Oral Roberts University

Santorum: 'The Left is really about the Death of Reason'

While speaking at Oral Roberts University earlier this month, Rick Santorum argued that the left is bringing about “the death of reason.” Santorum used the example of the Ninth Circuit Court’s recent decision that Proposition 8 is unconstitutional because, like in Romer v. Evans, the referendum’s only practical effect was to “single out a certain class of citizens for disfavored legal status.” But Santorum said that the court found that “the only reason you could possibly have to believe marriage should only be between men and women is because you are a bigot and you are a hater,” saying that people on the left “won’t sit and reason” and only want to “discard” their opponents. “They won’t reason,” Santorum said, “The left is really about the death of reason.”

Watch:

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Santorum: The Ninth Circuit this week ruled that there is no rational basis, no rational basis for anyone to believe that marriage should just be between a man and a woman, there is no rational basis. Do you understand what that means? That means you are completely irrational if you think that marriage should be between, you have no reason, this is what they said, the only reason you could possibly have to believe marriage should only be between men and women is because you are a bigot and you are a hater, that’s what they said, read the case, and by the way they’re not the first ones to have said it. So again, where is the tolerance? Where’s the tolerance that says if you have a different point of view you can be rational, no, they can’t allow you because if you’re rational then they have to deal with you so they discard you, they just say ‘well it’s beyond the realm of reason, you’re obviously just haters and we’re not even going to talk to you.’ This is the way the left operates; they won’t sit and reason, they can’t listen to all of the reasons marriage has been between a man and a woman for centuries and why it has an intrinsic good to society, they dismiss those arguments as purely puff to hide your bigotry, that’s what they believe. They won’t reason. The left is really about the death of reason. They always say it’s about reason but it’s not, it’s about the death of reason.

David Barton Is Just As Good At Math As He Is At History

A few weeks ago, David Barton was featured on a conference call promoting United In Purpose's upcoming "One Nation Under God" event and, during the discussion, asserted that his work is "documented so well" that all his critics can do is attack him personally.

The idea that critics cannot challenge Barton's "facts" is absurd. In fact, it was just last week that Barton was forced to admit that he misleadingly characterized the American College of Pediatricians, a small, right-wing splinter group,  as "the leading pediatric association in America" ... though, in typical Barton fashion, he did so by refusing to admit that he was wrong.

On yesterday's program, where he and Sally Kern stoked fears of gay violence, Barton picked up on the idea that Kern was some sort of modern day Anita Bryant and, in recounting Bryant's story, perfectly demonstrated his own lack of concern for getting his facts right:

Now most people don't know Anita Bryant, especially in this generation. Anita Bryant goes back to 1977. She was Miss America runner-up ... at that time, she was a spokeswoman for Florida orange juice and Florida oranges and what they did and she was, in '77, getting a hundred thousand dollars a year on contact to be a spokesman and that's a lot of money, that's in the millions today.

Now, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics' Consumer Price Index Inflation Calculator, $100,000 in 1977 equals $373,836.63 today - not quite the "millions" that Barton claims.

You'd think that Barton, who attended Oral Roberts University on a math and science scholarship and actually taught math at a Christian school would be ... well, a little bit better at math.

Now this instance is not a particularly egregious example of Barton's misleading work, but it is another good example of just how fundamentally uninterested he is in making sure that anything he says is based in reality

Bachmann's Mentor Calls On Christian Leaders To Bring Biblical Law To America Or Face God's Judgment

Congresswoman and presidential candidate Michele Bachmann has touted Oral Roberts University law professor John Eidsmoe as her mentor and guide, bolstering her already impeccable credentials with Religious Right voters. Profiles by writers such as Ryan Lizza and Michelle Goldberg offered further insight into how Eidsmoe shaped Bachmann’s thinking, and highlighted some of Eidsmoe’s more controversial views, such as his commitment to biblical government and belief that the abolition of slavery was devastating for African Americans. In an interview with Lizza, Eidsmoe said that he thinks Bachmann mirrors the political views he outlined, and Bachmann told an Iowa pastor conference that Eidsmoe was “one of the professors who had a great influence on me” who is “absolutely brilliant.”

In 1984 Eidsmoe wrote God & Caesar, which is essentially a manual to why and how Christians should work in politics and government. Eidsmoe dedicated the book to his children, “in the hope that their generation will more fully implement biblical norms and standards.” In the book, Eidsmoe finds that the biblical view and the conservative agenda virtually always coincide, while the liberal position represents the rejection of God and godly principles. No matter the issue, economic, social, family, law, and foreign policy, Eidsmoe finds that conservatives are always on the right side of the Bible while liberals are on the side of godlessness.

As Julie Ingersoll writes in Religion Dispatches, Eidsmoe is a proponent of Christian Reconstructionism, a philosophy designed by R. J. Rushdoony that wants America governed  according to Biblical law.

