While most of what happens at CNP gatherings is kept behind closed doors, the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) was happy to brag that its president, Albert Mohler, had received the 2015 Edwin Meese III Originalism and Religious Liberty Award from the Alliance Defending Freedom on Friday. The award was presented by ADF’s Alan Sears and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, identified by the SBTS as president of the CNP.
Meese, who played a major role in the rise of the Federalist Society and the right-wing school of constitutional interpretation known as “originalism”— colloquially referred to as “strict constructionism” — was on hand for the event. According to the SBTS account, Meese said originalism and religious liberty “go hand-in-hand” and asserted that “religious liberty is under attack as never before” in America.
That was also the theme of Mohler’s remarks, which took their title, “The Gathering Storm: The Eclipse of Religious Liberty and the Threat of a New Dark Age,” from Winton Churchill’s account of the period leading up to the World War II. “We are not facing the same gathering storm,” Mohler declared, “but we are now facing a battle that will determine the destiny of priceless freedoms and the very foundation of human rights and human dignity.”
Other excerpts from Mohler’s speech:
A revolution in morality now seeks not only to subvert marriage, but also to redefine it, and thus to undermine an essential foundation of human dignity, flourishing, and freedom….
Already, religious liberty is threatened by a new moral regime that exalts erotic liberty and personal autonomy and openly argues that religious liberties must give way to the new morality, its redefinition of marriage, and its demand for coercive moral, cultural, and legal sovereignty.
A new moral and legal order is ascendant in America, and this new order is only possible, in the arena of American law and jurisprudence, if the original intent and the very words of the Constitution of the United States are twisted beyond recognition….
We are in a fight for the most basic liberties God has given humanity, every single one of us, made in his image. Religious liberty is being redefined as mere freedom of worship, but it will not long survive if it is reduced to a private sphere with no public voice. The very freedom to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ is at stake, and thus so is the liberty of every American. Human rights and human dignity are temporary abstractions if they are severed from their reality as gifts of the Creator. The eclipse of Christian truth will lead inevitably to a tragic loss of human dignity. If we lose religious liberty, all other liberties will be lost, one by one. I am a Christian, and I believe that salvation is found in no other name than Jesus Christ and in no other gospel, but I will fight for the religious liberty of all.
Family Research Council official Craig James guest-hosted the organization’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday, where he chatted with Texas conservative activist Jonathan Saenz about how an anti-gay bill failed in Texas legislature in part due to opposition from the Texas Association of Business.
James criticized the business group, claiming that the fight over the legislation “highlights how fearful business owners are of the blowback from the LGBT community and from folks who feel like we should be all tolerant and loving and accepting of everything.”
“It’s the one-way street that is going to kill America,” James said. “This country has had a two-lane highway forever, both sides had the freedom to believe. Civility is gone. We’re haters if we think otherwise. What’s wrong with this country?”
Later in the program, a caller said that “we are being punished” by God because “the conservative ones of America have been silent for too long” and “part of that punishment is that we’ve been straddled in this country with a President Obama.”
His claim was met with hearty amens from James, who thanked the caller for his “great wisdom.” James warned that “the slippery slope is on right now and coming here in a few weeks, we’ll hear from the Supreme Court about the definition of marriage. If they try to redefine marriage and force that on all the states and all the people, that’s coming down the lane at us.”
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins hosted Mike Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association to discuss the purported threat gay rights poses to freedom in the U.S. Farris, who once worried that the Obama administration would let the United Nations take kids who wear glasses from their homes, didn’t disappoint, joining Perkins in calling on parents to take their kids out of public schools because of their LGBT-inclusive policies.
“The forces of officialdom,” Farris said, are “making it very difficult to see that anything other than your kids are going to be bludgeoned to death intellectually and spiritually if they’re remaining in the schools.”
Farris warned that there is a “philosophical war” in America, claiming that “the new, arriving orthodoxy is imposing a form of heresy trials and if any of us believe something that’s wrong, we’re going to find ourselves coerced and facing very serious legal consequences if we insist on believing that we don’t accept the articles of faith of same-sex marriage, of what I believe and you believe are sinful activities, being called right and good and wonderful.”
Lamenting that public school educators are no longer permitted to “share Christ” with their students, Farris said that “good people with good intentions are being thwarted and people with evil intentions are being promoted.”
