Family Research Council

The 10 Most Absurd Arguments Against The Udall Citizens United Amendment

While good-government groups have been calling for a constitutional amendment to reverse the Supreme Court’s dismantling of campaign finance laws since the day the Court handed down Citizens United in 2010, the issue has been largely off the radar of conservative activists – and has actually enjoyed broad bipartisan support in an array of polls and in state and municipal ballot measures.

It was largely off their radar, that is, until this week. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a proposal by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to send a constitutional amendment to the states restoring to Congress and state governments the ability to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections. In response, Republican politicians and conservative activists have kicked into gear and are starting to try out new talking points to get their movement to oppose efforts to lessen the influence of big money in politics.

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, launched the misleading campaign two weeks ago when he warned a group of pastors that the Udall proposal would “repeal the First Amendment” and allow Congress to “muzzle” the free speech of clergy. In advance of the hearing today, conservative groups including the Family Research Council, Eagle Forum, Tea Party Patriots and the Home School Legal Defense Association started to mobilize against the amendment. Yesterday, the Heritage Foundation held a panel discussion to test out arguments against the amendment, featuring Bobby Burchfield, the attorney who argued the McCutcheon case before the Supreme Court, controversial former FEC chairman Don McGahn, and infamous voter-fraud conspiracy theorist Hans van Spakovsky .

Here, we’ve collected some of the most deceptive arguments that have been launched so far against the Udall amendment.

1. Democrats want to repeal the First Amendment!

When we first heard Ted Cruz  tell a stunned group of pastors that Democrats in the Senate were planning to “repeal the First Amendment,” we knew that we would be hearing that line again and again.

And we were right. Tea Party Patriots adopted the line in mobilizing its activists, as did the Eagle Forum. The Family Research Council claimed the Udall amendment would “strip political speech out of the First Amendment,” and von Spakovsky told the Heritage panel that the amendment would “roll back” the Bill of Rights.

Burchfield and McGahn both argued that the introduction of the constitutional amendment means, in the words of McGahn, that campaign finance law advocates are “admitting” that campaign finance regulations are “unconstitutional.”

On the surface, this is the opposition’s strongest argument, because it sounds so scary. But it’s just not true. Whether you support the Udall amendment or not, it’s dishonest to suggest that it would amount to a “repeal of the First Amendment.” Instead, proponents argue that it strengthens the First Amendment by undoing the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence declaring that spending on elections, including from corporate treasuries, cannot be limited. Proponents of the Udall amendment hold that this jurisprudence, including recent decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, represented a radical reinterpretation of the First Amendment; undoing them would simply re-establish the ability of Congress and the states to set reasonable regulations on the raising and spending of money to influence elections.

2. Amendment supporters want to ‘silence critics’ and ‘cling to power’!

The Heritage panelists repeatedly claimed that the Udall amendment is an attempt to protect incumbency by preventing challengers from raising enough money to win elections. McGahn insisted that it was an effort by Democratic incumbents “desperately clinging to power.”

“They want to change the rules of the game and prevent people from criticizing them, not unlike England did before our revolution, and which led to our revolution,” he added.

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios also invoked the American Revolution in an interview with von Spakovsky yesterday, saying, “The First Amendment, the rights to free speech – particularly the right to political speech – were the right to criticize the king, criticize the authorities over you.”

In a later interview with Rios, Tea Party Patriots spokesman Scott Hogenson even managed to connect the Udall amendment with immigration reform, claiming that both are part of a “larger, concerted effort to maintain the Democratic Party’s control of American politics and eventually move to one-party rule.”

In reality, it’s unlimited campaign spending that tends to be a boon for incumbents, who on average are able to raise far more than challengers. For instance, in Texas, a state with few campaign finance limits, incumbents who win on average raise more than twelve times the average amount raised by challengers. By contrast, in Colorado, which has relatively low individual contribution limits, incumbents on average raise less than three times what challengers are able to raise [pdf].

3. Liberals just want to protect the lame-stream media!

In his speech to the pastors' group, Ted Cruz seized on the Udall proposal’s stipulation that “Nothing in this article shall be construed to grant Congress the power to abridge the freedom of the press” to claim that the amendment carved out an exemption to protect the New York Times.

