Family Research Council

New PFAW Report Examines Groups Fighting to Block SCOTUS Confirmation

Today, People For the American Way released a new report examining the role of right-wing groups pushing GOP senators to refuse giving fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee to the Supreme Court, no matter who the nominee may be.

The report profiles four of the most influential groups representing the Religious Right and business interests who have come together to mount a public pressure campaign to convince senators to block whomever President Obama nominates.

  • The Judicial Crisis Network was founded during the George W. Bush administration as the Judicial Confirmation Network with the goal of pushing through the nominations and confirmations of far-right judges to the federal bench.
  • The American Center for Law & Justice, founded by televangelist Pat Robertson often acts as a legal arm for the Religious Right’s attempts to deny liberties to LGBT people, Muslim Americans and others.
  • The Heritage Foundation and Heritage Action have become forces for obstructionism as they pressure Republicans to abandon any attempt at bipartisan cooperation or simple governance.
  • The Family Research Council is working to turn back the clock on social advances for women, LGBT people and religious minorities — something that it hopes a friendly Supreme Court will accelerate.

“Americans expect their senators to do their job and give fair consideration to President Obama’s nominee,” said Marge Baker, Executive Vice President at People For the American Way. “Instead, we’re seeing GOP senators follow the lead of right-wing groups and politicians like Ted Cruz and Donald Trump. That might win favor with Republicans’ right-wing base, but it also highlights the party’s campaign of obstruction and gridlock.”

Read the report here.

For questions about the report or to schedule an interview, please contact Laura Epstein (lepstein@pfaw.org).

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Tony Perkins Hits Trump Over David Duke Endorsement, Despite His Own Duke Connection

Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke’s support for Donald Trump, and the GOP presidential frontrunner’s initial refusal to condemn him, must be awkward news for Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

Perkins, a prominent endorser of Ted Cruz and one of the senator’s top campaign surrogates, had his own history with Duke when the two were involved in Louisiana politics in the 1990s:

Perkins previously served as a state lawmaker in Louisiana and unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2002. His career was not without controversy: He spoke at least twice to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens and reportedly “paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list” while working as the campaign manager for failed U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins. “The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke,” reported The Nation.

While Perkins’ group, the Family Research Council, insisted that “Mr. Perkins profoundly opposes the racial views of Mr. Duke and was profoundly grieved to learn that Duke was a party to the company that had done work for the 1996 campaign,” that didn’t stop Perkins from speaking years later to the CCC, a group that aims to “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”

Which brings us to the Monday edition of Perkins’ “Washington Watch” radio show, where a caller who identified as a Cruz supporter said she wanted people to know that “Donald Trump is being backed by the Ku Klux Klan.”

Perkins told the caller he was “glad to hear” that Trump disavowed Duke and the Klan, noting that days later Trump had said that “he didn’t know who David Duke was.”

“Let me just say there’s no room for racism and hatred in our national politics of that sort, based upon those immutable characteristics of race,” Perkins said. “I hope he does disavow any type of support like that.”

While he is rightfully upset that Trump feigned ignorance about Duke, Perkins may want to refresh his memory about his own relationship with Duke and white nationalists.

Tony Perkins: Obama's 'Cultural Time Bombs' Will Destroy America

On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, about why the Senate must rebuff any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Obama, a conversation which led Perkins to warn about the imminent demise of the U.S.

Perkins urged Senate Republicans to hold the line in their refusal to consider a new justice until next year, claiming that the Senate would be protecting the Constitution by refusing to carry out its constitutional duties.

A new justice appointed by Obama, he warned, will undermine “the fabric of our Constitution and the republic will be at risk.” (Four years ago, Perkins similarly asserted that Obama’s re-election would mean the destruction of America).

Perkins, after praising us here at Right Wing Watch because “I don’t say anything that I don’t want exposed,” repeated his claim that the 2016 election could be the last election ever held in America unless the next president stops Obama’s “cultural time bombs” from exploding:

Every election is important because of what this president, President Barack Hussein Obama, has done in the last seven-plus years, we have moved this nation to a point that the next president cannot be a Republican who simply does business as usual and stops some of the bad stuff. This president went beyond pushing the envelope.