Fitton spoke to Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” about the Fairfax County, Virginia, school board’s recent decision to add protections for gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy, a move which triggeredaright-wingbacklash, one joined by Fitton.
“I don’t know about you and I’m sure parents out there listening here agree, they don’t want their children in classrooms where kids are being messed with by having teachers call a child by the wrong gender,” Fitton said. “It’s abusive of the children. Assuming they have a true psychological issue, body dysphoria or dysmorphia, whatever you’d like to call it, as a result the whole school gets changed and everything gets turned up on its head, it’s an abuse of the child and an abuse of the other children who are being confused and traumatized by having this confusion enter their classrooms.”
Perkins added that the policy “borderlines on insanity if it has not already crossed over the border.”
“Where are the rights of those children and those parents who want their children not to be threatened and traumatized by these children who are being misused and abused by these adults who have another agenda?” Fitton asked.
Later in the program, Perkins said that public schools have become “hostile to biblical morality and I would say common sense” and are now “putting our children, I think in some cases, physical risk and certainly in spiritual risk.”
Last week on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program, guest-host Craig James addressed a recent vote by the Fairfax County, Virginia, school board to add legal protections for gender identity to the school district’s non-discrimination policy, despite protests from Religious Right activists.
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who championed the effort to block the nondiscrimination provision, appeared on James’s show to denounce the board and attack the Obama administration for barring such discrimination under Title IX. “Your public schools are being turned into public indoctrination centers,” Starnes told James. “Moms and dads, they’re going to have to take back their schools or else this is going to happen in other districts around the country.”
James, incensed by the board’s decision, warned that similar protections for gender identity are “going to invade the rest of America, these other school districts.” “What in the world are we doing not waking up and seeing what’s taking place to our country?” he asked.
Starnes told listeners to rise up and fight Obama administration officials who are “radically deconstructing the American family … through the public school system.” Parents, he said, should “indoctrinate” their own children “the way we see fit.” He alleged that the administration was willing to “risk poor children going hungry by yanking the funding for free lunch” if the school district didn’t approve the non-discrimination measure.
Yesterday, after a caller to his “Washington Watch” program wondered about the legal prospects of human-house marriages if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins lamented that “there’s so many crazy things that come” from marriage equality.
Warning that furthering the legalization of gay marriage will weaken families and therefore undermine the future of society, Perkins questioned why the justices would make “such a drastic, fundamental, radical change based upon a few years of experience” with legal gay marriage.
“This really will determine the future of Western Civilization,” Perkins said. “It really will, this is very serious.”
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins hosted Rep. Bill Flores, R-Texas, to discuss the anti-marriage-equality rally outside of the Supreme Court that both had attended that morning.
During the interview, Flores bizarrely suggested that gay marriage will somehow lead to a breakdown of the family model and an increased number of single-parent-led households, contributing to poverty and the conditions which led to the Baltimore riots:
Let’s talk about poverty, for instance. The single best indicator of whether or not a child is going to be in poverty or not is whether or not they were raised by a two-parent household or a single parent household, so the breakdown of the family has contributed to poverty. Look at what is going on in Baltimore today, you see the issues that are raised there. Healthy marriages are the ones between a man and a woman because they can have a healthy family and they can raise children in a way that’s best for their future, not only socially but psychologically, economically, from a health perspective. There is nothing like traditional marriage that does that for a child. Each of us have a mother and a father and there is no way to get around that.
Flores also alleged that 80 percent of Americans oppose a Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide (when actually 50 percent [PDF] support the court doing just that).
Time and time again, conservative figures have one message for right-wing media outlets and a completely different one for the mainstream press. Tony Perkins, the Family Research Council president, gave us the latest example of this phenomenon during an appearance on “Face the Nation” this Sunday to discuss the upcoming Supreme Court marriage case.
Last week, as we first reported here on Right Wing Watch, Perkins told conservative Iowa radio host Jan Mickelson that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage rights would lead to “open season on people of faith" and agreed with Mickelson's suggestion that Supreme Court justices who vote in favor of marriage equality be impeached.
But when Schieffer asked Perkins about those comments on Sunday, he had a very different answer, flatly denying that he had ever called for the impeachment of justices who favor marriage equality.
