Family Research Council

Tony Perkins Attacks Obama For Quoting Lincoln

To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Wednesday, famed filmmaker Ken Burns asked President Obama read aloud Abraham Lincoln’s first draft of the speech. But things aren’t always as they seem! Immediately after Burns’ video was released, we learned from the right-wing media that because Lincoln’s initial speech — the one that Burns asked Obama to read — did not contain the word “God,” that Obama must have somehow traveled back in time to edit the word out of the speech himself.

Count the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell among the right-wing activists who have become apoplectic over Obama’s reading of Lincoln’s speech and are badly misreporting the non-omission.

On Wednesday’s edition of Washington Watch, Blackwell said that Obama’s reading was all part of a plan to expand government. Perkins accused Obama of “editing historical texts to remove God” and even cited the bogus claim that Obama consistently removes “endowed by their Creator” out of the Declaration of Independence.

Later in the program, Perkins said, “It really reminds me of the Old Testament Israel. What really brought Judea down, they were the remaining portion of the Jewish people: their failure to acknowledge God. They forgot Him and that is what I think we see happening before our very eyes.”

Boykin: Jesus 'Was A Tough Guy, He Was A Man's Man'

A few months ago, Family Research Council Executive Vice President Jerry Boykin spoke at a Men's Prayer Breakfast at William Jessup University where he discussed the "4 P's of Biblical Manhood."

During his speech, Boykin told the male audience that Jesus was not the weak, effeminate, "feminized" figure taught in church today but was really a ripped, tough, strong "man's man" who smelled bad!

As Boykin explained, Jesus was a carpenter and stone mason for most of his life, which required him to be constantly lifting heavy pieces of wood and stone. All this lifting, in turn, meant that Jesus had calluses on his hands and "big, bulging biceps, big ole veins popping out of his arms, thin waist, [and] strong shoulders."

"He was a man," Boykin said. "He was a man's man, but we feminized him in the church ... He was a tough guy and that's the Jesus that I want to be like. That's the side that I want to be like. But we've feminized Jesus in the church and the men can't identify with him anymore; not the kind of men that I want to hang out with, they can't identify with this effeminate Jesus that we've tried to portray. He was a tough guy. He was a man's man":

Ted Cruz's Weekend Plans: Puppy Bombs, Islamophobia, Junk History & Glenn Beck

Sen. Ted Cruz has a busy weekend planned. Not only is he confirmed to headline a Texas conference for state legislators hosted by fake historian David Barton, he is also confirmed to speak at a conference of anti-Muslim activists and right-wing muckrakers in Florida hosted by leading Islamophobe David Horowitz .

Warren Throckmorton reports that Cruz is scheduled to speak at David Barton’s “ProFamily Legislators Conference” along with effusive conspiracy thoerist Glenn Beck, master voter suppressor and now Family Research Council bigwig Ken Blackwell, FRC vice president and radical anti-Islam activist General Jerry Boykin, and anti-gay, anti-Islam activist Rabbi Daniel Lapin. But perhaps the most questions for Cruz should come around accepting an invitation from Barton, who routinely pushes junk science and history and who just this week found himself in hot water among conservatives for telling veterans that it’s unbiblical to have PTSD.

Cruz is also set to join Rep. Louie Gohmert at “David Horowitz’s Restoration Weekend,” along with Horowitz’s fellow anti-Islam activists Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, Erick Stakelbeck and Daniel Pipes; right-wing pundits Ann Coulter and Ben Shapiro; “voter fraud” truther Catherine Engelbrecht ; erstwhile Christian Coalition leader and Jack Abramoff pal Ralph Reed; prankster/martyr James O’Keefe; and rising right-wing star Dr. Ben Carson.

Previous “restoration weekends” have similarly allowed sitting members of Congress – including Sen. Jeff Sessions, Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michelle Bachmann -- to mingle with anti-Islam leaders inluding Geert Wilders, Frank Gaffney, Andrew McCarthy and Pastor John Hagee.

While Horowitz’s summit includes a wide variety of far-right activists, its real star power comes from its Islamophobe coalition.

