Liberty Counsel

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/9/15

  • Matthew Yglesias @ Vox: Ben Carson's far from the only conservative saying gun control caused the Holocaust.
  • Andy Towle @ Towleroad: One Million Moms Have Their Pitchforks Out for the Gay Campbell’s Soup Dads.
  • Jason Stanford @ TPM: Here's Everything The GOP Blames For Gun Deaths (Other Than Guns, Of Course).
  • Zack Ford @ Think Progress: Anti-LGBT Groups Absolutely Deserve Their ‘Hate Group’ Designations.
  • Arturo Garcia @ Raw Story: Republican committee chair admits: No evidence Planned Parenthood misused federal funding.
  • Joe Jervis: Right Wing Think Tank Calls For All “State And Federal Officeholders” To Defy SCOTUS On Obergefell.

Huckabee: Pope Should Fire 'Elitist' Staffers Who Distanced Him From Kim Davis

Last month, shortly after Pope Francis ended his visit in the United States, the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel blew up what had been a fairly culture-war-free visit by announcing that the pope had met secretly with its client Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been attempting to block her office form issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

After Liberty Counsel made the Davis meeting into a national news story, the Vatican was forced to clarify that Davis was one of several people who had been brought to see the pope at the end of his visit and that the pontiff “did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects." The only “real audience” the pope granted, it turned out, was with a former student and his same-sex partner

But Mike Huckabee, who says he spoke with Davis about the meeting at the Values Voter Summit, insisted in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that Davis and the pope “visited privately, just the two of them, for about 15 minutes” and that it is “elitist” forces in the Vatican who are trying to downplay the pope’s support for Davis’ cause. Outside of that “elitist world,” he said, people realize that Davis’ case could mark “the beginning of the criminalization of Christianity.”

“Now, why the Vatican is trying to downplay this meeting, the only thing I can figure is that many of the very liberal elements, not only of the media, but in some cases of the Catholic Church want to distance themselves because in their elitist world, Kim Davis is an unpopular figure,” Huckabee said. “But I’m telling you, wherever she goes and wherever I see people, in every airport I get on a plane and people say, ‘Thanks for standing up for Kim Davis.’ It’s very different because people realize that this is the beginning of the criminalization of Christianity if we don’t stand up to it.” 

Scientific polls contradict Huckabee's anecdotal evidence about Davis’ popularity.

Huckabee later suggested that the pope fire the Vatican officials who have tried to downplay his meeting with Davis and paint him as more moderate on social issues: “I’d like to think that at some point the pope might start reading the press clips and maybe fire some of the people who are trying to represent him. I know, as a candidate, if I had press people that were out there misrepresenting my views, they wouldn’t be my press people any longer.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 10/6/15

  • Liberty Counsel is very upset that the Associated Press dared to note that the organization has been designated an anti-gay hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  • Also very upset is WND, which is mad at us for daring to note that "America's Prophet" Jonathan Cahn is not very good at making accurate predictions.
  • Second Amendment zealot Jan Morgan tells Bryan Fischer that the solution to mass shootings in America is simply to declare that gun-free zones are unconstitutional.
  • Rob Schenck, a long-time Religious Right anti-abortion activist, has now turned his attention to fighting for gun control.
  • Finally, BarbWire's Tristan Emmanuel is not a fan of President Obama: "You are the leading jihadist of our day. By definition you are a traitor because you have harboured, aided and supported 'non-terrorist' organizations that seek to destroy America."

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/5/15

The Vatican Contradicts Liberty Counsel's Claims About Kim Davis' Meeting With Pope Francis

UPDATE: It turns out the only private meeting held at the venue was with one of Francis’ former students, who is gay, and his partner.

The Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel boasted in a statement and at least two fundraising emails this week that their client, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his recent visit to Washington and that the pope thanked Davis for her courage in denying marriage licenses to gay couples.

“Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything,” Davis said in an interview following the meeting.

While the pope did speak vaguely about the rights of conscientious objectors (a term that does not describe Davis), the Holy See — unlike Liberty Counsel — remained mum about the meeting.