Speaking from the pulpit of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in May 2004, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Dobson’s words were simulcast into churches across the country as part of a “Battle for Marriage” rally that just happened to coincide with President George W. Bush’s hard-fought reelection campaign. Three months earlier, the president himself had announced to the nation that “to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.”
Opposition to same-sex marriage emerged as a key component of the president’s reelection strategy that year, as the Bush campaign worked with Religious Right leaders, including Dobson, to marshal conservative voters to the polls to back state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and other unions. Ballot measures in 11 states, all successful, aided the president’s reelection bid and helped to swing the momentum, for a time, to the side of the anti-gay Right.
While a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples had failed to clinch the required votes from eitherhouse of Congress, after the 2004 election, Dobson stressed that “mainstream Americans” supported such an amendment, knowing that they “could not stand idly by while the radical gay agenda was forced down their throats.”
A decade later, Dobson left Focus on the Family, reportedly in part because the organization he had founded refused to give a leadership position to his divorced son. Dobson and his son Ryan now host a radio program called “Family Talk” and Focus has moved on under the less fiery leadership of Jim Daly. Ted Haggard, the pastor of the church where Dobson spoke at the 2004 “Battle for Marriage,” eventually left his post after acknowledging that he had relationships with men. An architect of Bush’s 2004 re-election strategy, Ken Mehlman, announced six years later that he is gay. Another Bush campaign strategist, Karl Rove, said in 2013 that he could see a future GOP presidential nominee endorsing gay marriage.
This dramatic shift toward marriage equality may culminate this year when the Supreme Court hears arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of cases challenging the constitutionality of the remaining state-level bans on same-sex marriage.
But the Religious Right is not ready to give up what was, until recently, a winning culture-war issue.
Now, as even many conservative pundits are predicting that the Supreme Court will strike down the remaining state bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders are preparing their response.
In a conference call with other movement figures, Dobson was steadfast in his opposition. If the Supreme Court strikes down the state bans and states across the country fail to convene “a state constitutional convention to re-examine the Constitution” on marriage, Dobson warned, “we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two.”
Worse, Dobson said, there could be a war: “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”
This style of apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision is not uncommon in a movement whose leaders are preparing to commit civil disobedience and calling on states to defy the court if it issues a broad ruling in favor of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
The Religious Right’s current strategy in the fight against marriage equality — claiming to be the real victims while making wild warnings about imminent anti-Christian persecution — was previewed in the 2009 signing of the Manhattan Declaration and the campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act the same year.
That same year, Religious Right activists launched a relentless, but unsuccessful, campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Right alleged that the bill would criminalize Christian teachings and the Bible, throw pastors in jail, quash free speech and legalize pedophilia and other illegal sex acts. In the five years following the law’s enactment, none of the wildpredictions about its effects have come close to materializing. But that hasn’t stopped the Religious Right from recycling the very same discredited claims to warn against nationwide marriage equality.
For example, Rick Scarborough, a prominent Texas pastor and activist with close ties to politicians including Sen. Ted Cruz, has repeated his unfounded claims about the 2009 hate crimes act almost verbatim when discussing the potential dangers of legalizing same-sex marriage. As did Mike Huckabee, who told pastors on a conference call that preaching against homosexuality will be criminalized. Just this month, Scarborough warned that if gay couples are no longer barred from marriage, preaching from the Bible will become a crime and anti-gay conservatives will be throwninjail. Five years ago, he made almost exactly the same dire warning about the hate crimes act.
The Religious Right’s apocalyptic rhetoric about marriage equality has only become more incendiary as many of the ban’s defenders begin to expect that they will lose at the Supreme Court.
Nazi Germany, Jim Crow comparisons
Increasingly, Religious Right leaders have been portraying the push for equal rights for the LGBT community as a fascist, Nazi-style movement that will usher in a wave of oppression. And much like how Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement resisted Jim Crow, these activists argue, conservatives must also defy gay rights laws that they view as equally if not more oppressive.
Bryan Fischer, the conservative radio host and former American Family Association spokesman, regularly claims that gay people are modern-dayNazis and to blame for the rise of Nazism in Germany, asserting that Adolf Hitler was “an active homosexual” who recruited gays into his cause because “homosexual soldiers basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after.”
