Family Research Council

FRC Partners with Church that Urged Members to ‘Actively Pray and Work for the Defeat of Barack Obama’

FRC president Tony Perkins and vice presidents Jerry Boykin and Kenyn Cureton are heading to Catalina Foothills Church in Tucson, Arizona for “Recapture America.” Cosponsors include the Center for Arizona Policy, the Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly the Alliance Defense Fund) and the church’s Christian Impact Committee. Recently the church claimed [PDF] that Obama is pushing a “reprioritization in human rights policy in favor of the advancement of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights” that is contributing to a “global crisis in religious liberty” and likened Obama to Adolf Hitler, Joseph Stalin, Mao Zedong and Saddam Hussein.

During his Sunday sermon, Rev. Allen Cooney called on members of the church to “actively pray and work for the defeat of Barack Obama” in the upcoming election as he is an “enemy” of Christianity and religious freedom.

Of course that shouldn’t be a surprise as Perkins believes it is a sin for a Christian to vote for Obama and Boykin thinks Obama is using health care reform to create a personal Brownshirt army.

Perkins & Boykin Sense a Conspiracy That DADT Repeal is Being Used to Lower Military Voter Turnout

Amid reports that absentee ballot requests among those serving in the military are down dramatically this year in comparison to 2008, Tony Perkins and Don Wildmon brought Jerry Boykin on to "Today's Issues" today so all three could wildly speculate as to the cause.

While some are suggesting that requests for absentee ballots are down because the number of soldiers who are deployed is down and other are explaining that levels are similar to what they were in 2004, Perkins and Boykin suspect that something else is going on; namely that military leaders have had to spend so much time instituting the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell and "implementing the President's social agenda" that they haven't had time to make sure soldiers were able to vote. 

In fact, suggested Boykin, this might even be intentional because members of the military are so angry over the repeal of DADT and "the way the military has been exploited for political purposes with all the release of information about the killing of bin Laden" that they are going to vote overwhelmingly for Mitt Romney:

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/4/12

  • As promised, Liberty Counsel has filed suit against the new California law banning the use of "ex-gay" reparative therapy on minors.
  • On a related note, Randy Thomasson is calling on parents and counselors to defy this "tyrannical" law.
  • The Christian Coalition is releasing voter guides for the 2012 election.  Apparently, the Christian Coalition still exists.
  • James Dobson needs donations because "the ministry barely made it through the summer months, and emerged from it with nothing to spare."
  • FRC prays that members of the military will react to the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell by voting and swinging the election: "May strong moral Military leaders restore moral standards in the ranks. May God stir our military men at home and abroad to move quickly to make their right and their family member's right to vote count, by voting in this years Election."
  • Finally, Janet Porter explains why you cannot vote for President Obama:

Boykin: Israel Should Strike Iran Before Obama is Re-Elected

An amateurishly made video of an interview with Jerry Boykin, the Executive Vice President at the Family Research Council, recently popped up on YouTube, seemingly shot when Boykin was at the Values Voter Summit last month, in which he discussed his various conspiracy theories about the Muslim Brotherhood and the Middle East in general.

At the end of the video, Boykin asserted that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had better be keeping a close eye on the polls tracking the presidential election in order 'to determine when was the best time for me to get the support of the American public, American Congress, and the American military [because] if it looks like Barack Obama has a real chance of being re-elected, if I was Netanyahu, I would strike Iran before the US election":

Perkins Responds to Dan Savage, Hints at Possible Legal Action

Last week, Dan Savage set off a controversy when he declared that "every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council," so it was no surprise that today Mike Huckabee invited FRC's Tony Perkins on to his radio program to respond, allowing both men to spend most of the discussion voicing their outrage about his remarks, with Perkins even hinting that legal action might be taken:

Huckabee: I found Dan Savage to be unnecessarily rude, vile, and angry. Just angry. He was not a happy person and he just takes out his venom on other people, but he's gone to a level I've never seen.

Perkins: As my teenagers would say, he has some issues. He is a man with some real deep-seated issues ... and Dan Savage is nowhere near, he's a hundred and eighty degrees from the positions that we have taken. It's wrong and I will tell you this, we are pursuing everything possible to deal with him because he is out of control.

