Liberty Counsel

A Spiritual Battle For America's Future: Five Takeaways From The Religious Right's Awakening Conference

On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.

At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality. 

Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.

1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail

While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.

The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”

Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.

Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”

Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.

2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues

Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.

Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:

Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:

This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”

3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism

Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.

Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.

What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.

Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:

4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It

Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.

Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”

“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”

The RNC’s Connelly also made a plug for conservative churches to engage in partisan politics , urging pastors to buck IRS rules preventing politicking from the pulpit and declaring that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual.”

5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other

One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.

Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.

Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":

It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.

Anti-Gay Activist: Marriage Equality Is 'The Heart Of Where Satan's Attacking'

As we mentioned earlier, the mood at Saturday’s Awakening conference in Florida around the issue of gay marriage was utter panic, and nowhere was that expressed more clearly than in a panel titled “Same-Sex Marriage and Sexual Rebellion: Freedom Under Fire,” moderated by off-the-rails anti-gay pundit Matt Barber and featuring a pastor, two “ex-gay” activists, and Rena Lindevaldsen, the Liberty University dean who has murky ties with the case of an “ex-lesbian” who fled the country with her daughter to defy a court order giving the child's other mother custody.

Lindevaldsen set the tone for the discussion when she lamented that too many conservative Christians aren’t committed to fighting gay rights and instead ask her “why is this such a big deal and why does it matter?”

"It's a big deal because it's a big deal to God," she declared.

Quoting the late Chuck Colson , she told the audience, “In every action we take, we are either helping to create a hell on Earth, or bringing down a foretaste of heaven…We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.”

“There’s no middle ground, there’s no neutrality, there is no compromise,” she added, telling Christians who are on the fence about gay rights that “it’s not loving” to let gay people “go on not knowing that God has a better plan for their lives, this is not the way that God designed them to be.”

“This is the heart of where Satan’s attacking,” she said. “He is seeking to destroy human sexuality and marriage. Why? Because we are the reflection, marriage is the reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. And so if you’re going to destroy the only human reflection we have of that, we’re going to destroy marriage.”

Our friends at American Bridge captured the audio:

Later in the panel, “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan similarly warned Christians not to be taken in by LGBT rights, saying that the Human Rights Campaign’s famous equals sign bumper stickers are “not about equality” but “about dominance” and hide an effort to destroy the Constitution.

(Audio again via American Bridge):

When you see that blue bumper sticker with that bright yellow sign, it’s not about equality, it’s about dominance. It’s about silencing any voice that’s against what they want to do. And the real issue is this — I want you to understand this. The Constitution of the United States is a Calvinist document — I’m not a Calvinist — it’s a Christian document, it was written by reformers, based on the word of God. The problem that the secular left has, secular progressives, whatever label you want to put on them, the anti-God folks, our Constitution. And their goal is to undo it, if that means by reinterpreting it rewriting it, but it is to undo it.

So know this, especially the homosexual agenda, if I go down the list, I got a thing called “the big pink plan for a lavender culture,” another talk I do, which goes to what the agenda is. I was there when they were talking about what they want to do. It’s not about equality, it’s about dominance.

Religious Right Activists Warn 'Lawless' Marriage Equality 'Undermines The Whole Nature Of America'

At Saturday’s Awakening conference, an annual Religious Right confab organized by Liberty Counsel, the mood surrounding LGBT rights had reached full-blown panic.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision let loose a cascade of federal court decisions legalizing marriage between same-sex couples in dozens of states, the Religious Right activists gathered in a megachurch in Orlando were bracing for a Supreme Court decision that could establish marriage equality nationwide.

At a panel titled “Activism in the Age of Lawlessness,” four Religious Right leaders — John Eidsmoe, Rick Scarborough, William Murray and Harry Mihet —  gathered to suss out what the movement’s response should be to pro-LGBT court rulings that they find to be “lawless.”

John Eidsmoe, the influential Christian nationalist thinker who served as a mentor to Michele Bachmann, outlined the issue, explaining to the audience that “‘rule of law’ ultimately means ‘rule of the highest law,’” or God’s law.