Von Spakovsky also played up conservative conspiracy theories about the “liberal media,” telling Rios, “No surprise, there’s a glaring exception in this proposed amendment for the press. And that means that MSNBC or the New York Times Company, which are big corporations, they could spend as much newsprint or airtime as they wanted going after and criticizing candidates or talking about political issues.”

These arguments fail to recognize one key distinction, which is that there is a difference between the New York Times publishing an editorial (which would be protected under the proposed amendment, as it is now) and the corporate managers of the New York Times taking $50 million out of their corporate treasury to buy ads to influence an election (which would not be protected).

4. They’ll go after pastors!

Opponents of the constitutional amendment have also been trying to tie the proposal to the right-wing paranoia about the impending persecution of America’s Christian majority .

It’s no coincidence that Cruz rolled out his criticism of the Udall proposal at a pastors’ event organized by the Family Research Council, a main theme of which was the supposed assault on the religious liberty of Christians in America. Cruz told the pastors that the Udall measure would “muzzle” clergy and was being proposed because “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”

Likewise, McGahn said at the Heritage event that the amendment would endanger the religious liberty of clergy: “What about pastors and churches? This is an issue that comes up once in a while. Can the government get in there and tell a priest he can’t talk to his congregation because it may somehow have something to do with politics?”

This might be true if the proposal would, in fact, “repeal the First Amendment.” In fact, the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty would remain in place.

Of course, that didn’t stop the FRC’s Tony Perkins from somehow linking the Udall amendment to the imprisonment of a Christian woman in Sudan:

5. It’s like the Alien & Sedition Acts!

Along with comparisons to British control before the American Revolution, amendment opponents are trying to link the Udall proposal to the 18th century Alien & Sedition Acts.

In his interview with Rios yesterday, van Spakovsky claimed that “the last time Congress tried to do something like this was when they passed the Alien & Sedition Act in 1798 that criminalized criticism of the government.” Multiple GOP senators at today’s hearing, including Judiciary Committeee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, repeated the talking point.

Of course, the amendment does nothing to reduce the right of individuals to criticize the government or politicians.

6. The polls are skewed!

When an audience member at yesterday’s Heritage Foundation panel asked about polls showing overwhelming opposition to the Citizens United decision, McGahn replied that the questions in the polls were “skewed.”

You can judge for yourself whether this question from a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll  – which found 80 percent opposition to the Citizens United decision  – is “skewed” on behalf of campaign finance law proponents:

(image via Buzzfeed)

7. What about disclosure?

In one of the least self-aware moments we’ve witnessed in the last few days, McGahn told the Heritage audience that campaign finance reform proponents could have just worked for tougher disclosure requirements, which the Supreme Court’s majority has consistently endorsed as a way to prevent corruption:

What’s interesting is the courts have upheld some disclosure of independent speech, which six months ago was supposed to be the answer, a year ago was supposed to be the answer – remember the DISCLOSE Act, Part 1 and Part 2? Well, that was supposed to cure all the ills in our democracy, but unfortunately I guess they’ve given up on that and they’ve moved to the more radical change, which is the constitutional amendment.

Of course, the DISCLOSE Act – which would have exposed the source of some of the “dark money” behind large campaign expenditures – was blocked by Senate Republicans. And McGahn, when he was at the FEC, fought hard against disclosure requirements proposed in the wake of the Citizens United decision, even though the decision explicitly sanctioned such requirements.

8. The poor don’t participate anyway!

Speaking to the Heritage audience, Burchfield  presented the curious argument that the Udall amendment would demand to "equalize debate among the haves and have-nots,” and since “the portion is small” of “those with limited means” who participate in electoral debates, this would require “severe restrictions.”

The rich do not advocate a single viewpoint. Think of Sheldon Adelson and George Soros, they don’t agree on anything. There are strong voices on the left and on the right, not just in privately funded campaign advertisements, but also in the broadcast and print media. Only a small portion of those with significant resources even bother to participate in the debate. And among those with limited means, the portion is small indeed. In order to equalize debate among the haves and the have-nots, severe restrictions would be necessary. The quantity and quality of discourse would certainly suffer.

