Liberty Counsel

Holding The Religious Right To Its Own Standard

A few weeks ago, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was speaking to students at the University of Minnesota Law School when she made the rather straightforward observation that if 6th Circuit Court of Appeals follows other recent court decisions and strikes down gay marriage bans in Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, then the prospects of the Supreme Court taking up the issue of marriage equality would be less likely in the near term.

The reasoning behind this statement is that if appellate courts consistently strike down such bans, then the Supreme Court will not need to get involved right away whereas, if the 6th Circuit were to uphold such bans, that would create a conflict among recent appellate rulings and so, as Ginsburg said, "there will be some urgency" for the Supreme Court to take up with issue in order to address those conflicting rulings.

There is nothing controversial or improper about this obvious observation, but anti-gay Religious Right groups have seized upon it to launch a campaign demanding that Ginsburg recuse herself from any Supreme Court case involving the issue of marriage equality on the grounds that she has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct by "making public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action."

As Liberty Counsel, which first launched this effort, declared:

“In casting a vote publicly before the case is even heard, Justice Ginsburg has violated the Judicial Code of Conduct,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “It is now her duty to recuse herself from cases involving same-sex marriage.”

According to Canon 2 of the Judicial Code of Conduct, “A judicial employee should not lend the prestige of the office to advance or to appear to advance the private interests of others.”

Canon 3(D) declares, “A judicial employee should avoid making public comment on the merits of a pending or impending action.”

“Justice Ginsburg’s comments implied that the merits of the state constitutional amendments defining marriage as one man and one woman were such that the Supreme Court would have to overturn them with haste, if upheld by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals,” said Staver. “This is an inappropriate comment for any judicial employee, much less a Supreme Court Justice!”

The call has since been echoed by the Foundation for Moral Law, Faith 2 Action, and the American Family Association, where Bryan Fischer and former Liberty Counsel attorney Steve Crampton recently discussed the need for right-wing activists to "beat on our pots" in order to create so much political pressure on Ginsburg and Justice Elena Kagan that they have no choice but to recuse themselves from any such cases.

In fact, just yesterday, Fischer wrote a column arguing that Ginsburg and Kagan would be "committing a federal crime" if they did not recuse themselves:

The Supreme Court will, perhaps even in this session, take up the issue of sodomy-based marriage. If it does, justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan will have an obligation to step off the bench for those cases on the grounds that their impartiality has been severely compromised.

Both have performed sodomy-based “wedding” ceremonies. Kagan performed her first one on September 22 of this year, and Ginsburg has done the deed multiple times, including at least one in the Supreme Court building itself. Thus they have clearly tipped their hand by their actions as well as their words. They have publicly demonstrated that their minds are already made up on the issue. It is inconceivable that either of them now would vote against the “marriages” they themselves have solemnized. They would stand self-condemned.

...

[T]he necessity for Kagan and Ginsburg to recuse is not just a matter of fairness or rightness. It’s also a matter of law. They have a statutory obligation to recuse. If they refuse to step off the bench when and if marriage cases come before them, they would be breaking federal law. They would be, from a strictly legal standpoint, committing a federal crime. Their sacred responsibility is to uphold the law, not break it.

So it was with great interest that we read this article in The Washington Times yesterday reporting on remarks made by Justice Antonin Scalia at Colorado Christian University in which he stated that the separation of church and state is "utterly absurd" and the idea that the government must remain neutral on the issue of religion is "just a lie":

Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia said Wednesday that secularists are wrong when they argue the Constitution requires religious references to be banished from the public square.

Justice Scalia, part of the court’s conservative wing, was preaching to the choir when he told the audience at Colorado Christian University that a battle is underway over whether to allow religion in public life, from referencing God in the Pledge of Allegiance to holding prayers before city hall meetings.

“I think the main fight is to dissuade Americans from what the secularists are trying to persuade them to be true: that the separation of church and state means that the government cannot favor religion over nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said.

“That’s a possible way to run a political system. The Europeans run it that way,” Justice Scalia said. “And if the American people want to do it, I suppose they can enact that by statute. But to say that’s what the Constitution requires is utterly absurd.”

...

“We do him [God] honor in our pledge of allegiance, in all our public ceremonies,” Justice Scalia said. “There’s nothing wrong with that. It is in the best of American traditions, and don’t let anybody tell you otherwise. I think we have to fight that tendency of the secularists to impose it on all of us through the Constitution.”

The biggest danger lies with judges who interpret the Constitution as a malleable document that changes with the times, he said.

“Our [the court‘s] latest take on the subject, which is quite different from previous takes, is that the state must be neutral, not only between religions, but between religion and nonreligion,” Justice Scalia said. “That’s just a lie. Where do you get the notion that this is all unconstitutional? You can only believe that if you believe in a morphing Constitution.”