Horowitz himself has built his career on tying American progressives and mainstream Muslims to radical Islam. He's the editor of FrontPage magazine and has reportedly funded Robert Spencer's JihadWatch website. Horowitz was a leader of the smear campaign against former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, who anti-Islam activists accused of being a Muslim Brotherhood agent sent to "penetrate" the US government . Horowitz alleged that Abedin, who is married to former Rep. Anthony Weiner, was a "Muslim Brotherhood operative" and "been given a special dispensation to marry a Jew so she can infiltrate our government.” He has also accused anti-tax activist Grover Norquist, whose wife is Muslim, of secretly practicing Islam and leading a Muslim Brotherhood "infiltration" of the Republican Party, and believes that teachers' unions are pushing an “infiltration of Islamic Jihadist doctrines” in the public schools.

Geller is also one of the most vocal figures on the anti-Muslim right. It was Geller who dreamed up and drove the "Ground Zero Mosque" controversy in the summer of 2010. Like Horowitz, Geller sees Islamist infiltration wherever she looks, including theWhite House, public schools, the media, and even the Conservative Political Action Committee (thanks, of course to Norquist). Geller frequently suggests that President Obama is secretly Muslim and has even theorized that the president is the love child of Malcolm X.

Geller even attempted to justify Anders Breivik’s massacre at a Norwegian summer camp (which she initially, of course, blamed on Muslims), writing that the victims would have become “future leaders of the party responsible for flooding Norway with Muslims who refuse to assimilate, who commit major violence against Norwegian natives including violent gang rapes, with impunity, and who live on the dole.” Breivik had extensively cited Geller’s work in his anti-Islam manifesto.

Spencer is another one of the anti-Muslim movement’s leading lights, and also sees sneaking radical Islam in in the “Sharia-compliant” CPAC , the Obama administration,the media, TLC reality shows and progressives, whom he argues are “in league with Islamic supremacists” because of their shared dislike of America and western civilization.

To give you an idea of just how willing Spencer and Geller are to run with any anti-Muslim conspiracy theory, no matter how ridiculous, this month both gleefully picked up a story from New York’s local CBS station that alleged that members of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt were dipping puppies in gasoline and lighting them on fire in order to make puppy bombs. CBS quickly retracted the story, which was sourced to a Facebook message. But the story so perfectly fit Geller and Spencer’s hysterical anti-Muslim narrative that neither has updated their blog post.

We hope that Cruz at least won’t fall for the puppy bombs story. It’s sad enough to ruin what could have been great weekend.

Right Wing Leftovers -11/14/13

  • Several House Republicans have drafted articles of impeachment against Attorney General Eric Holder.
  • Rick Santorum will be the keynote speaker at a Christian Women in Media Association event next week. Lucky them!
  • We will never understand why groups like CWA claim that they have been designated a "hate group" by the SLPC when it is so demonstrably false.
  • Ralph Reed says the GOP should try to model itself on Pope Francis.
  • Finally, FRC prays against ENDA: "May God give House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Congress the moral strength to reject ENDA! (Ex 23:2; Dt 28; Josh 1:8 ff; Is 10:1; Rom 1:32; Eph 6:10-20; Rev 12:11)."

Right Wing Leftovers - 11/7/13

  • Rand Paul lost his column at the Washington Times over plagiarism charges so , of course, he's been picked up by Breitbart.
  • The Religious Right is flummoxed as to why Republicans in the Senate are not standing up to try and stop ENDA.
  • FRC prays "may Gods people exercise their rights as Citizens to turn the tide in the military. May God send another Great Awakening that transforms our military troops and those in all the cultural spheres that shape our nation!"
  • Speaking of FRC, the organization blasts the GOP for insufficiently supporting Ken Cuccinelli, saying that "if the GOP would rather concede races to corrupt liberals than go to the mat on values that a majority of Virginians support, then it's clear who the real extremists are."
  • Finally, apparently "a child's tumultuous relationship with their father is the determining factor in the widespread rise of atheism."

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/5/13

Right-Wing Groups Gear Up To Oppose Disability Rights Treaty, Again

Last December, former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole took to the Senate floor in a wheelchair to urge his former colleagues to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD), a United Nations treaty that would encourage countries around the world to emulate the United States’ protections for the rights of the disabled.

The treaty fell six votes short of the 2/3 majority it needed for passage, thanks to an intense lobbying effort by Religious Right groups that warned – against all evidence – that the treaty would threaten U.S. sovereignty, impede the rights of homeschoolers, expand abortion rights and allow the UN to seize children with glasses from their families.

Now, the fight is set to start over again. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing on the treaty for tomorrow, and once again the extremist right is gearing up to defeat it by spreading myths about CRPD’s true purpose and effects.