The amendment under consideration doesn’t require that everybody be heard an equal amount; instead, it gives Congress and the states the ability to create a more even platform for those who wish to be heard, regardless of their financial means.  

Burchfield's reasoning echoes the arguments of voter-suppression proponents who claim that their laws only inconvenience people who don’t really care about voting anyway.

9. It’s voter suppression!

Although many of the advocates of unlimited, undisclosed money in politics are the same people pushing harmful voter suppression laws, Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas yesterday insisted that it’s actually amendment proponents who are advocating “voter suppression” and want to “silence” critics.

10. Blame Saul Alinsky!

Inevitably, anti-amendment activists have begun invoking the right-wing bogey-man Saul Alinsky.

Hogenson told Rios that the Udall amendment is “just taken right out of Saul Alinksy’s book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ it just makes up a gigantic lie and perpetuates it, that somehow democracy needs to be restored.”

Von Spakovsky also invoked Alinsky in his interview with Rios, claiming that criticism of the enormous political spending of the Koch brothers is an Alinskyite plot: “What’s really going on here is, look, if you look at Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals,’ one of the rules that he sets out is you pick a villain and you basically blame those villains for all of the problems. It’s a way of distracting the public, it’s a way of diverting attention, and that’s exactly what Harry Reid and the Democrats are doing here.”

Tony Perkins Links Effort To Overturn Citizens United To Imprisonment Of Christian Sudanese Woman

On Friday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins — who earlier last week managed to connect the Isla Vista shooting to the Affordable Care Act — tied the imprisonment of a Sudanese Christian woman to a Senate hearing on a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, a ruling which allowed for unrestricted, undisclosed corporate political donations.

Speaking on his radio program, “Washington Watch,” Perkins chastised Democratic leaders like Chuck Schumer — who Perkins said “thinks he understands freedom better than America’s Bill of Rights” — and Mark Udall for opposing the Supreme Court’s 2010 decision.

“The National Archives will need more than bombproofing to protect America’s founding documents,” he warned. Perkins then invited Sen. Pat Roberts onto the show to discuss the proposed amendment.

The Kansas Republican thanked Perkins for not only defending Citizens United but also bringing attention to the imprisonment of Meriam Yehya Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman married to an American who is in jail in Sudan for converting to Christianity. Perkins replied that the two cases are actually related: “The two of them are very connected. In our First Amendment we have our freedom of religion and freedom of speech and we keep our freedom of religion by working to keep our freedom of speech, and political speech is actually what’s under attack here.”

Roberts accused Senate Democrats of trying to “restrict the free speech of those who simply disagree with them.”

Later, Roberts said supporters of a constitutional amendment like Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid seek to “regulate free speech so they can silence their critics and retain their hold on power.”

“This is voter suppression, this is to silence his critics,” he said.

Tony Perkins Manages To Link Isla Vista Massacre To Obamacare

After linking the Isla Vista shooting to gay marriage, now the Family Research Council is somehow trying to use the incident to criticize Obamacare.

On his Tuesday radio show, FRC head Tony Perkins managed to turn a discussion of shooter Elliot Rodger’s misogynist thinking into a right-wing attack on Obamacare, explaining that “nothing is being said about how Hollywood has sexualized everything where it’s almost like Obamacare, you have a right to healthcare, you have a right to sexual gratification, almost.”

Family Research Council Prays To Stop LGBT Pride Month

Angry that a Family Research Council prayer event coincides with LGBT Pride Month, FRC prayer director Pierre Bynum called on members today to pray for God to “stop the advance of this official celebration of sin.”

“Only heaven knows exactly how this brazen departure from the moral law of God will impact our nation,” Bynum said.