Given that Scalia was very clearly "making public comment" in a way that directly relates to a whole host of church-state separation questions that could potentially come before the Supreme Court at any time, we trust that these Religious Right groups will now demand that he recuse himself from any such cases as well, right?

Who Does Glenn Beck Really Stand With: Russian Gays Or America's Religious Right?

Shortly after Russia passed its new spate of anti-gay laws, Glenn Beck said he was so offended by one Russian commentator who called for the mass killing of gays and lesbians that he would “stand with GLAAD” against the growing tide of anti-gay bigotry and “hetero-fascism” in the country.

At the same time, however, Beck was heaping praise on anti-gay activists such as Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who endorsed draconian anti-gay laws in Russia and Malawi.

Then, this weekend, Beck took the same stand against growing Russian “hetero-fascism” in his closing speech at the Values Voter Summit, even though many of the summit’s sponsors and his fellow speakers have openly backed harsh anti-gay laws in Russia and throughout the world.

To begin with, Tony Perkins, the president of the summit’s chief sponsor, the Family Research Council, defended Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill when it included provisions making homosexuality a crime punishable by life imprisonment or death.

Beck’s fellow Values Voter Summit speakers included not only Staver and Perkins but also Peter Sprigg, the FRC spokesman who called for the U.S. to export gay people and criminalize homosexuality. The American Family Association also sponsored the summit, and its spokesmen Bryan Fischer and Sandy Rios have also endorsed Russia’s anti-gay policies, with Fischer even backing Uganda’s law.

Maybe Beck was trying to hold Religious Right leaders at the summit to task for their support of brutal anti-gay policies. But if that’s the case, Beck should start confronting them directly when they come on his show, rather than singing their praises and appearing at their conferences while calling policies they support “fascist.”

Liberty Counsel Warns The 'Nanny State' Will Target Anti-Gay Christians

On Saturday afternoon, Liberty Counsel hosted a panel discussion at the Values Voter Summit on “The Assault of Constitutional Rights Under a Nanny State.” The discussion linked concerns about NSA surveillance – a concern shared by many progressive groups – to the Religious Right’s fear of anti-Christian persecution through the Affordable Care Act and LGBT rights.

Liberty Counsel founder and chair Mat Staver quickly used a discussion about the danger of letting national security agencies collect reams of data to stoke fears about government persecution of conservative Christians.

With the amount of metadata that can be collected off a smart phone, Staver said, “they can actually know that someone was at the Values Voter Summit and list those people as suspect conservative activists.”

“Of course, this administration would never want to do that,” he added sarcastically.

Bringing up fears that the IRS is targeting conservative organizations, Staver said, “I believe every other administrative agency is being used in a very similar way to target the opponents of President Obama.”

When a questioner asked about the danger of the government spying on Christians under the guise of national security, Staver agreed: “Your concern is a legitimate one and we’re going to see more and more of that.”

The bulk of the discussion focused on fears that gay rights will lead to the persecution of conservative Christians.

Staver and Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet pointed to the lawsuit against anti-gay activist Scott Lively by the group Sexual Minorities of Uganda for Lively’s role in crafting draconian anti-gay legislation in Uganda. Staver warned that the lawsuit, which is still pending in U.S. courts, represents an attempt by “the intolerant homosexual lobby” to “punish people who travel overseas to speak on pro-family or pro-life issues in other countries” and to “intimidate” others into not going.

Mihet saw a deeper goal. “The end game plan here is to punish not only speech that takes place overseas but also speech that takes place here in the United States,” he said. “They are not bashful or subtle about the game plan here, this is it.”

They also discussed bans in California and New Jersey on providing “ex-gay” therapy to minors, which Mihet said were part of an “intense and coordinated effort to silence people of faith when it comes to the subject of homosexuality.”

“Folks, we’re talking abut the United States of America, not China, not Russia, not communist Romania where I grew up,” he said, adding that he saw a future where “the only thing that matters is the sexual orthodoxy that the government wants you to adopt.”

One of the more surprising parts of the discussion came when Staver directly addressed the tension between the Religious Right’s call to defy court rulings it doesn’t agree with on gay rights and what it sees as the Obama administration’s ignoring of court decisions that it doesn’t like. “We have the Supreme Court being the ultimate arbiter and everybody abides by that,” he said, but  “it wasn’t always that way.” He mentioned that Presidents Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln all bucked court decisions that they felt were wrong. “We’re seeing that in the opposite way today with Eric Holder,” he continued. Although he disagreed with many of Holder’s decisions, he said, “this is something that Jefferson, Jackson and Lincoln did back in history.”

Staver: 'You And I Are Being Forced To Participate In Human Genocide By The HHS Mandate'

While addressing the Values Voter Summit this morning, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver trotted out his favorite claim that the contraception mandate means that America is literally worse than countries like Nazi Germany or Rwanda because those nations never forced their citizens to directly participate in carrying out genocide.

