Concerned Women for America

American Religious Right Leaders Join Moscow Event, May Not Be Able To Avoid Foreign Policy

This week, a number of American Religious Right activists are participating an in international forum on “large families and the future of mankind,” which is organized and funded by a number of close allies of Russian President Vladimir Putin and kicked off its session at the Kremlin yesterday with the reading of a personal message from Putin himself.

Among the Americans speaking at the forum, according to a preliminary schedule, are the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute’s Austin Ruse, Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater and representatives from Personhood USA, the Home School Legal Defense Association and the Christian Broadcasting Network.

Janice Shaw Crouse is also scheduled to attend, although possibly no longer as a representative of Concerned Women for America, a group critical of the Moscow conference with which she seems to have parted ways.

The conference was originally organized under the name of the Illinois-based World Congress of Families, but after Russia invaded Ukraine, the group began to lose support from its American allies and announced that it had “suspended planning” on the event, noting that it “takes no position on foreign affairs, except as they affect the natural family.”

In reality, very little but the official name of the conference seems to have changed. World Congress of Families officials Don Feder and Larry Jacobs are attending in their personal capacities, and insist that their group is not “financially sponsoring” the event and would not have its name attached to it. But WCF’s sponsorship was always nominal — the group has a very small budget of its own and instead acts as an agent for bringing together better-funded activists and organizations. Even before WCF dropped its official involvement, it had given credit to a number of Russian allies for funding the conference.

Although the focus of the conference is the promotion of “large families” (and with it the resistance to LGBT equality and abortion rights), it may be impossible for attendees to ignore the foreign policy implications of the event.

As we have noted, Putin played up the supposed dangers of LGBT rights in his efforts to prevent Ukraine from joining the EU — a geopolitical ploy that had dangerous consequences for the LGBT communities in Russian and Ukraine.

Constantin Malofeev, the oligarch who helped to organize and fund the conference this week, brought this up in his speech to the event yesterday, presenting the “propagation of homosexuality and gay parades” as a defining factor in the battle over Ukraine:

In Ukraine, which is our fraternal country, association with European Union was not signed last year because, in this case, the Ukrainians learned that they had to allow propagation of homosexuality and gay parades. So, the new regime in Ukraine, the first thing they did was to allow a gay parade in Kiev. So we are defending our position. We are protecting fathers, mothers and children.

He also attacked the United States for including Yelena Mizulina, the force behind many of Russia’s harsh new anti-gay laws, on its economic sanctions list. (Putin ally Vladimir Yakunin, who along with his wife Natalia also spoke at and helped fund the conference, is another U.S. sanctions target).

And if we are part of the sanctions for Ukraine. But Madam Mizulina was included in the sanctions as one of the first, and this is just because she defends the family values.

And as Richard Bartholomew points out, today’s schedule includes a panel titled “Family Policy in Ukraine: Conclusions and Warnings for Russia.”

An ever-present theme at the first day of the conference was the idea of Russia as a bulwark protecting the world against the U.S. and Europe’s encroaching liberalism. The Moscow Times writes that the theme came up in both Yakunin and Mizulina’s remarks:

In choosing conservative values, Russia represents "the final hope" for the modern world, which has been corrupted by the Western debauchery of individualism, consumerism and globalization, participants of a Moscow forum agreed Wednesday.

Yakunin, whose wife Natalya moderated the proceedings, attended the forum, taking to the stage to talk about Russia's departure from the Western model of development that, according to him, does not lead to either material or spiritual well-being.

Mizulina, who chairs the Duma's committee on family, women and children's issues and has advocated a law requiring women to get their husband's permission in order to have an abortion, lashed out at the West.

"I am sure that in contemporary Europe it would not be possible to hold a forum like this," Mizulina told the audience after reading a welcome note from State Duma Speaker Sergei Naryshkin.

"Even if they are held there, they are not hosted at the Kremlin, like in Russia, but somewhere on the outskirts," she said.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/3/14

  • Concerned Women for America and Mike Huckabee are organizing a "Stand With Israel Rally."
  • After he retires from the Senate in a few months, Sen. Tom Coburn is going to launch an effort in support of the right-wing plan to organize a Convention of the States.
  • Gina Miller warns that Facebook "is the face of burgeoning communist censorship.  It is the face of the anti-Americanism of the radical Left. It is the face of the metastasizing tyranny that is fast growing in our nation."
  • Tough guy Todd Starnes is back with more foreign policy advice: "That’s how you respond to Islamic radicals. You grab a gun. You stand your ground and blow those evil sons-of-guns to kingdom come."
  • The phrase "the thing that ... feels the most true to me" perfectly sums up Glenn Beck's entire worldview.
  • Finally, Franklin Graham says the End Times are near: "As I read the news, I can't help but wonder if we are in the last hours before our Lord Jesus Christ returns to rescue His church and God pours out His wrath on the world for the rejection of His Son."

Trent Franks: Obama Not 'Motivated Enough' By 'Pure Humanity'

Five years after declaring President Obama an “ enemy of humanity,” Rep. Trent Franks (R-Ariz.) is now claiming that Obama failed to stop the rise of ISIS because he “doesn’t seem motivated enough on the basis of pure humanity to do what’s necessary to defend the innocent from the malevolent.”

Franks made the remarks in an interview Friday with Concerned Women for America, in which he claimed that Obama failed to heed his warnings about the persecution of Christians in the Middle East.

GOP Committeewoman Warns Child Migrants 'Highly Trained As Warriors,' Could 'Rise Up Against Us As Americans'

On her weekly radio show yesterday, RNC committeewoman Tamara Scott of Iowa warned that child migrants from Central America may have been “highly trained as warriors” and could “rise up against” U.S. citizens.

