A warning from the Benham brothers: "We believe if the sexual revolution is left unchecked it will become a crime to confess biblical truth in today’s America. Those that dare hold a biblical view of sexuality will spend time in jail. Those that refuse to participate in gay weddings or gay pride events will lose their business license. Perhaps it may even become a crime to teach our children biblical values when it comes to sexuality."
Tom DeLay is upset that the RNC allowed Peter Thiel to give a speech "glorifying homosexuality" and so is Peter LaBarbera.
Liberty Counsel says that "parents and colleges should beware" of Paul Singer because "while Singer supports Israel, he is also focused on advancing his LGBT agenda in America, and he is working to reach young millennials."
Pat Buchanan says that “maybe [Vladimir] Putin deserves a Pulitzer.”
Finally, Brad Dacus declares that "it is very difficult to see how a parent who is truly concerned about their children's moral upbringing from a Judeo-Christian worldview could have their children enrolled in a public school this coming school year in the state of California."
David and Jason Benham know the cause of last week's violence in Dallas: "You look in the 1960s, we removed prayer from school, Bible readings from school, the Ten Commandments were taken off of the wall. And then in response to that, 1973, abortion ... Because of the bloodshed in the womb, now we are starting to see it in the streets. I'm telling you, it is because we as a nation have left God."
Richard Land says that "it is well past time for some national political figure, preferably President Obama, if he has it in him, to seize a 'Sister Souljah' moment and denounce the anti-police, inflammatory, violence-inducing rhetoric of the Black Lives Matter movement."
Finally, the Eagle Forum is outraged by Ruth Bader Ginsburg's opposition to Donald Trump: "She fears him because he is the most formidable foe the Left has seen since Ronald Reagan."
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver ripped the Supreme Court for striking down a Texas law aimed at limiting access to legal abortion under the guise of protecting the health of women, declaring that America will soon face a "day of reckoning" from God over the sin of abortion.
Citing a passage from Jeremiah condemning kings who build their palaces through the injustice of slave labor, Staver said that abortion has done much the same in America, with the Supreme Court "mixing this injustice into the mortar" of this nation.
"There will be a time of reckoning," Staver said. "I think what this Supreme Court has done in 1973 [and] 1992, when they reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, and throughout the history and obviously with this decision is they have built this country with a policy of mixing the blood of children into the mortar of this country. And there will be a day of reckoning; God will not continue to allow his children to be slaughtered by any nation. It will come a time when this nation, or any nation, that ultimately takes the lives of their innocent children that will have a day of reckoning and I think we, as a church, have to wake up to this fact."
Staver went on the urge lawmakers in Texas to defy the ruling and "stop pretending that these people on the Supreme Court can divine anything they want to and then pass it off as though it is constitutional when it has nothing to do with the Constitution at all."
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver called on churches and Christian organizations to pass resolutions supporting "traditional marriage" and vowing never to accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, saying that doing so will put them on "the right side of history."
Staver cited a resolution that he helped to write that was recently passed by the Southern Baptist Convention as the sort of thing that other denominations should emulate.
"I encourage other denominations and churches to pass resolutions," he said, "and we're certainly willing and able to draft them ... I encourage your people in your churches to step on the right side of history and step on the side of marriage and the natural created order of man and woman."
Staver went on to lament that some churches turned memorial gatherings following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando into a "homosexual love fest."
"Even in the situation following what happened in Orlando," he said, "churches got involved and they led in some cases and in other cases they followed and they ultimately allowed that situation, instead of an opportunity to pray, some of them allowed it to be a homosexual love fest. That's not something that we need to celebrate, this is a tragedy that is against all Americans."
Co-host Matt Barber then joined in to fault gay-friendly Christians because they are "disobeying Christ, are actually running afoul of God and Jesus in the context of the marriage debate and are siding with the Prince of the World who is trying to redefine marriage."
"Believe me, this idea of gay marriage didn't come from God, it didn't come from Christ," Barber said, "so who did it come from?"
Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision, which, if Religious Right activists were to be believed, was to usher in a horrible tyranny that would lead to mass deaths and war.
Of course, the Right’s doomsday predictions about what would happen if same-sex marriage became legal nationwide were totally unfounded, and only a tiny contingent of conservativescame to a protest the ruling in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
While the conservative movement certainly hasn’t given up on the fight against LGBT rights and is thrilled by Donald Trump’spromise to appoint anti-LGBT judges who would oppose the marriage ruling, many activists have once again shown that they are more interested in stirring up fears about the LGBT community than in the facts.