Eidsmoe frequently promotes Rushdoony in God & Caesar and his dominionist teachings about the role of “God’s Word” in the political field:

God’s Word has a lot to say about government, about crime and punishment, about abortion, about national defense, about war and peace, about the many political issues that face us daily. Paul declared that he had ‘not shunned to declare unto all the counsel of God’ (Acts 20:27). The fundamentalist who refuses to preach or consider what God’s Word has to say about politics is not declaring the whole counsel of God and has a serious gap in his ministry. R. J. Rushdoony put it well when he said,

Man must exercise dominion in the name of God, and in knowledge, righteousness, and holiness…. The world, moreover, cannot be surrendered to Satan. It is God’s world and must be brought under God’s law politically, economically, and in every other way possible. The Enlightenment, by its savage and long-standing attack on Biblical faith, has brought about a long retreat of Christianity from a full-orbed faith to a king of last-ditch battle centering around the doctrines of salvation and of the infallible Scripture. The time has come for a full-scale offensive, and it has indeed begun, to bring every area of thought into captivity to Christ, to establish the whole counsel of God and every implication of His infallible word. (p. 56)

Eidsmoe believes that God brings people into the political arena and then uses them to enforce his will. He cites right-wing activist Phyllis Schlafly as one such leader that God used to defeat the Equal Rights Amendment, and Texas activists Mel and Norma Gabler to “analyze and critique textbooks and expose humanist, anti-Christian, immoral, or anti-American content. I’m sure the Gablers never dreamed God would use them like that” (p. 60).

He goes on to say that America is facing “political and economic decline” as a result of “moral decay” and God’s judgment because of the government’s failure to embrace biblical law. Eidsmoe argues that unless Christians that follow his Reconstructionist positions enter politics, God will judge America in the same way he judged Judah before exiling the Jews to Babylon:

We should add that this political and economic decline is a natural and logical consequence, but it is also a supernatural consequence. It is the result of God’s judgment (Leviticus 26:14-29).

I believe the political and economic decline that grips America today is the result of moral decay. I believe God is calling upon believers today to lead the spiritual awakening that can overcome that moral lapse. That’s how believers can truly be the salt of the earth, preserving their nation from divine judgment.

After decrying the sin of Judah, their oppression and robbery, their vexation of the poor and needy and the sojourner, God declared in Ezekiel 22:30, ‘And I sought for a man among them, that should make up the hedge, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it.’

God is looking for believers today to ‘stand in the gap,’ to assert themselves in the political arena and transform America’s political institutions.

But I omitted the last four words of that verse: ‘…but I found none.’ The Lord continued in the next verse, ‘Therefore have I poured out mine indignation upon them; I have consumed them with the fire of my wrath: their own way have I recompensed upon their heads, saith the Lord God.’

God’s judgment indeed came upon Judah: seventy years of exile in Babylon.

That was true of Judah. I pray it won’t be true of America. Will you do your part, as others have done theirs? (p. 68)

Barton: "I Don't Consider Myself A Historian"

As we have said time and time and time again, David Barton may be a lot of things, but he is not a historian.

Of course, that has not stopping people like Mike Huckabee from routinely hailing Barton as "the single best historian in America today."

So I imagine it will come as quite a surprise to the Religious Right to learn that Barton does not consider himself to be a historian, as he explained on an episode of "Face to Face" with Oral Roberts University President Mark Rutland:

Barton: I really kind of do a whole lot of all of it, but I don't consider myself a historian because I'm not sure there is such a thing ... So I really don't call myself a historian. I probably know more about history than most folks. I've probably read more history books than most folks, I've read thousands and literally tens of thousands. But I don't consider myself a historian; I just happen to know some things about it.

I don't think anybody can ever be an expert, per se, because in the case of history we have millions of documents at the Library of Congress, at the National Archives. If I've read a million of them, let's say, that's still only one percent of the knowledge that's out there. How can I be an expert with one percent knowledge? I may know more than some other people in this area, but I can't really consider myself a historian or an expert because there is too much left too learn, there is too much still to come to and in that sense I don't look at myself as a historian.

Um, huh?  So nobody can be an expert or a historian because they don't know everything there is to know?

If that is the case, then maybe Barton should stop calling himself both in his official bio:

His exhaustive research has rendered him an expert in historical and constitutional issues and he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several cases at the Supreme Court, was involved in the development of the History/Social Studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.

A national news organization has described him as "America's historian," and Time Magazine called him "a hero to millions - including some powerful politicians. In fact, Time Magazine named him as one of America's 25 most influential evangelicals.

And given this admission, maybe the next time the Texas School Board is looking to overhaul its curriculum, it won't include Barton on its panel of "experts."

Who Is "Dr." David Barton?

Late last year, I wrote a post questioning why David Barton of WallBuilder's was trying to pass himself off as a professor ... and another post shortly thereafter wondering why he was being refered to as "Dr." Barton when his academic credentials consist entirely of a "B.A. from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College."