The first sign of what is to come is that Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) has been called as a witness for Tuesday’s hearing. C-FAM is a far-right group dedicated to defeating gay rights and reproductive health measures at the UN. Most recently, the group has made headlines for vocally defending Russia’s ban on gay-rights speech , a law that C-FAM’s president Austin Ruse said “most of the people in the United States” would agree with. C-FAM opposes UN efforts to prevent violence against LGBT people, an effort for which it has found its strongest allies in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

C-FAM also stands against any UN public health initiatives that stray from an abstinence-only ideology. The group criticized UN HIV/AIDS guidelines that called for decriminalizing adultery, homosexuality and extramarital sex, claiming that decriminalization “would fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS.” The group also opposes efforts to combat HIV/AIDS through sex education and condom distribution, which it claims are merely ruses to “protect the sexual revolution.”

C-FAM’s opposition to the CRPD has centered on the myth that the treaty would expand abortion rights – a myth that even the anti-choice National Right to Life Committee has debunked and which Sen. John McCain called just plain “wrong.”

As the Senate considered the CRPD last year, Yoshihara warned that the treaty included protections for “sexual and reproductive health,” which she said meant the treaty would be “used to advance a right to abortion.” After the treaty fell short in the Senate, Yoshihara declared that “cooler heads prevailed,” fretting that “the text could be interpreted as including a right to abortion.”

Also gearing up to fight the CRPD is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is renewing its warnings that the treaty, along with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, would imperil homeschooling families in the United States, “override existing state laws” and “surrender our nation’s sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats.” An indication of HSLDA’s mode of operation is that the group’s founder Michael Farris has written a novel set in a future in which the United States has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, allowing the UN to snatch children from American homeschooling parents .

It is Farris who warned last year that the treaty would allow the UN to come in and take control of children who wear glasses or have ADHD. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, Farris claimed that the treaty could even empower doctors to kill disabled children. He even warned that the treaty would make the United States “an official socialist nation.”

Thanks in large parts to Farris’ efforts, rumors claims that the United States’ signing of the CRPD would endanger homeschooling became so pervasive that Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware was forced to confirm with the Department of Justice that “ratification of this treaty will not do anything to change existing American law, rules or enforcement on homeschooling” and that the treaty would not “ erode one iota of American sovereignty.”

HSLDA and Farris found a powerful ally in former senator and failed presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who warned that the treaty would lead to the deaths of children with disabilities like his daughter Bella.

Under Farris and Santorum’s leadership, the Religious Right rallied to oppose the CRPD last year. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins warned – with absolutely no basis – that under the treaty, “the global community could force America to sanction sterilization or abortion for the disabled–at taxpayer expense.” Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum included the treaty vote on its “bills to watch” list, and Schlafly warned that CRPD – and UN treaties as a whole – “override national sovereignty in pursuit of social engineering, feminist ideology, or merely busybody interference in a country’s internal affairs.”Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, Eagle Forum and the American Family Association also joined the effort against ratification

While right-wing groups circulate irresponsible rumors about imaginary impacts of the CRPD, international disability rights advocates are left without an important tool for their work – the United States’ approval of international standards based on US law. The Senate now has a second chance to listen to common-sense voices of support for the treaty – including leading disability rights, civil rights and business groups – and reject the unhinged rhetoric that brought down the treaty last year.

Anti-Gay Groups Rev Up Anti-ENDA Rhetoric As Senate Vote Nears

As RWW has been documenting, anti-gay groups have been getting wildly over the top in their denunciations of the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act, which would add to federal anti-discrimination law protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  With a procedural vote in the Senate scheduled as early as Monday evening, anti-LGBT groups are getting increasingly shrill.

On Friday night, the Family Research Council blasted out a breathtakingly dishonest alert charging that under ENDA “employers would be forced to reward workers based on their sexual preferences.” FRC’s Tony Perkins called ENDA a “republic-altering piece of legislation that has the power to fundamentally destroy Americans' First Amendment rights.”

Through ENDA (which FRC has blocked for a decade), businesses would be ordered to make hiring, firing, and promotion decisions -- not based on a person's qualifications -- but on their sexual expression. Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and transgendered workers would automatically qualify for special treatment that other workers would not. Can you imagine walking into your child's classroom and meeting a teacher dressed in drag? Neither can most Americans. But unfortunately, that's just one of the many consequences of adopting a law as dangerous as this one. Preschools, daycare centers, summer camps, religious chains like Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A -- they'll all be subject to the law, regardless of their personal beliefs and workplace standards.