He has planted cultural time bombs that will eventually go off. The next president has to undo those and render them safe and turn this nation around and that means you’re going to have to have an aggressive leader. And if we don’t have that, I’m convinced that as a republic, we won’t long survive. The country as a geographical land mass will continue, but the republic, the 240 years that we’ve had, I’m not sure we’ll have another election.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/19/16

  • Peter LaBarbera denounces Theodore Shoebat's statement that Jesus would kill gays after Shoebat called LaBarbera a "filthy pig" a few weeks ago.
  • E.W. Jackson has a plan to get evangelicals to vote by mobilizing pastors. Gee, that is original.
  • "Coach" Dave Daubenmire says that "America is being controlled by perverted thoughts being promoted by perverted people.  Perverted sense has replaced common sense."
  • Just what America needs: "Today CRTV announced the launch of LevinTV, hosted by one of the nation’s most compelling, passionate and thoughtful Conservative voices, Mark Levin."
  • It's amusing to see FRC's Tony Perkins try to pretend there is something deeply honorable about blindly blocking anyone President Obama nominates to replace Antonin Scalia: "As I talk with GOP members of the Senate, I’m encouraged to hear that most are ready to stand against the political bullying of Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.). It won’t be easy, but there’s no greater way to honor Justice Scalia’s legacy than showing the same tenacity that characterized it."
  • Finaly, FRC prays for the pastor convicted of helping "ex-gay" Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and flee the country: "May God strongly support Pastor Miller, Lisa and young Isabella, who have embraced prison and exile rather than violate their faith and conscience ... Pray, too, for the sexually confused people, the judges, politicians and voters who have imposed this confusion upon our youth and nation."

Cruz: 'Disastrous' Marriage Equality Ruling Led To 'Persecution' That's 'Unprecedented'

In an interview yesterday with conservative Christian broadcaster Janet Mefferd, Sen. Ted Cruz once again touted his support from anti-gay leaders including the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the National Organization for Marriage, saying that anti-gay conservatives support him because he knows that the Supreme Court’s “disastrous” and “fundamentally illegitimate” marriage equality decision has led to “unprecedented” persecution.

Cruz told Mefferd that “we are seeing an assault on religious liberty from Washington that is unprecedented,” citing a number of his favorite cases of people supposedly being persecuted by running afoul of state or local nondiscrimination policies, almost none of which have stemmed from the federal government.

Claiming that “these threats are growing and growing,” Cruz said that “much of this persecution is the fruit of the Supreme Court’s disastrous gay marriage ruling last year” — never mind that every single one of the incidents he referenced happened before the ruling and were in no way connected to it.

Cruz declared that it was “very sad” that some of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination called the Obergefell ruling “settled law,” which is, he said, why anti-gay leaders have flocked to endorse him.

“I believe that decision was fundamentally illegitimate, it was lawless, it was unconstitutional and it will not stand,” he said. “And I would note, that is precisely why Dr. James Dobson has endorsed me in this campaign, it is why Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has endorsed me in this campaign, it’s why the National Organization on Marriage [sic] has endorsed me on this campaign and has said it cannot support Donald Trump or Marco Rubio because if we’re not willing to defend marriage, we are giving up the foundational building blocks of the family, we’re giving up the Judeo-Christian values that built this great nation.”

Surprise! Tony Perkins Lies About Obama's Response To Scalia's Death

On Saturday, about an hour after officials confirmed the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would try to block the confirmation of any person President Obama nominated to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court. One White House aide told Politico that although the administration wasn’t surprised by McConnell’s commitment to obstruction, the speed with which he vowed a fight after Scalia’s death was a “real shocker.”

Some of McConnell’s fellow senators and conservative pressure groups — including the Family Research Council — quickly echoed his call to obstruction.

Later on Saturday evening, President Obama delivered short remarks commemorating Scalia and responding directly to McConnell’s threat by saying that he planned to nominate a new Supreme Court justice in “due time” and called on the Senate “to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

But in the world of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, what really happened was that President Obama politicized the justice’s death, forcing McConnell and his fellow senators to “fire back.”

In an email to supporters yesterday, Perkins accused Obama of violating a nonexistent “80-year tradition of leaving an election-year vacancy to the next president,” prompting noble GOP senators to contradict him:

There are dozens of high-profile cases pending before the Court -- including the key conservative battles over the Texas abortion law and the conscience rights of Little Sisters of the Poor. While the Court copes with Scalia's absence, the White House seems intent on nominating his replacement, despite the 80-year tradition of leaving an election-year vacancy to the next president. Invoking the Constitution he has selective use for, President Obama told reporters it was his "duty" to submit a name to the U.S. Senate for confirmation. Of course, the greatest insult to Justice Scalia's memory would be to appoint a replacement in the mold of Obama, who's spent seven years trampling on the Constitution on the way to his own personal policy goals.

Almost immediately, Senate leaders fired back, insisting that voters were less than nine months away from selecting a new president -- and, following eight decades of tradition, Scalia's replacement should be left to that person. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others in insisting there would be no confirmation "The fact of the matter is that it's been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year," Mr. Grassley said. "Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court justice."

Conservative Groups Circle The Wagons On SCOTUS Obstruction

When the news broke of Justice Antonin Scalia’s death on Saturday, Republicans in the Senate almost immediately vowed to block the nomination of any person President Obama puts forward to fill the empty Supreme Court seat.