There is no evidence that we have ever seen that Barton earned a Ph.D ... yet for some reason we keep seeing instances in which he is billed as "Dr. David Barton":

Unionville Christian Church will observe the National Day of Prayer May 6 at 6:30 p.m. There will be a showing of "Is America a Christian Nation?" by Dr. David Barton followed by prayer for the community, government leaders and nation lead by David L. Williams.

Just yesterday, Barton addressed a prayer breakfast in Tennessee and again he is being refered to as "Dr." Barton

Americans have "moved away from knowing our own history" in believing the Founding Fathers were a group of non-religious men and women, the head of a national pro-family group says.

Dr. David Barton, speaking Tuesday to a record crowd of 1,800 at the 32nd annual Chattanooga Area Leadership Prayer Breakfast, said truths about the country's founders have been removed from history textbooks, misinterpreted by courts and distorted by the media.

...

Dr. Barton said Americans still have the opportunity to follow George Washington's challenge to his beleaguered men following their winter at Valley Forge: "To the distinguished character of patriot, it should be our highest glory to add the more distinguished character of Christian."

"Become a part of what made America great," Dr. Barton said. "We need religion and morality ... to thrive as Americans."

Did Barton earn a doctorate that we don't know about?  Are people just mistakenly calling him "Dr." Barton?  Or is Barton falsely billing himself as "Dr." Barton?  Is he using the honorary Doctorate from Pensacola Christian College to justify this title? 

What is going on here?

He's "Doctor" Barton Now?

A few months ago we wrote a post about Wallbuilders' David Barton seemingly suggesting that he was a "professor" despite the fact that his academic credentials consist entirely of a "B.A. from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College."

Now Bob Vander Plaats, the Republican candidate for governor in Iowa, is touting the fact that he received Barton's endorsement with an announcement containing a link to a radio interview with "Dr. Barton":

Nationally known author and political activist David Barton has endorsed Sioux City Republican Bob Vander Plaats in the 2010 Iowa gubernatorial race.

"I’m incredibly excited to have David’s backing because he has such a deep base of supporters across our state. I know several candidates and potential candidates have sought his support because he commands tremendous respect and attention. Having him in our corner will be another crucial tool to motivate and mobilize grassroots Iowans next year," Vander Plaats said.

Barton was recognized by Time magazine in 2005 as "One of the 25 Most Influential Evangelicals" in the United States. He is the founder and president of the Aledo, Texas-based group WallBuilders, an organization which presents "America's forgotten history and heroes, with an emphasis on the moral, religious, and constitutional foundation on which America was built."

"Bob Vander Plaats epitomizes the leadership our Founding Fathers envisioned when they stood up for our individual liberties," Barton said in a prepared statement. "He knows that it’s the hard work and unfettered creative spirit of individuals made this country and states like Iowa great. He knows that more bureaucracies, more government employees, higher taxes and increased government spending will crush Iowa. And, he’ll articulate that message in winning fashion."

A former vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party and a consultant to the Republican National Committee on outreach to evangelical voters, Barton has been praised by U.S. Sen. Sam Brownback for providing "the philosophical underpinning for a lot of the Republican effort in the country today."

Barton, who speaks to well over 400 groups each year across the country, is the author of numerous best-selling books. His subjects are drawn largely from his massive library of tens of thousands of original writings from the Founding Era. His exhaustive research has led to recognition as an expert in historical and constitutional issues. As a result, he serves as a consultant to state and federal legislators, has participated in several U.S. Supreme Court cases, was involved in the development of the history and social studies standards for states such as Texas and California, and has helped produce history textbooks now used in schools across the nation.

Click here to listen to Dr. Barton’s interview on WHO Radio.

"Professor" David Barton On Darwin, Prohibition, and Herbert Hoover

Last week, David Barton spoke at at an event hosted by the South Dakota Family Policy Council.  Before the event, he sat down for an interview with The Dakota Voice during which this exchange took place:

Among all the people today pushing the revisionist picture of our history that most of the founders were deists, that America was not founded on Christian principles, how many of those do you believe are merely ignorant of the facts and are only parroting other misinformation they’ve heard, and how many actually know better and are intentionally trying to distort history?

I think there’s a lot of both. I was involved in writing an academic book with three other professors. They said there is no question that America’s founders weren’t religious, because Thomas Jefferson started the first secular university, wouldn’t allow chaplains and such. But I said that’s interesting because I have here the original ads for the University of Virginia that ran in the newspaper. The ads were signed by the chaplain and there were about nine or ten specific things Thomas Jefferson did to make sure every student had a religious activity. These professors were shocked and said, “That’s not what we were taught.” [Emphasis added.]

Three other professors? Considering that Barton's academic credentials consist entirely of a "B.A. from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College," I'm a little confused as to how Barton managed to write a book with three other professors  since Barton is not, you know, actually a professor; he's a Religious Right activist.

