Family Research Council

Perkins: 30 Percent of Characters on TV are Gay; Used to Shield 'Dangerous Lifestyle'

Tony Perkins must be watching a lot of LOGO, as the Family Research Council president appears to be under the impression that gays and lesbians represent close to one out of three characters on TV. “Homosexuals make up 4% of the population, but they’re a whopping 30% of TV characters and storylines,” Perkins maintained on his daily radio commentary today, even though according to GLAAD, “LGBT characters account for 4.4% of scripted series regulars in the 2012-2013 broadcast television schedule.”

The FRC based the commentary on an article in the conservative National Catholic Register criticizing “Hollywood’s powerful homosexual culture.” The 30% figure Perkins cited does not refer to gay characters on TV but to one Catholic screenwriter’s claim that “based on her own experience, [homosexuals] make up 30% of Hollywood’s entertainment industry.”

Not only did Perkins manufacture the “30%” figure, he also alleged that “lovable gay characters” on TV are “make-believe people” whose “dangerous lifestyle is just another funny footnote.” He warned that these gay characters are being used “to desensitize America.”

Perkins asserted that in reality, gays are typically “dying of AIDS” and “bullying kids.”

“Of course, producers don’t show you the reality of homosexuality: the men and women dying of AIDS, or the same-sex couples threatening Christian businesses,” Perkins said. “They don’t cast the Dan Savages bullying kids or the parents kicked out of school for opposing gay curriculum.”

Is marriage headed for a Hollywood ending? Hello, I’m Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. The debate over same-sex marriage has been perfectly scripted by Hollywood. Television shows are full of lovable gay characters, whose dangerous lifestyle is just another funny footnote. Unfortunately for America, those make-believe people are having a real-life impact. In a new survey, almost 20% of Americans credit television with changing their minds on same-sex marriage. And that’s no accident. Homosexuals make up 4% of the population, but they’re a whopping 30% of TV characters and storylines. Liberals are using this barrage to desensitize America and viewers are buying it. Of course, producers don’t show you the reality of homosexuality: the men and women dying of AIDS, or the same-sex couples threatening Christian businesses. They don’t cast the Dan Savages bullying kids or the parents kicked out of school for opposing gay curriculum. Like most everything else on TV, it’s fiction. And the only way to fight it is knowing your role in speaking truth!

Perkins: 'Investors Flock' to ExxonMobil Because They Aren't 'Fueling the Homosexual Agenda'

Last year, Tony Perkins made the unintentionally hilarious argument that Starbucks’ support for Washington state’s marriage equality bill cost the company $10.2 billion in lost market capitalization. Now, the Family Research Council president is arguing that the reason ExxonMobil’s “shares rose 2% last year” is because “more investors flock to an organization unafraid to take a stand” against gay rights.

Perkins was referring to an ExxonMobil shareholder vote last week that rejected a resolution protecting LGBT employees from job discrimination. By not “fueling the homosexual agenda,” Perkins said, ExxonMobil was able to have “its second-biggest profit year ever.”

Yep, we can’t think of any other reasons why ExxonMobil’s earnings are rising.

At ExxonMobil, shareholders put their stock in something other than political correctness. Hello, I’m Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. It won’t change the price of gas, but it may comfort you to know that at ExxonMobil, your business isn’t fueling the homosexual agenda. For the 14th straight year, ExxonMobil refused to add special protections for sexual orientation in its employment policy. And while the outcome wasn’t a surprise, the margin of victory certainly was. By a four-to-one ratio, shareholders said “no,” shocking liberals and bolstering other companies under pressure from corporate bullies. Liberals say these kinds of views can affect your bottom line — and they’d be right! ExxonMobil is coming off its second-biggest profit year ever. The company’s shares rose 2% last year, as more investors flock to an organization unafraid to take a stand. Maybe Exxon’s courage will help other companies drill down on their priorities. Until then, at least this gas company is keeping our values in the pipeline.

Boykin: 'Sexualization of our Military with Social Engineering' Responsible for Assaults

Mike Huckabee hosted Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin today to discuss a report on the rise of sexual assault cases in the military between 2010 and 2012, which Boykin linked to the “sexualization of our military with social engineering” policies like the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell 

While Boykin correctly stated that “there are actually more men that have been sexually assaulted than women,” as we have noted, women represent a higher percentage of assault cases since there are only 200,000 women in the active-duty military.

He repeated the false claim that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell is linked to the number of assaults on men. However, CNN reports the 2012 rate “remained unchanged for active duty men” from 2010, the year before the law was repealed.

The two also tied the rise in assaults to the end on the ban on women in combat, a decision that was made in 2013 — before the study’s release — and hasn’t even been fully implemented.

Huckabee: General, there has been such a rash of sexual assault in the military and it’s become virtually epidemic. I wanted your assessment, do you think this has anything to do with the fact that we’ve so liberalized the policies of everything from women in combat, the whole conception of the separation of the gender, as well as saying we’re not going to have any restrictions on homosexuals in the military? Does that have anything at all to do with this?