Conservative groups quickly followed suit, putting forward various rationales for keeping a Supreme Court seat open for more than a year in the hopes that a Republican is elected president in November.

Some of these activists made variations on the false claim that the Senate never confirms judicial nominees during election years. Others warned of dire consequences for America if the president is allowed a Supreme Court pick. One activist going so far as to claim that Scalia’s seat should be kept vacant in perpetuity until a Republican is elected president.

Conservative legal activist Ed Whelan said it would be “grossly irresponsible” to let Obama pick the next justice:

Senate Republicans would be grossly irresponsible to allow President Obama, in the last months of his presidency, to cement a liberal majority that will wreak havoc on the Constitution. Let the people decide in November who will select the next justice.

Whelan also told “Breitbart News Daily” that “we are at risk of really losing the Supreme Court and losing the Constitution.”

The American Center for Law and Justice ’s Jay Sekulow said that President Obama was perfectly free to nominate a conservative to replace Scalia:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley are both committed to letting the American people decide at the ballot box this November, letting our 45th President appoint Justice Scalia’s replacement. While President Obama remains free to appoint a conservative committed to upholding the Constitution as his replacement, he has given us no reason to believe he would.

So the American people should get to decide.

This is a prime opportunity for all branches of government to show that we still have a “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network (formerly the Judicial Confirmation Network), said President Obama is the “last person” who should be nominating the next Supreme Court justice:

… This president, who has shown such contempt for the Constitution and the laws, is the last person who should be appointing his successor. The American people on both sides of the aisle are disgusted with the status quo in Washington and another nomination by this President would just bring about more of the same. The people’s voice should be heard in November to determine who will appoint the next Supreme Court Justice.”

Mat Staver, head of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel (which represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and is now representing an anti-Planned Parenthood activist) declared that the “future of the Supreme Court and America” depends on the Senate blocking any Obama nominee:

“With the passing of Justice Scalia, the future of the High Court and the future of America is hanging in the balance. The Senate must not confirm any nominee to the Supreme Court from President Obama. The Senate must hold off any confirmation until the next President is seated. Unfortunately the presidential debates have been more theater and less substance about the real issues surrounding the Supreme Court. The election of the next President has now taken on even greater importance. The future of the Supreme Court and America now depends on the Senate blocking any nominee by President Obama and the people electing the right person to occupy the White House,” said Staver.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins echoed the call to hold Scalia's seat open:

"The Supreme Court has now become the centerpiece in this presidential election. There has not been an election-year nomination in generations and the Senate must not break that trend now. With the election only 269 days away, the people should decide what president should fill this seat," concluded Perkins.

As did the American Family Association’s Buddy Smith:

We cannot allow President Obama to replace him with a judicial activist. Activist judges have mangled the Constitution almost beyond recognition, and we cannot allow Justice Scalia to be replaced by a justice who will continue to shred the Constitution rather than protect it and uphold it.

While the Constitution gives the president the right to nominate Supreme Court justices, it also gives the Senate the right to reject them. The Constitution does not even require an unacceptable nominee be given a vote on the floor.

Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest said, “His loss is tragic, and we hope that when it comes time for the Senate to vote on his replacement, that a worthy successor who can pick up his banner can be found after the election.”

Alan Sears, head of Alliance Defending Freedom, hedged his bets, saying that “it is unlikely that a new justice will be installed prior to the election of our next president.

Janet Porter of Faith 2 Action declared, “The best way to honor Justice Scalia’s legacy is to make sure there is no Obama nominee confirmed by the U.S. Senate.”

Troy Newman, head of the anti-abortion group Operation Rescue and a member of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, warned that if Obama were to nominate the next justice, America would become a “totalitarian government”:

"With the passing of the esteemed Justice Scalia, America stands at a crossroads. Will she choose the path of fascism or freedom? We are just one Obama appointee away from a totalitarian government. Two years ago, the GOP promised the American people that, if elected, they would thwart Obama's radical leftist agenda. This is the GOP's moment. Will it shine as a light for liberty in this dark moment or will that light be extinguished by political appeasement?" asked Operation Rescue President Troy Newman.

John Zmirak, editor of James Robison’s website The Stream, went even further, saying that if the next president is a Democrat, a Republican Senate should still refuse to confirm any of their judicial nominees:

But they should go further. As long as Republicans control the Senate, there is no excuse for any pro-choice, anti-gun rights, anti-marriage justices to be confirmed to our highest court. If, God forbid, Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton is elected, they should face a Republican Senate — or even a GOP minority — that will obstruct their every judicial appointment, even if it means leaving key seats on national benches empty, for years at a time. As justices retire or die, the court will simply grow smaller. Big deal. America will muddle through. This is the kind of implacable determination that defeated the solidly conservative Justice Bork and got us the muddled Anthony Kennedy — and Casey v. Planned Parenthood and Obergefell. It is time for that worm to turn.

