And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.
In 2015, radicals in Washington (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of America have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.
Family Research Council (FRC) met every test head-on to counter and overturn many of the attacks. But now our team of experts and activists needs your year-end gift to end the year ready to protect your values in 2016.
So imagine our surprise when, this afternoon, we got this email from Austin Ruse of the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), making a very similar argument:
I have never seen anything quite like this.
And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.
In 2015, radicals at the United Nations, Washington, DC (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of global radicalism have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.
C-Fam met every test head-on to counter and overturn many of the attacks. But now our team of experts needs your year-end-gift to end the year ready to protect your values in 2016.
An urgent fundraising appeal from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins today:
I've never seen a year like 2015.
And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.
In 2015, radicals in Washington (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of America have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.
LAST WINTER, a major city ordered pastors to surrender their sermons on transgenderism and homosexuality for challenging the mayor's push for a dangerous special rights ordinance.
EARLY IN THE YEAR, sexual radicals and huge corporations attacked states that attempted to pass laws protecting freedom to believe, and "politically correct" extremists tried to destroy the career of a Navy Chaplain because he counseled from the Bible.
IN THE SUMMER, sexual activists used the Supreme Court's arrogant decision imposing same-sex marriage on America to assail the fundamental rights of anyone who disagreed . . . even throwing a Christian county clerk in jail.
IN THE FALL, they pressed ahead with a campaign of policies and laws trying to erase the distinction of men's and women's restrooms and persecute people of faith who disagree.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., a vocal climate science denialist, criticized President Obama’s participation in a Paris summit to address climate change yesterday, saying that climate science ignores the role of God in determining global temperatures.
Inhofe told Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on his “Washington Watch” program that Americans simply don’t care about the issue anymore and that there is nothing the U.S. government can do to reduce carbon dioxide emissions anyway.
“I know there are some out there, probably a couple hundred people, who actually believe that the world is coming to an end and man-made global warming is going to cause it, so I just want to give them the assurance that if they’re right and we are wrong, [proposed climate policies are] not going to reduce but it will increase CO2 emissions,” he said.
“They don’t understand,” he added. “God’s still up there and there’s a reason for this to happen.”
Inhofe went on to argue that human activities cannot affect the climate as the atmosphere naturally fluctuates between cooling and warming periods.
So it was startling last week to hear Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, in an address on religious liberty to the Family Research Council, claim that it is in fact progressives who have redefined the term “religious liberty” in order to persecute people of faith, making believers, in Lankford’s words, the targets of a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.
“We have an undercurrent of conversations happening in the country, where there’s become a redefinition of the term ‘religious liberty,’” Lankford said. “ Is this a term that has the same meaning as we use it out in the common vernacular? And I would tell you, across the country and multiple places that I’ve visited, no is the correct answer. This term is attempting to be redefined by our culture to say if you’re for religious liberty, then you’re hatred [sic] towards other people, you’re exclusive, you’re divisive, you’re a person who needs to be isolated because you’re for religious liberty.”
“I would say to you, people of faith in the workplace and in public settings have become the new individuals that are targeted towards ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” he added. “If you have faith, don’t tell anyone and don’t ask anyone if you have faith, and if you have it don’t live it out publicly because people don’t want to see it.”
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, said on his radio program last night that efforts to resettle some Syrian refugees in the U.S. show that President Obama and liberals “hate America” and that the “ideals of America” are “foreign to them.”
Perkins addressed the attempts by a number of governors to block the resettlement of Syrian refugees in their states after a Syrian passport was found near the body of one of the terrorists who attacked Paris last week. (How the passport got there, and whether it is real, are still unclear.)
Perkins took a call from a listener who asserted that “Islamic people, I think, in general do not come here to enjoy the values of America” and instead immigrate to America for “ominous” reasons.
“I think we need to really start being serious about what are we going to do with our Muslims who are here now, never mind bringing more in,” the caller said.
Perkins agreed with the caller’s concerns, saying that while he believes in religious freedom, Christianity and Judaism are religions, “not a political, economic, judicial system, a military system as Islam is.” He cited statistics from a sham, unscientific online poll commissioned by the anti-Muslim group Center for Security Policy, which he claimed showed that the majority of American Muslims “want Sharia law.”
“Notice how Christian nations open their doors to everybody, how we’re welcoming to the hurting, to the poor, to the helpless?” Perkins said. “It’s those values that make us what we are. But it’s those values that are changed when you have no cogent immigration system, no means of controlling and assimilating people into the country so they become American and America doesn’t become something else.
“You see, the president and the left, they hate America. They deny the whole idea of American exceptionalism, the ideals of America. That’s foreign to them. They deny what makes us exceptional and so therefore they want to change it.”