Boykin: Well I think it has everything to do with it, Governor. We have seen, if I may use this term, a sexualization of our military with social engineering. One of the things that most of the people don’t realize is in a recent survey there are actually more men that have been sexually assaulted than women. We are trying to violate the laws of nature, failing to recognize that these young men and women are at the peak of their sex drive when we try to mix the genders for reasons that to me are illogical and in doing so what we are doing is we are inviting this kind of behavior, it’s not acceptable and it has to be punished and dealt with. But I think that this social engineering has manifested in a number of ways and this is certainly one of the clearest.

Tony Perkins Gets Debunked On His Own Show

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins thought he was being quite clever by hosting a program about what he called the “Obama phone,” even bringing Sen. David Vitter, of all people, onto his “pro-family” radio show.

Perkins alleged that the Obama administration offered low-income people access to cell phones in order to swing the election for the President.

However, as Vitter admitted during the interview, the program to increase cellphone coverage began in 2008, the year before Obama became president.

That’s right; the Bush administration started the “Obama phone.”

Attacks on Obama's D.C. Circuit Nominations Get More and More Absurd

The New York Times reported this week that President Obama is planning to nominate three judges to fill long-vacant seats on the influential D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. This is hardly unheard of: every president since Jimmy Carter has placed at least three judges on the D.C. Circuit, and Obama only just had his first nominee confirmed to the court.

But Senate Republicans and conservative activists really, really don’t want President Obama to put any more judges on the D.C. Circuit – perhaps because it is currently dominated by Republican nominees who are intent on rolling back things like clean air regulations, cigarette labeling requirements, and National Labor Relations Board rulings.
      
So the Senate GOP is threatening to filibuster anybody Obama names to the court and even trying to push through a law permanently deleting the vacant judgeships in order to prevent Obama from filling them.

What has resulted is one of the more bizarre manifestations of Obama Derangement Syndrome. The talking point that Senate Republicans and their allies have landed on to defend this planned obstruction is that President Obama, in nominating judges to existing judicial vacancies as is required by his job, is in fact “packing” the D.C. Circuit in the style of FDR. (Or, in the words of The Wall Street Journal’s editorial board,  like a “king”).

In a column for Breitbart News yesterday the Family Research Council’s Ken Klukowski goes even further, writing that by merely planning to nominate judges to the court – a constitutional requirement of his job fulfilled by every one of his predecessors – Obama has launched an “attack on the independence of the federal courts,” “declared war on judicial independence,” and is “trying to declare law by executive fiat.”

Now that Obama has declared war on judicial independence, Republicans are planning a counter-strategy. There are 13 federal appeals courts. The D.C. Circuit’s caseload is light, while several other circuits are overloaded. Sen. Charles Grassley and Senate Republicans are proposing moving those three seats to courts that could very much use them. Obama would still appoint those three judges, but not to the D.C. Circuit.

It takes legislation to create or move federal judgeships, so this is shaping up as a major part of the battle over courts that are independent of political manipulation.

There are only 80 slots on the Supreme Court’s docket every year. For 20,000 federal appeals each year, whatever the appellate court says is the final word. Obama is hoping that if he can overhaul the judicial balance of the court, his unprecedented claims of federal power might withstand court challenges. From Obamacare to EPA requirements, labor rules, and IRS rules, all these topics and more are going before the D.C. Circuit.

Obama cannot enact major liberal legislation now that he’s lost the House and might also lose the Senate next year. Instead, he’s trying to declare law by executive fiat. Whether he gets away with it likely turns on whether he can change Senate rules and then pack the D.C. Circuit with sympathetic judges.

This attack on the independence of the federal courts should be of concern to all Americans.
 

 

Starnes: 'You Can Be Assured That I Am Sharing With You Accurate Information'

Last week, the Family Research Council hosted its annual Watchmen on the Wall conference and among the speakers was the Religious Right's favorite "journalist," Todd Starnes of Fox News.

Starnes' entire career appears to be built around presenting one-sided culture war stories designed to fire up the conservative base, so it was hilarious to hear him declare that he prides himself on his accuracy, assuring his audience that when they read his stories, they are "getting the most accurate information possible":

You mean like the time he reported that a high school runner was disqualified for thanking God, which turned out to be totally false?

Or his report that the military was blocking the Southern Baptist Convention's website as an act of hostility toward Christianity, which was likewise entirely wrong?

What about the time he claimed that "roving gangs of thugs" had taken over New York City in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy or when he falsely claimed that the Obama administration had not called for the release of Rev. Saeed Abedini from Iran?

Or how about his false report that two female middle school students were forced to ask one another for a kiss during an anti-bullying presentation?

And who can forget his article alleging that the military was going to court-martial soldiers for sharing their faith, which was entirely untrue?

Is that what Starnes meant when he said "you can read my stories and you can be assured that I am sharing with you accurate information"?

Because, ironically, that is not true.

Tony Perkins Knows What's Best for Gays – and the GOP

The latest fundraising pitch from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins blasts “the national Republicans” whom he says are “running away from the natural and biblical definition of marriage, flocking to the radical side in support of same-sex ‘marriage.’”

