It is always fascinating when the borderline theocrats within the Religious Right movement start to warn that Muslims should not be allowed to serve in the military or in the government because their primary allegiance is to Allah and the Quran rather than the Constitution, but then try to explain why it is okay for Christians in the same positions to give their primary allegiance to God and the Bible.
As Jerry Boykin explained on a recent episode of "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events," it should have "raised a red flag" that someone like Nidal Hasan gave his first allegiance to the Quran rather than to the Constitution.
On the other hand, the first obligation of Christians like Boykin is also to God, but in that case it is not a cause for concern because the "Constitution was inspired by God":
Rick Joyner and Jerry Boykin are both encouraged but also concerned about the situation in Syria ... primarily because of what it might signal about the End Times.
Joyner is encouraged because he sees Biblical signs of the End Times everywhere he looks, which means Christians should be growing excited because the Day of Redemption is near. But one Biblical prophecy that has not yet been fulfilled is Isaiah 17's promise that the city of Damascus will be destroyed and this prophecy, said Joyner, "has to be fulfilled before this age can end."
For his part, Boykin envisions a scenario in which the Free Syrian Army gains control of Damascus, prompting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to decide to unload every last one of his chemical weapons on the city, destroying it, killing all its inhabitants, and rendering it uninhabitable and thereby fulfilling this Biblical prophecy:
Former Ohio Secretary of State Ken Blackwell, now with the Family Research Council, said that the House GOP’s massive food stamp cuts that could remove around 4 million people from the program next year was an act of Christian compassion.
While many churches and Christians organizations denounced the move, Blackwell told the Christian Post that there was “nothing more Christian” than kicking low-income families off food stamps. He referred to food aid as part of the “plantation of big government” and said that churches and charitable organization will replace such government assistance.
Of course, the conservative news outlet also quoted Rev. Gary Cook of Bread for the World, who criticized the Republican plan and noted that the work of churches “is worth $4 billion dollars annually, which is essentially equal to the annual cut Congress is proposing in food stamps.”
Rev. Gary Cook, the Director of Church Relations at Christian anti-hunger advocacy group, Bread for the World, has told The Christian Post that he is worried that the latest cuts could further marginalize the most vulnerable, rather than mobilize people back to work.
"The people who take advantage of this are some of the poorest of the poor people in the country," Cook told CP. "Their average annual income is $2200 a person. They are among the most difficult to employee. If the government says our economy works well, when we have five or six percent unemployment, because that's our policy, at least they can eat." But according to Ken Blackwell, who is the Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment at the conservative Christian lobbying group, Family Research Council, programs like food stamps prevented people from being truly empowered.
"I think through empowering others and creating self-sufficiency…there within lies the path to sense of worthiness," Blackwell told CP. "When I was growing up, there was fundamental belief, that there were times in people's life when they needed a hand up…there were temporariness to hose programs, where they were structured so that they didn't breed so that they didn't breed dependency."
Blackwell also suggested that there was "nothing more Christian" than "not locking people into a permanent dependency on government handouts, but making sure they are participants in their own upliftment and empowerment so that they in fact through the dignity of work and can break from the plantation of big government."
"America is such a compassionate nation, nothing in history that suggests that churches and communities and our families would let people die of hunger, there is absolutely nothing," said Blackwell.
"We are not lacking in churches in church communities across this nation in making sure that basic human needs are met without creating another government program that establishes rules that have very low expectations for self-discipline," said Blackwell. "I think we should have an honest debate and discussion in the church community…[on a host of social issues] Christians have been in the forefront, without government prodding or dominance."
Cook's biggest worry though, was that the food stamp cuts would offset the thousands of hours and dollars that these very church ministries spend annually supporting their communities through soup kitchens, bread lines, and food pantries.
"What churches do in terms of the kind of generous giving to poor, hungry people is amazing," said Cook. "But their work is worth $4 billion dollars annually, which is essentially equal to the annual cut Congress is proposing in food stamps."
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli wants to be the state's next Governor. But he has been dogged by an ethics scandal involving gifts he received from the head of a company that has sued the state. So last week, Cuccinelli tried to put the issue to rest by saying he'd contribute $18,000-the value of his questionable gifts-to a medical charity, saying, "I'm trying to wipe the slate clean here so we can focus on what's gonna matter in people's lives in Virginia in the next four years."