“When we see these kids, you and I think young kids, we think maybe 12-year-olds, maybe homeschoolers — excuse me, middle-schoolers,” said Scott, who is also Concerned Women for American’s Iowa state director and works as a lobbyist for the conservative group The Family Leader. “But we know back in our revolution, we had 12-year-olds fighting in our revolution. And for many of these kids, depending on where they’re coming from, they could be coming from other countries and be highly trained as warriors who will meet up with their group here and actually rise up against us as Americans.”

Mary Huls, leader of a Texas-based Tea Party group, agreed, warning that the children could have been trained in Venezuela to work for Hezbollah or Hamas (never mind that most of the children are from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador). “They are being trained as warriors, you’re absolutely right,” she said.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/8/14

  • Republican-aligned groups failed in their effort to remove three Tennessee Supreme Court justices from the bench.
  • Concerned Women for America laments that more and more courts have found “that a fundamental right to marry encompasses the right to same-sex ‘marriage.’” 
  • Mark Biltz sees a message in the blood moons: “All these signs, coming together at one time, are potentially the culminating signals that God is closing this chapter of human history. This could be the final curtain call before the Great Tribulation mentioned in the Bible.”

Marco Rubio Is The Real Victim Of The Gay Rights Movement

In an attempt to woo social conservatives in advance of a possible presidential bid, Sen. Marco Rubio delivered a speech at Catholic University today, where he attempted to come across as a uniter on social issues like marriage equality and abortion rights while assuring his party’s right flank that he agrees with their hardline policy positions.

The Florida Republican drew heavily from the Religious Right’s persecution narrative to claim that while LGBT people have faced discrimination in the past, he and fellow opponents of marriage equality are now the victims of widespread “intolerance.”

“We should acknowledge that our nation is marred by a history of discrimination against gays and lesbians,” he said. “There was once a time when our federal government not only banned the hiring of gay employees, it required federal contractors to identify and fire them. Some laws prohibited gays from being served in bars and restaurants, and many states carried out law enforcement efforts targeting gay marriages.”

“Fortunately, we’ve come a long way since then,” he continued. “Many committed gay and lesbian couples feel humiliated by the law’s failure to recognize their relationship as a marriage, and supporters of same-sex marriage argue that laws banning same-sex marriage are discrimination. I respect their arguments, and I would concede that they pose a legitimate question for lawmakers and society.”

But now, according to Rubio, it is gay-rights opponents whose rights are under attack.

He criticized judges who are “redefining marriage from the bench,” claiming that pro-marriage-equality decisions take away the rights of “Americans like myself” who oppose same-sex marriage: “Those who support same-sex marriage have a right to lobby their state legislature to change its laws. But Americans like myself who support keeping the traditional definition of marriage also have the right to work to keep the traditional definition of marriage in our laws without seeing them overturned by a judge.”

Calling tolerance a “two-way street,” he lamented that “today there is a growing intolerance on this issue, intolerance towards those who continue to support traditional marriage.”

“I promise you that even before this speech is over, I’ll be attacked as a hater or a bigot or someone who’s anti-gay,” he said. “This intolerance in the name of tolerance is hypocrisy. Supporting the definition of marriage as one man and one woman is not anti-gay. It is pro-traditional marriage.”

The theme was repeated by the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, and Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, who joined a panel discussion after Rubio’s speech.

“I think the myth of somehow those who are concerned about these issues from a more conservative standpoint are simply going to evaporate, I think that that is actually fueling some of the things that Sen. Rubio talked about right now, when he did talk about this growing intolerance of those who would define marriage as a conjugal union of a man and a woman,” Moore said.

Nance praised Rubio for his “unifying” message, as opposed to the “divisive” tone of President Obama whom she said “has pitted gays against straights”:

“I believe that this president has been so divisive for this nation. He has pitted men against women, he has pitted wealthy against poor, he has pitted gays against straights, and I was so happy and encouraged by the tone that Sen. Rubio took. It was a unifying message that he gave us today, and I think it was a winning message.”

Sen. Rubio’s office has posted video of his remarks. His comments on LGBT equality and abortion rights begin about 13 minutes in:

Christian Reconstructionism And The GOP: 'Biblical Justice' vs Social Justice

There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family.

According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional conservatives” who believe, for example, the Constitution does not authorize any federal government role in education.

A stark example of the increasingly indistinct line between conservative Republicans and hard-core Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists (who believe the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion over every aspect of society) can be found in the recent Republican primary victory of Michael Petrouka in a race for a county council seat in an Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Peroutka believes that any law that runs counter to God’s law is invalid, and that the Maryland General Assembly is itself no longer a valid legislative body. Here’s a concise summation of his approach to government:

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.

It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!

This religion-inflected ideological view of government is not relegated to inhabitants of the far-right fringe like Peroutka. David Barton, an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012, claims that the Constitution was drawn directly from the Bible and the sermons of colonial preachers, and that its focus on individual freedom reflects the founders’ theology of individual salvation. In this view, the Tea Party’s belief in a radically limited federal government is not only a question of constitutional interpretation, it is a mandate of Holy Scripture.

Just this month, Barton promoted these views on “Praise the Lord,” the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest religious network and America’s most-watched faith channel. “In the Bible, Jesus has a teaching about minimum wage,” Barton said. “In the Bible, Jesus has two teachings on capital gains tax.” The Bible, according to Barton, opposes those taxes as well as estate taxes and progressive income taxes. A flat tax is “what the Bible supports.”

On the same show Barton denounced government spending on welfare. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and needy,” he said, “it’s the church’s responsibility.”

According to Barton, there are 205 verses in the Bible that instruct the family or church to take care of the poor, but not the government. “The government is told to do only one thing with taking care of the poor and that one thing is to make sure that when the poor come into court they get justice. That’s the only thing government is told….What we’re doing right now is for the first time in America we have ignored what the Bible says, the Bible says you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He went on to say that people “not having to work and getting free money…violates everything the Bible tells us” about dealing with the poor.