David Lane has said that Christians in America “must risk martyrdom” over the issue of marriage equality. Likewise, American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios has repeatedlyurged opponents of gay rights to “prepare for martyrdom.”
Even more frequently, anti-gay activists maintain that gay rights will usher in a new form of slavery and Jim Crow.
“Apparently someone forgot to tell the Stormtroopers in the homosexual movement about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and freedom of both will and conscience,” Fischer said last year. “The leaders of the Gay Gestapo have become our new slave masters. They can now send us to the hole if we refuse the massa’s demands.”
Fischer has also charged that gay rights measures violate the constitutional ban on slavery, and even declared that as a result of gay rights, “Jim Crow is alive and well, we’ve got Jim Crow laws right back in operation, Christians are the new blacks.”
Brian Brown, the head of the National Organization for Marriage, has similarly claimed that gay rights advocates are practicing an “anti-religious” version of Jim Crow, while Fox News pundit and RedState editor Erick Erickson has said that “gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights.”
Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, is one of the most visible and vocal figures in the Religious Right, frequently appearing on national television and hosting his own daily radio show. Perkins also organizes an annual conference, the Values Voter Summit, which brings top Republican politicians together with Religious Right activists. But despite his veneer of respectability, Perkins is just as extreme as activists considered to be on the far-right fringe: He has spoken out in defense of Uganda’s “kill the gays” measure and called gay rights supporters Satanic, among other things.
Perkins has also taken to warning that if the Supreme Court sides with marriage equality advocates, the U.S. will see a full-blown revolution.
Perkins warned in 2012 that if the Supreme Court were to strike down same-sex marriage bans throughout the country, “I’m telling you what, I think you will create a firestorm of opposition. I think that could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, when you look at a nation that is so divided along these moral and cultural issues that you could have — I hate to use the word — a revolt, a revolution. I think you could see Americans saying, ‘you know what, enough of this,’ and I think it could explode and just break this nation apart.”
“They’re sowing the seeds of the disillusion of our republic,” Perkins said of gay marriage supporters in 2014. “I think there’s coming a point that they’re going to push Christians to a point where they’re not going to be pushed anymore, and I think we’re very quickly coming to that point.”
As the Supreme Court considered a pair of marriage cases in 2013, Perkins said that the threat of a revolution may keep the justices from striking down same-sex marriage bans:
I believe the court will push as far as they think they can without creating a social upheaval or a political upheaval in this country. They’re smart people, I think, they understand how organizations and how societies work and if you get your substructure out of kilter with the superstructure, if you get government out of whack with where the people are and it goes too far, you create revolution. I think you could see a social and cultural revolution if the court goes too far on this.
Just last month, Perkins again predicted that the Supreme Court could trigger an uprising with a ruling in favor of marriage equality: “If the court imposes upon the nation a redefinition of marriage, I don’t think the nation is going to accept it, I absolutely don’t, and the conflict that is going to come as a result of it.”
Perkins may not find much support for his anti-gay revolution from the public at large, but he may find his some willing participants in his fellow Religious Right leaders.
“The church and people of faith and values need to rise up” against such a ruling, he said in 2013. “We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land.”
The previous year, Staver warned that marriage equality “could be the unraveling of the United States” and trigger a civil war:
This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of. This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war. I’m not talking about just people protesting in the streets, this could be that level because what would ultimately happen is a direct collision would immediately happen with pastors, with churches, with Christians, with Christian ministries, with other businesses, it would be an avalanche that would go across the country.
After the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of DOMA, Staver declared that the country was “crossing into the realm of rebellion, we’re crossing into the realm of revolution.”
The Alabama Example
After the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision led to a string of federal court decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders pleaded for governors and other state officials to openly flout the rulings.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, said state and local officials should simply refuse to enforce such rulings, explaining: “Well, the courts have spoken and it’s an important voice, but it’s not the voice of God and the Supreme Court isn’t God.”
Finally, they found their answer in Roy Moore, the elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore emerged as a conservative hero over a decade ago, when he defied orders to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he installed in the courthouse rotunda during his previous term as chief justice. When the standoff eventually led to Moore losing his post, he parlayed his newfound fame into two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns and even a presidential “exploratory committee.” Moore also launched his own far-right legal advocacy group, the Foundation for Moral Law.