Of course, Cuccinelli's contribution doesn't magically wipe away questions about his character. And there's plenty of other evidence for Virginians to consider about the character of his record, and what four years of Cuccinelli as governor could do for -- or rather to -- the state.
Cuccinelli says his campaign is focused on jobs and the economy, but his extreme record as a state legislator and attorney general makes it clear that he considers himself commander-in-chief of the Religious Right's culture warriors.
He has bullied members of the Board of Health into adopting his anti-choice extremism. He has smeared and tried to defund Planned Parenthood. He even slams comprehensive sex education programs. As the Washington Post noted this week, he "was instrumental in ensuring that new regulations will result in the closure of many of the state's abortion clinics."
As a state senator, Cuccinelli was one of a handful of sponsors of an unconstitutional "personhood" bill that would have criminalized many common forms of contraception. Cuccinelli hasn't disavowed his support for "personhood" bills or their goal of making abortion illegal. But as a candidate for governor, he is trying to distance himself from the effects such legislation would have on women and families in Virginia. He claims that such legislation, which would grant legal rights to an egg at the moment it is fertilized by a sperm, wouldn't interfere with access to birth control. He is not telling the truth.
Here's another reminder of what kind of governor Cuccinelli would be: one of his first steps as Attorney General was to tell Virginia's public colleges and universities that they had to abandon policies against anti-gay discrimination. He reversed a legal opinion by his predecessor in order to prevent same-sex couples from adopting children. He refused to support repeal of the state's unconstitutional anti-sodomy law. He argues that consensual sex between gay adults is a detriment to society and should be illegal. As a state senator, he even opposed legislation that permitted private companies to voluntarily extend health benefits to employees' domestic partners.
Cuccinelli is also a champion of the Tea Party's anti-government extremism. He calls President Obama a tyrant. He filed suit against the Affordable Care Act five minutes after it was signed into law, a self-aggrandizing publicity stunt. He has falsely told people that under the law the government could send people to jail for not buying insurance. He even slams safety net programs like Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid for making people dependent on government.
There is seemingly no right-wing fringe to which Cuccinelli will not pander. He has used the power of his office to harass scientists in a climate-change-denying witch-hunt. He has called for a constitutional convention to rescind 14th amendment birthright citizenship. He said he was considering not getting his infant son a social security number because it was being used to track people. He flirted with birtherism.
And this week, he celebrated Constitution Day by appearing with right-wing radio host Mark Levin. Levin is an anti-union, anti-environmental-regulation, anti-public-education activist who rails against "establishment" Republicans and calls President Obama a Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer. In 2007, Levin's Landmark Legal Foundation nominated Rush Limbaugh for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Cuccinelli is an example of the strong political coalition that has been made between right-wing Catholics like himself and conservative evangelicals, including Virginia-based powerhouses like Falwell-founded Liberty University and Pat Robertson's broadcasting empire. Cuccinelli has criticized people, like President Obama, who support marriage equality for thinking they "know better than God." And he says homosexual behavior is "intrinsically wrong" and destroys people's souls and shouldn't be allowed in a "natural law based country."
Cuccinelli has clearly aligned himself with the far right within the Catholic Church and, like Paul Ryan, opposes the Church's advocacy on behalf of anti-poverty programs. He hasslammed the Catholic bishops for advocating for government assistance for the poor, saying that has "created a culture of dependency on government, not God." He complained that the archdiocese of Arlington, Virginia included issues like poverty, hunger, and health care on a voting guide without making clear that they, in Cuccinelli's opinion, are clearly less important than abortion.
Cuccinelli has convinced the Religious Right that he's their guy. That's why Rick Santorum has endorsed him and the Family Research Council's PAC is helping him raise money.
But if Ken Cuccinelli wants to convince Virginia voters that he's not going to govern as a right-wing culture warrior, he'll have to do more than trying to "wipe the slate clean" on his ethical standards. He'll have to erase from the public record his own extreme record. And that will be a lot harder than writing a check.