"Now, in America of all places, you and I are being forced to participate in human genocide by the HHS mandate," Staver said.

"We've never been forced in any time in world history to participate in the killing of innocent people and yet today we are," he continued. "No generation has faced what we currently face now ... and we cannot be silent in the face of this tragedy [of] human genocide being forced upon Americans":

Mat Staver Is Furious About Being Labeled An Anti-Gay Extremist

Mat Staver spent a good portion of his speech at the Values Voter Summit today fuming over a letter sent by People For the American Way, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and five other civil rights and LGBT organizations to Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus, asking members of the GOP not to participate in the conference, citing the anti-gay extremism of its sponsors.

Staver's organization, Liberty Counsel, is among those very sponsors and he is not very happy about being labeled an anti-gay extremist, despite this long and documented record of being one. Staver fumed that he is being attacked merely for believing "in God's natural created order of male and and female and marriage as the union of one man and one woman."

"For me believing in something that is that obvious," he complained, "I am considered by some groups to be a hater. But I hate no one. I hate no one, but I believe in God's truth and I will not be silent in the face of intimidation."

In an effort to prove that he is not an extremist, Staver then went on to liken himself to Jesus when he turned over the tables of the money changers in the temple before declaring that marriage equality teaches that children do not need mothers or fathers.

"That is an absolute lie from the very pit of Hell," he said:

Matt Barber Can't Decide Whether He Loves Or Hates The Freedom From Religion Foundation

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber was absolutely livid about letters of complaint sent by the Freedom From Religion Foundation to several school districts in Florida objecting to the practice of appointing chaplains for high school football teams, among other things.

School officials agreed to change these policies and Barber was not at all happy, calling the FFRF a "crazy" anti-Christian segregation organization that engages in "religious cleansing" by using "absurd" and "stupid" arguments, before asserting that groups like FFRF, the ACLU, and we here at People For the American Way are nothing more than "paper tigers" who need to just be fanned away like the "little flies buzzing around your head" and told to "go away."

But then Barber suddenly changed his tune when co-host Mat Staver reminded him that what "Satan intends of evil, God will turn things around for good."

"Amen," Barber responded, "and that has been the case historically from A.D. 1 and before, when it comes to Christianity. Christianity thrives and explodes under persecution and oppression, so I'm starting to wonder now if this Freedom From Religion Foundation might actually be a covert Christian organization that is intending to spread revival and an explosion in the church nationwide in public schools, and in the military, and throughout public forums. Keep it up, guys. Keep it up Freedom From Religion Foundation, you are helping spread the Gospel and the growth of Christianity."

Barber: Marchers Should Denounce 'Homosexual Enslavement Lifestyles' At St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Earlier this month, organizers of New York's annual St. Patrick's Day parade announced that, for the first time, they would allow a gay group to march in the parade. Cardinal Timothy Dolan, who is serving as grand marshal of the parade, said that he has "no trouble with the decision at all" and that is not sitting well with Mat Staver and Matt Barber, who used today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast to blast Dolan as "unchristian" and to call upon other parade participants to protest this "evil" decision.

Barber said that there was no reason for parade organizers to make this sort of change because doing so is "completely counterbiblical" and the parade has now put its stamp of approval upon mortal sin. He then blasted Cardinal Dolan for his "unchristian statement" in support of the change as Staver called upon Catholics to voice their outrage to Dolan and parade organizers in protest.

Barber completely agreed, suggesting that other parade participants should carry banners and signs during the parade protesting the participation of gay groups and use the parade as an opportunity to preach that "there is actually freedom from these homosexual enslavement lifestyles."

"This is an opportunity to use that which is intended for evil," Barber said, "and this is evil, we need to be very clear here, use that which is intended for evil for good."

"Why would you put on parade someone who is promoting harmful, destructive behavior such as this?" Staver asked, wondering if parade organizers would also allow adulterers or drunkards or swingers to march. "Why would you put on parade something that is immoral, such as same-sex activity?"

The GOP's Hate Summit: A Who's Who Of The 2014 Values Voter Summit

This weekend, Republican elected officials including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Gov. Bobby Jindal will take part in what has become an annual ritual for potential GOP presidential contenders: they will seek to curry the favor of the Religious Right by speaking at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit.

In doing so, they put themselves in the company of some of the most radical groups and activists working today to dehumanize LGBT people, roll back reproductive rights, tear down the wall between church and state, and deny free exercise rights to religious minorities.

The Values Voter Summit’s sponsor, the Family Research Council, regularly issues false and demeaning smears about LGBT people and advocates for an America ruled according to the dictates of a small sliver of right-wing Christians. Just this month, the group’s president Tony Perkins suggested that the Constitution’s religious liberty protections do not apply to Muslims.

