Anti-gay activists Tony Perkins and Jim Garlow, who are attending the Vatican summit on marriage this week, spoke yesterday about how the conference could create a new, ecumenical movement to combat what Garlow called the “demonic movement to destroy marriage.”
“The attack on marriage is global,” Garlow told Perkins, who was broadcasting his “Washington Watch” program live from the Vatican. “I believe it’s clearly demonic.”
Garlow, the California pastor who helped orchestrate the Proposition 8 campaign, then called for “an onslaught of people who come together of very different values” to defend marriage from Satan, repeating his frequent refrain that if he were Satan he would “want to destroy marriage” by allowing gay couples to wed.
On Election Day, voters in Oregon, Alaska and Washington, D.C., voted to liberalize their marijuana laws, decriminalizing the possession or sale of the substance. But while Oregon and Alaska will be able to go ahead and start implementing their laws, D.C.’s more modest measure will first have to make it through a Republican Congress.
Once D.C.’s city council submits the measure to Congress, Congress will have 30 days to review it and during that time can pass a measure overriding it. Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland has vowed to use all of his political power to stop D.C.’s decriminalization measure from moving forward, including passing a spending bill rider barring the District from implementing its own law.
While D.C. will now be contending with Republicans controlling both chambers of Congress, it’s not clear how much support the GOP congressmen trying to stop the law will get from their colleagues. Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher of California, for instance, has said that overriding D.C.’s law would violate the GOP’s “fundamental principles,” including “limited government” and “states’ rights.”
But other conservatives have no such compunction. In an email to members of his organization on Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins backed Harris’ effort to stop D.C. from implementing its decriminalization law by arguing that with a spending bill coming up, Harris “might finally have a way” to give the self-governed city with a population bigger than Vermont and Wyoming “the oversight it desperately needs” from congressional Republicans.
People in D.C. are still on a high after Election Day -- but a handful of congressmen are hoping that high isn’t permanent. As part of the District’s ballot, voters gave the thumbs up to a marijuana proposal that just made the lame-duck session a little more interesting. Under Initiative 71, locals would have the right to both possess pot (two ounces) and grow it at home.
Oregon and Alaska passed similar policies last Tuesday, but unlike the states’, D.C.’s measure is subject to Congress’s approval. And plenty of conservatives aren’t likely to give it. Before the District even planted the policy on last week’s ballot, Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.) was trying to put the brakes on the push from D.C. Now, with a major funding bill on the docket, Congressman Harris might finally have a way to give the city the oversight it desperately needs.
Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin told the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney in an interview last week that he believes President Obama is going to cut a deal with Iran allowing the country to have a nuclear weapon on the advice of his adviser Valerie Jarrett because she “is Persian, she’s an Iranian.”
“I think the administration has essentially, and probably because of the advice of Valerie Jarrett — who is Persian, she’s an Iranian — I think that because of her influence that the president has made some very bad decisions with regards for support for the Iranian nuclear program,” he said.
Boykin and Gaffney also discussed the alleged “penetration” of the U.S. government by the Muslim Brotherhood.
Gaffney, who helped start the right-wing smear campaign against Hillary Clinton aide Human Abedin, asked Boykin, “What is the state of the penetration of our government, not just by the Huma Abedins and the Hesham Islams of the world, but more broadly as evidence of the civilization jihad that’s being waged against us by the Muslim Brotherhood especially?”
Boykin responded by asserting that after 9/11, counterterrorism authorities hired a large number of Arabic translators, “a large percentage” of whom “actually wound up working for the other side.”
He went on to lament what he called “the total infiltration of the intelligence community” by people he believes to be Al Qaeda and Muslim Brotherhood agents, including the counterterrorism chief responsible for many of the targeted killings of Al Qaeda officials, reportedly a Muslim convert. He also repeated the “strong rumors” that CIA director John Brennan has converted to Islam.
“What we do know is that there are penetrations at every level of our government, to include homeland security, to include the military, to include the intelligence community, to include the Congress,” he said. “There are penetrations by nefarious elements, by people that are associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, by people who are associated with Al Qaeda. And by the way, Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda are really all the same thing.”
