Liberty Counsel

Staver: Efforts to Redefine Marriage are 'Unpatriotic'

Today, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver addressed the Values Voter Summit where he blasted those who "want to destroy the natural definition of marriage," declaring that any effort to "redesign the definition of marriage is, ultimately, unpatriotic" and an insult to the dreams of our Founding Fathers:

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Is Tony Perkins the Most Disingenuous Person on the Planet?

Well, in a world that includes Paul Ryan, maybe not.  But Perkins ensured his standing near the top of the list with his performance at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  Perkins heads an organization that excels in the kind of incendiary rhetoric he denounced from the podium.   I kept thinking about Bill Clinton’s recent characterization of Ryan: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
 
Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of the Religious Right organizations that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a long record of smearing LGBT people with false and denigrating rhetoric.  Perkins used his press club appearance to repeat his charge that it was irresponsible for SPLC and other groups to describe his organization that way.  He suggested that FRC’s critics had created a climate that contributed to the recent violence at FRC headquarters in downtown D.C.
 
Let me say that it was genuinely sobering and moving to hear Perkins describe the incident, in which a security guard who may have saved the lives of many FRC employees was shot while disarming a gunman.  No one should be put in the position of being hunkered down in their office in fear for their life.  No one should be subjected to violence for participating in the public arena.  At the time of the shooting, progressive and gay rights leaders immediately and unequivocally denounced the attack on FRC.
 
It is true that irresponsible and hateful speech can poison our public discourse. But in today’s political climate, that speech is most likely to come from right-wing groups and their allies.  I remember feeling nervous as well as outraged when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two days after the 9-11 attacks, blamed People For the American Way by name, as well as feminists, liberals, and others.  And the right’s rhetorical extremism has become supercharged since the election of President Obama.
 
The First Amendment does protect hateful and irresponsible speech.  But being free to participate in the public arena does not meaning being exempt from criticism.  And calling hateful speech hateful is not the same as actually promoting hatred toward a particular group of Americans.  We have noted before how quickly Perkins moved to exploit the shooting in an effort to discredit his opponents and deflect attention from his own group’s extreme record and rhetoric:
 
You don't have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct."  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  
 
What does it even mean for Perkins to make a public commitment to advocate with civility and compassion when his guests at the head table include rhetorical bomb-throwers like Bishop Harry Jackson, who has said that gay rights advocates are trying to recruit young people “just like during the times of Hitler” and that gay marriage is part of a “satanic plot” to destroy the family, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, who participated in the McCarthyite smear of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and who says that President Obama “wants a dictatorship?” Or when he recently hired as his executive vice president retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has called for limits on American Muslims’ religious liberty and accuses Obama of using the health care reform law as cover to create a private army of Brownshirts?
 
Perkins also used his speech to promote this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, which is co-sponsored by organizations whose leaders regularly spout rhetoric that is often even more extreme than FRC’s -- about LGBT Americans, Muslims and other non-Christians, supporters of church-state separation and more.  Among the worst are the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer is such a torrent of bigotry that it cannot be easily condensed, and Liberty Counsel, whose Matt Barber purveys loathsome attacks on his political opponents, charging that satanic gay rights activists are “running interference for pedophiles” and charging that groups supporting church-state separation, like People For the American Way, are enemies of religious freedom.
 
Calling for civil discourse on the eve of the Values Voter Summit sounds like nothing more than a bad joke.  If Tony Perkins is at all sincere about his call for civility, this weekend would be a good time to start.
 

Who's Who at the Values Voter Summit 2012

This weekend Republican and conservative leaders, including GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, are set to address the Religious Right's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Raymond Raines and the Undying Myth of Christian Persecution

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about a new report from Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council entitled "The Survey on Religious Hostility in America" which claims to have chronicled "more than 600 cases detailing religious bigotry throughout America."

We noted that one of the cases prominently cited in the report was the story about a ten-year old boy named Raymond Raines who was supposedly yanked out of his chair in the school cafeteria and screamed at by a teacher simply for praying before eating his lunch.

It is one of the Religious Right's favorite tales of victimhood and, as we have noted several times before, it's nearly twenty years old and totally false

The St. Louis case concerned 10-year-old Raymond Raines who, his mother said, was given detention because he sought to pray over his lunch. When lawyers for the Rutherford Institute heard about the case, they filed a lawsuit against the principal and issued a press release denouncing the school system.