Anyway, the conversation then turned toward the inevitable "how did conservative Christians lose control of America" question, for which Barton had a simple explanation - Darwin, prohibition, and Herbert Hoover:

I think we really goofed it up starting in the 1920s, and it was the church that did it ... I’ll point to several things. In 1859 you had the Origin of Species, and I don’t know why people think Darwin was the father of evolution because all he did was take 2,300 years of evolutionary thought and simplify it. But for the next 20 years the church had real trouble with that. In about 1879 you’ll find major splits in most denominations, and the splits started saying, “Well, we’re not sure about the Bible and science and the culture, but we do know God wants people saved so we’re going to go preach the Gospel.” The other side said, “No, the Bible is right; science will come around.” This side said the Bible is fundamental to everything in life: media, culture, science.

Following that you had three major political setbacks in the 1920s. Those setbacks start with the repeal of prohibition, which was a direct slap at the church. You have the Scopes “Monkey” Trial, which was the trial that essentially lost the war, the media beat the dickens out of us and made Christians look like dummies. And the third one was actually the election of Herbert Hoover. Christians like Billy Sunday campaigned all across America in whistle stop tours. Hoover gets elected, the depression comes, and the critics said, “Look what you Christians did; you caused the depression. You Christians need to stay out of politics.”

About that time we stared pulling our kids out of the pulpit, “Kids, you want to do something good for God? Be a pastor, be a missionary, but don’t be anything in education, law or politics. So we bailed out. So in bailing out, somebody has to fill those arenas, and they got filled.

There are really five power centers in any culture, and we gave up for and a half of them. We gave up media and entertainment, we gave up government which is the judiciary and law, we gave up education, and we gave up business. What we still had left was pulpit, and we essentially gave up half of that. We’ve taken the Great Commission to be a mandate for salvation, when the Great Commission says to teach them everything I taught you. Jesus has economic teachings, he has social teachings, government teachings, but we don’t do that.

But getting any institution back takes 30 or 40 years, and that’s where we are now.

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Bill Donohue says Randall Terry’s threat not to pay taxes is a "recipe for anarchy."
  • Al Mohler is not impressed by Jimmy Carter's decision to sever his ties with the Southern Baptist Convention.
  • Focus on the Family really seems to be getting behind The Civility Project.
  • Oral Roberts University has signed an agreement with the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference that will position ORU as the exclusive educational strategic partner for the NHCLC.
  • The Alliance Defense Fund has filed suit against Wisconsin's Domestic Partnetship law, claiming it violates the marriage amendment passed in 2006.
  • You just can't win against WorldNetDaily: "The announcements of Barack Obama's birth printed by two Hawaii newspapers in 1961 do not provide solid proof of a birth in the Aloha State."
  • Finally, Jesse Lee Peterson weighs in on the arrest of Henry Louis Gates:
  • "Henry Gates and Al Sharpton are abusing police while black," said Rev. Peterson. "Their false allegations say to young blacks that they too can abuse police and cry racism. Gates was abusive and disorderly and the police dealt with him accordingly--where's the racism? This is a case of black males gone wild."

    ...

    Rev. Peterson said, "What's regrettable is that the city of Cambridge and the police have allowed themselves to be intimidated by a race hustler like Al 'The Riot King' Sharpton. The race card has once again been used to unjustly smear law enforcement and thwart justice. This is Tawana Brawley all over again!"

Pat Robertson to the Rescue?

Amid all the turmoil plaguing Oral Roberts University, it appears as if things might be turning a corner because, in addition to a Christian businessman’s pledge to bail out the debt-ridden institution with a $70 million donation, it seems as if Pat Robertson is set to take advantage offer his assistance:

A team from Regent University will travel to financially troubled Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla., on Monday to explore “options” for ties between the institutions.

“We are pleased to report that Dr. Pat Robertson, president and chancellor of Regent University and long-time friend of Oral Roberts University, has contacted members of the board of regents and has expressed interest in exploring options for the future of ORU with Regent University,” George Pearsons, chairman of the ORU Board of Regents, said in a statement posted on the university’s Web site.

“Dr. Robertson is sending a team on Monday to Tulsa to meet with ORU Regents and administrative representatives,” he said

It should be noted that Robertson’s Regent University Law School got its start back in the mid-80s when ORU, like today, was facing financial difficulties:  

The Regent law school was founded in 1986, when Oral Roberts University shut down its ailing law school and sent its library to Robertson's Bible-based college in Virginia.

Regent didn’t just get ORU’s “entire law library, [but] some students and faculty” as well.  

Who knows what part of ORU Robertson has his eye on this time.

Speaking of Robertson and Regent, Adam Key, the Regent Law School student suspended and ordered to undergo a mental evaluation for posting an unflattering photo of Robertson on his web page, has apparently decided to sue:

A Regent University law student who was suspended for posting an unflattering photo of school founder Pat Robertson on the Internet sued the university and Robertson on Thursday.