These themes are repeated in Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel, a booklet published last year by the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the anti-environmentalist Cornwall Alliance. The booklet, written by Cornwall’s Calvin Beisner (according to him, at the request of the Family Research Council), was distributed at last month’s “Road to Majority” conference, which was organized by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The premise of the booklet is that “social justice” is contrary to “Biblical justice.” If that sounds familiar, you may be recalling Glenn Beck’s diatribes against “social justice” a few years ago, when he urged people to leave their church if its website included the phrases “social justice” or “economic justice.”

It is wrong, Beisner writes, to try to mitigate inequality “through force of government.” Why? “Because God ordained the state to dispense justice, and the church to dispense grace.” According to Beisner, giving someone “unearned” benefits is grace, not justice. People should graciously serve the poor, he writes. “But if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law. Then, the needy—and those who merely profess to be needy—may claim the benefits of grace as their due by justice.”

In other words, government has no right to tax someone in order to help feed someone else.

That is a widely shared belief on the Religious Right. Speakers at Religious Right conferences like Reed’s June event, and Republican Members of Congress, can be heard justifying cuts in food stamps with an appeal to the Bible passage that David Barton quoted on TBN. That verse, depending on your translation, says something like “he who will not work shall not eat.”

Reps. Kevin Cramer and Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee cited that verse last year. Fincher said, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” In equating taxation for social services with theft, Fincher echoes Barton, Beisner, and others. (In context, by the way, the work-to-eat verse referred to early Christians who were so confident of the imminent return of Christ that they quit doing anything.)

Poor people turning to the government, Beisner writes in his anti-social-justice booklet, results in “the stultifying effects of wealth redistribution by the coercive power of the state.” Even worse, he says, “it blinds [poor people] to their deepest need: the grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is another theme of the Republican Party’s right wing. Sharron Angle, the GOP’s 2010 Senate nominee in Nevada, said during her campaign that entitlement programs are “idolatry” because they “make government our God.” Farris Wilks, the Texas fracking billionaire who gives huge amounts to the Heritage Foundaiton and other right-wing groups, declares that “the Torah is set up on the free enterprise system” and that “Yahweh never intended for us as a people to be afraid and reliant on government.” Former Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation, says “the bigger government gets, the smaller God gets.

Heritage is just one of the institutions working to make right-wing economics an article of faith just like opposition to gay rights and abortion. The Freedom Federation, one of the many right-wing entities created in the wake of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, brings both "mainstream" and fringe Religious Right groups together with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The Freedom Federation’s “Declaration of American Values” includes not only the expected rhetoric about traditional values, but also opposition to progressive taxation.

John Lofton, a right-wing pundit, is the spokesperson for Republican county council candidate Peroutka, and for Peroutka’s Christian Reconstructionist Institute on the Constitution, which has trained Tea Party activists on the biblical basis of the Constitution. Lofton has spoken on “God and Government” at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government. In 2012, in reference to an article about evangelicals disagreeing on budget priorities, Lofton wrote that “there should be no disagreement among those who believe the Bible is true. Because it is crystal clear that in God’s Word He gives NO AUTHORITY to civil government (Caesar) to give health, education or welfare to ANYBODY. If people need help, it is the role of the Church – God’s people – to provide this help and NOT government.”

Tea Party? Religious Right? GOP? Or all of the above?

CWA Urges Support For Israel So Jews Can Be Converted To Christianity

In a blog post last week, Concerned Women for America reminded us of one ever-present subtext in the Christian Right’s focus on support for Israel.

Christian Zionists believe that biblical prophecy requires Jews to converge in Israel to pave way for the Second Coming, at which time Jews will be converted to Christianity or die. There are, of course, other reasons for the Christian Right’s allegiance with Israel, but the ultimate conversion of Jews is a subtext underlying the activism of many within the movement.

Take a recent CWA blog post, for example, about the need for Jews to return to Israel in order for them to ultimately convert to Christianity.

“Not only should we push for strong foreign policy, but we must also be in prayer for our Jewish friends,” CWA writes in a July 18 blog post. “Ultimately, God is eager to bring his people back to Him and to direct their zeal for the law into a zeal for Christ’s already accomplished salvation on the Cross for both Jews and Gentiles alike.”

We must push for legislation that promotes the peace that Israel deserves and pushes the Palestinian Authority to break its ties with Hamas. America must have a strategic role in this conflict, and we as citizens should hold our leaders accountable to protect our ally in the Middle East — reminding our leaders that any foreign policy that does not support Israel is at stark odds with our national interests.

Furthermore, as Christians we are called to protect Israel and stand with this nation of people that God has blessed. Not only should we push for strong foreign policy, but we must also be in prayer for our Jewish friends. Ultimately, God is eager to bring his people back to Him and to direct their zeal for the law into a zeal for Christ’s already accomplished salvation on the Cross for both Jews and Gentiles alike.

CWA was founded by Beverly LaHaye, whose husband Tim LaHaye wrote the incredibly successful “Left Behind” series.

One Year After Passage Of Gay Propaganda Ban, American Right Continues To Look To Russia As A Guide

The Human Rights Campaign released a report today to mark the first anniversary of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s signing of his infamous ban on “gay propaganda” and related anti-LGBT legislation. HRC reports “an uptick in violent attacks on LGBT people” since the bills’ passage that has accompanied a spike in “anti-LGBT sentiment” in the public square.

Yet despite the dangerous consequences of the increasing use of LGBT people as scapegoats — both in Russia and in neighboring Eastern European and Central Asian countries — and the place of anti-gay politics in Putin’s expansionist agenda, many on the American Religious Right continue to celebrate Putin’s crackdown on gay rights and even to hail it as a model for the United States.