Conservatives must drop the facade of high-minded bipartisanship, which only ever cuts to the left. The courts have staggering power to change our lives, and damage our country. They can kill our nation’s unborn babies, seize our guns and punish our churches. If GOP senators aren’t willing to fight long, hard and relentlessly to stop that from happening, we should find other senators who can, back them in the next primary election, and cripple the re-election of squishy moderate turncoats. A presidential candidate who appreciates all this will get my vote. And I think he’ll earn yours.

Tony Perkins: America May Never Have Another Election If We Don't Elect Ted Cruz

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins introduced Glenn Beck at a campaign rally for Ted Cruz in South Carolina light night, where he warned that if America does not elect a bold Christian leader like Cruz, the nation might not have another presidential election ever again.

"I'm here because I decided that too much was a stake to sit on the sidelines," Perkins said, "that I couldn't just sit there and talk about it and do commentary about it; that I wanted to use what influence I had with Christians around this country to say that I've talked to all these candidates, I have vetted the candidates and from my vantage point in Washington, D.C., I can tell you America is in trouble."

"We don't have the latitude to get it wrong one more time," he warned. "If we don't elect a bold, courageous, godly leader in this next election, I'm afraid we may not have another election for our republic. That's not hyperbole. That's the reality based upon what this president's policies have done to this nation."

Perkins, who helped rally Religious Right leaders behind Cruz's campaign, made a similar prediction back in 2012, when he repeatedly warned that America would not survive a second Obama presidential term.

Ted Cruz Announces Endorsement From Jerry Boykin, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theorist

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign announced the support of yet another far-right figure today, issuing a press release touting the endorsement of Lt. General Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Boykin first gained notoriety when he was publicly rebuked by the Bush administration for giving speeches framing American military conflicts in the Middle East as a religious conflict between “our God” and Satan. After retiring from the Army, Boykin threw himself into Religious Right activism, eventually landing the number-two post at the Family Research Council. (Boykin's boss, anti-gay extremist Tony Perkins, is also a Cruz endorser.)

Boykin’s career in the military came under further scrutiny last year when the Intercept reported that Boykin — who now frequently accuses the Obama administration of persecuting Christians at home and abroad — created a Pentagon program that used unwitting missionaries as spies.

His career as an activist has featured plenty of the same Holy War rhetoric for which he first became known, combined with conspiracy theories about President Obama as a terrorist sympathizer and a vision of Jesus as a “man’s man” who will return carrying an AR-15. He is deeply involved in both anti-Muslim activism and the fringe “dominionist” movement that seeks conservative Christian control over the U.S. government.

Just a few lowlights of Boykin’s career:

  • Thinks Christians should act more like ISIS and be “willing to die” for their God.

  • Blamed Obama and his supporters for the shooting at an Oregon community college, adding that we here at Right Wing Watch use “the exact same tactics” as ISIS and Al Qaeda to encourage attacks on Christians.

  • Suggested that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to the “absolute destruction” of our military.
  • Said that “God’s army” must fight the “evil” of gay rights.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/10/16

  • Do you want to see Johnny Depp as Donald Trump? Of course you do!
  • Ted Cruz's latest campaign prayer call featured Doug Stringer, who has been deeply involved in organizing the various "The Response" prayer rallies. 
  • This upcoming FRC event ought to be enlightening: "Bruce or Caitlyn? Why Everyone Should Care About the Transgender Movement." 
  • A presidential forum on racial reconciliation hosted by CBN's David Brody will probably likewise be very enlightening.
  • Chris Christie and Carly Fioria have become the latest GOP presidential candidates to drop out.
  • Finally, Scott Lively asserts that ISIS, just like the Nazis, is driven by a "super-macho male homosexual culture": "A sexual dynamic driven by super-macho Butch 'gays' who reject the 'homosexual' label and feel no compunction about hurting or killing Femmes, but whose members have always been at the core of male homosexual culture. They are the brutes who 'bash gays' even while living as sodomites themselves."

Tony Perkins: The Draft Is Coming Back, Thanks Obama

At last Saturday’s GOP presidential debate, several Republican candidates expressed openness to having women register with the Selective Service after the Army and Marine Corps chiefs said that the U.S. should make such a move, much to the dismay of the Religious Right.

Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke with ex-Rep. Michele Bachmann, both of whom were stunned that Republican leaders would get behind the policy change, which they said would be disastrous for the military.

