This is a dream come true for the anti-refugee movement in the U.S. which had already been trying to claim that Syrian refugees — who go through a long and arduous security screening process before being admitted to the U.S. — represent a threat to national security.
The leading activist focusing specifically on preventing the resettlement of refugees in the U.S., Refugee Resettlement Watch’s Ann Corcoran, wrote on her blog today that other commitments kept her from writing much today, “But, LOL!, there are so many people writing about refugees now that I can soon retire!”
Prominent anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney responded to the news of the Paris attacks by calling for “a moratorium on Muslim migration” to the U.S., circulating a post from Corcoran calling for the same.
Pamela Geller predictably went even farther, writing on her blog yesterday that President Obama “should be brought up on charges” if he allows any more Muslims into the U.S.
NO MUSLIM MIGRANTS. Obama should be brought up on charges if he moves forward and brings these murderers here. They mean to kill us.
As refugee resettlement experts explained to Politifact last month, trying to game the refugee resettlement process would not be a likely method for an ISIS terrorist trying to reach the U.S.:
Those 10,000 aren’t necessarily the type of people who would be ISIS operatives as Trump fears, according to Mock.
"The priorities go to torture survivors, people with serious medical conditions, children and teens on their own, and women and children at risk," Mock said. The people selected undergo screening by state agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security. The process can take years.
That doesn’t make for an efficient method of terrorizing the United States, Foundation for Defense of Democracies senior fellow Daveed Gartenstein-Ross said. While it’s a legitimate concern that there are ways of beating the screening process, he said, there would be more efficient ways for ISIS cells to reach America than what Trump is fearing.
"Instead of sitting around hoping you win the refugee lottery and then wait years, then pass the screening to get to America, it would be much easier for a terrorist group to send a person through Europe or put them onto an airplane to the United States," Gartenstein-Ross said. "If they could otherwise pass the refugee screening process, they could certainly get on an airplane."
As the libertarian Niskanen Center notes, “not one” of the millions of refugees admitted under the U.S. refugee resettlement program since 1980 “has committed an act of terrorism in the U.S.”
After the Southern Poverty Law Center, followed by Media Matters and Right Wing Watch, pointed out that Gaffney had lavished praise on a white nationalist activist, Gaffney wrote that he had simply wanted to discuss “a recent article” by Taylor and was “unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.” He said that if he had known Taylor’s full history, he would not have invited him on the program, and then pulled the interview with Taylor from his website.
Now Taylor is fighting back, writing an open letter to Gaffney accusing him of caving to “lefty” organizations when “there has been no criticism of you from any conservative source.” He reminds Gaffney that “you were aware of some of my views, and found them insightful.”
Taylor notes that the article that Gaffney “admired” was very clear about his “basic views on race.” Indeed, Taylor’s article, “Is This the Death of Europe?,” begins with a quote from “The Camp of Saints,” a book that the SPLC notes “is revered by American white supremacists”; in the first paragraph, he warns that “a million wretched, brown-skinned people” wanting to “feed on the wealthy white West” will eventually ensure that “Europe is snuffed out”; and so on from there.
From Taylor’s open letter to Gaffney:
Mr. Gaffney, these people are not your friends. They hate you. They want to silence you and drive you out of respectable society. Why do you let them decide whom you may invite on your program? Why do you let them set the bounds of legitimate discussion? This is the great and perhaps fatal weakness of “conservatives”–to have conceded some strange moral power to people who hate them.
The statement on your website says you weren’t aware of all of my views when you invited me on your program, and that you now find you disagree with some of them. I believe you. But you were aware of some of my views, and found them insightful. I’m sure you don’t insist on complete agreement with all your guests. Why does disagreeing with me on some matters make me a pariah? Because the SPLC says so?
Removing our interview from your website does not mean it never happened. We will be posting a transcript shortly. What is much more dismaying is what removing the interview says about you. If you wanted to make a record of our disagreements, the manly thing would be to invite me back on your program and explain to me why I am wrong.
To your credit, you did call me personally to tell me that you were taking down the interview. I salute you for that. But your reasons made no sense. You said you were opposed to all forms for supremacy: white, black, or Hispanic. I tried to explain that wanting to live in a majority-white society is no more “supremacist” than Japanese wanting to live in a majority-Japanese society or Israelis wanting to live in a majority-Jewish society. In fact, my basic views on race should have been clear in the article “ Is This the Death of Europe?” that you admired.
It is a great pity that your name and mine have been linked in yet another success by people who despise you–and me–to stamp out the public exchange of views they don’t like. You care deeply about the preservation of certain values; so do I. But we must never trim our sails for fear of what our detractors might say. We will never succeed if we let our enemies set the boundaries of how we should act.
Ann Corcoran, the head of Refugee Resettlement Watch and the leading voice against efforts to settle refugees in the United States, warned last month that President Obama is using Syrian refugees as part of his plot to “diversify every town in America” as he goes about “changing America by changing the people, literally.”
Corcoran, who has previously warned that refugee resettlement is being used to “rub diversity in the noses of conservative communities” and push “the whole multicultural meme,” told the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program, “There’s going to be a demographic examination of your town to see how diverse you are, and you will be rewarded if you’re sufficiently diverse and you will be not rewarded with government grants and so on and so forth if you’re insufficient in the diversity area. It is really, he is changing America by changing the people, literally.”
Gaffney shared Corcoran’s concerns, saying that Obama “was about the fundamental transformation of America, and a key element of that strategy, it certainly seems, through the refugee resettlement and other techniques … has been to change the population, change the demographics of our society.”
Gaffney then asked Corcoran to respond to “a working hypothesis of mine” that refugees are being resettled in places where the Obama administration wants to change the political “representation.”
Corcoran agreed that “it seems to me that they’re targeting districts that have been traditionally red districts or red states,” like Texas and her “very conservative, very insular community” in Maryland that “would have been the last place on earth you would think would be the best place to bring a bunch of third-world refugees.”