Here are just five of the craziestpredictions that conservative politicians and pundits made about Obergefell v. Hodges, all of which are yet to come true.
Many “mainstream” Religious Right leaders said that if the Supreme Court were to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage, Americans should prepare for a revolution.
“We’ve got to fight to our deaths to save this great country,” said Cliff Kincaid of the conservative group Accuracy In Media, while Vision America’s Rick Scarborough vowed that he was willing to “burn” in defiance of gay marriage, which he said would “unleash the spirit of hell on the nation.”
One year later, no anti-gay revolution has occurred and Rick Scarborough has not self-immolated.
Just before the ruling, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah called on governors “to secede” from the union in order “to offer a refuge” for the “millions of Americans” who he believed would flee the country as a result of marriage equality. “The rewards could be great. I would certainly consider relocating. How about you?” he asked. “If not a state, are there any nations in the world interested in a pilgrimage by millions of Americans?”
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson warned that the U.S. could witness a second civil war over a same-sex marriage decision and televangelist Rick Joyner predicted that the court would “start an unraveling where our country fractures like it hasn’t since the Civil War.”
Radio host Rick Wiles predicted that “God will cut off America’s food supply and this nation will be hit with disease, pestilence, drought, natural calamities and a great shaking” and urged people to flee the country.
Following the passage of the 2009 law that expanded hate crime protections to LGBT people, many right-wing politicians and analysts falsely claimed that the act legalized pedophilia. Of course, it did nothing of the sort and child abuse is still a crime.
Many of these same people claimed years later that the Obergefell ruling would also legalize pedophilia, which, obviously, it did not do.
If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.
No pastor has been arrested for refusing to officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding, reading from the Bible or preaching against homosexuality, all things that conservatives predicted would happen.
Many pundits, however, have wrongly used the case of Kim Davis to claim that their fears were realized.
Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was temporarily incarcerated by a federal judge when she refused to abide by court orders which found that she was unlawfully denying same-sex couples marriage licenses. Davis, who boasted that she was defying the Supreme Court decision and subsequent rulings because she was working under “ God’s authority ,” was released after deputy clerks in the county office agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis was not incarcerated because of her religious objections but because, in her role as a government employee, she clearly defied the rule of law. She was not attempting to exercise her religious freedom as a private citizen but was trying to impose her personal religious beliefs on the functions of government, and make all the people in her jurisdiction abide by her faith.
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver appeared on “Crosstalk” on Monday to reflect on the upcoming anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, declaring that same-sex marriage will usher in pernicious consequences for America.
Staver, who gainednotoriety for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her attempt to defy the ruling, compared gay rights advocates to communist dictators who sought to suppress religious groups, predicting that Davis “is not going to be the last one jailed.”
Same-sex marriage, Staver said, “puts every household at risk because same-sex marriage, by its nature, says that, ‘boys and girls, you don’t need moms and dads,’ that they are completely irrelevant, that two men or two women are just as good as a mother and a father and that’s a complete lie from the pit of hell. It’s just simply not true. To deprive forever a boy of ever having the opportunity of a father or a mother or a girl of a father or a mother is damaging and we will see the damage that is ultimately reaped against these children as they grow up and become our future leaders.”
Later, Staver criticized LGBT rights supporters for using the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando “to promote the homosexual, LGBT agenda — as shameful as that is.”
All this week on his "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver has been interviewing ex-gay activist Janet Boynes, who today recommended that Christian parents never allow their gay child to bring their partner or spouse into their home, warning that acceptance of such relationships is a sign of the "Last Days."
Boynes said that parents should never cave and allow their children to bring a same-sex partner home for Christmas or Thanksgiving or to a family wedding because "anything outside of a man and a woman is a civil union."
"That is not a marriage," she said, "and so we have to not allow ourself to get so confused and realize that the Bible talks about these things are going to happen in the Last Days. We have to have a better understanding that the Bible talks about in the Last Days, these things are going to happen and trust God that he has an answer for everything in his word."
Christian parents must tell their gay child, Boynes said, that "we believe marriage is between a man and a woman and for this reason, we will not allow you and your same-sex partner to be in the house." The child should be welcome to come home any time, she stated, with the understanding that "your same-sex partner cannot come to our home and our holidays as a couple."
