its ostensible “religious liberty” theme, which has increasingly become the Religious Right’s unifying battle cry. Speakers include David and Jason Benham, who have become popular martyr figures on the right-wing speaking circuit after we reported on their vicious anti-gay activism and they lost a planned HGTV reality show; Aaron and Melissa Klein, the Oregon couple who refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple in what Aaron later described as a battle with Satan; and Sgt. Phillip Monk, whose tale of being persecuted by a lesbian superior in the Air Force has been roundly debunked.

Interestingly, one actual victim of anti-Christian persecution, Naghmeh Abedini, whose pastor husband is imprisoned in Iran, was scheduled to speak but has since been removed from a list of confirmed speakers.

Behind this “religious liberty” veneer, however, is a gathering of some of the most extreme segments of the Religious Right, including those whose idea of “religious freedom” is the freedom to impose their specific scriptural interpretations on others. Swanson’s colorful rhetoric on the role of women and the biblical punishments for gay people comes out of an affinity with two controversial movements that will be on full display at his event: Christian Patriarchy and Christian Reconstructionism.

A number of speakers at this weekend’s conference have been associated with Vision Forum, the now defunct ministry run by influential Christian Patriarchy leader Doug Phillips, who resigned in 2013 after admitting to having an affair. That movement is closely bound with Christian Reconstructionism, the idea that America must return to its supposed foundations in a certain interpretation of biblical law. John Eidsmoe, one of the leading lights of Christian Reconstructionism will be speaking at the conference, as will Joel McDurmon, who now runs the Reconstructionist group Vision America.

One theme at the conference will be “interposition,” the idea that government officials have the duty to defy laws and court rulings that they believe are unconstitutional or unbiblical (for many those are the same thing), an idea that has returned to prominence in the midst of the Kim Davis saga.

Here is a brief introduction to some of the activists who will be sharing the stage with Huckabee, Cruz and Jindal this weekend:

Kevin Swanson

Swanson, a Colorado-based homeschooling activist, pastor and radio host, rejects the term “Christian Patriarchy” but says he ascribes to the passage in Ephesians that guides the movement’s view of male headship and female submission in marriage. Swanson also takes hardline Christian Reconstructionist positions, such as his view that the death penalty for gay people is just. Just a sampling of Swanson’s views includes:

John Eidsmoe

Eidsmoe gained wider name recognition when Rep. Michele Bachmann named him as her mentor , but he has long been an influential leader in Christian Reconstructionism. Eidsmoe has run into controversy in the past for ties to white supremacist and neo-Confederate groups . He now works for the Foundation for Biblical Law, a group established by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Eidsmoe has:

Phil Kayser

Christian Reconstructionist Nebraska pastor Phil Kayser first attracted the national spotlight in 2011 when he endorsed Ron Paul for president and it came out that he had “authored a paper arguing for criminalizing homosexuality and even advocated imposing the death penalty against offenders based on his reading of Biblical law .” Kayser confirmed to a reporter that this was indeed his position. He will be addressing the “religious liberty” issue with a talk on “Martyrdom, Civil Disobedience, Protest, and Flight” and another on “Can a County Clerk Refuse to Sign a Marriage License? Interposition by the Lesser Magistrate.”

Joel McDurmon

As Kyle wrote last week, “Joel McDurmon, president of the Christian Reconstructionist organization American Vision, which espouses the Christian Reconstructionist view that ‘men must choose in their civil affairs to be governed by God’s law’ as explicitly set out in the Old Testament.”

McDurmon says that "God revealed that the homosexual act is a civil crime, and it just so happens that He revealed that the homosexual act as a civil crime deserves the death penalty." He also said that a proposal in Uganda to impose the death penalty for homosexuality didn’t go far enough because it should also impose “Old Testament law” by making adultery a capital crime as well.

After we reported on his views last week, McDurmon released a statement clarifying that he does not support the death penalty for “homosexuality in general” but merely “the ‘act’ of sodomy.”

Scott Brown

North Carolina pastor Scott Brown is the director of the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches, a spinoff of Vision Forum. Articles on Brown’s website present an array of Christian Patriarchy views, including:

  • We “should counsel our Christian wives and daughters to rid their wardrobes of tight clothing and modern bathing suits” because there “ should be a sense of shame for distracting someone from purity” and having a “distracting appearance.”
  • Lamenting that “in the evangelical community, art and fashion have become exempt from biblical evaluation,” leading to reverence for Michelangelo and Leonardo Da Vinci, who operated under the “influence of homosexuality” and “some of our most revered artifacts of Greek sculpture” which “ were produced by homosexual, pagan artist.”
  • Husbands should be teaching their wives. The father is a key component of the delivery system for the news of the kingdom of God, and when you bypass him, you reject the biblical order for the church and the home.”