This is all despite Gaffney’s long track record of pushing outrageous conspiracy theories , including birther and “secret Muslim” theories about President Obama, panic about Sharia law coming to the United States, and embarrassing campaigns against people he thinks are infiltrating the American government or the GOP or the NRA or CPAC on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.
The two discussed their aversion to the Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe. Gaffney asked Taylor, according to SPLC’s transcript:
At some point there will be a very vigorous resistance to the infusion into these countries of large numbers of people who don’t assimilate, many of them Muslim who bring with them a Sharia ideological program that is antithetical to the culture and civilization and polities of European nations. Do you anticipate, as we’re seeing now evidence of increasing violence, notably against women, on the part of these refugees, not all of them by any means but some, rapes now becoming a serious problem in some of the refugee holding areas, and demonstrations and in some cases worse that are breaking out in various parts of Europe when they’re not accommodated to their satisfaction, that you may see in fact Europe devolving once again into the types of cataclysms that it has from time immemorial with, you know, blood letting taking place. Is that overreaching at this point or perhaps just a distant possibility?
We have unleashed now what would not be an exaggeration to call almost demonic forces. We have close to a million now of these so-called refugees, most of whom are young men. They are young, single men. Most of whom have never seen a woman in a bikini in their lives. Most of them are part of, as you say, this Sharia culture that despises any woman who walks around with her face uncovered, with her legs bare. These people are going to be all sorts of trouble for Europe for many, many years to come.
Taylor is an unapologetically racist activist. He has written that "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears"; he has urged white people to “rekindle” their “instinctive preference for their own people and culture.” Taylor has been active in the effort to build alliances between American white nationalists and the European far-right, participating in a meeting in Budapest last year, where he told his “European brothers” that “the genetic and cultural effect of alien immigration is no different from armed invasion.”
While Taylor is largely shunned by mainstream right-wing circles, he has expressed an affinity for Donald Trump, telling the New Yorker that “I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”
When Media Matters asked Gaffney to explain his interview with Taylor, CSP sent them a statement claiming that Gaffney invited Taylor exclusively to discuss refugee policy and “was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.” The group did not explain how Gaffney was able to lavish praise on American Renaissance without being familiar with its contents.
While Gaffney’s already lengthy record of extremism hasn’t yet caused major GOP figures to distance themselves from him, Gaffney’s decision to elevate Taylor and his work should cause him to lose all credibility among candidates and officials who wish to be taken seriously in the future.
UPDATE: In a statement on the Center for Security Policy's website, the group says that Gaffney's compliments to Taylor were "routine" and that if he had done his "due diligence" before the interview, he would not have invited Taylor as a guest:
Yesterday’s program included a conversation with Jared Taylor concerning a recent article by him addressing the dire implications for Europe, its people and civilization of large numbers of migrants from nations in which shariah-adherence is the norm. The host was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.
Subsequently, Mr. Gaffney had a chance to examine those views and the American Renaissance website on which they appear. There is much there with which he strongly disagrees. Had due diligence been done beforehand, such disagreements would have resulted in Mr. Taylor not being invited on the show, routine compliments to such guests not made and an offer to appear again not extended.
Yesterday on “Secure Freedom Radio,” Andy McCarthy joined Center for Security Policy president Frank Gaffney to discuss the Senate’s failure to pass a resolution blocking the Iran deal, castigating Republicans for their inability to defeat the nuclear accord. Gaffney and McCarthy reasoned that Republicans must have been secretly hoping that the Iran deal would survive congressional resistance.
The two linked the GOP’s supposed unwillingness to block the agreement to donations the party and party leaders have received from the aerospace company Boeing, which they believe stands to profit handsomely from the loosening of sanctions against Iran.
Boeing, they agreed, should be chastised for effectively aiding the Iranian government and the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah.
As it would happen, Boeing is also a donor to none other than the Center for Security Policy.
Eli Clifton pointed out last year that Boeing, along with defense contractors such as Lockheed Martin and Northrup Grumman, contributed to Gaffney’s group in 2013, in Boeing’s case to the tune of $25,000.
We hope that Gaffney can reassure us that his group is not part of the Boeing conspiracy to further Iran’s influence in the Middle East.
Jim Simpson, an activist who has worked closely with the Center for Security Policy in his effort to stop refugee resettlement efforts in the United States, said in a radio interview earlier this month that advocates of expanding refugee resettlement are in fact trying to “bring in third-world people from all over the world to dilute our culture” and make the country “unrecognizable.”
Simpson told Joe Miller, the former Alaska GOP Senate candidate turned conservative radio host, that the goal of the 1980 Refugee Act “was to bring in third-world people from all over the world to dilute our culture, to make it unrecognizable, to bring in people with no experience of American concepts of the rule of law, of individual freedom, of religious freedom, people with no concept and, frankly, a lot of people with no interest in adopting the American way of life other than to suck up welfare resources.”
This “massive Cloward-Piven strategy,” he said, referring to a 1966 essay that called for acheiving the expansion of social services by overloading the welfare system, is an attack on “the West, as it always has been with everything.”
Simpson cautioned his listeners not to be swayed by arguments about compassion for refugees, such as the millions of people who have been displaced by Syria’s civil war. “The Left, just as it does with everything, they look for the hook of compassion and trick people into believing that that’s what their agenda is,” he said, “when their agenda really is to flood this country with so many different problems, people from so many different places, that our country becomes unrecognizable.”
Glenn Beck dedicated his television program last night to revealing "the truth" about what really happened when 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed was arrested for bringing a homemade clock to school, insisting that the entire thing was a set-up and part of an "influence operation" by radical Muslims who are waging "civilization jihad" in America.
Beck brought Beth Van Duyne, the mayor of Ahmed’s hometown of Irving, Texas, on to the show to defend the school and police officials who detained the ninth grader. Van Duyne has been a hero to anti-Islam activists ever since she falsely alleged that local Muslim leaders were trying establish Sharia courts, prompting a national fight in which she was openly supported by Beck himself.
Van Dunye was rather circumspect in her comments on Beck's program, insisting mainly that only one side of the story was being reported and complaining that everyone from the media to President Obama were jumping to unfair conclusions.