Perkins’ letter insists that allowing same-sex couples to get married is dangerous to religious liberties, to the next generation, and “dangerous to civilization itself.” Perhaps worst of all is that Obama’s “machine” would benefit from the GOP alienating its conservative base:

Sacrificing our values, and their distinctives as a Party, will send millions of voters packing. One terrible side effect: President Obama’s machine will be stronger than ever. Their radicalization of American public policy will intensify.

But be assured that Perkins “cares deeply” about gay people:

Please understand: this is no vendetta. We care deeply about those who engage in either heterosexual sex outside of marriage or homosexual behavior in any context. Both are immoral and unhealthy. We want what is truly best for them and for our nation.

What is truly best for them is a lifestyle of biblical morality. (emphasis in original)

Perkins calls for a “massive outpouring of outrage from principled conservatives” and urges supporters to sign a petition to Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus. And, of course, to send a check.

Perry Claims Boy Scouts Will Answer to God for Allowing Gay Members; Gohmert Warns of Pedophilia

Rick Perry, who has equated the fight against gays in the Boy Scouts to the fight to abolish slavery, told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Friday’s edition of Washington Watch that the Boy Scouts of America’s delegates bowed to “political correctness” and “money” in ending the ban on gay members under the age of 18. The Texas governor went as so far as to say that God will hold the BSA’s leadership accountable: “they will look back on it someday and be held accountable, so that day will come and they will stand before their maker and be accountable for the decisions that they made.”

I think a loving, tolerant view towards those who have different sexual preference is the ideal position but Scouts has never been about sexuality and my point is that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book, it shouldn’t be. Scouting is not about sex, it’s about building character. But those who wanted to push their agenda have now put parents and young men in the position of making a decision, is this where I want to spend my time? Is this an organization that I do want to be associated with? I think the jury is going to be out for a while. I do think that those on that board made a decision that was driven by political correctness, by money and they will look back on it someday and be held accountable, so that day will come and they will stand before their maker and be accountable for the decisions that they made.

Later in the show, the always eloquent Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tried to make a joke (or something) about how Boy Scouts might earn a merit badge from an openly gay troop leader. 

Perkins: Even before the ink was dry on the press releases the groups pushing this were demanding that they needed more, this was not enough; they wanted to open up the ranks of leadership to those who openly practice homosexuality.

Gohmert: I wonder what you’d call that merit badge.

Perkins: I don’t know but I’m sure they’ll think of something.

Gohmert claimed that he is “brokenhearted” over the decision, telling Perkins: “You’re going to allow a situation where a seventeen-year-old guy that’s sexually attracted to other guys gets in a little tent with an eleven-year-old new rookie Boy Scout and they spend the night together, night after night at camp? I mean, come on.” He said that the Boy Scouts only made the move over the possible financial benefits and in doing so ignored the Bible.

I was just so brokenhearted over the vote with the Boy Scouts. You’re going to allow a situation where a seventeen-year-old guy that’s sexually attracted to other guys gets in a little tent with an eleven-year-old new rookie Boy Scout and they spend the night together, night after night at camp? I mean, come on. I thought we were making progress. All I can figure is—I was an Eagle Scout, we share so much of the love of scouting—when you hear what happened, the people I talked to are, ‘well just think there are so many corporations that are holding up their donations and if we will just do this all of that money is going to flow to Boy Scouts.’ Are you kidding me? Is money the most important thing in life? Gosh no. You’re blessed so much more if you follow the teachings in the little old rulebook we call the Bible.

Tony Perkins, Who Called Gays Pawns of the Devil, Says He Is Against 'Demonizing' Gays

On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Tony Perkins and Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council hosted an entire program about a pamphlet from an association of LGBT Department of Justice employees, which the two dishonestly represented as an official government memorandum.

Unbelievably, Perkins wondered if he can come out “and declare that I’m straight and the fact that I’m proud that God made me this way,” and Sprigg said no “because that would be considered hostile.”

Later in the program while speaking to a caller, Perkins said that while GLAAD named him “the most dangerous man in America” he only “speaks from love” about gay people and that he “completely denounce[s] hateful rhetoric, calling people names and demonizing them.”

Of course, GLAAD has never named Perkins “the most dangerous man in America,” and Perkins has quite a record of “demonizing” gays …like the time he called them literal pawns of the Devil.

FRC Blames Rise in Military Sexual Assault on DADT Repeal

In his daily email yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins expressed concern about the rising rate of reported sexual assault in the military….which he blamed on the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

President Obama is finally admitting that sexual assault is a serious problem in the military--but what he hasn't conceded is that his policy on homosexuality helped create it. According to a new Pentagon survey, most of the victims were not female (12,000 incidents), but male (14,000)--highlighting a growing trend of same-sex assault in our ranks. Although the Defense Department says it "recognizes the challenges male survivors face," one of the biggest problems is their silence in reporting it. The Washington Times, one of the first to highlight the discrepancy, explains that the Pentagon's attention is largely focused on the females experiencing abuse "overlooking the far greater numbers of men, who, according to the survey, are being victimized but not reporting it."