But it seems that Davis’ lawyers attempt to paint Pope Francis as a Davis supporter has forced the Vatican to issue a statement claiming that the encounter between the pope and Davis has been greatly exaggerated, as she was one of dozens of people who met the pope only briefly at a stop in Washington, D.C.

Liberty Counsel has already had to retract claims that 100,000 Peruvians held a prayer rally for Davis and that the hosts of “The View” had threatened to kill the clerk.

Gerard O’Connell of the Catholic publication America writes that “a short but clear statement from the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., ... effectively deflates and denies the widespread misinterpretation in much of the media about that encounter.”

At that same time, he said, Pope Francis also “met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City.”

He explained that “such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.” But, he added, “the only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”

Then, in the key passage of the statement, Lombardi clarified that “The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”

Father Thomas Rosica, who frequently assists Lombardi on matters relating to the Anglophone world, told reporters that there were “several dozens of people” in the Nunciature (the Holy See’s Embassy) for before the pope departed for New York. He said the pope would “have known little” about Mrs. Davis, apart from her name, and found it hard to give credence to Davis’s account that she had spent 15 minutes alone with the pope. There simply was not time, he said; the time was very limited and the people were scattered in small groups in different locations on the one floor of the building, and each had a very brief greeting with him, nothing more. Moreover, Rosica said, each of those present had been cleared by the U.S. Secret Service before entering the nunciature.

CBS News reports that a “ highly placed source inside the Vatican claims the Pope was blindsided” by the Davis meeting, adding that “[n]ot even Lombardi knew about it ahead of time, nor did the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which would have opposed it.”

“A close advisor to Pope Francis tweeted that the Pope was, in his words, ‘exploited’ by those who set up what the CBS 2 source says was a ‘meeting that never should have taken place,’” the report continued.

Reuters also spoke to a Vatican official who expressed a “sense of regret” about the meeting.

However, Davis’ lawyer and Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is holding firm in his claim that the two had a much more meaningful encounter:

However, Davis' lawyer, Mat Staver, told The Associated Press that the Vatican initiated the meeting as an affirmation of her right to be conscientious objector.

"We wouldn't expect the pope to weigh in on the particulars of any case," Staver said Friday.

He said Vatican personnel initiated the meeting on Sept. 14, the day she returned to work, saying the pope wanted to meet her. He said Vatican security picked up her and her husband from their hotel and told her to change her hairdo so she wouldn't be recognized since the Vatican wanted the meeting kept secret.

Staver disputed a Vatican spokesman's claims that the pope only met Davis in a receiving line. He said the couple was in a separate room with Francis and Vatican personnel.

News of the meeting sent shockwaves through the U.S. church, with Davis' supporters saying it showed the pope backed her cause and opponents questioning whether the pope had been duped into meeting with her.

Initially the Vatican only reluctantly confirmed the meeting but offered no comment.

On Friday, Lombardi met with Francis and issued a fuller statement to "contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired." Francis has made clear he dislikes being used for political ends, and Lombardi's statement appeared intended to make clear that the encounter should in no way be exploited.

An assistant to Lombardi, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, said he believed the pope would have been given a list of names of the several dozen people who were invited to the embassy to bid farewell as he left Washington, but was unaware of the details of her case or any possible implications of the meeting.

"I don't think he knew the details, the full biographies of each person, except for the names of the people there," Rosica said.

Ken Starr Not Rushing To Join Religious Right's Kim Davis Fan Club

Lawyers for Kim Davis are trying to piggyback on the popularity of Pope Francis by revealing that Davis was “sneaked into the Vatican embassy by car” to meet the pope when he visited Washington, D.C., recently. Not exactly a red-carpet welcome, but Davis and Liberty Counsel can use all the P.R. help they can get these days.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says the visit, grudgingly confirmed by the Vatican, wasn’t arranged through the American bishops. But it would not have been terribly surprising if it were enabled by Archbishop William Lori, point man for the U.S. bishops’ strategy of using religious liberty claims to resist LGBT equality and the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

On the Friday before the pope’s arrival in Washington, D.C., Lori gave the keynote to a day-long “Religious Freedom Summit” at the Catholic University of America’s law school. Much of the day was devoted to discussion of horrific religious persecution in other parts of the world, including anti-Christian persecution in Syria and China. Those harrowing first-person accounts made it hard to consider claims of “religious persecution” by people like Kim Davis as even remotely in the same category.