Eidsmoe, who now works for the Religious Right group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is urging judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling on marriage equality, argued that you are only disobeying the law if you disobey “the law of God.”

“You disobey a law only when those who have that law are breaking a higher law, the law of God,” he said. “And in fact, if you follow the decree of a tyrant when he is defying the law, you are complicit in his defiance. Disobedience then becomes not only a right, it becomes a duty.”

Eidsmoe explained that the idea of civil disobedience had been perverted since biblical times, since the idea of not violating your conscience should only apply if “your conscience is in accord with the word of God.”

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, warned that a Supreme Court decision for marriage equality would be worse for the Religious Right than Roe v. Wade because “with abortion, you can opt out, you don’t have to participate in that.”

He claimed that, in contrast, a marriage equality decision would outlaw anti-gay speech, the exact same erroneous prediction he made following the passage of the 2009 Hate Crimes Law.

“We’ll get up the day after that ruling, and in fact a few hours after that ruling when it’s widely disseminated, and you’ll find yourself, those of us who believe that homosexuality is a sexual sin — perversion if you will — those of us who believe that homosexual marriage is unnatural and forbidden by God and who have taught that our entire lives…when that law is passed you are then going to breaking the law when you preach or teach what you’ve always taught or what you’ve always preached,” he claimed.

“Fundamentally, it undermines the whole nature of America,” Scarborough concluded.

Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet, who was moderating the panel, echoed Scarborough’s dire warnings when he declared that there would be “no way to escape this issue” and that it might “in the near future” land anti-LGBT pastors in jail… just like Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We have to draw the line in the sand and stand firm on the truth of the Word, and not to shy away from a fight, not to quit, not to be silent, but to actually speak truth and love to a society that has a desperate need to hear it,” he said. “And there may come a time when you will have to lose your job because that’s what you’ve done. There may come a time in the near future when you have to lose your liberty and go to jail like Martin Luther King did.”

Mat Staver: Second American Revolution Needed To Stop Gay Marriage

In a radio interview this weekend, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver called on states to defy a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality if it goes “the wrong way.”

“What we could have is the Supreme Court issuing its decision on marriage the wrong way, and Alabama saying, ‘Goodbye, get out of my state, that’s not what’s going to happen to my state,’” Staver told anti-LGBT pundit Linda Harvey, adding that he hopes Texas will also flout such a decision.

The Religious Right legal activist went on to insist that California’s Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban that was struck down by the federal courts, “still is applicable” in most of the state. “They have no legal authority to issue those same-sex marriage licenses,” he claimed.

Staver said that people should prepare to commit civil disobedience if same-sex marriage becomes legal, pointing to the example of a North Carolina magistrate who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and offering an extremely twisted account of a controversy involving Catholic Charities in Massachusetts.

“Go back to the days of Martin Luther King Jr., go back to the days of the American Revolution,” Staver said. “I think it’s that serious.”

Staver: Supreme Court Pro-Marriage Ruling Would Deserve 'No More Respect' Than Dred Scott

In a speech to this weekend’s Awakening conference in Florida, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver declared that a ruling in favor of marriage equality from the Supreme Court would deserve “no more respect than Dred Scott or Buck v. Bell,” court rulings that, respectively, denied citizenship to African Americans and allowed mandatory state sterilization of mentally disabled people.

“I say this: If the Supreme Court can’t get it right, or any judge get it right, on the fundamental, observable, natural created order of marriage as the union between a man and a woman, they can’t get it right on anything, that’s their own opinion, and it deserves no more respect than Dred Scott or Buck v. Bell,” he declared.

He warned the audience that a “clash is coming” between religious liberty and LGBT rights that is “unprecedented in American history.”

“Tax exemption, income tax exemption, property tax exemption, everything is going to be impacted,” he said. “You cannot navigate around this. This is a collision of two trains coming in opposite directions on the same track. We are on the precipice of a collision of unprecedented magnitude.”

Rafael Cruz Delivers Christian Nation History Lesson To Far-Right Conference

Rafael Cruz, the father and frequent campaign surrogate of Sen. Ted Cruz, made a stop at this weekend’s The Awakening conference in Florida to deliver a David Barton-infused American history lesson to a room full of Religious Right activists.