Perkins then went on to attack gay activists in general, declaring that they will always feel empty inside because they are "outside the way God created" them: 

This is the bottom line, Mike: is that if you don't embrace and celebrate homosexuality and everything associated with it, then you are intolerant. And the truth of the matter is, let's just be very, very truthful, and that's what we deal in is the truth, that even is society embraced homosexuality, there would never be that sense of self-fulfillment because it's outside the way God created man and woman. And that's the bottom line. They cannot erase that, even if they get every law on the books changed, it will never change that.

GOP Pollster advised Akin to Withstand Controversy like David Koresh Faced the ATF in Waco

While speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Washington Watch Weekly, Republican pollster Kellyanne Conway said she told her client Todd Akin to withstand the controversy that emerged following his comments on “legitimate rape” just like David Koresh, the Waco compound cult leader whose standoff with the ATF led to over eighty deaths. Conway told Perkins that she advised Akin to survive efforts to “smoke him out” like Koresh until they “realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker.” She was speaking with Perkins just as the deadline for Akin to drop out passed, and Republican figures such as Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Jim DeMint, including DeMint’s powerful Senate Conservatives Fund, rallied to Akin’s behalf. Conway said she expects even more Republicans to follow Perkins’ lead in rallying behind Akin.

Perkins: The distance between them is narrowing, Todd Akin has bounced back up, and the evidence of that is pretty clear because now you see other Republicans who abandoned him are now taking a second look at the race and realizing just how important this seat is.

Conway: They are and they’re following your lead Tony. You saw former speaker Gingrich there on Todd’s behalf at a fundraiser on Monday, saying it’s just “conventional idiocy” that’s preventing people from backing Todd, and he predicts that come mid-October everyone will be following yours and his lead back to Missouri, with their money. Of course, former senator and presidential candidate Rick Santorum and Senator Jim DeMint came out just yesterday to support Todd. I believe that the establishment will have to look at this race and they will have to hold their nose because the first days—and I’ve expressed this to Todd as my client for a while now, I’ve expressed it to him directly—the first day or two where it was like the Waco with David Koresh situation where they’re trying to smoke him out with the SWAT teams and the helicopters and the bad Nancy Sinatra records. Then here comes day two and you realize the guy’s not coming out of the bunker. Listen, Todd has shown his principle to the voters.

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/27/12

  • Matt Barber says "people naturally bristle when they think about what would it take actually consummate a so-called same-sex marriage between a man and a man. People naturally have a revulsion of this abnormal, disordered sexual behavior."
  • The Colorado Personhood Coalition has filed a challenge to the determination that it did not gather enough valid signatures to have a personhood amendment put on the ballot for the third time.
  • FRC issues its latest prayer targets.
  • Bryan Fischer said he wiil be speaking at the civil disobedience rally outside the White House this weekend.
  • Finally, Peter LaBarbera is outraged that Paul Ryan said there is no need to reinstate DADT, saying "A nation in which sexual perversion is a 'non-issue' is a nation in precipitous moral decline. Now more than ever, America needs bold statesmen who courageously lead based on unswerving, godly principles — rather than those who adjust their positions according to polls and political calculations."

Blackwell: Obama and All Who Oppose the FRC are Building a 'Totalitarian State'

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council yesterday spoke to VCY America’s Crosstalk where he, like FRC president Tony Perkins, again tried to link both the Obama administration and the Southern Poverty Law Center to the tragic office shooting last month. But that wasn’t the only thing Blackwell told host Jim Schneider, as he also warned that all those who oppose the FRC and its mission are trying to form a “totalitarian state” and “destroy the family.”

Blackwell: We at the Family Research Council, we are a conservative Christian organization, we have answered the call, it’s a biblical call, in Psalms 11:3 the question is asked, if the foundation be destroyed what shall the righteous do? As an organization we have advanced these biblical truths, we defended them and as a consequence we have become despised by those who would recreate this country into something that its founders never expected it to be, and that is a big welfare state, a totalitarian state or an authoritarian state. In those models and the state-craft of those national models they’ve had to chase God and faith out of the public square and they’ve had to destroy the family as the basic unit of governance because they replace it with an all-powerful state.

The FRC senior fellow even agreed with a warning that the SPLC may start labeling churches throughout America as hate groups, based on the false claim that opposition to same-sex marriage was the reason the FRC received the designation, and suggested that President Obama and his allies are setting up the conditions for a “totalitarian” regime.