Adam M. Key, 23, claims in the federal suit that Regent officials violated his free speech and due process rights for expressing his "Christian religious and political opinions" when it suspended him in October.

"I went there because I wanted an environment conducive to learning that had a respect for religious liberty, but the only liberty they are interested in defending is theirs and people like them," Key said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Thursday.

Because the private university receives federal funds, it is required under the U.S. Higher Education Act to respect students' freedom of religion and expression.

The lawsuit also alleges Key was "fraudulently induced" to attend Regent. "Adam relied on Regent's many claims of religious liberty and speech" and the law school's American Bar Association accreditation, the lawsuit states.

Religious Right Rally against Marriage Equality in Florida

Just days after the Religious Right’s B-team gathered in Fort Lauderdale, Florida to question Republican candidates for president (including the ones who didn’t show up), a number of more prominent right-wing figures are convening in Tampa for the Family Impact Summit, sponsored by the Focus on the Family-affiliated Florida Family Policy Council, the Tampa-based Community Issues Council, the Family Research Council, and the Salem radio network.

Advertised topics range from “Christian Citizenship” to “Homosexual Agenda,” but the focus will no doubt be on the 2008 election, and in particular, the effort by Florida’s Right to put a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage on the ballot—even though gays are already prohibited from marrying by statute.

Below is some background on the featured speakers, from Tony Perkins and Richard Land to Katherine Harris and Ken Blackwell.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, considered the leading religious-right think tank in Washington, DC. Before coming to FRC, Perkins was a state legislator in Louisiana, and as a campaign manager for a Republican candidate, he reportedly bought David Duke’s e-mail list.

Under Perkins’s leadership, FRC, along with Focus on the Family, put together several “simulcasts” of political rallies held in churches, including three “Justice Sunday” events in 2005-2006—“Stopping the Filibuster Against People of Faith,” ”God Save the United States and this Honorable Court,” and “Proclaim Liberty Throughout the Land”—featuring religious-right luminaries such as James Dobson, Jerry Falwell, and Phyllis Schlafly, along with politicians like Rick Santorum and then-Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, arguing that opposition to Bush’s extreme judicial nominees constituted an assault on their faith or Christianity itself. A fourth event just before the 2006 elections, “Liberty Sunday,” promoted the idea that gays and their “agenda” were out to destroy religious freedom.

That fall, FRC also organized a “Values Voter Summit,” in which Dobson and other activists exhorted their constituency to turn out for the GOP; the conference showcased a number of future presidential candidates, including Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, and Sam Brownback. A second Values Voter Summit is planned for next month.

Also appearing from FRC at the Family Impact Summit are David Prentice and Peter Sprigg.

Richard Land

Since 1998, Richard Land has served as president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, which is “dedicated to addressing social and moral concerns and their implications on public policy issues from City Hall to Congress.”   

Land has been an active and influential right-wing leader for many years and in 2005, was named one of “The Twenty-five Most Influential Evangelicals in America” by Time Magazine, joining the likes of James Dobson, Chuck Colson, David Barton, Rick Santorum, and Ted Haggard.

Land also hosts three separate nationally syndicated radio programs and has written several books including, most recently “The Divided States of America? What Liberals and Conservatives are Missing in the God-and-Country Shouting Match!,” which Land claims seeks a middle ground between the right and the left on the role of religion in the public square.  In reality, the middle ground Land stakes out consists mainly of standard right-wing positions on political and social issues that are made to appear moderate in comparison to ultra-radical positions put forth by far-right fringe elements.  

In recent months, Land has been positioning himself to play a much more high-profile role in the presidential campaign than he has in the past, repeatedly asserting that he and other Evangelicals will not support Rudy Giuliani or Newt Gingrich, should he run,  while regularly bolstering the campaign of Fred Thompson, who Land calls a “Southern-fried Reagan.”

Harry Jackson

Jackson, pastor of a Maryland megachurch, has become a frequent spokesman for right-wing causes in recent years. In 2004, he played a prominent role in urging blacks to vote for George Bush, and in 2005, he started the High Impact Leadership Coalition and unveiled his “Black Contract with America on Moral Values”—an agenda topped with fighting gay marriage—at an event co-sponsored by the far-right Traditional Values Coalition. Jackson spoke at “Justice Sunday,” a religious-right rally in favor of Bush’s judicial nominees, as well as “Justice Sunday II, where he promised to “bring the rule and reign of the Cross to America.” He is a member of the Arlington Group.

Since then, Jackson has continued to urge blacks to vote for right-wing causes and candidates. “[Martin Luther] King would most likely be a social conservative,” he wrote in one typical column. His most recent efforts have focused on opposing hate crimes protections for gays, falsely claiming that a proposed bill would “muzzle our pulpits.”

In an article in Charisma magazine, Jackson wrote that the “wisdom behind” the “gay agenda” is “clearly satanic,” and he called for an aggressive “counterattack.” He asserted to The New York Times that “Historically when societies have gone off kilter, there has been rampant same-sex marriage.”

