American Family Association official Sandy Rios spoke today with Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition about how the two Religious Right groups are fighting efforts in government and the business community to allow transgender people to access the facilities of the gender with which they identify.
Lafferty called on school districts to defy a recent letter from the Departments of Justice and Education on the rights of transgender students, which makes clear that anti-trans discrimination violates Title IX, saying that the administration will never follow through with its enforcement and advising schools to wait to see where the next president stands on the issue.
“What a hypocrite Obama and his evil cronies are at the Department of Education and Justice that they would take lunch money from children,” she said, before alleging that the number of transgender people in the population has been significantly exaggerated.
Rios claimed that the push for transgender rights is simply an attempt to “give the approval to a lifestyle” and “create chaos, to tear down all the social norms,” criticizing the administration for hiring “100 percent radical” officials, including “homosexual activists” and “radical leftists for race.”
“They look for discrimination everywhere and they are just pursuing every area they can,” she said, “and they’re equating, of course, transgenderism and homosexuality with race in many cases and some of them are certainly advocates for the radical homosexual left as well.”
The two went on to attack Target, which the AFA is boycotting, and Walmart for their policies on LGBT issues, with Rios urging listeners to “take action” and punish businesses with nondiscrimination policies “because if we don’t now I think … that the next push will be to legalize and mainstream pedophilia.”
“That’s not a guess,” she said. “It’s not just a, ‘Gee, what do I think?’ This is what the radical left sexual activists have been planning for a long time.”
Andrea Lafferty, the anti-LGBT crusader who runs the Traditional Values Coalition, visited “Breitbart News Daily” this morning, where she warned parents not to “let your young girls and teen girls buy their summer clothes or bathing suits at Target” because of the company’s transgender-inclusive facilities policy.
She added that Target and Hershey Park have now become “pedophile magnets and pervert magnets” because they allow people to use the restroom of the gender with which they identify.
Lafferty then suggested that customers go into Target and fill up their shopping carts, go to the register, and say “Uh, I’m not going to buy this. Look at how much money I would have spent.’”
Members of the DeVos family, which made billions with the Amway direct marketing company, have long been funders of far-right causes and Republican politicians. Over the years, they’ve appeared in PFAW and PFAW Foundation reports like Buying a Movement and Predatory Privatization. This week Inside Philanthropy has taken a look at DeVos funding, which has been instrumental in driving anti-public education efforts all across the country.
The story’s author, Rick Docksai, writes that the DeVos family’s success at pushing “school choice” reflects its “remarkable talent for moving money by the truckload into socially conservative causes and putting it to work to shift voters’ and lawmakers’ mindsets in a rightward direction.”
Among the right-wing groups DeVos has funded are the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute, Federalist Society, Council for National Policy, Traditional Values Coalition, the Acton Institute, and the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. But education policy is a top priority.
Betsy DeVos is quite the political ringleader in her own right. She formerly chaired the Michigan Republican Party. And she's been called "the four-star general of the voucher movement," for her activism on this issue, which includes her present-day gigs as a board member of Advocates for School Choice and as head of All Children Matter, a group that has been pumping contributions into state elections since its inception in 2003. Conservative education reforms—school vouchers, in particular—are its rallying cause, and the organization claims a "win/loss record" of 121 to 60...
Docksai contrasts the DeVos family’s commitment to Religious Right and and social conservative causes with the Koch brothers’ more libertarian leanings. But, he notes, the DeVos family is just as far-right as the Kochs on economic policy:
DeVos' influence helped turn Michigan into a "right-to-work" state (e.g., no company in the state can obligate its employees to pay dues for union representation), for example. And they firmly back opponents of affirmative action: The Center for Individual Rights received funding from Dick and Betsy DeVos in 2001 after it challenged the University of Michigan's race-based admissions process in court, a lengthy legal fight that resulted in new court-imposed restrictions on the use of race as an admissions factor.