Beck's other guest, Jim Hanson of the anti-Islam organization Center for Security Policy, was far less reserved in his comments, as he declared unequivocally that everything about the situation "was a P.R. stunt, it was a staged event" designed by Islamic radicals for the purpose of undermining anti-terrorism security protocols.
"They did that to create the exact scenario that played out," Hanson said. "They wanted people to react and they wanted to portray this kid as an innocent victim ... I don't think there is any question he was put up to it by someone else who wanted him to take that in to create this exact scenario. As you mentioned, fear and panic, and then out of that to be able to say, 'Look at him, he's a nice, nerdy little kid,' and that the police overreacted and all these things ... They want a Muslim-privilege exemption to 'see something, say something' and that's what this is about."
Gaffney reacted today to the controversy over the arrest of Texas 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed, who brought a homemade clock to school to show off to his teachers, by claiming that police and school officials were right to be suspicious of the Muslim student:
Officers said Ahmed was being "passive aggressive" in his answers to their questions, and didn't have a "reasonable answer" as to what he was doing with the case. Investigators said the student told them that it was just a clock that he was messing around with.
"We attempted to question the juvenile about what it was and he would simply only say it was a clock. He didn't offer any explanation as to what it was for, why he created this device, why he brought it to school," said James McLellan, Irving Police.
Police confiscated the case along with Ahmed's tablet computer.
In addition to calling police, Ahmed said the principal suspended him for three days.
The police apparently refused to believe that maybe Ahmed’s clock was just that, a clock, and were convinced that there must be some nefarious reason why a student who has taken an interest in engineering would build a clock to show his engineering teacher.
UPDATE: Lee Fang notes that Gaffney and Jim Hanson of the Center for Security Policy have continued to make absurd claims about the case:
The Center for Security Policy, a think tank that routinely partners with prominent Republican politicians, including many of the current presidential contenders, is defending the arrest of 14-year-old Muslim high school student Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school.
Americans across the country expressed outrage at the news that Mohamed was handcuffed by police officers in Irving, Texas, on Monday, suspended from his high school, and accused of making a bomb after the electronic components he had connected to make his own digital clock beeped during English class.
But Center for Security Policy vice president Jim Hanson argued on his organization’s podcast that the clock “looks exactly like a number of IED triggers that were produced by the Iranians and used to kill U.S. troops in the war in Iraq.” He said the clock “was half a bomb.”
Frank Gaffney, the center’s founder and president, agreed with Hanson, while suggesting that there is reason to be suspicious of “what we’re told was a clock” because “the story is not being fully explored and explained.”
Gaffney also said that the entire controversy over Mohamed’s clock appeared to be an “influence operation” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a Muslim civil rights group that Gaffney claimed is using “professional victim-promoting” to wage a “civilization jihad” in connection with the Muslim Brotherhood.
Today, conservative reality TV stars Donald Trump, Sarah Palin and Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson will be addressing a rally headlined by Ted Cruz and Glenn Beck in opposition to the Iran nuclear accord.
With such an all-star lineup, it may be easy to miss that one of the rally’s sponsors is none other than the Center for Security Policy, a far-right group led by anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney.
Gaffney’s role in organizing an event headlined by the likes of Cruz, Beck and Palin — who all believe that Sharia law is comingtoAmerica — may be fitting, considering that Gaffney is one of the most unintentionally hilarious right-wing conspiracy theorists out there:
In the run-up to the 2012 election, Gaffney accused the Obama administration of supporting a United Nations resolution that would have legitimized blasphemy laws. In reality, the Obama administration actually forcefully opposed the resolution in question, with the president personally speaking out against blasphemy laws during a United Nations address.
But that didn’t stop Gaffney from claiming that the exact opposite had happened and warning that the president would begin to ban anti-Islamic speech in the U.S. as he pushes “the Sharia blasphemy agenda of our enemies, that is to say suppressing freedom of expression in this country which is our constitutional right.”
“President Obama, from his first months in office, has been enabling in this country an insidious effort by Islamic supremacists to keep us from engaging in speech, videos, training or other forms of expression that offend Muslims, their god, prophet and faith,” he wrote, warning that Obama has “brought U.S. diplomacy and government practice into closer and closer alignment with the demands of Islamists that such 'slanders' be prohibited and criminalized.” By giving “policymaking and advisory” roles to “persons with extensive ties to the Muslim Brotherhood,” Gaffney claimed, Obama is going to try to “restrict your freedom of expression.”
Back in 2013, as Sen. Ted Cruz was wondering out loud if Chuck Hagel, then the nominee to serve as U.S. secretary of defense, was secretly working for North Korea or Saudi Arabia, Gaffney was just asking if Hagel was in fact be an Iranian secret agent.
“You couldn’t find a guy who has been more active in terms of promoting the interests of Iran at the expense of the United States than Chuck Hagel other than somebody who is actually an Iranian agent,” he said. “I’m not suggesting that he is, I don’t know, but I certainly think that’s the point of comparison here because it’s almost that full-throated.”
“Ms. Abedin was brilliantly placed to run Islamist influence operations for sixteen years under the recently departed Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton,” he said.
6) Restore HUAC
In order to find all of these Muslim Brotherhood agents who have infiltrated the U.S. government, Gaffney said that we need “a new House Anti-American Activities Committee” to find the “treasonous” actors inside the administration.
7) Chris Christie Committed Treason
Gaffney was very offended in 2011 when New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie derided the “crazy” rhetoric about Sharia law coming to the U.S. In fact, he was so offended that he thought Christie could be committing “misprision of treason,” or the act of concealing treasonous acts against the U.S.
On his “Secure Freedom Radio” program last week, Frank Gaffney hosted Adm. James “Ace” Lyons, a former commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet who has since become a fixture at right-wing conferences, where he promotes various anti-gay views and conspiracy theories about President Obama making way for Sharia law in America.
Gaffney asked Lyons about Pentagon’s plan to work toward allowing transgender people to serve openly in the armed forces, saying, “One of the things that I just can’t get my head around is what do you when you have to have — as apparently the administration is going to insist — transgender individuals as well as females on these vessels. How does that work, practically speaking?”