This is just skimming the surface. Also speaking at Swanson’s conference will be former Vision Forum activist Geoff Botkin; James Lansberry, who has been working to help conservative evangelicals bypass the Affordable Care Act; and Bill Jack, an occasional cohost on Swanson’s radio program who took the Cake Wars to a new low when he tried to get a baker to write “God hates gays” on a cake.

Along with Cruz, Huckabee and Jindal, a number of activists with a cozy relationship with the GOP have also been confirmed to attend, including Bob Vander Plaats and Chuck Hurley of the influential Iowa conservative group The Family Leader, Kelly Shackelford of the Liberty Institute and Colorado Republican state senator Kevin Lundberg.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/1/15

  • Jonathan Cahn says that Hurricane Joaquin is a warning from God as "a precursor to the United Nations recognizing Palestine."
  • Speaking of Cahn, even though his Shemita prophecy was a total bust, Michael Snyder insists that Cahn was right and "it is just the beginning."
  • Jonathan Saenz cannot believe that Lance Berkman is being criticized simply for "exercising his First Amendment rights about an issue." Does the First Amendment not also give people the right to criticize those with whom they disagree?
  • More trouble for Ron Luce and his struggling Teen Mania ministry.
  • American Vision has announced that Dr. Joel McDurmon has been tapped to take over for Dr. Gary DeMar as president of the organization.
  • Finally, Erik Rush has some thoughts:
  • Pray tell, what constitutionally guaranteed rights have been denied homosexuals in recent memory? Their perceived “right to marry” is a wholly subjective interpretation of law, and ensuring homosexuals anything under the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment is a lube-slathered slope toward their legitimately demanding whatever their perverted little hearts desire in the future. Practical labs in fisting for kindergartners, anyone?

The Tea Party Letter Signers' Other Advice on Immigration Reform

A coalition of Tea Party and other right-wing activists sent a letter to the Senate yesterday calling the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform plan “unsalvageable” and urging senators to scrap it altogether. While the media has focused on better-known signers of the letter – including right-wing talkers Erick Erickson, Michele Malkin and Laura Ingraham – many of the letter’s signers were all too familiar to us here at RWW.

Here are eight other pieces of advice on immigration reform from signers of the Tea Party letter.

  1. No one is immune to the illegal who drives wildly drunk, or the wanna-be gang-banger who needs to machete innocent citizens to gain entry and respect into the Latino or other gangs. We have uncovered the fact that Americans are under assault, a fact under-reported by the press, and unconnected by our elected leaders at all levels of government…. Insist that our elected officials remember that ‘We, the People,’ not the illegal aliens, are their constituents. And that the racism perpetrated by illegal invaders upon Americans of all ethnic backgrounds is real.”  
    -- Maria Espinoza, director of a project linked to the nativist Numbers USA intended “to honor and remember Americans who have been killed by illegal aliens”

  2.  “Native-born Hispanic Americans, who make up most Hispanic voters, have a majority of the children that are born to them are illegitimate, very high rates of welfare use. So this is a description of an overwhelmingly Democratic voter group. Not all of them, obviously, because there’s a big group and there’s a lot of differences among them. But generally speaking, Hispanic voters are Democrats, and so the idea of importing more of them as a solution to the Republican Party’s problems is kind of silly.”
    -- Center for Immigration Studies executive director Mark Krikorian on why Republicans shouldn’t bother appealing to Latino voters

  3. “Having this amnesty is suicide for the Republican Party because they’re going to vote Democratic, and that’s why the Democrats are pushing it. And the reason is because they come from a country where there’s no tradition or expectation of limited government…. They think government should be there to give orders and solve their problems and give them a handout when they need it.
    -- Phyllis Schlafly, who has also expressed nostalgia for the days of “Irish, Italian, Jewish” immigration

  4. If this country becomes 30 per cent Hispanic we will no longer be America."
    -- Vision America's Rick Scarborough, who also contends that AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality

  5. “This British Conservative Party has watered down traditional conservatism to such an extent that some conservatives have formed an alternative, the English Defense League (EDL), which has spawned the British Freedom Party. This group has been strongly attacked in the media, here and abroad, as “far-right” or worse. But I had the opportunity to meet their leaders, Kevin Carroll and Tommy Robinson, at the 9/11 conference in New York City sponsored by Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer which was designed in part to organize resistance to global Islam and safeguard our right of free speech against the advance of Sharia, or Islamic law. … Carroll and Robinson want a patriotic alternative to the British Conservative Party that will promote traditional values.
    -- Accuracy in Media's Cliff Kincaidrecommending that the Republican Party emulate the English Defense League, a violent, radical nativist group