Earlier in the program, Perkins declared that in allowing the resettlement of Syrian refugees, President Obama is bucking his oath of office. “The president has an obligation to protect Americans from all enemies foreign and domestic,” he said. “And we’ve seen time and time again where the governors are actually doing what the president should be doing. But the president has the orientation of a community organizer, not a president of the United States.”
He again defended the governors who are trying to block refugees, saying that President Obama “doesn’t care” if there’s a Paris-like attack on the U.S. because he's not up for reelection and is “doing everything he can to, I think, promote Islam in this country.”
On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins speculated that if terrorists associated with ISIS were to attack the U.S., they would be unlikely to strike the South because “more of the citizens are armed” and “know how to defend ourselves.”
Perkins was interviewing Rep. Steve Womack, R- Ark., about a bill he has introduced to revoke the passports of U.S. citizens suspected of joining terrorist organizations, when Womack warned that it’s “plausible to believe that we could potentially have the same thing brewing in our country that obviously demonstrated, manifested itself on Friday in France.”
“I agree with you,” Perkins replied. “I do think it’s less likely to happen in the South, where more of the citizens are armed. I’m serious.”
Womack laughed in response to Perkins’ remark but clarified, “I’m not laughing to make a joke out of it, I’m just telling you, as a concealed carry permit guy myself and as somebody who represents a great district in the third district of Arkansas where there’s a lot of folks like us, it’s probably less likely that it would happen there, although if you want to make a statement there are many targets in the South that go right to the heart of who we are as Americans.”
“That’s true, but we know how to defend ourselves,” Perkins said.
Last week on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke with a caller who said that “people are tired of the ultra-liberal agenda being shoved down their throat,” saying that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on marriage equality “woke a lot of people up” to the need to get involved in politics.
Perkins heartily agreed, claiming that Obergefell and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance exposed that the gay rights fight isn’t about love and civil rights but about destroying freedom.
“I think what we’ve seen in the wake of that June 26 decision,” he said, “is that while people said this is all about two people who love each other being able to visit each other in the hospital and all that kind of stuff, which was baloney, they could have done that before without redefining marriage for the rest of the nation, what we’re actually seeing and what Houston has shown people is this is about forcing this on the entire nation at the risk of losing religious freedom, the freedom of speech, of facing onerous government fines and intervention. In Houston, Texas, if you would stop someone from going into a bathroom or somehow prohibit someone in a public facility, you could face a $5,00 fine.”
“There’s a lot more to this agenda,” he said. “It’s like an iceberg, like that iceberg that the Titanic hit, he only saw the tip of it.”
Rick Joyner says that if he had to vote today, he'd vote for Donald Trump.
Gee, what a surprise! Several of the GOP candidates whom Glenn Beck really likes are quite eager to have his network host a debate.
Chuck Baldwin warns conservatives to beware of Marco Rubio because he is the "globalist insiders' water boy."
Finally, the Family Research Council prays that God will forgive us for Obamacare: "May God forgive His people for too quietly standing by and allowing Congress to approve a plan sold by strong-arm tactics and shameless deception, plan filled with the shedding of innocent blood, and built upon theory that departs from biblical truth and principles of American liberty that set us on a road to possibly irreversible socialism. May God have mercy and grant us repentance. May we elect a president and Congress in 2016 that meet his qualifications (Ex 18:21); that they will unite to overturn ObamaCare and replace it with a system based upon individual liberty and the free market. May we not add to our sin of complacency, rather, may Christians arise to be salt and light in the electoral process. Instead of a 25% Christian voter turnout, may we cast deciding votes for men and women across America who, under God, will set us on a course God can bless!"
Earlier this year, President Obama announced his support for state measures aimed at banning ex-gay therapy for minors. The Family Research Council predictably reacted quite reasonably, sending a fundraising letter that arrived yesterday urging supporters to help them stop “sexual brainwashing of our children by our government” and thwart Obama’s plan “to get as many American children into the funnel of the sexual revolution as possible and make sure there’s no possible escape.”
Along with the letter, FRC enclosed a “Comprehensive List of LGBTQ+ Definitions” that it pulled off the internet, labeling it “a glossary of the President’s sexual agenda for your children and grandchildren.” The list was folded up and marked with an “offensive content” trigger warning:
In the fundraising letter, FRC president Tony Perkins tells readers that they can feel free to destroy the list without reading it:
This is not a single narrow line of fire we’re being subjected to. This is a massive, multi-front onslaught. The LGBTQ+ agenda specifically endorsed by the White House means our President wants to “normalize” an astonishingly broad range of what you and I would call “perversions” by supporting laws that make it illegal to obtain counseling to avoid unwanted same-sex and other attractions.