Lyons called the plan “pure nonsense” and cited Paul McHugh to claim that “transgender is not a civil rights issue, it is a mental disorder,” saying that all transgender people need is to be “treated” and “returned to a normal lifestyle.”
Lyons then paraphrased the late conservative writer Stan Evans, saying that “the gay, lesbian, transgender lifestyle is nothing but a return to a pagan ethic…which has led to the downfall of previous civilizations.”
“Well, it would certainly seem on its face to be incompatable with a warrior and a successful military,” Gaffney responded.
E.W. Jackson, the Virginia pastor and GOP politician, joined Frank Gaffney on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program earlier this month, where the two discussed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and efforts to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.
“The lesbian, transgender, bisexual military is what the president is creating for us, and it’s sad,” Jackson declared, alleging that President Obama “is much more interested in turning the military into some sort of sexual experiment than he is in making it the finest fighting force in the world.”
Gaffney asked Jackson, who now works as a Fox News contributor and Family Research Council senior fellow, if allowing LGBT people to serve openly is not just a “wrecking operation against the military” but also an effort to “do over the United States itself as a society.”
Jackson responded that Obama wants to allow LGBT people to serve in the military because he doesn’t believe in America or want the military to be effective: “I don’t think he wants the military to be militarily effective, because I don’t think he believes in it, I don’t think he believes in its mission, because, frankly, and I know this sounds extreme but it’s what I believe in my heart, I don’t think he fundamentally believes in the nature of this country or its mission.”
Gaffney asked his guest, Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin, to comment on the “vulnerability” exposed by the fact that Kerry “is involved through the marriage of his daughter with Iranians, some of whom live in this country but some of whom have family in Iran” and by the controversy over former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s use of a private email address.
Boykin responded that Gaffney should add to his threat list Huma Abedin, the Clinton aide who was at the center of a Gaffney-led witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the federal government.
“Add that into the equation and you have to ask yourself, how can a guy like John Kerry with that kind of connections to Iran through marriage actually be credible in terms of dealing with the Iranians,” Boykin said.
Gaffney concluded that Kerry should be impeached for the nuclear deal: “My feeling is that the guy should be impeached, really, for the conduct that he has engaged in this deal. As you say, it fits a pattern of betrayal of our country going back to his time as a veteran of the Vietnam War, but it’s now reached a level where the dangers are so immense to all of us.”
Later in the program, Gaffney asked Boykin about the Pentagon’s plan to eventually allow transgender people to serve openly in the military, which Boykin unsurprisingly said wouldn’t “contribute to readiness.”
But Gaffney wanted to go even further, claiming that allowing transgender people to serve “actually harms readiness.”
“I feel lots of this stuff, whether it’s gays in the military, or whether it’s the impact of women in conduct, to say nothing of this transgender stuff, it is a net very, very harmful,” he said, claiming that it’s all part of the Obama administration’s “wrecking operation” against the military.
Earlier this month, Tamara Scott, a conservative lobbyist and Republican national committeewoman from Iowa, invited anti-immigration activist Jim Simpson onto her weekly radio program to discuss Donald Trump’s claims that Mexican immigrants are rapists, which Simpson heartily agreed with.
Simpson, who recently authored a report for the Center for Security Policy on how communists and Islamists are using immigration to destroy America, acknowledged that immigrants may be fleeing failing states, but added that “many” of them come to the U.S. because a fairer justice system means “they can have an easier time committing crime over here.”
“Many of the people that cross the border illegally do so because they’re people that that country just doesn’t want, and they’re coming over here because there are greener pastures over here, they can have an easier time committing crime over here,” he explained.
“We have a legal system that is much more favorable to the defendant than, let’s say, Mexico, where a lot of these child rapists wouldn’t last a week in a Mexico prison, and so they come here instead. And that’s a big part of the problem. We’re attracting all kinds of very, very bad people by our loose immigration policies and our open borders policies being promoted by this, as far as I’m concerned, treasonous president.”
Scott responded that even if most immigrants weren’t child rapists, as Simpson alleged, lenience toward undocumented immigrants would still be a betrayal of the founding fathers, because “we put blood on the line to get the liberty we have, so we can’t allow others not to do the same in their country or we bring those wars here.”
“Here’s the deal,” she said. “We have the freedoms and liberties we have in this country because we allowed our forefathers, our ancestors, they fought, they risked it all, they gave oftentimes the ultimate price to ensure the unalienable rights that we have endowed by our Creator. And the fact that this country was built upon that very premise, that we recognized a Providence, a Supreme Being, mentioned four times in our Declaration in one way or another, we honored the God who we felt gave us the protection to start this country and to bless this country. So we put blood on the line to get the liberty we have, so we can’t allow others not to do the same in their country or we bring those wars here.”
Cliff Kincaid of Accuracy in Media is part of the small cadre of conservative activists who have been trying in vain for years to focus media attention on President Obama’s childhood family friend Frank Marshall Davis, whom they claim mentored him into a communist worldview.
Kincaid brought his case once again yesterday to Frank Gaffney’s “Secure Freedom Radio” podcast, where the two discussed the theory that the president is, in Gaffney’s words, a “Manchurian candidate” infiltrating the White House.
Kincaid cautioned that Davis didn’t just coach Obama in “fighting the capitalists,” he also taught him “cultural Marxism.” Davis, he explained, was a “pedophile” and pornographer (Davis reportedly wrote a risqué book called “Sex Rebel”), the influence of which can be seen in such Obama administration horrors as a an Army general introducing his husband at a Pentagon gay pride event.
“This is a guy, Davis,” Kincaid said, “who was basically Obama’s mentor for seven to eight years of his life before he went off to college, and I think he had the major influence over our president, not only in economic terms — many people think of Marxism as just an economic theory, in terms of inequality, fighting the capitalists and all the rest of it, which is a hallmark of Obama — but also in terms of cultural Marxism. Because many people forget that Davis was also a pedophile, we have the evidence of that, he wrote pornographic books.”
