Fox News pundit Todd Starnes joins the parade of right-wing outrage about the Home & Garden Television Network pulling the plug on a show featuring David and Jason Benham after Right Wing Watch reported on David’s anti-gay activism. Starnes posted a story about HGTV’s decision, then promoted it with a tweet that said,
Won't be long before the LGBT activists demand Christians be deported... http://t.co/chlEEe0ovx— toddstarnes (@toddstarnes) May 8, 2014
Hmm, you mean the way Family Research Council spokesman Peter Sprigg said in 2008 that he would like to export homosexuals from the U.S. because homosexuality is destructive to society? Sprigg apologized for using language that “did not communicate respect for the essential dignity of every human being as a person created in the image of God.” But since then he has said that gay sex should be criminalized.
Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins responded to the news that the Department of Education will investigate 55 colleges and universities for “mishandling sexual assault claims” by claiming that contraception distribution “leads to tyranny.”
Speaking on his “Washington Watch” program, Perkins lamented “the sexualization that is taking place in our culture in general but on college campuses.”
“Contraception is made available as if it were candy which sends a message, well it’s there, it must be there for a reason, and then we’re surprised when — this is not justification, it’s wrong, we are all responsible for our actions — but we’re surprised when people act on these outside factors that they are surrounded by,” Perkins said. “It leads to tyranny.”
Perkins told a caller that people are trying to “jettison the moral law and live by an arbitrary standard that is put in place by government.”
The House voted 383-33 last night to move forward with a plan to build a National Women’s History Museum on the Mall, despite an effort by Religious Right groups to prevent the museum from going forward.
Now, we learn that Concerned Women for America's Penny Nance, the activist leading the fight against the museum, was offered a spot on its planning board but refused to participate unless an anti-feminist activist like herself was allowed to head the planning effort.
The Daily Caller reports that in an effort to shore up support for a bill authorizing a planning study for the museum, the museum’s chief Republican supporter, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, offered Nance a spot on the museum’s board. Nance refused, saying that she would only accept an offer to lead the museum as the board’s chair or to pick another right-wing activist for the job.
“Regardless of that effort some critics of this legislation have, incorrectly, said that the bill would create a museum that would portray women as monolithic in their views on abortion as well as other issues of concern to women,” said Blackburn, adding that she asked Nance to serve as a member of the commission.
Nance said that the offer — sent by Blackburn’s chief of staff on Tuesday night — is “an exercise in futility and frustration without the chairman being someone who at least is impartial on our views.”
“One seat would not change anything,” said Nance, adding “I am happy to either serve or find someone else to serve as chairman.”
Religious Right groups came out against the plan because, they said, it would place too much emphases on women who had fought for women’s rights. CWA complained that the museum would “indoctrinate” visitors into “a jaundiced view of women’s history” because the museum’s website mentioned pioneering abortion rights advocates but didn’t mention CWA’s founder Beverly LaHaye or fringe right-wing activist Star Parker.
Eagle Forum urged its members to oppose the creation of the museum, saying, “Long sought by feminists, this project would enshrine their warped view of American history on the National Mall” and added that the museum wasn’t needed anyway: “Women's history is American history, and there is already a National Museum of American History on the Mall.”
The Family Research Council warned that the museum would become “a permanent monument to radical feminism and abortion.”
Writing for RedState, David Horowitz called the museum proposal an “interesting endeavor,” but warned that it would “promote leftwing propaganda”:
One of the biggest obstacles to restoring our constitutional Republic is the inherent advantage the progressives enjoy inside of our culture. Their monopoly on media, entertainment, and education has given radicals the opportunity to slowly, yet relentlessly, introduce extreme ideas into the mainstream with a high degree of success. The least we can do as conservatives is not use our majority to gratuitously grant the feminist movement more leverage to promote leftwing propaganda in our nation’s capitol under the guise of celebrating famous women.
In the end, yesterday, activists were only able to persuade 33 Republican House members to vote against a bill that “authorizes a study to find a location for the museum and establish its mission.” Only two of the eighteen Republican women in the House voted against the bill – Rep. Michele Bachmann, who said it would “enshrine the radical feminist movement” and Rep. Vicky Hartzler.