“And the Islamic State and Boko Haram and the rest of them,” Gaffney added. “And the Iranians, too, with their differences on different points of theology, are very much part of this Sharia enterprise and the global jihad to impose it.”
In an interview with Rick Santorum on Tuesday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that American Christians are being persecuted because the U.S. “began to normalize behavior that had long been considered inappropriate” and that such supposed persecution in the U.S. is contributing to violent religious persecution around the globe.
“You hate to use the term persecution, because when you look around the world, we see real religious persecution,” Santorum, who was guest hosting Steve Deace’s show, said. “We see people dying, churches being burned, we see mass killings of Christians, so I sort of tread lightly on the world persecution.”
But, he added, “this is really the first time in this country where we’ve seen any kind of coordinated effort of government really imposing its will on the American public and forcing them to comply or else.”
Perkins told Santorum that he need not use caution in referring to things like nondiscrimination ordinances in the U.S. as “persecution,” telling him “there is a correlation…between the increase in persecution abroad and the increase of intolerance from our own government here at home.”
“They feel like if it’s not a priority for us to have religious freedom here at home, then certainly it’s not going to be a priority for us to speak out for the persecuted peoples abroad,” he said.
Earlier in the program, the two gave a clearer idea of what they mean by the “persecution” of Christians in America, discussing the situation in Houston where a number of pastors received subpoenas as part of a lawsuit filed by anti-gay activists trying to take down the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance.
Perkins commended Santorum for warning America that “this was coming if we began to normalize behavior that had long been considered inappropriate and began to protect it and provide preferential treatment to it.”
Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins onceagain called for President Obama’s impeachment, telling “Washington Watch” listeners that Obama deserves to be impeached for using executive action to relieve some immigrants of deportation.
“What the president is about to do on amnesty is essentially tell, using his authority as the chief executive, the president, to the executive branch, Homeland Security, immigration, not to enforce the law, which is a violation of his oath to uphold the law,” Perkins said. “I think there is already, but clearly with this, if he takes this approach on amnesty and immigration — if the president does not uphold the law then that’s an impeachable act. Now you don’t impeach somebody because you don’t like their policies, it’s when they fail to uphold or abide by the law.”
Perkins added that Obama’s imminent announcement on immigration policy will undermine the republic, arguing that the message of last week’s election was a rejection of Obama’s “lawlessness.”
Rep. Doug Lamborn claimed yesterday that the Obama administration is overlooking religious persecution abroad because it is too busy defending LGBT rights.
In an interview on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program, the Colorado Republican told FRC President Tony Perkins that the Obama administration is “really more motivated and active promoting things like lesbian and gay rights, transgendered [sic] rights and those kind of issues” than in preventing religious persecution.
“We have the sad situation of persecuted religious minorities in the Middle East and other parts of the country, including Christians and other various sects out there, that are being really persecuted, sometimes they’re being beheaded or crucified or tortured because of their religious views,” he said. “So the State Department,y ou would think, would want to be all over that, would want to be pressing for countries to be respecting the rights of religious minorities.
“But it seems like they are really more motivated and active promoting things like lesbian and gay rights, transgendered [sic] rights and those kind of issues to the neglect of religious prosecution [sic]. And I just want them to pay attention to the severe and deadly prosecution [sic] of Christians and other religious people wherever that occurs in the world.”
Perkins agreed, saying that “Christians are dying around the world and they’re doing nothing.”
The claim that the Obama administration is “doing nothing” to combat the persecution of religious minorities around the world is a frequent refrain among Religious Right commentators — and it’s completely deceptive.
In fact, when President Obama announced airstrikes in Iraq this summer, he cited ISIS’s violence against Yazidis, Christians and other Muslims as a reason for the intervention. Obama and National Security Advisor Susan Rice recently met with Mideast Christian leaders, one of whom said he “felt how deeply moved he was by what was happening to the Christians there.” Administration officials have repeatedly denounced anti-Semitic and anti-Christian attitudes in the Mideast, and the State Department operates its own Office of International Religious Freedom.