(also posted at Huffington Post)
While Virginia Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli has been trying to dodge social issues such as abortion rights and marriage equality — likely because his actual views and record are far out of the mainstream — sagging poll numbers and increasing divisions among Republicans have led the candidate to rely on his traditional far-right backers. After campaigning alongside his ultraconservative and homophobic running mate E.W. Jackson, Cuccinelli tonight will attend a fundraiser cosponsored by the Family Research Council’s political arm and the head of a major anti-choice organization.
Tonight’s fundraiser featuring Jeb Bush and a whole host of former GOP politicians-turned-lobbyists is sponsored by FRC Action PAC and Marjorie Dannenfelser, who leads the Susan B. Anthony List.
Cuccinelli has partnered with FRC in the past, addressing at their Values Voter Summit and appearing on the group’s Washington Watch radio program. Dannenfelser’s group, meanwhile, committed at least $1.5 million to boost Cuccinelli.
Dannenfelser and FRC Action hope that Cuccinelli will continue his efforts to close the majority of the state’s abortion clinics. As the Washington Post editorial board noted yesterday, “If Mr. Cuccinelli is elected governor in November, most of the remaining 18 clinics are likely to shut their doors within months.”
The FRC — whose leaders have referred to gays as pawns of Satan, abnormal and destructive while also calling for their criminalization and exportation — can also take pride in Cuccinelli’s anti-gay rhetoric and activism.
The upcoming fundraiser with two of the country’s foremost social conservative groups shows that as much as Cuccinelli would like Virginia voters to forget about his extreme stances, he is, first and foremost, a Religious Right ideologue.
Tony Perkins led the fight against repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and runs an organization whose spokesman called on the government to “export” gay people, so it is only natural that now Perkins is fashioning himself as a foe of discrimination…against straight service members.
He is upset that the military — which recognizes same-sex marriages — is allowing gays and lesbians in the military who are stationed in states that ban same-sex marriage to travel to states with marriage equality laws to attain a marriage license:
The new policy, which will take effect by Sept. 3, allows gay and lesbian service members in the U.S. as many as seven days of extra leave to get married, as long as they are stationed more than 100 miles from a state where same-sex marriages are legal or from the District of Columbia, where the marriages are also performed.
Military personnel who are overseas will get as many as 10 days to travel back to the U.S. to get married.
Today on his radio commentary, Perkins said the military has lost “their senses” with its “discriminatory” policies:
For our troops, marriage is becoming the biggest battlefield. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Thanks to the Pentagon, taxpayers are giving gay service members quite a wedding gift. According to the Defense Department, homosexual troops are getting some extra incentives to get hitched--including 10 days of bonus leave. The AP says gay and lesbian military members will get as many as two weeks of extra vacation time to travel to states that allow same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, the Defense Department says it "remains committed to ensuring that all men and women who service in the U.S. military... are treated fairly." If that were true, heterosexual couples would be getting the same benefits. See, this special, taxpayer-funded leave isn't just expensive--it's discriminatory. According to the Pentagon, heterosexual couples aren't eligible. How's that for equality? The administration says this perk "level[s] the playing field between opposite-sex and same-sex couples." But when it comes to extra vacation days, the only thing the military is taking leave of is their senses!
Author Jonathan Cahn has become a star in Religious Right circles over his new book, The Harbinger, which basically claims that biblical prophecy regarding ancient Israel applies to the United States today. Cahn states that the September 11 attacks were a warning from God to repent and prophesied in the Bible. Instead of repenting, however, America is increasingly rebelling against God and Cahn predicts that such defiance will lead to the country’s ultimate destruction.
He appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins yesterday to mark the anniversary of 9/11 and discuss a recent prayer gathering in the Capitol, where Michele Bachmann delivered a Cahn-like speech about how 9/11 and the Benghazi attack represented divine judgment. Cahn also spoke at the event.
After Perkins asked Cahn if the US is “responding to these warning signs of the Lord” appropriately, since Cahn of course knows exactly how God views America, Cahn responded that while America is in spiritual decline, the good news is that lots of people are buying his book!
The End Times author reiterated his claim that members of Congress are reading The Harbinger, including members he met at the Capitol prayer summit.