I debated whether to enclose a complete list — because it is repulsive — butI am folding the offensive material to the inside, so you can simply destroy the list without reviewing it if you prefer.Ultimately I decided to send it to you to demonstrate clearly that we are not overstating the severity of this issue.
Elsewhere in the letter:
I wasn’t sure whether to send you this letter.
I didn’t want to offend you, or shock you.
But in the end, I decided to err on the side of keeping you informed — because this is too important — to our children, to our grandchildren and to the future of our nation.
The problem: President Barack Obama is now promoting a sexual revolution more extreme, more perverse, more bizarre than anything you or I have ever imagined possible.
Specifically, he is backing legislation that would ban parents — including Christian parents — from arranging counseling to help their own children from engaging in a variety of forms of sexually immoral behavior.
We will fight this — with your help. We need your strong financial and prayer support today to push back on this outrageous “home invasion” with everything we’ve got … because the welfare of our children is at stake.
In fact, this President intends to get as many American children into the funnel of the sexual revolution as possible and make sure there’s no possible escape — none whatsoever. He intends to close off every avenue from parents committed to biblical morality.
We cannot stand by and allow the President to force his radical sexual agenda on our children.
You need to understand the reality of this situation: You are in the way.
You are an obstacle.
Christianity is actually seen as a speed bump in the Left’s pursuit of sexual liberty and “fulfillment.” They are intent upon a redefinition of God’s order of Creation.
Ultimately, this movement is about rebelling against the Creator.
Jesus said in Matthew Chapter 19, Verse 4, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” This is what we want our children to learn and understand. Not the LGBTQ+ alphabet soup of perversion. Not the deluded distortions of the Left.
We must not allow the federal government to capture our children at puberty and remake them in their own image, with the outcome predetermined according to the Left’s deviant agenda. Please help us fight back with your gift today.
On Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert guest hosted the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” where he fielded a question from a caller who wanted to know why Congress hasn’t attempted to impeach President Obama since “we have enough proof” that Obama “has committed treasonous acts.”
The Texas Republican praised the caller, saying that he was “so grateful that there are people like you that understand just how detrimental this president has been to the ongoing of this country, we’re really at risk, like, now,” but cautioned that impeachment isn’t likely to happen until Republicans win popular support for such a move.
Gohmert added that Congress would be right to impeach Obama but won’t do so because “there are not enough in the people in the country, across America, that want him removed from office before his office is over,” at least, not yet. As he explained, the GOP attempt to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen may pave the way for Obama’s impeachment.
“I would have hoped that once we start removing people from office because of the lies, misrepresentation and treason, if that comes out, or just so detrimental to the country, then we would have a case that could be made involving the president,” he said. “But the will of the American people is just not there, that’s my problem. He has done grave damage and this Iran deal, it’s really a treaty, he’s lied about it up and down, and now we’re finding out Iran is violating the treaty, yet this administration is defending Iran and betraying Israel right and left.” He went on to claim that the administration accused Israel of “war crimes” and “terrorism.”
After telling the caller that he appreciated his “concern because it tells me that you are a red-blooded American” and that “obviously you care about America,” he said that “we’ll keep pushing to see if there’s something to be done.”
The sun had barely risen in Salt Lake City yesterday when the first panel of “natural family” day at the World Congress of Families got started with a discussion about life after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.
Pastor Greg Johnson, an evangelical who was raised as a Mormon and now sponsors “convicted civility” dialogues between evangelicals and Mormons, recounted an experience with his daughter at the Creation Museum. Looking at the diorama of Adam and Even in the Garden of Eden, he was struck by the sacred nature of marriage. Johnson declared that the church needs to revive its commitment to the sacred and holy nature of marriage.
Cathy Ruse of the Family Research Council began her remarks with a declaration that, as a Catholic, there is nothing that could change her belief that marriage is between a man and a woman. Like many speakers, Ruse focused on the complementarity of men and women. “No man can be a mother,” she said. “As a mother, I know two fathers is not the same as a mother and a father.”
The fact that “men and women make babies, sometimes on purpose, sometimes by accident,” is the only reason government is involved in marriage, Ruse said. Government has to encourage men and women who become mothers and fathers to raise their children. The government has no interest in a person’s feelings, she said. “Who you love is not the government’s business, until now.” Of course, that claim ignores the historical fact that the U.S. government did, until quite recently, punish gay people for who they loved, denying them a livelihood and even taking away their children. And the fact is that many governments around the world, including in some countries represented at the World Congress, continue to do that and worse.