Next week, American Religious Right leaders including the Southern Baptist Convention’s Russell Moore, pastor Rick Warren, Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, and Latter-Day Saints official Henry Eyring will be joining opponents of LGBT equality from around the world at an interfaith conference on the “complementarity of man and woman in marriage” hosted by the Vatican.
The conference follows a synod at which Catholic bishops considered, but ultimately rejected, proposals to soften the church’s stances on homosexuality, as well as those who have been divorced.
Although he is not listed as a speaker, another prominent American opponent of LGBT equality will also be attending the conference. Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in an interview on Newsmax TV today that he plans to attend the conference in Rome and expects the Catholic Church to “make a very clear statement that pertains to marriage and what the Church views marriage to be” to provide “clarity” to the confusion coming out of the recent synod.
“I don’t see the Catholic Church making a great deviation” on the issue of homosexuality, Perkins said. “They can’t because the scripture is quite clear on the issue.”
He added that there has been “a lack of clarity” on the part of the Catholic Church that have “allowed interpretations to be made that are less than accurate.”
The Religious Right has for the past two years joined with human rights groups in lifting up the case of Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary who was imprisoned in a North Korean work camp on charges of trying to overthrow the government.
You might expect that a group like the Family Research Council that has been championing Bae’s case would take a break from partisan bickering to celebrate the good news of Bae's freedom. But you would be wrong!
In his daily email yesterday, FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, reacted to Bae’s release by accusing the Obama administration of not caring enough about Christian political prisoners — like, for instance, Bae. Perkins wrote that the administration’s work to free Bae was “surprising” and went on to attack the president for his “absolute silence” on the imprisonment of American pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran:
Although the suffering left deep scars, Bae insists that he is “recovering.” He and Miller, who the communist government sentenced to hard labor for participating in what they called a “Christian conspiracy,” thanked the Obama administration for sending a “brief message” through his intelligence officials asking for Bae and Miller’s release. For the President, it was a surprising move given his absolute silence on Pastor Saeed Abedini, another American who languishes in a torturous existence at the hands of a ruthless Iranian government.
Meanwhile, here at home, his family’s pleas to the White House continue to fall on deaf ears. As we cheer Kenneth and Matthew’s release, our earnest prayers continue to lift up the millions of people -- like Pastor Abedini -- who are shackled for the true freedom of Jesus Christ.
It is worth remembering that the entire impetus behind last night's "I Stand Sunday" rally was an effort by anti-gay activists to repeal a nondiscrimination ordinance passed by the city of Houston that extended protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, because it puts in context Tony Perkins' statement that protecting "religious liberty" at home will go a long way toward protecting Christians in the Middle East from religious persecution.
As the Family Research Council president sees it, failure to allow anti-gay Christians in America to discriminate in the name of "religious freedom" is feeding the persecution of Christians worldwide.
"There is a connection between the growing hostility toward biblical Christianity here at home and persecution abroad," he said. "And the reason is very simple: if the policies of our own government toward Christians in America is intolerant, the message that that is sending to despots and to dictators in far-away places is that religious freedom is no longer a priority or even a concern for America."
By standing up for anti-gay Christians who seek to deny equal rights to gays in America under the guise of religious liberty, Perkins said, "you will give hope to far-away places around the world."
"It's time that we stand once again for religious freedom here in America and give the world hope," he said:
In an interview with Ohio Religious Right activist Molly Smith last week, Family Research Council Senior Fellow Bob Morrison compared the LGBT rights movement to the Vietnam draft, lamenting that “the whole country’s being conscripted into a pride parade.”
“Now we’re finding out that it’s not just about defending marriage, as important as that is,” Morrison told Smith. “It’s a question of defending liberty itself, because they can’t violate the laws of nature and of nature’s God, as the Declaration talks about, they can’t violate those laws without trampling religious freedom and political liberty at the same time.”
Speaking of nondiscrimination laws that prevent businesses from discriminating against LGBT people, he argued, “They’re not exercising discrimination, what they’re doing, what you’re doing is conscripting them. You’re forcing them to take part in your gay pride parade.”