Even among the conservative lawyers who filled the room, support for Davis wasn’t unanimous. The closing address at the conference was given by Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — who is now president of Baylor University, a Texas-based Christian college with Baptist heritage.

Starr talked about how courts have wrestled with the words of the First Amendment for some 80 years, and proposed some key principles that he said should guide the law: non-coercion in matters of conscience; nondiscrimination against religion; government’s ability, within limits, to provide affirmative protections for religious belief; and government noninterference with the mission and governance of religious organizations.

Starr acknowledged that in implementing many of these principles there are lines that must be drawn. For example, he explained, the majority and dissenters in the Hobby Lobby case gave different weight to the religious liberty claims of the company’s owners and the potential for demonstrable harm to the company’s employees. How we identify and measure recognizable harm to third parties, and weigh it against free exercise, will continue to be wrestled with in the courts, he said, suggesting that there were probably differing opinions even among the people in the room.

Which brings us to Kim Davis, and other Religious Right martyrs-in-the-making such as bakers and florists who refuse service to same sex couples.

First, Davis:

I don’t think that this question is easy. Others may, and the freedom of conscience simply trumps all. But the reason I think it’s not easy is because she is a public official who has taken an oath to uphold the law. I know, I heard the panel saying, look at all the exceptions to individuals who’ve been sworn to uphold the law and who have chosen not to do it. I personally find that a little uncomfortable. Oh, you’re going to pick and choose which laws to enforce.

He asked whether people in the room would be okay with a sheriff or chief of police deciding which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.

Starr then addressed conversations about accommodations for bakers and florists who refuse to serve gay customers:

Not a public official like Kim Davis, a private citizen. But at the same time I’m going to suggest that we really think hard on this. She is one who has opened her bakery or catering service or floral shop to business. She has a license from the state to do business. And in carrying out a commercial business, the general rule is one akin to principle two of nondiscrimination. That rule is deeply anchored in the common law. You’ve got to serve people who come in to you. And also the public accommodation provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when folks were excluded from service on grounds of race. The very idea and ideal of the common law rule is equality — you take care of every customer who comes to you unless you have a very substantial — they’re trying to tear up my shop.

Starr noted that there’s plenty of litigation in these areas, and that some “creative” arguments are being mounted by those suggesting that wedding services such as cakes and flowers are protected as a freedom of speech issue. (That kind of claim was made unsuccessfully by a photographer in New Mexico, discussed in PFAW’s “Religious Liberty: Shield or Sword?”)

Starr also noted that “we are an increasingly diverse community of men, women and children who come from so many cultures and traditions …The world we inhabit is a pluralistic one.” He acknowledged that his four principles won’t magically resolve differences on these issues, suggesting that those involved should adhere to another organizing principle, the Golden Rule, and treat those with whom they disagree with kindness, dignity, and respect.

Starr isn’t the only conservative lawyer taking issue with the claims of Kim Davis and her supporters. Ken Klukowski said earlier this month that Davis was on “very shaky legal ground” and that her refusal to allow deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses was an indefensible effort to force other civil servants to act in conformity with her religious beliefs.


Right Wing Round-Up - 9/29/15

  • Timothy B. Lee @ Vox: Whatever you think of Planned Parenthood, this is a terrible and dishonest chart. 
  • Media Matters: After NASA Announces It Found Water On Mars, Rush Limbaugh Says It's Part Of A Climate Change Conspiracy. 
  • Warren Throckmorton: Challenge to David Barton: Where Are the 1500 Bible Verses in Locke’s Two Treatises?