Ruse recounted all the states where voters banned marriage for same-sex couples, neglecting to mention the four more recent victories marriage equality advocates had at the ballot box in 2012. Ignoring those, and dismissing the huge and well-documented shifts in public opinion, Ruse portrayed marriage equality as something “a handful of liberal judges” forced “on the rest of us” and she called for continued resistance:
Above all, we must fight for the right to live and work according to our beliefs. Our enemy in this fight is not our neighbor, not even the 1.6 percent of our neighbors who identify themselves as gay. No. Our enemy are those who would be our masters — the judge who jails a clerk for failing to give her signature, the magistrate who takes the house of a baker for want of a cake. These are our enemies in the fight ahead. No government official can force us to bend the knee at the altar of a foreign god. If we cannot secure this freedom in law, then we must live it in civil disobedience of the law.
Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage followed Ruse and matched her tone of defiance against “our unelected masters.” The Supreme Court didn’t change the definition of marriage, he said, it “put a lie into the law” — just like slavery and the Dred Scott decision. Brown said that there’s no time for activists to be depressed. Citing the history of Christian martyrs, abolitionists and civil rights activists, he mocked people who don’t want to take a stand because some of their Facebook friends might say mean things about them.
“Instead of being depressed, we should savor the fact that we live at a point in history, like those times before, in which we can stand for the truth, make a difference, and God has put us here for some reason. This fight is not over. It has just begun.”
Brown proposed four goals for the anti-marriage-equality movement:
Affirm continually and publicly that marriage is by nature a union of a man and a woman
Reject the Supreme Court’s decision as illegitimate
Overturn the decision, perhaps through decades of struggle or perhaps with new Supreme Court justices appointed by a Republican president elected in 2016
Contain the damage in the meanwhile by passing laws that allow public officials and businesspeople to refuse to have anything to do with gay couples’ marriages
Rafael Cruz, speaking in the second morning session, picked up the baton with the kind of David Barton-inspired speech he gives on the campaign trail for his son Ted Cruz. America was founded on the word of God, he said, but its foundations have been undermined by communists, humanists and Supreme Court decisions on organized prayer, Bible reading in the public schools, abortion and marriage equality.
Cruz railed against the church for having been silent in the face of “abominable” Supreme Court decisions on church-state separation and abortion. The church he said has been “duped” into believing in the separation of church and state, and too many preachers are hiding behind their pulpits, scared to death of losing their tax exemptions. “God is going to judge us for our silence,” he said.
Cruz declared, “What we see in America right now is an outright attack on Christianity.” The court’s marriage equality decision declared homosexuality a civil right, he said, asserting (falsely) that “under that basis, it will be possible for some homosexual to come to your church demanding to be hired, whether as pastor or janitor is immaterial.” Cruz told a BuzzFeed reporter that the next item on the LGBT agenda will be pushing to legalize pedophilia.
The two were upset that LGBT advocacy groups have criticized the World Congress of Families, with Perkins insisting that criticism of the event amounts to an attempt to “silence” conservative Christians and Sprigg laughably asserting that “the vast majority” of the discussions at the Utah conference “really don’t have anything to do with homosexuality.”
This is a tad ironic, since the World Congress of Families actually backeda Russian law censoring pro-LGBT speech.
The group, an offshoot of the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, signed on to a statement [PDF] defending the notorious speech law, which bans “propaganda of non-traditional sexual relationships” to minors and has been used to criminalize speech in favor of LGBT rights:
We acknowledge that the Russian law protects the innocence of children and the basic rights of their parents recognized in the international legislation and treaties. With its new law Russia is protecting genuine and universally recognized human rights against artificial and fabricated "values" aggressively imposed in many modern societies. We also note that the concepts of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” are not outlined in the existing binding international treaties and agreements.
We thus call for respect of the sovereignty of the Russian people and we invite all organizations and people who feel responsible for the protection of the innocence of children and their rights, the natural family and parental rights to stand up for Russia, as well as for Ukraine and Moldova suffering the same pressure due to similar laws.
World Congress of Families spokesman Larry Jacobs hailed the law as a “great idea,” and Alexey Komov, the organization’s representative in Russia, similarly boasted that “a huge number of people and human rights organizations around the world are supporting Russia in an effort to protect their children and their family values from aggressive immoral propaganda.”
So while Sprigg and Perkins are attacking groups for merely criticizing the World Congress of Families, it is the World Congress of Families that has actually supported efforts to censor speech.
Before joining the Family Research Council (FRC) as its executive vice president, Gen. Jerry Boykin served in the Bush administration, where he most notably was repeatedlyrebuked by the president after giving speeches in uniform painting the war on terror as a holy war against Islam. (The Army later reprimanded him again for leaking classified information).
Boykin has since claimedagainandagain that he was a victim of anti-Christian persecution during his time in the administration. Now, as a full-time Religious Right activist, Boykin frequently claims that President Obama is persecuting Christians at home and abroad.