Straight siblings, on the other hand, should be more than welcome to come home as a couple "because they are heterosexual [and] they're doing things right," but gay relationships are "unacceptable ... in the world of God."
In a direct mail letter, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver warns that Moore and other Christian leaders “are facing intense backlash for upholding God’s unwavering TRUTH.”
“In Alabama and across America, state judiciaries and legislatures are standing up against the federal judiciary, resisting tyrannical rule and upholding the moral law of God,” writes Staver, who asks for money to “defend Christian leaders who are being targeted by deep-pocketed, radical activists.”
Staver says “you and I must continue to pray and take an active stand against the forces destroying the foundations of our nation.” More from his letter:
I support Chief Justice Moore’s action that sends a “shot across the bow” regarding the Supreme Court’s egregious 5-4 marriage opinion on same-sex “marriage.” The United States Constitution does not prohibit states from affirming the natural crated order of one man and one woman joined together in marriage.
Like Daniel in the lion’s den, Chief Justice Moore is being persecuted for his faith by liberal legal professionals and radical LGGBT activists. But like Daniel, Chief Justice Moore will not bend, having faith that God will protect those who seek and follow His Word.
Staver asks recipients of the letter to sign and return (along with some money) a “Vote of Confidence” letter to Moore, which says in part:
Thank you for not bowing your knee to the U.S. Supreme Court’s egregious 5-4 marriage opinion on same-sex “marriage.” No civil authority, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has the authority to define marriage as anything but the union of one man and one woman!
I pray that God continues to guide and protect you, and to give you and other Christian leaders the continuing strength to turn the tide of immorality sweeping our nation.
Staver also includes a card reminding people to pray for Moore that he suggests placing in your Bible or on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
“SB 1552 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm,” the press release says. “Yet this legislation was initiated by a local pastor, Paul Blair, with the support and guidance of Liberty Counsel.”
“Life begins at conception,” the press release quotes Liberty Counsel’s founder Mat Staver saying. “Preborn children are in fact children, not merely fetuses, and their lives should be protected from the moment of conception. This bill is a very positive step toward affirming the value of human life by taking away ability to murder children. Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend this legislature if it is challenged.”
As Peter wrote earlier this year, Blair has been working to convince state lawmakers to defy court rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality:
Reclaiming America for Christ , a ministry of Blair’s church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is promoting “Protect Life and Marriage,” an effort “dedicated to the proposition that the state of Oklahoma has federal and state constitutional authority to (1) protect the institution of natural, traditional marriage and; (2) protect innocent, unborn children from abortion; and that in the face of unjust, unlawful U.S. Supreme Court actions it is time for Oklahoma to exercise this authority.”
Blair said his group has 980 pastors and over 20,000 supporters, and is working with the governor, attorney general and state legislators to promote a nullification strategy: “We are trying to stop this legally, lawfully, politically, actually using the Constitution initially…”Speakers at a Protect Life and Marriage rally at the Oklahoma state capitol last October included U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, along with state legislators and pastors. Blair also said people supporting some kind of state-led resistance are working through different channels in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas.
At a conference in March, Blair distributed copies of an interview he did with the magazine of the John Birch Society in which he says there is no need for constitutional amendments reversing Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and abortion rights because states can simply cite the 10th Amendment to ignore them. He said in the interview that “we want Oklahoma to be a ‘sanctuary state’ for marriage, life and the Constitution.”
Blair told The New American that Obergefell is illegitimate, unconstitutional, violates natural law and “celebrates immoral conduct.” The decision, he said, “is an attempt to force everyone to celebrate a behavior that violates conscience and the Holy Scriptures, and to force the acceptance of that behavior on our children through public education.”
Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center have obtained a copy of the 2014 membership list of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group led by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that includes a who’s who of leaders of the Religious Right and the wider conservative movement who work together to influence national politics. (In 2014, Perkins was the group’s vice president.) We’ve known from news reports that CNP’s membership includes a wide range of Religious Right leaders, but one name on the list obtained by SPLC stood out: Michael Peroutka.
Peroutka, who made his fortune with a family debt-collection business, has become a minor benefactor to the Religious Right, including funding anti-choice groups, bankrolling some of the campaigns and advocacy work of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (who is currently suspended for attempting to defy the federal courts on marriage equality), and, maybe most notably, donating a million-dollar dinosaur skeleton to a creationist group.
