In a discussion with Eric Metaxas at last year’s Florida Family Policy Council summit, Sen. Marco Rubio said that the separation of church and state is a myth, arguing that the First Amendment only precludes an “officially sanctioned denomination.”
“This notion of separation between church and state, you won’t find those words in the Constitution,” Rubio said. “That doesn’t mean that we should have an officially sanctioned denomination.”
Rubio warned that “there is an effort to silence those or to crowd out of its rightful place the role of the faith community in our country. The government cannot tell you what faith to belong to but it cannot tell you that it cannot speak about your faith.”
Of course, the Constitution also doesn’t include words like “separation of powers” and “checks and balances,” but that doesn’t mean that those principles aren’t in the Constitution.
Rubio also seems to think that the drafters of the Constitution only meant to prevent the government from sanctioning one religious denomination over another. But the founders actually rejected language about “establishing any particular denomination of religion in preference to another” (same with “religious society” and “national church”) in favor of the more broad First Amendment’s prohibition of the “establishment of religion.”
The Florida Family Policy Council announced today that it will host Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at its 2013 Annual Dinner. The FFPC is led by John Stemberger, the anti-gay activist who most recently helped launch a Boy Scouts splinter group that will ban openly gay youth, and the fundraiser will honor Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.
Stemberger and Staver are far outside of the mainstream, but with Rubio preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016 he may use this event, much like his speech at the Values Voter Summit, to soothe any doubts about his right-wing credentials.
Stemberger previously chaired Florida for Marriage, which spearheaded the campaign to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and founded the anti-gay Boy Scout alternative Trail Life USA. Earlier in his career as a lawyer, he was widely criticized for misconduct in the Rifqa Barry case.
Stemberger has a long record of incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. He:
We noted Staver’s radicalism and involvement in a kidnapping case in our profile of him for the 2013 Values Voter Summit:
Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has beenimplicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:
Religious Right activist John Stemberger is continuing his fight against a proposal to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay members, telling Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association that "anything that has the word 'gay' on it in our culture ... [is] guaranteed to be inappropriate for kids."
Wildmon asked why gay activists don't just start their own Gay Scouts of America program instead of forcing this sort of change on the Boy Scouts, which prompted Stemberger to respond that gay activists want to "flaunt their sexuality [and] promote political, social agenda" to children, which is just utterly inappropriate.
"You look at anything that has the world 'gay' on it in our culture," Stemberger said, "a gay magazine, a gay blog, a gay website, a gay parade, you name it, it's gonna be guaranteed to be inappropriate for kids. And that's what we're talking about; we talking about injecting hyper-sexuality and a leftist political agenda right into the veins of the Boy Scouts and it will utterly devastate it":
Anti-gay activist John Stemberger is continuing to argue that sexual abuse will skyrocket if the Boy Scouts let in openly gay members. As evidence, he sites current statistics on the abuse that happens with the discriminatory ban in place.
While speaking to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Washington Watch, Stemberger predicted that a policy shift in the Boy Scouts of America will “create a wave of boy-on-boy sexual abuse” as straight scouts will “be preyed upon” by their gay peers:
I think the national organization is just kind of winking and nodding, saying, ‘oh yeah, homosexual boys, no big deal, we can influence them for the better, boys are better off in scouting.’ Well wait a second, yeah homosexual boys are better off but what about the other boys who may be preyed upon? You know BSA’s own statistics show, their own youth training program shows that seventy percent of all abuse in scouting takes place by other boys, not by adults. So I’ve been saying from day one that this is going to create a wave of boy-on-boy sexual abuse which is going to contribute future to the scandal that scouting has had in the past and also not to mention the physical, psychological and sexual abuse of countless boys.
Florida Family Policy Council head and anti-gay activist John Stemberger has created a new group, On My Honor, to oppose the “hyper-sexualization” of the Boy Scouts of America that he fears will take place if the group lifts its ban on gay members.
During an interview with Religious Right talk show host Janet Mefferd, Stemberger argued that if the BSA lifts the gay ban, the organization will experience a rise in “boy-on-boy” assaults and “emotional, sexual, psychological and physical abuse.”
He told Mefferd that kids these days all want to be gay and will then join the Boy Scouts to molest each other.