  6. “And sadly, what we’re seeing in many of these populations – and I don’t mean to pick on the Somalis, they just happen to be worth picking on – is that they are in fact sort of ghettos in places like Minnesota, where they contributed substantially to the election of the first Muslim Brother – oh, excuse me, first Muslim – to the United States Congress. Keith Ellison from Minnesota. But the concern that I have is that this group is not simply establishing itself and over time becoming a force to reckon with politically in this country. It’s also incubating two things: jihadists…and the other thing is they’re incubating Sharia.
    -- Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, birther and the originator of Michele Bachmann’s smears against Muslim civil servants

  7. “Is this one of those backdoor opportunities to allow people in the next five months to get the opportunity to vote? Will we see Janet Napolitano and the president come out with a new edict that says since we allow these people to be here legally, we’re now going to allow them to vote? How far down the rabbit whole will it go?”
    -- Former congressman Allen West

  8. "I know the solution. Take a plane load of them and dump them in Somalia. Make no secret of it and tell the illegals, every time we catch them, that is where they are going. 99% of them will head back to the border on their own."
    -- Judson Phillips, prominent birther and head of Tea Party Nation

Other signers of the letter include Gary Bauer, who has warned that gay rights and pro-choice policies will lead to “God taking his hand of protection off of our country”; Elaine Donnelly, one of most hyperbolic opponents of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Ken Eldred, a top financier of the Seven Mountains Dominionism movement; Brigette Gabriel, who warns that elementary school classrooms are becoming “recruiting ground[s] for Islam”; David Horowitz, who thinks that conservative activist Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim who has “infiltrated” the Republican Party; and the American Family Association's Sandy Rios who said last month of President Obama, “I don’t think he loves the country like people who were born and did grow up here.”

Gary DeMar Calls Homosexuality a 'Grave Evil' Akin to Pedophilia, Murder and Slavery

Gary DeMar of American Vision, a Christian Reconstructionist group, is out with two new columns attacking Hillary Clinton and Rob Portman for endorsing marriage equality. Yesterday, DeMar warned that marriage rights for same-sex couples would eventually mean that parents would have no legal recourse to stop pedophiles from molesting their children.

Is Hillary saying that full citizenship requires that people be able to marry anybody they want?

Does this mean that a father can marry his 17-year-old daughter or son? Will laws prohibiting incestuous marriages be considered a violation of a person’s full and equal citizenship rights?

Maybe not now, but who can say what will be permitted in 10 or 20 years?

I’m sure that people who have jumped ship to embrace pro-homosexual marriage have not thought through the consequences of their decisions, especially young people who are almost always in an affirming mood. The day will come when they will have children, and there won’t be a thing they will be able to do to stop predators from taking advantage of their children because “it will be against the law to discriminate.”

In a Saturday column DeMar called homosexuality a “grave evil” and a “bad moral choice,” and went on to compare supporting a gay son to helping a son who is a pedophile, drug dealer, murderer or slave-owner.

Are there no longer any moral standards? If Senator Rob Portman’s son wants to live and love another man, no one’s stopping him. But to overthrow the moral order of the universe by having the State sanction homosexuality is a grave evil.

No one is denied love. I love all kinds of people, but it’s a moral evil to believe that love necessitates sexual relations. Once you go down this road, there’s no way to stop.

Would Senator Rob Portman throw his support behind pedophilia if he had learned that his son was a pedophile? There are young pedophiles out there. Would he support adultery if his son was an adulterer? Would he support slavery if he found out that one of his relatives was a slave owner and argued persuasively that owning slaves was legitimate? Would the Senator Rob Portman support his son if he learned that he was selling drugs to children? Would he support contract killing if he learned that his son was a contract killer for the mob?

Senator Rob Portman’s son has made a bad moral choice. There is no need to compound that bad moral choice by capitulating to it and softening the moral barriers for young men and women who are struggling with their sexuality and helping to pass laws that will affect millions of people.



As parents, we set standards for our children to live by. When our children rebelled against those standards when they were growing up with us, there were supposed to be consequences. It did not matter how our children felt when they did something wrong. Beating up the neighbor kid because “I felt like it” or “I couldn’t help myself” were not proper moral responses.

Religious Right Groups Rally to Defend Todd Akin from 'Political Gang Rape'

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer isn’t the only one sticking up for Todd Akin. While the embattled Missouri congressman and senate nominee, who is a favorite of Religious Right activists and celebrated his primary victory by lauding God’s role in his success and appearing on Fischer’s show, has been abandoned and denounced by many Republican figures, Religious Right groups for the most part have remained firmly in his corner.