“And we see that in Obama’s cultural policies,” he continued, “where during the Pentagon gay pride ceremony this year, Frank, you actually had a Pentagon general, a male general, get up there in front of an audience in the Pentagon and introduce his husband, and a transgendered Pentagon employee looked on. Well, needless to say, since then we’ve had the gay marriage decision, the White House has been lighted up in rainbow colors. We’ve seen a cultural collapse in this country that is even more serious than Obama’s imprint on our economic debacle and policies.”
Gaffney added that there are also “national security sort of overtones” to such displays of LGBT pride.
Twentieth century, let’s see, we left the secularists in charge…We had Hitler, we had Joseph Stalin and we had Mao. 120 million people [killed]. It gets worse. In the second half of the 20thcentury, we’ve murdered 400 [million] babies through abortion in China and 50 million in the United States. Let’s see, there are 500 million people we have killed in the 20th century. It’s one-tenth of the number of people who are living today, almost one-tenth.
How did we do that? We let the secularists in charge. You can’t let the secularists in charge! You have to get involved.
-Chuck Stetson, CEO of Essentials in Education, speaking at Skyline Church's Future Conference, June 2015
First they came for the adoption ministry, but I did not speak out, because I did not do adoptions.
Then they came for the wedding photographer, but I did not speak out, because I did not do photographic weddings.
Then they came for the baker, and I did not speak out because I was not a baker. Then they came for the florist, but I said nothing, because I was not a florist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
-Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, paraphrasing Martin Niemöller at the Future Conference
Last week, a few hundred pastors, parishioners and activists gathered at Jim Garlow’s Skyline Wesleyan Church outside of San Diego for what Garlow called the “Future Conference.” The name of the conference appeared to have two meanings. First, in the words of its marketing materials, that “what you thought was coming…is here now” — in other words, that a great spiritual clash in which Christians are called to be martyrs has arrived. And second, that ultimately, the future will belong to conservative Christians as they wrest control from secular authority and take “dominion” over the country and the world.
The themes of imminent martyrdom and eventual dominion dominated the four-day conference, in which 56 speakers gave what added up to more than 24 hours of TED-style speeches.
The event was heavily tinged with “seven mountains” dominionism, the idea that Christians are called by God to be leaders of or to wield dominant influence over the seven main areas, or “mountains,” of culture — not only religion and family, but also government, business, education, media and entertainment.
Garlow himself has been very active in politics, as one of the organizing forces behind the effort to pass the Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban in California and a proponent of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, the movement that encourages pastors to break the rarely-enforced IRS rule that prohibits tax-exempt churches from endorsing or opposing candidates for office. Garlow has especially close ties with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to whom he gave partial credit for inspiring the conference. Gingrich submitted a video address to the conference, as did two current Republican members of Congress, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Speaker after speaker lamented the failure of the church to engage in the “culture” — through media, through education, and most importantly through politics. As Garlow wrote in an introductory letter to attendees:
Allow me to be direct: our nation is in trouble. Deep trouble. But you already knew that. That is one of the reasons you are at the FUTURE Conference. But why is our nation in trouble? Because of (how do I say this nicely?) the church. What is lacking? A clear proclamation of biblical answers to the messiness of our culture. Does the Bible actually speak to civic and national issues. Yes, it does!
Secular government and culture, the message was, are creating chaos at home and around the world. And pastors and believers who fail to engage in the wider world are letting it happen.
Just as important was the idea that, as Garlow put it, “you and I were made for this moment.” The going has gotten tough, the message was, not just for Christians facing violent persecution in places like Syria and Iraq, but also for conservative American Christians who claim to feel marginalized by advances in gay rights and who fear a potential Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage bans. Glenn Beck, promoting the conference with Garlow, said that he knew of 10,000 pastors who were willing to die fighting this supposed anti-Christian persecution in America.
Most speakers were careful to point out that these threats are on very different orders of magnitude, although some hinted that American Christians were on the path to much more difficult times.
This was a spiritual battle that a disengaged church was letting the forces of darkness — radical Islam, the “redefinition of marriage,” abortion rights, pornography — win. Territory would have to be regained.
A ‘Spiritual Battle’ Against Gay Marriage
As is patently obvious, this is a spiritual battle. We need the intercession of every prayer warrior, every angel, and certainly the Holy Spirit. We must bombard the gates of Heaven ceaselessly for God Almighty to reverse our tragic cultural course and restore marriage to the venerable and beautiful institution that He did create.
-Frank Schubert, National Organization for Marriage political director, speaking at the Future Conference
While Garlow gathered speakers to talk about a host of imminent threats to American Christians including terrorism, abortion rights, an economic collapse, pornography, welfare and unbiblical movies, at the top of nearly everybody’s minds was the upcoming Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.
Garlow took hope in a presentation from Troy Newman, head of the anti-choice group Operation Rescue, who boasted of a decline in abortion providers in recent years. “If America can survive long enough,” Garlow said, maybe, like in the anti-abortion struggle, a new generation will rise up and see “the casualties from same-sex marriage are so horrific, this has got to be stopped in our nation.”
He elaborated on the “horrific” consequences of marriage equality in an address to the audience the next day, referring to the thoroughly debunked study by sociologist Mark Regnerus that purported to show all manner of negative outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples.
“I’ve been concerned with how many Christians, how many pastors, cannot make the theological case or the sociological case for marriage,” he said. “The redefinition of marriage, sociologically, will be profoundly destructive, profoundly harming. The Regnerus report out of the University of Texas is going to be only one of many examples of many that will follow that are going to show the catastrophic consequences, the pain, the suffering inflicted on the human race by this redefinition of marriage.”
Schubert, a political strategist who works with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), similarly cited Regnerus’ questionable conclusions as he urged audience members to give money to NOM and to prod their pastors to speak out against marriage equality because “being silent on the most important issue of our day turns it over to the forces of darkness.” If your pastor refuses to speak out against gay marriage, he advised, “I would look for a different church.”