LGBT Pride Month - On Call2Fall Sunday, June 29th, the very day believers and churches across America will fall to their knees to pray for our nation, those who self-identify as homosexuals will be celebrating "LGBT Pride Day," a grand finale for June's observance of "LGBT Pride Month." President Obama will announce the observance and the White House, federal agencies, the Pentagon, many state agencies, many businesses and likeminded organizations across America will join the celebration. Only heaven knows exactly how this brazen departure from the moral law of God will impact our nation. But we are called to intercede with an Almighty God (White House Celebrates Activist Harvey Milk, New Postage Stamp 2013 WH Proclamation).

• May the Lord hear out intercessions stop the advance of this official celebration of sin! (Gen 20:18-23; Rom 1:16-32; 3:10 ff; Heb 13:4; Jude 7, 21-25)

American Family Association: Don't Open Letters With Harvey Milk Stamp

Incensed by the release of a postage stamp honoring Harvey Milk, the American Family Association is urging its members not only to avoid purchasing the stamp…but to refuse to accept or open any letter or package postmarked with one.

1. Refuse to accept the Harvey Milk stamp if offered by your local post office. Instead, ask for a stamp of the United States flag.

2. Refuse to accept mail at your home or business if it is postmarked with the Harvey Milk stamp. Simply write 'Return to Sender" on the envelope and tell your postman you won't accept it.

In his daily email alert yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins also attacked the Obama administration for issuing the stamp, linking the move to the imprisonment of a Sudanese mother who is facing the death penalty for her conversion to Christianity: “[T]he Obama administration -- which had more than enough time to throw a party in honor of homosexual activist Harvey Milk -- hasn't had a spare second to demand the freedom of two of America’s youngest citizens.”

FRC also marked the occasion by republishing a 2009 article by senior fellow Peter Sprigg attacking Milk:

Pro-homosexual activists will describe the issue as one of identity – “who they are.” But the real issue is one of behavior – what they do. And what Harvey Milk (like other homosexual activists) wanted was not only the freedom to engage in homosexual sex, but the right to do so without ever being criticized. Milk told one audience that “it is madness to … be ashamed of the sexual act, the act that conceived you. …” Yet homosexual acts never conceived anyone, which is what separates them, undeniably, from heterosexual acts.

Since Harvey Milk died from an assassin’s bullet, over a quarter million American men have died of AIDS, which they contracted because they had sex with other men. What’s truly “madness” is that someone whose only claim to fame is that they promoted such deadly behavior should be honored with a Presidential Medal of Freedom.

Trent Franks Claims Obama Wouldn't Care If Al Qaeda Attacked Texas

Rep. Trent Franks stopped by the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” yesterday to discuss the plight of a Sudanese woman who is facing a death sentence for converting to Christianity.

The Arizona Republican of course managed to blame President Obama for the situation, telling FRC president Tony Perkins that the administration isn’t helping the woman, who is married to a U.S. citizen.

“I wonder if this administration would worry if Al Qaeda took Texas,” he said. “He might say it’s none of our business. It’s just really starting to be something that frightens me terribly and I think it is indicative of why this administration has been so soft on trying to protect religious freedom here.” 

When Perkins joked that Al Qaeda would have a tough time “taking Texas,” Franks responded that Texans “might not get much help from the federal government, from this administration anyway.”

Franks has in the past called Obama an “enemy of humanity,” pushed birther conspiracy theories and suggested the the president is a secret Muslim

Family Research Council Spokesman Links Isla Vista Shooting Spree To Gay Marriage

Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell yesterday linked the Isla Vista mass killings to marriage equality laws, which he claimed are destroying the culture. Speaking with FRC president Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

Blackwell has previously described marriage equality advocates as “opponents of natural marriage.”

FRC Officials Really Want You To Know They Are Definitely Not Gay

We don’t know what happened at Wednesday evening’s Capitol tour for the pastors at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, but in speeches the next day, two FRC officials really wanted to make it clear that they are definitely not gay.

Craig James, the former Fox Sports analyst who was hired by FRC after becoming the Right’s latest anti-gay martyr, began his speech by joking that there should be a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy about the previous night, specifically calling out FRC president Tony Perkins and executive vice president Jerry Boykin. He then joked that Boykin – who once said that the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” led to the military’s “moral decline” and “absolute destruction” – won’t let anyone wear a pink shirt in the FRC office.