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/28/15

Paranoia-Rama: Obama's Election Theft, Pope Francis' Diabolical Scheme And Cashing-In On Kim Davis

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

While some Religious Right groups are busy trying to turn Kim Davis into a modern-day martyr, other conservative activists are addressing more pressing concerns, such as Pope Francis’ murderous agenda, ISIS infiltration of American churches and looming cannibalism.

5) Welcome To America, Pope Francis!

Alex Jones welcomed Pope Francis to the U.S. the only way he knows how: by ranting that Francis is bent on turning Americans into slaves and paving the way for the death of at least one billion people.

Jones added that he was “going to vomit” while thinking about the fawning media coverage of the “slimebag” pope.

4) Kim Davis, Still The No. 1 Martyr

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, is back in the news for losing yet another legal challenge and reportedly altering marriage licenses as part of her crusade to bar her county office from issuing marriage licenses to eligible couples.

Naturally, Davis' defenders are using her flouting of the law to raise money.

Liberty Counsel, the extreme anti-gay group that is representing Davis, put it this way in a fundraising email: “The American Civil Liberty Union’s motion to again hold Kim Davis in contempt reveals that their interest is not their clients’ license but rather a marriage license bearing the name of Kim Davis. They want her scalp to hang on the wall as a trophy!”

Another conservative group, the Family Research Council, said in a fundraising email that Davis’ plight would lead to mass persecution of Christians.

Consider that carefully. If "politically correct" government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?

Depending on the circumstances, they'll do whatever is necessary to drive Christianity from influence in America by indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.

3) ISIS Everywhere!

While groups like the Family Research Council and Liberty Counsel are on the lookout for phony cases of anti-Christian persecution, televangelist Jim Bakker thinks that people should really be investigating all of the ISIS terrorists who have stealthily joined every church in the U.S.

Pitching survivalist food buckets, Bakker told his audience to watch out for future troubles because “ISIS has already infiltrated every single church in America.”

2) From SNAP To Cannibalism

Bakker is far from the only one trying to stir up fears in order to sell merchandise. Chuck Holton of the NRA radio show “Frontlines,” for instance, warned this week about a nuclear electromagnetic pulse attack.

Along with killing nine out of every 10 Americans, Holton said, an electromagnetic pulse attack will lead to people be “eating each other in the streets, because when you have these sort of systemic issues in our government of nearly half of the people in the United States receiving some sort of subsidy from the government, imagine what happens when all the EBT cards start flashing zeroes.”

Watch via Media Matters:

1) Indisputable Proof Obama Stole The 2012 Election

According to at least one poll, half of all Republicans believe that ACORN, which hasn’t existed since 2010, stole the 2012 election for President Obama.

Those still trying to find proof of this massive fraud finally have some convincing evidence, courtesy of “Trunews” host Rick Wiles.

As Wiles explained on his radio show this week, secretive forces must have rigged the election for Obama, because he personally didn’t know anyone who voted for him, and therefore something nefarious must be at work!

Barber: Criticism Of Kim Davis Reminiscent Of Sodom And Gomorrah, The Inquisition

On Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program today, Matt Barber declared that the vitriol aimed at Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis for prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples is reminiscent of the days of Sodom and Gomorrah and the Inquisition, as LGBT activists insist that everyone "come on board with our pagan sexuality or we will literally kill you."

"This whole saga," he said, "is reminiscent of the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 19 ... The homosexual men of Sodom and Gomorrah, they surrounded the house and they said, 'Send them out' and they pounded on the doors and there is this spirit of anger and lust. This white-hot hatred that we see levied toward Kim Davis and her family and Liberty Counsel right now ... the attitude is we demand that you affirm our position, that you call evil good and good evil, that you go against your conscience and what the Bible teaches about sex and sexuality and the reality of marriage as being between a male and female. You must leave all that and come on board with our pagan sexuality or we will literally kill you."

"They also want to crush dissent," he continued, "and compel people to make some kind of public statement, an overt act that affirms and confirms the sin that these folks are engaged in. If somebody won't do that, or even if they do do that, just the idea that they themselves, in their own mind and in their own conscience, continue to disagree; you know, we saw with the Inquisition and other things where folks would do all the steps, but just the fact that they still held in the heart of hearts opposition to certain theological differences or, in this case, political and spiritual differences, just because they hold that in their heart of hearts, the only thing left to do is to kill somebody. And it's that kind of white-hot hatred and anger that we see rising up with these death threats and these vile attacks."

