Family Research Council

Tony Perkins: Marriage Equality Rulings Will Throw 'Our Country Into A Tailspin'

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spent a good portion of his “Washington Watch” radio program on Monday praising Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and the state probate judges who are refusing to follow a federal court order legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

Perkins said that he, too, is “not going to listen to these courts that are wrong” when they make a ruling that is “inconsistent with nature itself, certainly inconsistent with scripture.”

The federal courts, he added, “are setting themselves up to lose credibility and put, I believe, our country into a tailspin.”

What is the rule of law? In a free society, a democratic society, the rule of law is generated, over all, [by the] Constitution and general consensus. We agree. And when you go too far out, which this administration has and these courts are, it doesn’t work. An unjust law is no law at all.

And they are setting themselves up to lose credibility and put, I believe, our country into a tailspin. Because I’m not going to listen to these courts that are wrong, when they have taken away the rights of the people and just imposed upon this nation a viewpoint that is not shared by a majority of the people. Even if it was, it’s inconsistent with nature itself, certainly inconsistent with scripture.

Ken Ham: Government Persecuting Us By Not Providing Taxpayer Funding To Creationist Theme Park

Creationist leader Ken Ham is incensed that the state of Kentucky is supposedly abridging his organization’s “fundamental rights” by declining to provide around $18 million in tax incentives to his Noah’s Ark theme park. The park is a planned addition to Ham’s Creation Museum and is intended to be, according to Ham, “one of the greatest evangelist outreaches of our day.”

Since Ham’s group plans to discriminate on the basis of religion in its hiring practices, it is no surprise that it won’t get public funds. But Ham claims that he has a “right” to receive taxpayer money and has filed a lawsuit against Kentucky, insisting that his organization, Answers in Genesis, is the real victim of discrimination.

He took his case to “Washington Watch” yesterday, where he told host Tony Perkins that Kentucky’s decision somehow violates his organization's right to the freedom of speech: “Anyone who wants to have freedom of speech in this nation, freedom of religion, free exercise of religion, needs to stand with us as we do this because that is what we are standing for.”

Ham charged that Kentucky’s decision amounts to anti-Christian persecution and means “that we can’t have the free exercise of religion.”

“The more that you don’t do anything and Christians don’t do things, we lose freedoms and we see the free exercise of religion under threat across this nation so we believe it’s time to stand for God’s people,” Ham said.

Perkins, who leads the Family Research Council, completely agreed and warned that everyone’s freedom is at stake.

Tony Perkins: Gay Rights Will Force Christians Into 'Involuntary Servitude'

On “Washington Watch” yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins called on conservative Christians to engage in “civil disobedience” to fight gay rights laws, which he said will force them into “involuntary servitude.”

Discussing the case of an Oregon baking company that a court recently found violated a state nondiscrimination law by refusing service to a lesbian couple, Perkins said that conservatives should challenge such nondiscrimination laws by using “the courts to push back and just overload the state.”

“I think we’re getting close to the point if they move to continue to force Christians to engage in behavior that violates their moral conscience and convictions — it’s almost like involuntary servitude,” Perkins said. “Maybe we’re coming to the point of civil disobedience, of saying, ‘no, we won’t go.’ They’re going to push and there will come a point [where] there will be pushback.”

His remarks were first reported by Jeremy Hooper of Good As You.  

Paranoia-Rama: Satan's 'Homosexual Agenda,' Obama’s Deadly Secrets And Sarah Palin 'Exposes' Fox News

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

According to the right-wing media, Sharia law is gaining a foothold in Michigan, President Obama is blocking the sale of miracle drugs and Satan is commanding the gay rights movement. But Sarah Palin has uncovered the most menacing threat to America of them all: criticism of Sarah Palin.

5) ‘Obama’s Deadly FDA Secret Could Kill You’

Emulating Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, Fox News contributor and RedState founder Erick Erickson sells out his email list to questionable sponsors who prey on the conspiracy-minded and science-averse.

According to Media Matters, one email to Erickson’s list claimed that the federal government is suppressing a miracle cancer cure that healed Ronald Reagan. Another warned that President Obama and the FDA could kill “over 45 million Americans…including you” because they are refusing to release a “secret” cure to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

But 45 million deaths is low compared to the potential toll of another “Obama scandal” that a RedState sponsored email warned could “wipe out 281 million Americans.”

4) Fox News Helping … Hillary?

At least according to Sarah Palin. Upset that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly mocked the prospect of Palin and fellow reality television star Donald Trump running for president as a “reality show,” Palin charged that O’Reilly is trying to undermine the conservative movement just as it prepares to take on Hillary Clinton.

Palin fumed that “quasi-right” media outlets like Fox News should wake up to the fact that “this is a war” against Clinton and should help the GOP unify and “surface the competitor who can take on Hillary or whomever it may be and win for this country.”

Palin made the rambling, self-pitying remarks , of course, on Fox News.