Perkins kicked things off by warning that “there is a very good likelihood that we could see the draft” in the near future because “the policies of this administration” have weakened the military and “made the world a very dangerous place.” (Back in 2010, Perkins said that “the president’s drive to repeal the ban on open homosexuality in the military” could “bring back the draft.”)

Bachmann said she was “shocked” by the candidates’ remarks in the debate, saying that “it’s crazy.”

“This is a radical idea,” she said. “It’s a darling of the left that’s been put forward actually for several decades but it is put forward, interestingly, by people who tend to be not fans of the military and it’s people who are on this wild tear to bring about the end of male-female. At the core of this argument really, Tony, is that gender doesn’t matter. We’ve seen it in the marriage debate, but we see it now in this combat readiness debate.”

Marco Rubio Boasts Of Perfect Score From Hate Group

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., cited his high score from an anti-gay hate group yesterday to insist that he is “as conservative as anyone running in this race.”

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes asked Rubio about conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly’s recent tirade against him, in which she warned that Rubio was only pretending to be a conservative in the presidential race in order to “pull off one big con.”

Rubio responded by touting his perfect voting scores from groups such as National Right to Life Committee, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity, the corporate lobbying group National Federation for Independent Business, the National Rifle Association and the Family Research Council.

The Family Research Council has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for its extreme stances on homosexuality, including its leaders’ defense of Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill and call for the U.S. to “export” gay people

Rubio added that in the area of immigration reform, which was Schlafly’s biggest concern, he would “secure our boarder and only after the border is secure will we be able to do anything else and it won’t be amnesty and sanctuary cities will lose their funding and criminal aliens will be immediately deported.” 

Cruz Endorser Connects East Coast Blizzard With North Dakota Abortion Ruling

Mike Bickle, the far-right pastor whose endorsement was recently embraced by Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, joined a group of anti-abortion activists today in linking a blizzard that hit the East Coast last month to a Supreme Court decision on abortion rights in North Dakota.

Bickle joined anti-abortion activists including Priests for Life’s Alveda King, the Family Research Council’s Pierre Bynum and Mark Gonzalez of the United States Hispanic Prayer and Action Network in signing a statement distributed by the Texas based Justice Foundation calling for a month of “national prayers and repentance” leading up to the Supreme Court arguments in Whole Woman’s Health v. Cole, the Texas abortion laws case.

“We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America,” the statement warns, noting that a blizzard hit Washington on the same day that the Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal of a lower court ruling striking down North Dakota’s restrictive anti-abortion “heartbeat” bill.

These leaders agree with the statement: "We tremble for our country when we remember that God is just and that His justice never sleeps. We fear that the judgment of Almighty God, which is designed to be merciful, and the wrath of God, will come upon the United States of America. God hates the shedding of innocent blood." But there is hope for our nation if Christians will pray! "If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among My people, and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land." II Chronicles 7:13-14. We believe that the role of the SCOTUS is to affirm God given rights to every individual throughout ALL stages of LIFE.

We are calling for national prayers of repentance from February 3 to March 4. On January 22, the Jonas storm, which also means Jonah, hit Washington, D.C. That same day the Supreme Court denied North Dakota the right to ban abortion and help women with child care. We urge everyone to pray every day for the Supreme Court and America to repent. From February 3 to March 4, we are urging prayer groups to cooperate in mobilizing the Body of Christ to 24/7 non-stop prayer for the SCOTUS.

On March 2, the Supreme Court will hear the Texas case which calls for ambulatory surgical centers and hospital admitting privileges. We all will have another opportunity to repent for the sin of abortion through this case.

Ted Cruz Promotes Anti-Choice Activist Who Wants Abortion Doctors Executed

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign launched a “Pro-Lifers for Cruz” coalition yesterday, which is to be chaired by the leader of an anti-gay hate group and a radical anti-choice activist who has written that a just society would execute abortion providers.

Tony Perkins, president of the virulently anti-gay Family Research Council, is to chair the group, while Troy Newman of Operation Rescue is one of its 10 co-chairs.

Stunningly, in its short biography of Newman, the Cruz campaign mentions that he is the author of a book called “Their Blood Cries Out”:

Troy Newman is the president of Operation Rescue, one of the leading pro-life Christian activist organizations in the nation and a founding board member for the Center for Medial Progress. He has been involved in the pro-life community for over 20 years, starting in 1991 as the Operation Rescue West president. He is also a published author, having written Their Blood Cries Out and his most recent book Abortion Free.