As it turns out, it seems that in his time in the Bush administration, Boykin was the one who was putting Christians at risk. The Intercept reported today that Boykin created a Pentagon program that put Christians in harm’s way by using missionaries, some of them unwitting, as spies.
By turning a Christian NGO into an American spy front, experts warned reporter Matthew Cole, Boykin’s program could endanger all Christian charitable workers who can now be accused by foreign governments of secretly working as American spies, possibly leading to imprisonment or execution.
Cole writes that Boykin’s “brainchild” was an operation to secretly steer around $15 million from the Pentagon to a group known as Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG), which Boykin and others then turned into a spying operation against North Korea.
The revelation that the Pentagon used an NGO and unwitting humanitarian volunteers for intelligence gathering is the result of a monthslong investigation by The Intercept. In the course of the investigation, more than a dozen current and former military and intelligence officials, humanitarian aid workers, missionaries, U.S. officials, and former HISG staffers were interviewed. The U.S. government officials who were familiar with the Pentagon operation and HISG’s role asked for anonymity because discussing classified military and intelligence matters would put them at risk of prosecution. The Pentagon had no comment on HISG or the espionage operations in North Korea.
Before it was finally dismantled in 2013, Hiramine’s organization received millions in funding from the Pentagon through a complex web of organizations designed to mask the origin of the cash, according to one of the former military officials familiar with the program, as well as documentation reviewed for this article.
The use of HISG for espionage was “beyond the pale” of what the U.S. government should be allowed to do, said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an association of nearly 200 American NGOs. The practice of using humanitarian workers as spies “violates international principles” and puts legitimate aid and development workers at risk, he argued.
“It is unacceptable that the Pentagon or any other U.S. agency use nonprofits for intelligence gathering,” Worthington said. “It is a violation of the basic trust between the U.S. government and its civic sector.”
HISG had experience shipping “medical equipment, clothing, and disaster relief supplies around the world,” and would later use those services to move military equipment.
The Pentagon tasked [HISG founder Kay] Hiramine with gathering the intelligence it needed inside North Korea, and Hiramine would in turn utilize HISG’s access to the country to complete the assignments, according to two former military officials with knowledge of the effort. Hiramine, in his role as CEO of HISG, tapped Christian missionaries, aid workers, and Chinese smugglers to move equipment into and around North Korea — none of whom had any idea that they were part of a secret Pentagon operation.
Because American intelligence has so few assets inside North Korea, much of Hiramine’s task was to find transportation routes to move military equipment — and potentially clandestine operatives — in and around the country. The Pentagon would eventually move sensors and small radio beacons through Hiramine’s transportation network, according to another former military official. Much of what Hiramine was doing was what the military refers to as “operational preparation of the environment,” or OPE, a category that encompasses clandestine intelligence gathering and prepositioning equipment inside a country for future conflicts.
The North Korean government frequently accuses its foreign prisoners of spying for the West or trying to overthrow the government. One such prisoner was American missionary Kenneth Bae, whose case become a cause célèbre of the FRC, which used his imprisonment in North Korea to criticize Obama for supposedly failing to defend Christians abroad. As Lee Fang, a contributor to the Intercept report, put it, Boykin condemns Muslims and gays for supposedly “persecuting Christians” while his own actions “endangered Christian charities across the world.”
Programs like the one Boykin reportedly helped create threaten to give governments like North Korea a reason to clampdown on NGOs and aid workers, including missionaries, by claiming that they are working as American spies.
Fears that this would happen led to the dissolution of the program, and HISG not-so-coincidentally shut its doors not long afterwards. A group steering Pentagon dollars to HISG also closed down, donating “its remaining funds as a gift to the federal government.”
The longer HISG operated and became more legitimate, the more opportunities would be available to U.S. military and intelligence officials to run operations in other countries as they had in North Korea. In other words, Hiramine’s ability to use HISG to form partnerships and working relationships with other unsuspecting aid workers and missionaries would give the Pentagon more places to spy, according to one of the former military officials. That official would not say whether Hiramine was tasked with operating in countries besides North Korea.
“If these people had been caught and tried and executed in downtown Pyongyang you’d really understand the risk,” said Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer who spent more than 20 years conducting espionage operations.
Using humanitarian and aid workers for gathering intelligence has always been risky. U.S. intelligence policy prohibits using American clergy, journalists, or Peace Corps volunteers as a cover to conduct espionage. Using NGOs is not strictly prohibited, but though it is not unprecedented, it is dangerous.
In recent years, the risk of using legitimate aid workers as cover for spying has had deadly repercussions.