“It’s hip, it’s edgy to be gay and so they’re all saying they’re gay—they have no idea,” Stemberger said. “Well if scouting sends the message, ‘we’re open for gays,’ you’re going to have so much nonsense going on between older boys and younger boys.”
Mefferd: Now I know you are raising awareness as well about the dangers that open homosexuality within the scouting organization would present, what do you believe the biggest dangers would be if this policy were reversed and open homosexuality would be permitted in the Boy Scouts?
Stemberger: My personal opinion based upon my experience and talking to leaders all over the country and other scoutmasters, it is not going to be primarily adult gay men. Scouting has a very strict child protection program that requires two-deep leadership, that means that no adult can be alone with any child except with their own child at any time, they are extremely strict with it. So I don’t think the primary threat, although it could potentially be a threat, is going to be adults.
I think it is going to be boy-on-boy. My sister is a middle school teacher in Florida and she said, ‘John, everybody in the whole class is talking about ‘are you gay,’ ‘I’m gay,’ ‘I’m gender confused, what are you?’ It’s just like they don’t even know what they’re talking about. It’s hip, it’s edgy to be gay and so they’re all saying they’re gay—they have no idea. Well if scouting sends the message, ‘we’re open for gays,’ you’re going to have so much nonsense going on between older boys and younger boys, it’s just going to create a myriad of problems that really is going to result in further scandal, further disgrace to the scouts, not to mention just the tragedy of the emotional, sexual, psychological and physical abuse that will occur in the program. If even two children, even one child is going to be molested by another boy in the program, that is enough compelling in my judgment to say no, we are not going to do this, there is no reason for it whatsoever.
According to Stemberger, there really isn’t a ban on gays because you can still join as long as you are in the closet.
Later, Stemberger argued that the BSA should fear the example set by the Girl Scouts, which he claims is “being run by lesbians” and has “been really politicized and sexualized in a way that is inappropriate for children.”
Stemberger: Here’s an important point I want to make: currently there are people in scouting who are probably homosexual, there’s no litmus test, there’s no witch hunt to find out who they are; they’re discreet, they’re appropriate, they’re personal, they’re private, they’re not loud and proud, they’re not out there waving the rainbow flag and trying to make a big deal about it and trying to promote gay marriage and all this business. There’s no application question on what your sexual orientation is when you join scouting, the problem is what they’re allowing is open homosexuality. That’s a very different thing; that is promoting the gay agenda, that is promoting politics and it is just inappropriate. When it comes to children we think that sex and politics should stay out of the Boy Scouts, it should have no place in it whatsoever.
Stemberger: We have about two months to really make sure that this timeless institution is not transformed into something politicized thing like the Girl Scouts have, unfortunately where it is being run by lesbians and promoting Planned Parenthood, it’s just been really politicized and sexualized in a way that is inappropriate for children.
Mefferd: Yes, absolutely right.
Conservative leaders are continuing to rally opposition to a proposed plan to end the national ban on gay members in the Boy Scouts of America with warnings about pedophilia and “indoctrination.”
Family Research Council vice president Rob Schwarzwalder told Janet Mefferd yesterday that fathers cannot trust their sons to be around gay people.
Mefferd called gay rights advocates “totalitarian” for opposing the ban and lamented that the “violins are playing full blast” in the media when they cover stories about gay youths kicked out of the Boy Scouts.
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel said in a statement that “people like Jerry Sandusky” would be “permitted to be Scoutmasters” if the policy changes, adding, “To allow homosexual Scoutmasters or homosexual Scouts will put young boys at risk.”
Concerned Women for America started a letter-writing campaign against the move before gays attempt “to infiltrate the next generation.” The group even claimed that if gays are allowed to join the Boy Scouts, it would mean that “our religious liberties are being taken away”…somehow.
The Texas Pastors Council called on parents to “defend our children” and not “allow our boys to be targeted by those who believe there is no moral code and no definition of gender” and stop those who are bent on “forcing their immorality on society.”
Pastors, if the scouts fall, the church is next in the sights of the activists committed to forcing their immorality on society – WILL YOU COME?
Fathers, if we allow our boys to be targeted by those who believe there is no moral code and no definition of gender – WHO WILL DEFEND OUR CHILDREN?