How could this happen? Well, for starters, the Obama administration ordered military leaders to embrace homosexuality--completely dismissing the concerns that it could be a problem to have people attracted to the same sex, living in close quarters. What's more, explains Marine Capt. Lindsay Rodman, the statistics aren't reliable and may be hiding thousands more cases of service-based abuse. "The truth is," she writes in the Wall Street Journal, "that the 26,000 figure [of victims] is such bad math--derived from an unscientific sample set and extrapolated military-wide--that no conclusions can be drawn from it." Except one, perhaps, which is that groups like FRC were right to be concerned about the overturning of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

Sexual assault of males in the military is a serious problem. But it hasn’t been caused by President Obama’s “policy on homosexuality” and neither is there any documentation of “a growing trend of same-sex assault in our ranks.”

Not only is the rate of sexual assault much higher for women in the armed forces than for men, since they make up a much smaller percentage of the active-duty force, but the recent increase in sexual assault has primarily impacted female servicemembers.  According to CNN, “The Defense Department data from 2010 to 2012 found that the prevalence of unwanted sexual contact increased for active duty women and remained unchanged for active duty men.”

Yesterday, Perkins’ colleague Jerry Boykin similarly blamed the increase in reported sexual assaults on the repeal of DADT and the policy allowing women in combat.

Boykin Ties Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell to Rise in Sexual Assaults in the Military

Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin yesterday chatted with Frank Gaffney for an entire program about the forthcoming “Islamic Republic of America” where Boykin’s granddaughters are forced to wear burkas. After his usual anti-Muslim ramblings, Boykin explained that the Islamic conquest of America can only take place once people lose “traditional American values.” He argued that the Obama administration is trying to get rid of such values by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and the ban on women in combat, which he linked to an increase in reported sexual assaults.

It’s important to understand that this administration in particular has sexualized the army, I mean there’s been so much of this social engineering that all revolves around gender and sexual behavior. What we’re doing though is we are setting ourselves up for absolute failure. Yes, sexual assault is at an all-time, unprecedented high. But then when you look at the fact that we have repealed Don’t Ask Don’t Tell so that we’ve mixed people of the same sex with same-sex attraction at a time when our military is under great stress, that’s a problem; now we’re trying to put women into ground combat roles where you cannot violate the laws of nature, plain and simple, and we’re going to put women into units where there is absolutely no privacy, where you are inviting exactly what is occurring already, and that is sexual assault, sexual attraction and all of these things.

What is this all about? Why are we doing this? Well the answer is the people that are making these decisions do not care one thing about military readiness; in fact I would say most of them don’t even understand military readiness. They have an agenda and they are fulfilling that agenda by going after the military, which at the end of the day still maintains very traditional American values. While we’ve got people in the military that do some bad things from time to time, at the end of the day we still have the uniform code of military justice and it still finds, for example, adultery to punishable under the uniform code of military justice; at one time sodomy was punishable under the uniform code of military justice. It has maintained very traditional American values and what this is is an assault on the last bastion of traditional values in America because you can’t change this society until you change the military.

Boykin Claims Mythical Christian Persecution in Military 'Threatening the Future of America'

For a number of weeks, the Family Research Council has been shamelessly pushing a myth, concocted by Fox News contributor Todd Starnes, that the Obama administration is conducting a “Christian cleansing” of the military. Never mind that the “cleansing” story is totally untrue -- and that even Glenn Beck’s The Blaze has thoroughly debunked it – in a fundraising email today, FRC’s Jerry Boykin claims that it is part of a “shocking anti-Christian movement that is threatening the future of America.”

The military’s longstanding policy, which applies to members of all faiths, is that "service members can share their faith (evangelize), but must not force unwanted, intrusive attempts to convert others of any faith or no faith to one's beliefs (proselytization).” But according to Boykin, this means that Christians “could be prosecuted as enemies of the state” and that it will “destroy military recruiting across the services as Americans realize that their faith will be suppressed by joining the military.”

Tony has asked me, as a 36-year veteran of military service, to add my perspective to the shocking anti-Christian movement that is threatening the future of America.

Here is the situation: The very troops who defend our religious freedom are at risk of having their own taken away. Less than a month ago, anti-Christian and left-wing activists met at the Pentagon with military leaders. What issues would be of such importance to gain such a high-level hearing?

According to these far-left activists, religion is one of the chief problems plaguing our troops. As the Washington Post reported, some are saying that "religious proselytizing" is at the top of the list of problems in the armed forces--even on par with sexual assault.

As a result of such complaints from the Left, the Air Force has--according to the Post--published, but not yet distributed, a new document with the directive that leaders of all levels (including chaplains) may not "promote their personal religious beliefs to their subordinates or to extend preferential treatment for any religion."

The penalty these secularists are seeking for those who don't comply with their view of religious speech is court-martial.

If this policy goes forward, Christians within the military who speak of their faith could be prosecuted as enemies of the state. This has the potential to destroy military recruiting across the services as Americans realize that their faith will be suppressed by joining the military.

How False Religious Right Talking Points Are Born

On August 15, 2012, a gunman walked into the Washington, DC headquarters of the Family Research Council with the intent of killing as many people as possible. Fortunately, the FRC's building manager confronted him and, despite being shot in the arm, subdued him and prevented any loss of life.