Inside Philanthropy says that Jeb Bush’s failed presidential campaign got “a significant share of its funding from Richard DeVos,” but says that’s a departure from the DeVos’s political win-loss record: “The family has been a major shaper of policymaking at the state and national levels and will surely remain so for years to come.”
Lafferty told Rios that she came to Bentonville to warn that such a move would “put psychologically unhealthy teachers in the classroom” and ultimately grant legal protections to LGBT students, which she described as a danger. After Lafferty claimed that trans youth experience higher suicide rates because they are “psychologically unhealthy and unstable,” Rios likened affirmation of trans children to affirming people’s porn addictions or extramarital affairs: “We don’t say it’s okay, it’s just the way you are.”
“There are studies, the federal government is funding a study of transgendered [sic] kids, but it’s more to promote it,” Lafferty said. “To me, it’s the ultimate act of child abuse to not try and really help your child through this and to become whole but they are psychologically unhealthy.”
Rios, the director of governmental affairs at the American Family Association, told Lafferty that LGBT rights advocates have been “homosexualizing schools” for over two decades, warning that LGBT themes are “folded into the texts of almost every discipline.”
“Look at the polls showing how our kids feel about homosexuality, even Christian kids,” Rios continued. “Does anybody think that’s by accident? It’s because they are inundated with a steady flow — even in those nice, good schools that you think you have. Good teachers have been silenced and for the most part they have folded.”
She warned that parents only have two options: “You’ve either got to run for school board and cleanse your local governance of these kinds of people making these horrible decisions or you’ve got to pull your kids out of school. I don’t see another choice.”
“You are putting your children in such great danger now,” she said. “Danger because of the confusion, because of the temptation, because of the indoctrination. You’re not helpless to do something about it, but you will be.”
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition spoke with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios this morning about her group’s campaign to block a proposal in Fairfax County, Virginia, that would add gender identity to the county education system’s nondiscrimination policy.
Lafferty told Rios that “confused” transgender students should only be allowed to use single-occupancy restrooms, while transgender teachers shouldn’t be allowed to teach altogether. “These individuals are psychologically unhealthy and they shouldn’t be teaching in the class,” Lafferty said.
Lafferty cited the high suicide ideation rate among people who identify as transgender as a reason for schools to bar transgender teachers: “We know these people are trouble and they need help, but they shouldn’t be put in the classroom.”
“It’s a scary thing,” Rios said. “It’s frightening and it’s sad and the suicide rate is high and so this is not normal, it never will be normal. It’s harmful and most of all, though, our job is to protect our children. We need to help those that are confused sexually, yes, but we do not help them at the expense of the safety of our kids.”
Rios added that supporters of the measure represent “the face of intimidation and evil.”
Similar dire warnings about the federal hate crimes law that was passed five years ago today have proven to be utterly false.
The apocalyptic rhetoric is a reaction to the advances in LGBT rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in dozens of states and the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in municipalities across the country. Along with categories such as race, gender, religion, age and ability, more localities are recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as traits warranting protection from discrimination in the public domain.
As anti-gay politicians lose in the courts, Congress, state houses, town halls, and perhaps most importantly, at the ballot box, many have taken to conflating political defeat with a loss of rights and liberty. Only by depriving other people of their rights, so they claim, can conservatives and people of faith in this nation truly be free.
This month, many Republicans latched onto a complicated legal case in Houston to justify their hyperbolic warnings about impending doom for Christians in America. After Houston passed an equal rights ordinance this year, a pastor-led group tried — and failed — to collect enough valid petition signatures to force a referendum on repealing the ordinance. When a group of conservative activists and pastors filed a lawsuit demanding that officials accept the invalid petitions, pro-bono attorneys working for the city subpoenaed several pastors’ communications, including sermons, on petition collecting and related issues like homosexuality as part of the discovery process.
While many groups from the left and right alike called out the subpoenas as overly broad and intrusive, the Religious Right cited the legal move as proof that pastors will be, as the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody put it, “hauled off to jail for a hate crimes because they are speaking for traditional marriage.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who in 2012 warned that America was “at the edge of a precipice” and would soon see non-existent “hate speech” laws used “against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages [or] who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage,” agreed with Brody’s assessment.