Mothers, your voice of courage and protection of the virtue of our children is desperately needed – WILL YOU STAND ALSO?
Florida Family Policy Council president John Stemberger went on another anti-gay rant, alleging that the BSA will “open a can of worms that would cause a mass exodus” and “devastate the Boy Scouts permanently.”
If the BSA departs from its policies on allowing openly homosexual scoutmasters and boys in the program it could destroy the legitimacy and the security of this iconic institution.
As an Eagle Scout, former Scoutmaster and a Vigil Honor Member of the Order of the Arrow, I have a deep personal interest in passing on the rich experience of Scouting to my two sons and I pray that the BSA does not open a can of worms that would cause a mass exodus from a program that America needs now more than ever to train boys to become responsible men. A change of this policy could transform and devastate the Boy Scouts permanently. Additionally, the vast majority of Americans do not support changing the policy to allow openly homosexual scout leaders, so this proposed change makes no sense on many levels.
2000 presidential candidate Alan Keyes in WorldNetDaily warned of “homosexual indoctrination” and “idolatry” in the Boy Scouts if they change the policy:
The simple words of the Scout Oath were meant to encourage boys in the habit of walking this straight path; hence the endeavor to be “morally straight.” But the oath first of all made it clear that the Scout looked first of all to God as the standard of moral rectitude. Try as they might, the present-day trustees of the Scouting movement will never fit the square peg of God’s standard into the round hole of homosexual sin. Moreover, though they begin by admitting practicing homosexuals into the ranks, they must end in acknowledging homosexual activity as morally correct, else they will involve the whole movement in the perjurious administration of an oath openly violated in practice. For in that moral sense, it is not possible to be gay and morally straight at the same time. Thus what the present trustees of the BSA reportedly may do involves rejecting God’s standard for male sexual behavior. And it involves doing so in a way that willfully abandons the straight path blazed by the footsteps of Christ.
By accepting a humanly fabricated redefinition of the moral standard, the BSA will fall prey to the inevitable logic of such idolatry. “Their idols are … the work of human hands … those who make them become like unto them; so do all who trust in them.” (Psalm 115:8) It will speedily become evident that what masquerades as tolerance is actually indoctrination, seeking to mold boys according to the standard the BSA trustees will have raised above God’s standard. For if homosexual activity is morally acceptable as an expression of love and good fellowship, then those who express their love accordingly do what is right.
But the aim of Scouting is to encourage young men to do what is right in various ways. Therefore, once the moral prejudice against homosexuality is regarded as a violation of right, doing things that habitually assault and break down this prejudice becomes part of “moral training.” Just as, on many campuses now, refusal to experiment with homosexuality is frowned upon as a sign of bigotry, so henceforth in Scouting braking down this prejudice would be recognized as a meritorious activity. Though camouflaged in different words there will be a merit badge for this experimentation as part of the regime of homosexual indoctrination. God knows what that will lead to; and given now widely publicized possibilities, so should the BSA Inc.
In an interview yesterday with John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins alleged that the Boy Scouts of America will “throw the door open” to “sexual predators” by lifting their national ban on gay members and will face more child molestation lawsuits as a result. Stemberger warned that Boy Scouts will now have members who “promote this behavior and promote their personal sexuality.”
Perkins: The national board released about 15,000 pages of documentation on sexual predators and what had taken place in the Scouts from 1960-1995. One lawsuit alone cost the Scouts a settlement of about $20 million. Through the litigation the leading attorney who has litigated for the families of what they called the ‘preyed upon children’ estimates that each predator molested up to twenty-five children, roughly 1,900 predators’ names were revealed. This is under the current policy which forbids those who would be inclined to this from coming in, what’s going to happen when they just throw the door open?
Stemberger: The amazing thing really is that right now there are people that have a same-sex attraction involved with scouting but the rule is, kind of similar to the military, you just can’t be open about it. That’s the difference, there are lots of people who just want to live their lives privately—fine—but for those people who want to come out and promote this behavior and promote their personal sexuality, it’s inappropriate. There’s no place for this whatsoever in scouting and it’s just stunning that they are even considering a decision like this because of financial and political pressure.
Perkins: I imagine it’s going to cost them a lot more if they have any lawsuits along the lines of this.