The other primary sponsors of the event, the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel, and Gary Bauer’s American Values have equally if not more egregious records of extremism. In addition, a number of fringe groups are contributing to the conference by sponsoring exhibition tables, including Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), which pushes discredited conversion therapy on LGBT people; the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); and the World Congress of Families, which works with activists throughout the world to push harsh anti-gay laws.

But the Values Voter Summit’s speakers do not have to visit the event’s exhibition hall to encounter extremism. They will find plenty of that in their fellow speakers. Below is an introduction to some of the speakers who will be sharing a stage with prominent GOP elected officials at this week’s summit.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the chief sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Now a widely recognized spokesman for social conservative causes, Perkins served two terms as a Republican legislator in the Louisiana House of Representatives before launching a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Perkins has:

  • Contended that the anti-bullying “It Gets Better” project is “immoral,” “disgusting,” and promotes “perversion.”
  • Defined efforts by the Obama administration to advance LGBT rights abroad as a push for “radical sexualism” and “global homosexuality.”
  • Praised a Uganda bill that would have condemned gays and lesbians to death as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”
  • Warned that LGBT rights advocates will launch a holocaust against Christians, placing those that oppose same-sex marriage into “boxcars.”
  • Suggested that Christian clergy who support LGBT rights should not have the same religious liberties as anti-gay conservatives because “true religious freedom” only applies to those he believes hold “orthodox religious viewpoints.”
  • Warned that lawmakers who voted to repeal the military ban on openly gay service members would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin earned a public rebuke from President George W. Bush when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the "War on Terror" as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. In 2012, he was named executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative, and once told the group that President Obama used health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him. Boykin has also:

  • Suggested that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to the “absolute destruction of our military.”
  • Described CIA head John Brennan as “very sympathetic to the jihadist cause.”
  • Denounced the repeal of laws banning women from military combat service.
  • Blamed the Sandy Hook school massacre on the presence of secularism in society.

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the dean of the Liberty University School of Law and the founder and chairman of its affiliate, Liberty Counsel, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. 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 position at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer is the president of Values Voter Summit sponsor American Values, a former president of the Family Research Council, and one-time Republican presidential hopeful. While serving in the Reagan administration as a Department of Education official, Bauer was named chairman of the president’s Special Working Group on the Family. Bauer has:

  • Reacting to A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for racist and homophobic remarks, declared that progressives are waging a “jihad against America’s cultural norms,”
  • Warned that President Obama is “obsessed” with LGBT issues, and claimed that his “secular” agenda will “destroy” America.
  • Claimed that Supreme Court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage were acts of “judicial terrorism” putting America on “the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis.”
  • Wondered why African Americans keep “falling through the cracks  of society despite the fact that “every major goal” of Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reached.

Benham Brothers

Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention this year when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become a cause célèbre for the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan.”
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, NC to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city.”
  • Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany.
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America.
  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”
  • Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch.”

E.W. Jackson

The 2013 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W. Jackson is a longtime activist who has likened the Democratic Party to the Antichrist, said Planned Parenthood is worse than the Ku Klux Klan, suggested that President Obama is a Muslim and demonic, and fought against efforts to desegregate public housing. Jackson’s most pernicious rhetoric has focused on LGBT people. He has:

  • Referred to gays and lesbians as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “spiritually darkened” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
  • Criticized abortion and in vitro fertilization as “evils” that carry “the mark of Satan.”
  • Argued that gay marriage will release a “torrent of wickedness” that will result in man-animal marriages.
  • Said homosexuality is connected to pedophilia and that homosexuality also “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things we can think of.”

Star Parker

Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At the 2011 Values Voter Summit, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion. Parker has also:

  • Declared that LGBT people are forcing Christians “into the closet.”
  • Mused that family life for African Americans was “more healthy” under slavery than it is today
  • Argued that the rate of HIV infections in Washington, D.C., would spike once the city legalized marriage equality, “transforming [the city] officially into Sodom.”
  • Tied same-sex marriage to failing public schools.

Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes, a Fox News commentator and the author of several books including this year’s “God Less America," specializes in generating stories of dubious accuracy purporting to illustrate the persecution of conservative Christians in America. Recently, he has:

  • Speculated that public school officials oppose abstinence-only programs to protect their “condom profits.”
  • Asserted that Obama refuses to take action against ISIS to “accommodate the Islamic faith at the expense of all other faiths.”
  • Blamed Obama for “ orchestrating” the protests in Ferguson, Mo., in an effort to exacerbate racial tensions.
  • Baselessly accused the University of Wisconsin of intentionally inflating grades to boost the academic performance of minority students.
  • Worried that LGBT rights advocates will inevitably demand the deportation of Christians.