(In a similar episode this month, the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel business filed a lawsuit against their hometown over a nondiscrimination ordinance, arguing that city officials have threatened them with prosecution and jail time for denying service to same-sex couples — even though officials haven’t pursued any legal action against the couple.)
We’ve seen this movie before. In 2007, members of a group called Repent America were charged after disrupting a gay pride event and refusing to abide by police orders. The way conservatives tell the story, godly missionaries were punished by law enforcement for exercising their First Amendment rights and “sharing the gospel,” but as court records show, the group tried to disturb the peace and protest inside an event without a permit.
In fact, if Religious Right were correct in their warnings, America should have experienced a wave of arrests targeting pastors, church-goers and Republicans following the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Predictions about the criminalization of the Bible, pastors locked in jail cells and concentration camps for Christians never came true, mainly because these prophecies had no basis in reality.
The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law was passed by Congress five years ago today, and so far, the far-right’s twisted and baseless claims about the law have all been proven false. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped making the exact same discredited arguments five years after the bill’s passage:
End of Free Speech
Despite the hate crimes law’s provision making clear that it is applicable only to cases of violent crime and nothing “shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs,” Religious Right activists and their allies in the GOP nonetheless predicted that the 2009 law would bring free speech to an end.
“Gay activists will use it against preachers who present the Biblical view of homosexuality,” Rick Scarborough said at the time. “The federal hate crimes law doesn’t target crime, but free speech.” He also warned that the law’s passage would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality,” telling members of his group, Vision America, that he may face arrest for “speaking out against sexual deviancy.”
Scarborough, a Texas anti-gay pastor and political organizer close to Ted Cruz, hasn’t backed down from his claims even years after the law has gone into effect. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Scarborough declared that the “infidels” in the Obama administration are “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christians wouldn’t rise up against the attacks, he feared, “until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”
The Traditional Values Coalition went as far as to claim that the hate crimes law would imprison Jesus Christ.
“I believe that ‘hate crimes’ is the most dangerous bill in America, it is precisely what they are using to silence Christians around the world,” Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist with the group Faith 2 Action, said in an interview the year before the bill was passed. “How much of a stretch is it, really, to say that because I would say to you homosexuality is a sin or it’s dangerous behavior, before that speech alone is worthy of jail time? And that’s what we’re facing.” Porter told a Washington, D.C., rally shortly after the law was passed that it “criminalizes Christianity” and “sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech.”
In an 2009 email message with the subject line, “The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that “what ‘hate crimes’ legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.”
He also alleged that the law would “gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda” and that it “punishes a person’s beliefs — part of the Left's intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”
“If federal thought crimes laws are passed, your right to share politically incorrect parts of your Christian faith could become a federal crime,” Perkins warned. At another conservative event, Perkins said hate crimes laws will curtail freedom and breed “chaos in America.”
Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America even encouraged opposition to the law by alleging that “there is a direct connection between the sins and crimes of abortion and the sodomite agenda and the Islamic terrorism that threatens our nation.”
One group of GOP and Religious Right figures claimed the law would be “a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression.”
E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor and GOP politician, told a conservative rally that the law “represents a virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred” that is “another step in the process of robbing all Americans of the very freedoms the founding fathers pledged their lives for and the civil rights martyrs gave their lives for.”
Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, best known for his work supporting George W. Bush’s re-election campaign and the passage of his state’s gay marriage ban, said that the hate crimes law would force him out of the pulpit.
“This deceptive ploy of liberal, homosexual agenda begins to lose its allure once you pull the mask back and take a closer look,” Parsley said. “The legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people not for their actions but for their culturally incorrect thoughts. This legislation could become law, and you and I could find ourselves forbidden to speak from God’s word right here in America. I could no longer share my heart with you on critical issues, such as this, through the medium of television, or even in the pulpit of my own church.”
