Family Research Council

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law.

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Religious Right Leaders Let Mike Huckabee Down -- Again

As we noted earlier this week, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins recently helped lead an effort to get Religious Right leaders to rally around a single Republican presidential candidate in order to maximize the movement’s ability to get a nominee to their liking. Earlier this month, dozens of Religious Right leaders agreed to back Ted Cruz over Marco Rubio. Mike Huckabee, a favorite of many Religious Right activists in 2008, wasn’t even a finalist.

The National Review’s Tim Alberta reports that Mike Huckabee is disappointed by the development:

“For reasons I don’t fully understand, years and years of actually doing something and getting things done didn’t matter,” Huckabee said of the group’s deliberations. ”And I don’t understand that.”

…Huckabee, according to sources, has often reminded Perkins and his fellow influencers that a major reason he gave up his Fox News show and launched a 2016 campaign was because he expected to have their backing. Their decision to instead support Cruz, then, seemed to sting Huckabee personally as much as politically. “You know, everybody has a right to do what they want to do. But it was disappointing to me. These are guys I’ve worked with for years and years. Many of them I’ve helped with their projects and their various endeavors,” Huckabee says, shaking his head. A moment later, he adds, “But you know, that’s life.”

It’s not the first time evangelical leaders have disappointed Huckabee. In the 2008 Republican primary race, Huckabee surprised many when he won the Iowa caucus, eventually winning victories in eight states. But many Religious Right leaders at the time weren’t initially convinced he could win and were slow to rally around him. James Dobson didn’t endorse Huckabee until after McCain’s successes on Super Tuesday. Huckabee did not keep his frustrations to himself when he eventually dropped out of the 2008 race.

The Southern Baptist minister said leaders who stood behind pulpits and shared biblical stories of faith were far less likely to put faith in Huckabee’s candidacy. 

“Some people really worshipped at the altar of electability rather than to be faithful and loyal to the principles they were supposed to be committed to,” Huckabee said on a telephone conference call sponsored by Charisma magazine. 

“When it gets to their own political realm, they think more secularly than even the secular people. That was very troubling,” he said. 

Right-wing activist Paul Weyrich said at the time that he regretted not having backed Huckabee when it might have made a difference. It seems likely that Huckabee could have made a strong case for Religious Right backing in 2012; in fact he had strong poll numbers in 2011 and the New York Times suggested that if he had entered the race he would have become the “presumed candidate of evangelicals.” But he seems to have missed his chance when he decided, after sending lots of contradictory signals, to sit that one out.

Dave Daubenmire Says FRC, AFA And The GOP Don't Really Want To End Abortion

Earlier this week, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire appeared on "Talkback with Chuck Wilder" radio program to discuss his long history of anti-choice activism. During the discussion, Daubenmire asserted that Republicans and Religious Right groups do not actually want to end abortion in America because they make too much money exploiting the issue.

After claiming that Democrats will never end abortion because the federal government gives hundreds of millions of dollars to Planned Parenthood, which he falsely claimed then gets "recycled out" into Democratic campaign coffers, Daubenmire said that Republicans and groups like the Family Research Council and the American Family Association don't really want to end abortion either.

"I want people to understand this because I know this to be the truth," he said. "Republicans raise hundreds of millions of dollars fighting against Planned Parenthood. All those pro-life Focus on the Family, the Family Research Council, I could just go on and on, the American Family Association, they raise hundreds of millions of dollars to end abortion and, Chuck, what do you suppose they do with that money? Yes, you're right. They funnel it to pro-life representatives. So neither one of those people, neither group, Chuck, wants abortion to go away. The Democrats want it to stay because they can raise money on it and the Republicans want it to stay because they can raise money on it. I know that sounds callous, brother, but I'm just telling you that's the way that game is played."