Sandy Rios

Sandy Rios, a former president of Concerned Women for America, now hosts a daily radio show on American Family Radio, the network run by the American Family Association. At last year’s summit, she promoted ex-gay therapy and said Matthew Shepard’s murder was a “complete fraud.” Like other AFR hosts, she frequently promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that President Obama was not born in the United States. Rios has also:

  • Insisted that one of Obama’s first priorities as president was to resettle thousands of Palestinian refugees in the U.S. and provide them with food stamps.
  • Advanced the myth that the health care reform law “says that Muslims will be exempt from the government mandate to purchase health insurance.”
  • Compared the relationships of same-sex couples to those of kidnapper Ariel Castro and his captives.
  • Warned that the “homosexual takeover” of the military would jeopardize the effectiveness of the armed forces.
  • Frequently links the gay community to child abuse.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is the founder and president of ACT! for America, where she works with local activists throughout the country to promote fears that Sharia law is taking hold in the U.S. and must be banned and to challenge textbooks that she believes are insufficiently critical of Islam. She makes frequent media appearances to warn of what she calls the “ secret Islamification” of the West. Among other attacks on Mulsim-Americans, Gabriel has:

This post was updated to include Brigitte Gabriel following an FRC announcement that she would speak at the summit. A previous edition of this post listed incorrectly listed James Dobson, one of the founders of the FRC, as a speaker.

The GOP's Hate Summit: A Who’s Who Of The 2014 Values Voter Summit

To: Reporters and editors
From: Drew Courtney, Director of Communications, People For the American Way
Date: September 22, 2014
Subject: The GOP's Hate Summit: A Who’s Who of the 2014 Values Voter Summit

This weekend, Republican elected officials including Sen. Ted Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul, and Gov. Bobby Jindal will take part in what has become an annual ritual for potential GOP presidential contenders: they will seek to curry the favor of the Religious Right by speaking at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit.

In doing so, they put themselves in the company of some of the most radical groups and activists working today to dehumanize LGBT people, roll back reproductive rights, tear down the wall between church and state, and deny free exercise rights to religious minorities.

The Values Voter Summit’s sponsor, the Family Research Council, regularly issues false and demeaning smears about LGBT people and advocates for an America ruled according to the dictates of a small sliver of right-wing Christians. Just this month, the group’s president Tony Perkins suggested that the Constitution’s religious liberty protections do not apply to Muslims.

The other primary sponsors of the event, the American Family Association, Liberty Counsel, and Gary Bauer’s American Values have equally if not more egregious records of extremism. In addition, a number of fringe groups are contributing to the conference by sponsoring exhibition tables, including Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), which pushes discredited conversion therapy on LGBT people; the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR); and the World Congress of Families, which works with activists throughout the world to push harsh anti-gay laws.

But the Values Voter Summit’s speakers do not have to visit the event’s exhibition hall to encounter extremism. They will find plenty of that in their fellow speakers. Below is an introduction to some of the speakers who will be sharing a stage with prominent GOP elected officials at this week’s summit.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the chief sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Now a widely recognized spokesman for social conservative causes, Perkins served two terms as a Republican legislator in the Louisiana House of Representatives before launching a failed bid for the U.S. Senate in 2002. Perkins has:

  • Contended that the anti-bullying “ It Gets Better ” project is “immoral,” “disgusting,” and promotes “perversion.”
  • Defined efforts by the Obama administration to advance LGBT rights abroad as a push for “ radical sexualism ” and “global homosexuality.”
  • Praised a Uganda bill that would have condemned gays and lesbians to death as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”
  • Warned that LGBT rights advocates will launch a holocaust against Christians, placing those that oppose same-sex marriage into “ boxcars.”
  • Suggested that Christian clergy who support LGBT rights should not have the same religious liberties as anti-gay conservatives because “true religious freedom” only applies to those he believes hold “orthodox religious viewpoints.”
  • Warned that lawmakers who voted to repeal the military ban on openly gay service members would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands.”

Jerry Boykin

Retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin earned a public rebuke from President George W. Bush when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the "War on Terror" as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. In 2012, he was named executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Boykin rejects religious freedom for American Muslims, claiming that Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” In an interview with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, he called for “no mosques in America.”

Boykin is a leading member of the dominionist group The Oak Initiative, and once told the group that President Obama used health care reform legislation as a cover to establish a private army of Brownshirts loyal just to him. Boykin has also:

  • Suggested that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to the “absolute destruction of our military.”
  • Described CIA head John Brennan as “very sympathetic to the jihadist cause.”
  • Denounced the repeal of laws banning women from military combat service.
  • Blamed the Sandy Hook school massacre on the presence of secularism in society.