Also on Friday, the National Organization for Marriage blasted ENDA, calling it “a Trojan horse built to attack the foundational institution of marriage between a man and a woman.”

That’s the same line taken a day earlier by Ryan Anderson, a protégé of Robert George and the Heritage Foundation’s answer to young Americans’ support for LGBT equality. Anderson wrote in National Review online that “ENDA would create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, backed up by coercive enforcement.” Anderson also says “ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human.”

Anderson and others call ENDA a threat to religious liberty even though the bill in fact includes a broad exemption for religious organizations, an exemption that is broad enough to raise concerns among some backers of the law. But for Anderson, even that religious liberty exemption is “inadequate and vaguely defined.” He says ENDA would interfere with the rights of business owners to run their businesses the way they want.

That was also the theme of a hyperventilating alert send on Sunday by former military chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt warning that the Senate was preparing to vote “to punish Christian Business Owners.” He says ENDA will trample religious freedom and “will force Christians into bankruptcy and lawsuits if they refuse to hire homosexuals that oppose their corporate mission.”

In reality, ENDA has broad support in the business community and is backed by large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Not only that, but majorities of all religious groups – including white evangelical Protestants – support laws to protect gay and lesbian people from workplace discrimination. So clearly, ENDA’s opponents do not speak for all Christians, or even all evangelical Christians, most of whom agree that fairness on the job is an American value that is worth upholding in law.

As President Barack Obama notes in an op-ed published in the Huffington Post on Sunday, ENDA is a concrete expression of America’s ideal of equality under the law:

America is at a turning point. We're not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we're becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation's journey toward equality isn't complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the content of their character." That's what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.

Right Wing Leftovers - 11/1/13

 

 

 

 

  • Just as he promised, Rep. Steve Stockman is handing out copies of a book calling for President Obama's impeachment to his House colleagues.
  • It is truly amazing that FRC argues that ENDA should not be passed because gays will be given "special status" when all the legislation does is provide the same protections that are already granted to Christians and those of other religious faiths.
  • Samuel Rodriguez is launching a 40-day fast for immigration reform.
  • It is probably a safe bet to be wary of anyone Glenn Beck calls "his friend and Congressional candidate" such as Dan Bongino.
  • The "Draft Ben Carson" movement is setting up shop in Iowa and is being headed by none other than Vernon Robinson.

FRC Asks God To 'Intervene To Prevent; ENDA From Passing

The Family Research Council is asking its members to pray against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which they claim will require employers to “give special treatment to LGBT employees” and instill an “anti-Christian bias in business.”

The group urges members to pray that ENDA will “be decisively defeated” and ask God to “intervene to prevent furtherance of this law, which would plant homosexuality even more deeply into the fabric of our society.”

The Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) will be brought to the Senate Floor as early as next week. ENDA will impact private and public employers and workplaces like the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell impacted the U.S. Military. Military leaders and chaplains are now caught in crises of religious conscience over elevating homosexual rights above religious liberty. Christian service personnel are bearing the brunt. Employers and employees will similarly be required to give special treatment to LGBT employees. This law would mandate the employment of homosexual, bisexual and "transgendered" individuals in inappropriate occupations, disregarding the fact that sexual conduct may be relevant to employment. ENDA would open America's businesses to a host of lawsuits and, I predict, more anti-Christian bias in business, just as is now happening in the military.

May ENDA, first introduced in 1996, be decisively defeated. May deceptive and inadequate religious liberty amendments not distract Congressmen from taking a principled stand on the issue. May God intervene to prevent furtherance of this law, which would plant homosexuality even more deeply into the fabric of our society. Bring millions who need Christ into His kingdom, including those involved in sexual sins, both homosexual and heterosexual

Larry Taunton At FRC: US Must Choose Between Christianity And Tyranny

Larry Taunton, an author whose Fixed Point Foundation is devoted to advocating for the truth of Christianity in the public arena, spoke at the Family Research Council Wednesday on the topic of “Combating Secularism in the Public Square.” Having recently injured his foot in a stumble, he joked that he wished he had a better story, that he’d been “kicking around a few liberals.” 