Moore returned to the court after winning a statewide election in 2012 and two years later, he once again made national headlines when he ordered state probate judges, who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses, to disregard a Bush-appointed federal judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Moore demanded that the state flout the ruling, saying that it had no need to implement the decision.
His case against marriage equality is simple: “Homosexuality is wrong and we all know it. Marriage of the same sex is wrong and we all know it.” Moore’s legal advocacy organization, now led by his wife, defended his order to probate judges by explaining that “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”
Moore took his show to the road, telling a rally in Texas held in his honor that he hopes he will not have to “give his life” in the fight against gay marriage. He warned at a Family Research Council event that the government will soon legalize “parent-and-child” marriages and justify “taking your children simply by the same logic they’re following.”
“Christians need to stand up and do their duty to God as their duty to their country,” he said.
Some Republicans and their allies in the Religious Right hope that Moore’s defiant stance will serve as a model for the rest of the country.
A bill introduced in Texas not only declares that the state does not have to follow any U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, but it goes one step further by blocking funding for the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill would go so far as to punish state employees who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, barring such employees from “a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.”
In North Carolina, a group of Republican lawmakers want to create a religious exemption for officials in charge of issuing marriage licenses who don’t want to follow a recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Staver’s group, Liberty Counsel, filed a lawsuit “requesting emergency protection from the state courts for any magistrate who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.”
GOP lawmakers in Oklahoma reacted to a court ruling striking down their state’s marriage ban by proposing a bill which would remove any judge who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple and deny salaries, benefits and pensions to any state employees involved in marrying gay couples. Another bill in Oklahoma would remove judges from the marriage licenses process altogether and instead restrict marriage duties to “an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi.”
End of the Line
While social conservative leaders have mostly focused on the purported repercussions of a decision that they see as unfavorable, they also have a plan in case the court sides with their arguments: demand that states roll back same-sex marriage rights and re-impose bans previously removed by the voters, lawmakers or courts.
For now, though, right-wing leaders will be focused on doing what they always do: misleading their supporters about the so-called dangers of gay rights, making reckless charges of religious persecution, and supporting unconstitutional means to promote their discriminatory goals.
However, Dobson and his allies do see the silver lining of legal gay marriage. In a conversation with Dobson the week before the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the marriage cases, pastor Jim Garlow and former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher predicted that Americans will ultimately reject gay marriage once the country experiences its horrible consequences; that is, if America is able to survive that long.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke with Iowa-based radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday about the upcoming marriage case at the Supreme Court, which Perkins predicted will end with the court striking down bans on same-sex marriage across the country. Once this occurs, Perkins warned, “it will be open season on people of faith.”
He predicted that the court will issue a ruling similar to Roe v. Wade, further dividing Americans and contradicting “natural law.”
Mickelson suggested that if this happens, members of Congress should try to “remove” the Supreme Court’s “jurisdiction” over the marriage issue and “nullify” its decision, sending the message to the justices that “if you try it again we will impeach your sorry keisters.” Perkins heartily agreed: “I think you’re absolutely right.”
Mickelson also said that Justices Kagan and Ginsburg should recuse themselves from the case since they have both officiated weddings for same-sex couples, claiming that the two are trying to impose their religion of “secular progressivism” on the country.
“Why should a religious minority like Kagan or Ginsburg, I’m not talking about their Jewish background, I’m talking about their secular progressivism, their form of religion, why does their religion get a seat at the table and everybody else’s view gets vilified?” he asked.
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins blasted President Obama and Hillary Clinton for “evolving” on the issue of marriage equality, prompting one listener to chime in and tell Perkins that he doesn’t believe in the theory of evolution anyway.
Perkins agreed with the caller’s take on evolution, stating that “the evidence is overwhelming” that evolution doesn’t occur. However, since Obama and Clinton believe that “we are constantly in this state of evolution,” Perkins said, then they should oppose gay rights.
“If you logically game this out, the idea that somehow same-sex marriage or same-sex attraction, homosexuality, could be the advancement of evolution,” he said, “well, it would be the end of the road. It is a dead-end street. You’re certainly not going to reproduce.”
In a conference call with conservative pastors today organized by the anti-gay Family Research Council, Mike Huckabee let loose with a litany of falsehoods about how marriage equality will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity” and demanded that states simply defy the Supreme Court if it strikes down bans on same-sex marriage.