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the dean of the Liberty University School of Law and the founder and chairman of its affiliate, Liberty Counsel, which is a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. 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 position at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer is the president of Values Voter Summit sponsor American Values, a former president of the Family Research Council, and one-time Republican presidential hopeful. While serving in the Reagan administration as a Department of Education official, Bauer was named chairman of the president’s Special Working Group on the Family. Bauer has:

  • Reacting to A&E’s suspension of Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson for racist and homophobic remarks, declared that progressives are waging a “jihad against America’s cultural norms,”
  • Warned that President Obama is “obsessed” with LGBT issues, and claimed that his “secular” agenda will “destroy” America.
  • Claimed that Supreme Court rulings in favor of same-sex marriage were acts of “judicial terrorism” putting America on “the verge of criminalizing the Book of Genesis.”
  • Wondered why African Americans keep “falling through the cracks  of society despite the fact that “every major goal” of Martin Luther King, Jr. has been reached.

Benham Brothers

Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention this year when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become a cause célèbre for the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan.”
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, NC to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city.”
  • Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany.
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America.
  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”
  • Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch.”

E.W. Jackson

The 2013 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, E.W. Jackson is a longtime activist who has likened the Democratic Party to the Antichrist, said Planned Parenthood is worse than the Ku Klux Klan, suggested that President Obama is a Muslim and demonic, and fought against efforts to desegregate public housing. Jackson’s most pernicious rhetoric has focused on LGBT people. He has:

  • Referred to gays and lesbians as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “spiritually darkened” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
  • Criticized abortion and in vitro fertilization as “evils” that carry “the mark of Satan.”
  • Argued that gay marriage will release a “torrent of wickedness” that will result in man-animal marriages.
  • Said homosexuality is connected to pedophilia and that homosexuality also “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things we can think of.”

Star Parker

Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At the 2011 Values Voter Summit, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion. Parker has also:

  • Declared that LGBT people are forcing Christians “ into the closet.”
  • Mused that family life for African Americans was “more healthy” under slavery than it is today
  • Argued that the rate of HIV infections in Washington, D.C., would spike once the city legalized marriage equality, “transforming [the city] officially into Sodom.”
  • Tied same-sex marriage to failing public schools.

Todd Starnes

Todd Starnes, a Fox News commentator and the author of several books including this year’s “God Less America," specializes in generating stories of dubious accuracy purporting to illustrate the persecution of conservative Christians in America. Recently, he has:

  • Speculated that public school officials oppose abstinence-only programs to protect their “condom profits.”
  • Asserted that Obama refuses to take action against ISIS to “accommodate the Islamic faith at the expense of all other faiths.”
  • Blamed Obama for “ orchestrating” the protests in Ferguson, Mo., in an effort to exacerbate racial tensions.
  • Baselessly accused the University of Wisconsin of intentionally inflating grades to boost the academic performance of minority students.
  • Worried that LGBT rights advocates will inevitably demand the deportation of Christians.

Sandy Rios

Sandy Rios, a former president of Concerned Women for America, now hosts a daily radio show on American Family Radio, the network run by the American Family Association. At last year’s summit, she promoted ex-gay therapy and said Matthew Shepard’s murder was a “complete fraud.” Like other AFR hosts, she frequently promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that President Obama was not born in the United States . Rios has also:

  • Insisted that one of Obama’s first priorities as president was to resettle thousands of Palestinian refugees in the U.S. and provide them with food stamps.
  • Advanced the myth that the health care reform law “says that Muslims will be exempt from the government mandate to purchase health insurance.”
  • Compared the relationships of same-sex couples to those of kidnapper Ariel Castro and his captives.
  • Warned that the “ homosexual takeover” of the military would jeopardize the effectiveness of the armed forces.
  • Frequently links the gay community to child abuse.

A previous version of this memo incorrectly listed James Dobson as a speaker. 

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/18/14

Liberty Counsel: Ban Religious Practices If They 'Offend Other Faiths'

We already know that the “religious liberty” activists at Liberty Counsel don’t believe Muslim-Americans should have the same First Amendment rights as other Americans, but now it appears that the Religious Right group believes any religious practice that could upset other people should be prohibited.

While discussing a Satanic “Black Mass” scheduled to take place in Oklahoma City on Sunday, Harry Mihet of Liberty Counsel said yesterday that the event should not take place because it might “offend” people:

Harry Mihet, vice president of legal affairs and chief litigation counsel for Liberty Counsel, said Oklahoma City should not allow its public facilities to be “used by a satanic group for the sole purpose of mocking, insulting and offending other faiths through a lewd and lascivious ceremony.”

“The perverted sexual deviance characteristic of a ‘Black Mass’ ought to remain in the dark tombs and catacombs where it originated, and should not see the light of day in a civilized society, much less on public property,” he said.

This statement is coming from the same group that regularly issues paranoid warnings about how gay rights advocates, progressives and Islamists are on the verge of criminalizing Christian expression in America because it is seen as mocking, insulting and offensive to their beliefs.