3) Sharia Law In Michigan

The preposterous right-wing conspiracy theory that the city of Dearborn, Michigan, is controlled by Sharia law has long been completely discredited, but that of course hasn’t stopped the Family Research Council’sTony Perkins and Jerry Boykin from promoting it.

Perkins recently spoke with Frank Gaffney, a fellow anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, about the supposed rise of Sharia law in the U.S., and unsurprisingly, Gaffney joined in on the frenzy and referred to the city as “Dearbornistan.” He said the “Muslim-only” city of Dearborn has become a “ghetto” that is “too dangerous” to enter.

This might be news to the city’s residents, including one Army veteran who was able to find no shortage of stores selling haram goods like ham and liquor, along with a gentleman’s club, despite the claims of right-wing activists that the city is now imposing Sharia law.

2) Marriage Equality Turns Kids Into Government Property

A group of Catholic and Protestant leaders signed a statement this week warning that the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead “to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state’s redefinition of marriage, which is beyond the state’s competence.”

Signatories, including National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher and prominent Proposition 8 supporter Rick Warren, warned that marriage equality for same-sex couples represents an even “graver threat” to society than divorce “because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.”

By legalizing same-sex marriage, the statement reads, “a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself,” since same-sex marriage apparently “disregards the created order, threatens the common good and distorts the Gospel.” The statement even claims that marriage equality will turn children “in important legal respects, the property of the state.”

1) Gay Demonic Energy

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer thinks that Satan makes people gay, so of course Fischer believes that Satan is also in command of the gay rights movement.

“I don’t think you will ever find a more directly demonic energy than when you deal with the homosexual agenda,” Fischer said this week. “They’re vicious. They are mean. You literally are staring into virtually the unvarnished energy of Satan himself when you come up against the forces that are pushing the homosexual agenda forward.”

Upset with the coverage of his comments, Fischer said that he feels bad for gay people, since they are “captives, prisoners of war” of Satan.

Tony Perkins: Gays 'Persecute' Christians By Making Them View Photos Of Gay People On Facebook

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins invited his colleague Peter Sprigg on to “Washington Watch” yesterday to discuss an Idaho state legislative committee’s decision not to include protections for LGBT people in a proposed nondiscrimination law.

Sprigg — who travelled to Idaho earlier this week to testify against the measure — celebrated the decision, saying that banning employment and housing discrimination against LGBT people “would increase the power of government to interfere with the operation of private businesses and private organizations” and would place the government in the position of “taking sides” on a “controversial issue.” (We weren’t aware that the FRC opposed the government taking sides on controversial issues!)

Sprigg said that what the Idaho legislature should really do is remain “morally neutral” in order for “the marketplace of ideas” to sort out whether or not it’s okay to discriminate against LGBT people, rather than making “a legal statement that it is morally wrong to disapprove of homosexual conduct and morally wrong to disapprove of people presenting themselves as the opposite of their biological sex.”

Later in the program, Perkins took a call from a listener who complained that he had seen a picture on Facebook of “two naked guys sitting on each other” and that when he complained about it to Facebook “in a nice, respectful, Christian way,” he was treated like “the biggest bigot out there.”

“I think we need to pray for them, maybe they’ll turn their lives around,” the caller said.

Perkins agreed that “Jesus said that we are to pray for our enemies, for those who persecute us, that would be those who mock and ridicule us, absolutely we should pray for them.”

Citing a mentally disturbed man who tried to stage an attack on FRC headquarters, Perkins contended that LGBT rights proponents are the real intolerant “haters” because they’re “projecting.”

“We’ve had them come into our building with guns, shooting, to try to kill us,” he said. “We harbor no bitterness in our hearts toward them, which is something they can’t understand. They want to project and that’s why they like to call us haters and so on and so forth, but they’re projecting.”

He added that he is very tolerant of gay people and doesn’t mind if they “live together, do whatever they want to do” as long as they don’t “redefine all of society for the rest of us.”

“I think more and more Americans are waking up because they’re seeing it,” he said. “This is being shoved into people’s faces, and if, like you, they say, 'I don’t want this on my Facebook page, I don’t want this, I don’t want to see this, look, do whatever you want to do but don’t involve me in that'  that’s not good enough, there’s this effort of forced acceptance and affirmation. And we just can’t do that.”

Tony Perkins Admits 'No-Go Zone' Accusation 'Not Literally Accurate,' Accepts Congressman's Invitation To Tour Minneapolis

Last month, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that the city of Dearborn, Michigan, and some areas of Minneapolis have effectively become “no-go zones” where “authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed.”

In response, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat who is one of two Muslims in Congress, invited Perkins to visit him in Minneapolis and “see firsthand that Minneapolis is an inclusive and thriving city completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities.”

On his “Washington Watch” radio program last night, Perkins defended his “no-go zone” remark, admitting that the term is “not literally accurate” but that it correctly describes “the underlying problem is the lack of assimilation and integration into the broader society” that is seen in Muslim communities in “some of these areas in this country.”

