Rutherford Institute

Jailed AZ Unfairly Pastor Stuck in Arpaio's 'Concentration Camp'

Yesterday we wrote a post noting that John Whitehead of the Rutherford Institute, which is representing jailed Arizona pastor Michael Salman, was complaining about the conditions in which Salman is being held within the infamous tent city jail compound created by "America's Toughest Sheriff" and Birther extraordinaire Joe Arpaio.

Whitehead is now making the rounds on right-wing radio programs to plead Salman's case and stopped by AFA's "Today's Issues" where he complained that Salman was being held in a "concentration camp":

He's in Tent City. If you don't know what Tent City is, I'm telling your listeners, go Google it - it is a concentration camp. It has stun fences, electric fences, no air conditioning, people live in tents on the ground and men have to wear pink underwear to humiliate them. There's no air conditioning; it's a 145 degrees there. So that's where he's at.

The Right's Sudden Concern About Arpaio's Prison Camps

Over the last few weeks, Arizona pastor Michael Salman has become a Religious Right cause célèbre and the current poster boy for religious persecution. In the Religious Right's version of events, Salman has supposedly been harassed and persecuted by local officials for years simply because he wanted to hold bible study meetings at his home. 

In reality, Salman had been attempting to illegally build a church in his back yard and was found guilty of dozens of code violations, resulting in a sixty day jail sentence, which Salman is now serving ... and about which his supporters are now complaining:

Pastor Michael Salman is serving his 60-day sentence for holding a home Bible study in Tent City Jail, a prison compound in Maricopa County, Ariz. The Phoenix pastor’s attorney describes conditions there as similar to the infamous Guantanamo Bay detention camp in Cuba.

“This is where you would put Osama bin Laden, not Michael Salman,” says Rutherford Institute founder and attorney John Whitehead in an interview yesterday with International Christian Concern (ICC).

“The temperature there has been around 140 degrees, and there is no air conditioning. They’re [living] in tents. They have stun fences … barbed wire … large German shepherds walking the perimeter, armed guards and facial recognition software so that the prisoners are studied all the time.”

According to Whitehead, Salman has reported being imprisoned with “really hardened criminals.” He is unsure why the pastor has been specifically sent to Tent City. In late June, the jail was the focus of thousands of protesters who gathered outside the Maricopa County Sherriff’s office to express their disapproval of the allegedly prison camp-like conditions.

It should be noted that this Guantanamo-like prison camp in which Salman is currently serving his time just so happens to be the system set up by the Right's hero, "America's Toughest Sheriff," and Birther extraordinaire Joe Arpaio.

Oddly, nobody on the Right seemed particularly concerned about the conditions in the compound until now. 

The DHS Conspiracy Reaches the Illogical Nadir

Remember back in 2009 when the entire Religious Right movement began falsely claiming that the Obama administration was targeting conservatives by labeling them potential domestic terrorists based solely on a footnote in a Department of Homeland Security report ... a report that was written during the Bush administration by a gun-owning, anti-choice Republican Mormon?

This ridiculous claim has long been an established belief among the Religious Right, so it was only a matter of time before they started warning that National Defense Authorization Act is really a way for Obama to round-up anti-abortion activists and imprison them indefinitely without trial:

Constitutional experts warn a new law that allows the president to permanently detain U.S. citizens without trial could be used against pro-life activists, who have already been defined as potential terrorists in documents by some government agencies, including the Department of Homeland Security.

“This law can apply to pro-lifers, yes,” said John W. Whitehead, a constitutional attorney and founder of The Rutherford Institute. Whitehead told LifeSiteNews.com the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012 (NDAA) “would allow the military to show up at your door if you’re a ‘potential terrorist,’ and put you in military detention where seeing a lawyer is difficult.”

...

[Dana Cody, president and executive director of Life Legal Defense Foundation] who told LifeSiteNews.com her organization is currently studying the NDAA, added that the law states “enemy territory is anywhere.” The Senate rejected an amendment from Dianne Feinstein limiting permanent detention to those captured “abroad.”

“If it’s within the discretion of the government under the National Defense Authorization Act, of course it will be used by the government to intimidate and silence pro-life people, especially those who are in the public forum,” Cody said.

Supreme Court Rejects Church-State Appeal

The Supreme Court yesterday rejected an appeal of a lower court decision which upheld the policy of the Fredericksburg, Virginia, City Council requiring that the official prayers recited at the beginning of its meetings be non-sectarian. The decision came in a lawsuit filed by a member of the City Council, Rev. Hashmel Turner, who claims that he has a constitutional right to offer a sectarian prayer as the Council's official opening prayer. The City Council and Mayor were represented in the case on a pro bono basis by Terence Rasmussen and Robert Rolfe of the law firm of Hunton & Williams and by attorneys with People For the American Way Foundation.

"Parental Rights"

"Parental Rights" is a phrase often used to mask a right-wing agenda to undermine the rights of children.

Sabotaging Science: Creationist Strategies in the '90's

This report examines the increasingly sophisticated strategies that creationists use in an effort to inject their ideas into public school science curricula

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