When the gunman, Floyd Lee Corkins, was interrogated by the FBI about why he carried out this attack on the FRC, he said it was because of the organization's anti-gay activism. When Corkins admitted that he had visited the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center while doing research, the Religious Right seized on the info as supposed proof that the SPLC's designation of FRC as an anti-gay hate group was leading to violence.

In particular, they insisted that the "hate map" on the SPLC's website played a direct role in Corkins' actions. 

Here is that map:

How that vague image somehow directed Corkins to the FRC's headquarters is never explained. In fact, the map doesn't even provide any data as to FRC's actual location, unlike the FRC's own website which provides its address and detailed directions.

But since Corkins mentioned the research produced by the SPLC during his interrogation, and since Corkins was charged under the District of Columbia's Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, for activsts like Jerry Boykin and David Barton, that means that the SPLC is now "directly linked to domestic terrorism":

Boykin: Islamic terrorists are not the only people we need to be concerned about. We have now, right here, in our own country, an organization that is connected to domestic terrorism as a result of a federal trial in Washington, DC.

..

Barton: The fact that now, in federal court, they have been directly linked to domestic terrorism, that's significant stuff.

Much like the way that anti-Islam activists falsely insist that various Muslim groups were designated as "unindicted co-conspirators" with ties to terrorism by a federal court, we expect to keep hearing the Religious Right falsely assert that the SPLC is linked to domestic terrorism despite the fact that it is obviously nonsense.

Perkins Cites Debunked Study to Warn of 'Serious Risks' of Gay Adoption

In his daily email yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins attacked a bill that would prohibit adoption programs that receive federal funding from discriminating against same-sex couples. This bill, he says, “would intentionally deprive children of a mother” and expose children to “the serious risks [of] being raised in a homosexual home.”

Perkins’ evidence for these “serious risks” is, of course, the thoroughly debunked Regnerus Study.

Now, some in Congress want to get in on the act with a bill that would intentionally deprive children of a mother. Under this legislation, the government would punish any adoption agency that gives priority to married, heterosexual couples. The bill, co-sponsored by Reps. John Lewis (D-Ga.) and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), would cut off the federal funding of any agency -- including faith-based charities -- that seek the safest and most nurturing home for kids. If it passes, the official policy of the U.S. government would be to penalize organizations who take the well-being of children into account in adoption placement.

This is how backwards we've become as a society! As we've seen in the Boy Scouts membership debate, America's focus is no longer the well-being of children but on the "well-being" of a small but politically powerful minority. There's an abundance of social science data supporting the common-sense belief that children do best when raised by a married mother and father. Because of that, there's every rational basis for agencies to prefer such households over those headed by same-sex couples in adoption.

In the largest peer-review study ever done on same-sex parenting, Dr. Mark Regnerus found that the emotional, financial, academic, and physical outcomes of kids raised in homosexual homes rated "suboptimal" or "negative" in almost every category. "There's nothing worse than being brought up by two gay dads," said homosexual actor Rupert Everett. And Dr. Regnerus proves it. In outcome after outcome, he shows the serious risks to being raised in a homosexual home -- not the least of which are poverty, depression, and abuse.
 

Anti-Choice Groups Exploit Gosnell Verdict to Push for Bogus DC Abortion Bill

A jury today found Philadelphia doctor Kermit Gosnell guilty in the deaths a woman and three infants in a squalid, nightmarish abortion clinic. Anti-choice groups have been closely following the trial, attempting to link Gosnell’s crimes to the very existence of legal abortion. They have exploited the Gosnell trial to push for state-level “TRAP” laws meant to close abortion clinics with unnecessary regulations. Now, anti-choice groups are targeting legal abortion in Washington, DC.

Reacting to the Gosnell verdict, the Family Research Council and the Susan B. Anthony List both singled out a bill, sponsored by Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, that would ban abortions in the District of Columbia after 20 weeks of pregnancy. Sen. Mike Lee of Utah also plugged the bill in an interview with Janet Mefferd about Gosnell. The bill, similar to several that have been considered in state legislatures, is based on the disputed claim that 20 weeks is the point at which a fetus can feel pain. Such procedures are rare, accounting for just 1.5 percent of abortions.

DC has long been a convenient target for Republican lawmakers looking to expand school vouchers, eliminate needle exchange programs, stop gun control measures…and, of course, infringe on abortion rights. Thanks to a 2011 budget deal, for instance, the District is currently barred from using its own local tax dollars to help low-income women access abortions – a policy that has been in effect off and on for 25 years.

Of course, Franks’ DC bill is completely unrelated to the Gosnell trial. In reality, abortion performed in proper conditions are one of the safest medical procedures provided in the United States. Gosnell’s clinic, which was the last refuge for many low-income women, illustrated the horrors of the unsafe, back-alley abortions that are all too common in parts of the world where abortion is illegal.

Last year, when Franks introduced a similar bill, he refused to let D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton testify against it in committee.

Ted Cruz, Archbishop Lori Will Address FRC's 'Watchmen' Pastors

The Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference is an annual gathering for pastors and other church leaders to hear from a panoply of right-wing speakers and get motivated to “transform America.” Our coverage of last year’s event highlights speakers’ attacks on evolution, secularism, Islam, LGBT people, and other tools of Satan.