“Christian convictions are under attack as never before,” Huckabee said in the call, which was meant to rally pastors to participate in the FRC’s upcoming “Stand for Marriage” event. “Not just in our lifetime, but ever before in the history of this great nation. We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity.”
The former governor and likely GOP presidential candidate predicted that the government will bring “criminal charges” against those who oppose gay rights and pastors who preach against gay marriage. He even defended ex-gay therapy, claiming that the government is barring chaplains from telling those they counsel to “seek assistance” for a “homosexual lifestyle.”
Huckabee also blasted the “ruling class” and “donor class” for treating opponents of gay rights as “pariahs,” adding that “supposedly conservative donors and conservative office holders are running away from the issue.”
(Audio note: Because of apparent technical difficulties with the conference call, there are beeping noises throughout the call signifying participants dialing in.)
Huckabee told the pastors that no matter what politicians or the polls say about the legalization of gay marriage, God is against it and so they should stand strong against the “small minority pushing this agenda.”
Huckabee claimed that if same-sex marriage bans are struck down nationwide, any pastor who refuses to conduct a same-sex wedding would be breaking the law.
“If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law,” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.”
This, of course, is a categorically untrue claim that has not materialized in any of the dozens of states where marriage equality has been adopted.
Perkins tells FRC members in an email today that they should donate to his group so that it can stop the “administration’s persecution of Christians within our borders” and stand up for people like Cochran, insisting that the Atlanta official’s firing has emboldened anti-Christian violence abroad.
“The same rampage of ‘political correctness’ that attacked Kelvin Cochran's freedom to believe is coming to your state, your town, your church. Christians you know are targets . . . maybe Christians in your own home,” Perkins writes. “The same rampage of hate that destroyed the career of Kelvin Cochran tells the killers in ISIS, who closely watch America's domestic affairs, that our government doesn't value freedom of belief.”
I'm emailing you with the month more than half gone, and the struggle for the freedom to believe—the God-given freedom to live your faith without punishment—under growing attack.
That's why it's urgent that FRC receive enough funds from friends like you to TRIPLE our $50,000 "Free to Believe" Challenge Grant. Response from friends has been so strong that we have set a goal to triple the challenge.
This grant will help achieve our new goal of receiving $150,000 by April 31.
Why is this so urgent?
Ask Christian wives, mothers and daughters overseas. Their husbands, sons and fathers are being beheaded or shot by radical Islamic jihadists like ISIS. They are being driven from their homes. Children are being martyred. And our administration has done little to help, and for months resisted calling this massacre of Christians by Islamic jihadists what it is.
As General Boykin and I testified before the United Nations on Friday April 17, our administration's persecution of Christians within our borders is emboldening the attack on Christians worldwide.
Why would Islamist butchers fear our government, or believe the United States would defend Christians elsewhere when they do nothing to help Christians under attack for their faith right here in America?
Ask Kelvin Cochran—a veteran fire chief with a stellar record—who was fired by the City of Atlanta . . . for writing a book that expressed the biblical view of morality. Yes, fired. If Kelvin Cochran can be fired, any Christian is at risk.
If our government won't call religious genocide overseas what it is, any Christian, any place, is at risk.
The same rampage of "political correctness" that attacked Kelvin Cochran's freedom to believe is coming to your state, your town, your church. Christians you know are targets . . . maybe Christians in your own home.
The same rampage of hate that destroyed the career of Kelvin Cochran tells the killers in ISIS, who closely watch America's domestic affairs, that our government doesn't value freedom of belief.
When the Family Research Council’s Craig James was guest-hosting the organization’s “Washington Watch” program last night, an interview with Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., inevitably turned toward the upcoming Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.
Remarkably, James, whose group lives and breathes opposition to LGBT rights, blamed liberals for pushing marriage equality in order to distract voters “away from reality.”
Yoho, a staunch opponent of marriage equality, declared that if politicians focused on issues like the national debt and immigration, “these smaller things” like marriage equality “will solve themselves.”
“Here we are in the 21st century redefining an institution that has been around for thousands of years,” Yoho said in response to a question from a listener about the impact of a potential Supreme Court decision, “And we’re spending time — and I’m not saying it’s important not to have those discussions —but we’ve got $18.2 trillion [in debt], we’ve got a broken foreign policy, we’ve got immigration that doesn’t work and so we need to start fixing the major things and I think a lot of these smaller things that are important to people they will solve themselves.”
