Recently it was reported that Republicans in Congress have been receiving training on how to communicate with female voters and, more importantly, learning what not to do when running against a female opponent.
The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins was asked about this effort by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg yesterday and it made us wish that the GOP would bring Perkins in to help them with their talking points because, as he sees it, the entire thing is utterly unnecessary since it is the Democrats who are really waging the "war on women" ... through the contraception mandate:
Let me tell you where the war on women is being waged. It is the Democratic Party that is putting an ideological emphasis on, let's take the contraception mandate that they're pushing, which is going to cost jobs, going to cost women the ability to provide for their families, it's going to take away their health care because they're putting organizations and businesses in a position of having to choose between their religious freedoms, their conscience, and providing healthcare for their workers. Look, who needs to apologize for that are not Republicans, it's the Democrats, it's the President that's pushing this failed policy that's kicking families off of coverage from health care and potentially ending their jobs. Now, what do Republicans have to apologize for because they've been fighting that? I don't think they have anything to apologize for.
Back in June, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pointed to the marriage equality fight in Illinois to argue that marriage equality is not inevitable:
Today, Pew Research Center did its part to dispirit supporters of natural marriage by insisting that 72% of Americans believe same-sex "marriage" is inevitable (including 85% of same-sex "marriage" supporters and 59% of natural marriage proponents). Apparently, the folks at Pew didn't survey anyone in Illinois. Advocates of same-sex "marriage" thought victory in the President's home state was "inevitable" too -- until the churches got involved.
The reality is, same-sex "marriage" is only as inevitable as we make it. If Christians play into the media's hands and adopt this defeatist attitude, then the Left is right: It is helpless. But if believers rediscover the power of the truth, they can do more than stop the dissolution of marriage (like they did in Illinois), they can "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).
Of course, Illinois eventually did in fact legalize same-sex marriage. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now have marriage equality laws, which are favored by 58 percent of Americans and a huge majority of young people.
But undeterred by the facts, Perkins said in his radio address today that “the tide may already be turning” against equality:
Plenty of states have been processing down the same-sex marriage aisle. But according to pundits, that's all about to change. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Homosexual activists like to say that momentum is on their side. And until recently, they might have been right. Sixteen U.S. states now recognize a right to same-sex marriage. And unfortunately, the Left's success in places like Hawaii and Illinois have helped feed the lie in America that homosexual marriage is inevitable. But don't believe it, say experts. All we've witnessed lately is the Left taking advantage of easy targets. With the exception of West Virginia, none of the other 34 states are under Democratic control. That means the Left's toughest battles are yet to come. And in places like Indiana, the tide may already be turning. State liberals are rushing to play defense while a marriage protection amendment works its way to the statewide ballot. So be encouraged. Not all same-sex wedding bills are leading to wedding bells.
Indiana will vote on an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2014, but Indiana GOP leaders are already distancing themselves from or even opposing the discriminatory initiative. While the vote is a year away, the latest polling found that most Hoosiers oppose the amendment.
Marriage equality may also soon arrive in Oregon and New Mexico (where it is already legal in some counties), which may disappoint Perkins as he tries to pretend anti-gay activists are somehow winning the fight on marriage rights.
Last month, Senate Democrats were forced to change the rules of the filibuster after Republicans vowed to block all three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals despite the fact that they had no problem with the nominees themselves.
But in the alternate universe of the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, when it comes to judicial nominations, “Senate Republicans have rarely displayed political courage stopping only a handful of nominees – nominees that ideologically would have been to the left of Hugo Chavez.”
Perkins said in his radio address today that the president’s nominations have in fact violated God’s “specific guidance on the selection of judges.”
The now majority leader pushed the nuclear option button effectively silencing the Senate minority and all but guaranteeing the president's nominees will be confirmed. Trust me; Senate Republicans have rarely displayed political courage, stopping only a handful of nominees -- nominees that ideologically would have been to the left of Hugo Chavez. The President is now free to pack the courts with ideologues that will both advance and protect his socialist policies. There is a reason that God gave specific guidance in the selection of judges. Few things will ruin a society quicker than unqualified, activist judges.
Looking through a list of Obama judicial nominees delayed or blocked by the GOP, it’s hard to find any who resemble the late Venezuelan president, but the FRC’s perception of these things tends to be skewed. After all, the group attacked both of the women in President Obama’s slate of nominees to the DC Circuit for being too “feminist,” one because she successfully fought for the Family and Medical Leave Act, and one because she supports having more than one woman on the Supreme Court.
The Family Research Council’s attempts to paint President Obama’s female nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as “radical feminists” aren’t going so well.
First, the FRC attacked Nina Pillard for quoting something the late Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote about the importance of the Family and Medical Leave Act.