"I know it sounds bizarre, but we have substantial evidence to believe it happened," said Timothy Belz, the St. Louis lawyer working with the Rutherford Institute.

On NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," Gingrich described the situation as "a real case about a real child. Should it be possible for the government to punish you if you say grace over your lunch? That's what we used to think of Russian behavior when they were the Soviet Union."

But school officials said the incident never happened. Rather, they said, Raymond was disciplined for fighting in the cafeteria.

"I can tell you he was not reprimanded for praying," said Kenneth Brostron, the school's lawyer. "Do you think it makes sense that the teachers would look around the cafeteria and target the one student who was praying quietly at his seat?"

But that, of course, didn't stop Matt Barber and Shawn Akers from citing it on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, where Akers bizarrely linked it to the Declaration of Independence:

For good measure, Barber chimed in to declare that "the hostility against religion, Christianity in particular, has reached such heights that government officials are physically assaulting for praying over a meal in the schools.  That's not hyperbole; that's a specific example."

The claim is, of course, nothing but hyperbole.

Ann Romney Booked for Gay-Bashing Conference?

[Update 9-12-12: Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation]

Ann Romney, the person tasked with humanizing her husband Mitt, is apparently scheduled to address a conference that dehumanizes others. I’m talking about the Values Voter Summit, which is hosted and sponsored by two Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups – the Family Research Council and American Family Association.

The National Journal Daybook and Values Voter Summit website both list Ann Romney on the schedule:
 
 
 
Notably absent from the list is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose spokesperson pointedly declined FRC’s invitation. Yet there Ann Romney is.
 
It’s an odd move by the Romney campaign. They’ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now they’re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 to use David Duke’s mailing list and addressed a white supremacist group while in public office. The same person – Tony Perkins – also praised a law in Uganda to execute gays and warned senators they would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands” if they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
 
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really need two headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception, dismissing them as distractions "from what the real voting issue is going to be."
 
For weeks, the Values Voter Summit website listed Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as invited speakers. When Ryan was added to the ticket in August, the Family Research Council blasted out an email confirming Ryan’s appearance. No one really expected Mitt Romney to show for the event – too radical, too close to the election. That’s why, when the conference schedule was recently posted, it was a shock to see not only “Romney” on the lineup, but Ann Romney.
 
Ryan and Ann Romney, if she appears, will be speaking on stage with Perkins in a lineup that includes Kirk Cameron and Michele Bachmann. They’ll be kicking off a conference that features a who’s who of Todd Akin backers (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve King) and anti-Muslim McCarthyites (e.g. Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin). And, of course, there will be gay-bashers – featured speakers like Perkins and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who recently defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality. They would push for the same thing here in America if they thought they could pull it off. In fact, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer have already done so.
 
These aren’t conservative people pushing conservative values and policies – this is the radical right. America, and the Romney campaign in all likelihood, would be better served if Romney and Ryan followed Dolan’s example and skipped the conference. Or they can go cast their lot with the extremists with the national media looking on. We’ll see what their priorities are this Friday morning.

 

Barber: Media Who Cite SPLC Will Have Blood on Their Hands

Ever since last month's tragic shooting at the Family Research Council's headquarters, the Religious Right has been on a mission to lay the blame on the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating FRC and others as anti-gay hate groups.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, in particular, has been on a crusade to blame the shooting on the SPLC and on Friday's episode of the "Faith and Freedom" radio program, warned everyone in the media not to ever dare to cite the SPLC's anti-gay hate group designations ever again, saying that if they do and "something like this again happens, [they] will also have blood on their hands":

Liberty Counsel's Celebrity Headliner: Victoria Jackson

Liberty Counsel, the Florida Family Policy Council and Women Impacting the Nation next month will host a women’s conference at Orlando’s First Baptist Church featuring special guest Victoria Jackson, the former SNL cast member, which wouldn’t be newsworthy if it wasn’t for the fact that Jackson’s career has devolved into making bizarre and unintentionally hilarious rants about the dangers of homosexuality. Come to think of it, she will fit right in with the folks at Liberty Counsel!