Don Wildmon

Wildmon is the Founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, which exists primarily to decry whatever it deems “immoral” in American culture and lead boycotts against companies that in any way support causes, organizations, or programs it deems offensive, particularly anything that does not portray gays and lesbians in a negative light. 

Over the years, AFA has targeted everything from the National Endowment for the Arts, Howard Stern, and the television show “Ellen” to major corporations such as Ford , Burger King, and Clorox.  AFA has also been particularly focused on Disney, declaring that the company’s “attack on America’s families has become so blatant, so intentional, so obvious” as to warrant a multi-year boycott.

Recently, AFA has been busy warning that proposed hate-crimes legislation is designed to lay the “groundwork for persecution of Christians,” attacked presidential candidate Mitt Romney over his time on the board of Marriott Corporation because the company offers adult movies in its hotels, and warned that the US Senate was “angering a just God” and bringing “judgment upon our country” by allowing a Hindu chaplain to deliver an opening prayer. 

Gary Bauer

Gary Bauer is a long-time right-wing activist and leader.  After serving President Ronald Reagan's administration for eight years in various capacities, Bauer went on to become President of the Family Research Council, which was founded, in part, by James Dobson of Focus on the Family, where Bauer also served as Senior Vice President. 

Bauer stepped down from FRC in 1999 when he launched an unsuccessful campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.  After dropping out of the race, Bauer made a surprising endorsement of Sen. John McCain at a time when many of the other right-wing leaders had lined up behind George W. Bush.  

Bauer’s standing took a beating when he defended McCain’s attack on Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson as “agents of intolerance” and he was ostracized by many for quite a while after McCain lost.  But Bauer pressed ahead, creating his own non-profit, American Values, and gradually reestablished himself in right-wing circles.  

Since then, Bauer has been active in various right-wing campaigns, most notably joining with likes of Tony Perkins and James Dobson in defending and pressing for the confirmation of John Roberts and Samuel Alito to the Supreme Court.  

William Owens

Owens, a graduate of Oral Roberts University and a Memphis pastor, founded the Coalition of African American Pastors to combat equal marriage rights for gay couples. Owens reportedly told the “Rally for Traditional Marriage” held in Mississippi in 2004 that “homosexual activists of today have hijacked the civil rights cause,” adding: “We're going to fight until we win,” he said. “We're going to have crusades and rallies like this until we win. We're going to let our political leaders know ‘if you don't stand for God, we won't stand for you.’” Owens lent the CAAP name to the Religious Right’s judges campaign, signing on to the “National Coalition to End Judicial Filibusters” and holding a press conference in support of Samuel Alito’s Supreme Court nomination.

In 2004, Owens formed an alliance with the Arlington Group, a coalition of powerful religious-right leaders that was widely credited with being the driving force behind the effort to put anti-gay marriage amendments on the ballot in 11 states in that year’s election. Owens is now on the group’s executive committee, alongside James Dobson, Gary Bauer, Bill Bennett, Tony Perkins, Paul Weyrich, Rod Parsley and others.

Alan Chambers

"Ex-gay" Alan Chambers is president of Exodus International and executive director of Exodus North America, which claim gay men and lesbians can be “cured" and "change" their sexual orientation to heterosexual. Exodus' board includes long-time anti-gay activist Phil Burress of Ohio's Citizens for Community Values, his wife Vickie Burress – founder of the American Family Association of Indiana – and Mike Haley, who replaced discredited "ex-gay" John Paulk at Focus on the Family as chief spokesperson on homosexuality and gender issues. Exodus also co-sponsors a series of "ex-gay" conferences across the country with Focus on the Family. One recent Love Won Out event was particularly mired in controversy when it was revealed that one of its presenting organizations had published a racist column that appeared to justify slavery. During a 2006 CPAC conference panel, Chambers insisted "lifelong homosexual relationships are not possible" and the battle for marriage equality was solely being promoted by the liberal media.

Other representatives of the “ex-gay” activist community scheduled for the conference include Scott Davis and Mike Ensley of Exodus and Nancy Heche, whose book “The Truth Comes Out” describes “how to respond lovingly, yet appropriately, to homosexual family members and friends,” such as her husband, who held secret “homosexual affairs,” and her daughter, whose open relationship with Ellen DeGeneres Heche called “Like a betrayal of an unspoken vow: We will never have anything to do with homosexuals.”

Robert Knight

Robert Knight is something of a journeyman within the right-wing movement.  After starting out as a journalist and editor for various newspapers, Knight has held a series of jobs with various right-wing organizations including Senior Director of Cultural Studies at the Family Research Council, a fellow at the Heritage Foundation, and director of the Culture & Family Institute at Concerned Women for America.

Currently, he is the head of the Media Research Center’s Culture and Media Institute at the Media Research Center and a columnist for Townhall.com.