Taunton’s FRC speech  recycled much of the language in an article he wrote last year mocking the “Reason Rally” in Washington, D.C. as the “Rally for Nothing in Particular.” It reiterated the main thrust of his book, The Grace Effect: societies do better when there are enough Christians around to bring grace to the culture, and societies are in danger when they no longer have Christianity at their center.

Citing “new atheists” such as Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins (whose books he called “sheer nonsense”), Taunton argued that there is “growing hostility toward Christianity” and an effort to “drive Christianity from western life and culture.” Like many speakers at Religious Right events, he argued that a big source of America’s problems is that Christians and the church are not outspoken enough.

Taunton argues that how people answer questions about God determines our view of mankind and our view of government, particularly whether government is meant to serve man or man to serve the state. He warned that “we live in a time when the state is deemed to be the answer to all things.” The notion that “all men are created equal,” he said, makes sense only in a Christian context. And he warned that “we cannot dismiss God from public life and retain human dignity, worth and meaning, because those things can only be given by God.” More explicitly, he said, “society cannot and will not stand in the absence of belief in God.”  Taunton says some secular societies, like those in Western Europe, are “still running off of their accumulated Christian capital. But beware. When the fumes in that tank are spent, tyranny cannot be far away.”

In a response to a question from FRC’s notoriously anti-gay Peter Sprigg, Taunton expressed a sort of grudging admiration for the “gay and lesbian lobby,” which he said has changed America’s cultural conversation even though it represents a “tiny percentage” of the population.  He said many young people who identify as homosexual see God as a “cosmic spoilsport” and the church as hostile.  Citing research he did for an Atlantic article on young atheists, he said one young lesbian viewed Christians not as a group but as a “gang.”  Taunton said that in reaching out to people, he does not believe in compromising the gospel, but he encourages Christians to consider whether they are “projecting grace” in the way they communicate.  Odd, then, that he praised the Family Research Council, whose approach to LGBT people could hardly be any less grace-projecting.

FRC: Universal Preschool Leads To Socialist, Atheist Indoctrination

The Family Research Council is very upset about Democratic efforts to invest in early education, and is particularly peeved that Nancy Pelosi suggested that preschool “frees parents to earn without carrying the burden of childcare.”

On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, the FRC’s Tony Perkins and Anna Higgins FRC discussed the supposed dangers of universal pre-K. The two falsely claimed that such plans would compel parents to put their kids into preschool, which they argued would undermine family structures, particularly the role of women in the family.

“We know that this is the opposite of supporting families,” Higgins said of preschool. “Nothing good can come of regulating familial responsibility to the government. It seems to be the running theme of liberals and pro-abortion feminists that it’s children that are holding women back from actually succeeding in society and in the workforce.”

Perkins claimed that universal pre-k is “part of socialism” and “government indoctrination from the cradle to the grave.” “The USSR had lots of universal care for children and the reasoning behind that was so that they could instill atheism in the children,” Higgins added.

FRC Cites Bogus George Washington Story To Promote Christian Nationalism

The Family Research Council is outraged that the Air Force Academy has made it optional to say “So help me God” in its honor oath, claiming that the new policy is discriminatory against religious cadets…even though anyone can still say the phrase. On his radio program today, Tony Perkins of FRC said that the new policy is disrespectful of George Washington:

Who's running the United States Air Force: General Mark Welsh or Mikey Weinstein? Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Anti-Christian crusader Mikey Weinstein recently probed the Air Force Academy. The Air Force Academy Superintendent responded in 68 minutes, when he marked down his objections to the phrase, "So help me God," contained in the Academy honor code. Weinstein has been trying to drive Evangelicals out of the Academy for over a decade. During the tenure of one Superintendent, he boasted that he had a bath code that immediately connected him with the Academy boss. His complaint this time was a poster that included the honor oath with the phrase, "So help me God." Lieutenant General Michelle Johnson said the oath is being reviewed because the Academy values an inclusive environment that promotes dignity and respect for all. Really? Does that include those like General George Washington who initiated the phrase, "So help me God," or does that inclusion only make room for those who want to dismantle America's Christian heritage?

On the same note, FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell cited Washington as a reason to keep the phrase a requirement:

Let's see: Why is that phrase so offensive? George Washington was a pretty successful general. And he took the oath as our first President in New York City on April 30, 1789.

When Chancellor Livingston swore Washington in as Commander-in-Chief of the Army and Navy, Washington added four words to the Constitutionally prescribed oath:

So Help Me God

Question for Mikey and Murfs: If George Washington could add those four words, and if every President since could add those four words, why should they offend an Air Force Academy cadet?