Later that afternoon, Perkins was introduced by his hometown pastor, who gave him a hearty hug as he walked to the stage. “Thank you,” Perkins said as he reached the microphone. “I was just glad you didn’t kiss me.”

Harry Jackson: Pastors Need To Fight 'Radical Homosexual Agenda,' Teach That 'God Didn't Make Anyone That Way'

Speaking at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference last week, Bishop Harry Jackson presented his case for pastors “leading the people in civil affairs,” including fighting the “radical homosexual agenda that is trying to take over the nation.”

Jackson counselled the pastors to make sure that every lay leader in their churches can “bring a New Testament apologetic on why homosexuality is not the will of God, why God didn’t make anyone that way, and why it’s all right to speak up, speak out and keep on speaking.”

“We’re not just fighting a political battle, but we’re dealing with principalities and powers and this present darkness in the land,” he added.

EW Jackson Warns ACLU & Freedom From Religion Foundation Are Agents of 'Demonic Power'

Bishop E.W. Jackson, the former Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia who is now a senior fellow at the Family Research Council, spoke at last week’s FRC Watchmen on the Wall conference, where he warned that America is being “threatened from within” and that church-state separation groups like the ACLU and the Freedom From Religion Foundation are literally representatives of “demonic power.”

Jackson told the roomful of conservative pastors that the ACLU and the FFRF are “not simply human beings who disagree with us.” Instead, he said, the groups’ church-state separation efforts come from “demonic power moving to shut down the power of God that comes through prayer.”

Earlier in his speech, Jackson told a story about a woman who his friend met on a plane who was weeping for Israel. While Israel faces risks such as a nuclear Iran, Jackson said, “I wonder if we as Americans are as serious about the fact that we are threatened from within and that there are people who want to fundamentally transform the nature of this country, who really do not believe that we are a providential nation.”

Jackson added a dig at the theory of evolution: “All men are created – not evolved, but created – equal.”


 

GOP Rep. Walberg: Americans 'Slaves' To'Sexual Perversion' & 'Humanism'

Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan was invited to give a greeting from the House of Representatives to yesterday’s Watchmen at the Wall conference, an event for conservative pastors hosted by the Family Research Council. Walberg, himself a former pastor, used the opportunity to preach about how Americans are becoming “slaves” to such things as “sexual perversion,” “humanism,” “government” and “sports.”

The Michigan Republican told the story of the Israelites who returned to Jerusalem where they "read from the book of the law of the LORD" and collectively confessed their sins. Walberg quoted from the book of Nehemiah: “Behold, we are slaves today, and as to the land that you gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty, behold we are slaves in it.”

“Does that bring to mind any other great nation in your frame of reference?” he asked.

“Just to jog your thoughts about that possible other nation that this could be a reference to: Slaves to materialism. Slaves to violence. Slaves to pornography. Slaves to debt. Slaves to sexual perversion. Slaves to gluttony. Slaves to drugs and drunkenness. Slaves to pleasure. Slaves to recreation. Slaves to sports. Slaves to selfishness. Slaves to laziness. Slaves to humanism. Slaves to government.”

Just in case the audience didn’t which country he was referring to, he added that he was talking about Americans.

Rafael Cruz Blames End Of School-Sponsored Prayer For Crime, Teen Pregnancy

Rafael Cruz, the father of Sen. Ted Cruz, spoke at yesterday’s Family Research Council Watchmen on the Wall conference, where he made the case for the conservative pastors in the audience to throw themselves into politics.

Cruz argued that the First Amendment “in no way, shape or form” prevents “the church from having an influence on every area of society, as we should.”

“The church should be influencing the media, should be influencing arts and entertainment, sports, education, business and, yes, government,” he added, just so happening to list five of the seven pillars of Seven Mountains Dominionism.

To illustrate this, Cruz listed various instances where he claims the “church remained silent”: the 1963 ruling eliminating government-sponsored prayer in schools, because of which, he claimed, “teen pregnancy skyrocketed and violent crime skyrocketed”; Roe v. Wade; and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, which he said led to the “erosion of the traditional family.”