But despite her attempted concession to Nance, Blackburn told National Journal that she could not figure out what all the fuss was about: "Look, I'm a pretty conservative person. I can't even follow that train of thought. It's too convoluted for me."
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins implied today that Christians who support gay rights don’t have the same religious rights as conservative Christians because “true religious freedom” only applies to “orthodox religious viewpoints.”
Last month, a group of North Carolina ministers and same-sex couples, along with the United Church of Christ denomination, filed a lawsuit challenging North Carolina’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage.
The clergy argue that because of a law that makes it a misdemeanor for a member of the clergy to perform a marriage ceremony without a state license, the same-sex marriage ban violates the religious rights of clergy who wish to perform such ceremonies.
When a caller on Monday’s edition of “Washington Watch” asked Perkins about his views on the case, Perkins replied that the ministers don’t have the same religious rights as others because they aren’t real Christians and therefore aren’t protected by the “true religious freedoms” given to Christians.
As we know, only Tony Perkins gets to decide who is and isn’t a Christian and has religious rights under the law.
Caller: I wanted to see if I can get your response to the members of the clergy in Charlotte that are suing for the right to perform gay marriages, saying that the ban on gay marriage infringes on their religious rights. It’s my understanding that they are a Christian organization, it’s normally the other way around, and so I’m curious to hear what you got to say about it.
Perkins: I would use that term ‘Christian’ loosely. That title is — let’s talk biblical, here’s the deal, it’s like with the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that we worked on in Mississippi and failed in Arizona and other places, here’s a test of what is a true religious freedom, a freedom that’s based on orthodox religious viewpoints. It has to have a track record, it has to come forth from religious orthodoxy.
You cannot point to the Christian faith and say that same-sex marriage has been a key teaching of the church. You can only point to the opposite, that the church has stood against sexual immorality in terms of sexual relations of those outside of marriage and in particular homosexual behavior. There is no place, there is nothing for them to stand on and say that same-sex marriage has standing in the orthodox Christian faith.
They’re playing games here, trying to turn the effort that so many Americans are now faced with of preserving religious freedom, they’re now trying to do a jujitsu move and say, ‘We’re going to use religious freedom to say we have a right to do same-sex marriage.’ Well, there is no foundation for that, there is no orthodox Christian holding that has ever said marriage is between people of the same sex.
Two incumbent Republican state representatives in Indiana lost primary elections after national anti-gay groups targeted them for their votes against a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Kathy Heuer and Rebecca Kubacki were among eleven Republicans who voted against the marriage amendment in January. The amendment will next have to be placed on the statewide ballot, which won't happen until 2016 at the earliest .
According to the National Organization for Marriage, NOM, the American Family Association of Indiana, Focus on the Family’s political arm Citizenlink, the Family Research Council and the FRC’s Indiana affiliate the Indiana Family Institute were all involved in the effort to unseat the pro-marriage lawmakers. NOM writes:
NOM, the Indiana Family Institute, the American Family Association of Indiana, Citizenlink, and Family Research Council Action had warned politicians before the marriage amendment vote in the legislature that if they did not give the people the chance to vote on marriage this year, there would be political repercussions. After the failure of the legislature to pass the question to the voters, the coalition worked together to choose its targets, particularly the ousting of Heuer and Kubacki while protecting marriage champions.
The Indianapolis Star reports that the Indiana Family Institute’s political arm "ran $12,000 worth of radio ads in the Fort Wayne area targeting Heuer, Kubacki, and a third incumbent, Casey Cox of Fort Wayne,” who won his primary contest. The FRC-affiliated group also reportedly sent out 10,000 mailers in support of the marriage amendment’s sponsor in his successful effort to fend off a primary challenger.
In February, NOM and Citizenlink started airing radio ads against at least one Republican state lawmaker who ultimately voted for the marriage amendment, but supported a change that would remove a ban on civil unions from the measure, thus pushing back the schedule for getting the ban on the ballot. The groups accused proponents of the change of bringing “San Francisco-style marriage” to Indiana.
In a statement, FRC president Tony Perkins touted his organization’s recent poll on how Republican voters view marriage equality and claimed that “elected officials can no longer avoid the reality that the redefinition of marriage leads to the loss of our most basic freedoms.”