In 2012, now-retired Adm. William McRaven, the commander of the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, shut down the North Korea spying program.
McRaven told us he shut it down because he was nervous about the flap if it ever got out that the Pentagon had used a bunch of evangelicals and missionaries as spies,” said one former military officer, adding that if the program had produced better intelligence McRaven would have considered keeping it up and running. McRaven did not respond to a request for comment.
In January 2013, Hiramine and his fellow HISG executives announced to their employees that they were shuttering the organization. “We got no warning,” said Jennings, the former HISG program director. “We had no jobs, no severance, and no explanation. All they said was ‘we lost our funding.’”
This is the third in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here and an exploration of WCF’s anti-LGBT politics here.
While the World Congress of Families has become well known in the U.S. for its anti-LGBT activism, that is just one part of its larger vision of promoting what it calls the “natural family” throughout the world. In fact, in keeping with the vision that Allan Carlson and Paul Mero laid out in their "natural family" manifesto, this year’s conference will feature not just anti-LGBT activists, but opponents of abortion rights, contraception, sex education and liberalized divorce laws.
These issues are closely intertwined in this worldview. One scheduled WCF speaker, Evan Lenow of the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, explained it clearly in a 2011 lecture on “The Challenge of Homosexuality For Gender Roles.” Lenow laid out the argument that the Bible prescribes separate but equal roles for men and women in marriage, with women required to “submit themselves to the leadership of their husbands, just as the church submits to Christ.” Same-sex marriages, where gender roles are by necessity “egalitarian,” he said, “subvert” this biblically ordained relationship.
For many of these activists, all manner of evils date back to the “sexual revolution” and, in particular, the widespread availability and use of contraception.
A panel on “Understanding the Sexual and Cultural Revolution” will feature the Family Research Council’s Pat Fagan, who has argued that the Supreme Court decision ending bans on contraception for unmarried people was wrong because “functioning societies” ought to “punish” and “shame” people who have sex out of wedlock. Fagan links the “contraceptive mindset” to any number of social ills. “Since the introduction of contraception, everything else has fallen,” he has said.
Joining Fagan on the “sexual and cultural revolution” panel will be the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Katie McCoy, who has argued strongly against efforts to allow women to serve as Southern Baptist pastors.
A forum on “The Beneficial and Harmful Influences of Feminism,” moderated by WCF’s Larry Jacobs, will feature declared anti-feminist activists Babette Francis of the Australian Endeavor Forum and Gayle Ruzicka, the head of the Utah chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, who is also a radical anti-gay activist.
WCF has set aside time to showcase the latest round of attacks against Planned Parenthood, with a panel featuring Live Action’s Lila Rose, Americans United for Life’s Charmaine Yoest (who happens to be the daughter of WCF head Janice Shaw Crouse), and Priests for Life’s Alveda King. King has falsely claimed that hormonal birth control “exposes” women to breast cancer and insisted that this is part of an elaborate money-making scheme by Planned Parenthood. Moderating the panel will be a representative of Heartbeat International, a network of so-called “crisis pregnancy centers” that claims it can replace Planned Parenthood, despite the fact that it does not prescribe birth control.
The fight against legal abortion, contraception and egalitarian gender roles is tied in with a founding principle of the World Congress of Families: the fear that demographic change is dooming European and American culture.
A panel on “demography,” moderated by Personhood USA’s Keith Mason and notably consisting entirely of men, will likely address some of these fears, and in particular the idea that contraception is the root cause of a perceived cultural decline. The panel will include Steve Mosher of the Population Research Institute, who has argued that “[i]n its own way, contraception is an even greater tragedy than abortion” because it “involves the deliberate rejection of God’s creative power.”
Also speaking on the panel will be WCF’s Don Feder, who told a WCF event in Belgrade earlier this year that contraception leads to “death” by “preventing life from happening,” and who warned at the Moscow conference last year that humanity is financing “ its own extinction” through birth control.
Joining them will be Igor Beloborodov, a Russian demographer who warned at a 2011 demographic forum featuring a number of American activists that birthrates were falling as a result of people who want to “push up sales of contraceptives, to increase the number of abortions, to make homosexuality more popular.” He presented this slide listing “global threats to family and life,” including “small families,” “homosexuality” and “feminism”:
The World Congress of Families will also include staunch opponents of comprehensive sex education in schools, including Dr. Miriam Grossman and the Eagle Forum’s Gayle Ruzicka, who have both supported instituting abstinence-only sex-ed in Utah. This is an especially interesting dynamic given that WCF extended an invitation to Elizabeth Smart, an abduction survivor turned anti-sex-trafficking advocate from Utah who has spoken about how the lessons she had learned in abstinence-only sex-ed contributed to her reluctance to flee her captor.