This year’s conference, which takes place in Washington DC May 22-24, has been promoted by FRC for months.  In April, FRC sent an excited alert that Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party and Religious Right favorite who is reportedly mulling a 2016 presidential bid, had confirmed.

Based on other confirmed speakers, it seems likely that there will be two major themes to this year’s gathering: 1) religious liberty in America is under attack by Obama and his gay allies; and 2) only the church – led by uncompromising fired up pastors – can save freedom and America.

A notable addition to the cast of conservative evangelicals is William Lori, Archbishop of the Diocese of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Lori has led the bishops’ attack on the Obama administration’s proposed regulations requiring insurance coverage of contraception.  Lori, who believes that “aggressive secularity” is “becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today,” will be right at home with his friends at the Family Research Council. A typical FRC Action mailing from Tony Perkins earlier this year said President Obama is out to “crush freedom.” The same letter warns about “death panels” under Obamacare, which Perkins calls “the tip of the tyranny-iceberg.”

Also entertaining the Watchmen will be Rep. James Lankford, who earlier this year blamed gun violence on “welfare moms” overmedicating their kids with psychiatric drugs because they “want to get additional benefits.”  At FRC’s Values Voter Summit in September, Lankford said of the dispute over contraception coverage, “this is not a war on women, this is a war on people of faith.” 

Also confirmed is Ergun Caner, who lost his position at Liberty University after Muslim and Christian bloggers, and then journalists, began to expose the falsehoods in the Jihadi-to-Jesus life story that Caner had used to make a name for himself in the post-9/11 evangelical universe. Caner will probably echo his remarks at the 2009 Values Voter Summit, where his message to Christians who were not being outspoken enough on the issues of the day: “You need to preach, teach, and reach, or just shut up and get out of our way.”

Anti-gay activist Harry Jackson is quick to invoke Satan and other demonic powers as the forces behind the gay rights movement, which he portrays as an enemy of religious freedom. He has charged that a “radical” gay element is trying to “close down every church in America.” In fact, one of his columns was titled,” Why do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?”  Jackson’s apocalyptic anti-Obama rhetoric did not convince many Black Christians to vote against Obama, but Jackson thinks they’ll be sorry. God, he says, will “take out” those who chose “race over grace.” Jackson is a long-time FRC ally; he and Perkins co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy, which calls Supreme Court rulings on church-state issues “assaults” on Christianity.

Jim Garlow, a California pastor who led church backing for Prop 8 in California and was then tapped by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, had warned before the election that an Obama reelection would destroy the country.  During an FRC post-election special Garlow said that Christians should expect massive persecution from the government.  At last year’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, Garlow spoke at a press conference attacking President Obama’s use of religious language to describe his support for marriage equality. Evoking the words of a colonial preacher, Garlow said, “if necessary, here we die.” In an FRC DVD promoting Watchmen on the Wall, Garlow says an FRC-produced video was crucial to the Prop 8 win.

Richard Land is retiring in October after 25 years as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty commission; he was dogged by controversy during the past year over plagiarism charges and racially inflammatory remarks he made regarding the Trayvon Martin killing.  Land has charged that the only reason the Obama administration proposed regulations on contraception coverage was to "set the precedent of ramming this down our throats and forcing us to surrender our First amendment freedom of religion." Land says God will unleash judgment on America for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watchmen will also hear from Jacob Aranza, whose 1983 book Backward Masking Unmasked warned that rock music was encoded with satanic messages that would entice teens into drug use and abnormal sexual behavior. Aranza says he burned “hundreds of thousands” of albums in those days. More recently, Aranza was an endorser of Rick Perry’s “Awakening” and participated in Religious Right strategy sessions convened by James Robison to try to prevent Obama’s re-election. In 2011, Aranza and Perkins appeared together on Robison’s television show, and Aranza gushed about Perkin’s work to mobilize pastors:

Tony Perkins is one of the great heroes in America today. He is a hero because it is unseen. He is uniting and equipping the most important people in America, and that's the pastors in America. If the local church is the hope of the world then pastors are the hope of the local church. Tony Perkins exists to encourage them and to equip them and to empower them. He's taking regular pastors -- the average church in America, James, as you know is less than 200 people; 80% of the churches in America are 200 or less -- and he is taking men like that and he is turning them into absolute heroes, just like pastors in Maine who are literally changing the moral fiber of an entire state because he has equipped them and empowered them and told them they're the people that are supposed to be the hedge of builders, and he is encouraging them to do just that.…I believe that as you speak you are literally trumpeting a sound that is encouraging pastors across America and families across America that are Christians to unite together to see God once again bring spiritual awakening to our nation.

JC Church is one of FRC’s pastor leaders “networking churches in Ohio to answer the call on moral issues.”  His 3 Cord Alliance, which is affiliated with FRC, teaches pastors “how to bring sound scripturally based influence and change to your community.” Church has been praised by Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values: “I believe that if all the pastors in Ohio were like Pastor Church, we would have an army that Satan could not stop. He understands that America is led by the pulpit and we count on him to unite fellow pastors and their congregations to be the salt and light we so desperately need in the world today.”