"The election outcome reinforces the findings of an FRC-commissioned survey released last month showing three-quarters of Republican voters want their elected officials to uphold natural marriage as the national standard. Voters in Indiana and across the country are now realizing that much more than marriage is on the line. Elected officials can no longer avoid the reality that the redefinition of marriage leads to the loss of our most basic freedoms.
"Redefining natural marriage is about far more than the marriage altar; it is about fundamentally altering society. In the wake of same-sex marriage, religious freedom and parental rights have been lost. Business owners, like florists, bakers and photographers, have been hauled into court, fined and even put out of business for simply refusing to participate in a same-sex wedding. But it doesn't stop there; university professors, sportscasters and even members of the military have been demoted or fired for simply believing marriage is the union of one man and one woman. Families have been impacted as parents have lost the right to determine whose values are taught to their children," concluded Perkins.
Religious Right groups are celebrating yesterday’s Supreme Court ruling upholding sectarian prayer at official public meetings – like city council sessions – and narrowly defining what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending. The case is Town of Greece v. Galloway.
Though divided on their reasoning, the Court’s five conservative Justices upheld a practice in which, month after month, year after year, town leaders reached out to Christians and Christians only to offer opening prayers at town meetings, prayers that were often quite sectarian in nature. The very few exceptions were in response to this lawsuit. Although town leaders said that members of other religions could lead the opening prayer if they asked to, they had hardly let that be widely known, and they continued to reach out only to Christians.
SCOTUSblog’s Lyle Denniston characterized the Court’s ruling as “[s]topping just short of abandoning a historic barrier to religion in government activity.” Conservative and religious groups hostile to church-state separation are gushing over the ruling and hope it is a sign of more to come.
The Becket Fund signaled that it hopes yesterday’s decision will just be the first step in further dismantling rulings upholding church-state separation. From Deputy General Counsel Eric Rassbach:
“The Court’s landmark decision today echoes the wisdom of the Founders. Not only did the Court uphold the centuries-old practice of legislative prayer, it also started the work of bringing the entire law of church and state onto a firmer foundation in the words of the Constitution.”
David Corman, senior counsel for the Alliance Defending Freedom, which represented the Town of Greece:
“Opening public meetings with prayer is a cherished freedom that the authors of the Constitution themselves practiced,” he said. “Speech censors should have no power to silence volunteers who pray for their communities just as the Founders did.”
The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer celebrated the ruling as a “monster win” and said it was proof that “we are fighting a winnable war,” because the “Supreme Court has ruled that you can have sectarian prayers, prayers in the name of Jesus Christ, to open any legislative session, any lawmaking body – a county commission can do it, a city council can do it, a state government can do it.”
Fischer he went on at great length endorsing Justice Clarence Thomas’s position that the First Amendment does not limit states’ constitutional right to, for example, declare the Southern Baptist Church to be the official state church and force people to support the church with taxes. Fischer, in fact, called Thomas “a stud on the issue of religious liberty.” (Fischer says he wouldn’t personally support coercive state establishment, but he supports Thomas’s constitutional analysis, and says it should be applied to interpret that the federal government has no right to tell public schools whether and how prayer is permitted.) Fischer is delighted that the Supreme Court’s majority decision discussed the fact that the Continental Congress opened with “emphatically Christian” prayer.
Hallelujah! Today YOU helped score a VICTORY at the U.S. Supreme Court, reaching the pinnacle of seven years of work and prayer with The Pray In Jesus Name Project.
The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 that it's OK for pastors to pray "in Jesus' name" at city council meetings.
"The court today has upheld our first and most fundamental freedom. The court has rejected the idea that as citizens we must check our faith at the entrance to the public square. We applaud the majority on the court for getting that right. This is an historic victory for all Americans of faith and for the common-sense reading of the Constitution itself. The Court's affirmation of the right of Americans to practice their faith in public life and the public square is a major win for the religious liberty we have always cherished.”
Ralph Reed of the Faith and Freedom Coalition called it a victory that would empower Religious Right activists to push elected officials to bring sectarian prayer into more official settings:
Reed also announced that, armed with today’s Supreme Court decision, Faith & Freedom Coalition would redouble its efforts to encourage opportunities for prayers offered at meetings by town boards, city councils, and county commissions nationwide. The organization has in the past mobilized public support for local officials who have allowed such prayers at government meetings.