Most troubling, Peroutka has a history as a neo-Confederate activist, including spending time on the board of the secessionist League of the South. In a 2004 speech to the group, Peroutka said that he was “still angry” that Maryland failed to secede from the Union during the Civil War. At the group’s 2012 convention, Peroutka led attendees in a spirited rendition of “Dixie,” which he referred to as “the national anthem”:
CNP’s membership list is closely guarded and new members can join only by invitation. This means that Peroutka didn’t just show up unannounced: He was invited to join a group that includes Perkins, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Alan Sears and many other high-profile conservative activists.
We don’t know if Peroutka is still a member of the group. But even by the time CNP’s 2014 membership directory was published, there was already plenty of public information available about his troubling ideology. Why was the leadership of the Religious Right willing to invite Peroutka into their fold?
But it appears that Rodriguez has thrown his lot in with Donald Trump, the very candidate who kicked off his campaign by trash-talking Latino immigrants and calling for mass deportations.
While he may be an outspoken advocate of immigration reform, when push comes to shove, as it has with Trump’s all-but-certain nomination, Rodriguez makes it clear that he is first and foremost a Religious Right culture warrior.
In the end, his advocacy for immigrant families takes a back seat to his opposition to legal abortion and marriage equality. He said as much at an Evangelicals for Life event in January, telling Latinos that it’s fine to march for immigration reform —“as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration; we need to stop that” — but “we must be above all things pro-life.”
In a story last week by right-wing pundit Todd Starnes of Fox News, Rodriguez dismissed talk by some evangelical leaders that Christians should, in the words of pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Of evils choose none.” Rodriguez says not voting is “sacrificing your Christian worldview on the altar of political expediency. It is silly to talk about not voting for either candidate. Every single Christian should vote.”
And while Rodriguez doesn’t mention Trump by name, it is clear that he will not be voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders:
“I will vote my Christian values,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life, the family ethos, it’s religious liberty, it’s limited government. That’s the person I’m going to vote for.”
Rodriquez conceded that the 2016 candidates are not his “dream team” – but he’s only concerned about one issue – the Supreme Court.
“I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists – that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.”
Staver said that he and Moore are engaged in “spiritual warfare” against demonic forces, and urged listeners to contact Alabama officials to defend Moore.
He then went after the Obama administration’s “ridiculous” challenge to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, HB2, accusing the White House of “forcing this immorality, absolute rejection of objective reality and male and female, pushing all this agenda across America and down our throats.”
Advances in transgender rights, Staver warned, could mean that white people will soon be able to identify as black in order to attain “minority protection” or that young people will be able to identify as older in order to acquire firearms licenses.
Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Moore's actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
This isn’t the first time Moore has been in this situation.
Back in 2003, he was removed from the office of chief justice for flouting a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the courthouse rotunda.
The episode turned Moore into a martyr in the eyes of right-wing activists, although his newfound celebrity wasn’t enough to help his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor.
But in 2012 Moore returned to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he was once again lauded by the Religious Right when he tried to block same-sex marriages from taking place in the state in defiance of the federal courts.
Moore himself has likened the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling to Nazi oppression and has tapped Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, the Religious Right activist who used bizarre legal arguments to defend Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her unsuccessful attempt to flout the Supreme Court on marriage equality, to represent him in the case.
Just as Staver likenedDavis to victims of the Holocaust, expect him to turn Moore, once again, into a symbol of the supposed persecution of Christians in America.
Indeed, far-right pastor Dave Daubenmire is already planning to hold a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, to support Moore and challenge the “uncircumcised philistine of the federal court system.”
Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who succeeded him in leading the Religious Right legal group Foundation for Moral Law, posted a song on her Facebook page yesterday comparing her husband to actual Christian martyrs.
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver asserted that North Carolina's anti-LGBT law and the Religious Right's boycott of Target are necessary because efforts to allow transgender people to use facilities that match their gender identity are being pushed by pedophilia advocates.
"The fact is we know sexual assaults occur," he said, "they are going to occur with or without these laws, there's no question about that. People commit sexual assaults, they commit them in buildings, they commit them in restrooms; but what you have now done, knowing that sexual assaults occur, knowing that they occur in these places where women are trapped and they can't get out, now what we've done, through these laws, is we've opened the door for every rapist and pedophile."
"Frankly," he continued, "when you look at some of the people behind the North Carolina law and some of these other laws, who are they? They have been identified, some of them that have been advocating this, as pedophiles. Some of this is being financed by those who are actively promoting pedophilia."