Schneider: If Family Research Council has been labeled as a hate group because of the position that you’ve taken on traditional marriage, that we have known since the beginning of this country, that thirty-some states have certified in their own constitutions, if FRC has been labeled as a hate group, aren’t we just a step away from our individual churches all across this nation being on this same hate list?

Blackwell: Oh absolutely. That’s why I started out by saying if you look at the various models of governance throughout human history we have shown in terms of a democratic Republic driven by constitutional governance that limits the reach and intrusion of government and puts an emphasis on individual liberty and is based on the fact that there is a moral foundation of this country, if you can compare that to totalitarian states, authoritarian states, big welfare states, there are a couple things that have had to happen for these states to consolidate power and use and misuse their power. They’ve had to destroy or weaken the family and they’ve had to run God and faith out of the public square, or at minimum they have had to silence the church. I don’t think it’s a step to far to say that this is a President that has carried out that strategy in the advancement of the reintroduction of the welfare state.

Boykin: US Must 'Identify the Enemy as the Theology of Islam' or 'We Cannot be Victorious'

Family Research Council Vice President Jerry Boykin appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show In the Market yesterday to do—what else?—whip up anti-Muslim animosity and spew bizarre conspiracy theories. He told Parshall that “Islam is not a religion” but a “totalitarian way of life” since, apparently, only “16 percent of Islam is a religion.” Boykin said that people need to act just like the Founding Fathers did in speaking up against the Muslim faith, citing Parshall, End Times fanatic Joel Rosenberg and others as courageous people who are channeling the Founders by attacking Islam and standing up to the “politically correct” elites!

Boykin: Islam is not a religion, now it has a religious component, 16 percent of Islam is religion, but the rest of it is a legal system, a geopolitical system, a military system, a financial system, it’s a totalitarian way of life and they say that. But our media and our leadership reject what they say about Islam so it’s incredible that we are just so politically correct and so afraid of these people. Where are the men of courage like the Founding Fathers that knew if they didn’t succeed they were going to be executed as being traitors, where are those kind of people today? Well you know where they are? They’re the Janet Parshall’s, they’re the Joel Rosenberg’s, they’re the people that are willing to stand up and speak openly about this stuff and take the ire of the media and critics.

Boykin also expressed his frustration that the Department of Defense will not “identify the enemy as the theology of Islam,” which Parshall said is just like trying to be “engaged in World War II without identifying the Nazis as the Nazis.”

Later, the former general later discussed the firestorm he caused in 2003 when he delivered speeches in uniform arguing that the US was at war against Islam and that Muslims worship an “idol.” He was reprimanded the following year by President Bush and found to have breached military regulations.

Always one to play the martyr-card, Boykin said he was simply attacked by the media for “my Christian faith” and “for boldly proclaiming that our real battle was not against the Taliban or the Al Qaeda but was a spiritual battle.” “When you expose Satan you must expect a reaction,” Boykin said, even alleging that his First Amendment rights were undermined. But while he told Parshall that he didn’t care what his critics said, Boykin actually apologized for his comments at the time.

Parshall: I shake my head, if you’re going to be even a passive student of history, how would we have ever engaged in World War II without identifying the Nazis as the Nazis? You’re military, teach us, how would you be able to defeat an enemy without rightfully identifying the enemy and it seems in this country we’re loath to identify the enemy.

Boykin: Sun Tzu, the great Chinese warrior and philosopher, said know your enemy and know yourself and you need not fear a thousand battles. I was so frustrated while I was in the Department of Defense because I kept trying to impress upon them that we have to identify the enemy as the theology of Islam and those people that are rabid adherents to the theology are the enemy. But no one would accept that and I was told to go sit in a corner and nobody wanted to hear it. Obviously now some are starting to get it; we cannot be victorious if we can’t identify the enemy.



Boykin: The worst period was 2003 when I was the front story on every news program and every newspaper for my Christian faith and for boldly proclaiming that our real battle was not against the Taliban or the Al Qaeda but was a spiritual battle and that certainly did not sit well. I also said that our real enemy in what we’re dealing with is Satan, you know when you expose Satan you must expect a reaction. So I took quite a beating for quite a while and I was devastated by it, I must tell you, the First Amendment that I protected for over three decades at that time, only to have the media turn on me, but you know what I’m a lot tougher now as a result of it and I don’t really care what they think because ultimately I answer to God and not to man.