Perkins then said that he would accept Ellison’s invitation to tour Minneapolis as soon as the weather warms up. Or, as he put it, “Let a little more of the president’s forecast of global warming hit and I will be there.”

Anti-LGBT Groups Cheer On Roy Moore's Standoff With Federal Courts

Earlier this week, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to Alabama’s governor urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage because, he wrote, “the laws of our state have always recognized the Biblical admonition” against homosexuality.

Moore’s arguments may be legally questionable, but his stand against the federal courts seems to be catapulting him back into right-wing hero status that he hasn’t seen since he defied a court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from his court’s rotunda.

Anti-LGBT groups have been praising the move by the viciously anti-gay judge.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised Moore for standing up against marriage equality, which he warned is a threat “not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival":

Federal judges may have the last word on marriage -- but they won’t have the final one. That’s becoming abundantly clear in Alabama, the latest state to feel the sting of a runaway court invalidating the will of the people on marriage. In a letter to Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.), Chief Justice Roy Moore made that quite clear -- explaining that this isn’t an issue that the federal courts will resolve. Rather, he said, it “raises serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction over the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.”

Unelected judges and a handful of lawyers have been pushing state marriage amendments over like sleeping cows. Meanwhile, stunned Americans have struggled to make sense of a legal system that puts its own political agenda ahead of the expressed will of the people. Like most conservatives, FRC has watched in horror as the courts have robbed tens of millions of Americans of their voice on an issue of critical importance -- not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival.

Bryan Fischer, who at the time he made the comments was a spokesman for the American Family Association, also praised Moore for taking “a stand against judicial tyranny”:

State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)

Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal constitution and the constitution of his own state.

Meanwhile, CitizenGo, a petition hub run in part by National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, asked supporters to sign a petition commending Moore for "standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay ‘marriage’ on the state of Alabama":

Chief Justice Roy Moore,

Thank you for standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay "marriage" upon the state of Alabama. Your bold stand against the redefinition of marriage and the erosion of our nation's moral foundations is an inspiration.

I want you to know that I stand with you as you resist the federal government's unconstitutional demands regarding homosexual "marriage."

I encourage you to fulfill your duty as a lesser magistrate to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the great state of Alabama by resisting these unjust demands.

Meanwhile, the Foundation for Moral Law, the group that Moore led before returning to the Alabama Supreme Court and which is now run by his wife, hasn't reacted to Moore's letter. But the group did respond to the judge’s ruling by acknowledging that “Jesus loves” gay people but “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”

“Alabamians approved the 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% of the vote,” she said, “and the will of the people should not be lightly discarded in favor of an alleged right that is found nowhere in the Constitution.” She added that the Foundation bears no animus toward the plaintiffs in this case or in any other: “Jesus loves them, and He died for their sins as well as for mine. But homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”

Tony Perkins: 2015 'Most Dangerous Year' For American Christians

As readers of RWW are well aware, Religious Right leaders have adopted a strategy of portraying just about any policy they disagree with as a dire threat to their religious freedom. And they love to portray President Barack Obama as a sinister enemy of religious liberty. Today’s frantic email from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is a model of both the Obama-is-evil paradigm and frothing-at-the-mouth alarmism about threats to religious freedom in America.

This money beg has it all: President Obama scheming to turn America into a godless, totalitarian wasteland; ridiculous claims that the administration wants to silence the religious expression of its critics; conspiracy theories about Common Core; and flat-out lies that the administration did nothing to secure the release of Meriam Ibrahim from the Sudanese prison where she had been unjustly held.

Coming from Perkins, none of this is terribly surprising. After all, this is the guy who responded to a Colorado baker being required to abide by the state’s anti-discrimination law by wondering, “When are they going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians?”

To avoid any accusations that we’ve taken Perkins out of context, here’s today’s fundraising letter in full:

January 27, 2015

Dear Peter,

As I wrote to you earlier this month, 2015 could very well be the most dangerous year for Christians in American history!

President Obama seems willing to do anything to further his radical agenda—even if it means violating the Constitution to take away your religious freedom.

This President has clearly placed the religious freedom of millions of Christians like you in his sights. Why? You are among the people who are standing in the gap against his radical plans to transform America into a godless, secular country where government reigns supreme.

In these evil days it is more important than ever that you stand your ground for religious freedom!

Can I count on your continued prayers for FRC and our staff in 2015? And can I count on you to make a special financial contribution to the work of FRC?

2015 could very well be a make-or-break year for the future of religious liberty in America. Between now and 2016, President Obama, who knows his time to "leave his mark on history" is growing short, will go all-out. He will use the unlimited resources at his disposal in a drive to attempt to . . .