Schubert said that while anti-gay advocates “could very well win” the marriage case before the Supreme Court, Christians must be prepared to use “any and all efforts to encourage resistance” to a ruling they disagree with, “short of violence.” Christians, he said, should “renounce as illegitimate” any Supreme Court decision that attempts to “redefine” marriage.
NOM’s president, Brian Brown, delivered a similar message, telling attendees that the success of the LGBT equality movement means “the days of comfortable Christianity are over.”
“Things have been good for a long time for us,” he said. “We don’t experience the sort of persecution we’re witnessing in the Middle East. We don’t fear for our lives in coming together and worshipping. We’ve felt for a long time that we’re a part of dominant culture. Now in the course of the last decade or so, maybe a little longer, we’ve realized that’s not the case. Things are starting to change. And that, to put it bluntly, the days of comfortable Christianity are over.”
A Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, he said, would “put a lie into law” and “that law will be used to marginalize, repress and punish those of us who stand for the truth of marriage.”
Claiming that Obama administration policies opposing the violent repression of gay people overseas are actually persecuting people who oppose marriage equality, Brown said that what’s happening to Americans is nothing in comparison and so U.S. Christians should be “cheerful” about “being persecuted.” “What we see and we go and work with folks from around the world is a whole other level of hatred,” he said. “Be cheerful, be happy, you’re being persecuted! Quit being so weak! Okay? What I’m trying to say is, if that’s happening we must be doing something right!”
Anti-gay activist Michael Brown had a similar message, saying that previously bullied LGBT people have now become the “bullies” and that the LGBT rights movement “will not be satisfied until the church bows down.”
Garlow told the crowd that they were “moving into a time of testing” where evangelicals would have to stand up to the predominant culture. He recalled a “vision” he had all the way back in 1990 in which he spoke with God about a future in which there would be “churches being closed by government” on the basis of “the civil rights of homosexuals.”
But no speaker took the gay-marriage panic as far as Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who spoke to the conference via video. Marriage equality, Staver warned, will cause “a cataclysmic social upheaval in every conceivable area.”
Touting a pledge to disobey any marriage equality ruling that he has recruited hundreds of prominent anti-gay activists to sign, Staver said that gay-marriage opponents must be prepared to resist such a ruling just like the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement resisted segregation and Jim Crow: “I think we’re back in the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. If they tell you to get off the bus, you don’t get off the bus. If they tell you to go to the back of the bus, you don’t go to the back of the bus.”
“This could be the best, most magnificent time for the church,” he said. “It is moments like this, where there is an unprecedented clash, where there’s impossible odds, that God will intervene for his people.”
Staver closed his speech with a rewritten version of anti-Nazi dissident Martin Niemöller’s famous “First they came for the socialists” lines, appropriating them to warn that the supposed persecution of bakers, florists and wedding photographers who deny service to gay people will open the door to a much wider persecution of Christians in America.
Beware Muslims! (Unless They Agree With You On Gay Rights)
Christians are being enslaved and beheaded and burned alive across the Middle East and he’s silent. Christians are being threatened and intimidated and sued and sequestered in Middle America and mum’s the word.
-Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, speaking of President Obama at the Future Conference
Although most speakers were careful to say that the supposed persecution of American Christian conservatives at the hands of the LGBT rights movement is on an entirely different order of magnitude than that being faced by Christians at the hands of ISIS and oppressive Islamist governments, there was a sense of joint martyrdom, that both are fighting for spiritual ground against forces allied with Satan.
As Steven Khoury, an Arab Israeli pastor, put it, “persecution is coming to America,” and he was there to help Americans learn how to stand up to it.
Garlow invited a few of the top anti-Islam activists in America to warn that the country, if it lets its guard down, risks facing subjugation at the hands of American Muslims. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy warned that since 9/11, millions of Muslim immigrants have staged a “colonization” of America. He warned pastors in the crowd against any sort of interfaith dialogue with Muslims or letting Muslim groups use their church facilities, which he said “is really about providing political cover to Muslims who don’t deserve it.” Anti-Muslim activist Stephen Coughlin similarly warned pastors against falling for the “interfaith delusion.”
But nobody had a more dire warning than right-wing activist Avi Lipkin, who told pastors that “all” churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies pretending to be Christian converts. These moles, he warned, are cataloguing Christians and Jews in order to kill them all when Muslim jihadists take over.
All of the talk of "religious liberty" and threats to the First Amendment seemed to be conveniently forgotten when Lipkin endorsed laws such as Switzerland’s ban on minarets, declaring: “Until Islam is banned and suppressed and erased, the Jews will not have any chance to survive in this country.”
However, he had some good news: Muslim immigration to America, he predicted, would drive U.S. Jews to the Middle East, setting up a conflict in which Islam will be “finished.” “I predict Islam will be terminated very soon,” he said to enthusiastic applause.
It was jarring, then, to later in the very same day, hear a speech from Austin Ruse, the head of the conservative Catholic United Nations advocacy group C-FAM, in which he said that some of his greatest allies in the fight to stop “radically secular countries” from inserting LGBT rights and reproductive health language into UN documents were representatives of Muslim countries.
“The pro-life, pro-family coalition in the United Nations is strange bedfellows,” he said. “It includes Muslims. And without a bloc of Muslim countries supporting life and family at the UN, we would have had a right to abortion a long time ago, and redefinition of family.”
Garlow took it upon himself to clarify this, taking the stage after Ruse's remarks to reassure the audience that “co-belligerency” with “people who are hostile to much of our values” is sometimes necessary when “they actually have an interest in some portion of our Kingdom values.” He compared Ruse’s work with Muslim countries at the UN to his alliance with Mormon leaders to pass Proposition 8 in California.
Throughout the conference, Israel was portrayed as a spiritual bulwark of the West against surrounding Satanic Islam — something exemplified by its relatively secular values. No one, however, mentioned, that Israel is one of what Ruse called the “radical secular countries” advocating for LGBT rights at the UN. Also ignored were policies such as Israel's public funding of abortion services or the fact that just days prior to the event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his "blessings" to LGBT Pride marchers.
Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, tied together this idea that “secularists” are working in cahoots with radical Islam, aided by President Obama.
“For 67 years, we’ve disparaged dead, white, European males in our college classrooms,” he said. “Are we surprised that we now have a president whose first action was to remove the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House and send it back to the British ambassador’s home? For 67 years, we’ve sent our kids off to sit under faculty who have panned a Judeo-Christian ethic and praised its antithesis. Are we surprised that we now have a White House that is seemingly more aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO than it is Benjamin Netanyahu and Franklin Graham?”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — whom Garlow partially credited with inspiring the conference — put it a different way in a video address to the event, saying that Christians are facing simultaneous attacks from “secular totalitarianism” and “Islamic supremacism,” with the two factions allied in a “war on Christianity.” Gingrich, who has spent years warning that the U.S. will soon become a "secular atheist country" that is "dominated by radical Islamists,” has been working to court pastors like Garlow who have ties to the dominionist movement.
Christians are dual citizens. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ … We are also citizens of an earthly “kingdom” … In the absence of Christians taking their dual citizenship seriously, obeying the dual commissions faithfully, and attempting to follow the dual commandments devotedly, the devil’s crowd has taken over key places of influence in our culture largely by default, even in a nation where professing Christians are still in the majority.
- Family Research Council manual for establishing a church “culture impact team,” distributed to pastors at the Future Conference
The sense of the inadequacy of secular leadership that pervaded the Future Conference was summarized by Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, who told the Future Conference via video that secular government leads to rampant divorce, teen pregnancy, crime and gang violence, all of which invite a greater presence from Big Government:
Garlow painted a similarly bleak message, saying that the struggles of the city of Detroit are the result of a lack of “bold, biblical preaching and the application of scriptural truth to all components of contemporary life.”
“The absence of biblical truth being applied to a metropolitan area literally destroyed it,” he said.
Garlow didn’t specify which exact “biblical truths” Detroit is in violation of, but conservative activist Star Parker, who declared her intention to “destroy the welfare state,” might have provided some hints.
Parker told the gathering that the U.S. is “in a similar place right now in our country to where we were in the 1850s” when we were “half free and half slave.”
“And we’re at a crossroads again,” she said, “because we’re at the place where we’re half free and half slave. We’re in the battle of our lifetime, we’re in the battle for the very heart and soul of our great country, to go into a future, if we can, even as the Scriptures told us that God actually planned for us a future and a hope, and yet that future and hope is under attack.”
“We’re either going to come up out of this biblical and free,” she said, “or we gotta come up here secular and statist.”
Chuck Stetson, who runs a program that develops “biblical literacy” courses that clear the First-Amendment bar for being taught in public schools, had a similar message, claiming that the great genocides of the 20th century (in which he included abortion) were the result of leaving the “secularists in charge.”
Lamenting that “three percent of the population” (LGBT people) are defeating "70 percent of the population” (Christians), Stetson urged conservative Christians to develop a “broader concept of missions” and to get involved in politics as well as “literature, art [and] music.”
He used the metaphor of a cruise ship: Christians, he said, were gathering around the lifeboats in an effort to save souls, even while throughout the boat, “they’re breaking out the booze, bringing out the gaming tables. They need the Christians down there.”
In fact, the Future Conference, Garlow reported, started out as a sort of founding conference for the United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders, a new group led by Joe Mattera, a New York minister who is a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). NAR is a controversial movement within evangelical Christianity which is led by self-declared prophets and apostles. Many of NAR’s leaders promote “seven mountains” dominionism, the idea that conservative Christians must take “dominion” over all seven “mountains” of culture in order to pave the way for Christ’s return.
(NAR and dominionism began to attract press attention back in 2011 when then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry hosted a rally featuring many NAR leaders. Its adherents then began to downplay its core themes, saying they were seeking more “influence” than “dominion.”)
Wallnau gave a Glenn Beck-style whiteboard presentation outlining the "seven mountains" theology for the audience, explaining that if the church doesn’t occupy each of the seven spheres of culture, “the Enemy will.”
“The reason why we’re having a problem in the United States is because, honestly, we have not been pursuing the discipling of the nation, we’ve been pursuing the evangelizing of the people and the building of ministries,” he said. “And so we’ve neglected entire territory that the Enemy was all too quick to go in and take possession of.”
Peacocke — the founder of a group that works with business and community leaders to bring “God’s kingdom to earth” — put the message succinctly when the told the enthusiastic crowd that Christians have been called to be leaders in every area: “We should be leading. Virtually every place there’s a Christian, they should be a manager, they should be management. We should have the relational skillset to manage wherever we go, because that is what Christians are called to be, responsible empowerers of other people.”
In his talk, Mattera clarified that he and his allies were calling on Christians to become “leaders of culture” not through force but through simply being the best in all fields. “We’re not called to take cities, we’re called to love them and serve them,” he said, “and once we produce the greatest problem-solvers the world has ever seen, the leaders of culture will come and beg us to lead, because they’re going to see that we’re the only ones who have the answer.”
He added that a key component of this would be to follow the scriptural commandment to “multiply” and “replenish” the Earth, which he specified means having more than two children per couple.
“In general, God has called His children to have more children than any other people,” he said, “so this way we will have the people to fill every aspect of culture, not just bodies, but trained in the covenant, because the word ‘replenish’ implies that they go and they fill the earth with God’s law, with the result being subdue the earth and have dominion.”
A practical guide to the political portion of this mission was provided by Kenyn Cureton, the head of ministerial outreach at the Family Research Council, who presented pastors and churchgoers with guides for establishing “culture impact teams” — basically political committees — within churches. Politically involved churches, he said, are “fighting a spiritual battle,” not against gay rights advocates or pro-choice groups, but against Satan, who has caught cultural liberals in his “snare.”
“Who’s behind the effort to snuff out human life through embryo-destructive research and abortion?” he asked. “Who’s behind the effort to indoctrinate our children with these alternative lifestyles, redefine marriage, and even ruin our military? Who’s behind the effort to drive God out government, Christ out of culture and faith out of public life? Who’s behind that? I mean, it’s pretty easy for us to understand as believers, it’s the Devil.”