But according to Mihet, it is completely appropriate to stop a religious event from taking place if it “offends other faiths.”

Ironically, Liberty Counsel itself once cited Justice William Brennan’s claim that “[i]f there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.”

Staver: Contraception Mandate Just Like Nazi Gas Chambers

The topic of today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program was the lawsuit filed by the Little Sisters of the Poor against Obamacare's contraception accommodation for non-profit religious organizations, which Matt Barber and Mat Staver once again compared to Nazi Germany.

Under the accommodation, non-profit religious organizations that object to providing contraceptive coverage for employees simply have to file a letter noting their objections and then they "will not have to contract, arrange, pay for or refer contraceptive coverage to which they object on religious grounds" as such contraception coverage will then be provided separately by the insurance provider.

That compromise, to Barber and Staver, is nothing short of pure evil and no different than the Nazis forcing people to gas the Jews.

"If you are being forced to pay for the gas in the chamber that is injected into that chamber to kill a Jew, that's one thing." Staver said. "On the other hand, if you are required to say 'you go right, you go left,' the ones that go to the left, they go to the gas chamber, you don't have to pay for that, but you have to make the decision to do it, it's the same thing. Whether I have to exchange a dollar or ten dollars or a thousand dollars to facilitate the death of a human being or whether I have to say 'I can't do it, I can't pull the trigger so therefore don't make me pull the trigger,' consequently since I've objected now a third party has to pull the trigger. There's no difference."

Barber agreed, saying that those who object "are still being forced to be complicit in that abortion homicide," which is exactly what President Obama wants because he "in large part, lives his life to enable people to kill others."

"This is good versus evil," Barber said, "and there's little question who's on the side of good here and who's on the side of evil":

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/12/14

  • Kevin Sorbo says people just were not "enlightened" enough to understand the point he was making when he said that the Jews killed Jesus.
  • FRC prays against Common Core: "May the American people be fully awakened! May parents have courage to stand fast in their God-given liberty, responsibility and authority to direct their children's education. May citizen activists persuade their state leaders to reverse course!"
  • Liberty Counsel vows to take its fight against "ex-gay" therapy bans all the way to the Supreme Court "and we will not stop fighting until these laws are relegated to the dustbins of history."
  • Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson shared his theological insights with Glenn Beck today: "The political correct cesspool we’re swimming around in [goes] against God on every point."
  • Finally, this piece by Robert Stacy McCain might just be the most bizarre screed we have ever seen posted on BarbWire. We can say for sure that it is the only thing we've ever seen posted there that uses the word "assholes" more than once.

Vic Eliason And Mat Staver Link ISIS Beheadings To LGBT 'Meltdown Of Morality'

On yesterday’s edition of “Crosstalk,” Voice of Christian Youth America’s Vic Eliason and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver connected same-sex marriage in the U.S. to beheadings committed by the terrorist group ISIS.

Discussing recent marriage equality legal victories, Staver made his standard prediction that the legalization of same-sex marriage will pave the way for polygamy. Eliason responded by accusing gay rights advocates of destroying morality and biblical values, leading to a decadent, anything-goes society.

“People see something they want, they steal it or they kill somebody or behead them. Some of this stuff now that’s going on, the beheading, which has become literally a religious, I don’t know what you’d call it— it becomes a very sacred thing to the Islamics to behead somebody because that is a special right that is deserved by the infidels,” Eliason said.

Staver naturally agreed and said it was all President Obama’s fault: “Yeah, that’s exactly right. I think what we’re seeing today is a meltdown of morality. That’s what certainly President Obama has been pushing, he is very much pushing a disintegration of Judeo-Christian values not just here in the United States but he’s actively doing that around the country [sic] promoting abortion and same-sex marriage, he’s trying to do that in every way possible across the world.”

Staver: Obama's America Is Worse Than Nazi Germany

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Mat Staver and Matt Barber declared that this current period in time is the worst persecution that Christians have ever faced throughout American history because they are being forced to participate in both abortion and gay marriage.

Bizarrely, Staver claimed that, under Obamacare, Christians are not only being required to fund abortion but are literally being "forced to participate in genocide," which is something that not even the Nazi government forced the German citizens to do.

"Even in Nazi Germany," Staver said, "the government participated in genocide but the individuals, the citizens weren't forced to participate in it ... The people were not forced to push people into the gas chamber or pull the trigger, but now you're being forced to pull the trigger, you're being forced to participate in a genocide, that's different than anything before."

Barber agreed, saying "this is the most oppressive time in terms of religious liberty in the United States," not only because of abortion but also because Christians are also supposedly being persecuted for opposing gay marriage.

"Everyone is going to have to make a decision to either obey the laws of God or to obey the laws of man," Barber said, "and this is unprecedented."