Boykin Issues Warning About Muslim Brotherhood Infiltration and the Repeal of DADT

On Friday, Jerry Boykin appeared on WND Radio America where he warned host Greg Corombos that the Muslim Brotherhood's infiltration of our government is far beyond what anyone could ever imagine and that the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell will make it difficult for soldiers to bond and therefore unwilling to lay down their lives for one another.

Boykin warned that the Muslim Brotherhood had managed to infiltrate all levels of government, as well as the two main political parties and even the media, citing the criticism that Michele Bachmann received over her anti-Muslim witch hunt as evidence that things are really, really bad:

Our government is so infiltrated and the Muslim Brotherhood has so much influence in this country, it is incredible. If Americans only took the time to do the proper research and to find out just how deep this infiltration into our government is, it would just frighten them. I just gave a talk on this last weekend to some folks here in Washington and they walked away saying "why don't we know this?" And my answer is because it is not in the interest of the mainstream media's agenda to tell you.

We have within, let's just say the Department of Homeland Security, two of the top people there with very high level security clearance are known to be associated with the Muslim Brotherhood. The Republican and Democratic parties are both infiltrated. Every government entity, to include the Department of Defense have people that are know to have had associations with the Muslim Brotherhood. And you know Michele Bachmann recently raised the issue of Huma Abedin, which is Hillary Clinton's closest aide and her parents' association with the Muslim Brotherhood and of course she just got blistered by her own party as well as the mainstream media, so it's bad.

Boykin also addressed the anniversary of the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to warn that it would take a decade for the true impact of the decision to be felt because it will undermine military readiness by disrupting the bonding between soldiers and make them unwilling to risk their lives for their colleagues:

I think it's reducing the morale of the military.  I also think it's impacting on the readiness, and that readiness is something that unless you've been in the military - particularly in a combat organization - you don't understand it. The full effects of this will not be realized for a decade. But it is a camaraderie and a brotherhood is such that I am willing to risk my life for the guy next to me and that come with an absolute trust and a bonding that I am very concerned that the Don't Ask, Don't Tell repeal will disrupt that bonding, that brotherhood.

On Anniversary of the Repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, Once-Hysterical Religious Right is Largely Silent

On this day last year, the military certified the repeal of the discriminatory Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy after Congress overturned the policy. Religious Right activists warned that the military will suffer as a result, however, their ominous predictions failed to materialize as studies show that the new policy is working and benefiting the military.

Consequently, it wasn’t a surprise that anti-gay groups were largely quiet today on the anniversary as their warnings about an exodus of soldiers, a drop in enlistments and a return of the draft were clearly wrong.

Ron Crews of the Chaplains Alliance for Religious Liberty released a statement that the “radical sexual agenda in our military” is leading to significant “negative consequences,” citing one example of possible sexual harassment, same-sex ceremonies on bases and the supposed “silencing” of chaplains and DADT supporters:

No Cause for Celebration: DADT Repeal Immediately Creates Major Problems for Service Members

Approaching the first anniversary of the repeal of the so-called DADT policy, mounting evidence demonstrates the negative consequences of implementing a radical sexual agenda in our military.

“The American armed forces exist to defend our nation, not as social experiment lab in which our troops serve as human subjects,” said Chaplain (Colonel Retired) Ron Crews, ED of CALL. ”While many will ignore the negative impacts, or pretend that they don’t exist, threats to our troops’ freedom are mounting.”



“This list of problems and incidents that have arisen mere months after this administration imposed its will on the armed forces is disturbing to say the least, and we know it is only the beginning,” said Crews. “Compounding the outrage, service members are not free to speak out about these matters. This ensures that distrust in the ranks will increase and morale will decrease as the number of silenced victims grows.”

Focus on the Family’s political arm CitizenLink also said in a post quoting Crews and calling for Congress to pass a GOP-backed bill banning same-sex ceremonies on military property, which they said would preserve religious freedom by barring all chaplains from performing such ceremonies:

Crew said that a military religious freedom act introduced in January, House Resolution 3828, would help military personnel greatly.