“Speech honoring God and invoking His blessing on our land should be welcomed, not treated with hostility,” said Reed. “With today’s decision, the government officials that faith-based voters help to elect can provide a forum for such expressions without fear of being reversed by future courts.”
Concerned Women for America celebrated, saying the decision “lifts up the best in our country.” CWA President Penny Nance managed to slam what she said has been “a push to establish atheism as the official religion of our land” and claim that the Supreme Court’s ruling was a win for everyone, “even the staunchest atheists.”
Those who object to these practices do not seek to exercise their religious liberty; they merely feel hostile towards other people’s religious practices and seek to silence them. They seek to silence those with whom they disagree….
The Founders of this great nation benefited and relied heavily on prayer to seek the guidance they needed to establish the foundations of our nation. When the first Congress met on September 7, 1774, it began with an amazing prayer “in the name and through the merits of Jesus Christ, Thy Son and our Savior.” No religious oppression or favoritism followed from that practice, only the blessings of freedom and liberty, including the freedom of religious thought, belief, or even non-belief.
Everyone wins, including the staunchest atheists, when we allow the free exercise of religion or non-religion according to a person’s conscience.
Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, who specializes in promoting fictitious threats to religious freedom, declared that “the Obama administration has been waging a war against people of the Christian faith,” somehow neglecting to mention that the Obama administration had actually weighed in on the side of the Town of Greece and its overwhelmingly Christian prayers. Starnes said it is “always a good day when the anti-Christian folks get smacked down by the Supreme Court” but said the fact that it was a 5-4 decision should be a “wake-up call” for Americans that elections matter.
Gary Bauer made the same point:
Here's the good news: The Supreme Court today upheld public prayers, even Christian prayers, at government meetings in 5-to-4 decision.
But that is the bad news too! The free exercise of religion depends on just one vote….
Now a win is a win. But don't miss the fact that this victory for religious liberty was won by the narrowest of margins. One more liberal appointment and the Supreme Court could easily ban prayers before town council meetings and legislative sessions. If that were to happen, our Pledge of Allegiance and the national motto would surely be next.
Your vote at the ballot box has a direct impact on our federal courts. Federal judges, including those on the Supreme Court, are appointed (by the president) and confirmed (by the Senate) by the men and women we elect to public office.
In a fundraising sent out last week, the Family Research Council plays up fears of impending Christian persecution in America to warn that President Obama’s positions on gay rights and reproductive choice are meant to “silence” and “punish” conservative Christians.
“You, as a person of faith, are especially at risk because your values and beliefs are standing in the way of the goals of this growing lawlessness,” warns FRC president Tony Perkins.
“Is President Barack Obama becoming a modern Caesar? Or a 21st century version of King George III -- the out-of-control monarch who triggered the American Revolution with his reckless disregard of English laws and biblically-based rights?” Perkins wonders.
Emphases are his:
Is President Barack Obama becoming a modern Caesar? Or a 21st century version of King George III -- the out-of-control monarch who triggered the American Revolution with his reckless disregard of English laws and biblically-based rights?
These may be shocking questions to ask, but I can tell you that thoughtful people inside Washington, D.C., and outside of it are VERY worried. They are worried that President Obama and his administration are so bent on "transforming" America that they are willing, perhaps even planning, to dismiss the laws and Constitution that keep us a free nation.
And the targets include you: your faith, your values, your freedom.
In my 20-plus years of active involvement in the government process, I've never seen anything like the encroaching tyranny I'm seeing today by the Obama administration.
And if we don't join together and stop the abuse of power by the President and his allies, I fear we could lose our freedoms.
You, as a person of faith, are especially at risk because your values and beliefs are standing in the way of the goals of this growing lawlessness :
· You believe in sexual morality. They believe government should protect and fund sexual immorality and punish dissenters like you.
· You believe in the legal exclusivity of natural marriage. They believe you are dangerous. They think coercion is justified to silence you. They have openly declared that the right to homosexual behavior overrules your constitutional right to disagree with their "new morality."
· You believe in the sanctity of human life from conception until natural death. They believe you should be forced to pay for drugs that can destroy human embryos, ObamaCare rationing and other immoral mandates.