Where Politics and Religion Collide
Although the focus of Garlow’s conference was largely on the twin evils of secularism and Islam, he also invited Black and Latino pastors with whom he had worked on resisting Prop 8 to discuss criminal justice reform, on which conservatives are increasingly engaging in bipartisan coalition work, and immigration, on which some evangelical leaders have been trying to get Republicans to adopt positions, or at least rhetoric, that is less offensive to Latino voters.
One of the most revealing moments of the conference came after a speech by Mark Gonzales, a Texas pastor who through his Hispanic Prayer Network seems to be attempting to connect the NAR movement with Latino evangelicals. Gonzales told the mostly white audience that God is using Latino immigration to bring “revival to America,” but that Satan is trying to stop that revival from happening by dividing the church on the issue of immigration.
And it’s not just religious revival that Latino immigrants will bring, he said. They will also help conservatives win elections.
“When God allows this many people to come into a nation, he’s up to something,” Gonzales said. He then made a well-rehearsed pitch to the conservative audience for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have long lived in the country if they first overcome a number of hurdles.
Immediately following Gonzales’s speech, Garlow came on stage to “clarify” for the crowd what Gonzales was saying. “What he’s talking about, so we’re all on the same page, is not amnesty,” he said.
Gonzales responded that anti-immigrant pundits do indeed call proposals like his “amnesty,” but using that word is the “biggest disservice we can do as the body of Christ.”
Parts of the audience clapped. Others did not seem sold.
Questions of biblical guidance and political expediency had, for a moment, become the same thing.
Anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney invited Mark Krikorian of the Center for Immigration Studies, a group that advocates for increased restrictions on immigration, on to his “Secure Freedom Radio” program yesterday, where predictably the two got to talking about efforts to settle some refugees from Muslim countries such as Iraq and Syria, which have both experienced refugee crises, in the United States.
Gaffney told Krikorian that conservative writer James Simpson has written a new e-book for Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy about “what he calls the ‘red-green’ axis and the impact that it is having, sort of the hard-left and the Islamists, in erasing America.”
“Does this sound right to you that there is this kind of dynamic at work between the hard-left and the Islamists?” he asked.
Krikorian agreed, bringing up a column written by a speechwriter for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair who said that Labour leaders hoped expanded immigration would “rub the Right's nose in diversity and render their arguments out of date.” (The writer, in response to right-wing glee, later clarified that this wasn’t a “plot” to impose multiculturalism on an unwilling Britain.)
“I think the dynamic here is the kind of thing we heard about in the Blair government in England,” Krikorian said, “when one of his people, one of his advisors, basically said, look, we pushed immigration as a way to unwillingly force diversity on the British people, to change the nation. And I think a lot of these refugee activists types and immigration activists see immigration in the same way and see Islamic immigration as the most different and non-American way of promoting immigration and therefore serving their purposes the most, even more than, say, the immigration of people from, say, Latin America or Christians from the Middle East, that sort of thing.”
Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy, addressed Saturday’s National Security Action Summit in Iowa, warning American civilians of the high probability that any seemingly innocent Muslim could in fact be a jihadist on American soil. Gaffney, who organized the summit, which was attended by a number of Republican presidential candidates, argued these hidden jihadists are “imposing [Sharia Law] piecemeal, steadily, stealthily” to advance the jihad agenda.
Gaffney shared a story he heard from an unnamed Texan woman regarding a conversation she had in 1985 with her supposedly “nicely spoken, well dressed, seemingly fully assimilated” Muslim doctor. This Muslim doctor apparently informed his patient during her visit that “in due course the Muslims would wield the sword to force us all to submit to Sharia” because that’s “what [Muslims] do.”
The doctor proceeded to say that Muslims have not enacted Sharia yet because “they are not strong enough” but they “will be in due course.” Gaffney made sure to reiterate that this conversation occurred 30 years prior, and the Muslims have gained strength since then.
This unidentified doctor was also supposedly selected by the Islamic Center of Richardson, Texas, which Gaffney claimed is “owned and operated” by the Muslim Brotherhood “as Islamic societies and centers across the country are.” When the doctor earned his credentials, Gaffney reported, this mosque told the doctor that instead of bringing his family to the U.S. he must “use his ability to bring people into this country according to the people we tell you to bring”.
Gaffney gathered from this story that “doctors…civil engineers and scientists have a capacity to prove very problematic if they embrace the jihadist doctrine of Sharia.”
Gaffney shared this story in response to a questioner who asked if a 2002 hepatitis C outbreak in a Freemont, Nebraska, clinic run by Palestinian Dr. Tahir Javed was an act of jihad. While multiple sources have reported the source of the contamination is still unknown, Gaffney suggested that although he was “unaware of the specific example” it sounded like “violent jihad”.
Al Ringgenberg, an Iowa Republican politician and retired Air Force colonel, addressed Saturday’s Iowa National Security Action Summit alongside GOP figures such as Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Ben Carson, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz, who sent a video message to the event.
When an audience member asked Ringgenberg about the right-wing Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory, wanting his thoughts on whether the U.S. military is using closed Walmart stores as part of a nefarious federal government plot in the South, Riggenberg did not dismiss her fears about the training exercises.
Ringgenberg said that the Jade Helm 15 training exercises “raises — I’ve got a couple of hairs left here in the back of my neck — and they stand up a little bit because as a lawyer I know, no, U.S. military forces are not supposed to be operating inside of the United States.”
“Like you, I want to know what the hell is going on,” he said.
The drill in question is a routine training exercise but has raised fears among the far-right that President Obama is planning an invasion of Texas and priming people for martial law.
However, Louisiana governor and likely presidential candidate Bobby Jindal told the Iowa National Security Action Summit today that President Obama has been weak on ISIS and suggested that he won't target the group's leaders.
After suggesting that Muslim clerics are refusing to condemn ISIS, another dubious claim, Jindal challenged Obama to "do his job" and "hunt down and kill these terrorists."