But as George Mason University history professor Peter Henriques writes, the story about Washington is most certainly a myth. In fact, James Madison excluded the words “So help me God” while working on a committee drafting an oath bill.

There is absolutely no extant contemporary evidence that President Washington altered the language of the oath as laid down in Article 2, Section 1 of the Constitution: “I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” A long letter by the French foreign minister Comte de Moustier, who attended the ceremony, repeated the oath verbatim and did not include the additional words. Apparently, it was not until 65 years after the event that the story that Washington added this phrase first appeared in a published volume. In his book, The Republican Court, Rufus Griswold cited a childhood memory of Washington Irving as his source. It took another 27 years before the first clearly documented case of a President adding the words, “So help me God,” was recorded — when Chester A. Arthur took the oath in 1881.



Proponents of the myth contend that Washington had expressed no personal objection to saying “So help me God” and had routinely taken such oaths during the colonial era. Perhaps, they contend, he simply added it as an afterthought or because he was caught up in the solemnity and reverence of the moment. While at first glance this is plausible, it seems certain that any such modification of the oath would have created comment at the time that would have survived in the historical record.

The reason for this assertion is at exactly the same time as these inaugural events were unfolding, the first Congress was debating what oath the new members of the new federal government should take so as to comply with the Constitution. Article Six called for an oath but specifically added, “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.” Early arrivals to the House of Representatives had taken an oath that included the words, “So help me God.” But, following the lead of a committee led by James Madison, legislators passed a new oath act on April 27, 1789 — just three days before Washington’s inauguration — that excluded the words “So help me God.” The Senate, after adding unrelated amendments, passed the bill on May 5, 1789. Would the Senate have passed an oath bill without the words, “So help me God,” only five days after the great hero of the American people “solemnly” and “with fervor” added them to his own oath? And do so without any contemporary comment surviving?

Taken together, the complete lack of contemporary evidence, George Washington’s political philosophy of strictly following the Constitution and the concurrent debate over the proper wording of oaths under the new Constitution make it virtually certain that George Washington did not add the words “So help me God” to his inaugural oath.

The New York Times adds:

It’s no surprise, then, that Washington should become the subject of the recent genre of biographical writing that focuses on the machinery of fame and the ways in which it manipulates, ignores, embellishes or distorts the known facts about a famous individual’s life and work. In “Inventing George Washington,” Edward G. Lengel — editor in chief of the Papers of George Washington and a professor at the University of Virginia — says he intends to examine “Washington myths and mythmakers” and trace “the means by which they have defined and redefined the founder from the beginning of the 19th century up to the present day.”

...

In addition, Mr. Lengel says, many efforts have been made to “prove” that Washington added the phrase “so help me God” to the presidential oath of office in 1789, even though “the evidence is against” this argument: “There are no contemporary accounts indicating that Washington said ‘so help me God.’ Indeed, the Comte de Moustier, the French foreign minister, who stood near Washington as he took the oath and recorded it word for word, did not include the phrase in his meticulous account of the event.”

“In sum,” Mr. Lengel argues, “any attempt to prove that Washington added the words ‘so help me God’ requires mental gymnastics of the sort that would do credit to the finest artist of the flying trapeze. How much easier, then, just to assert over and over that it happened without making any attempt to justify it in the historical record and then appeal to it as a ‘tradition’ that must never be broken. Such, at least, has been the approach taken by defenders of this story since its first appearance in 1854, and the results have met their desires. Since Chester Arthur in 1881, presidents have included the words in almost every known oath of office, with greater and lesser degrees of drama. Though atheists, secular humanists and outraged academics occasionally pop up to protest, the tradition has become set in stone.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/24/13

  • Gary Bauer says that "if Barack Obama were serious about bi-partisan cooperation, which he isn't, he would start by publicly condemning Alan Grayson."
  • Mike Huckabee has endorsed Senator Mike Enzi for reelection over challenger Liz Cheney because Cheney is not anti-gay enough.
  • Mark Krikorian warns that if immigration reform succeeds, "there will be no public space, no opportunity as a national movement for traditionalist small-government conservatism. It's simply finished."
  • It looks like the Tea Party is giving up on repealing Obamacare.
  • Finally, FRC continues to pray against marriage equality: "May God help the pastors and churches in New Jersey, Hawaii, Illinois and New Mexico, to stand and do what only they can to withstand and stop the evil of 'legalized' same-sex marriage. May God give them eyes to see that there can be no religious freedom in a society where homosexual license is honored above God and religious liberty. May they be given wisdom and strength to prevail over everything that God calls abomination, promising to destroy those who embrace it (Lev 18:22; 20:13; Eze 3:17-21; Mt 19:4-6; Gal 5:1; Eph 5:31-31)."