Unfortunately, America is still going downhill thanks to gay marriage and the re-election of Obama, so we may all be doomed anyway.
What I’ve experienced is there’s a lot of people—The Harbinger’s been spreading across the country, it’s even been reaching Capitol Hill. You and I were there on that night of prayer and several congressmen came up to me about it, so it’s been spreading on one hand. So we’re seeing prayers, we’re seeing repentance; we’re seeing much of that. But, on the other hand, as a nation since The Harbinger came out, America has continued its descent, its moral descent, rapidly. And this has affected the church. I believe, when I look back at it, it came out in 2012 and 2013, this is a real tipping point time where for the first time you have more Americans in favor of gay marriage, you have a president who was re-elected after declaring this, you have states coming forward, you have so many tipping points. I think there’s a reason why The Harbinger came out at that time because it’s a warning and it’s a wakeup call. What happens with a tipping point is things accelerate, unless there’s an intervention of God, things accelerate and I believe we’re really watching an acceleration; the Supreme Court just came out with its decision, I mean so much.
When gay rights advocates criticized Chick-fil-A for the company’s financial support of anti-gay organizations, the Family Research Council decried their “gaystapo tactics.” Apparently, the FRC believes that boycotts are only acceptable if they are organized by conservative groups.
Today on his daily radio commentary, FRC president Tony Perkins urged listeners to also boycott Betty Crocker and offered a link to the National Organization for Marriage’s campaign at DumpGeneralMills.com.
Perkins was outraged that Betty Crocker donated custom cakes to three gay Minnesota couples who were married after the state legalized same-sex marriage, and upset that a company spokesman said that “Betty celebrates all families.” Perkins warned that Betty Crocker’s “latest promotion is a recipe for disaster” and claimed that it is offensive to a majority of Americans who have already “made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks and JC Penney” for not opposing gay rights.
“When you’re at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!”
At Betty Crocker, the only thing they're mixing up is their priorities. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. If you ask conservatives, Betty Crocker's latest promotion is a recipe for disaster. This summer, the famous dessert line decided to jump on the same-sex marriage bandwagon and bring cakes to celebrate. In Minnesota, where parent company General Mills is headquartered, Betty Crocker decided to donate wedding cakes to the first homosexual couples who exchanged vows on the first day that counterfeit marriage was legal. "Betty celebrates all families…. We don't want to be old fashioned," the company explained. Unfortunately for General Mills, the majority of Americans think natural marriage is anything but old fashioned. And they've made it tough on companies like Target, Starbucks, and JC Penney who disagree. Know where your money is going. When you're at the store, think outside the Betty Crocker box!
Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) appeared on Washington Watch yesterday with Family Research Council head Tony Perkins, where he spent most of his time asserting that Republicans have a mandate to defund Obamacare because they did so well in the 2010 midterms and never mind that whole election last November.
After Jordan insisted that the GOP-led House should strip funding from Obamacare by using the budget and debt ceiling debates as leverage, the Religious Right leader came up with a brilliant plan to tell President Obama that Congress will only approve military action against Syria if the money comes out of Obamacare: “You could even take it to the issue of Syria. If the President wants to expend resources in going into Syria, maybe you should have to choose between funding Obamacare and funding a war in Syria, can’t do both.”
Of course, conservative leaders were not as concerned with the trillions of dollars spent in the Iraq war.
Last month, PFAW Foundation reported on a school board in Colorado that was considering removing Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye from its high school curriculum after parents objected to the book’s frank depiction of racism and sexual violence in the Depression-era Midwest.
In a board meeting last week, the school board decided to continue allowing English teachers to teach the book but to require that students submit a parental permission slip before reading it.
Now, the book’s appearance in the Common Core curriculum’s list of possible high school English texts has drawn the wrath of One Million Moms, an arm of the American Family Association, which is issuing an “ultimatum” for the book to be removed from Common Core's materials.
In an interview with the Christian Post this week, One Million Moms director Monica Cole said Morrison’s work is “no different than pornography” and found the need to condemn a pedophile character’s “use of the Lord's name to justify his actions,” claiming that this character is actually "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."