His hostility toward gays is well-known, as evidenced by his response to the news that Mary Cheney, the lesbian daughter of the Vice President, was expecting a child with her partner: 

"I think it's tragic that a child has been conceived with the express purpose of denying it a father," Knight said.

"Fatherhood is important and always will be, so if Mary and her partner indicate that that is a trivial matter, they're shortchanging this child from the start."

"Mary and Heather can believe what they want," Knight said, "but what they're seeking is to force others to bless their nonmarital relationship as marriage" and to "create a culture that is based on sexual anarchy instead of marriage and family values."

John Stemberger

Stemberger, a personal injury attorney and former political director for the Florida GOP, is the president and general counsel of the Florida Family Policy Counsel/Florida Family Action, a state affiliate of James Dobson’s Focus on the Family.

Stemberger is leading the petition drive to put on next year’s ballot a constitutional amendment to ban equal marriage rights for same-sex couples, which is already banned by statute. While a 2006 effort fell short, as of September 5, Florida4Marriage.org claimed to have gathered 594,000 of the 611,000 signatures they need to submit by February 1, making it likely that the amendment will be on the ballot in 2008.

Ken Blackwell

Blackwell is most famous as the controversial Ohio secretary of state during the 2004 election, overseeing voting laws while moonlighting as state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. But he has a long history of far-right activism on economic and civil rights issues, and in 2004 Blackwell forged an alliance with the Religious Right as he campaigned for an anti-gay ballot measure. By 2006, when Blackwell ran for governor, this alliance had grown into a church-based political machine, with megachurch pastors Rod Parsley and Russell Johnson taking Blackwell to rallies of “Patriot Pastors,” who signed on to a vision of a Christianity under attack by dark forces, in need of “restoration” through electoral politics. “This is a battle between the forces of righteousness and the hordes of hell,” declared Johnson.

Blackwell’s gubernatorial bid failed, but he continues his career as a right-wing activist with affiliations with the Family Research Council and the Club for Growth, as well as a column on Townhall.com.

Katherine Harris

Harris is well known for her controversial role in Florida’s 2000 presidential election debacle, when she served as both secretary of state, overseeing a “purge” of voter rolls as well as the recount itself, and as a state co-chair for Bush/Cheney. She was elected to the U.S. House in 2002 and 2004, and spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference in both 2002 and 2003.

In 2006 Harris made a quixotic Senate run, during which she heavily courted the Religious Right. In an interview with the Florida Baptist Witness, she implied that her opponent, Sen. Bill Nelson, was not a Christian, saying, “[I]f you’re not electing Christians then in essence you are going to legislate sin. They can legislate sin. They can say that abortion is alright. They can vote to sustain gay marriage. And that will take western civilization, indeed other nations because people look to our country as one nation as under God and whenever we legislate sin and we say abortion is permissible and we say gay unions are permissible, then average citizens who are not Christians, because they don’t know better, we are leading them astray and it’s wrong.” She also advised people to disbelieve “that lie we have been told, the separation of church and state.”

Tom Minnery

Minnery is vice president for public policy at Focus on the Family and a frequent spokesman for the group. He is the author of “Why You Can’t Stay Silent: A Biblical Mandate to Shape Our Culture,” arguing that society should be “changed from the top down morally.” Focus on the Family, with a combined budget of over $160 million, promotes far-right positions on social issues to millions of Americans through radio, print, and the web, and Focus founder James Dobson is probably the single most influential figure on the Religious Right.

“There are more than enough Christians to defeat the Left," Minnery said at a rally in South Dakota. "There are a lot of pastors who didn't want to be seen as an 'activist,' but this issue of marriage has left them with little choice but to get involved."

Brownback’s Hero: Propagandist David Barton

A few weeks ago, WallBuilders launched its own radio program and though it has only been on the air a short time, it has already had three members of Congress on as guests.  

Barton%20Live.gif For most of its existence, WallBuilders has tended to operate under-the-radar, primarily though its founder David Barton’s non-stop travel around the country where he delivers misleading lectures designed to convince right-wing audiences that the Founding Fathers were evangelical Christians just like them who intended to create a nation of, by, and for Christians.

Despite the fact that Barton’s academic credentials are limited to a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College, and the fact that scholars have dismissed his work as “convincing to an uninitiated audience … a lot of what he presents is a distortion of the truth,” his books, videos, and lectures have been heartily embraced by the Right as well as right-wing members of Congress.

So far, Rep. Todd Akin, Rep. Bobby Jindal, and Sen. Sam Brownback have all appeared on Barton’s program and were effusive in their praise and flattery for Barton and his work.

For instance, Sen. Brownback, appearing on October 17th

Dave Barton is one of my big heroes.  When I first got into the United States Senate, I was watching some of his videos and it made me mad that we walk over so much of the beautiful heritage that makes our history come to life and he’s done a great job of that , so I’m honored to be on with … one of my heroes, Dave Barton.