Echoing a theme brought up by many of the conference’s speakers, Cruz told the audience that America was inviting God’s judgment and it was up to them as conservative Christians to become politically active and bring the country back.

“Let me tell you, judgment begins in the house of God,” he said. “But also, the restoration of America begins in the house of God.”

“Let me tell you what I am hearing from the Lord,” Cruz declared. “We are going to see in America a dual revival, a parallel revival. We are going to see a spiritual revival in tandem with a political revival, both together to restore America to the greatness that our forefathers gave it.”

He added his version of America’s founding — which he has laid out a number of times before — that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution “were written by revelation from God” and are therefore divine mandates to “elect righteous leaders.”

“If the righteous are not running for office, if the righteous are not even voting, what is left?” he asked. “The wicked electing the wicked. And we get what we deserve.”

Right-Wing Pastor: 'Secular Humanist Caliphate' & 'Militant Homofascism' Taking Over America

This weekend’s Awakening conference, an annual event hosted by the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel and attended by any number of far-right activists and a few GOP presidential candidates, was dominated by the theme that the Christian Right is in a spiritual war against a satanic coalition of LGBT rights, Islam and progressivism.

Nobody summed it up quite as well as Ken Graves, a pastor from Bangor, Maine, who declared to the audience sitting in a megachurch in Orlando that they were in a fight against “militant homofascism” that “seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and secular humanists who, in conjunction with militant Islam, want to “destroy everything we have” and establish a “secular humanist caliphate.”

Evoking Seven Mountains dominionism, the doctrine that seeks to deliver control of the “seven mountains” of society to conservative Christians, Graves declared that it is the secular humanists who now “have every major institution.”

He then pulled a Bible out of his pocket and bellowed to the crowd: “Why should we be intimidated if what has been placed in our hands is the very word of God?”

Rick Santorum: 'Yes We Can' Put The Bible Back In Public Schools

In a speech Saturday to the far-right Awakening conference organized by Liberty Counsel, Rick Santorum told the audience of pastors and activists that it was up to them to save America by, in part, getting Bibles back in public schools.

“We are on a crossroads in American history, a crossroads that looks like we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from,” Santorum warned, adding that the nation needs to return to God.

“The left cannot be successful in a country of God-given rights,” he said. “It can’t. Because they want to be the purveyor of rights, and if God is the purveyor of rights, then they lose. We have an obligation to educate, to form, within our churches to preach, within our families to educate, and to fight within our schools. Why are Bibles no longer in public schools? Don’t give me the Supreme Court. The reason Bibles are no longer in the public schools is because we let them take them out of the public schools.”

He added a variation on President Obama’s campaign chant: “You say, ‘Well we can’t get them back in.’ Yes we can. Yes we can!”

Why Are GOP Hopefuls Speaking At An Event With An 'Ex-Terrorist' Who Allegedly Threw Jews Off Buildings?

As Miranda noted earlier, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal are all scheduled to make an appearance this weekend at "The Awakening," an event organized by Liberty Counsel featuring a myriad of radical anti-gay and anti-Islam activists.

Among the participants will be Kamal Saleem, who has carved out a career for himself as an anti-Islam expert, supposedly based on his years as a leading Islamic terrorist with ties to Al Qaeda, Moammar Gadhafi, and Saddam Hussein before finally converting to Christianity.

The "insights" that Saleem provides in his capacity are generally nonsense and his entire tale of a previous life as a terrorist is highly suspect and filled with unbelievable tales such as how, at eight years old, he outran Israeli military fire while carrying a dead friend on his back after a botched weapons smuggling operation.

The inconsistencies and outright implausibility of many of his claims has not, in any way, damaged Saleem's reputation among Religious Right activists, as evidenced by the fact that he will be among those participating in "The Awakening," along with various GOP presidential hopefuls.

Earlier this week, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver spoke to a local Tea Party group in Orlando, Florida, where he pitched the upcoming event by specifically citing Saleem's participation in it as a reason for people to attend. In selling Saleem's life story as a vicious terrorist who was saved through Christ, Staver made a rather startling claim when he asserted that, in his terrorist past, Saleem had thrown Jews off the tops of building in Lebanon.