“When I was a young guy, the draft was a hot issue,” he added. “Okay, well we’re being conscripted, the whole country’s being conscripted into a pride parade, and I don’t want to be in that parade.”
Glenn Beck insists that his "predictions are pretty accurate just never with the timing right," which is really just a cop-out way of saying that his wild claims can never be proven wrong because it is always possible that they just haven't happened yet.
Finally, FRC prays for the upcoming elections: "Lord, we have less than a week before Americans choose their nation’s political destiny. You know what all is at stake. Grant your Church heart-felt repentance at every level. Among the sins for which we must repent, help those who are called by your name to repent of our failure to love our neighbors and nation enough to diligently vote, and to vote for men and women who will uphold righteous and just laws. May believers everywhere pray and fast this week as they plan to cast their votes. Have mercy and redeem our nation, a nation you have blessed beyond any nation in history, but which has declined precipitously under our watch. Guide your people this Election Day and may our choices be pleasing to You."
A listener called in to tell the Family Research Council president that he thinks the reason homosexuality is “promoted is because it doesn’t lead to reproduction and that’s why it’s promoted. There’s this anti-life agenda, there’s a total anti-human, anti-life, human beings are a virus, type of mentality.”
Perkins responded that the caller was “absolutely correct,” saying that he once wrote about how “climate change alarmists and those who are pushing population control” actually “promote homosexuality” because “there’s no procreation there.”
“They go crazy, they deny it but the evidence is there, it’s footnoted in my book.”
Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins once again demanded that Congress impeach and remove President Obama from office, telling a caller on his “Washington Watch” radio show that the GOP must go through with impeachment after the midterm elections.
When a caller asked why Republicans haven’t made impeachment into an election issue, Perkins responded that they should pursue it if the elections go there way: “If the Republicans do capture the Senate, there’s no more excuses about impeachment. See, what we’ve heard so far is how we can’t do that because we’d never get it through the Senate, the House could impeach him but the Senate would never convict, it would just be a waste of time. Well, if they have control of the Senate it won’t be.”
Of course, it takes a two-thirds vote in the Senate to remove a president.
If Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is really convinced that anti-gay activists like himself will prevail in their fight against marriage equality, he may want to reconsider linking the cause to efforts to preserve prohibitions on the sale of alcoholic beverages.
Perkins told the caller that the Arkansas challenge to bans on alcohol sales was part of a larger left-wing plot against culturally conservative values, mentioning recent gay marriage victories as another source of liberal interference.
“A lot of things are best decided at the local level and it’s the same thing that we’re seeing with marriage where the states have taken these positions and now you’ve got these courts coming in, undermining the states, you’ve got the Obama administration trying to redefine [marriage],” Perkins lamented. “It’s an all-out attack on values.”
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council spoke with a caller who asked why he hasn’t addressed the supposed perils and “Satanic cultures” of Halloween on his radio show.
“It’s a good point,” Perkins said. “I think you’re right, I think a lot of people get locked into this and they don’t realize that this is real, there is a spiritual dimension,” he added, citing Ephesians 6:12.
“I think people, I don’t think it’s intentional in many cases but in some cases it may be, but I mean people are drawn into this and it can be very dangerous,” he added.
On yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins lamented that same-sex marriage “is being forced upon the American people,” insisting that a majority of Americans will never support marriage equality.
Perkins said that just as reproductive rights debates are still contentious because legal abortion “runs contrary to nature,” gay marriage will similarly never be “resolved” until it is banned throughout the nation.
“I don’t care what they do, how oppressive government becomes in order to force this agenda through, they will never force Americans to accept this, the majority of Americans to accept it. Won’t happen,” he said. “Some may go silent, some may be carried away but they will not resolve this issue, trust me.”
Later in the show, Perkins reiterated his support for impeaching President Obama: “If something’s wrong, it’s wrong. Whether or not you can get the conviction that you desire, it’s still wrong and the House has the responsibility and the ability to charge him for this and I think it puts him on notice.”