“It’s a right-of-conscience clause that would provide protection to military personnel, so they would not be affected by their opposition to the repeal,” he explained.

If passed, H.R. 3828 would protect members of the Armed Forces who hold religious or moral convictions concerning “the appropriate and inappropriate expression of human sexuality” from discrimination or punishment for their beliefs.

The bill seeks to protect chaplains from being ordered to perform any services or ceremonies contrary to their faith, while preventing any same-sex marriage ceremonies from being performed on military posts, in accordance with the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

Peter Sprigg of the Family Research Council, who predicted an increase in rape if the policy was repealed, pivoted away from his group’s hysterical claims to instead focus on possible same-sex marriages in the military, a result of the “radical sexual and social agenda” pushed by “homosexual activists.” Sprigg also cited a survey from the Military Times, but didn’t mention that the same poll found negative views of the repeal among service members are declining.

He also dismissed claims that the military would have “completely collapsed in the first year after repeal” since “our service members are too professional to allow that to happen,” but FRC president Tony Perkins did in fact predict the reinstitution of the draft and that congressmen who voted for the repeal will have “blood on their hands.”

Since eight servicemembers reported harm from both circumstances (a homosexual “coming out” and one joining their unit), a total of 36 separate individuals reported such harm. The Palm Center chose to emphasize that this was only 4.5% of all those surveyed—failing to mention that it represents twenty percent of those who had a homosexual “come out” or join their unit. Twenty percent represents a significant risk of harm for the units involved—merely to advance the goals of the sexual revolution. Damage to good order, discipline, morale, and unit cohesion need not be universal to be unacceptable.

In the same Military Times survey, 8.4% of respondents said that repeal made them less likely to remain in the military, while only 3.3% said it would make them more likely to remain.

The Palm Center report almost completely ignores the most significant harms that have become immediately apparent in the first year since repeal. Predictions that the use of the military to advance a radical social/sexual agenda would place us on a “slippery slope” have clearly come true. Furthermore, assurances given in the November 2010 report of the Pentagon’s Comprehensive Review Working Group (CRWG) regarding the limited impact of repeal have not been fulfilled. Since the CRWG report was to a large extent the basis for the Congressional vote for repeal in December of 2010, it can even be argued that repeal was adopted under false pretenses.



Has America’s military completely collapsed in the first year after repeal? Of course not—our servicemembers are too professional to allow that to happen. The military is clearly being used, however, to advance a radical sexual and social agenda. The Palm Center cited one individual who stated that repeal “will help facilitate the slow cultural change towards greater acceptance” of homosexuality.

The purpose of our armed forces, however, is not to “facilitate cultural change.” It is to fight and win wars. By demanding that it do more than that, homosexual activists have undermined the single-minded focus that is necessary for military effectiveness.

 

Blackwell: Obama Administration 'An Active Participant' in Labeling Conservatives 'As Haters and Bigots'

As we noted the other day, Tony Perkins, Jerry Boykin, and Ken Blackwell, all of the Family Research Council, penned a joint op-ed in which they accused the Southern Poverty Law Center and others on the left of leading "an open assault upon those with whom they disagree," and blaming "this type of demonizing" for the shooting that recently took place at FRC headquarters.

Today, Blackwell discussed the topic with WNDTV/Radio America where he, like Tony Perkins before him, also placed the blame on President Obama and his administration for supposedly working with the SPLC "hand-in-glove" in the effort to demonize conservative Christians "as haters and bigots":

We think that there is more and more evidence that the Obama Justice Department and the Southern Poverty Law Center work hand-in-glove and that's disturbing because it's investing an enormous amount of power that is subject to misuse in an organization that has a political motive in attacking those of us who are strong in our pro-life ethic and strong in our support of traditional marriage. And a Justice Department that is supposed to be neutral is, by all measure, an active participant in this clash of visions; not only this clash of visions but in this mislabeling of people who are exercising their fundamental human rights and constitutionally guaranteed rights as haters and bigots.

...

Every day of his presidency, [President Obama] has done whatever it takes to undermine the Constitution and to empower a strong central or federal government which, by definition, has to be predicated on the weakening and the destruction of the family and chasing God and faith out of the public square or, at a minimum, silencing the church.

So I see this as an extension of that sort of mischief and that sort of wrongheadedness when he attacks those organizations that defend the pro-life ethic, defend traditional marriage, and defend strong families, and who advocate putting a harness on the growth and the reach of government.