"Kamal Saleem was a terrorist," Staver said. "He was actually engaged in terrorist activity from a young boy and he knew all the top terrorist leaders from ... the head of Libya, the head of Syria, he knew all these different people. And he actually killed Jews, threw people off the tops of buildings during the Lebanon crisis and in the Green Zone, he was involved in active terrorism. Brutal stuff":

If we ignore everything we know about Saleem and his past and just accept for a minute that Staver's claim is true, it creates a situation in which three leading Republican presidential hopefuls will be speaking at an event alongside an anti-Semitic murderer who was never tried or punished for any his crimes ... but that is apparently not a big deal because that murderous terrorist has since found Christ and repented.

Jindal, Huckabee And Santorum To Join Far-Right Activists At Liberty Counsel's 'The Awakening'

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, after teaming up with Christian nationalist extremists to host his “The Response” prayer rally in Baton Rouge earlier this year, is now continuing his project of endearing himself to the far fringes of the Religious Right by addressing an annual conference hosted by Liberty Counsel this weekend.

Liberty Counsel’s “The Awakening” event will bring Jindal, along with fellow likely GOP presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, together with some of the most unapologetically extreme Religious Right leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz’s dad Rafael.

With speakers from John Eidsmoe, a founding father of the Religious Right’s current Christian nationalist thought, to Kamal Saleem, the phony ex-terrorist and prolific anti-Obama conspiracy theorist, the candidates are sure to be treated to an exciting array of far-right ideas.

Mat Staver

The Awakening is organized by Liberty Counsel, a legal arm of Liberty University founded and chaired by Mat Staver. Staver is particularly invested in anti-LGBT activism both in the U.S. and abroad, where he has spoken out in favor of laws criminalizing homosexuality. Here at home, he has warned that marriage equality will help bring about God’s destruction of America and will be “the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.”

Staver’s extremism is not limited to LGBT rights. For instance, at the 2010 Awakening conference, Staver agreed with an audience member who asked if the Affordable Care Act created a private army of Brownshirts for President Obama.

Kamal Saleem

Kamal Saleem claims to be an ex-terrorist who worked for a number of Islamist groups before coming to America to build sleeper cells and ultimately converting to Christianity. The fact that Saleem’s story doesn’t add up — and that he’s suspiciously reluctant to talk about the details — hasn’t stopped him from being a popular speaker on the Religious Right conference circuit, where he impresses audiences with his insider knowledge that President Obama is a secret Muslim out to destroy America.

Saleem uses his literally unbelievable personal story to sell a wide range of conspiracy theories, including claims that President Obama attends a mosque in Washington, DC, on Christmas (while he is simultaneously in Hawaii) and that Islamists are working through Sasha and Malia Obama’s babysitters to establish a shadow government.

In 2012, he told The Awakening that when President Obama appeared to be pledging allegiance to the flag, he was actually taking part in an Islamic prayer. The same year, he warned the Values Voter Summit that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be shutting down churches in America within the year:

John Eidsmoe

John Eidsmoe is one of the leading voices behind the Religious Right’s effort to rewrite American history and law to reflect a specific “biblical worldview.” Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a research assistant on Eidsmoe’s influential 1987 book “Christianity and the Constitution,” cites him as an in influence and his work has permeated the segment of the Religious Right that seeks to take “dominion” over America to avoid God’s judgment.

Eidsmoe has specifically warned that gay rights will bring about divine judgment on the U.S. and wrote a whole book, “Gays & Guns,” arguing against allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, warning that they might molest children.

Eidsmoe, who has gotten in trouble in the past for speaking to white supremacist groups, is currently the “senior counsel and resident scholar” at the Foundation for Moral Law, the Christian nationalist group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a longtime ally.

Rick Scarborough

Rick Scarborough, a Baptist pastor and the head of the Religious Right group Vision America, is one of the most extreme voices in the anti-LGBT movement. Although he insists that he is neither a Democrat or Republican, but a “Christ-ocrat,” he frequently allies with likeminded Republican politicians including Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee to get his followers to the polls.