Stemberger maintained that the admission of openly gay members is “insanity” and could “destroy” the Boy Scouts. He even said the “greatest threat” is not gay troop leaders but gay kids. “The greatest threat immediately is going to be not just adults but it’s going to be the kids,” Stemberger told Perkins. “There are so many young people today in high school and public school especially who are acting out homosexuality just because it’s the popular and cool thing, so you’re going to have lots of crazy stuff happening with boys.”
Perkins: Well obviously this news had to be very disappointing not only to you but your sons who have been involved in scouting as well.
Stemberger: It’s extraordinarily disappointing and if they go ahead with this decision next week I think it’s going to have an extraordinary impact, it’s not going to be good. I think you’re going to see a mass exodus, obviously Catholics, Mormons and Southern Baptists are all going to be very concerned about this. I just hope that they do not cave. The greatest threat immediately is going to be not just adults but it’s going to be the kids. There are so many young people today in high school and public school especially who are acting out homosexuality just because it’s the popular and cool thing, so you’re going to have lots of crazy stuff happening with boys. We’ve been through a whole round of problems that the Scouts have had with improper conduct with adults over the years and this just seems insanity to me that they would open the door and allow openly gay leaders and boys to flourish. Even if it is at a local level, so much of what goes on in scouting is not just local, you have district camporees, you have national jamborees, the order of the arrow involves people and summer camps; you know so much of it is working together with a district or a council or the Scouts nationally. So I think it’s a very negative thing which is going to have long-term repercussions which could destroy the entire program itself.
Liberty Counsel, the Florida Family Policy Council and Women Impacting the Nation next month will host a women’s conference at Orlando’s First Baptist Church featuring special guest Victoria Jackson, the former SNL cast member, which wouldn’t be newsworthy if it wasn’t for the fact that Jackson’s career has devolved into making bizarre and unintentionally hilarious rants about the dangers of homosexuality. Come to think of it, she will fit right in with the folks at Liberty Counsel!
After successfully crafting the Republican Party’s platform to be the “most conservative platform in modern history,” Religious Right activists were out in full force at Focus on the Family’s and the Florida Family Policy Council’s “Prayer Rally for America’s Future” in Tampa’s River Church, led by faith healer Rodney Howard Browne. Along with disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton, who argued that abortion is banned under the constitutional amendment guaranteeing jury trials, and the FFPC’s John Stemberger, who concluded the rally by attacking minority faiths, conservative leaders such as Rep. Michele Bachmann, Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and pastors Jim Garlow, Pam Olsen and Harry Jackson spoke at the prayer rally.
Watch highlights here:
Bachmann told participants that “at this moment in our End Time we are quite literally looking at a hurricane here at Florida, we are looking at political hurricane in our own country, we are looking at a spiritual hurricane in our land,” telling them to “show up and suit up and stand up” and “pour it out for Him.” Scarborough mourned the prominence of Lady Gaga, “the Big Bang Theory,” Jerry Seinfeld, and “Brokeback Mountain,” while Jim Garlow warned that Satan is pushing gay rights in order to “destroy the image of God” and curtail freedom.
Staver said that courts have begun to “deconstruct the foundation of law,” leading to tyranny, legal abortion and same-sex marriage, and Olsen prayed for the Supreme Court to repent: “Lord we cry out for the US Supreme Court, God that these justices will realize that there is a judge higher than they are and God that they will bow before You. We a crying out for a president that will appoint pro-life justices that will stand for truth and this nation will turn back to You, touch the Supreme Court now.” Towards the end of the rally, Jackson asked for participants to pray that Maryland will overturn the new marriage equality law and to “let the fire of Your Holy Spirit to fall upon Mitt Romney.”
John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council closed out his groups Prayer Rally for America’s Future last night by warning that non-Christian faiths are incapable of producing ideas like democracy or equality. He lamented that “things that were unthinkable” are now “being promoted as virtuous” and conservatives now being called “hatemonger” “Our country needs God, our country needs us,” Stemberger said, saying that principles like voting, inalienable rights and equality couldn’t have come from faiths like Islam, Buddhism or Hinduism: “No religion on the face of the earth could have created the American experience except for Christianity and no religion can save it except for Christians.”
Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, disgraced pseudo-historian David Barton and anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly are participating in a prayer rally hosted by Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink and the Florida Family Policy Council in Tampa right before the opening of the Republican National Convention. CitizenLink head Tom Minnery, FFPC’s John Stemberger, former congressman J.C. Watts, Proposition 8 leader Jim Garlow, Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver are also among the speakers at the Prayer Rally for America’s Future at the River Church. The rally will touch on the familiar themes of opposing abortion rights and gay rights…and also to pray for revival in “male leadership.”
Later that day, the River Church is hosting a Tea Party Nation rally with Bachmann, Herman Cain, Neal Boortz, Judson Phillips, Pam Bondi, Niger Innis and Rebecca Kleefisch.
The River Church is pastored by Rodney Howard-Browne, the Word-Faith preacher known for performing faith healings:
And unleashing "Holy Laughter":
Remember gay-demon-exorcist, Halloween-candy-foe and NAR Apostle Kimberly Daniels? The preacher was elected to the Jacksonville City Council last year despite her claims that “the Jews own everything,” Haiti’s 2010 earthquake was divine punishment and that President Obama is tied to the illuminati. As Jacksonville weighs passing an anti-discrimination ordinance strongly opposed by the Religious Right due to its protections for sexual orientation and gender identity, the freshman councilwoman said that proponents of the ordinance have “discriminated against” her and are “anti-God”:
Councilwoman Kimberly Daniels, who is also a local pastor, took a point of personal privilege to address how some individuals laughed at her and made comments at the May 22 meeting.
“I am a believer; I am a Christian,” Daniels said. “Religion is a protected class. What I experienced last Tuesday night, it was not pro gay; it was anti God.”
“My family is being harassed; my life is being threatened,” Daniels continued. “I have experienced so much hate from the homosexual community…I don’t care who sleeps with who… I love America…I would like not to be discriminated against, too.”
John Stemberger of the Florida Family Policy Council is organizing the opposition to the bill, warning that “this artificial, social construct called gay” is “new” and “dangerous”:
“We have basically exposed this piece of legislation for what it is,” Stemberger said following a June 5 hearing. “And that is an infringement upon religious liberties, the Constitution, and rights of association.”
Stemberger put the issue into a larger context.
“Same-sex attraction has always been with us since the beginning of time. That’s nothing new. … What is new, and what is dangerous and what we oppose, is this artificial, social construct called gay,” Stemberger said. “It’s in your face; it’s shoving down your throat; and it’s intimidation. It’s not just, ‘let’s be left alone and let’s just have rights.’ It’s now forcing everyone else to agree—by the force of law and lawsuits with money damages. That’s what we oppose.”
Last month we noted that Michele Bachmann was headlining a fundraising event for the Florida Family Policy Council where she received the organization's William Wilberforce Award.
But just because the FFPC thinks Bachmann is a hero for her willingness to stand "firm for principles of life, marriage or family in the face of opposition," that apparently doesn't translate into support for her presidential campaign as FFPC president John Stemberger is announcing his pending support for Rick Perry because Bachmann is just not a realistic or viable candidate ... and Mitt Romney "wasn’t Mormon enough":
Florida evangelical leader John Stemberger is a step away from endorsing Rick Perry for president, a big coup for the Texas governor and a loss for fellow Republican Michele Bachmann. Stemberger's likely endorsement follows some top-level Perry staff hires.
"We really like Michele Bachmann She has stellar credentials when it comes to our issues. She is an amazing woman. Our primary drive is principle and the issues," Stemberger said. "But we also have to be realistic, pragmatically, and determine who’s viable."
Stemberger said that meant he and the Florida Family Policy Council, which has an email list of about 65,000 Florida evangelical voters, had two choices.
"This is a two man race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry. And there’s a growing consensus among evangelical leaders and, to some degree, among those in the tea party and pro-life Catholics that Rick Perry is the most trustworthy candidate on our issues," Stemberger said.
"There are too many trust issues with Mitt Romney," he continued. "The issue not that he is a Mormon. The issue is that he wasn’t Mormon enough. If he had been consistent with traditional Mormon values his whole career, that would make me feel a lot more comfortable about where he’s coming from. Perry is a lot more solid on our issues."