Staver: Gay Marriage Is Leading America 'Into The Very Pit Of Hell'

Back in July, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver spoke at the Reclaiming America for Christ conference in Oklahoma where he spent a half-hour absolutely fuming about the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, calling it a "grave sin" that would lead America "into the very pit of Hell."

Staver, who has recently been leading Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis' unsuccessful legal battle, was beside himself with outrage, declaring that neither the Supreme Court nor any state could ever legalize gay marriage because doing so contradicts the will of God and therefore Christians have no choice but to resist with all their might.

"We need to stop playing charades," Staver thundered, "thinking that five individuals can re-write God's natural, created order of marriage as a union of a man and a woman, and 320 million Americans are simply just going to follow them like the Pied Piper off the cliff into the very pit of Hell. If that's what they think, they have something else coming because as for me and my household, I will not obey those five! I will obey God rather than man and they have shaken their fist in the face of the Creator and we must resist that."

The ruling, he warned, "is a grave sin. There will be judgment on those five unless they repent."

Mat Staver Once Again Claims That 'The View' Called For Kim Davis To Be Killed [UPDATED]

On his "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast today, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver once again claimed that the hosts of the ABC television program "The View" called for Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis to be killed for prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.

On today's program, Staver was making the case that Davis is not a "hater" because she is a Christian and Christians are literally incapable of hating anyone. Therefore, it is Davis' critics who are the real haters, he explained, who hate Christians because they hate Jesus.

"The hatred is coming from these individuals because of their own internal anger," Staver said, "but they can't be transformed by the love of Christ and we can't hate when we have been transformed by the love of Christ. This is what John 15:18 says: 'If the world hates you, you know that it hated me before it hated you.' And that's talking about Jesus Christ, the creator of the universe who died and gave himself. That he experienced a lot of hatred toward him, so much so that they wanted to brutalize him and put him up on a cross."

"In fact," Staver continued, "we've even had people say that we need to be crucified. Even on 'The View,' people on 'The View' were calling her a monster, calling for her to be killed. Even on a national television program."

As we noted yesterday, if the host of a national morning show had actually openly called for someone to be murdered, that seems like the sort of thing that would have generated some news coverage.

UPDATE: Liberty Counsel has informed us that Staver was mistaken and has issued a correction. Here is the explanation of what happened:

Thank you for pointing out Mat Staver's mistake in his description of 'The View' program on Kim Davis.  Here is what happened: on Mat Staver’s September 10 appearance on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly played Mat a montage of people saying hateful things about Kim Davis. Megyn Kelly started with a clip from ‘The View,’ which led into a clip from the HLN ‘Dr. Drew’ show, on which Mike Catherwood said, “Like Mike Huckabee says, ‘Sign me up.’ I’ll do it. I’ll go kill her. I’ll go kill her and—and whatever toothless redneck . . . .”  Mat could not see the video because he was on an LTN link, and understandably thought Catherwood’s statement occurred on ‘The View.’

Here’s the Kelly File video (Catherwood’s comment is around 2:42 on the video).

Thank you for pointing out this error. We are correcting our online version of our radio program.

Mat Staver Claims 'The View' Called For Kim Davis To Be Killed [UPDATED]

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver asked listeners to pray for his client Kim Davis because she is supposedly receiving vile death threats from the hosts of the television show "The View."

Davis, a Kentucky county clerk who was jailed earlier this month for repeatedly prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, was the subject of a segment on "The View," Staver said, where one of the hosts called her a "monster" and said that she should be killed.

"I would encourage you to pray for Kim Davis, pray for her family, pray for those that work with her, pray for Liberty Counsel," Staver said. "Kim has received just horrible death threats, even from 'The View,' amazingly. They called her a monster on national television, one of them said that someone ought to go kill her. This is on a major network. That was on 'The View' on ABC. I mean, that was astounding, that kind of language was happening on a major TV network."