“The question is, how long are we going to remain silent?” he said. “But the more important question is, will God hold us accountable for our silence?”

Graham: Pastors Need To Be Willing To 'Get Our Heads Chopped Off' For Opposing Gay Rights

Franklin Graham spoke at the Family Research Council's Watchmen on the Wall conference yesterday where he told the assembled pastors that they all needed to be willing to have their heads chopped off for speaking the truth that gays are bound for hell.

"Are we going to be cowards because we're afraid?," Graham asked the crowd. "Could we get our heads chopped off? We could, maybe one day.  So what? Chop it off!"

Graham went on to assert that he loves gays "enough to care to warn them that if they want to continue living like this, it's the flames of hell for you" and he will continue to do so because he will one day have to answer to God and does not want to be found to have been a coward who refused to preach God's laws:

Ted Cruz Claims Citizens United Repeal Would 'Muzzle' Pastors

When Sen. Ted Cruz told the conservative pastors gathered at the Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference yesterday that “the Senate Democrats are going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” he was met with an audible gasp. He earned more gasps when he warned that this amendment would suppress the political speech rights of the “citizenry” and “muzzle” pastors in their pulpits.

We were surprised too. That would be news!

But then it became clear what he was talking about: Senate leadership is planning to hold a vote on a constitutional amendment overturning the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision and rulings in related campaign finance cases such as this year’s McCutcheon case, which have steadily eliminated the limits on election spending by corporations and wealthy individuals.

The amendment, written by Sen. Tom Udall, would give the federal government and states the “power to regulate the raising and spending of money and in kind equivalents” in elections, as it was allowed to do before the Supreme Court started dismantling campaign finance regulations.

In other words, the amendment would allow Congress and state governments to set limits on the amount that corporations and wealthy individuals can spend to support and oppose candidates. So, unless a pastor also runs a super PAC, it would not affect his life all that much, much less “muzzle” him. But Cruz, employing the Religious Right’s persecution rhetoric, claims that “41 Democrats have signed on to repealing the First Amendment” because “they don’t like it when the citizenry in their community has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done” and “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”

Tony Perkins Says Marriage Equality Will Lead To The 'Dissolution Of The Republic'

Tony Perkins, who has previously claimed that marriage equality will lead to a “revolution” and “break this nation apart,” told Janet Mefferd yesterday that he believes advances in gay rights are bringing about the “dissolution of the republic.”

The Family Research Council president told Mefferd that the marriage debate is “is literally about the entire culture: it’s about the rule of law, it’s about the country, it’s about our future, it’s about redefining the curriculum in our schools, it’s about driving a wedge between parent and child, it’s about the loss of religious freedom, it’s about the inability to be who we are as a people.”

Perkins said gay rights advocates are “sowing the seeds of the disillusion of our republic.”

“Once we lose the rule of law, we’ve lost what holds us together and 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,” he said.

Army Reprimands Ex-General Turned Religious Right Leader Jerry Boykin

Back in 2003, President Bush repeatedly rebuked then-General Jerry Boykin for giving public speeches framing the war on terror as a holy war between Christianity and Islam, speeches that also violated military rules.

Boykin then retired from the military and has since become a full-fledged Religious Right activist who campaigns against the rights of Muslim-Americans and gay people in his role as executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

The Washington Post reports today that last year the Army issued “a scathing reprimand following a criminal investigation that concluded [Boykin] had wrongfully released classified information" in a book he published in 2008.

The reprimand [PDF], released in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, says that Boykin “violated [the] Uniform Code of Military Justice” for his “wrongful disclosure of classified information” and “conduct prejudicial to good order and discipline in the armed forces.”

The Department of the Army found that Boykin’s book, “Never Surrender: A Soldier’s Journey to the Crossroads of Faith and Freedom,” had “disclosed classified information” and failed to undergo a “classification review before the book’s publication.” The reprimand goes on to cite Boykin’s “gross lack of judgment” and “unprofessional behavior.”

Boykin, however, insists that the reprimand was driven by politics:

Asked why he was reprimanded, Boykin questioned the Army’s motivation, insisting that he had received approval to write his book before it was released and that all information in it had been disclosed previously in other books, movies and news reports.