We have reviewed both “Abortion Free” and “Their Blood Cries Out” here at Right Wing Watch. In “Their Blood Cries Out,” written in 2000 and revised in 2003, Newman lays out the case for churches to oppose abortion rights, saying that by failing to follow what he says is the biblical response to abortion — executing abortion providers and treating women who have abortions as “murderers” — the country is mired in “bloodguilt” and is awaiting the judgment of God. In the meantime, Newman writes, the U.S. has experienced “warnings” from God about legal abortion, including the HIV/AIDS epidemic and the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

More recently, Newman has alleged that the drought in California is a result of that state’s liberal abortion laws:

Newman has recently gained prominence in the anti-choice movement thanks to his role in starting the Center for Medical Progress, the group behind a series of videos attacking Planned Parenthood. (The group’s leader, David Daleiden, is currently facing a felony indictment related to his attempt to infiltrate the health care provider.) Newman has said that the goal of the project was to “destroy” Planned Parenthood, part of his long campaign of harassment and intimidation against the group and other abortion providers.

Although he renounces extrajudicial violence against abortion providers, Newman has argued that the murderer of an abortion provider in Florida should have been able to argue that the act was justifiable homicide meant to “save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.” When another abortion provider died of leukemia, Newman put out a press release rejoicing in his death. Newman's second-in-command at Operation Rescue is Cheryl Sullenger, who spent time in federal prison in the 1980s for conspiring to bomb an abortion clinic.

Perkins, although he is most infamous for his over-the-top anti-gay activism, has similarly warned that God will judge America for legal abortion and implied that Christians who support abortion rights aren’t true believers.

Ted Cruz Embraces Hate Group Leader Tony Perkins

Last night, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins officially endorsed Ted Cruz for president during an interview with Fox News host Megyn Kelly. Perkins’ endorsement was long expected, as he has worked behind the scenes to coalesce Religious Right leaders behind Cruz’s candidacy.

Perkins is just the latest anti-gay extremist to endorse Cruz, who in a press release hailed Perkins as “a man of incredible principle and faith” and “a steadfast fighter for the principles that have made this country a shining beacon for liberty.”

Before leading FRC, Perkins was a Republican politician in Louisiana who, as we noted back in December, “spoke at least twice to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens and reportedly ‘paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list’ while working as the campaign manager for failed U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins.”

Perkins has used his post at FRC to defend Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” bill and to call gay rights advocates pawns of Satan, warning that the gay rights movement is part of a “population control” conspiracy that will lead to a Holocaust of Christians, mass death and terrorism.

No fan of religious liberty, Perkins has denounced civil rights for Muslim-Americans and adherents of “fringe religions” and suggested that liberal Christians shouldn’t have the same rights as conservative ones.

Perkins’ extremism and holier-than-thou attitude, of course, makes him a perfect fit for Cruz’s campaign.

Tony Perkins: Reagan Would Never Have Negotiated With Iran!

Yesterday, Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, spoke with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on the “Washington Watch” radio program about the U.S. prisoner swap with Iran, with both expressing outrage about the deal.

The two appeared to believe that this is the first time ever that the U.S. has negotiated such an agreement, with Poe insisting that now governments or groups that detain Americans will expect to barter with the U.S. government for other prisoners or money, which apparently they never thought of before the negotiations with Iran.

Perkins said that Ronald Reagan would have never made such a deal: “Long gone are the days of Ronald Reagan when we said, ‘We don’t negotiate with terrorists.’ Now we make all kinds of deals and it just appears that America comes out on the short end of the deal.”

Perkins may want to read up on Reagan and the Iran-Contra affair.

Here’s a helpful summary from the Washington Post:

… The Reagan administration sold arms to Iran, a country desperate for materiel during its lengthy war with Iraq; in exchange for the arms, Iran was to use its influence to help gain the release of Americans held hostage in Lebanon; and the arms were purchased at high prices, with the excess profits diverted to fund the Reagan-favored "contras" fighting the Sandinista government in Nicaragua.

It was a grand scheme that violated American law and policy all around: Arms sales to Iran were prohibited; the U.S. government had long forbidden ransom of any sort for hostages; and it was illegal to fund the contras above the limits set by Congress.

Paul Rosenberg adds that the Reagan administration “got zero net hostages released, and one dead hostage’s body dumped,” by Iranian-linked terrorist groups in Lebanon “in return for 2,512 TOW anti-tank missiles, 18 Hawk anti-aircraft missiles and more than 240 Hawk spare parts” that the U.S. illegally shipped to the Iranian government.

Not to mention the cover-up.

This is far from the Right’s first case of creative memory when it comes to Reagan.

Seven GOP Candidates Seek To Out-Pander One Another In Courting The Religious Right

Last week, we noted that several Republican presidential candidates were scheduled to participate in a "Free to Believe" broadcast hosted by notorious anti-gay activists Rick Scarborough, who claims that HIV/AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality and that gay parents are sending their kids to hell, and Tony Perkins, who says gay people are pawns of the Devil who want to "recruit" children.