Scarborough maintains that AIDS is God’s “judgment” for “an immoral act,” warns that the appointment of gay ambassadors would be perfect justification for God to nuke America, and once suggested filing a class action lawsuit against homosexuality.

Scarborough has also dabbled in anti-immigrant nativism, warning that “more non-white families” in the U.S. would lead to fewer Christians and that “if this country becomes 30 percent Hispanic we will no longer be America.”

Franklin Graham

Franklin Graham, a son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, couples his international humanitarian work with an apocalyptic approach to American politics. He predicted that President Obama’sreelectionwould bring about God’s destruction of America and railed that Americans “turned our back on God” by reelecting the president.

Graham’s opinion of the Obama administration was only reinforced when he was disinvited from speaking at an event at the Pentagon because of hishistory of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He has since claimed that the White House has been “infiltrated by Muslims” and is being run by Muslims who “hate Israel and hate Christians.” Just this week, he speculated that Obama’s mother “must have been a Muslim,” which he said explains why the president supposedly won’t fight ISIS.

While he may worry that God is getting ready to judge America for President Obama, Graham has implied that the Almighty is smiling on Russian President Vladimir Putin because of his crackdown on LGBT rights in his country. Graham, who has long claimed that Christianity is on the road to being criminalized in the U.S., said last year that pastors must be prepared to get their “heads chopped off” in the fight against gay rights.

Matt Barber

Matt Barber, a former Liberty Counsel official who still hosts a daily radio program with Staver, is best known for his over-the-top bigoted anti-gay rhetoric.

Barber often frames his battle against LGBT equality and reproductive rights as a “spiritual war” in which he is on the side of God. He has called marriage equality the “bidding of the Devil” and warned that by legalizing same-sex marriage, America is “ tempting the wrath of God.” He claims that HIV/AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality.

Barber is fond of comparing his opponents to Nazis, calling supporters of reproductive rights “modern day Nazis” and LGBT rights advocates “Rainbowshirts” who have “broken out the long knives” to go after Christians. At the same time, he has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he’d like to see a ban on “gay propaganda” in the U.S., and defending Uganda’s harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.

Last year, Barber launched BarbWire.com, an online emporium for right-wing vitriol which he sees as part of his “war” against the “lies” that Satan tells through progressives.​

Mat Staver Will Disobey A SCOTUS Marriage Equality Ruling Just As He'd Refuse To Turn A Jew Over To The Nazis

Earlier this week, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver spoke to a local Tea Party group in Orlando, Florida, where he declared that if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on gay marriage, he will refuse to "accept that as the rule of law" just as he would refuse to obey an order to turn a Jew over to the Nazis.

"I know from the natural created order that God made male and female, a mom and dad, husbands and wives as the first foundation of family," he said. "And I don't care if it is a 9-0 decision, they can't change that and they won't change that. And if they come out with a decision that is contrary to God's natural created order, I personally will advocate disobedience to it ... and collectively, we cannot accept that as the rule of law."

"You also have to be ready to pay the consequences," Staver continued, "because the civil government wrath is going to be poured out on you. But as a believer, you cannot obey something that is contrary to God's law. And we would easily say, well, what would happen if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany? All of us would say we wouldn't do that, we wouldn't listen to that. Well, we're about ready to walk into the moment":

Anti-Gay Activists Urge Parents To Keep Kids Home On Anti-Bullying 'Day Of Silence'

A coalition of anti-gay groups is once again urging parents to keep their children out of school on the annual anti-bullying “Day of Silence.” The Illinois Family Institute published the call to action on its website today, signed by activists including Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, Scott Lively, Linda Harvey, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, and MassResistance’s Brian Camenker.

Calling the GLSEN-sponsored event “the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools,” the activists allege that it is meant to “indoctrinate 16-year-olds.”

“We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality,” they exhort.

The Day of Silence has long been a target of anti-gay group’ efforts to crack down on anti-bullying efforts in schools.

The Day of Silence is the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools. It started in one university and then like a cancer metastasized to thousands of high schools, and then into middle schools. Before long it will take place in elementary schools. Leftists know that it’s easier to indoctrinate 16-year-olds than 36-year-olds and easier still to indoctrinate 6-year-olds.