Perkins: Pastor Who Condemned Homophobia 'Encourages Those Who Do Evil'

Family Research Council head Tony Perkins is upset by an Episcopalian priest who condemned homophobia in a sermon, labeling him a “false prophet” who “encourages[s] those who do evil.” Perkins compared the Very Rev. Gary Hall of the National Cathedral to the false prophets mentioned in the Book of Jeremiah, telling listeners to “be aware of today’s false prophets who will profit you nothing.”

Last week, Charisma magazine accused Hall of disseminating “anti-Christ messages.”

The Bible speaks of false prophets, today we have non-profits, but do we still have false prophets? Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. The short answer is yes. Jeremiah gives a few tell-tale signs of false prophets; they encourage those who do evil, and as a result, no one turns from doing evil. Just recently, the dean of the National Cathedral here in Washington gave a message in which he called homophobia a sin. Gary Hall, who is called the Very Reverend, defined in part homophobia as those who prevent BLGT youth from seeing their “sexual orientation as a gift.” When asked by The Christian Post if homosexuality was a sin, Hall said, it is “not for me to say,” adding that such a view “is a misreading of the scripture.” Interesting. The Book of Jeremiah also says false prophets speak a vision from their own heart, not words from the mouth of the Lord. Be aware of today’s false prophets who will profit you nothing.

Boykin: Obama Creating A 'Marxist Nation'

During an interview this week with the American Family Association’s Fred Jackson, Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin reiterated his claim that President Obama is using the military to introduce communism.

Boykin said there is “no question” that the White House is to blame for the supposed “persecution of Christians” in the military, which he said is all part of an effort to create “a society moving to Marxism.”

“This is the Marxist model, if you go back to what Karl Marx said, he said my objective is to dethrone God and destroy capitalism, he also said religion is the opiate of the masses,” Boykin continued, “because we are moving through the socialist agenda to really becoming a Marxist nation, you have to destroy the idea or concept of unalienable rights, which is what we were founded upon, our rights come from God, not from man, not from government.”

Perkins: Christians Who See A Role For Government In Reducing Poverty Are Wrongheaded Theocrats

Last month, the Family Research Council’s Kenneth Blackwell hailed House Republicans for passing a massive cut in food aid for low-income families, arguing that there is “nothing more Christian” than kicking millions off the food stamp program.

FRC head Tony Perkins had a similar take during an interview yesterday with Janet Mefferd, who askin him about Jonathan Merritt’s recent article: Government Shutdown May Drive More Young Christians from GOP. Perkins told Mefferd that while Christians should be active in political affairs because government reflects the values of society, they should leave issues like helping the less fortunate out of it.

Even though “as Christians we will be held responsible for the policies adopted by this government because it’s us,” Perkins said Christians shouldn’t see the government as a way to help the poor: “The government has a responsibility to care for the poor? That’s not what Scripture says.” 

After making the unsound claim that redistributive policies are unbiblical, he then said that such left-leaning Christians are “treating the government as if it had divine instructions from God to be a form of theocracy.”

Unlike Religious Right activists, whom Perkins claims would never impose their views on anyone, except of course when those views align with those of the conservative movement and then they should.

Cuccinelli Surrogate Jim Bob Duggar Stands By His Comparison Of US To Nazi Germany

While campaigning for Virginia Republicans Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson this week, reality TV star Jim Bob Duggar reaffirmed his comparison of the United States to Nazi Germany during the Holocaust.

Over the weekend, Duggar told the Values Voter Summit — an event hosted by the Family Research Council Action, where is son Josh serves as executive director — that Nazi concentration camps are “where we are at in our nation.”

Campaigning for the GOP ticket in Virginia, Duggar attempted to “clarify” his remarks by affirming his comparison of the current state of the US to the Holocaust:

"It is shocking that Cuccinelli would accept the support of a man who last week publicly compared the United States to Nazi Germany and the Holocaust," said McAuliffe's campaign spokesman Josh Schwerin.