The issue has been divisive on the Right. For instance, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid — hardly a fan of gay people — got into a memorable shouting match earlier this year with World Congress of Families representatives, who he accused of cozying up to Putin.

It has also put some groups in tough positions. The World Congress of Families was forced to suspend its planned conference at the Kremlin, which was to be funded by a handful of people close to Putin, after Russia seized Crimea and groups including Concerned Women for America started backing out.

But we continue to hear right-wing activists heaping praise on Putin for his enthusiastic anti-gay politics and increasing embrace of the Russian Orthodox Church.

Just last week, Phyllis Schlafly praised Putin for “warming up to religious freedom” as “Americans are rejecting it”:

And earlier this week, WorldNetDaily announced that people around the world are “fleeing” to Russia to escape homosexuality in their own countries .

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer continues to push for the U.S. to adopt a “propaganda” ban like Russia’s:

Anti-gay activists including Pat Buchanan,Peter LaBarbera,Franklin Graham,Scott Lively,Keith Davies,Linda Harvey,Randall Terry,Gordon Klingenschmitt,Janice Shaw Crouse, Austin Ruse, Bob Vander Plaats , Rick Scarborough and, of course, the WorldCongress of Families have defended Russia’s anti-gay crackdown or called for similar laws in the U.S.

And, of course, some have directly lent their support to the passage of anti-gay laws in Russia: the World Congress of Families has an active network in Russia and Eastern Europe and just days before Putin signed the propaganda ban recruited the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown to warn Russian lawmakers about the risks of gay rights.

The support for laws that have dangerously scapegoated LGBT people in Russia is especially ironic coming from a movement that claims that the gay rights movement in the United States is persecuting them .

Flashback: When The Religious Right And Republicans Quashed An Investigation Into Right-Wing Extremism

Reports that the married couple who shot and killed two police officers, a bystander and themselves in Las Vegas this week were motivated by right-wing extremism have highlighted one of the more troubling trends in even the “mainstream” Right — denial that violent right-wing extremism even exists.

As Brian mentioned earlier today, a conservative pundit’s claim on the same day as the shooting that far-right violence is a “complete and total bogeyman” echoes the objections the attacks that many right-wing groups lobbed at a 2009 Department of Homeland Security report on domestic extremism. Right-wing groups and their allies in Congress created a fuss about the report, claiming that it was an attack on conservatives, Christians and veterans.

The American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and the American Center for Law and Justice piled on. Republicans in Congress demanded an investigation into how the report had come to pass. Spotting a good fundraising opportunity, Liberty Counsel even printed out “Proud to be a Right-Wing Extremist” cards to distribute to its members.

Eventually, the pressure led DHS to retract the report and later to cut back the team that produced it. Two years later, speaking publicly for the first time, the analyst who wrote the report — who happened to be a conservative Republican Mormon —  said that the attacks on his unit’s work had undermined law enforcement’s ability to address the “growing and dangerous problem” of violent right-wing extremism.

What happened at DHS as a result of the criticism?
My team was dissolved. All training courses and briefings presentations were stopped. DHS leaders made it increasingly difficult to release another report on this topic.

Why would DHS leaders dissolve your team and stop these analytic activities?

The subject had become too politically charged. As a result, DHS leaders adopted a risk adverse approach toward this issue. Perhaps they thought it was a matter of organizational preservation.

Do you think the dissolution of your unit that you discuss has negatively affected State and local law enforcement?

Certainly. There is one less agency to assist state and local law enforcement with this growing and dangerous problem at a time of heightened activity.

Yet, as recently as last year, Religous Right groups were still using their bogus criticism of the report as a talking point against the Obama administration.

Concerned Women For America Lauds Closure Of School's Women Studies Department

The University of South Carolina-Upstate recently announced the closure of its Center for Women’s and Gender Studies following several attacks from Republican politicians who threatened to cut funding from the school over an LGBT comedy event.

Naturally, Concerned Women for America head Penny Nance applauded the move:

“Congratulations to the University of South Carolina Upstate for having the courage and good sense to eliminate a course of study whose sole purpose is to indoctrinate young women in leftist ideology.

“We applaud the University of South Carolina Upstate (USCU) for closing the Center for Women’s and Gender Studies (CWGS) and allocating those funds to teach America’s founding documents. The decision puts the South Carolina college in compliance with state law requiring those documents be taught and also gives these women a chance at actual employment upon graduation.

“As American women, we strongly support equal opportunity and are glad USCU will instead concentrate on courses that will prepare its young women for jobs instead of joining their other women’s studies sisters in the unemployment line.

“It is surely more beneficial to learn the history of our country then to take part in pointless gender “victimology” lessons. Clearly, they will miss the “I Need Feminism” campaign and CWGS’s 2014 Bodies of Knowledge Symposium that included “Trans, but Not Like You Think”, and planned to include the play How to Be a Lesbian in 10 Days or Less. We think they’ll be fine.

Leftist feminists love to make fun of home economics, which none of us in the CWA national office actually majored in, but we can’t argue with Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler that it teaches useful life skills. In fact, it’s far more useful than studying Passages of Appearing: Arendt and the Existential Politics of Transgender Liminality.

“In researching this issue we looked to see how many of the women who have degrees in these women’s studies programs are actually employed. Let’s say they weren’t bragging on their post-graduate employment numbers.

“Of those who are actually employed, we surmise most of those jobs would result in other women’s studies professors. Good news for those jobless feminists though, there may bea chance at employment on the horizon if the Senate joins the Republican establishment in the House of Representatives to push for the Left’s hopeful shrine to abortion, the National Women’s History Museum. (emphasis ours)

“But back to the point. Well done USC Upstate! Women’s studies majors may in fact more clearly understand their “rights” and whether they are actually being violated after a thorough reading of the Constitution. We encourage other universities to follow suit and hope other states will adopt similar policies.”