Also speaking at the event will be proponents of rolling back no-fault divorce laws, a little-noticed flip side to the conservative campaign against marriage equality for LGBT people. Repealing state no-fault divorce laws, which allow married couples to end their marriages without one party being found to be at fault, is a plank of Carlson and Mero’s “natural family” manifesto. A panel on divorce at the Utah summit will include Beverly Willett, the cofounder of the Coalition for Divorce Reform, which aims to make it more legally difficult for most couples to divorce and Michael McManus, who has also advocated against no-fault divorce laws.
This is the second in a series of posts about the upcoming World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City, Utah. Read our introduction to the World Congress of Families here.
The World Congress of Families has been stung by intensecriticism over its promotion of anti-gay bias and policies around the world, and has mounted a public relations campaign portraying itself as interested in civil discourse and uninterested in slamming gay people. If only it were true.
WCF Executive Director Janet Shaw Crouse has said the group’s support for traditional notions of family “does not mean disrespect for anyone else.” Crouse says, “We do not and will not engage in ‘gay-bashing’ or ‘hate’ language." In its 2014 “Call for Civic Dialogue” WCF said:
In its history, the WCF has never taken a position for or against anti-sodomy laws, nor has it attempted to roll back the rights gained by these individuals and organizations…. The WCF never has and never will advocate for any policy that brings harm to innocent individuals….
These assertions are grossly disingenuous and deceptive. WCF depends on, and celebrates, its association with what it calls “exemplary”anti-gay groups like the Family Research Council, American Family Association, Alliance Defending Freedom, and many others who aggressively resist the advance of LGBT equality in the U.S. and overseas -- and promote policies that most definitely bring harm to innocent individuals. For example, WCF and its allies played a significant role in organizing the stridently anti-gay “pro-family” movement in Russia. And not taking a position on laws that subject LGBT people to long jail terms and worse is hardly something to brag about.
Sadly, Cruz is not an outlier. WCF and the speakers it provides with a platform have a long record of resisting protections for the rights of LGBT people. Last year WCF initiated a letter signed by 120 Religious Right figures from around the world in “vigorous protest” of the U.S. Embassy’s participation in a gay pride celebration in the Czech Republic. It refers to marriage equality as a “pseudo-right” that debases human freedom and dignity. The letter concludes, “We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the ‘gay’ agenda on societies with traditional values.”
More to the point, WCF’s own Africa regional director, Theresa Okafor, who is being honored at the event, supported a harsh anti-gay law in Nigeria that not only provides for long jail sentences for gay sex, but also bans gay people from meeting in groups. Okafor has suggested that pro-equality groups from the west are allied with the violent Islamist Boko Haram in a conspiracy to silence Christians.
WCF Executive Director Crouse has her own track record. She has said children being raised by gay couples are being “used as guinea pigs.” She has praised Russia’s anti-gay right, saying approvingly, “I wouldn’t bet on the Russians capitulating to western LGBTIQ fascists without a fight.” At a 2013 Howard Center press conference, Crouse said American gay-rights activists are “turning into thugs who are destroying freedom of speech, destroying religious liberty.” She praised anti-gay activists in France, Spain, Trinidad & Tobago, and Nigeria. And while Crouse portrays American gays as enemies of free speech, she enthusiastically backed the prosecution and jailing of Pussy Riot activists over their anti-Putin protest in a Moscow cathedral.
Among other anti-gay speakers who will be given a platform at WCF:
Peter Sprigg represents the stridently anti-gay Family Research Council, whose leader Tony Perkins once defended Uganda’s notorious “kill the gays” bill as an effort to uphold morality. Sprigg, who once said he would like to “export” homosexuals from the U.S., complained this year about Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBT Persons, for traveling to Uganda and Jamaica. Sprigg criticized the Obama administration for trying to “force this American-style homosexual agenda down the throats of other countries” like Uganda, “which is one of the countries that has been most bitterly attacked by homosexual activists around the world.”
Robert Knight, a Religious Right pundit and former FRC staffer, has argued that judges who rule in favor of marriage equality should be impeached.
Errol Naidoo received training from the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C before founding the Family Policy Institute in South Africa in response to the legalization of marriage equality, which he had lobbied against. He blames abortion and “the homosexual agenda” for creating a “culture of death” that is “slowly killing off the human family in Western civilization.”
Jennifer Roback Morse, president of the Ruth Institute, formerly affiliated with the National Organization for Marriage, says the “sexual revolution” is a “totalitarian” movement” and “a pagan ideology” that Christians should refuse to compromise with. She says “the only reason we’re dealing with gay marriage now is because we never faced up to the harms that have already been inflicted by feminism.”