“This president has systematically seen himself as above the law and I think this has done irreparable damage to the republic and to our form of government,” Perkins said. “Every time we stretch the limits, some of the elasticity goes out. It’s like those gym shorts, when you stretch them out they don’t always go back and I’m afraid that’s what this president is doing, he’s gone and stretched those gym shorts.”
AFP is spending $85,000 running ads that accuse Wheat of being an “extreme” partisan…citing his votes on bipartisan bills as a state legislator. In an interview with the Missoulan, Wheat called the ads “garbage”:
The ads say Wheat, a justice on Montana’s high court since 2010, “has a history of supporting extreme, partisan measures,” citing his votes as a state senator for a 2003 sales tax package and for an increase in hunting and fishing license fees in 2005, and his 2012 dissent in a Supreme Court ruling upholding natural gas well permits.
“Our (intent) is to educate voters on the positions that Mike Wheat has taken in the past and hold him accountable for those positions,” Lahn said.
Wheat, in an interview, called the ad “garbage” and said it has little or nothing to do with the type of a justice he’s been or will be.
The ad sponsor “is just one of the Super-PACs funded by the Koch Brothers, who want you to believe it’s only for `educational’ purposes,” Wheat said. “It’s not education at all; it’s pure politics.”
In addition to $275,000 combined that Wheat and VanDyke have reported raising for their campaigns, the race has seen spending now by four outside groups, including AFP-Montana.
Two other groups are supporting VanDyke, including the Republican State Leadership Committee, which reported Thursday it’s spent $330,000 on TV ads and mailers, and one group is supporting Wheat.
Lahn said AFP-Montana initially is spending $85,000 for its ads criticizing Wheat.
The AFP ad says Montanans “deserve a fair and impartial Supreme Court” and urge voters to call Wheat “and tell him to keep his extreme politics out of the Montana Supreme Court.”
Among other things, the ad refers to Wheat’s 2003 vote as a senator for a sales tax package that also reduced property and income taxes, and his 2005 vote for a bill increasing hunting and fishing license fees.
The sales tax measure passed the Senate with bipartisan support but died in the House; the hunting and fishing license bill passed with bipartisan support.
On Tuesday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with a listener, James, who claimed President Obama has a “deliberate” plan to make an Ebola “epidemic occur across the United States” in order to “institute quarantine and martial law restrictions.”
Rather than dismiss the caller’s paranoid remarks, Perkins responded that Obama administration officials “certainly give rise to those who would interpret it that way.”
Perkins claimed that the administration is ignoring “commonsense procedures” like banning travel from West African countries, a move that manyinfectious diseaseexperts say could actually put the U.S. at greater risk.
“You’re absolutely right, James, it just does not make sense,” Perkins said. “I have to strike it up, as I said before, incompetence, it’s amazing how bad this administration has been on so many issues. This election shouldn’t even be close but I believe, based upon what I saw in 2012 and what I’ve seen so far in this election cycle, is the problem is not that the Republicans are too conservative, it’s that they don’t provide a clear contrast with the Democratic candidates.”
Similar dire warnings about the federal hate crimes law that was passed five years ago today have proven to be utterly false.
The apocalyptic rhetoric is a reaction to the advances in LGBT rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in dozens of states and the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in municipalities across the country. Along with categories such as race, gender, religion, age and ability, more localities are recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as traits warranting protection from discrimination in the public domain.
As anti-gay politicians lose in the courts, Congress, state houses, town halls, and perhaps most importantly, at the ballot box, many have taken to conflating political defeat with a loss of rights and liberty. Only by depriving other people of their rights, so they claim, can conservatives and people of faith in this nation truly be free.
This month, many Republicans latched onto a complicated legal case in Houston to justify their hyperbolic warnings about impending doom for Christians in America. After Houston passed an equal rights ordinance this year, a pastor-led group tried — and failed — to collect enough valid petition signatures to force a referendum on repealing the ordinance. When a group of conservative activists and pastors filed a lawsuit demanding that officials accept the invalid petitions, pro-bono attorneys working for the city subpoenaed several pastors’ communications, including sermons, on petition collecting and related issues like homosexuality as part of the discovery process.