Of course, Staver did not disclose which groups were identified as organizations that promote child abuse.
Back when he worked for Liberty Counsel, Crampton was a frequent co-host of the organization's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, where he once shared his view that "the life of the average homosexual is not controlled by reason" but is rather driven by a perverted lust and passion that has "overwhelmed them."
He also warned before the Supreme Court struck down key parts of the Defense of Marriage Act that such a decision would mean that gays "will eradicate us and they will not stop until the homosexual totalitarian view of the world is forcefully imposed on every American."
And he declared that gay rights activists "abhor freedom" and "will basically stop at almost nothing in order to accomplish their goals."
He even asserted that gay rights activism is "destroying America" and "the most totalitarian kind of philosophy that is afoot in America today."
And he once insisted that "society itself is on the verge of total collapse if we give up what marriage really means."
Last month, Liberty Counsel President Anita Staver said that she plans on “taking a Glock .45 to the ladies room” after Target announced a new policy prohibiting discrimination against transgender customers.
In an interview with Alan Colmes that was posted online today, she repeated her claim that women should take their firearms while out shopping in order to “prepare for predators that might be in the restroom.”
When Colmes asked if she could name any cases of crimes that have occurred as a result of states states adopting LGBT nondiscrimination laws, Staver was unable to name any.
“I’m not a statistician,” she said.
However, she did claim that there have been around 20 crimes committed in Target restrooms, although she didn’t say whether any of those alleged crimes had anything to do with the store policy, and said that she was personally a victim of attempted assault.
Colmes responded: “I’m very sorry that happened to you, but the question is whether or not these laws have led to increased incidents of assault. And in state after state, whether it’s Connecticut, Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, New Mexico, Minnesota, Massachusetts, Maine, Iowa, they’ve all said, statements from those states, no additional incidents since laws in those states have gone into effect. So it seems like it’s a solution in search of a problem.”
Staver nonetheless said that Target has “caused predators to know that women are easy prey in these places” and “put a bullseye on the women by highly publicizing this policy and that’s caused predators to go around in these different states in the country and target women.”
She then falsely claimed that a man in Washington state exposed himself to a girls’ swim team and conceded that “there may not have been increases in the past, but I guarantee you there will be with the national attention that we have.”
Moore and his Liberty Counsel lawyers were calling on the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to dismiss ethical complaints that had been filed against Moore earlier in 2015 after he urged the governor not to comply with a federal court order on marriage equality. Moore, of course, had gotten in trouble before; in 2003 he was removed from his seat on the court when he refused a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the rotunda of the judicial building.
People For the American Way Foundation was one of the groups that filed a complaint against Moore last year. The PFAWF complaint, which you can read here, was filed in early 2015, based on actions he took when he began to insert himself into a federal marriage equality case that was not before his court. He accused federal judges across the country of seeking to impose tyranny upon the nation, and he suggested he might not comply with a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality (which came down a few months later). The complaint spells out the Canons of Judicial Ethics that Moore violated, undermining public confidence in the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary. “Like the United States as a whole, Alabama is governed by the rule of law,” the complaint concludes, noting that “the history of the state shows the violent and tragic consequences when that ideal is not met.” The complaint asked that Moore once again be removed from his office.
In defending Moore on Thursday, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver dismissed the complaints as “politically motivated” and warned that they “pose a threat to the doctrine of judicial independence.” Continued Staver, “Judges must be free to exercise their considered judgment without the threat of being attacked by organizations and individuals who wish to misuse the ethical process to further a radical political agenda.”
Staver’s concern for Moore’s judicial independence is touching, if a bit surprising, given that Staver was a cheerleader for Religious Right attacks on Iowa Supreme Court justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality. After a political campaign that was successful in unseating three state justices in 2010 retention elections, Staver crowed, “The justices crossed the line when they played the role of a legislator and abandoned judicial restraint.”
Moore also said at Wednesday’s press conference that this was about “judicial independence.” But when right-wing groups were cranking up the outrage machine against Iowa Supreme Court justices, Moore joined in the condemnation, saying that the conservative outcry against the justices would send “a signal all across the nation.”
Linda Harvey calls on Target employees to rise up: "Some may lose jobs if there’s a downturn in sales. So, why not band together and approach management to stop such foolishness? Or, better yet: Work hard and become management. And then end the promotion of deviance."