The Founders rejected King George III and wanted a government of laws, not men. Yet President Obama and his administration are acting like an imperial monarch. Like Caesar or King George -- not the president envisioned by the Founding Fathers! We must take firm action.
Yesterday, Wendy Wright, the vice president for government relations at the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), posted a story on the group’s blog about an upcoming meeting on combating the practice of child sacrifice in Uganda. Wright, of course, thinks that the practice of kidnapping children to be sacrificed in ritual murder is “terribly close” to the work of abortion providers:
Uganda will host a conference this fall to create a plan to combat child sacrifice. Attacks have risen recently as the country’s economy is booming. People are hiring experienced [witch] doctors to kill children, believing it will bring health and wealth.
Sound familiar? It’s terribly close to the claim that abortion will improve women’s health and prospects for the future.
So it’s no surprise that when Wright delivered testimony to a UN commission Tuesday on behalf of C-FAM, the Family Research Council and the American Association of Pro-Life Obstetricians, she used any number of misleading and false arguments to urge the UN to fight for maternal health in a way that does not include access to legal abortion.
In her speech to the Commission on Population and Development, Wright downplayed the danger and frequency of illegal abortions, misled about the risks of legal procedures, and denied a link between the criminalization of abortion and unsafe procedures. She even argued that “legalizing abortion actually endangers the lives of women.”
After recommending a number of ways to improve maternal health worldwide, Wright moved onto claiming that legalizing abortion actually endangers women.
There is no quick fix here. And legalizing abortion will not improve maternal health. Mortality from abortion, estimated at less than 15 percent of all causes of maternal death, decreases proportionately with all other causes of maternal death if the right improvements to maternal health care are made, regardless of the legal status of abortion.
This means that complications from abortions, whether legal or not, can only be dealt with through adequate investments in maternal health care. Making abortion legal does not improve maternal health in any way. It only makes it safer for the abortionist. It does not make it any safer to the mother or her unborn child.
Ireland and Chile, which have highly restrictive abortion laws, are world leaders in maternal health, with lower maternal mortality rates than the United States and other wealthy countries. Legalizing abortion actually endangers the lives of women by exposing them to health risks they would not encounter if they were to carry their pregnancies to term.
In fact, as Guttmacher reports [pdf], “there is clear evidence that restrictive abortion laws are associated with a high incidence of unsafe abortion and its health consequences, and abortions in these settings contribute substantially to maternal illness and death.” The group estimates that 47,000 women die each year as a result of unsafe abortion and notes that restrictive abortion laws do not reduce the number of women obtaining abortions.
Wright’s citation of Ireland and Chile as places with low maternal mortality rates despite restrictive abortion laws is also misleading. Data on the incidence of unsafe abortion in Chile is disputed and women in Ireland commonly travel to England, where abortion is legal, to obtain the procedure.
Wright then cited false, misleading, and disputed statistics to claim that it is actually legal abortion that is dangerous.
Abortions often result in immediate complications, like massive bleeding, infection and death – even in countries where elective abortion is legal. In the United States, abortions carried out after five months of pregnancy are more likely to result in the death of the mother than carrying the pregnancy to term.
Over 130 studies show that elective abortion results in an increased risk of pre-term birth in subsequent pregnancies. Women who abort have a greater risk of depression and suicide, as compared to women who give birth.
While Wright claims that “abortions often result in immediate complications,” even in countries where the procedure is legal, in fact surgical abortion conducted under proper conditions is one of the safest medical procedures. She then cites the risks of very late-term abortions, which constitute only one percent of the abortions performed in the United States.
Wright's claim that abortion leads to “a greater risk of depression and suicide” is also false. And while a study last year did find that there was a link in the past between repeated abortions and the risk of preterm birth, it also found that “with modern procedures the danger has all but vanished.”
It didn’t take long for Gary Bauer and Tony Perkins to misrepresent a recent poll their groups commissioned which found that “82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents believe marriage ‘should be defined only as a union between one man and one woman.’”
Speaking with Perkins on Washington Watch yesterday, Bauer claimed that the poll actually proves that most Americans opposed legalizing same-sex marriage: “While certainly, particularly among young people, there is some shift on this issue, most Americans still understand that marriage is between a man and a woman,” Bauer said of the Family Research Council/American Values poll.