“You draw your own conclusions,” Boykin told The Post. “Why would they reopen it? What was the purpose of reprimanding me basically five years after they started an investigation? Did it take that long to determine whether I had written anything classified?”



Boykin told The Post that if he “realized there would be this many accusations hurled against me,” he probably would have submitted “Never Surrender” for a Pentagon review before it was published. He didn’t fight the reprimand because he was retired and did not see a point to doing so, he said.

“Any reprimand has to be taken seriously, so I don’t want to come across as flippant about it,” he said. “But at this stage in my life, it really hasn’t had any impact on my life like it would have if it had happened when I was on active duty.”

In Response To Uganda Documentary, IHOP Says It's 'Not Involved' in Politics

“God Loves Uganda,” a documentary about American evangelical involvement in inflaming anti-gay sentiment in that country, made its debut at last year’s Sundance Festival and reached a broader audience through this week’s broadcast on public television. The attention from this week’s broadcast has provoked a response from the International House of Prayer (IHOP).

Filmmaker Ross Williams was given extensive access to IHOP leaders, including evangelist Lou Engle, who believes Uganda has a special prophetic destiny.  The documentary includes footage of Engle at a rally with supporters of the infamous Anti-Homosexuality Act, where he tells the crowd he was “called” to encourage the Ugandan church for standing up for “righteousness” in the face of international pressure to drop the bill.  IHOP now says it has never supported the anti-gay law.

Charisma Magazine’s Jennifer LeClaire writes that IHOP and Lou Engle are being “falsely accused of ‘demonizing’ homosexuals in Uganda.” IHOP’s response says that while it believes all sex outside of the marriage of one man and one woman is sinful, “We honor the dignity and rights of all whose opinion differs from ours” and that IHOP is “open to civil dialogue and mutual respect.” The filmmakers, says IHOP, “pursued a deceptive means to achieve a hateful, polarizing result.”

In fact, Engle is a remarkably polarizing figure who has frequently describes those who disagree with him on abortion and marriage as being in league with Satan in a confrontation between good an evil. “God Loves Uganda” includes footage of Engle’s pro-Prop. 8 rally in California at which he warned that allowing same-sex couples to get married would unleash “sexual insanity” and a spirit “more demonic than Islam.” In 2011, he organized an event in Detroit that was pitched to local pastors as a unity event for people of faith to pray for Detroit’s economy when its actual purpose was to “invade Dearborn” and convert followers of “demonic” Islam to Christianity.

Perhaps the most laughable statement in IHOP’s response is this:

Our primary mandate as an organization is prayer and humanitarian action; it is not political. We are not involved in U.S. politics, let alone politics in another nation.

Not involved in US politics? Where do we begin?

Lou Engle, an IHOP co-founder, is a dominionist who believes the church’s role is to “rule history with God.”

"The church’s vocation is to rule history with God...The same authority that has been given to Christ Jesus for overwhelming conquering and dominion has been given to the saints of the most high....We’re God’s rulers upon the earth...We will govern over kings and judges will have to submit...We’re called to rule! To change history! To be co-regents with God!"

Engle has been intensely involved in US politics, hosting “The Call” prayer rallies in election years to denounce legal abortion and politicians that support it. He worked hard to mobilize support for anti-gay Proposition 8 in California.

In 2008 he passionately opposed the election of Barack Obama and declared that by choosing Sarah Palin as his running mate, McCain had “gone to war for America, for our families, and for our children. And this war, we cannot afford to lose.”

In 2009, Engle introduced Rep. Michele Bachmann and asked her to lead a prayer at an anti-health-care-reform “prayercast” organized by the Family Research Council.

More recently IHOP and its leader Mike Bickel were at the center of organizing dominionist leaders to put on “The Awakening,” a 2011 prayer rally that served as the launch of Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s 2012 presidential campaign. Bickel served as the event’s MC. The head of IHOP’s Tallahassee branch, Pam Oslen, was on the Perry campaign’s Florida leadership team.