We have no idea what Staver is talking about. While we can find plenty of articles reporting the "monster" comment, we haven't been able to find a single thing that supports Staver's claim that one of the hosts of "The View" called for Davis to be killed ... and one would think that if a host openly advocated murder on a national television show, that is the sort of thing that would probably have made a bit of news.

UPDATE: Liberty Counsel has informed us that Staver was mistaken and has issued a correction. Here is the explanation of what happened:

Thank you for pointing out Mat Staver's mistake in his description of 'The View' program on Kim Davis.  Here is what happened: on Mat Staver’s September 10 appearance on The Kelly File, Megyn Kelly played Mat a montage of people saying hateful things about Kim Davis. Megyn Kelly started with a clip from ‘The View,’ which led into a clip from the HLN ‘Dr. Drew’ show, on which Mike Catherwood said, “Like Mike Huckabee says, ‘Sign me up.’ I’ll do it. I’ll go kill her. I’ll go kill her and—and whatever toothless redneck . . . .”  Mat could not see the video because he was on an LTN link, and understandably thought Catherwood’s statement occurred on ‘The View.’

Here’s the Kelly File video (Catherwood’s comment is around 2:42 on the video).

Thank you for pointing out this error. We are correcting our online version of our radio program.

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/14/15

Mat Staver: Kim Davis Is A Savior, It's Justices Ginsburg And Kagan Who Are Breaking The Law

Mat Staver, the chairman of Liberty Counsel and one of the lawyers representing Kim Davis, stopped by “Crosstalk” last week to discuss her case, praising Davis as a savior of persecuted Christians in America and comparing her to the biblical figure Esther, who convinced King Ahauserus not to exterminate the Jews, and to the parents of Moses, who refused to kill him despite pharaoh’s decree.

“People throughout history, through the Scriptures — you know, Moses’ parents, they had to choose whether to obey God or man back then, when Pharaoh says you need to give up your baby boys because he’s going to kill them,” Staver said. “And the Book of Hebrew says they did not fear the king’s edict, and they ultimately hid the baby boy, and of course that baby boy was Moses.”

While Staver praised Davis as a savior for attempting to stop her entire county office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, he said that Supreme Court Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan should be impeached for not recusing themselves from the Obergefell decision, since both had officiated at weddings for same-sex couples. (Staver made the remark in response to a caller who falsely identified the justices who had presided over gay couples’ marriages as Ginsburg and Sonia Sotomayor; however, he has previously said that Ginsburg and Kagan should have recused themselves.)

Kim Davis Declines Oath Keepers' Offer Of Armed Guard

Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":

Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.

Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.

Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis.  We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process.   That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.

This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).

We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David  Thoreau.  We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy.  There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny.  Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation.   We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.

Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":

As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done.   That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial.   As I told one person who wrote in:

You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit.  Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime.   I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them.  I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush.  I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay.   And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights.  But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.

Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment.   I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature.  But sad nonetheless.

Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever."  It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot.  Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it.  I oppose it.  - Stewart

Oath Keepers Send Armed Guards To Protect Kim Davis From US Marshals

The Oath Keepers, the anti-government “Patriot” group that mounted an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy Ranch, stationed armed guards outside of military recruitment centers after the Chattanooga shooting, and unsettled Ferguson protestors when they showed up carrying assault weapons, is now offering anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.

In a phone call with former Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.

Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”

Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.

When Rhodes asked Peyman what he would have done if he were sheriff of Rowan County when Davis was detained, Peyman said he would have stopped the arrest.

“This is exactly the kind of thing that our Founding Fathers dealt with when dealing with the magistrates and the officers of the crown who wanted to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists without a jury indictment, without any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their power and show you who’s boss.”

Although Rhodes's anti-government extremism doesn't always align with the Religious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Marshals and county prison officials should have refused to participate in Davis' detention because they have no obligation to follow “laws that have no moral foundation that are actually in contradiction to moral law and truth.”