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 12/15/15

  • Some insightful political analysis from Nicole Russell at The Federalist: "With A Beard, Paul Ryan Exudes Manliness."
  • NOM credits itself for Ted Cruz's rise in the polls.
  • Walid Shoebat is every bit as reasonable as his son, Theodore: "No matter how often Americans count calories or endure Obama’s camel-faced wife saying that we ought to 'solve the epidemic of childhood obesity,' Americans know they are being hypocritical. The Hot Dog and Hamburger is the American idol while Michelle Ben Lying will always secretly be viewed by Americans as 'butt-ugly' and 'wholly stupid'."
  • Carl Jackson says that "Democrats have managed to keep their representation in Congress despite their high abortion rates by flooding urban areas with illegal aliens, refugees and ex-convicts."
  • Jason Jones and John Zmirak explain why "your secular liberal neighbor’s beliefs are completely incoherent. His mind is a mad scientist’s curiosity shop full of matter and anti-matter, which only avoids imploding into a black hole of gibbering madness because its compartment walls are sturdy, strong, and high."
  • Finally, FRC praises itself for its role in helping to repeal Houston's anti-discrimination ordinance:

Everything You Need To Know About Tony Perkins, The Man Who Brought The Religious Right To Ted Cruz

The National Review reports today that Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, convened a meeting last week at which several dozen influential Religious Right activists sought to unify their support behind a single presidential candidate. Ted Cruz ultimately won a supermajority of those involved, and as a result “an avalanche of endorsements is forthcoming from conservative leaders,” including a looming endorsement from Perkins.

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.

Despite Perkins’ high standing in the conservative movement, his positions place him far outside the mainstream. This isn’t just because he opposes things like gay marriage and abortion rights, as most conservative leaders do. Instead, Perkins has a record of labeling his political opponents as satanic, conjuring up wild conspiracy theories and backing extremist legislation around the world, including a Uganda bill that would have imposed the death penalty or life prison sentences for some gay people.

Of course, seeing that Cruz has already touted endorsements from a convicted abortion doctor stalker, an activist who wants abortion providers to be executed and activists who link gay people to everything from Ebola to Amtrak crashes to terrorism to the Holocaust, Perkins will fit right in.

Perkins on LGBT rights:

  • Claimed gay youth have a higher suicide rate because they intrinsically know their sexual orientation is “abnormal.”
  • Alleged that America’s enemies would celebrate the lifting of the military’s ban on transgender service members.
  • Urged states to defy court decisions in favor of marriage equality since they are “inconsistent with nature itself” and “certainly inconsistent with scripture.”
  • Claimed that militaries that allow LGBT people to serve openly — which includes Israel’s — are “the ones that participate in parades, they don't fight wars to keep the nation and the world free.”

Perkins on LGBT rights supporters:

  • Described LGBT rights activists as pawns of the Devil: “The Enemy is simply using them as pawns, they are held captive by the Enemy.”
  • Argued that LGBT rights activists want “the indoctrination of our kids” because “there is an emptiness within them” and “they are looking for that acceptance.”
  • Warned that “global homosexuality” and “radical sexualism” is promoting “immorality” and the persecution of Christians.
  • Claimed state hate crimes laws breed “chaos” and lead to “indoctrination of our children in schools and the loss of religious freedom and the freedom of speech.”
  • Insisted that the 2009 Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act made it a “federal crime” to be a Christian.

Perkins on religious freedom and religious minorities:

  • Warned that “liberal Jewish folk” who support marriage equality and abortion rights are undermining Israel.
  • Lambasted Christians who support Planned Parenthood and abortion rights as phony Christians.
  • Called Islam an “evil” religion.
  • Attacked supporters of refugee resettlement as those who “hate America” and seek to bring in Muslims to undermine “the values of America.”
  • Said the government shouldn’t treat those who adhere to “fringe religions” as equals to Christians.

Perkins on President Obama:

  • Said of Obama: “I think he has been the worst president this country ever had and if he has four more years in the White House I don’t know that the country can survive his attacks on the family.”
  • Likened Obama to an evil king who was punished by God in the Bible.
  • Warned that Obama wants to “eliminate” Christian teachings.
  • Claimed Obama administration officials have done “nothing” to stop ISIS because they are “busy pushing their own radical social policy agenda.”
  • Defended a conspiracy theory about Obama deliberately spreading to Ebola in order to justify marital law.
  • Said that Obama “despises the military and everything that it stands for and has systematically been dismantling it and demoralizing our military.”