Jerry Boykin Explains How Progressives Are Like Hitler, Stalin, Lenin and Marx

When Jerry Boykin was named Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council in July, some of us wondered if Tony Perkins would make him put away his conspiracy theories and act – in public at least – like a somewhat reasonable person. The answer is no. 

Speaking during the “Religious Hostility in America” panel at the Values Voter Summit, Boykin riffed on some of his favorite conspiracy theories. For instance:
  • “Adolf Hitler was a progressive” – previously
  • “America is moving rapidly to Marxism under the influence of these people who call themselves progressives” – previously
  • the ACLU and Southern Poverty Law Center “are following, to the letter, the Marxist model” – previously 
Boykin argued that progressives are attacking him, not because of his bigoted attacks on gays, Muslims, and others, but because of his Christian faith. Going further, he said that progressives, just like Marx, Stalin, Lenin, and Hitler, are leading a Marxist attack on Christianity so that God can be replaced with government.
 
Boykin’s analysis, if you can call it that, doesn’t seem to be grounded in any real understanding of the various ideologies, quotes and terms he throws around. From his right-wing fundamentalist perspective, Hitler may as well be Marx, a liberal atheist may as well be an Islamist, President Obama may as well be Mohammed Morsi, and a Christian who doesn’t agree with him may as well be a secular Jew.
 
 

 

If FRC Wants Civility, it Can Start by Getting its Own House in Order

Last week, Peter wrote a post wondering if Family Research Council president Tony Perkins might just be "the most disingenuous Person on the Planet" for his on-going efforts to exploit the recent shooting at FRC headquarters for political gain by accusing those who criticize the bigotry of his organization of inciting violence against him, his staff, and those who share their views.

Today Perkins proves that point yet again as he has joined Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin in penning a joint op-ed published by Fox News in which they blame the Southern Poverty Law Center for a "shooting that could have been perhaps the deadliest act of domestic terrorism ever driven exclusively by a social issue":

The past month highlighted issues in America’s culture war, culminating in a shooting that could have been perhaps the deadliest act of domestic terrorism ever driven exclusively by a social issue. Several related episodes showcase the nexus between these social controversies and economic prosperity.

...

This war of words launched by the SPLC as cover for its allied organizations on the left has led to an open assault upon those with whom they disagree. This type of demonizing must stop.

FRC’s belief in marriage has prevailed in 32 states where the voters have spoken, is the official position of the Republican Party, and until three months ago was Mr. Obama’s position. If the religious foundation of our convictions makes us a “hate group,” then every other Christian ministry or historically orthodox church could be likewise designated.

SPLC’s tactics are intended to intimidate and ultimately silence. Nothing could be more threatening to the future of our republic.

Keep in mind that all three of these men work at FRC alongside people who want to export gays and criminalize homosexuality, while Perkins himself says gays are intolerant, hateful, and vile pawns of the Devil and calls his enemies "cultural terrorists," whereas Blackwell compares homosexuality to kleptomania and bestiality, and Boykin seemingly spends the majority of his time spreading conspiracy theories and demonizing Muslims.

So it is a little ironic that they would end their op-ed by calling for contentious social issues to be debated "with civility" and for all involved to "eschew name-calling and marginalization."

Maybe they ought to start by taking their own advice.

Sex, Lies, and Bloodlust: What the Values Voter Summit Tells us About the Religious Right and the Republican Party

During this past weekend’s Values Voter Summit, the annual family reunion of the far right, RWW posted many memorable video highlights. What does it all tell us about the Religious Right and today’s Republican Party? First are foremost, Republican leaders are unwilling to distance themselves from the far-right fringes of their base, especially in an election year in which conservative evangelical voters are not tremendously excited about Mitt Romney. Romney took a pass this year, and it’s not hard to understand why. Last year, organizers maliciously put him on stage right before the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, who had ridiculed Romney’s Mormonism. A supporter of Texas Gov. Rick Perry denounced Mormonism as a cult, and the flap over Romney’s faith was the dominant story coming out of the gathering. It was much safer to let Paul Ryan represent the ticket this year, and to have other speakers like Rick Santorum and Rick Scarborough ensure evangelicals that voting for Romney was in fact a good thing. Romney did send a tepidly-received video, which seemed almost an afterthought. What is motivating these activists is not enthusiasm for Romney but their hostility toward the Obama administration.