After Complaining Women's Museum Will 'Indoctrinate' Visitors Into Feminism, CWA's Nance Demands To Chair Museum's Board

The House voted 383-33 last night to move forward with a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall, despite an effort by Religious Right groups to prevent the museum from going forward.

Now, we learn that Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, the activist leading the fight against the museum, was offered a spot on its planning board but refused to participate unless an anti-feminist activist like herself was allowed to head the planning effort.

The Daily Caller reports that in an effort to shore up support for a bill authorizing a planning study for the museum, the museum’s chief Republican supporter, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, offered Nance a spot on the museum’s board. Nance refused, saying that she would only accept an offer to lead the museum as the board’s chair or to pick another right-wing activist for the job.

“Regardless of that effort some critics of this legislation have, incorrectly, said that the bill would create a museum that would portray women as monolithic in their views on abortion as well as other issues of concern to women,” said Blackburn, adding that she asked Nance to serve as a member of the commission.

Nance said that the offer — sent by Blackburn’s chief of staff on Tuesday night — is “an exercise in futility and frustration without the chairman being someone who at least is impartial on our views.”

“One seat would not change anything,” said Nance, adding “I am happy to either serve or find someone else to serve as chairman.”

Religious Right groups came out against the plan because, they said, it would place too much emphases on women who had fought for women’s rights. CWA complained that the museum would “indoctrinate” visitors into “a jaundiced view of women’s history” because the museum’s website mentioned pioneering abortion rights advocates but didn’t mention CWA’s founder Beverly LaHaye or fringe right-wing activist Star Parker.

Eagle Forum urged its members to oppose the creation of the museum, saying, “Long sought by feminists, this project would enshrine their warped view of American history on the National Mall” and added that the museum wasn’t needed anyway: “Women's history is American history, and there is already a National Museum of American History on the Mall.”

The Family Research Council warned that the museum would become “a permanent monument to radical feminism and abortion.”

Writing for RedState, David Horowitz called the museum proposal an “interesting endeavor,” but warned that it would “promote leftwing propaganda”:

One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.

In the end, yesterday, activists were only able to persuade 33 Republican House members to vote against a bill that “authorizes a study to find a location for the museum and establish its mission.” Only two of the eighteen Republican women in the House voted against the bill – Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said it would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.

But despite her attempted concession to Nance, Blackburn told National Journal that she could not figure out what all the fuss was about: "Look, I'm a pretty conservative person. I can't even follow that train of thought. It's too convoluted for me."

Religious Right Sees Opportunity In Supreme Court Prayer Ruling

Religious Right groups are celebrating yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding sectarian prayer at official public meetings – like city council sessions – and narrowly defining what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending. The case is Town of Greece v. Galloway.

Though divided on their reasoning, the Court’s five conservative Justices upheld a practice in which, month after month, year after year, town leaders reached out to Christians and Christians only to offer opening prayers at town meetings, prayers that were often quite sectarian in nature.  The very few exceptions were in response to this lawsuit.  Although town leaders said that members of other religions could lead the opening prayer if they asked to, they had hardly let that be widely known, and they continued to reach out only to Christians.

SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston characterized the Court’s ruling as “[s]topping just short of abandoning a historic barrier to religion in government activity.” Conservative and religious groups hostile to church-state separation are gushing over the ruling and hope it is a sign of more to come.

The Becket Fund signaled that it hopes yesterday’s decision will just be the first step in further dismantling rulings upholding church-state separation.  From Deputy General Counsel Eric Rassbach:

“The Court’s landmark decision today echoes the wisdom of the Founders. Not only did the Court uphold the centuries-old practice of legislative prayer, it also started the work of bringing the entire law of church and state onto a firmer foundation in the words of the Constitution.”

David Corman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Town of Greece:

“Opening public meetings with prayer is a cherished freedom that the authors of the Constitution themselves practiced,” he said. “Speech censors should have no power to silence volunteers who pray for their communities just as the Founders did.”

The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer celebrated the ruling as a “monster win” and said it was proof that “we are fighting a winnable war,” because the “Supreme Court has ruled that you can have sectarian prayers, prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, to open any legislative session, any lawmaking body – a county commission can do it, a city council can do it, a state government can do it.”  

Fischer he went on at great length endorsing Justice Clarence Thomas’s position that the First Amendment does not limit states’ constitutional right to, for example, declare the Southern Baptist Church to be the official state church and force people to support the church with taxes.  Fischer, in fact, called Thomas “a stud on the issue of religious liberty.” (Fischer says he wouldn’t personally support coercive state establishment, but he supports Thomas’s constitutional analysis, and says it should be applied to interpret that the federal government has no right to tell public schools whether and how prayer is permitted.)  Fischer is delighted that the Supreme Court’s majority decision discussed the fact that the Continental Congress opened with “emphatically Christian” prayer.

Gordon Klingenschmitt:

Hallelujah!  Today YOU helped score a VICTORY at the U.S. Supreme Court, reaching the pinnacle of seven years of work and prayer with The Pray In Jesus Name Project.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it's OK for pastors to pray "in Jesus' name" at city council meetings. 

Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins:

"The court today has upheld our first and most fundamental freedom. The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square. We applaud the majority on the court for getting that right. This is an historic victory for all Americans of faith and for the common-sense reading of the Constitution itself. The Court's affirmation of the right of Americans to practice their faith in public life and the public square is a major win for the religious liberty we have always cherished.”

Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition called it a victory that would empower Religious Right activists to push elected officials to bring sectarian prayer into more official settings:

Reed also announced that, armed with today’s Supreme Court decision, Faith & Freedom Coalition would redouble its efforts to encourage opportunities for prayers offered at meetings by town boards, city councils, and county commissions nationwide.  The organization has in the past mobilized public support for local officials who have allowed such prayers at government meetings.