James, apparently forgetting that his boss at the Family Research Council has warned that a ruling in favor of gay marriage will lead to a revolution, called the whole debate on marriage a Democratic-manufactured distraction “away from reality.”
“It’s a distraction of the 10th degree,” Yoho said. “We’re getting this stuff thrown at us and we really need to start focusing on major issues.”
On his radio program on Friday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer advised listeners that if they feel that they must attend a gay couple’s wedding, they should first send the couple a letter explaining why they do not support the marriage. At least one listener was not happy with this advice, and called into Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” program last night to voice his disagreement with Fischer.
The caller, who identified himself as “Ricky,” told Perkins that he was “shocked” by Fischer’s suggestion since a true Christian would only attend a gay couple’s wedding in order to interrupt the ceremony and tell the participants that they are going to Hell.
“The only reason that any Christian would ever attend a homosexual wedding is when the preacher says, ‘Is there any objection to the wedding,’ you stand up and say, ‘Yes, according to the Bible, sodomy, you will burn in Hell for this.’ That is the only reason why any Christian would ever attend a sodomite wedding,” Ricky told Perkins.
Perkins replied by saying that Ricky brought up a “good point” but that he doubted that a gay couple would “invite people to raise any objections to it.” He added that silence in the church about divorce has diminished the significance of the institution of marriage, leading “to this wholesale redefinition of marriage as a result.”
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins sat down for an interview with Ken Ham of Answers In Genesis when both men attended the National Religious Broadcasters convention earlier this year, during which Perkins warned that the Supreme Court will unleash total social chaos if it strikes down gay marriage bans and accused President Obama of endangering America by supporting marriage equality.
Perkins said that any Supreme Court ruling legalizing gay marriage would be akin to the ruling legalizing abortion as he warned that anti-gay Christians will never accept it.
"If they think, like they did in 1973, that they're going to solve this issue by forcing it on the nation, they're wrong," Perkins declared. "They're not going to force a redefinition on Americans that they will accept. They will, I believe, launch us into the most tumultuous time culturally that I think our nation has ever seen."
He went on to assert that the fight for marriage equality is not a civil rights issue because gays are not a "disenfranchised minority" as evidenced by the fact that the movement has lots of political influence, including with President Obama.
"The president is trying to do this," Perkins said. "The president has used the military to do this. The president has endangered our country, he has endangered our country and our future to advance his radical social agenda":
Judicial Watch, the right-wing legal group founded by conspiracy theorist Larry Klayman, has been pushing to conservative media its new claim that the terrorist group ISIS has set up camp just south of the U.S. border with Mexico.
This weekend, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins spoke with Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, about the allegations, and Perkins announced that “authorities have confirmed” the group’s report about an ISIS base a few miles south of El Paso, Texas.
Fitton nonetheless told Perkins that Judicial Watch’s research is so reliable that the group actually recently prevented a terrorist attack from occurring in the U.S.
“There was going to be an imminent attack around September which we reported, I think it was averted as a result of our report,” Fitton said, before acknowledging that DHS and other agencies have denied his group’s account of an ISIS border camp.
According to Fitton, the government is only disputing Judicial Watch’s work is “because it gets in the way of the open borders agenda, it gets in the way of the amnesty agenda.”
Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins — still reeling from the fight over Indiana’s controversial “religious freedom” law — likened dealing with gay people to negotiating with Iran …and Satan.
Perkins said on his “Washington Watch” radio program that he agrees with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that the U.S. should not negotiate with Iran (actually, Netanyahu said he supports talks in principle, just not the current negotiations), adding that “Ronald Reagan said ‘we don’t negotiate with terrorists.’”
“Did Jesus negotiate with the Devil? No, he said, ‘Away with you Satan.’ He goes on later in the scripture to talk about ‘what fellowship has light with darkness.’” Perkins said. “The same can be said of the cultural totalitarians who want to force everyone to embrace and even celebrate their view of morality. You cannot compromise, you cannot appease. Just ask Gov. [Mike] Pence and others who have compromised their values in an effort to appease these folks. It only increases their aggressiveness and their demands.”