In fact, the poll explicitly states [PDF] that it only surveyed Republicans and independents who typically vote Republican.
While the poll used heavily slanted Religious Right language when asking GOP voters if they “agree or disagree that politicians should support the redefinition of marriage to include same-sex couples,” Perkins and Bauer accused nonpartisan polling firms — which have consistently found that a majority of voters support gay marriage — of using misleading questions to trick people into supporting marriage equality.
“I think, Tony, we both agree that there is an effort underway here to use polls not to measure public opinion but to form public opinion and move it in the direction of the demands of the gay rights movement,” Bauer said. Perkins agreed: “Absolutely, and a lot of that is done by the way the questions are worded.”
“If there had been really been a massive shift among the American people to the redefinition of marriage, I don’t think we would see all over the country the gay rights movement vehemently opposing every effort that happens in any state to actually vote on the issue,” Bauer added, ignoring the fact that gay rights supporters in 2012 successfully led a marriage referendum in Maine.
Bauer later said that the polls are “cooked” in favor of gay marriage and insisted that gay rights advocates are afraid of having a “national referendum” on marriage rights … even though there is no mechanism in election law or the US Constitution to trigger a national referendum on any issue.
“One would assume if there had been a big shift of opinion, the gay rights movement would say, ‘Let’s have a national referendum, we’ll prove it to you.’ But the fact that they will spend millions of dollars to keep off of the ballot in states a reaffirmation of the traditional meaning of marriage I think is further evidence that they know the polling data, which is often being touted in contrast to the poll we’ve got today, are really in many cases — the numbers have been cooked in order to advance a particular social agenda,” Bauer said.
Southern Baptist pastor Mark Harris, who is running in a hotly contested GOP primary to take on Democratic North Carolina Sen. Kay Hagan, launched his political career by driving the successful campaign to ban same-sex marriage and civil unions in the state constitution.
It should come as no surprise then that Harris will join some of the nation’s most fervent opponents of gay rights at the April 24 North Carolina Regional Briefing, hosted by the anti-gay Family Research Council. Speakers joining the GOP hopeful at the event include:
The North Carolina preacher alleged during the marriage amendment campaign that gay men “have to wear a diaper or a butt plug just to be able to contain their bowels.”
He reiterated his claim in follow-up interview where he insisted that he knows of gay men who have “literally died in diapers” because they “have stretched their anuses, their sphincter muscles” with baseball bats, cell phones and animals:
I know of a case where in a hospital a homosexual male had a cellphone lodged in his anus and as they were operating on him the phone went off, the phone started ringing. There’ve been instances where men have put bats, baseball bats, in their rectums.... Even the homosexual lobby knows, those who are pro-homosexual, they know that they cannot win the argument describing what it is that these people actually do to each other, the objects, the animals in certain cases, the little gerbils; thank God I’m a human being!
Wooden has also called homosexuality “wicked, deviant, immoral, self-destructive, anti-human sexual behavior,” said Tyler Perry and Chaz Bono are under Satan’s influence, warned that Glee promotes “a wicked, perverse lifestyle that destroys people” and described violence against gay people as “normal.”
The pastor and failed GOP Virginia lieutenant governor candidate drew wide notoriety for his claims that gay people are “degenerate,” “perverse” and “very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
He has also warned that homosexuality “poisons culture, destroys families, destroys societies [and] brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of,” adding that it is driven by “spiritually darkened” people who seek to “recruit” others.
Jackson has linked homosexuality to bestiality and pedophilia, feared that Obama “will force schools to start teaching all children homosexuality” and criticized gay rights advocates and progressives for having supposedly “ done more to kill black folks whom they claim so much to love than the Ku Klux Klan, lynching and slavery and Jim Crow ever did.”
He even labeled the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell an “abomination” and said that God will punish the military for allowing openly gay service members, remarks he later denied making even though they were captured on audio and videotape.
The Texas-based Religious Right leader has built a career around stoking fears that Christians will face imprisonment, persecution, communism and concentration camps if gay marriage becomes legal. He also says that gay people should be only referred to as “sodomites” and should “hang their heads in shame.”