Frank Schubert is a political communications strategist notorious as the mastermind of the strategy to ground the campaign for California’s Prop 8 in fear-mongering about gay people and couples being a threat to children. Schubert was paid handsomely to take that destructive strategy to other states.
“They sued us, the Obama administration sued us in federal court, he can’t watch the video but he has time to send his attorneys to Baton Rouge,” he told the program’s host, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins. “They can send the entire Department of Justice, we won’t be intimidated from defending innocent human life.” (Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast, not the Department of Justice, sued Louisiana in the case.)
He later claimed that if all the Republican governors in the country followed his lead, they could succeed in defunding Planned Parenthood. “They can’t come after every governor,” he said. “We have 31 Republican governors. If just the Republican governors would all do this, they can’t come after us all. Let’s fight for our rights. The left fights, they force socialism down our throats, why won’t we fight for pro-life, for conservative principles?”
Jindal then voiced a litany of falsehoods, suggesting that Planned Parenthood uses taxpayer dollars in its fetal tissue donation programs (it doesn’t) and claiming that its two Louisiana clinics offer abortion services (they don’t).
He said that if he gets elected president, he would direct the Internal Revenue Service, the Justice Department, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency to target Planned Parenthood.
On yesterday’s “Washington Watch” program, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin reacted to Army Secretary John McHugh’s recent statement that if “your objective is true and pure equality” in the military, then women will eventually be required to register for the draft.
Perkins and Boykin were, unsurprisingly, not too happy about this.
“Let me go on record, General,” Perkins said. “I like the difference between the sexes. I like the smell of perfume. Look, I’m fine with wearing cologne but I don’t want to smell some other cologne. I like perfume. I like the fact that there’s a difference between men and women. In western civilization for the longest, we have not only protected that but we’ve elevated in many ways the status of women in our society by treating them differently.”
“This is the natural progression as we’ve seen the emasculation of our culture. And that’s what’s really behind this, is to say there’s no difference between men and women,” he added.
In an interview with far-right radio host Rick Wiles on Tuesday, Family Research Council Vice President Jerry Boykin blamed President Obama and his supporters for the recent mass shooting in Oregon and then suggested that we at Right Wing Watch encourage “lone wolf” attacks on Christians “using the exact same tactics” as ISIS and Al Qaeda.
Wiles spoke with Boykin about the massacre following a monologue in which the conspiracy-theory-minded radio host suggested that the shooting at Umpqua Community College was “staged” by a government “death squad” seeking to “build public support for disarming the American people of their firearms.”
While reports are mixed as to whether the Oregon shooter targeted Christians, Boykin portrayed him as a man who was inspired by the Obama administration’s purportedly anti-Christian policies.
“Right here in America, the church, the Christian church, has been so demonized and denigrated by the current administration and those that support this administration that I think that you have to expect this because there are enough crazies out there that when you constantly hammer the U.S. Christian church, you have to expect that there is going to be some reaction and that’s what we’re seeing,” Boykin said.
“I can tell you that this is the fight of the future,” he added. “It’s not just about having to bake a cake or take photographs for a gay wedding, this is about literally about life and death for Christians in the future. It’s coming.”
Wiles then suggested that the shooter may have been inspired by reading Right Wing Watch, leading Boykin to claim that we use the “exact same tactics” as the Islamic State and Al Qaeda to encourage “lone wolf” attacks against Christians.
Wiles said that he wouldn’t be surprised if the shooter — who identified himself on a dating website as “conservative, Republican” and wrote about “his racial animus toward black people and general feelings of anger about being isolated and unable to make relationships” — was “a frequent visitor to Right Wing Watch.”
Boykin, for his part, said that Right Wing Watch and the Southern Poverty Law Center are “ultraliberal, anti-Christian and anti-American organizations,” adding that Right Wing Watch was established by the “Soros, anti-American, Marxist entity that is also anti-Christian” People For the American Way.
But they did have some good words for us: Boykin commended us for our accuracy, saying that we “actually in many cases print exactly what we said” and Wiles added, “They’ve never misquoted me, I’m not going to say that they misquote me but they definitely want to paint an image of people like you and I as dangerous wackos.”
“This is the tactics of Al Qaeda and ISIS,” Boykin added, “where they will call for people to take action against Western targets, against Christians and infidels and then these so-called lone wolfs will go out and perpetrate an act of violence which normally results in somebody’s death. So what we’ve got is we’ve got Right Wing Watch and Southern Poverty Law Center and People For the American Way all using the exact same tactics as these Middle East terrorist groups, as these Islamic extremist groups. It’s sad that that kind of thing happens in America. There is no dialogue. There is no debate. They are going to try and shut us down by striking fear into our heart.”