Now, the FRC seems to think it’s found a winning argument against Patricia Millett, the other woman in the slate of three D.C. Circuit nominees: She thinks there should be women on the Supreme Court.
In his daily email on Friday, FRC’s Tony Perkins wrote:
As it stands right now, the D.C. Circuit is evenly divided between Democrat and Republican appointed judges -- but that's about to change. Using the nuclear option, the Senate moved forward with reconsidering Patricia Millett, the first of three previously blocked nominees the President will be employing to pack the court in his favor. Millett has shown an activist tendency in how she views the court, believing it's more important it look a certain way than judge a certain way.
When President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Millett bemoaned that O'Connor wasn't being replaced by another woman, as if gender impacts who's most qualified to apply the Constitution to the facts in a case or that our highest court should be seen as a representative body. She sees the redefinition of marriage turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law.
FRC seems to have picked up this line of attack from a talking points document put together by the right-wing Judicial Action Group, which claims that Millett's comment in a 2009 interview that “there was a lot of upset over the failure to put a woman on to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor” shows that she would have a poor "judicial temperament.”
Yes, this is actually the argument that FRC is using against an accomplished woman’s judicial nomination in 2013.
Here’s what Millett actually said, in a 2009 interview about whom President Obama might choose to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. At the time, there was just one woman on the court and Millett stressed that there were “many qualified women” who would make President Obama’s short-list, even if gender was not considered:
There was a lot of upset over the failure to put a woman on to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and…it would be extraordinary to have no women on the Supreme Court in this day and age. But even to only have one is, I think, a sorry statement about the appointment process thus far, and where it’s gotten in the last eight years.
So, I think the pressure to have a Supreme Court that looks in many ways – and gender is just one way – that is reflective of the public it serves, would require that a woman gets serious consideration. And there’s no doubt that there are many, many qualified women who – entirely apart from their gender, if nobody even considers about their gender –would be short-listed for the Supreme Court in any event, so it makes that easy.
By the way, in case you were wondering about FRC’s claim that Millett “sees the redefinition of marriage turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law,” that also comes from JAG's talking points. JAG points to an interview Millett gave previewing the Supreme Court’s hearing of the DOMA case, in which she referred to the question before the Court – whether DOMA’s unequal treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex marriage’s violated the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause – as the “fundamental fairness question before the Court.” That is, she was accurately describing the issue the Court was asked to consider; she never implies that the issue is “turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law.”
A couple of weeks ago, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society -- an Illinois-based group that through its World Congress of Families helped promote Russia’s new anti-gay laws -- was forced to relocate a Capitol Hill symposium on “family policy lessons from foreign lands” when Sen. Mark Kirk learned what it was up to and pulled the plug on its meeting room.
The group got a last-minute helping hand from House Speaker John Boehner , but the symposium’s speakers – World Congress of Families (WCF) founder Allan Carlson, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute president Austin Ruse, and Concerned Women For America senior fellow/WCF board member Janice Shaw Crouse – still spent much of the event bashing Kirk over the scheduling snafu .
Now, Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association are coming to WCF’s defense.
The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown – who WCF arranged to testify before the Russian parliament in favor of its broad ban on adoption by gay people – told the American Family Association’s One News Now that Kirk decided to “discriminate against a group that stands for traditional marriage” and that by doing so he was “undermining the party platform” because “it’s part of the Republican Party platform to stand up for traditional marriage.”
The Family Research Council piled on with a press release accusing the senator of “true discrimination” and “silencing anyone who doesn’t adhere to a politically correct view of sexuality.”
"Holding a different view of marriage and sexuality is not discriminatory - especially when all the social science research demonstrates the benefits of the natural family,” added FRC’s Tony Perkins.
Meanwhile, the Illinois Family Institute, the state affiliate of the American Family Association, published an article accusing Sen. Kirk of wanting to “normalize sexual deviance while trampling the conscience rights of untold numbers of people” and followed it up with an email urging its members to call Kirk’s office and express their displeasure.
Despite what all three groups said, the Howard Center and the World Congress of Families don’t merely hold “a different view of marriage and sexuality.” WCF actively works to push oppressive anti-gay laws throughout the world, including actively working toward Russia’s ban on pro-gay-rights speech. Indeed, the speakers at the Capitol Hill symposium enthusiastically defended Russia's anti-gay laws and denyied that the laws actually harm gay people.
It maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise that three of the largest anti-gay groups in the US have jumped to the defense of WCF: Brown has close ties with WCF and has signed fundraising emails for the group, and FRC and AFA are both official “partners” of the organization.
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.”
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":
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.
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.
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.