Mat Staver Says Attorney in Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case 'Ought to be Sanctioned'

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, whose firm represented “ex-gay” Lisa Miller who is now wanted for kidnapping, says the attorney representing Miller’s former partner Janet Jenkins “ought to be sanctioned” for filing a RICO lawsuit against Liberty University Law School, where Staver is the dean. Just before the lawsuit was filed against Liberty and other parties implicated in the kidnapping case, a Mennonite pastor was convicted for aiding Miller in kidnapping her daughter Isabella in order to avoid an impending court order to hand over custody to Jenkins.

Ironically, Staver’s law school reportedly teaches students to break the law when representing a client in Miller’s situation, and more information has emerged linking the law school to Miller’s disappearance.

In an interview with the conservative website LifeSiteNews.com, Staver denounced the RICO lawsuit as “outrageously frivolous,” “defamatory” and “sanctionable.”

A lawsuit filed by a homosexual against Liberty University School of Law and various other organizations and individuals for “conspiracy” and “racketeering” is based on lies and is defamatory, according to law school dean Mathew Staver, who says that he will “pursue every recourse” against the plaintiffs for having filed it.

Staver also says that the suit is an attempt to undermine the freedom of speech of pro-family groups in their opposition to homosexual behavior and homosexual parenting.

“This is outrageously frivolous,” Staver told LifeSiteNews.com. “It’s a press release filed in federal court. It is sanctionable, and we will pursue every recourse possible because this suit is defamatory. It’s filled with lies, it’s frivolous, and the attorney who filed it ought to be sanctioned…”

The suit, filed on behalf of Vermont lesbian Janet Jenkins, claims that Liberty University School of Law, Thomas Road Baptist Church, Christian Aid Ministries, and other organizations and individuals are involved in various schemes of “conspiracy” and “racketeering” for allegedly offering support for ex-lesbian Lisa Miller’s and her daughter’s escape from the United States in 2009.

Barber: PFAW is in 'Rebellion Against God' and in Need of Prayer

On today's episode of "Faith and Freedom," Matt Barber kindly encouraged everyone to pray for "folks that are so deluded and so deceived" that they would work at a place like People For The American Way because we are obviously driven by a "visceral hostility" toward Christianity and are in "rebellion against God."

As such, people need to pray that we will "come to know Christ and ... relent in [our] hostility toward the Christian faith":

Barber: Polygamy and Incest are 'Inevitable' if Gay Marriage is Legalized

On today's "Faith and Freedom" program, Matt Barber declared that gay activists don't actually want marriage equality but rather are interested in "deconstructing the Judeo-Christian notion of marriage as marriage has always been." 

In fact, Barber claimed, the institution of marriage has always been about restricting which sorts of relationships are legitimate, which is why "people can't marry children, people can't marry close relatives, people can't marry their favorite pet."  Barber then warned that if "we're going to break the institution of marriage and radically redefine it" then "polygamy is inevitable if same-sex marriage becomes the law of the land and we can no longer have prohibitions on incestuous marriage":

Barber: Pro-Gay Donors & Activists Have 'Poisoned' the GOP and Must Be 'Rooted Out'

On Friday's episode of "The Janet Mefferd Show," Matt Barber was interviewed to give his thoughts on "the GOP and their buckling stance on homosexuality." Barber was, not surprisingly, highly critical of any effort by the Republican Party to try to appear less openly-hostile to gays and blasted the party for even letting groups like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans or pro-gay donors have a seat at the table. 

Such groups were, Barber asserted, really just gay activists in disguise who are intent destroying the Republican Party from within.  As such, they and like-minded donors have "poisoned" the GOP and need to be "rooted out" because the "most important election in history" is approaching and the party cannot risk alienating its Chick-fil-A-loving, anti-gay base at a time like this:

You know, that's all we need is the Republican Party looking more and more like the Democratic Party. What the Log Cabin Republicans are doing here - and let's be very clear here; groups like GOProud and the Log Cabin Republicans who call themselves Republican or conservative, they're just a bunch of radical homosexual activists in conservative or Republican clothing. These guys know exactly what they're doing, they're trying to undermine the Republican Party from within I believe intentionally, I believe it's covert and they know what they're doing.

So this does not bode well, the fact that the Republican Party is even entertaining these radical activists here and they're looking at essentially spending a dollar to save a dime - I mean, imagine alienating the entire base of the Republican Party in order to appease a few radical homosexual activists; it's counter-intuitive, it's thick-headed, and this is the most important election, I think, in history that we have coming up right now, and now is not the time for the GOP to be alienating the base of the party.