GLSEN promotes the Day of Silence as an “anti-bullying” effort. If it were solely about eradicating bullying, everyone—liberals and conservatives alike—would support it. But it’s not.

The Day of Silence exploits government schools, captive audiences, and anti-bullying sentiment to advance the Left’s social, moral, and political beliefs and goals. GLSEN seeks to advance the belief that all public expressions of moral disapproval of homosexual activity are bullying.

A coalition of pro-family organizations is once again urging parents to keep their children home from school on the Day of Silence if their school administrations will be allowing students to politicize instructional time by refusing to speak. This is the only organized national effort to oppose any pro-homosexual activity or event in public schools.

The absence of conservative influence within the culture on issues related to homosexuality is to some extent the fault of conservatives. Ignorance, fear, and an astounding lack of perseverance on the parts of conservatives have turned our cultural institutions—including public education—into the playground of “progressives.” Our passivity has enabled homosexual activists and their ideological allies to become social, political, and pedagogical bullies. Evidence of that is everywhere, including in schools on the GLSEN’s annual April school event, the Day of Silence.

We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality.

Matt Barber , Founder and Editor-in-Chief, BarbWire

Dr. Michael Brown , Director, Coalition of Conscience

Brian Camenker , President, MassResistance

Linda Harvey , Founder and President, Mission America

Laurie Higgins , Cultural Analyst, Illinois Family Institute

Peter LaBarbera , President, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality

Diane Gramley , President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania

Matt Staver , President, Liberty Counsel

Debra Smith , Founder, Informing Christians

Tom Rasmussen , Executive Director, Montana Family Foundation

Pastor Scott Lively , President, Abiding Truth Ministries

Penny Nance , President, CWA

Debbie Leininger , State Director, CWA of Illinois

Beverly Uhlmer Roberts , State Director, CWA of Texas South

Linda Wall , VA Mass Resistance

Nolan Clayton , Faith and Freedom Family Ministries

Pastor Christopher Clegg , Operation Save America

Staver: Boycott Sports Teams That Support Marriage Equality

To say that anti-gay groups are not happy about the fact that the New England Patriots, the Tampa Bay Rays, and the San Francisco Giants were parties to a brief filed with the Supreme Court in favor of marriage equality would be something of an understatement.

Last week, the Family Research Council's Craig James said that such support for gay marriage is satanic, and now Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver is calling upon anti-gay Christians to boycott teams that support marriage equality on the grounds that they are alienating their fan base and have fallen under the control of "radical ideologues who want to literally undermine our Judeo-Christian values":

"I think we ought to vote with our dollars and not support those sports entities, those sports organizations, or those businesses that literally are hostile to our faith and to the very foundational values of God's natural created order of man and woman as the union of a husband and wife in marriage," Staver declares. "That's so fundamental. If they can't get that right, how can they get anything else right and how are they deserving of any of our respect or our support?"

Staver says that most companies find it is the wrong decision to get involved in the activist side of homosexuality because it alienates a large customer base.

"What we see, however, is a few radical people who sometimes work their way to the tops of these organizations who push their radical agenda," Staver explains. "They simply can't help themselves. They want to push their agenda and they want to push it in your face."

...

He contends that never before has the United States seen such an outright war on the traditional values that have formed the backbone of society since the nation’s founding.

"But they are radical ideologues who want to literally undermine our Judeo-Christian values," Staver argues. "It's the most serious assault on our family, faith and freedom that we've faced in American history."

Mat Staver: Obama 'Hates America,' 'Exports Abortion And Homosexuality'

During his appearance on yesterday's edition of "Crosstalk," Religious Right legal activist and Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver fielded a call from a listener who claimed that President Obama is a communist Muslim out to destroy America. "Crosstalk" host Vic Eliason said that the truth of the caller's claim was "evident" since Obama won't "combine the word Muslim and terror."  

Staver agreed, alleging that Obama was "ideologically raised in the Islamic world and ideology" and falsely claiming​ that Obama "still to this day hasn't acknowledge that the 21 Coptics were Christians who were beheaded by the Islamists."