On her program last Friday, Rachel Maddow also took note of the fact that the leading 2016 Republican presidential hopefuls had no problem participating in an event organized and co-hosted by an extremist like Scarborough:

The event itself was broadcast on Saturday morning from the headquarters of the Family Research Council, the group led by Perkins, and wound up being four hours of sanctimonious self-pity and mind-numbing dullness interspersed by short videos submitted by Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio, and Rick Santorum all blatantly pandering to the Religious Right.

After Bush kicked things off by providing a vague promise to be a "strong advocate of religious liberty" as president, Carson turned things up a notch by declaring that "the greatest threat to religious freedom in America today is secular progressivism," as demonstrated by the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision, and vowing that, if elected president, he will work with Congress to pass legislation exempting Christians from having to recognize this decision.

Carson was followed by Cruz, who insisted that Christians "face an unprecedented attack on our first freedom from an aggressive secular state that seeks to push faith out of the public square entirely" and likewise promised that, if elected president, he'll make it his first order of business to see that "the persecution of religious liberty ends today."

Later in the broadcast, Carly Fiorina told those watching that "religious liberty is under assault in our country" and that America needs a leader who will fight to "take our country back." And that leader should be her, Fiorina explained, because "my faith has been tested in good times and in bad and never found wanting."

She was followed by Huckabee, who trotted out his standard campaign promise to simply ignore the Supreme Court's rulings on gay marriage and abortion and essentially outlaw them both through executive action.

Up next, Rubio declared that "it shouldn't surprise us, this all-out assault on our liberties, because we have a president that, when he was a candidate the first time, he said that those of us that have traditional values are bitter people who cling to our guns and to our religion." He went on to promise that, as president, he will proudly "stand up for those" who are called "bigots and haters" for opposing gay marriage and abortion.

Santorum finally closed things out by decrying the "virulent assault" on religious liberty in America as demonstrated by "the lack of tolerance" for those who oppose gay marriage, promising that, as president, he will not only sign the First Amendment Defense Act, but "then we'll move further" and reverse the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling.

Five GOP Candidates To Join Pastor Who Says AIDS Is God's Punishment For Gay People

In yet another example of what the Religious Right’s recent focus on “religious liberty” is really about, five Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak this weekend at a “religious freedom” event hosted by a conservative pastor who has repeatedly declared that AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people’s “immoral act” and has called for a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality.

Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee are scheduled to join a “Free to Believe Broadcast” on Saturday, hosted by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, two of the most outspoken anti-gay activists in the country.

Both, even while attempting to curtail the rights of LGBT people, have claimed that it is their rights that are being violated by the LGBT movement: Perkins has said that the supposed persecution of anti-gay Christians in America is inspiring ISIS, and Scarborough has declared that he is ready to burn to death in the fight against gay marriage.

But neither Scarborough nor Perkins has ever been particularly interested in a “live and let live” truce with LGBT people.

Scarborough has declared that AIDS, “a homosexual disease,” is God’s “judgment as a result of an immoral act.” Just last year, he repeated his belief that AIDS is “God’s judgment on a sinful generation, adding that “God would probably give us the cure for AIDS today” if the U.S. stopped supporting gay rights:

He also said last year that marriage equality is part of Satan’s effort to “destroy this country,” warning that gay parents will lead their children “into an early grave called hell”:

Scarborough is so concerned about gay people that back in 2013 he brought up the idea of issuing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality, much like actions taken against the tobacco industry:

In 2014, Scarborough agreed with Islamic fundamentalists who call America the “Great Satan,” saying that God would be perfectly justified in sending a nuclear bomb to destroy the country because of such sins as President Obama’s appointments of a handful of gay ambassadors:

And that’s just Scarborough. Perkins has a vile anti-gay record of his own, which Brian summarized last month.

Also appearing at the event will be Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who has warned that gay people seek to “groom” and “entrap” children, and David and Jason Benham, brothers who became Religious Right martyrs when they lost a TV show they were set to star in after their anti-gay activism came to light.

Cruz might not mind appearing with an activist who has said that God is punishing gay people with AIDS — after all, he has praised Scarborough before and has David Barton, an activist who has said similar things, leading a super PAC in support of his candidacy. Cruz and Huckabee similarly showed their willingness to cozy up to the most radical people in the anti-gay movement when they appeared last year at a conference hosted by Kevin Swanson, who spent much of the event expounding on what he interprets as the Bible’s call for the death penalty for gay people.

But if any of the other candidates have an ounce more shame, they might want to think twice about appearing at Saturday’s event.