...

They are not conservatives. They are liberal Republicans more suited to the Democratic Party but fiscally conservative, oftentimes, and so they have essentially poisoned, in large degree, the Republican Party and, I think, need to be rooted out.

You know, we saw what the base of the Republican Party believes with the overwhelming outpouring for Chick-fil-A, for natural marriage, for traditional values and for the Republican Party to even entertain the idea because a few of these donors have deep pockets of running afoul of these traditional values that the Republican Party platform has been based on for years, it's just a stupid idea.

Barber: Obama is Burning the Constitution and the Bible

Today on "Faith and Freedom," Matt Barber railed against health care reform legislation, in particular the contraception mandate, declaring that it was like something out of George Orwell's 1984."  Barber blasted the "secular socialist Obama administration" for having "trampled" over the Constitution and the Bible and essentially declaring "we're going to burn them both":

Anti-Gay Extremists Unite to Denounce US Embassy for Backing Czech LGBT Pride Festival

The US Embassy in the Czech Republic, as part of the State Department’s new LGBT rights initiative, is supporting a pride festival in Prague “to address discriminatory behavior based on sexual orientation and to promote a tolerant civil society and equal opportunities in the Czech Republic.” Already irate over Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech on LGBT rights, American Religious Right activists joined their European, African and Latin American allies to denounce the Obama administration for “aggressively promoting the ‘gay’ agenda internationally” and leading a campaign of “cultural imperialism” [PDF]:

At the directive of the president of the United States, Washington is aggressively promoting the “gay’’ agenda internationally, including same-sex “marriage” and the stigmatization and marginalization of any who object to the same.

The Obama’s administration’s embrace of “same-sex marriage” has been overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. There have been 32 state referenda on marriage. In every one of them, voters endorsed the natural definition of marriage (a man and a woman). The North Carolina vote, on May 8, was 61% in favor of natural marriage.



It stands to reason, then, that anything which undermines the family – including changing the definition of marriage – is a breach of the State’s responsibility to protect this indispensable institution which precedes government and makes a stable and free society possible.

The Madrid Declaration of World Congress of Families VI (May 25-27, 2012) --which was unanimously adopted by more than 3,200 delegates from 72 countries --provides, in part: “We affirm the natural family to be the union of a man and a woman through marriage for the purposes of sharing love and joy, propagating children, providing their moral education, building a vital home economy, offering security in times of trouble, and binding the generations.”

Regarding “gay rights,” those caught up in this lifestyle have the same rights as other citizens. This does not include the “right” to force others to validate a lifestyle they find objectionable, for religious or other reasons. It also does not include the right of men to marry men and women to marry women.

The foregoing pseudo-rights do not advance human freedom and dignity but debase them.

We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the “gay” agenda on societies with traditional values.

The list of signatories is mighty long, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber; American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon; Catholic League’s Bill Donohue; Vision America’s Rick Scarborough; Rabbi Daniel Lapin; American Civil Rights Union’s Robert Knight; Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse; Pastor Jim Garlow; WND’s David Kupelian; TFP’s C. Preston Noell III; conservative activist Richard Viguerie; World Congress of Families’ Don Feder; Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell; Traditional Values Coalition’s Louis Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty; and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Paige Peterson.

Other activists like Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, Scott Lively of Defend the Family International and Sharon Slater of Family Watch International are also among the signatories, as is Mission America’s Linda Harvey, who believes people should refuse care for themselves and their children from openly gay doctors and nurses:

Another signatory was Yehuda Levin has claimed that gay marriage caused last year’s D.C. earthquake and linked gay rights to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake:

The list even included former chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who performs gay exorcisms:

Staver & Barber Say Democratic Platform Supporting Marriage Equality will Lead to Christian Persecution

On today's episode of "Faith and Freedom," Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the news that the official Democratic Party platform would include a plank supporting marriage equality.  Needless to say, neither Staver nor Barber were impressed, as Staver warned that it would lead to religious persecution against Christians while Barber declared that everyone knows that there is no such thing as gay marriage, which is why gay activists "respond so violently when people snicker at it." 