Religious Right Leaders Rally Around Ted Cruz At Secret Endorsement Meeting

Religious Right leaders are intent on being the ones to pick the Republican presidential nominee this time around and they’re throwing their collective weight behind Ted Cruz.

The movement’s leaders have been seething for eight years now that they were forced to rally behind Republican presidential candidates they weren’t excited about — John McCain in 2008 and Mitt Romney in 2012.  After years of angling to prevent that from happening in 2016, “several dozen” Religious Right leaders met in secret in early December and voted to rally around Ted Cruz.

National Review’s Tim Alberta describes the event, which Cruz backers entered with the upper hand. It took five ballots for Cruz's supporters to browbeat backers of Marco Rubio into submission and give Cruz the three-quarters supermajority needed. Those who attended the meeting had vowed to either publicly support the eventual winner of the day’s balloting or to remain silent in the Republican primary. Reports Allen,

The impact was felt immediately on the 2016 campaign. Three prominent participants — direct-mail pioneer and longtime activist Richard Viguerie, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, and The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats – announced their support of Cruz within 72 hours of the meeting at the Sheraton. 

Cruz, of course, had plenty of conservative evangelical support before this meeting. We noted back in the summer that he was consolidating support from the Christian Nation crowd, including discredited “historian” David Barton  —  who heads a Cruz super PAC  —  and billionaire fracking brothers Farris and Dan Wilks  —  who have pumped $15 million into the pro-Cruz super PAC effort. Since then, Cruz has been holding and attending “religious liberty” events  —  including one hosted by a pastor who calls for the execution of gays, and one at Bob Jones University, famous for claiming religious backing for its racial segregationist policies.

Cruz openly promotes the efforts of Christian-nation zealot David Lane to “take back” the country by using pastor-candidates to mobilize high evangelical turnout. Cruz told American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon this summer, “Nothing is more important in the next 18 months than that the body of Christ rise up and that Christians stand up, that pastors stand up and lead.”

Lane, who matches Cruz’s contempt for “establishment” Republicans, said back in 2013, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and the Romneys left.” Lane had cheered attacks on Romney’s faith and the “false god of Mormonism.”

Cruz has been courting Religious Right activists for years, even before the underdog, Tea Party-fueled victory in the GOP primary that propelled him into the U.S. Senate. Back before that election, he told the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” That message hasn’t changed: Just last week his campaign’s “prayer team” was told that “we’re in a spiritual battle today as never before.”

For the Religious Right, what’s not to like about Cruz? His anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-government bona fides are unquestionable. His father, Rafael Cruz, an unabashed Christian-nation extremist and anti-gay bigot who says that it is God’s plan for his son to be president, makes an effective ambassador for Cruz to the far right.

Is anyone not jumping on the Cruz bandwagon? A group of Latino Republicans held a press conference yesterday to denounce Cruz for his anti-immigrant positions  —  which they said were the same Romney “self-deportation” policies by another name  —  and for Cruz’s support of Donald Trump’s bigotry.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a leader of the effort to get the Religious Right to rally around a single candidate, has tried this before, without much success. In 2012, Perkins and other conservative evangelicals had tried to create unity around a single alternative to Romney. Perkins declared after a January 2012 gathering that Rick Santorum had emerged with a “strong consensus.”

But the voting process and outcome were disputed by Newt Gingrich supporters, and the idea that evangelical leaders could deliver their followers to Santorum was undermined when Gingrich won the next event, South Carolina’s primary. Richard Viguerie, among others, urged Gingrich to drop out in order to boost Santorum’s chances. In the end, Santorum went on to win other southern primaries but couldn’t catch Romney.

In January 2012, after he won that supposed consensus endorsement for Santorum, Perkins dismissed suggestions that the meeting was too late to have an impact, even though it came after Romney had already won Iowa and New Hampshire and was building up a head of steam. Perkins clearly decided not to let that happen again.

Perkins: 'Only 16 Percent Of Islam Is A Religion' So Immigration Ban Not A 'Religious Test On Muslims'

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins jumped into the debate over Donald Trump’s call to ban all Muslims from entering the U.S. yesterday, citing the same shoddy Center for Security Policy poll as Trump to say that “we shouldn’t be embarrassed to say that we oppose those who want to come to the United States to destroy it.”