Paul Ryan at Summit that Makes Mockery of Diplomacy and Terrorism

Michelle Bachmann, speaking at the Values Voter Summit this morning, quickly one-upped Mitt Romney in pinning blame on President Obama for the violent protests in Libya and Egypt and deaths of four Americans in Libya. She accused Obama of appeasing the Muslim Brotherhood and opening our borders to terrorists. Not long after, Paul Ryan also attacked Obama over foreign policy: 

Amid all these threats and dangers, what we do not see is steady, consistent American leadership. In the days ahead, and in the years ahead, American foreign policy needs moral clarity and firmness of purpose. Only by the confident exercise of American influence are evil and violence overcome.
But here’s the thing. Ryan and Bachmann are speaking at a Religious Right conference that is making a mockery of diplomacy and even the threat of terrorism. Consider the following:
  • the video that sparked the unrest in Egypt and Libya was created and promoted by anti-Muslim activists who have worked with backers of Bachmann’s effort to purge the U.S. government of Muslim Americans and key players in the effort to block the so-called Ground Zero mosque (e.g. ACT! for America and the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission)
  • in July, misinformation promoted by Bachmann and two upcoming speakers at the Values Voter Summit, Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin, sparked aggressive protests against American diplomats in Egypt, including Secretary Clinton, whose motorcade was pelted by protestors – Boykin and Gaffney have been the leading forces behind Bachmann’s witch hunt against Muslim Americans in the U.S. government
Taken together, this suggests more than a lack of seriousness. It suggests that many Religious Right activists are far more interested in fighting a holy war than they are with diplomacy, peace or religious freedom. Unfortunately for the rest of us, we have the live in the same world as them.
 
The fake terrorist I referred to above is identified on the schedule as Kamal Saleem, but his real name is Khodor Shami. He claims that he was a Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country” and crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” He also claims to have “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”
 
Saleem is widely known to be a fraud. Yet he’s being presented by the Family Research Council as the real deal and appears next to Ryan on the featured speakers page, with “former terrorist” under his name. Here’s one of his promotional videos:
 

Speaking at Values Voter Summit, Paul Ryan Gives Stamp of Approval to Bigotry

Washington, DC – People For the American Way today challenged the Romney campaign for its decision to send vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to speak today at the Values Voter Summit, an event organized by groups that regularly push false and demeaning smears about gays and lesbians, Muslim-Americans and others. These groups also push extreme anti-woman policies, including defending Rep. Todd Akin after his "legitimate rape" comments.

Earlier this week, a coalition of human rights groups, including People For the American Way Foundation, urged Ryan and other elected officials not to lend legitimacy to these groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, by speaking at the Summit.

More information on the FRC, AFA and other groups participating in the Summit can be found at RightWingWatch.org.

“By speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Paul Ryan sends a clear message: a Romney-Ryan administration has decided to embrace the entrenched bigotry advocated by the farthest of the far right,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way.

“The Family Research Council and the American Family Association are not mainstream groups,” continued Keegan. “The FRC frequently and falsely links homosexuality to pedophilia. The AFA has claimed that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust. Both have defended laws at home and abroad that criminalize homosexuality. These are not innocent differences of opinion; they are full-scale efforts to smear and denigrate LGBT Americans.

“What’s more, these groups back extreme anti-woman policies, and were among the first to jump to the defense of Rep. Todd Akin’s outrageous 'legitimate rape' comments. They also promote hostility toward Muslim-Americans, Mormons and other religious minorities. They advocate for an America that discriminates and excludes, and are trying their best to stop the tolerance and open-mindedness that Americans of both parties support. That’s a troubling message for a presidential campaign to embrace.”

###

Is Tony Perkins the Most Disingenuous Person on the Planet?

Well, in a world that includes Paul Ryan, maybe not.  But Perkins ensured his standing near the top of the list with his performance at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  Perkins heads an organization that excels in the kind of incendiary rhetoric he denounced from the podium.   I kept thinking about Bill Clinton’s recent characterization of Ryan: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
 
Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of the Religious Right organizations that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a long record of smearing LGBT people with false and denigrating rhetoric.  Perkins used his press club appearance to repeat his charge that it was irresponsible for SPLC and other groups to describe his organization that way.  He suggested that FRC’s critics had created a climate that contributed to the recent violence at FRC headquarters in downtown D.C.
 