The following day, Rep. Bobby Jindal appeared on the program and went on at length about the importance of Barton’s work, which is not too surprising considering that earlier this month, Barton traveled Louisiana with Jindal where the two made several joint appearances

It’s a great honor and privilege to be on the air with you!  Let me tell you, Dave did a fantastic job, went to three churches with us, just reminding us of our nation’s history, our nation’s heritage.  You know, I listen to him, I learn something new on every Capitol tour and every presentation.  The response was tremendous.  People just tell me that every single stop, every single church, they said they learned so much.  The only complaint I got was from some people who couldn’t make it … they were so disappointed they missed hearing him speak in person.  But he did a phenomenal job for us.

What makes him so powerful and so effective is that he has studied the original documents, the founding fathers, the history of our country and he is able to point out in such detail their faith, their intention that this should be a country that’s unafraid to embrace faith.  His ability to show you through fact, after fact … it is so overwhelming, it is so powerful.  He’s got more than enough data to prove his argument and I think that is so important because in today’s history classes, so often our students, our children, are not learning the real history of our country, too often because of political correctness.

As we have chronicled in our recent report on Barton, his work has been plagued by inaccuracies, unconfirmed quotes, and intentionally misleading interpretation and analysis, so much so that it can only be described as propaganda. Even Republican Senator Arlen Specter has blasted his work, saying Barton’s “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people. “ 

Of course, among those who take is seriously are those on the Right, which explains why the Republican National Committee hires Barton every election cycle to travel the country and present his propaganda to select audiences – and is doing so again this year.  

Earlier this year WallBuilders released a DVD designed to misleadingly give African Americans the impression that the Democratic Party of today has been responsible for everything from slavery to the Ku Klux Klan – a tactic that groups like the National Black Republican Association and America’s PAC are exploiting this election season.  

Barton’s ties to the Right and to the Republican Party are deep – to learn more about him, read our report: “David Barton - Propaganda Masquerading as History.”

RNC Again Paying for Barton’s Propaganda

In a lengthy interview with the authors of the “Article VI Blog” (Article VI refers to the section in the US Constitution states “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States”) pseudo-historian David Barton reports that, just as he has in the past, he’ll be working for the Republican National Committee during this election cycle

John: … So, David, my next question would be, you worked for the RNC in ’04, is that correct?

David Barton: That’s correct – in 2004 as well as in earlier cycles; and they have approached me to help in this cycle as well. So I guess that makes four cycles that I have worked with them.

John: Could you describe your activities.

David Barton: The activities I do for the RNC are not a lot different from what I do in any other setting. The audience is slightly different, but the message I deliver remains largely the same. What I did for the RNC was particularly talk to the constituency that included people of faith and social conservatives (there’s a lot of overlap between the two). I would essentially show the historical and Biblical reasons for people of faith to be involved politically. We also did a number of pastors’ conferences giving that same information but also distributing a four page letter from the IRS laying out exactly what churches can and cannot do as 501(c)(3) organizations. I try to clarify a lot of the confusion in this area, because there are several groups on the left that aggressively attempt to intimidate and silence pastors.

That’s what I do for RNC with pastors. With general citizen rallies arranged by the RNC, I cover much of the same material but without the IRS aspect since that is not germane to the actions of individual citizens. These rallies are frequently packed out (as we recently saw in Iowa, Ohio, and other states) with grass roots conservative activists who want more historical information and also specific information about what they can do in a campaign. So, although I switch hats back and forth between political and non-profit groups, probably 90% of the message will stay the same.

As we noted in our recent report on Barton, he is not a historian - his educational credentials consists of a Bachelor of Arts degree from Oral Roberts University and an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Pensacola Christian College - but rather a propagandist intent on convincing his audience that America was designed to be a Christian nation and that all good Christians must vote Republican.

David Barton Not surprisingly, the Right has embraced Barton’s work, with senators like Sam Brownback hailing his research as providing “the philosophical underpinning for a lot of the Republican effort in the country today -- bringing God back into the public square.”  Of course, actual academics have a different interpretation of Barton’s credibility
Derek Davis, the director of the JM Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies at Baylor University, said of Barton: "He's not a trained historian. He can be very convincing to an uninitiated audience. He's intelligent. He's well-spoken. But a lot of what he presents is a distortion of the truth … [H]e assumes that because [the Founding Fathers] were religious, our government should be, too."
A decade ago, Republican Senator Arlen Specter took to the pages of the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy and dismissed many of Barton’s arguments as “[ranging] from the technical to the absurd,” noting that they “proceed from flawed and highly selective readings of both text and history.”  Specter went on to state that Barton’s “pseudoscholarship would hardly be worth discussing, let alone disproving, were it not for the fact that it is taken so very seriously by so many people.” Apparently the RNC is among those who continue to take Barton’s work “pseudoscholarship  … so very seriously,” enough so that it is willing to secure his services once again in its effort to mobilize pastors and activists for electoral gain.  
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