"This is a president that hates America," Staver said. "Rudy Giuliani got a lot of fire, pushback because he said that. I think that this president does hate our values, he hates our Judeo-Christian values and he does everything in his power to try to destroy them."

After Eliason expressed outrage that Obama once read the critically acclaimed book "The Post-American World," Staver said Obama wants to "eliminate America's strong influence around the world with regards to its strength and military presence" while at the same time emerge as a "colonialist with regards to his immoral values."

"He's exporting abortion and homosexuality in any way possible," he said.

Barber: Gay Marriage Will Be 'The Sledgehammer Used To Crush The Church'

On a recent episode of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case of a Washington state florist who is facing fines for refusing to sell flowers to a same-sex couple for their wedding, which they used to warn that if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage this year, it will lead to widespread Christian persecution and the destruction of the Christian church in America.

Barber declared that the push for gay marriage was never about equality but rather "about forcing Christians against their will to celebrate deviant homosexual behavior."

"This was about persecuting Christians," he said, "not about marriage equality."

Staver readily agreed, saying that gay marriage is "an oxymoron" because "same-sex relationships are harmful, they're sinful, they're contrary to the Scriptures, they're contrary to the natural created order," and warning that gay activists are intent on persecuting Christians all over America, which promoted Barber to issue a dire warning.

"If, God forbid ... the Supreme Court somehow defines and manufactures a constitutional so-called right to sodomy-based marriage this summer, in June, if they do that then the floodgates will be open," Barber said. "There will be Christian persecution widespread across the United States and the so-called gay marriage agenda will be the sledgehammer used to crush the church and to crush religious liberty and the crush individual Christians, their finances, to ruin them. That's what this agenda was always about and that's what we will see if the Supreme Court goes the wrong way in June."

Staver closed by declaring that if the Supreme Court does rule in favor of gay marriage, then Christians must treat the ruling as illegitimate and ignore it:

Staver: Obama Is Turning America Into An Enemy Of God By Failing To Support Israel

For the last several weeks, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver has been warning that President Obama is bringing a curse upon America by supposedly being insufficiently supportive of the state of Israel. With Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu set to deliver a speech to Congress tomorrow despite White House objections, Staver has stepped up his efforts, penning a piece today in which he accuses Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry of seeking the "destruction of the Jewish state" and warns that America is becoming an enemy of God:

Barack Obama obviously does not understand the potential fallout from his administration’s dangerous actions. The Bible says that the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob – Israel’s omnipotent defender – takes very seriously all attempts to harm His people, the Jews. In the book of Joel, we read that God will ultimately judge the nations that try to divide the land of Israel – something the Obama White House has consistently proposed. And Zechariah 12:9 plainly says, “I will seek to destroy all the nations that come against Jerusalem.”

Recently, Jewish rabbis, representing the Committee to Save the Land and People of Israel, rightly called the Obama administration’s actions “a declaration of war against the Creator and Ruler of the universe.” But, as the rabbis point out, it’s not Israel that will ultimately pay the price; it’s the enemies of God.

Liberty Counsel holds that America has been blessed by God because our national policy has been favorable toward the nation of Israel since its founding in 1948. If we allow the Obama administration to subvert this policy, a price will be paid!

I don’t want this nation, which was founded as one nation under God, to become the enemy of God’s people.

The Scriptures tell us to "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem." There has never been a time when we needed to do this more! The Holy City is under threat from hostile neighbors next door and others like Iran, with its potential for nuclear missiles, just a thousand miles away. At a time when our President and Secretary of State should be doing all they can to support Israel, Barack Obama and John Kerry are aiding Israel’s and America’s enemies instead!

For good measure, Matt Barber warned on a recent episode of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio show that Obama's failure to support Israel means that he is "an enemy within" and "the greatest threat to American national security that we face":

Matt Barber: States Should Defy Roe And Jail Abortion Providers

Matt Barber joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the actions of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who’s urging judges in his state to defy a federal judge and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Barber told Deace that whether or not the United States Supreme Court has “the authority to redefine the institution of marriage, which cannot be done, it’s contrary to reality to say that it’s anything other than the male and female,” Moore is on “solid legal ground” in claiming that the Alabama Supreme Court takes precedence over the federal district court that issued the marriage ruling.