Let me say that it was genuinely sobering and moving to hear Perkins describe the incident, in which a security guard who may have saved the lives of many FRC employees was shot while disarming a gunman.  No one should be put in the position of being hunkered down in their office in fear for their life.  No one should be subjected to violence for participating in the public arena.  At the time of the shooting, progressive and gay rights leaders immediately and unequivocally denounced the attack on FRC.
 
It is true that irresponsible and hateful speech can poison our public discourse. But in today’s political climate, that speech is most likely to come from right-wing groups and their allies.  I remember feeling nervous as well as outraged when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two days after the 9-11 attacks, blamed People For the American Way by name, as well as feminists, liberals, and others.  And the right’s rhetorical extremism has become supercharged since the election of President Obama.
 
The First Amendment does protect hateful and irresponsible speech.  But being free to participate in the public arena does not meaning being exempt from criticism.  And calling hateful speech hateful is not the same as actually promoting hatred toward a particular group of Americans.  We have noted before how quickly Perkins moved to exploit the shooting in an effort to discredit his opponents and deflect attention from his own group’s extreme record and rhetoric:
 
You don't have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct."  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  
 
What does it even mean for Perkins to make a public commitment to advocate with civility and compassion when his guests at the head table include rhetorical bomb-throwers like Bishop Harry Jackson, who has said that gay rights advocates are trying to recruit young people “just like during the times of Hitler” and that gay marriage is part of a “satanic plot” to destroy the family, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, who participated in the McCarthyite smear of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and who says that President Obama “wants a dictatorship?” Or when he recently hired as his executive vice president retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has called for limits on American Muslims’ religious liberty and accuses Obama of using the health care reform law as cover to create a private army of Brownshirts?
 
Perkins also used his speech to promote this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, which is co-sponsored by organizations whose leaders regularly spout rhetoric that is often even more extreme than FRC’s -- about LGBT Americans, Muslims and other non-Christians, supporters of church-state separation and more.  Among the worst are the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer is such a torrent of bigotry that it cannot be easily condensed, and Liberty Counsel, whose Matt Barber purveys loathsome attacks on his political opponents, charging that satanic gay rights activists are “running interference for pedophiles” and charging that groups supporting church-state separation, like People For the American Way, are enemies of religious freedom.
 
Calling for civil discourse on the eve of the Values Voter Summit sounds like nothing more than a bad joke.  If Tony Perkins is at all sincere about his call for civility, this weekend would be a good time to start.
 

Who's Who at the Values Voter Summit 2012

This weekend Republican and conservative leaders, including GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, are set to address the Religious Right's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Jews Must Be Converted: FRC Vice President

Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain.

Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow.

Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his prolific Muslim-bashing, he also has some interesting things to say about Jews.

In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against pastors who say that “the Jews don’t have to come to know Jesus,” complaining that those pastors were “destroying the efforts” to lead Jews to Christ:

Last year, Boykin said that “one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right” because he was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.” He then lamented that “many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

Boykin also said that President Obama is creating a Hitler-sytle Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America. And in 2003, then-Lt. Gen. Boykin said that the U.S. was fighting a war “in the name of Jesus,” prompting a rebuke from the ADL and President Bush.

To be sure, the Religious Right hasn’t always had the best relations with American Jews. Jerry Falwell sparked a controversy in 1980 when he said that God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews.” He was speaking at a press conference in defense of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had proclaimed that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

More recently, however, Religious Right leaders have been careful to stress Judeo-Christian values and avoid explicit attacks. Boykin, however, doesn’t have any use for such niceties.

Yet Boykin was able to meet recently with Mitt Romney, and he has three speaking slots during the conference. He’s even leading a panel on Israel with his good friend Kamal Saleem. Saleem, who is considered to be a fraud, describes himself as a former terrorist who “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

All of this makes me wonder if Cantor’s folks did their homework before agreeing to speak tomorrow. Perhaps something will come up, and he’ll have to decline FRC’s invitation, much like Ann Romney and Cardinal Dolan have done. We’ll find out tomorrow.

 

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