  • PUNISH Christians for opposing same-sex "marriage";

  • FORCE pro-life people to fund abortions through ObamaCare;

  • INDOCTRINATE your children with the help of Common Core;

  • BAN religious expression and free speech when it conflicts with federal speech regulations; and

  • STOP Christian-owned businesses from doing business with the government because they will not embrace the homosexual agenda.

President Obama and his supporters wrongly believe that our rights as Christian citizens are granted by, and can therefore be repealed, by government. They do not believe, as you and I do, or even as our Founding Fathers did, that . . .

Our rights are inalienable because they come from God.

We will never compromise on that truth. And that's why we can win so many of the showdowns. Truth has power when people of faith stand up for it. With God's help and your faithful support, FRC has been able to . . .

  • FREE persecuted overseas Christians, even when our own government would not—Christians such as Mariam Ibraheem who was imprisoned for her faith;

  • DEFEND the religious liberty of the brave servicemen and women in the U.S. military who are persecuted and punished because they publicly affirm their Christian values;

  • PROTECT employers and employees forced to leave their faith at the door when they enter public service;

  • UPHOLD natural marriage while countering the pro-homosexual agenda which wants to silence Christians and their objections to same-sex "marriage";

  • PRESSURE Congress to officially protect religious freedom and oppose the President's unconstitutional power grab; and

  • EXPOSE the relentless assault on religious liberty that has largely been ignored by the mainstream media.

Thanks to champions of freedom like you . . . No organization has done more to preserve religious freedom in Washington, D.C., than FRC!

But there is still much, much more that must be done to stop the assault on religious freedom that threatens the very future of our nation. I won't mince words: All of us must redouble our efforts to meet the incredible challenges ahead of us.

Your gift today is essential if we are to stop the assaults on religious freedom and reclaim those liberties already lost.

One of my heroes was 18th century conservative, Edmund Burke. In the British Parliament, he fought slavery and actually supported the American Revolution. A man of faith, he is credited with saying, "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

Today, I urge you to do something. Something great. Something lasting. Something having immediate yet ongoing impact. You achieve that when you financially stand with FRC. Thank you for refusing to sit by and "do nothing."

Standing (Ephesians 6:13),

Tony Perkins

P.S. Please renew your support to help FRC start 2015 strongly. Thank you. God bless you.

Louie Gohmert: God Will Punish America For Obama's Tense Relationship With Netanyahu

Rep. Louie Gohmert warned President Obama last week that his “disdain” for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu may cause God to punish America, insisting that the president “would have that same disdain for anyone who was a strong leader for the nation of Israel and especially if they didn’t bow down and worship at the altar of the White House.”

While speaking with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” Gohmert said that Obama should reverse his decision not to meet with Netanyahu when the Israeli prime minister is in Washington, D.C., to give a controversial speech to Congress in the middle of his reelection campaign.

The Texas congressman said that since Netanyahu’s upcoming address to Congress “is important for eternity,” Obama’s decision not to meet with the Israeli leader might bring about the judgment of God: “There is judgment that will come for nations that attempt to divide the nation of Israel and this White House seems determined to do that.”

Last year, Gohmert delivered a similar warning about divine judgment.

Frank Gaffney Claims Dearborn, Michigan, Is Now A 'Muslim-Only' No-Go Zone

Not only did anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney use his interview on “Washington Watch” last week to compare President Obama to Osama bin Laden, but he also claimed that Sharia law has popped up in the U.S.

According to Gaffney, Dearborn, Michigan — a regular target of debunked claims about Sharia law that Gaffney calls “Dearbornistan” — has become a “ghetto enclave in which it’s Muslim-only and others, if they are not effectively proscribed or prevented from going in, know that it is too dangerous to go.”

Perkins, for his part, has previously claimed that both Dearborn and parts of Minneapolis are Islamic no-go zones.

The two also railed against the criticism directed at Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal for declaring that no-go zones are sweeping across Europe — an allegation for which Jindal offered no evidence besides anecdotal stories he claimed to have heard from people he met — and stating that Muslim faith leaders who condemned terrorist attacks didn’t go far enough because they didn’t specifically say that the culprits are going to Hell.

Gaffney said the “clueless” people criticizing Jindal want to impose a “rhetorical equivalent of a no-go zone.”

Gaffney also said that criticizing Jindal’s remarks amounts to enforcing Sharia blasphemy laws, decrying the “people who are trying to silence him, effectively to try to put Sharia blasphemy restrictions on his speech and his political prospects.”

Frank Gaffney: Obama Sounds Just Like Osama Bin Laden

Last week on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins invited anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist and birther Frank Gaffney to discuss the so-called “no-go zones” in Europe, neighborhoods that anti-Muslim activists claim are run according to Sharia law and remain off-limits to police and governmental authority.

Perkins asked Gaffney if President Obama is aiding terrorists because he won’t blame terrorist attacks on Islam, prompting Gaffney to say that Obama is a Sharia law proponent who sounds just like Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and the leaders of Boko Haram.