Glenn Beck says that Ted Cruz's decision to announce Carly Fiorina as his running mate will be a game changer because she is the "first female" with a chance to become vice president. That must come as news to Sarah Palin and Geraldine Ferraro.
Liberty Counsel brags of scoring "another victory for religious freedom in Tennessee schools" by helping impose regulations designed to block an LGBT club.
Finally, Gordon Klingenschmitt says that he's known for "being the friendliest and funniest member of the [Colorado] Legislature."
Many Religious Right activists and leaders feign hurt and indignation at being described as anti-gay. They’re not anti-anybody, they insist, they are just in favor of “traditional values” or “biblical marriage.” But others make it clear that they see homosexuality itself as the problem, and want to do anything they can to prevent LGBT people from gaining cultural acceptance and legal recognition, and their words and actions reveal the ugly anti-gay heart of the Religious Right movement.
One of these activists is Brian Camenker, a Massachusetts-based activist who operates the anti-gay hate group MassResistance. During a one-day anti-gay summit that preceded the World Congress of Families in Utah last October, Camenker disagreed with activists who call for “speaking the truth in love" to LGBT people and their allies. He said that there is scriptural justification for being “insulting and degrading” given that “we are in a war.” He said the Old Testament has a “very brutal” set of rules for treating “people who want to tear down society, who want to push immorality, who want to tear down the moral structure of society.” According to Camenker, “God says those people who want to do that must be destroyed.”
Now Camenker is praising the work of Liberty Counsel, one of the Religious Right legal groups pushing anti-LGBT and “religious liberty” legislation at the state level. This year, Liberty Counsel and MassResistance worked with parents and school board members in Franklin County, Tennessee, who opposed the creation of a Gay-Straight Alliance club at the county high school. Some of those parents waved Christian flags at a school board meeting to counter the rainbow flags of GSA supporters.
Liberty Counsel helped the school board write new rules for school clubs that Camenker gloats will “severely restrict – and eventually cause to terminate – the activities of the ‘gay’ GSA club recently put into the high school.” OneNewsNow, a “news” site affiliated with the anti-gay American Family Association, called the new rules “a way of eliminating the club, while avoiding a costly lawsuit.”
Liberty Counsel’s press release was more circumspect, saying it had helped the school board update a policy that “was inadequate to provide the necessary supervision for this group that promotes homosexuality and gender confusion.” But the intent was clearly to interfere with the creation of a safe space for students who have been struggling with their sexuality or want to support LGBT friends.
The new Franklin County regulations require, among other things, written parental approval to participate in a club, sign-in sheets documenting every attendee at a meeting, school administrators attending meetings once a quarter – all things that might well discourage questioning or vulnerable students. “When forced to be completely accountable, open, and transparent with what they’re doing with kids, and not having free access for their adult activists, these ‘gay’ clubs don’t last long,” Camenker sneers.
The reason that the school board and Liberty Counsel have to go to convoluted lengths, rather than simply refusing to allow the creation of a GSA, is that federal courts have ruled that the Federal Equal Access Act – pushed into law by Religious Right activists to protect the rights of students to form Bible clubs – also protects the right of students to form GSAs if their school district allows other non-curricular clubs. In 1999 and 2000, People For the American Way Foundation, working with Lambda Legal and the law firm of Irell & Manella, represented students in Orange County, California, to win the first court order that applied the Equal Access Act to require a school district to allow a GSA to meet on the same terms that it allows other high school non-curricular clubs to meet.
Aside from the legal requirements, the positive benefits of Gay-Straight Alliances for schools and students have been well documented. A 2014 study published in the International Journal of Child, Youth, and Family Studies and funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research found that high schools with GSAs “may reduce the odds of suicidal thoughts and attempts among both sexual minority and straight students.” According to a news release from the University of British Columbia:
LGBTQ youth and heterosexual students in schools with anti-homophobia policies and GSAs had lower odds of discrimination, suicidal thoughts and suicide attempts, primarily when both strategies were enacted, or when the polices and GSAs had been in place for three years or more.
UBC researchers had previously concluded that high schools with GSAs or other anti-homophobia polices reduced binge drinking and other problems with alcohol and drug use.
A few years earlier, a study published in Applied Developmental Science found that middle and high school students with access to a GSA were less likely to experience depression and less likely to drop out. As ThinkProgress noted, “Participation in a GSA was associated with fewer problems with substance abuse, depression, and lifetime suicide attempts.”
This is what Camenker and his Religious Right friends are so proud of denying students.