UPDATE: Rhodes reports that Davis, through her Liberty Counsel attorneys, has declined Oath Keepers' offer and he has ordered members of his group to "stand down."

This post has been corrected to note that Peyman is the former sheriff of Jackson County.

Kim Davis Attorney: Marriage Equality Will Bar All Christians From Public Office

Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and the attorney representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her effort to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claimed yesterday that if Davis doesn’t get her way then Christians will be effectively barred from holding all public offices.

Interviewing Staver on his “Washington Watch” program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that he was “very disappointed” in Republicans who have suggested that Davis resign from her position if she is unwilling to perform a major part of her job.

“That would establish a reverse religious test where if you hold an orthodox religious view of marriage, you would be barred from holding public office,” Perkins said.

Staver agreed with Perkins, noting that Davis “believes God called her” to run for clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.

“But if what we do is follow the advice of some of these Republican candidates that say she needs to resign, well what does that mean?” he asked. “That means that Kim Davis and anyone else who is an elected official … that means you have to check your faith at the ballot box. And once you’re elected, you have to change your faith, put it aside, transgress it, you cannot have your conscience accommodated. ‘No more Christians need to run for office,’ that’s essentially the message, and if you’re in office you need to resign your post immediately. Now what kind of America is that? It’s certainly not the America that the Founders envisioned and I don’t think it’s the kind of America that most people want.”

“It won’t stop with this issue, Mat,” Perkins warned. “It will be something else next. This is the time to stand and exercise our religious freedom lest we lose that religious freedom.”

Staver claimed that Davis was merely seeking the “simple accommodation” that her name be removed from marriage licenses in the county — a new line from the attorney who has been urging public officials to defy the marriage equality decision lest they run afoul of God’s law .

Davis, he said, is the first of many Christians who will be jailed “for their religious beliefs” thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.

“This is a tragedy, it’s the first Christian jailed since the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 on marriage,” he said. “But unfortunately, Tony, as you and I fear, I don't think this is going to be the last Christian jailed for their religious beliefs and conscience that collide with this issue of same-sex marriage.”

“No, not as long as there are Christians who are willing to live their lives according to their faith,” Perkins agreed, “and there are a lot of them out there.”

Ten Horrific Things Kim Davis' Attorney Has Said About Gay People

Yesterday, anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis was released from jail and almost immediately took the stage at a campaign rally for Mike Huckabee, arm-in-arm with the GOP presidential candidate and with her attorney, Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel.

This is the moment that Staver has been waiting for. The former dean of Liberty University’s School of Law has repeatedly urged public officials to break the law when it comes to gay marriage, and with Davis he finally has his test case.

Much of the public attention on Staver has focused on his bizarre, and so far unsuccessful, legal argument that Davis should be able to order her entire county clerk’s office to follow her personal religious views, even in defiance of several court orders. Staver has gone all-in on the Religious Right’s claim that LGBT rights is leading to the persecution of Christians, claiming that obeying gay marriage law is tantamount to handing over a Jewish person to Nazi enforcers and comparing Davis to victims of the Holocaust.

But it’s important to remember that when Staver is not playing the victim of LGBT rights, he is spouting virulently anti-LGBT rhetoric, going so far as to suggest that supporters of gay rights are ineligible to hold public office and defending laws criminalizing homosexuality in the U.S. and abroad.

As these 10 anti-gay comments make clear, Staver isn’t seeking a live-and-let-live world, but rather one where the government is a religious tool of conservative Christians and LGBT people are forced into the shadows.

1) Labels Gays ‘Demonic’

For Staver, the battle against gay rights is part of a spiritual war, since he believes that the gay rights movement is “doing the bidding of the Devil” and is part of the spirit of the Antichrist and “demonic.”

2) Defends Bans On Homosexuality

While he has portrayed himself as a defender of freedom and liberty at home, Staver has actually praised moves in RussiaIndiaMalawi and Nigeria to outlaw homosexual relationships or speech in favor of gay rights. The group also defended U.S. anti-sodomy laws by citing [PDF] a satirical essay that joked about how gays “will sodomize your sons.”