“When the president says at the United Nations, ‘The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam,’ we could’ve found those words coming out of the mouths of Osama bin Laden, or Mullah Omar of the Taliban, or the leaders of Boko Haram or Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi of Islamic State,” Gaffney said. “This is the doctrine of Sharia and its blasphemy codes. So it not only gives people latitude to say, ‘The president is saying we mustn’t exercise our freedom of speech or maybe we should give it up altogether lest it offend these folks.’ It is also, and this is really in a way much worse, emboldening our enemies, who when they see this behavior, they think we’re submitting to them.”

Gaffney, of course, is leaving out the fact Obama’s 2012 UN speech was all about the importance of the freedom of speech and opposition to blasphemy laws:

Here in the United States, countless publications provoke offense. Like me, the majority of Americans are Christian, and yet we do not ban blasphemy against our most sacred beliefs. As President of our country and Commander-in-Chief of our military, I accept that people are going to call me awful things every day and I will always defend their right to do so.

Americans have fought and died around the globe to protect the right of all people to express their views, even views that we profoundly disagree with. We do not do so because we support hateful speech, but because our founders understood that without such protections, the capacity of each individual to express their own views and practice their own faith may be threatened. We do so because in a diverse society, efforts to restrict speech can quickly become a tool to silence critics and oppress minorities.

We do so because given the power of faith in our lives, and the passion that religious differences can inflame, the strongest weapon against hateful speech is not repression; it is more speech -- the voices of tolerance that rally against bigotry and blasphemy, and lift up the values of understanding and mutual respect.

Gaffney also conveniently left out the sentence immediately following the president’s remark on “those who slander the prophet of Islam”: “The future must not belong to those who slander the prophet of Islam. But to be credible, those who condemn that slander must also condemn the hate we see in the images of Jesus Christ that are desecrated, or churches that are destroyed, or the Holocaust that is denied.”

The Real Problems With Bobby Jindal And His Prayer Rally

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal skipped an Iowa stage crowded with Republican presidential wannabes on Saturday so he could host a prayer rally on the campus of Louisiana State University. Jindal and others have mischaracterized objections to the rally, suggesting that its critics were somehow out to silence people of faith. So let’s be clear about the real issue: Bobby Jindal used the power and prestige of his office to promote an event backed by some of the nation’s most religiously divisive and stridently anti-gay activists. And in a bid to boost his own political future, he sent a clear message of support for the Christian-nation views of the event’s extremist organizers.

Christians Only, Please

Let’s start with the invitation, sent on Jindal’s official state letterhead. “We are in need of spiritual and transforming revival,” he wrote, “if we are to recapture the vision of our early leaders who signed on the Mayflower, ‘In the name of God and for the advancement of the Christian faith.’” Leadership to solve the country’s problems “will not come from a politician or a movement for social change,” he wrote in this time of civil rights movement anniversaries. So how will we solve our problems? “Jesus Christ, Son of God and the Lord of Life, is America’s only hope.” In a separate letter he wrote to the other 49 governors inviting them to his rally to pray for “spiritual revival” and “heaven’s intervention” over the country. “There will only be one name lifted up that day – Jesus!”

What does all this suggest to non-Christian Americans (including non-Christian governors) about how Jindal views their contributions? Jindal’s letters reflect the attitudes of rally organizer David Lane, a political strategist who believes America was founded by and for Christians. The event was paid for by the American Family Association, whose chief spokesman, radio host Bryan Fischer, believes the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to Christians.

The rally was also a showcase for the dominionist views of self-proclaimed “apostles” who promoted and spearheaded the event. One of those “apostles” was the event’s emcee. Doug Stringer has called the 9/11 attacks “a wake-up call” that happened because God was not around to defend America due to abortion, homosexuality, and kicking God out of public schools. While introducing Jindal, Stringer made a brief mention to “Seven Mountains” theology, which states that all the “mountains” in society – arenas like business, entertainment, and government – must be led by the right kind of Christian. A later speaker, Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, spent more time on the “Seven Mountains.” Mills said these spheres of influence belong to God, but are currently occupied by the “enemy.” They therefore need to be evangelized and “occupied by the body of Christ.”

Not Political? Not Credible

Jindal and organizer David Lane declared, unbelievably, that the rally was not political. Lane is a self-described political strategist who works to turn conservative evangelical churches into voter turnout machines for right-wing candidates and causes. Lane is trying to get 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for public office, and he held a recruiting session the day before the prayer rally. Jindal and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma were among the speakers. Another example of the disconnect between rhetoric and reality: Stringer made the claim that the rally was not meant to lift up any politicians while he was standing in front of a huge screen featuring a quote from Bobby Jindal.

The “not political” claim was hard to take seriously given the amount of time devoted to making abortion illegal and declarations that what will tip the scales will be the “the voice of the church in the voting booth.” Jim Garlow, who led church organizing for California’s anti-gay Proposition 8, and who believes the marriage equality movement is demonic, dropped all “nonpolitical” pretense, railing against marriage equality and IRS regulations that restrict the involvement of churches in electoral politics.