"Ken Cuccinelli needs to immediately ask his surrogate to leave Virginia," Schwerin continued. "Mr. Duggar's divisive, hurtful, and extreme rhetoric has no place in this campaign for Governor."

Asked about his earlier decision to employ the holocaust metaphor Duggar did not back down.

"Let me clarify," he said.

"We have since 1973 (when Roe v. Wade was decided) had 55 million abortions, so what we have going on is a baby holocaust," Duggar said.

Cuccinelli joined the Duggar clan for one of the family’s campaign stop, which was sponsored by the FRC.

When Jackson met up with the Duggar’s, the Republican nominee for Lt. Governor likened himself and Cuccinelli to Patrick Henry during the American Revolution:

It also featured a fiery speech from Jackson, who said voters face a choice that's as stark as what Americans patriots faced in 1775.

He said Lord Dunmore, the last royal governor of Virginia, at the time "put out an arrest warrant out on our House of Burgesses."

This, Jackson said, prompted Patrick Henry to mount an armed resistance to the British crown.

"I don't think Mark (Obenshain), Ken (Cuccinelli) or I are in any danger of being arrested or being hanged," he said, "but I do think the choice is as stark."

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/15/13

  • Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst is calling for President Obama to be impeached.
  • Mike Huckabee says that he is considering making another run for president in 2016.
  • CBN's "journalist" thinks that Dr. Ben Carson would "be a force if he decides to make a run" for president.
  • FRC prays that "conservatives in the House and Senate will not succumb to a godless compromise" on Obamacare, the debt ceiling, or the shutdown.
  • As if anyone cares, Lila Rose says she'll leave the GOP if the party drops its opposition to abortion.
  • Finally, at some point, Bryan Fischer is going to get himself sued for repeatedly and falsely stating that Janet Jenkins "sexually abused" her daughter. 

AFA Lunch at VVS: Call for 'Aggressive' and 'Offensive' Church in Culture War

The American Family Association hosted a luncheon on Friday at the Values Voter Summit. The featured speaker, Rep. Randy Forbes, was a no-show, though the audience was assured his non-appearance had nothing to do with ads being run in his district urging him to stay away.  Whatever was keeping Forbes so busy that he couldn’t break away didn’t prevent Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) from making it to the VVS hotel to give some opening remarks. Aderholt praised the activists, saying that the only way for America to be saved is for the country not to forget its founding values.  In Forbes’ absence we also heard from Jerry Boykin, the retired general who is now a VP at the Family Research Council, and Lea Carawan, the director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.

Boykin was his blunt self, asserting, “we are in a culture war today like America has never been” and complaining that the problem was with the church in general and with “Christians in name only” in particular.  “The majority of the Christians in America today are dead, asleep,” he groused. “They are not involved in what’s going on in our culture. They’re not engaged in this culture war. They are not putting their faith into action.”  He said it was the church that brought about the Revolutionary War and the abolition of slavery through the Civil War.  When he looks at America today, he said, “There is no other solution to our ills than for the church to wake up, get off your dead behinds and get in this culture war that we’re involved in.”

Carawan picked up on Boykin’s message, saying that members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and affiliated members in state legislatures are disappointed that they aren’t getting more backup from churches.  For example, she said, members of the Maine legislature have had to do the organizing to get pastors involved in a push for a “religious liberty” bill.  Carawan said the caucus was committed to an “offensive strategy” – one example she gave was Pennsylvania legislation requiring the display of “In God We Trust” in all the state’s public schools. 

Carawan said the prayer caucus favors a neutral public square and religious liberty for all Americans, but in the next breath said “we are equally committed to advocate, aggressively engage the public for advocating that Judeo-Christian values be reflected in our laws and policy, because somebody’s values are going to be reflected in laws and policies.” The founding fathers, she said, fought “so that we could have Judeo-Christian values reflected in our government, laws, and policy.” The founders understood, she said, “that it is only Christianity, Judeo-Christian principles, that provides the only valid moral basis that will secure freedom for all Americans.”

Carawan warned that “the strategy of the secular progressive agenda is simple and dangerous:  use the limitless financial resources at their disposal and the power of government to overwhelm and bury religious freedom in the ash heap of history. And that’s their plan. Not on our watch. Not on our watch. We’ve relied on defending our freedom in the courts. But this isn’t sufficient. We have to go on the offensive. We have to be aggressive. We have to stand up. We have to be intentional and strategic.”

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