In an email to FRC members last night with the subject line “How Do You Solve a Problem like Sharia?,” Perkins did not mention Trump’s proposal directly, but alluded to the “national discussion” about “who should and shouldn’t be in the country.”

Warning that unlike previous generations today’s immigrants don’t want to “come to America and assimilate,” Perkins declared that the U.S. may soon “lose our identity in the shadow of muliticulturalism.”

He then addressed the debate about Muslim immigration, writing, “What most people either don't realize or willfully ignore is that only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic, and political system. Christianity, by comparison, isn’t a judicial or economic code — but a faith. So to suggest that we would be imposing some sort of religious test on Muslims is inaccurate. Sharia is not a religion in the context of the First Amendment.”

How Do You Solve a Problem like Sharia?

The word "contentious" doesn't begin to describe the American immigration debate over the last two decades. But in recent days, the lines are being redrawn -- and with it, the national conversation. The focus is no longer being dominated by illegal immigration south of Texas but "legal" immigration coming from across the Atlantic, where a bold new enemy is exposing weaknesses in the West's tolerance.

Attacks in Paris, followed by a mass shooting in California have made believers of Americans, who doubted that radicalized Muslims were one of the greatest threats to our nation. Now, with President Obama offering to throw open the door to more Syrian refugees, more voters from both parties are ready to put the brakes on the process until a better, safer vetting protocol is in place.

As the national discussion turns to immigration, people are starting to stake out positions on who should and shouldn't be in the country. But first, we need to consider one of the unfortunate realities -- in America and elsewhere -- which is that the purpose of immigration has changed. It used to exist for people who wanted to come to America and assimilate. Now, in a dramatic shift from even our grandparents' generation, the "sensitivity" and "diversity" doctrine of the modern age is suggesting that we create cultural enclaves, where outsiders come to our country and live as if they never left home.

That doesn't work, as Europe will tell you. Instead, we lose our identity in the shadow of multiculturalism. It's happened in France, and it's happening in Britain. Leaders are learning a painful message that if you tiptoe around the global realities, you'll pay for it. If people want to live in America -- including Muslims -- they need to embrace our Constitution and our culture. Others have said in less artful ways what conservatives have been warning for years: there is no such thing as coexistence between Sharia law and our constitutional republic. That isn't religious prejudice, but an ideological reality.

What most people either don't realize or willfully ignore is that only 16 percent of Islam is a religion -- the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic, and political system. Christianity, by comparison, isn't a judicial or economic code -- but a faith. So to suggest that we would be imposing some sort of religious test on Muslims is inaccurate. Sharia is not a religion in the context of the First Amendment. Under the framework proposed by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Rick Santorum, America wouldn't vet refugees based on religion but an ideology that's incompatible with American liberty. "I've proposed actual concrete things [like eliminating the visa lottery system] and immigration law that would have -- not the effect of banning all Muslims, but a lot of them," Santorum explained.

The bottom line is this: the U.S. Constitution is an agreement between people about how they'll be governed. What good is it if people immigrate to America with the sole purpose of undermining that contract? We shouldn't be embarrassed to say that we oppose those who want to come to the United States to destroy it. And while most Muslims are not radicalized, Sharia certainly encourages it. Based on polling from the Center for Security Policy, that's the system most would choose. The majority of Muslims in America believe they "'should have the choice of being governed by Sharia [law].' Sharia authorizes such atrocities as murder against non-believers who won't convert, beheadings, and more unthinkable acts that pose great harm to Americans, especially women."

In America, we have freedom under the construct of ordered liberty. Even the Wall Street Journal struggles with the clash of these ideologies. "Certainly Islam and the America way of life are compatible in as much as America is capable of welcoming Muslims who are not Islamic supremacists. On the other hand, it's always struck us that categorical statements to the effect that Islam [is peaceful] are far more hortatory than empirical -- which is to say that there is a gap between Islam as it actually exists and Islam as...President Obama would like it to be. How wide that gap is, and how dangerous, we do not know." Nor, I would argue, should we risk the future of our nation to find out.