Opponents = Enemies

One of the biggest problems with treating politics as spiritual warfare is that you turn your political opponents into spiritual enemies. People who disagree with you on public policy issues are not just wrong, but evil, or even satanic. That makes it pretty hard to work together or find compromise.

In daily prayer calls leading up to the rally, organizers prayed for God to forgive students who were organizing protests, as if disagreeing with Bobby Jindal were a sin – or a form of anti-Christian persecution. “Father forgive them, for they know not what they do,” prayed call leaders, comparing their pleas to Jesus asking God to forgive those who crucified him, and Saint Stephen asking for mercy for those who were stoning him to death. On one call, a prayer leader decreed a “no-go zone for demons” over the sports arena where the event was to be held. At the rally, one speaker talked of storming the gates of Hell. Bishop Harry Jackson finished his remarks by leading the crowd in a chant he has used at anti-gay rallies: “Let God arise and his enemies be scattered!”

Jindal Unplugged, Unhinged, and Unapologetic

Jindal seems to have decided that his best chance in a crowded Republican field is to plant himself at the far right of an already far-right group. In the days leading up to the rally, he drew criticism for comments denigrating Muslims and for repeating bogus charges about Muslim “no-go zones” that Fox News had already apologized for spreading. During a radio interview a few days before the rally, Jindal said liberals pretend that jihadist terrorism isn’t happening and pretend “it’s a good thing to kill journalists, to kill teenagers for watching soccer, to kill over 150 schoolchildren, to treat women as second-class citizens…” He decried political incorrectness and multiculturalism and said of immigrants who do not embrace American exceptionalism, “that’s not immigration, that’s invasion.”

On “This Week” on Sunday, ABC’s George Stephanopoulos noted that Jindal had declared at his prayer rally that “on the last page, our God wins,” and asked him if that was appropriate in a religiously diverse country. Jindal praised religious liberty but ducked the question.

On the same show, Jindal said he would back a push for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to allow states to discriminate against same-sex couples, all while saying “I am not for discrimination against anybody.” (Jindal describes himself as an “evangelical Catholic,” and his contradictory rhetoric parallels the language of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which says it opposes “unjust discrimination” against gay people, but defines the term “unjust discrimination” in a way that applies only to those people with “same-sex attraction” who remain celibate.)

Jindal has also promoted far-right policies as governor. As Brian has noted:

Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.

Whose Agenda?

Jindal’s rally was not an original idea. In fact Jindal’s “Response” recycled materials and themes from a similar event that Texas Gov. Rick Perry held in 2011 to launch his presidential bid. Here’s what I wrote about Perry’s event, which applies equally well to Jindal’s – not surprising since both were organized by the same groups of extremists:

Organizers argued (unconvincingly) that "The Response" was about prayer, not politics. But groups like the American Family Association (AFA), which paid for the rally and its webcast…are not designed to win souls but to change American law and culture through grassroots organizing and political power-building. They have a corrosive effect on our political culture by promoting religious bigotry and anti-gay extremism, by claiming that the United States was meant to be a Christian nation, and by fostering resentment among conservative evangelicals with repeated false assertions that liberal elites are out to destroy religious liberty and silence conservative religious voices.

Jindal, of course, has the right to talk about his faith. But it is wrong for him to use his public office to proselytize and denigrate the faith of others. Teaming up with anti-gay extremists and Christian-nation advocates gives them credibility they do not deserve. His actions speak volumes about his judgment, values, and commitment to religious pluralism and equality under the law.

Lindsey Graham Tells Anti-Choice Activists: Need To Find 'Way Out Of This Definitional Problem With Rape'

Sen. Lindsey Graham, chief Senate sponsor of the GOP’s effort to undermine Roe by banning abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, spoke this morning to the Family Research Council’s “ProLifeCon,” about the House GOP’s decision to cancel a vote on its version of the bill that had been planned for today. The House leadership pulled the plug on the vote in response to protests from some Republican women who objected to a provision that exempted rape survivors from the ban only if they report the rape to police. Some anti-choice groups have objected to including a rape exception in the bill at all, a last-minute addition after the bill’s previous House sponsor, Trent Franks, implied that women who are raped rarely get pregnant.

Graham acknowledged that opponents of rape exceptions are being “intellectually consistent and honest about ‘the baby is the baby’” but argued that banning rape survivors from accessing abortion is a political impossibility: “Some of us who have these exceptions do so in a democratic society believing that there are some places we will not go.”

“I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape,” he told the audience, saying that his plan was to hold a Senate vote on a Democratic bill aimed at pushing back on state-level abortion clinic “TRAP” laws in order to show that it’s Democrats who are “extreme” on abortion rights.

“The rape exception will be part of the bill…We just need to find a way definitionally to not get us in a spot where we’re debating about what a legitimate rape is, that’s not the cause that we’re in,” he said.