Jack Hibbs is a California-based preacher who also pushed Prop 8; in 2011 he helped lead an unsuccessful effort to overturn the state’s SB 48, which he charged would lead to public schools indoctrinating students.  In a video urging pastors to get involved, he said it is not enough to teach and preach the word of God, pastors needed to be “culture changers for Christ.” Leading into the 2012 election Hibbs was outspoken about the fact that Christians should vote for Romney over Obama. In a radio show the day after the 2012 elections, He says he was on the phone with Tony Perkins on election night and they had both believed that the outcome was up to the church: “The answer wouldn’t be determined in the White House or the statehouse….the answer for righteousness or unrighteousness, for light or for darkness, for liberty or tyranny, would be decided by the pastors.” Given the way things turned out, Hibbs says “I believe the responsibility, the outcome, and the fallout falls into the hands of the pulpits of America’s pastors who did not speak up….” Hibbs also echoes Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks: “those who are looking for handouts, they don’t want to work, they want the government to give things to them, overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama.” Hibbs said he was disappointed but not discouraged, because “God’s on the throne” and therefore “God has appointed him to be our president for God’s purposes – OK that means God has got some pretty gnarly purposes coming for America.”

There’s a special role at the conference for FRC’s executive vice president, retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin.  Boykin retired from the military after being reprimanded by then-President Bush for making speeches depicting the war on terrorism as a Christian holy war against Islam. FRC hired Boykin last year after he was disinvited from speaking at West Point after faculty and cadets objected.  Boykin and his Religious Right allies portrayed his mythical martyrdom as an attack on freedom of speech and religion. At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Boykin invoked Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler in denouncing what he said is an effort to move Americans away from belief in a sovereign God.  He says everything President Obama is doing is right out of the” Communist Manifesto.”

Perkins seems to be counting on Boykin to strong-arm pastors at the conference into making a concrete commitment to political activism. In an insert in a packet mailed to pastors, Perkins says Boykin will offer the “concluding challenge” – and he insists that pastors book their flights home no earlier than 4pm so that they can stay.  “During the Briefing, we will share details of the strategic plan the Lord is using to bring revival and renewal in communities around the nation through the engagement of pastors. At the end, we have a ‘call to decision’ or ‘invitation’ sort of like many of you do in a worship service. Just as you want those attending your worship service to stay and respond, we would respectfully ask the same of you.” Perkins has some leverage – FRC picks up most of the tab for one pastor from each church.

FRC launched Watchmen on the Wall in 2004. A 2010 promotional DVD said the group was up to 14,000 pastors; it said Perkins’ goal was to have 40,000 Watchmen pastors by 2015. Pastors who sign up get access to regular briefings, model sermons, and other toolkits for mobilizing their congregations and communities.  The same promotional video contains a clip of “historian” David Barton quoting 19th Century preacher Charles Finney saying, in effect, that if the country is going to hell, it’s pastors’ fault.  The notion that America can only be saved by more aggressive preachers is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings, including Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference.

Boykin: America on 'Precipice of Total Destruction' Due to 'Silent' Church

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin – anti-Muslim crusader, Religious Right folk hero, and Family Research Council Vice President – was one of the speakers at Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference. Boykin, who has accused Barack Obama of turning the U.S. into a “Marxist nation,” told Awakening attendees that the country is “on the precipice of total destruction” and he blames the church for not standing up and being “the dominant influence on our society.”

The Bible tells us, woe unto you who call good evil and evil good. And that’s exactly what we’re doing in America today. We’re calling good evil and evil good, and we’re paying the penalty for it because we’re losing our nation. Our values are changing so rapidly. We’re on the precipice of total destruction if we don’t turn this around and I mean that. I’ll say it again, we’re on the precipice of total destruction if we don’t turn our value system around….The question that we have to ask ourselves, and I ask you to ponder this, where is that church that Alexis de Tocqueville talked about in America today? Where is that church that should be the dominant influence on our society, that should influence everything that we do, the way we think, the way we act. Where is that church today? … Across the nation the church has been silent. The church is not the dominant influence in America today. It doesn’t shape our values because the church has been silent, where we’re now calling good evil and evil good even inside the churches across America today, and it’s killing us as a nation.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/9/13

  • Alex Pareene @ Salon: GOP successfully scream “Benghazi” until people pay attention to them. 
  • Good As You: One Million Moms seeks Mouse House’s mass discrimination.
  • Joe.My.God: FRC: We Need “Divine Intervention” To Stop Gay Marriage In Minnesota. 

Stemberger: Lifting BSA's Gay Ban 'Is Going to Create a Wave of Boy-on-Boy Sexual Abuse'

Anti-gay activist John Stemberger is continuing to argue that sexual abuse will skyrocket if the Boy Scouts let in openly gay members. As evidence, he sites current statistics on the abuse that happens with the discriminatory ban in place.

While speaking to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Washington Watch, Stemberger predicted that a policy shift in the Boy Scouts of America will “create a wave of boy-on-boy sexual abuse” as straight scouts will “be preyed upon” by their gay peers:

I think the national organization is just kind of winking and nodding, saying, ‘oh yeah, homosexual boys, no big deal, we can influence them for the better, boys are better off in scouting.’ Well wait a second, yeah homosexual boys are better off but what about the other boys who may be preyed upon? You know BSA’s own statistics show, their own youth training program shows that seventy percent of all abuse in scouting takes place by other boys, not by adults. So I’ve been saying from day one that this is going to create a wave of boy-on-boy sexual abuse which is going to contribute future to the scandal that scouting has had in the past and also not to mention the physical, psychological and sexual abuse of countless boys.