Both Barber and Staver asserted that supporters of marriage equality refuse to engage in any sort of debate on this topic because, as Staver said, "they can't dialogue on it from a logical perspective and so they want to shout you down and shut you up and push you out of business so that you can't even practice your profession, pursue your calling, operate your business, or do you daily life":

Barber: Gay Activists are 'Deceived by the Enemy of the World, Satan'

On Friday, Matt Barber called in to "AFA Today" with Buster Wilson to discuss the success of Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day as well as efforts by gay activists to organize "kiss-ins" at Chick-fil-A restaurants across the country.

The latter efforts, Barber explained, were being done because "homosexual activists are in rebellion against God" and they are trying "dampen the internal turmoil [and] confliction in their soul" because they know they are engaging in "abominable" behavior.

As such, they lash out with "this disgusting, vile offensive behavior" and do so be "they are deceived by the Enemy of the World ... Satan": 

Barber: Chick-fil-A Will be Blessed by God

On today's edition of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver and Matt Barber were discussing the controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A, which prompted Barber to declare that companies only come out in support of marriage equality because they have been "browbeaten" into it by gay activists.

In fact, Barber said, companies should just "be in the business of making widgets" and not take sides on controversial political or cultural issues because doing only risks alienating potential customers ... except for Chick-fil-A, which deserves accolades for standing up in opposition to gay marriage and for which the company will be blessed by God:

Liberty Counsel links Reproductive Rights to Colorado Massacre

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber yesterday on Faith & Freedom said that legal abortion had a role in the Colorado movie theatre massacre. Staver maintained that America has been consumed by a “culture of death” that has led to recent shootings while Barber claimed that the “sacred cow of the left--abortion--they worship at the altar of euphemistic, so-called choice,” is partly to blame. Because of legal abortion, Barber said, “we have to expect these kinds of consequences.”

Watch:

Liberty Counsel Jumps on the Boycott Hypocrisy Bandwagon

The anti-gay group Liberty Counsel has a history of supporting boycotts and organizing similar pressure campaigns, targeting companies like McDonalds, Pay Pal, Starbucks, Lowe’s and any retailer that doesn’t say the word “Christmas” enough. But much like their allies at the National Organization for Marriage and the American Family Association, LC now believes that boycotts and pressure campaigns are only acceptable if they are the ones organizing them. Objecting to protests against Chick-fil-A for its record of anti-gay advocacy and financing of anti-gay groups, LC now is running a petition denouncing potential boycotters.

LC’s Matt Barber, who led a news conference outside of McDonalds’ corporate headquarters protesting the company’s support for the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce and declared that “anyone who supports traditional marriage should boycott McDonalds,” today attacked boycotters of Chick-fil-A while wondering if the Muppets are gay, linking homosexuality to pedophilia, and comparing same-sex couples to Christmas lights:

Forget about Bert and Ernie. I always thought Kermit the Frog was a little “light in the flippers,” if you know what I mean. Miss Piggy? Probably just cover (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more). And, how about that perennial bachelor, Fozzie Bear? Wocka Wocka, indeed.

Or not.

I don’t know.

Still, a recent move by The Jim Henson Company makes you wonder. In a distinctly knee-jerk, anti-family development, the Muppet mogul has severed promotional ties with Chick-fil-A – the booming fast-food chain and American Cinderella story. The multi-billion dollar company has stirred the ire of left-wing extremists in recent days.



Cathy’s statement was all it took. The “progressive” establishment had a mouth-frothing, water-meets-Wicked-Witch-of-the-West meltdown. They’ve charged the battlefield with that characteristic slash-and-burn, seek-and-destroy style and grace we’ve come to expect.

“Boycott Chick-fil-A!” shrieked the ever-tolerant, oh-so-enlightened sexual-anarchist troglodytes. “Bigots! Haters! Homophobes!” (You know; same pointless pap, different day.)



That’s the thing about liberalism – about political correctness. It exists in the realm of fantasy. It’s a barrier to truth. “Progressivism” comprises a farcical assortment of pseudo-utopian ideals that reflect how postmodern leftists want things to be, rather than how things actually are.

They float the propagandist idiom “marriage equality” – choosing all the while to ignore objective “marriage reality.”

So-called “same-sex marriage”? A counterfeit. It’s like taking a rotten apple, spray-painting it orange, and then calling it an orange. “Gay marriage” is no more real marriage then a rotten apple is an orange.