3) Compares Gays To Terrorists

The Liberty Counsel founder has claimed that there is no need to negotiate or compromise with gay rights supporters because they are acting like terrorists.

“It’s kind of like with these terrorists, it’s hard to negotiate with terrorists because they have a zero-sum game,” he said of gay rights advocates during the debate about Indiana’s so-called religious freedom law. “It’s hard to negotiate with these people who simply are irrational and are inventing things that just simply don’t exist.”

4) Thinks Gays Will Force Us To Be Gay

Prior to the 2012 election, Staver warned that the Obama administration was planning to impose “in-your-face forced homosexuality” upon the nation.

He also charged that society would “just simply cease to exist” under marriage equality.

5) Paints Gays As Child Molesters

Staver, who once warned that gay people seek to “groom” and “entrap” children, recently claimed that the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to “allow homosexual young boys in the Scouts and allow homosexual leaders in the Scouts” will lead to “all kinds of sexual molestation” as the organization transforms into “a playground for pedophiles to go and have all these boys as objects of their lust.”

6) Wants Gay Rights Supporters Out Of Office

Staver had strong words for members of Vermont’s legislature who voted for a bill legalizing same-sex marriage in the state, saying that they were unfit for office: “It is a sad day in America when elected officials are clueless about the definition of marriage. If they cannot understand this basic human relationship between a man and a woman, then they are not competent for public office.”

7) Warns Gay Marriage Will Cause A Crime Wave

Staver predicted that the legalization of gay marriage will lead to a new generation of criminals, claiming that the children of two women are more likely to turn to a life of crime:

He even claimed that transgender people will use the Employment Non-Discrimination Act to rape and kill women and girls: “So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls…. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.”

8) Blames Gay Marriage For Bank Failure

During the 2008 Wall Street meltdown, Staver said that the failure of two of the country’s biggest banks, Washington Mutual and Wachovia, was a price they had to pay for supporting gay marriage: “Washington Mutual and Wachovia, both of which actively promoted the homosexual agenda, have come to realize that anti-family policies will bankrupt the bottom line.”

9) Warns Gay Marriage Will Destroy Civilization

Staver believes that marriage equality will “has a catastrophic consequence for our religious freedom, for the very function of the family, for marriage, for our human existence, for civil society and for any area of our liberty” as it leads to “the unraveling of the United States.”

“Same-sex marriage is the beginning of the end of western civilization,” he said in an interview last year. “It really is, it’s that serious.”

In 2013, Staver claimed that gay marriage would be “the beginning of the end of America.”

10) Wants War To Fight Gay Marriage

Staver’s opposition to gay marriage is so fierce that he has even threatened to wage a revolution to fight it:

This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of. This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war. I’m not talking about just people protesting in the streets, this could be that level because what would ultimately happen is a direct collision would immediately happen with pastors, with churches, with Christians, with Christian ministries, with other businesses, it would be an avalanche that would go across the country.

He said that while he would prefer a non-violent revolution, “you never know what happens.”

Staver: Requiring Kim Davis To Do Her Job Is Like Forcing Her 'To Grant A License To Sodomize Children'

Mat Staver, the Liberty Counsel attorney who is representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her ongoing refusal to issue same-sex marriage licenses, appeared on the "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, where he said that requiring Davis to issue such marriage licenses is like requiring her to provide licenses to "sodomize children."

"A clerk provides licenses to do something," Staver explained. "A license to operate a motor vehicle on the road, a license to build a particular facility or a license to do this or a license to do that or a license to operate a business. So that person is licensing someone to do something and in this case, they're licensing what? They're licensing something that is directly contrary to the core of their religious convictions, to engage in sinful activity among same-sex relations and sanction something that is contrary to the Scriptures and that is marriage of two people of the same sex."

"To force someone like that to give a license for something that will legalize, that will put a stamp of approval on something that is absolute rebellion against God, sinful, then that is a direct collision of unprecedented magnitude," he continued, saying that requiring Davis to do her job is like requiring her "to grant a license to engage in pornography, to grant a license to sodomize children or something of that nature."

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