While many groups from the left and right alike called out the subpoenas as overly broad and intrusive, the Religious Right cited the legal move as proof that pastors will be, as the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody put it, “hauled off to jail for a hate crimes because they are speaking for traditional marriage.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who in 2012 warned that America was “at the edge of a precipice” and would soon see non-existent “hate speech” laws used “against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages [or] who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage,” agreed with Brody’s assessment.
(In a similar episode this month, the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel business filed a lawsuit against their hometown over a nondiscrimination ordinance, arguing that city officials have threatened them with prosecution and jail time for denying service to same-sex couples — even though officials haven’t pursued any legal action against the couple.)
We’ve seen this movie before. In 2007, members of a group called Repent America were charged after disrupting a gay pride event and refusing to abide by police orders. The way conservatives tell the story, godly missionaries were punished by law enforcement for exercising their First Amendment rights and “sharing the gospel,” but as court records show, the group tried to disturb the peace and protest inside an event without a permit.
In fact, if Religious Right were correct in their warnings, America should have experienced a wave of arrests targeting pastors, church-goers and Republicans following the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Predictions about the criminalization of the Bible, pastors locked in jail cells and concentration camps for Christians never came true, mainly because these prophecies had no basis in reality.
The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law was passed by Congress five years ago today, and so far, the far-right’s twisted and baseless claims about the law have all been proven false. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped making the exact same discredited arguments five years after the bill’s passage:
End of Free Speech
Despite the hate crimes law’s provision making clear that it is applicable only to cases of violent crime and nothing “shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs,” Religious Right activists and their allies in the GOP nonetheless predicted that the 2009 law would bring free speech to an end.
“Gay activists will use it against preachers who present the Biblical view of homosexuality,” Rick Scarborough said at the time. “The federal hate crimes law doesn’t target crime, but free speech.” He also warned that the law’s passage would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality,” telling members of his group, Vision America, that he may face arrest for “speaking out against sexual deviancy.”
Scarborough, a Texas anti-gay pastor and political organizer close to Ted Cruz, hasn’t backed down from his claims even years after the law has gone into effect. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Scarborough declared that the “infidels” in the Obama administration are “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christians wouldn’t rise up against the attacks, he feared, “until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”
The Traditional Values Coalition went as far as to claim that the hate crimes law would imprison Jesus Christ.
“I believe that ‘hate crimes’ is the most dangerous bill in America, it is precisely what they are using to silence Christians around the world,” Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist with the group Faith 2 Action, said in an interview the year before the bill was passed. “How much of a stretch is it, really, to say that because I would say to you homosexuality is a sin or it’s dangerous behavior, before that speech alone is worthy of jail time? And that’s what we’re facing.” Porter told a Washington, D.C., rally shortly after the law was passed that it “criminalizes Christianity” and “sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech.”
In an 2009 email message with the subject line, “The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that “what ‘hate crimes’ legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.”
He also alleged that the law would “gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda” and that it “punishes a person’s beliefs — part of the Left's intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”
“If federal thought crimes laws are passed, your right to share politically incorrect parts of your Christian faith could become a federal crime,” Perkins warned. At another conservative event, Perkins said hate crimes laws will curtail freedom and breed “chaos in America.”
Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America even encouraged opposition to the law by alleging that “there is a direct connection between the sins and crimes of abortion and the sodomite agenda and the Islamic terrorism that threatens our nation.”
One group of GOP and Religious Right figures claimed the law would be “a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression.”
E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor and GOP politician, told a conservative rally that the law “represents a virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred” that is “another step in the process of robbing all Americans of the very freedoms the founding fathers pledged their lives for and the civil rights martyrs gave their lives for.”
Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, best known for his work supporting George W. Bush’s re-election campaign and the passage of his state’s gay marriage ban, said that the hate crimes law would force him out of the pulpit.
“This deceptive ploy of liberal, homosexual agenda begins to lose its allure once you pull the mask back and take a closer look,” Parsley said. “The legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people not for their actions but for their culturally incorrect thoughts. This legislation could become law, and you and I could find ourselves forbidden to speak from God’s word right here in America. I could no longer share my heart with you on critical issues, such as this, through the medium of television, or even in the pulpit of my own church.”