It’s unavoidable. Marriage is, by definition, the joining of two complementary opposites – two “others.” Consider Christmas lights. When you string them together you necessarily “marry” the male end with the female end. It defies logic and physics to try and force a male-male or female-female connection. There can be no real connection. Sure, you can employ some artificial mechanism – say, superglue or duct tape – to create a mock connection, but the lights don’t work, and the duct tape eventually gives out. Not to mention that it’s aesthetically off-putting.

“Gay marriage” is mock marriage. It’s fantasy – a dead end. Even a child knows this intuitively and, in their heart-of-hearts, lefties and “gay” activists know it, too. That’s why they respond so violently when people snicker at it or, as in the case of Dan Cathy, even respectfully acknowledge that it’s not grounded in reality.



In the wake of the Penn State scandal surrounding Jerry Sandusky’s homosexual assault on dozens of young boys, the Boy Scouts of America moved to protect children by re-affirming its prohibition against scoutmasters who live a homosexual lifestyle. Although they didn’t expressly indicate that Penn State influenced their decision, there can be little doubt it did.

As with the Chick-fil-A debacle, libs lost their collective noodle. Apparently, the only thing they hate more than Chick-fil-A is a “morally straight” 12-year-old who strives for integrity and merit.

So here’s my proposal: Don’t let a bunch of uber-obnoxious, loud-mouthed liberal pansies intimidate you. They’re nothing but a wet paper tiger. On Wednesday, Aug. 1, have your kids wear their Boy Scout uniforms to Chick-fil-A. Scoutmasters, bring ‘em all.

The New York Times Sheds New Light on the Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case

New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm has a big front-page story in Sunday’s paper on a case that readers of RWW are familiar with: the disappearance of Lisa Miller. Eckholm traveled to Nicaragua to talk with the Mennonite communities that have helped harbor Miller and her daughter Isabella on their flight from United States law enforcement and from Isabella’s other legal parent, Miller’s former partner Janet Jenkins of Vermont. Miller, who kidnapped her daughter rather than allow her to have visitation rights with Jenkins, has become a cause celebre among the Religious Right, a supposed victim of anti-Christian persecution.

Eckholm supplies us with an illuminating and creepy anecdote about a family of hamsters left to die in Miller’s abandoned house, and casts some light on the thinking of those who helped harbor Miller in Nicaragua. But there’s one important piece of the puzzle that remains a mystery: did Miller’s attorneys at Liberty University have anything to do with Miller’s disappearance? LU Law School dean Mat Staver tells Eckholm that he was surprised as anyone when Miller disappeared, as he has since it first became known.

But Liberty University’s relationship with Miller has always been a little complicated. Rena Lindevaldsen, an LU Law School dean and Miller’s attorney before she disappeared, has now written a book arguing Miller’s case. And even before Miller kidnapped with Isabella, Lindevaldsen and Staver were teaching Miller’s case as an example of a situation where the demands of “God’s law” trump those of “man’s law.” Religion Dispatches’ Sarah Posner talked with several students who had taken a required class from the two deans and got her hands on a copy of an exam that quizzed students on what to do in Lisa Miller’s situation:

Students at Liberty Law School tell RD that in the required Foundations of Law class in the fall of 2008, taught by Miller’s attorneys Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, they were repeatedly instructed that when faced with a conflict between “God’s law” and “man’s law,” they should resolve that conflict through “civil disobedience.” One student said, “the idea was when you are confronted with a particular situation, for instance, if you have a court order against you that is in violation of what you see as God’s law, essentially... civil disobedience was the answer.

This student and two others, who all requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Staver (who is also the law school’s dean), recounted the classroom discussion of civil disobedience, as well as efforts to draw comparisons between choosing “God’s law” over “man’s law” to the American revolution and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. According to one student, in the Foundations course both Staver and Lindevaldsen “espoused the opinion that in situations where God’s law is in direct contradiction to man’s law, we have an obligation to disobey it.”
...
That semester’s mid-term exam, obtained by RD [see excerpts of the actual exam here], included a question based on Miller’s case asking students to describe what advice they would give her “as a friend who is a Christian lawyer.” After laying out a slanted history of the protracted legal battle, the exam asked, “Lisa needs your counsel on how to think through her legal situation and how to respond as a Christian to this difficult problem. Relying only on what we have learned thus far in class, how would you counsel Lisa?”