Staver warned that Christians are being compelled to "participate in a Romans 1 platform" by affirming those whom God has given up to a reprobate mind.

"Romans 1 says that when you reject God as the Creator," he said, "God gives you up to a reprobate mind and one of the consequences of that is the people turn towards the same sex for sexual activity and pleasure":

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/9/18

  • Ray Comfort's next film is going to be about homosexuality, so that ought to be enlightening.
  • Liberty Counsel says it desperately needs to raise "$50,000 before the end of the month in order to meet our monthly budget."
  • Bob McDonnell is no longer teaching at Liberty University. We wonder why?
  • The American Family Association is now officially boycotting Target.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer continues to praise other nations for criminalizing homosexuality.

Mat Staver: LGBT Acceptance Is 'Very Dangerous' To Society

Last week, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver appeared on “In The Market with Janet Parshall” to argue that the LGBT rights movement is eroding America’s moral compass.

Staver pointed his finger at Christians who either support LGBT equality or have given up fighting against it, realizing they are on the losing side of a political showdown.

“There is some resolution to say, ‘Oh, we’ve lost this battle, we just need to figure out how to move forward and coexist,’” he said. “And that is a wrong, very dangerous position to be in. You cannot coexist, you cannot give up on something, that is literally an attack on God himself.”

Staver added that marriage equality is part of a larger agenda that seeks to “abolish gender, abolish sexual morals and norms” in an act that defies the “natural created order.”

“To assume that you can go against the created order is hubris, it’s arrogance, it’s dangerous and it is not something in which we can simply say, ‘the battle’s over, we need to figure out how to coexist.’ There is no coexistence,” he said.

Barber And Staver Warn That Gay Marriage Will Make Straight Couples Less Monogamous

For the last two days, Mat Staver and Matt Barber have been discussing the Family Research Council's "Ten Arguments From Social Science Against Same-Sex Marriage" document on their daily "Faith and Freedom" radio show. On today's broadcast, the two cited reason number six - "Same-sex 'marriage' would undercut the norm of sexual fidelity within marriage" - to argue that legalizing gay marriage would somehow result in straight couples becoming less faithful.

Citing quotes from gay writers like Andrew Sullivan and Dan Savage, Barber and Staver argued that gay male couples are more likely to have open relationships, which they then used to bizarrely assert that letting gays get married would ultimately undermine the practice of monogamy within straight marriages.

"You start doing that in a marriage relationship with a man and a woman," Staver said, "and the woman's just not going to do it."

"We know that women serve to domesticate men," Barber added. "That's not an opinion, that's the social science that shows that women ultimately bring men into their role as father, as provider, and protector for the household and they domesticate men and that lends itself toward monogamy."

There are plenty of straight couples, of course, who engage in open relationships, so what any of this has to do with gay marriage is anybody's guess.

Barber: Fayetteville Non-Discrimination Ordinance Is Forcing Citizens to Engage In 'A Mass Delusion'

Last week, the city council in Fayetteville, Arkansas passed a nondiscrimination ordinance that included protections for, among other things, sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression.

Needless to say, Matt Barber and Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel are furious about its passage and spent an entire radio program declaring that Fayetteville has now literally made it legal for any man to enter a women's restroom or locker room at will while anyone who objects or tries to prevent a man from entering will be fined and criminally charged.

Staver announced that Liberty Counsel was working with local pastors to secure enough signatures to put the ordinance on the ballot in November in order to have it repealed, which Barber said was an absolute necessity because this ordinance is forcing city residents to engage in a "mass delusion under penalty of law."

"This is the sexual anarchist movement's attack on reality," Barber said, "but, larger than that, attack on God's design for human sexuality, for male, for female, trying to make everything gender neutral and create an androgynous society, running against reality that everybody knows to be true."

"We have lost our minds as a nation":

Barber: Marriage Equality Took A 'Sledgehammer' To Society, Will Send It 'Tumbling Down'

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber is on high alert after a federal judge issued a final ruling striking down Utah’s ban on polygamous relationships, and joined Janet Mefferd yesterday to discuss the ruling, which he said was just the latest sign that support for same-sex marriage took a “sledgehammer” to our society and will send it all “tumbling down.”

Barber lamented that Americans are too busy to do the careful analysis that would lead them to agree with him and instead are buying into the gay rights movement’s “propaganda.”

“Unfortunately, much of America right now is — you know, we’re all busy, people don’t have time to actually engage the process of analysis on these things and look that A leads to B that leads to C, and take it all the way down to Z, which is disastrous — they don’t have time for that, and people buy into the propaganda,” he said.

“I just hope that people will recognize that when we deviate and try to redefine something that cannot be redefined — particularly when that thing, we’re talking about marriage here, is a fundamental cornerstone of any society — if we take a sledgehammer to that cornerstone, the results are disastrous and everything comes tumbling down.”

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