The Myth of American Christians as Persecuted Minority, part 256

The claim that American Christians are facing horrible persecution for their religious beliefs – and are on the verge of being rounded up and thrown into jail by tyrannical secularists – has been a staple of Religious Right groups’ rhetoric for decades. And as conservative evangelicals’ anti-gay views have lost popular support, they’ve doubled down on their claims that gay rights are incompatible with religious liberty. In recent years, conservative Catholics have joined in crying “religious persecution” in response to the advance of marriage equality for same-sex couples and the Obama administration’s requirement for insurance coverage of contraception.

On CNN’s Belief Blog, correspondent John Blake has given voice to these claims in a post titled “When Christians become a ‘hated minority.’” That headline hinted that this piece would be problematic. And that was confirmed with the opening sentence, which cites the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who goes on to say that anti-gay Christians are victims who are being forced into the “closet.”

Where to begin?

We could start with the problem of Peter Sprigg being a spokesperson for tolerance. In Blake’s story, Sprigg is quoted saying “Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love” and “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.” It’s hard to square Sprigg’s assertion that he is motivated by the best interests of gay people, given that he:

  • has called for the criminalization of homosexual conduct both in the U.S. and abroad;
  • said he would like to “export” gays from the U.S. rather than support legislation to give same-sex couples equal treatment under immigration law;
  • dislikes the idea of a gay judge, because he says gays don’t make good role models;
  • opposes making children raised by a same-sex couple eligible for social security benefits if a parent’s spouse dies;
  • dismisses anti-bullying and safe-school programs as attempts to indoctrinate impressionable children
  • has suggested that schools should be allowed to fire openly gay teachers and coaches;
  • has cheered the kidnapping of a child by a mother who refused to abide by a court’s order to share custody with her former partner.

Sprigg says the “real goal of homosexual activists” is not protection from discrimination or marriage equality, but is “to create a society in which it is unacceptable for anyone, ever, anywhere to say that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that homosexual relationships are anything other than fully equal to heterosexual ones.” The CNN piece also cites Bryan Liften, a professor at Moody Bible Institute, saying Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

Should be? If you haven’t noticed, plenty of Christians have been saying that loudly and proudly and with millions of dollars they have used to enshrine that belief into a majority of state constitutions. People like Sprigg and his boss Tony Perkins, Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage, and any number of conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops have pretty much an open invitation to say so on national television and before state legislative and congressional committees. Not to mention through their own radio and television networks and vast church networks. Or from the platform of the Republican convention.  Freedom of expression, including anti-equality expression, is alive and well.

The CNN post does include Christians with differing views on gay rights, and who acknowledge that simply claiming religious backing for one’s beliefs does not insulate those views from criticism in the public arena. Neither does disagreement equate to discrimination or persecution. Conservative Christians did not see it as a form of religious discrimination to enshrine their view of marriage into laws and state constitutions; but as public opinion shifts and more states make equality the law, they warn of dire threats to their freedom.

Among the Religious Right horror stories linked to in the CNN piece are complaints about pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony in the face of criticism about anti-gay remarks that surfaced online. Criticism of those remarks – even anger and disappointment among pro-equality Obama supporters over Giglio being given a place of honor at the inaugural – does not mean, as some pundits claimed, that people of faith are no longer welcome in the public square. Anyone who heard the prayers, music, and speeches at the inaugural would see that such claims are ludicrous.

It should be noted that Religious Right groups made similarly shrill claims that the addition of sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws would result in preachers being thrown into jail for quoting scripture on homosexuality. And they claimed that allowing gay members of the armed forces to serve openly would destroy the military. Those claims have been proven to be not just wrong but ridiculous.

Baker quotes evangelical blogger Joe Carter (who used to work at Family Research Council), warning that young people will abandon anti-gay churches “for fear of being called haters.” What is far more likely is that many young Christians will leave anti-gay churches because they have gay friends and disagree with both the anti-gay theology and anti-equality policy positions of the Religious Right. And some may continue to hold traditional theological views on homosexuality while supporting legal equality as a civil matter. Polling shows that the generation gap on LGBT issues is huge within as well as outside the evangelical community – and that many young Christians are disillusioned with the anti-gay fixation of many church leaders.

The CNN piece finishes blogger Carter saying “he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.”

So let’s end with a consideration of divorce. The Catholic Church denies its religious blessing to divorced couples who get remarried without obtaining a religious annulment of their previous marriage. Many evangelical churches also frown on divorce. But all marriages – first, second, third, or fourth – are treated equally under civil law (good news for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh!).  Yet no one is arguing that the status quo on divorce amounts to an attack on religious freedom – or that Christians who oppose divorce have been marginalized or hounded out of the public square. Their religious beliefs about divorce coexist with public policy that reflects societal reality and the opinions of a religiously diverse America. 

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