Students who wrote that Miller should comply with court orders received bad grades while those who wrote she should engage in civil disobedience received an A, the three students said. “People were appalled,” said one of the students, adding, “especially as lawyers to be, who are trained and licensed to practice the law—to disobey that law, that seemed completely counterintuitive to all of us.”

Still, some knew what they needed to “regurgitate,” in order to get a good grade. “It was obvious by the substance of the class during the semester the answer that they wanted,” said one of the students. “The majority of people that I am acquainted with who did get As wrote that because that was expected of them.”

One of the students who got an A said, “I told them she needed to engage in civil disobedience and seriously consider leaving the country,” adding, “I knew what I needed to write.”

Given what was expected of them on the exam, and the tenor of the class, there is “not a lot of shock among the students about the current developments,” said one of the students, referring to the revelation that Miller is in hiding in Nicaragua. “Everybody semi-suspected that Liberty Counsel had something to do with her disappearance.”


Of course, we have no way of knowing what Liberty Counsel knew and when they knew it. But Posner’s reporting shows that it’s certainly worth looking into.

Religious Right Leaders Pray for 'Healing for Those who Struggle with Same-Sex Attraction'

A number of prominent women leaders of the Religious Right have come together for the American Prayer Initiative, which is “designed to help draw ‘we the people’ of this nation back to the One upon whom she was founded.’ The group includes the National Day of Prayer’s Shirley Dobson and Vonette Bright, talk show host Janet Parshall, Liberty Counsel’s Anita Staver, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Susan B. Anthony List’s Marilyn Musgrave, activist Rebecca Hagelin and Susan Allen, wife of Virginia’s George Allen. The group offers members a specific prayer for every day of each month until Election Day, including prayers condemning homosexuality and the separation of church and state.

One message asks participants to pray for God’s “healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction” and to “replace unnatural affections”:

We pray for healing and restoration of true manhood and womanhood in America. We ask for Your wisdom and protection against attempts to re-define our very identity as men and women.

We pray for Your design for abundant and fulfilled manhood, womanhood and marriage to gain preeminence in America.

We pray for a full restoration of the image and definition of manhood and womanhood in America.

We petition You, God for Your healing for those who struggle with same-sex attraction. May they come to know Your power, Your mercy and Your love as You replace unnatural affections with ones You Yourself designed.

Another is a prayer to oppose the legalization of same-sex marriage:

We pray that the union of one man and one woman will be embraced by all societies as the sole form of legitimate marriage and the proper basis of family.

We ask that the power of Your hand intervene to transform and heal the hearts of those who would attempt to re-define marriage.

The group also sends a message criticizing the influence of judges and proponents of the separation of church and state:

We ask for leaders, a judicial system and judges who adhere to the original intent of our founding documents and their many connections to Biblical principles.

We pray for a true understanding of justice according to Your Word We pray for Your protection from attempts to redefine justice for political gain.

We ask You to convict, transform and protect those who are out of Your will. We ask You to encourage, strengthen and protect those who honor and follow You.

We ask You for judges who will follow constitutional principles rather than ruling according to pre-chosen outcomes or relying on international law.

We pray that courts will recognize parents’ fundamental rights to the care, custody and control of their children.

We ask for Your guidance for accurate rulings over first amendment issues, and an awareness in our country that the words, “separation of church and state” are found nowhere in any one of our founding documents. We ask for a reversal of rulings which have inaccurately established “separation” as a Constitutional principle.

There is even a prayer against a media looking “to bring our country down by bringing our culture down”:

We ask you, Lord, to open greater and greater opportunities for Your Gospel to flow freely across our airwaves.

We ask, Lord, for You to grant Americans the wisdom to discern truth from deception.

We pray for those in the entertainment industry that they may better serve the families of our country by creating programs and movies that are uplifting in nature and extol positive virtues.

We especially pray Your blessings upon those in media, entertainment, the arts and journalism who are driven by loyalty to You. We ask for favor and acceptance for their work.

We ask You to raise up, equip, and abundantly provide for Your true disciples in the media, the arts, entertainment and journalism.

We pray for honesty in journalism.

We pray for those who would intend to bring our country down by bringing our culture down.

We ask you to foil the plans of those who would bring others down in any form.

We ask for Your transforming power in the lives of those who would divide, deceive and destroy.
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