Scarborough blamed the 2012 Benghazi attack on “the assault on God’s institution of marriage,” insisted Obama’s opposition to Russia’s anti-gay crackdown will lead to God’s judgment on America, described AIDS as divine punishment for gay “immorality” and called for a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality.
The North Carolina pastor who leads Return America, a group which pushed the marriage amendment, has said that “homos” are worse than maggots and akin to murderers.
He has also alleged that gay people are making society “more filthy” and bringing about divine punishment in the form of an “urban renewal program,” adding that “perverted” gay people should be “prosecuted” before they cause the “death” of America.
“Since they cannot produce they must recruit young people to their perverted, warped agenda. One cannot think of anything more nauseating, debased, lewd and immoral than recruiting precious young people into such shameful conduct,” he wrote in a Return America newsletter.
As leader of the Family Research Council, Perkins defended Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill and connected homosexuality to a whole host of evils, including death, sexual assault, depression, suicide, government population control, and child abuse. He has even compared homosexuality to shootings, kidnappings and alcoholism.
Perkins has also said that gay rights advocates are using “disgusting” anti-bullying programs in schools to “recruit” children, arguing that gay youth shouldn’t be affirmed for who they are since they intrinsically know they are “abnormal,” leading to depression and suicide.
The FRC head told one Religious Right group that gay rights advocates are “hateful” pawns of the Devil.
Before the 2012 election, many conservative pundits, including Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council, predicted that African American voters would turn on President Obama because of his support for marriage equality and either refuse to vote for the president or back Mitt Romney. Of course, this didn’t actually happen. As Politico reported, “Fully 96 percent of black voters supported Obama and constituted 13 percent of the electorate, a 2-percentage-point rise in their national turnout.”
But right-wing commentators like Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State and GOP activist, persist in arguing that black voters are abandoning Obama over the marriage issue.
On Tuesday’s edition of Washington Watch, Blackwell told guest host Richard Land that African Americans are strongly opposed to marriage equality and are dismayed by Obama’s abandonment of “biblical truth.” “There is no confusion on this issue in the African American community,” he said.
Blackwell may want to check an ABC/Washington Post poll taken shortly after Obama’s announcement that he backs gay marriage, which found that 59 percent of African Americans favor marriage equality.
Land: Isn’t it true that same-sex marriage is less popular among African Americans than any other segment of the society?
Blackwell: That is correct. If you go to California, look at Ohio, what you find out is that the black communities across this country have come out in strong numbers to underscore the point that marriage, natural marriage, is a union between one man and one woman. There is no confusion on this issue in the African American community and I think that we should hold our African American president and another African American leader who speaks to the contrary to account because he’s not reflecting the aspirations or the biblical truth that most black Americans hold onto.
Land: You’re on the frontlines, you’re in the battle. It’s not lost, is it? We can still win this.
Blackwell: Absolutely. We will win this and we can’t give up.
The two also stepped up their attack on gay rights and liberal activists who backed a boycott of the restaurant chain and said that they would never target businesses over their views on gay rights.
Huckabee said that “nobody” is targeting left-leaning CEOs like Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and Perkins charged that such boycotts wrongly “silence” political speech and undermine freedom and liberty.
Of course, Perkins was being totally disingenuous as he has personally endorsed several boycott campaigns…including a boycott of Starbucks over its stance on gay rights.
Perkins and his group, the Family Research Council, championed a boycott of Girl Scouts cookies, and helped lead boycott campaigns targeting companies like McDonalds and Wal-Mart [PDF] over their stances on gay rights.
Last year, Perkins called for a boycott of Betty Crocker after the company donated custom cakes to same-sex weddings after Minnesota approved marriage equality.
Despite this clear double standard, Perkins continues to get away with his claim that only gay rights advocates target businesses and that Religious Right activists — always the victim — would never ever do such a thing.
Earlier this year, Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) endorsed Arizona’s failed “right-to-discriminate” bill for challenging attempts to “establish the religion of secularism.”
In reaction to Mississippi’s enactment a similar law, Gohmert yesterday told Washington Watch host and Family Research Council president Tony Perkins — who stood behind Mississippi’s governor at the bill’s signing ceremony — that he is “so proud of Mississippi and what they’ve done.”
After Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant came on the show to receive Gohmert’s plaudits, the congressmen called the anti-gay law “a wonderful example of real freedom” and attacked gay rights critics as intolerant: “You’ve seen it first hand, there is nobody more intolerant in this country than those that are screaming for tolerance. Christians are not intolerant but whoa, goodness these people that have their leftist agenda that are so intolerant so thanks for having the courage to stand up.”
Gohmert: I sure am proud of Mississippi.
Perkins: It’s good to be here in Mississippi, in fact the governor has just joined me here in the studio. Great leadership team in Mississippi.
Gohmert: Well he could probably care less of what Louie Gohmert thinks but I am sure proud of Mississippi.
Perkins: He says he’s a fan of Louie Gohmert.
Gohmert: We are so proud of Mississippi and what they’ve done.
Perkins: Here’s my co-host Gov. Bryant.
Gohmert: Governor, we are so proud, you have set such a wonderful example of real freedom. You’ve seen it first hand, there is nobody more intolerant in this country than those that are screaming for tolerance. Christians are not intolerant but whoa, goodness these people—
Bryant: It is the world of bizarro.
Gohmert: These people that have their leftist agenda that are so intolerant so thanks for having the courage to stand up.
Bryant: You’re quite welcome, thank you sir.
On yesterday’s edition of Washington Watch, Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin said that America is experiencing an “absolute destruction of our military readiness and our military morale because the leadership in our military has not been willing to stand up to the President” on issues like the 2010 repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
Boykin was talking to host Tony Perkins about a recent BuzzFeed post that said President Obama “was unwilling to compromise with service leaders over DADT during a meeting in 2010.”
Boykin likened generals who supported Obama’s efforts to end the ban on openly gay service members to former general Harold K. Johnson, who regretted not resigning over President Johnson’s handling of the Vietnam war.
“I believe we have some people in the Joint Chiefs of Staff today who will live to regret the decisions that they’ve made in terms of supporting the radical policies of this administration,” Boykin said, before arguing that military leaders should have resigned to protest the lifting of the ban on gay service members: “It is a matter of honor, it is a matter of honor in doing what you believe in and standing on principle and not on career, career has to take a second seat to principle and I don’t believe that these guys are operating on principle.”
Last week, a video was posted on YouTube featuring a five year-old girl telling her parents that she was told by a "lunchroom teacher" at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch.
When the little girl responded that "it's good to pray," she claims that she was told "it's not good" and was prevented from praying.
Naturally, after the video was posted on-line, serial fabricator Todd Starnes picked it up and turned it into a column while the Family Research Council featured the story in its daily email. On top of that, attorneys from the Religious Right legal group Liberty Institute are now representing the parents and will hold a press conference today:
Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys invites all working media to attend a press availability with Mr. Perez, Tuesday, April 1, at 3:30 PM ET on the sidewalk by the sign outside of Carillon Elementary School, 3200 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo, FL.
"Of course, students can pray at school!" said Dys. "As the Supreme Court held over half a century ago: Students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.' The school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding."
The Perez Family cited this offense to their daughter's religious liberty as the most immediate reason to remove their daughter from the public education system. "Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home," said Marcos Perez. "We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised."
All the attention is now generating some local media coverage and, as usually happens in these sorts of cases where Religious Right activists gin up some tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution, school officials are saying the incident never happened:
Michael Lawrence told Local 6 that the principal spoke with staff members in the cafeteria at the time of the incident and said no one recalled having any contact with the child.
"The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school's investigation," said Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools. "We're dealing with very young children here so there's quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube."
Lawrence said the lunchroom is not under video surveillance and the alleged incident was not recorded. Lawrence also added that the school district allows children to pray on campus anytime.
"If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that," said Lawrence. He said the principal will remind staff members that prayer in school is OK.
School board member Amy Lockhart told Local 6 the incident cannot be confirmed.
"However, that being said I would be greatly disturbed to find that any Seminole County Public School student had their individual liberties infringed upon in this manner by one of our staff members," said Lockhart. "The freedom to pray when, where and how one chooses is a foundational freedom of our great nation."
If this seems familiar, that is probably because it sounds a lot like the tale of Raymond Raines, a two decade-old myth about a young boy who had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Louis that Religious Right activists still cite today even though it is totally false.
Update: In a totally unsurprising development, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the VP of sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' forthcoming book:
School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.
Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.