“Speech honoring God and invoking His blessing on our land should be welcomed, not treated with hostility,” said Reed.  “With today’s decision, the government officials that faith-based voters help to elect can provide a forum for such expressions without fear of being reversed by future courts.”

Concerned Women for America celebrated, saying the decision “lifts up the best in our country.” CWA President Penny Nance managed to slam what she said has been “a push to establish atheism as the official religion of our land” and claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling was a win for everyone, “even the staunchest atheists.”

Those who object to these practices do not seek to exercise their religious liberty; they merely feel hostile towards other people’s religious practices and seek to silence them. They seek to silence those with whom they disagree….

The Founders of this great nation benefited and relied heavily on prayer to seek the guidance they needed to establish the foundations of our nation. When the first Congress met on September 7, 1774, it began with an amazing prayer “in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.” No religious oppression or favoritism followed from that practice, only the blessings of freedom and liberty, including the freedom of religious thought, belief, or even non-belief.

Everyone wins, including the staunchest atheists, when we allow the free exercise of religion or non-religion according to a person’s conscience.

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, who specializes in promoting fictitious threats to religious freedom, declared that “the Obama administration has been waging a war against people of the Christian faith,” somehow neglecting to mention that the Obama administration had actually weighed in on the side of the Town of Greece and its overwhelmingly Christian prayers.  Starnes said it is “always a good day when the anti-Christian folks get smacked down by the Supreme Court” but said the fact that it was a 5-4 decision should be a “wake-up call” for Americans that elections matter.

Gary Bauer made the same point:

Here's the good news: The Supreme Court today upheld public prayers, even Christian prayers, at government meetings in 5-to-4 decision.

But that is the bad news too! The free exercise of religion depends on just one vote….

Now a win is a win. But don't miss the fact that this victory for religious liberty was won by the narrowest of margins. One more liberal appointment and the Supreme Court could easily ban prayers before town council meetings and legislative sessions. If that were to happen, our Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto would surely be next.

Your vote at the ballot box has a direct impact on our federal courts. Federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court, are appointed (by the president) and confirmed (by the Senate) by the men and women we elect to public office. 

 

Concerned Women For America Opposes National Women's History Museum, Angry Website Doesn't Mention CWA Founder

Mystified by growing support in Congress for the National Women’s History Museum project, Concerned Women for America is now warning that the proposed museum will “indoctrinate those who visit the museum” into “leftist ideology.”

The group is especially peeved that the project’s website doesn’t include mentions of CWA founder Beverly LaHaye or Religious Right activists like Alveda King and Star Parker.

While the idea of celebrating women is admirable, the content of such a museum would create a shrine to the leftist ideology and would not provide an accurate portrayal of American women. It is for this reason we object to the National Women’s History Museum as currently structured.



• In 2010, Concerned Women for America Legislative Action Committee (CWALAC) opposed the building of the NWHM on the National Mall and successfully requested Senators Jim DeMint (R-South Carolina) and Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma) to place a hold on this bill.

• During the 112th Congress, CWALAC worked with Republican House leadership to ensure this bill did not come to the House floor for a vote.



• The NWHM does not accurately portray women’s history and for this reason we oppose the NWHM. The museum’s online exhibits tout the “progressive era” and feminism but do not acknowledge their ramifications, the destruction of marriage and the family. The online exhibits highlight the feminists’ view of “free love” (like Victoria Woodhull) but do not acknowledge their pro-life ones.

• The NWHM will indoctrinate those who visit the museum to a jaundiced view of women’s history. The NWHM website attached to this proposed museum references Margaret Sanger nine times and Victoria Woodhull over 20, while referencing Phyllis Schlafly once and not mentioning Beverly LaHaye at all. It also highlights Sandra Fluke, while ignoring Kay Coles James, Alveda King, and Star Parker.

CWA: Youth Support For Gay Rights Shows Their 'Ignorance'

Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America knows the real reason why young voters are more likely to favor marriage equality and vote for Democratic candidates like President Obama, and it’s apparently because they’re just not smart enough to know better.

Crouse writes today in the Christian Post that young adults are “without a solid foundation” and “fall prey to the fads and changing winds of cultural trends,” transforming American youth into “a reliably leftist demographic.”

“They are also one of the best-educated generations in American history – a finding that many consider highly questionable, given their appalling ignorance both of history and contemporary events,” Crouse writes, lamenting that “this rootless generation, with little grounding in historical knowledge or moral commitments, is ripe for the demagoguery of community organizers and activists pushing special agendas.”

She adds that young voters don’t realize that gay rights are harmful to freedom, arguing that marriage equality laws “censure those whose religious beliefs condemn this unfortunate change in the definition of marriage. Marijuana legalization, the same. Life without boundaries for them, but not for the rest of us.”

According to exit polling data, in both the 2008 and 2012 elections, Millennials (young adults 18 to 33) were a reliably leftist demographic, both in their voting and their views. Now, it appears that – even though they remain decidedly liberal on political and social issues – this influential group of Americans is up for grabs in the 2014 and 2016 elections. That is to say that no specific politician or ideology can count on their support.



One of the troubling findings in the survey is that “about three-in-ten (29%) say they are not affiliated with any religion.” Coupled with their lack of political affiliation, this rootless generation, with little grounding in historical knowledge or moral commitments, is ripe for the demagoguery of community organizers and activists pushing special agendas. For example, Millennials see no inconsistency in adamantly advocating their own freedom to express their position and, at the same time, pushing for activist government policies to promote same-sex marriage and censure those whose religious beliefs condemn this unfortunate change in the definition of marriage. Marijuana legalization, the same. Life without boundaries for them, but not for the rest of us.