This post has been updated with additional details of Graham's speech. 

Minnesota Congressman Invites Right-Wing Leader To Visit Minneapolis's Non-Existent No-Go Zones

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is pretty sure that several neighborhoods in Minneapolis, along with the entire city of Dearborn, Michigan, have become “no-go zones” where Sharia law has effectively replaced the authority of the U.S. government:

Well, now Perkins has an opportunity to see the (non-existent) no-go zones for himself.

In reaction to Perkins’ remarks, which were first reported by Right Wing Watch, Rep. Keith Ellison, a Minnesota Democrat, has invited Perkins to tour Minneapolis and meet with the Muslim residents of the city, reassuring him that the city is “completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities.” Ellison posted a copy of his invitation to Perkins on Twitter yesterday:

Dear Mr. Perkins:

I am writing regarding your recent comments about my hometown. As you know, I represent the 5th district, of Minnesota which includes most of Minneapolis. You recently said that you believe parts of our city are so called “no-go zones” where state and federal laws are subordinate to Sharia Law. Having lived in Minneapolis for over two decades, I can assure you this is not true. But I would like you to come see firsthand that Minneapolis is an inclusive and thriving city completely under the jurisdiction of local, state, and federal authorities. The Muslim Americans in Minneapolis help make our vibrant and diverse place to live.

If you accept my invitation it may represent an important step toward interfaith understanding. I would be glad to organize meetings with local and federal enforcement as well as community leaders.

Rewriting King: Right-Wing Activist Claims MLK Opposed Government Aid, Church-State Separation

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday by claiming that King — who supported guaranteed employment and minimum income, public works projects and policies advancing “democratic socialism” — was actually a big opponent of government involvement in the economy.

Blackwell told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins that King would strongly rebuke “the growth of the welfare state” and the separation of church and state, even though King actually spoke out against endeavors such as state-sponsored prayer in public schools.

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, also used the occasion to criticize the advance of marriage equality in the courts and President Obama for supposedly dividing Americans on the basis of race.

Mike Huckabee Reiterates Opposition To Marriage Equality: God Has Already Ruled

In a conversation on “Washington Watch” Friday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee expressed disbelief over media reports that Huckabee had somehow toned down his opposition to marriage equality in his new book, “God, Guns, Grits and Gravy.” In fact, Huckabee did no such thing, something that he himself was eager to point out, reiterating to Perkins his view that same-sex marriage is wrong because God has already spoken on the issue.

“I don’t know how anyone could actually read the chapter and come to the conclusion that I have sort of changed my view on same-sex marriage,” Huckabee said. “When people read the chapter, I think they’re going to get a clear understanding that the reason that I hold to the view that I do is it’s not just stubbornness, it’s because I haven’t been given permission from God to change what he said.”

Of course, that was the exact same argument used by many pastors who supported laws banning interracial marriage.

Huckabee also criticized governors who “surrendered” to courts that have struck down state bans on marriage equality, arguing that they should ignore such rulings and simply refuse to enforce them.

“This, to me, is so fundamental in civics and I’m watching attorneys general, governors and judges pretend that the court can just make law. I don’t know where we came up with this,” Huckabee said. “I’ve heard several governors when their state supreme court says that they’re going to allow same-sex marriage and the governor just folds and surrenders and says, ‘well, it’s the law of the land.’ No, it isn’t.”

Tony Perkins: Dearborn And Neighborhoods In Minneapolis Are Muslim No-Go Zones

While Fox News has apologized for its discredited and widely mocked reports about European “no-go zones” that are run according to Sharia law, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins is standing by the false claims that there are around “700 no-go zones” in France alone and that Dearborn, Michigan, has fallen to Sharia law.

When a “Washington Watch” caller on Friday told Perkins about no-go zones where Muslims are “doing military-type training in Virginia and New York,” which he “heard on Bryan Fischer[’s]” radio show, Perkins said that he had also heard rumors corroborating such allegations.

In France, Perkins said, “they have like 700 no-go zones where authorities have allowed Sharia law to be imposed. There are some areas in this country that in effect that has occurred. Dearborn, Michigan, is one of the places, there are some places in Minneapolis, I don’t think it’s as clear cut as what we’ve seen in Europe, it’s been more by the effect that that’s occurred.”

Tony Perkins: No Religion In Government, Unless It's My Religion

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins received a call from a listener who asked if the U.S. should pass a constitutional amendment that would restrict religious freedom if the faith in question had “political ambitions,” particularly if those ambitions were “subversive,” which, as Perkins confirmed later in the program, was code for Islam.

Perkins, who believes that the First Amendment doesn’t protect Muslim-Americans because Islam “tears at the fabric of our society” and is really more of an “economic system, a judicial system,” didn’t exactly deliver a full-throated defense of religious freedom. He said Islam “sees itself as a judicial philosophy, an economic philosophy” and wants to “impose” Sharia law “upon the surrounding society.”