Deace asked Barber why the conservative movement was less willing to defy the federal courts during Judge Moore’s 2003 standoff over placing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse or after Roe v. Wade, “when the court said, ‘We’re going to start just massacring, dismembering little innocent babies.’”

Barber agreed that states should have simply ignored the court’s ruling in Roe: “Why, back when the courts issued their ridiculous, non-scientific ruling in Roe v. Wade, why didn’t states like Texas and other states say, ‘Okay, well thank you for your opinion, but nope, here in the state of Texas, you kill an unborn child, you’ve committed murder, we’re going to throw you in jail for it’?”

Later in the interview, Deace repeated his prediction that a sweeping marriage ruling would ignite an even greater culture war battle than Roe did.

Barber agreed, saying the “goal all along” of the “sin-based, sodomy-based marriage” movement has been to persecute Christians.

“Religious liberty and so-called gay marriage cannot coexist in harmony,” he said. “If the Supreme Court goes Roe v. Wade on this decision and divines a new-fangled right to sin-based, sodomy-based marriage, Christians will be being persecuted across the country. They will be told, ‘You either put your stamp of approval on sin or you will be pushed to the fringes and marginalized and you will not be able to carry a job or function in society.’ That’s been their goal all along anyway.”

Mat Staver: Marriage Equality Might Turn Kids Gay

In an interview in January, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver warned that the Supreme Court could “change Western Civilization” if it “goes the wrong way” and strikes down bans on same-sex marriage.

Marriage equality, he said on the conservative radio show “Point of View,” might even lure children into homosexuality.

“It also changes everything in the school when they begin to learn not just about same-sex relationships, but about same-sex activities,” Staver said. “They ultimately get encouraged to pursue this kind of lifestyle. They have gender confusion when young boys naturally are gravitating towards one another and young girls towards one another, if you now inject the same-sex sexual activity into the school curriculum, it will suggest to them and ultimately push them on a road of experimentation where they might engaged in same-sex activity.”

Staver also saw the bright side of a gay marriage victory, claiming that the effects of legal same-sex marriage will be so devastating that “we could see the greatest revival of our country and the church standing up being the church.”

If not, Staver warned, “we’re going to see persecution.”

“This is going to be the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s for religious liberty,” he said.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/19/15

  • After repeated losses, Liberty Counsel has now taken its lawsuit against New Jersey's ban on ex-gay "reparative" therapy to the Supreme Court.
  • It looks like the right-wing attacks on anti-tax zealot Grover Norquist for allegedly being a secret Islamist might actually threaten his re-election to the board of the NRA.
  • Linda Harvey is terrified of what gay marriage will bring: "It should break the heart of any freedom loving, God-honoring American to say this, but there is no evidence that America has the moral will to prevent the following 'gay-stapo' dreams from being fulfilled shortly after."
  • FRC prays that God will finally "awaken your people in America to stand in the gap with extraordinary prayer and to demand that our elected representatives act to defeat ISIS and hold President accountable to defend all Americans, including Christians and Jews who have been uniquely targeted by ISIS."
  • Finally, Gary Cass declares that Christians should take comfort in the fact that the Prophet Muhammad "is eternally dead in Hell and suffering the just penalty for his sin."

Staver: Obama 'Is Bringing Curses Upon America'

For the third week in a row, Mat Staver and Matt Barber continued to use Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program to falsely accuse President Obama of directly and illegally interfering in the upcoming Israeli elections in an effort to defeat Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, with Staver declaring today that Obama is bringing God's curse upon America by doing so.

"Our Judeo-Christian history connects us together, connects us to Israel and the Jewish people," Staver said. "That's where our Judeo-Christian history was born and birthed. That's how Western Civilization was shaped, because of the Bible and the values that came out of Israel. And this president is doing everything he can to walk away from Israel."

"You know, Genesis 12 says 'I will bless those who bless you,' referring to the offspring of Abraham, which is Israel, 'and I will curse them who curse you,'" he continued. "The president is bringing curses upon America by ultimately walking away from Israel. I think that it is dangerous to not respect and protect our best ally":

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