… Without a solid foundation – a worldview of their own – Millennials fall prey to the fads and changing winds of cultural trends. Only one-quarter (26%) of Millennials are married (in contrast to other generations when at their age – Gen X 36%, Baby Boomers 48%, Silent Generation 65%). Obviously, the lack of marriage does not mean a lack of sexual activity; cohabitation and random hook-ups are substitutes for marriage, with predictably bad measurable outcomes for both men and women.

In spite of their support for big government, liberal social views, lack of patriotism, general optimism, and personal support for President Obama (though that is declining), Millennials, like the three generations preceding them, disapprove of single parenting and believe that it is bad for society.

Pew explains some of the Millennial views by their racial diversity: “About four-in-ten members of the millennial generation are non-white – a much larger percentage than in older age groups.” They are also one of the best-educated generations in American history – a finding that many consider highly questionable, given their appalling ignorance both of history and contemporary events.

Concerned Women For America Uses Iraq Spousal Rape Law To Attack Feminists

Concerned Women For America sent out a press release today with the headline “The Real War on Women: Iraq Introduces Law Legalizing Spousal Rape and Child Brides as American Feminists try to 'Ban Bossy,'" which uses Iraq’s move toward legalizing spousal rape and child marriage to attack feminists in the United States.

In the press release, CWA president Penny Nance rightly condemns the proposed Iraqi measure, but the whole thing quickly takes a bizarre turn when she adds a dig at liberals: “This is the real war on women, and the Left would be wise to wake up to it.”

The press release then quotes CWA senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse, who similarly uses the Iraqi situation to attack American women’s rights advocates, especially Sheryl Sandberg's "Ban Bossy" campaign:

Such rulings highlight how incredibly out of touch with reality those women are who want free contraception and talk about banning words like ‘bossy.’ Women around the world are dealing with basic human rights issues and the lack of fundamental necessities like good sanitation and pure water, while elite American women are fretting about supposed ‘wars’ on women.

The press release seems to be inspired by a Washington Examiner piece along the same lines by Ashe Schow. Nance previously attacked the “Ban Bossy” campaign in a Fox News op-ed in which she used Jay-Z and Beyonce lyrics to claim that the campaign was hypocritical.

Putting aside the serious lapses in logic behind CWA’s argument, we’re left with a few questions. For instance, does the group think that fellow anti-feminist Phyllis Schlafly is also waging a war on women when she argues that there is no such thing as spousal rape? And will it praise Planned Parenthood for working to stop violence against women, including marital rape, across the world?

Concerned Women For America Drops Out Of World Congress of Families Moscow Summit

As we’ve been reporting, the American Religious Right has found itself in a tough spot following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of Ukraine, since many Religious Right leaders have not only praised Putin’s anti-gay, anti-choice policies but are planning to attend a World Congress of Families summit at the Kremlin later this year.

Now, one such group that previously praised Putin has announced that it will pull out of the Moscow summit. Buzzfeed reported yesterday that Concerned Women for America will no longer be participating in the World Congress of Families event because, as the group’s CEO Penny Nance said, “I don’t want to appear to be giving aid and comfort to Vladimir Putin.”

CWA’s choice is especially surprising because its senior fellow, Janice Shaw Crouse, is amember of the board of the World Congress of Families and has been a vocal defender of Putin’s social policies. Last month, Crouse even appeared at a press conference promoting the Moscow summit.

Now the question becomes whether other American groups will follow Nance’s lead. An organizing meeting for the event in October included Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, Tom Minnery of Focus on the Family, Benjamin Bull of Alliance Defending Freedom, Justin Murff of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Austin Ruse of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute.

A draft program for the event that was obtained by Buzzfeed includes speeches by ADF president Allan Sears, Focus president Jim Daly, Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association, Brown, Ruse and Murff, among others.

In addition, the World Congress of Families receives funding from “partner organizations” including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, and Americans United for Life.

The World Congress of Families’ Larry Jacobs said at last month’s press conference that members of the U.S. Congress would also attend the event, though he would not specify which ones since he said their confirmations were not yet finalized. The draft program also accounts for speeches from unidentified members of Congress. to speak.

As we’ve noted, the planned summit is more than just a trip to Moscow. It’s being held at the Kremlin with funding from key Putin allies and will include a joint forum with Russia’s parliament. In addition, the World Congress of Families itself has been working to support Putin’s crackdown on LGBT rights in Russia, along with his push to keep Ukraine out of the European Union. Riling up hostility to gay rights, in particular, has become a powerful wedge issue for Russian-aligned, anti-EU activists in Ukraine.

Ruse articulated the apparent attitude of many American groups when he told Buzzfeed that although the Ukraine invasion “muddied the water,” he had not been concerned about working so closely with the Putin regime until now, “because the Russian government has been quite good on our issues.”

Nance is aware of the message that her group’s participation in the summit would send. Will anybody else follow her lead?

Will American Religious Right Groups Go Ahead With Their Kremlin Summit?

As President Obama and world leaders debate whether to go ahead with this year’s planned G-8 meeting in Sochi after Russia’s military incursion into Ukraine, American Religious Right leaders are facing a diplomatic dilemma of their own.

In September, social conservative leaders from around the globe, including representatives of several major American Religious Right groups are planning to hold the annual World Congress of Families gathering at the Kremlin. The gathering is supported by political leaders in Russian Orthodox Church and will include a joint session with the Russian parliament.

American social conservatives have rallied – with varying levels of enthusiasm – to support Russian President Vladimir Putin as his government has passed aseries of anti-gay laws and joined with the church to take up other “family values” issues. These activists, in praising Russia’s renewed push on issues such as gay rights, have largely chosen to ignore the role that social issues are playing in Putin's larger plans.

Issues such as gay rights, abortion rights, and population growth aren't a side project for Putin – they're closely entwined with his tightening grip on power and what Julia Ioffe calls his “appetite for expansion.” For instance, as Buzzfeed's Lester Feder has reported extensively, Russia and its allies in Ukraine and throughout Eastern Europe have riled up anti-gay sentiment as part of a larger agenda of fomenting distrust of the EU and the West. Putin’s anti-gay crackdown has also been useful in promoting nationalist sentiment within Russia and to provide a useful scapegoat as he tightens his grip on power.