Since his own organization promotes religious law, Perkins seems more intent on curtailing the rights of Muslims than preserving a secular government. In fact, later in the very same program, Perkins demanded that judges follow “natural law” on issues like abortion rights and gay marriage, which Perkins of course believes reflects his religious views.

“Natural law, which is what the founders recognized and built upon, that’s why the issue of abortion has not been settled, because it runs counter to natural law,” he said. “Natural law, which as Christians we would make reference to, as Paul said in Romans 2, it’s written on the hearts of men. Natural law says it’s not right for a mother to kill her unborn child. That’s why regardless of what the courts said, nine unelected judges, regardless of what they’ve said, the issue has not been resolved and it won’t be resolved. And the same is true for marriage, I don’t care what a court rules, I don’t care what a judge says, the issue of marriage, because it emanates from natural law, from creation, it’s going to be here and it will be an issue politically from here until as long as I’m alive.”

It’s odd for Perkins to criticize Islam for having “a judicial philosophy, an economic philosophy” at the same time as he is explicitly advocating for public policy to correspond to his own religious views. Perkins also believes that Jesus Christ preached capitalism, a claim he outlined in an article for CNN’s Belief blog, and the FRC regularly rails against judges whom they believe defy biblical precepts.

Perkins may also want to take issue with the Family Research Council’s favorite pseudo-historian, David Barton, who believes that “biblical principles” should be involved in economics and the judiciary: “You apply those principles to economic systems, you apply it to educational systems, you apply it to family systems, you apply it to governmental systems, judicial systems.”

Tony Perkins Links Gay Rights Supporters To Charlie Hebdo Assailants

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has compared conservatives in the U.S. to the victims of Nazi Germany and ISIS, claiming that LGBT equality advocates are channeling the two groups in their purported persecution of their political opponents. So now, naturally, Perkins is comparing U.S. conservatives to the victims of the terrorist attack on the Charlie Hebdo office in Paris.

On yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Perkins compared Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed’s decision to terminate the city’s fire chief — who had violated city employment practices by distributed to his employees a self-published book containing condemnations of homosexuality — to the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

“Look. What happened there in Paris was designed to intimidate and silence,” he said. “What happened here in Georgia, it wasn’t terrorists, it was a mayor; it wasn’t a gun he fired, but it was the chief he fired. And the intent was the same. It was to silence and to intimidate people of faith.”

Speaking at a rally yesterday in protest of the Atlanta chief’s firing, Perkins again equated Reed’s action with the violence committed by the Charlie Hebdo attackers. Perkins, incidentally, isn’t the first FRC staffer to make the comparison.

This past weekend, the world marched in Paris recognizing that free speech is the cornerstone of truly free societies. A realization is now sweeping Europe that political correctness has become lethal and it is an avowed enemy of true freedom. While many believe the satirical work of Charlie Hebdo was in bad taste and of poor form, we recognize the freedom that they had to speak without fear of reprisal or the threat of violence. Make no mistake about it, last week’s violent assault was designed to intimidate and silence others who would dare exercise that fundamental human right of the freedom of speech. But whether a journalist in France satirically writing about religion or a fire chief in Atlanta, Georgia writing about the sacred teachings of his faith, the silencing of either is a threat to the freedoms of all. The naked truth is that the actions taken against the chief are designed to send a message that will silence Christians and in effect force them to check their faith at the door of public service. My friends, we must not let that happen in the United States of America.

FRC Spox: Oppose Gay Rights Like Protests Following Charlie Hebdo Attack

In an interview yesterday, the Family Research Council’s Travis Weber lauded the millions of people who attended marches in response to the terrorist attack at the office of Charlie Hebdo by likening their efforts to the campaign by Religious Right groups to repeal nondiscrimination ordinances that protect LGBT people.

Speaking with “Washington Watch” guest host Craig James about the attempt to rescind a nondiscrimination ordinance in Plano, Texas, Weber predicted that more people would get involved in the crusade to strip legal protections from the LGBT community, just as the Paris attack spurred countless people to take to the streets to defend the freedom of expression.

“I think it comes down to a connection that people make to their own freedom and their own lives and the way they’ve been living in freedom being threatened. When they realize that’s threatened, they care all of the sudden about the issues and get involved,” Weber said. “I think it’s important to take notice of several things going on currently here and overseas. Just recently we’ve seen in France over a million turn out in support of free speech and in solidarity with the publishers of the magazine that was recently the subject of the incident over there and this is something that people see their way of life being threatened.

“We have generally broad protections for free speech here at home yet we can’t be lax or lazy in protecting them and arguing for them and for their importance and we see these threats overseas; people need to understand that the same freedoms here at home hang in the balance and they need to be protected and fought for when people want to restrict others based on the content of their speech or their viewpoint on a politically unpopular topic. People need to see this and when they do, they’ll care.”

Of course, nothing in these non-discrimination ordinances curtail the freedom of speech.

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