The New York Times reports that the Family Research Council hopes to make up the lost air-support from groups like American Crossroads and the National Republican Senatorial Committee, which have dropped their planned advertisements:

Leaders of several conservative Christian and social-issues groups said they would step in with organizational, financial and news-media help. The Family Research Council said it now hoped to sponsor independent advertising and phone banks and solicit donations for Mr. Akin. And by Wednesday evening, those tiny donations requested by Mr. Akin’s campaign several times this week were starting to add up. Mr. Akin’s Twitter account reported that he had set a goal to raise $100,000 by midnight and had raised $88,000.

Akin also met with the secretive, right-wing Council for National Policy in Tampa, days before the city hosts the Republican National Convention:

Rep. Todd Akin was in Tampa Wednesday night meeting with top conservative groups and donors, several sources confirmed to POLITICO.

The embattled Missouri Senate candidate flew to Tampa to meet with members of the Council for National Policy, a secretive coalition of powerful conservative and evangelical leaders, activists, and donors.

A person attending the CNP gathering in Tampa confirmed Akin was there Wednesday evening, after several sources close to Akin in Missouri said he would be attending. It was unclear if Akin had been invited prior to his “legitimate rape” remarks Sunday.

Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse defended Akin as a victim of “the politics of personal destruction”:

He has been a pro-life advocate his whole career. He's been a man who has worked in crisis pregnancy centers. He's reached out to women and helped women in numerous ways in his private life. So it's very unfortunate that he's one who used words so insensitively, and he apologized for them, of course, and retracted from them.

But I think the bigger question for me is this whole business of the politics of personal destruction. We have a very, I think, appalling double-standard in this country where Republicans are held to these standards that are appropriate but somehow the Democrats get a pass. Vice President Biden, for instance, most recently and most - in the headlines talked about you're going to put those, put everybody in chains.

Gary DeMar’s American Vision even accused the GOP leadership of engaging in a “legitimate political gang rape” of Akin:

Legitimate political gang rape

We expect leftists, liberals, and other miscreants to pounce opportunistically, to lie, cheat, and twist (all the while drooling) over a phrase like “legitimate rape” when uttered by a strong conservative Christian politician. But should we expect the same from alleged conservatives?

Yet this is exactly what we’ve seen from several prominent conservatives in the wake of a media gaffe from U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO) in regard to alleged “legitimate rape” and abortion.



There is, after all, the distinct possibility that if abortion were outlawed but with an exception for “rape,” that many of the women who buy abortions purely out of convenience today would then simply claim to have been raped in order to procure the legality.

For some reason, even to mention the possibility that a woman may lie about being raped is supposed to be politically incorrect—untouchable. It enrages leftists, and for some reason, therefore, frightens conservatives. Are a woman’s intentions never to questioned—completely off limits—when she claims to have been raped?

The answer is generally yes, but there is a least one major exception to this: When she intends to use that claim as justification to murder an innocent third party, a baby. The right to life trumps the right to privacy.

Liberals may wish us to believe that no woman would ever stoop so low as to lie about being raped. But this simply does not comport with what we Christians know about fallen human nature. We, conservatives, all agree that millions of women annually conspire to commit murder on their unborn babies. So do you expect me to feel it unacceptable to believe they would lie about why? This is political correctness run amok. Why, after all, would someone willing to kill out of convenience not also lie for various reasons out of convenience?

UPDATE: CNN reports that Tony Perkins of the FRC and Restoration Project organizer David Lane are both standing behind Akin:

“Following the pounding of Todd Akin by the GOP kings and lieutenants in the last 36 hours, I've come to the conclusion that the real issue is the soul of America,” wrote David Lane, an evangelical activist who’s influential in the Republican Party, in an e-mail to fellow activists Thursday morning.

“The swift knee-jerk reaction to throw Akin, a strong conservative pro-life, pro-family born again Christian under the bus by some in the Republican Party is shining the light on their actual agenda,” Lane continued.

“We haven't seen anything this vicious since some of the same operatives did this to (Sarah) Palin.”

...

In a note to supporters Wednesday night, conservative Family Research Council President Tony Perkins heaped criticism on the GOP for abandoning Akin.

"Todd Akin has a long and distinguished record of defending women, children, and families – and unlike the GOP establishment, I refuse to throw him under the bus over one inarticulate comment for which he has apologized,” wrote Perkins, who is in Tampa attending events leading up the convention.

“As for the GOP, it has no rational basis for deserting Akin when it has stood by moderate Republicans who've done worse,” Perkins continued. “Singling out Todd suggests a double standard, designed to drive out social conservatives.”
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