Tony Perkins Falsely Claims Obama Was Too Busy Pushing Gay Rights 'To Acknowledge Armed Forces Day'

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins thinks he has caught President Obama in a mini-scandal, claiming in his daily email to members Monday that Obama “couldn’t be bothered to acknowledge Armed Forces Day” because he was too busy finding “time to lecture Americans on an agenda tearing apart the very military he ignored.

He was referring to the president’s acknowledgment of the International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, two terms Perkins put in quotation marks.

Everyone else's eyes are wide open, thanks to the avalanche of attacks thundering down on anyone with a natural view on marriage -- from network television and bank brokers to Internet companies and city councils. Even the President of the United States, who only recently hopped aboard the same-sex "marriage" express, is piling on with outlandish public statements against a sentiment he used to share. On the 10th anniversary of Massachusetts's court-imposed same-sex "marriage," the White House marked the day by railing against "homophobia" and "transphobia." The same President who couldn't be bothered to acknowledge Armed Forces Day found more than enough time to lecture Americans on an agenda tearing apart the very military he ignored. And if these polls are any indication, his heavy-handed approach is already backfiring -- a fact the GOP would be wise to capitalize on.

Perkins, unsurprisingly, was wrong.

As Adam Weinstein notes, it only takes a few seconds of Googling to find Obama’s proclamation recognizing Armed Forces Day.

Presidential Proclamation -- Armed Forces Day, 2014

ARMED FORCES DAY, 2014

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA A PROCLAMATION

In every generation, there are men and women who stand apart. They put on the uniform and put their lives on the line so the rest of us might live in a safer, freer, more just world. They defend us in times of peace, times of war, and times of crisis, both natural and man-made. On Armed Forces Day, we honor the Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who render the highest service any American can offer.

The patriots who stand sentry for our security are a proud link in an unbroken chain that stretches through the centuries. This generation has distinguished itself on mission after mission, tour after tour. Because of their heroism, the core of al-Qaeda is severely degraded and our homeland is more secure. Thanks to their extraordinary sacrifice, we are winding down more than a decade of war and strengthening alliances that extend our values. These are the gifts they have given us, and this is why we owe them a profound debt of gratitude.

It is our obligation to ensure our troops have all they need to complete their missions abroad, but we must also support them when they return home. We must care for the families who serve alongside them and fulfill our promises today, tomorrow, and forever. And we must demonstrate our thanks by building a Nation worthy of their sacrifices, a Nation that lives up to our founding ideals and allows every citizen to write their chapter of the American story.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, continuing the precedent of my predecessors in office, do hereby proclaim the third Saturday of each May as Armed Forces Day.

I direct the Secretary of Defense on behalf of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, and the Secretary of Homeland Security on behalf of the Coast Guard, to plan for appropriate observances each year, with the Secretary of Defense responsible for encouraging the participation and cooperation of civil authorities and private citizens.

I invite the Governors of the States, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and other areas subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, to provide for the observance of Armed Forces Day within their jurisdiction each year in an appropriate manner designed to increase public understanding and appreciation of the Armed Forces of the United States. I also invite veterans, civic leaders, and organizations to join in the observance of Armed Forces Day.

Finally, I call upon all Americans to display the flag of the United States at their homes on Armed Forces Day, and I urge citizens to learn more about military service by attending and participating in the local observances of the day. I also encourage Americans to volunteer at organizations that provide support to our troops and their families.

Proclamation 8984 of May 17, 2013, is hereby superseded.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this sixteenth day of May, in the year of our Lord two thousand fourteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-eighth.

BARACK OBAMA

Right Wing Leftovers - 5/16/14

  • Liberty Counsel filed an amicus brief in Michigan’s marriage equality case, insisting that “it would be rational for the voters of Michigan to seek to minimize the deleterious effects” of “homosexual activity.”
  • The editor of Matt Barber’s website shows his “overwhelming love” for gay people by explaining that homosexuality “is destroying your life.”

Benham Brothers Reveal What Love And Liberty Mean To The Religious Right

Benham Brothers Reveal What Love and Liberty Mean To the Religious Right
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