When Larry Jacobs of the Rockford, Illinois-based World Congress of Families gushes that “the Russians might be the Christian saviors of the world” or when former Fox News producer Jack Hanick, who has been active in anti-gay causes in Russia, says that “God called on” Russia to “stand up for traditional values,” they are playing into Putin’s own narrative.

In October, leaders from major U.S. Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family traveled to Moscow for a planning meeting for the upcoming conference, where they met with Yelena Mizulina, a member of parliament at the head of the Kremlin's social conservative push and coauthor of the infamous "gay propaganda" bill.

In addition, nearly every major Religious Right group in the country is an official paying “partner” of the World Congress of Families; groups including the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America, Alliance Defending Freedom, Focus on the Family and the National Organization for Marriage, pay an annual $2,500 fee to support the organization, which is an offshoot of the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.

The American Right has found Putin's Russia to be an ally of convenience as they work to build an international movement opposing gay rights, choice, and religious pluralism. But how far are they willing to take the relationship?

CWA: How Dare Obama Criticize Uganda's Anti-Gay Law

Concerned Women for America senior fellow Janice Shaw Crouse is once again saying that she is furious that President Obama would dare criticize the harsh Ugandan law that makes being gay a crime punishable with life imprisonment.

In a statement today, Crouse tried to claim that she doesn’t necessarily support the Ugandan law, she just thinks that people are wrong to oppose it.

She writes that Obama’s denunciation of the anti-gay law shows that he only cares about “special interest campaigns” and “special rights, not human rights,” and represents “an affront, even a mockery, of those Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of virtually all Western civilizations across time and cultures.”

Last week, I was called by a reporter who said he wanted to interview me about President Obama’s statement that “homosexuality is a human right.” He said that the president’s recent comments about the situation in Uganda elevated homosexuality to the level of a “human right” or a “universal fundamental freedom.” My remarks were simply that the president of the United States has the responsibility to represent the entire nation. When he states his personal beliefs and values and presents those as representative of the United States of America, the full force of his office is behind those statements. It is clear that the beliefs of the president about “human rights” are controversial in his own country and offensive to many both in the U.S. and abroad, and serve to promote the political homosexual agenda worldwide. Claiming that homosexuality is a “human right” is an affront,¬¬ even a mockery, of¬¬ those Judeo-Christian values that have been the foundation of virtually all Western civilizations across time and cultures.

That critique is not an endorsement of Ugandan law. Concerned Women for America (CWA) supports the human rights of everyone, including homosexuals. The president should have criticized brutality (though he has not done that in some other notable international incidents) without embracing and promoting the political agenda of a relatively small special interest group.



The basic principles of religious liberty and freedom of speech are the context in which I criticized Mr. Obama. In this respect, Mr. Obama has been “arrogant,” and his actions have constituted “cultural imperialism.” One of Concerned Women for America’s (CWA) core issues is “national sovereignty,” and we defend the sovereignty of our own country, as well as that of other nations. We are an American organization, and our involvement in other nations is solely on the issue of national sovereignty and the other core issues (like Family and Life) that we share with our international colleagues. We analyze the statements of public officials, including the president, as they touch on our core issues; we have suggested that the president should forcefully condemn nations that violate the civil rights of homosexuals and women, but that approach is significantly different from the president’s endorsing and promoting the special interest campaigns of “homosexual rights” and “women’s rights” activists — campaigns that are political in nature and ask for approval rather than acceptance, that ask for special rights, not human rights.

CWA: Fight 'The Homosexual Lobby' Before 'We End Up Losing Our Freedoms'

Mario Diaz of Concerned Women for America, still reeling from Virginia marriage equality advocates’ victory in federal court, warns in a blog post today that gay rights gains “are costing us our freedoms.” While Diaz doesn’t exactly explain what freedoms he lost when a judge struck down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriage, he writes that the “homosexual lobby” is “corroding our freedom.”

He claims to be upset about a pro-marriage equality petition to the appeals court and insists that conservative groups would never ask people to sign a petition to a court since they have “respect for our Constitution and the rule of law.”

Diaz might be interested to know that his own group is currently circulating a petition to “urge the Supreme Court to strike down the [Obamacare] law in its entirety.”

The anti-gay activist adds that just as the nation’s founders “defeated a great and mighty foe to establish the principles of freedom and liberty,” fellow conservatives must “stand before the challenges of our day in the same manner, knowing that truth will prevail, trusting that Providence guides and guards us through it all.”

Today’s version of the judiciary is a mere caricature of what the Founders intended.

The homosexual lobby has turned to the courts time and again to overrule the vote of the people, re-write legislation and even initiate executive action. They applaud all these efforts, even when they are costing us our freedoms.



With this new effort of lobbying the courts, the homosexual lobby aims at that which is supposed to be the benchmark of justice, impartiality. This ends-justify-the-means mentality is corroding our freedom, and we must stand forcefully against it.

We must resist the temptation to use the same tactics. Influence in the courts is brought through legal arguments and respect. Respect for our Constitution and the rule of law. The ends do not justify the means. The means matter. And no matter how dirty the other side plays, we must win in the right way.

What good is it to us to “win” an argument if we end up losing our freedoms? No, we must win with an approach that upholds the values that have made our country great. Yes, it is difficult. But it is possible. Our Founders showed us that.

Against all odds, they defeated a great and mighty foe to establish the principles of freedom and liberty we fight for today. We stand before the challenges of our day in the same manner, knowing that truth will prevail, trusting that Providence guides and guards us through it all.

We stand on the right side of history. For we stand for truth, freedom and liberty. Be encouraged!
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