Déjà Vu, Global Radicalism Edition

Sometimes, covering the Religious Right every day, we feel like we’re hearing the exact same talking points repeated over and over again.

And then, sometimes, we actually are hearing the exact same talking points.

Earlier today, we wrote about a fundraising email that we got from the Family Research Council asking for money to fight the “sexual radicals” that are going to war with families throughout America. These were the first few paragraphs of FRC’s email:

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.

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.

Times are tough, we guess.

FRC: 'Sexual Radicals' Are Coming After 'Your Family'

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.

Inhofe: Climate Change Science Ignores God's Power

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.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/1/15

GOP Senator: People Of Faith The New Targets Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

As we have continually noted over the last few years, the Religious Right is in the process of an attempt to radically redefine the term “religious liberty” to encompass not just the right to live out one’s own faith but also the right to cite one’s faith as justification for infringing on the rights of others, whether by denying service to gay people in public accommodations, kicking people out of housing because of their sexual orientation, or preventing your employees from accessing affordable birth control even if you don’t pay for it.

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.”

Lankford, for the record, has said that he would oppose workplace protections for LGBT people because “ homosexuality is a choice.”

Tony Perkins: Refugee Resettlement Shows Obama & Liberals 'Hate America'

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.”

Tony Perkins: Terrorists Unlikely To Strike South Because 'We Know How To Defend Ourselves'

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.

Tony Perkins: America About To Hit The Gay Iceberg

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.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/5/15

  • Liberty University is reportedly a front-runner to host a Republican presidential debate in January.
  • Anti-gay megadonor Sean Fieler finds a friend in Ted Cruz.
  • 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!" 

Michael Brown Joins List of Religious Right Endorsements for Ted Cruz

In August, we asked whether Ted Cruz was winning the Christian Nation primary, with fracking billionaires Dan and Farris Wilks pumping $15 million into a pro-Cruz super PAC and political operative David Lane promoting Cruz’s anti-Planned Parenthood efforts. In September, Religious Right “historian” David Barton was tapped to take over a Cruz super PAC, and CNN reported that top officials of Online for Life are “playing a growing role in the super PACs backing Ted Cruz.” Yesterday, Glenn Beck declared that Cruz “was truly raised up for this purpose at this time.”

Now Cruz has announced the endorsement of another Religious Right activist, Michael Brown, a North Carolina preacher and author of “Revolution! The Call to Holy War.” Brown participated in the anti-gay “Stand4Truth” conference that was held as a lead-in to the World Congress of Families last week.

Brown is scheduled to appear, along with David and Jason Benham and the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, at a Cruz-organized “religious liberty” rally at Bob Jones University on November 14. As we noted a few weeks ago, “the ‘religious liberty’ Bob Jones is most famous for defending was its long insistence that its segregationist policies were mandated in the Bible.”

Brown has already been portraying marriage equality as a dire threat to religious freedom in America. Back in June, when the Supreme Court released its decision affirming marriage equality nationwide, Brown wrote a snarky note to Justice Anthony Kennedy to thank him “for confirming what we have been saying for many years now, namely, that gay activism is the principle threat to our freedoms of speech, religion and conscience.” Brown also thanked Kennedy “for bringing unprecedented religious persecution to the shores of our nation,” adding, “Despite the darkness and pain ahead, this will only cause the Church to wake up and grow stronger.” 

Family Research Council: Obama 'Home Invasion' Will Put Your Children 'Into The Funnel Of the Sexual Revolution'

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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

And:

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.

These are just the lowlights. We’ve uploaded a scanned copy of the full letter here.

Louie Gohmert Hopes Congress Will Impeach Obama…One Day

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.”

Marriage & 'Natural Family' Day At World Congress of Families

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:

  1. Affirm continually and publicly that marriage is by nature a union of a man and a woman
  2. Reject the Supreme Court’s decision as illegitimate
  3. Overturn the decision, perhaps through decades of struggle or perhaps with new Supreme Court justices appointed by a Republican president elected in 2016
  4. 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.

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