"This book is no different than pornography," Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms, an online advocacy arm of the American Family Association, told The Christian Post in a Monday interview. She then linked pornography to human trafficking, rape, sexual violence, and even sexual slavery.
The author reportedly said "she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a 'co-conspirator' with the rapist," so "she took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems." The book narrates cases of pedophilia, rape, and incest which the author described as "friendly," "innocent," and "tender."
Cole said she was "speechless," that this book would be on the recommended reading list, and she set an ultimatum. "The material that is sexually graphic, we don't agree with it and it needs to be pulled from the curriculum immediately," she stated firmly.
Cole also condemned the pedophile's use of the Lord's name to justify his actions – "I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people," the character claims. The director of One Million Moms called this "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."
The director asked why books like this one, as opposed to the classics, are recommended to children. She mentioned "millions of books to recommend" as opposed to this one.
Cole stressed that neither One Million Moms nor the American Family Association has yet taken a stand against Common Core in general, but when it comes to The Bluest Eye, she proved more definitive. "Nothing good will come of this," she proclaimed.
The Christian Post also asked Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg about the book. Sprigg agreed that The Bluest Eye should be censored from Common Core’s recommended reading list and fretted about what Common Core means for "community moral standards," but betrayed a slightly more nuanced understanding of the purpose of fiction:
Cases like this, Sprigg explained, inflame the debate over national education standards. While he emphasized that the Family Research Council has not yet taken a stand on the issue, he defended as legitimate the fear that Common Core "will not leave room for community standards to be applied – especially moral community standards."
While Cole argued that Morrison, the book's author, likely used the book to argue for moral relativism, Sprigg gave her the benefit of the doubt. He argued that Morrison might have just wanted the reader to feel empathy for a wrongdoer – not to condone actions like rape and pedophilia.
Morrison’s book has also come under criticism from Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, which warned, “The book — a past selection of Oprah’s Book Club — has graphic sex scenes and descriptions that are likely to make you blush.”
On her radio show this week, Janet Parshall spoke with Robert L. Maginnis, a retired Army lieutenant colonel and the current senior fellow for national security at the Family Research Council, about the Pentagon’s recent decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat units.
Maginnis, who recently wrote a book on the topic, said that allowing women into combat goes against science. He called the situation “tragic,” “unnecessary,” “immoral,” and “un-American.”
Maginnis: I’m concerned about the direction of my country. I see this as a tragic mistake that’s going to weaken our fighting forces, compromise the battle proven standards that we’ve shed a lot of blood over the last couple centuries for. And also it’s unnecessary risk for the people that ultimately are pushed into this environment. And finally I think it’s immoral and I think it’s un-American what these people want to do. And yet, I see- the subtitle I think is very fair- I see cowardice on the Capitol Hill. Because our Founders were wise people. They said we want the Congress to set the rules and regulations for the armed forces. And guess what, they haven’t had a hearing in 34 years in the House armed services and they haven’t had one in 23 years in the Senate. They’ve relegated, they’ve abandoned the responsibility that the founders intended them to have and they’ve pushed it into the administration. And the administration, you know, they’re going to do what’s politically expedient. And that just hurts my heart. Cause I know the environment that we’re going to push these young people into, I know how vicious it is. And it just doesn’t fit with the science and common sense, much less the interests of our country.
Parshall, for her part, blamed the decision on the “radical feminist movement,” claiming the policy change would not only “push women” into a situation that they don’t want to be in, it flies in the face of God and what is “natural.”
“I thought men were made by God to defend women,” Parshall lamented. “It was just a natural.”
Parshall: So it begs the question- and I'm asking it, but at some level it's rhetorical- and that is, why we got here? But Bobby you and I have been in Washington. We watched the radical feminist movement. We saw the residuals of all of that, so this is just a tendril outreach it seems to me. But it goes deeper than just ardent feminism. It violates a core principle. And I’m going to say something terribly politically incorrect. I thought men were made by God to defend women. It was just a natural. And to push women into combat, front line combat- and you draw a distinction by the way between high intensity combat and high intensity police work which I love and I want you to explain in a minute. It seems to me to violate the very core at some level of how God designed us. Is that an overreaction on my part?
Maginnis: Not at all, Janet. Men are hard wired to protect women.