We can report that despite Parsley’s grim predictions, he is still very much “sharing his heart” as a preacher.
Outlawing the Bible
One group of Michigan pastors, joined by local Republican politician and American Family Association state chairman Gary Glenn, filed an unsuccessful legal challenge against the hate crimes law soon after it was enacted. The group’s legal representative, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, contended that “the sole purpose” of the law was “to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”
Pastor Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ also offered an ominous warning: “If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested.” One WorldNetDaily commentator said the law would “crack down” on Christians for “reading the Bible.”
“Christianity Is Now Outlawed,” declared the Christian Seniors Association, a front group of the Traditional Values Coalition, in a fundraising letter following the law’s passage. “Did you know that the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature?’” the letter continued.
“Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs,” said Andrea Lafferty of the TVC. “The ultimate objective of this legislation is to claim that ‘hate speech’ — criticism of homosexuality — incites individuals to violence and must be suppressed and punished. This will violate the First Amendment rights of any person or group that opposes the normalization of homosexuality in our culture.”
In the paranoid conservative alternate reality, pedophilia has been legal for five years now thanks to the updated federal hate crimes law.
“The main purpose of this ‘hate crimes’ legislation is to add the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ ‘either actual or perceived,’ as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations: zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?” asked televangelist Pat Robertson.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, similarly charged: “We have a record roll call vote that shows every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voting to have pedophiles protected.”
King’s colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further and said that as a result of the hate crimes law, courts would “have to strike any laws against bestiality” along with laws targeting “pedophiles or necrophiliacs.” Gohmert went on to warn that the law would effectively turn the U.S. into Nazi Germany.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, for his part, predicted that the law would extend legal protections to “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality.”
Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center claimed the law “elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”
Porter dubbed the law the “Pedophile Protection Act,” “summarizing” the law by completely making things up: “Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered [sic], cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.”
Pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia are still against the law and such laws have not been affected by the Hate Crimes Act, while declining “an unwelcome advance of a homosexual” is still very much legal. However, we are still waiting with bated breath for Porter’s lawsuit detailing how she was forced and legally bound to succumb to the charms of a homosexual enticer.
Can the Religious Right Be Trusted?
The many frantic, unfounded warnings about the perils the 2009 Hate Crimes Act are just one example of anti-gay activists’ penchant for manufacturing myths and brazenly distorting cases of supposed persecution.
Apocalyptic warnings and blatantly dishonest remarks have always been characteristic of the Religious Right's crusade against LGBT rights and we can expect such activists to continue to engage in such shameless fear mongering and misinformation before the 2014 election.
But, like the Religious Right’s warnings about the effects of the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, these dire predictions should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.
Last week, we reported on the quiet effort of national right-wing groups to, in the words of the Family Research Council, “flip” the Supreme Court of Montana by electing former state solicitor general Lawrence VanDyke, who has indicated that he will be friendly to business interests and social conservative causes.
We first heard of VanDyke’s campaign for the officially nonpartisan office at last month’s Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council’s political action committee had decided to highlight the race at a $100-a-head fundraiser featuring Rick Santorum, Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and a number of Republican members of Congress.
Yesterday, VanDyke’s campaign issued its fundraising report for the period that included the FRC fundraiser. In the period, the campaign brought in $48,000, nearly doubling its supply of cash. It’s impossible to tell how much of that came from the FRC’s fundraiser — much of it came from Montana residents and out-of-state attorneys but FRC’s impact is shown in a few notable contributions.
The FRC Action PAC itself contributed $320 to VanDyke’s campaign, the maximum contribution allowed so far. William Saunders, the top lawyer at the anti-choice group Americans United for Life, also contributed $320, while Gary McCaleb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom contributed $200. An organizer for the Koch group Americans for Prosperity also kicked in $200.
Although we can’t know the impact of the FRC’s fundraiser — and we can't know for sure that these contributions stemmed from the event — these numbers illustrate the fact that in VanDyke, Corporate Right and Religious Right activists throughout the country have found common cause in a little-noticed but pivotal state court race.