GOP Rep. Scott Garrett: Only 'One Or Two People' Were Uninsured Before Obamacare

Rep. Scott Garrett, R-N.J., stopped by “Washington Watch” yesterday to discuss President Obama’s then-upcoming State of the Union address, and was particularly upset that the president would likely praise the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare.

Garrett told host Tony Perkins, the head of the Family Research Council, that Obamacare was a disastrous failure and only helped the “few” Americans who lacked health insurance before it was put into effect. He predicted that the president, in his address, would point to “the one or two” people who gained insurance as a result of health care reform.

“If I were him, and what he would do, is probably pull out the one or two people in the country who didn’t have health insurance before and say, ‘Look, so and so here has it now and he didn’t have it then, and so and so didn’t have it before and now he has it then [sic],’” he said. “But the question is: Was Obamacare the best way to provide health insurance to those few people who did not have it before at the same time that millions of Americans suffered under the results of it?”

In fact, 17 million Americans have gained health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Via Mother Jones:

Tony Perkins' Selective Posturing on Religious Liberty

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ self-important “State of the Family” address on Monday was not just about chaos and blood in the streets caused by marriage equality and other “confusion” about the definition of the family. It was also about religious liberty, and Perkins’ familiar charge that the “far left” wants to deny religious Americans both their freedom of speech and their freedom of religion:

“Desperate to preserve its power, the far left now seeks to label all of its critics as extremists or haters and aggressively seeks to silence all who oppose its agenda. But we should take heart even from this. Our opponents seek to limit our freedom of speech because they fear its power. They seek to restrain the expression of our convictions because they are unsure of the truth of theirs. The freedom of expression is the very essence of liberty. But there can be no liberty in America without religious liberty. In our hearts we know this to be true.”

America’s founders, said Perkins, “believed that the best account of our personal and civic duties comes not from the whims of the political class but from the transcendent truths of scripture itself.”

“It is easy to see why we now sail such dangerous seas. Many of our nation’s leading politicians and jurists believe that religion is a toxin in public life, something to be quarantined within the four walls of our churches. They want our culture stripped of the guidance of faith, the centrality of family, and the liberties that are our divine birthright. Not only will it be impermissible to publicly acknowledge the God who made us. It will be unlawful to act on our deepest understanding of Him and His commandments. Acting on conscience will be a bar to public service. It’ll be a reason to be fined or fired.

In his speech, Perkins declared, “Religious liberty must become a priority again within our foreign policy.”

The history of the last century is clear. Totalitarians of every stripe have made suppression of all religious freedom or the liberty of some religions the target of their regimes. Especially dangerous are those who feed on religious hatred. We must promote and defend religious liberty as a human right for all faiths to be able to live freely wherever they are and whoever they are. Why? Because advocating for religious liberty lets the oppressed throughout the world know that they have a friend in America. And, it sends a message to the terrorists and the tyrants as well. That knowledge bears long-term fruit for our own security. And frankly, it’s simply the right thing to do for a nation whose national motto is In God We Trust.”

Much of this statement, coming from someone else, would be unobjectionable. But coming from Perkins, it is jaw-droppingly hypocritical.

Perkins and his Family Research Council colleagues have not consistently advocated for religious liberty for people of all faiths. For example, when Religious Right groups were rallying opposition to the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque,” FRC’s Ken Blackwell was among them. Perkins said just last month that banning Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. would not be imposing a religious test because “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion.” He has said that people are free to make their own theological choices, but that our nation was founded on “Judeo-Christian principles” and that “those who practice Islam in its entirety” will “destroy the fabric of a democracy.”

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, now FRC’s executive vice president, has also pushed the idea that Muslims do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment because Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” On Bryan Fischer’s radio show in 2011 Boykin declared, “No mosques in America,” explaining, “A mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States.”

Perkins has even argued that Christians who support marriage equality for same-sex couples don’t have the same religious liberty protections as Christians like him because “true religious freedom” applies only to those with “orthodox religious viewpoints.” He has dismissed as “supposed Christians” those who support reproductive choice.

And Perkins has also criticized the military for accommodating “fringe religions” and suggested that it is not the government’s role “to try to put all religions on the same plane.”

In his remarks about religious freedom in the military, Perkins claimed that Boykin had been forced to withdraw from a West Point prayer breakfast “because of the pressure from atheist groups.” In reality, the most influential protest against Boykin’s appearing at West Point probably came from dozens of the military academy’s faculty and cadets, most of them Christians, who thought Boykin’s remarks painting the U.S. as waging a holy war against Islam were irresponsible and could threaten the lives of service members overseas.

Perkins also urged Congress to pass the co-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would give legal protection to those practicing anti-gay discrimination. Perkins called the bill “a first and a vital step” and he celebrated the fact that candidates Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum have pledged to sign FADA in their first 100 days if the legislation makes it to their desk. 

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