We can report that despite Parsley’s grim predictions, he is still very much “sharing his heart” as a preacher.
Outlawing the Bible
One group of Michigan pastors, joined by local Republican politician and American Family Association state chairman Gary Glenn, filed an unsuccessful legal challenge against the hate crimes law soon after it was enacted. The group’s legal representative, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, contended that “the sole purpose” of the law was “to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”
Pastor Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ also offered an ominous warning: “If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested.” One WorldNetDaily commentator said the law would “crack down” on Christians for “reading the Bible.”
“Christianity Is Now Outlawed,” declared the Christian Seniors Association, a front group of the Traditional Values Coalition, in a fundraising letter following the law’s passage. “Did you know that the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature?’” the letter continued.
“Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs,” said Andrea Lafferty of the TVC. “The ultimate objective of this legislation is to claim that ‘hate speech’ — criticism of homosexuality — incites individuals to violence and must be suppressed and punished. This will violate the First Amendment rights of any person or group that opposes the normalization of homosexuality in our culture.”
In the paranoid conservative alternate reality, pedophilia has been legal for five years now thanks to the updated federal hate crimes law.
“The main purpose of this ‘hate crimes’ legislation is to add the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ ‘either actual or perceived,’ as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations: zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?” asked televangelist Pat Robertson.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, similarly charged: “We have a record roll call vote that shows every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voting to have pedophiles protected.”
King’s colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further and said that as a result of the hate crimes law, courts would “have to strike any laws against bestiality” along with laws targeting “pedophiles or necrophiliacs.” Gohmert went on to warn that the law would effectively turn the U.S. into Nazi Germany.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, for his part, predicted that the law would extend legal protections to “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality.”
Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center claimed the law “elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”
Porter dubbed the law the “Pedophile Protection Act,” “summarizing” the law by completely making things up: “Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered [sic], cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.”
Pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia are still against the law and such laws have not been affected by the Hate Crimes Act, while declining “an unwelcome advance of a homosexual” is still very much legal. However, we are still waiting with bated breath for Porter’s lawsuit detailing how she was forced and legally bound to succumb to the charms of a homosexual enticer.
Can the Religious Right Be Trusted?
The many frantic, unfounded warnings about the perils the 2009 Hate Crimes Act are just one example of anti-gay activists’ penchant for manufacturing myths and brazenly distorting cases of supposed persecution.
Apocalyptic warnings and blatantly dishonest remarks have always been characteristic of the Religious Right's crusade against LGBT rights and we can expect such activists to continue to engage in such shameless fear mongering and misinformation before the 2014 election.
But, like the Religious Right’s warnings about the effects of the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, these dire predictions should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
In honor of LGBT Pride Month, we have dedicated this week’s edition to looking at five of the most bizarre anti-LGBT stories coming from the Right Wing just in the past week.
5. Rick Santorum Fears Gay ‘Reeducation Camps’
Religious Right activists continue tostokefears about gay rights supporters organizing an anti-Christian holocaust, and Rick Santorum is happy to help. The former senator and presidential candidate, out with a new film about the purported loss of religious freedom in America, warned this week that Christians in the U.S. are being sent off to “reeducation camps” and face jail and martyrdom. Santorum was speaking to none other than Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association radio host who believes gay people are to blame for the Holocaust and are modern-dayNazis.
4. Gay Gulags
If you thought Santorum’s remarks were a rare occurrence in the Religious Right, just read today’s commentary from BarbWire senior editor Jeff Allen, who warns that the “gaystapo” wants its opponents “summarily shipped off on the ‘highway’ to the ‘gay’ gulag of sensitivity training — actually, reeducation camp to receive a government-provided, pro-perversity lobotomy.”
He warns about “alarming homosexual efforts at shredding the dictionary, distorting of the Constitution, creating false rights out of thin air, rewriting civil laws to criminalize deeply held moral convictions, hijacking science to promote a deviant political/social agenda, and eliminating all religious and conscience protections for business owners,” adding that “every advance of the militant ‘gay agenda’ comes at the literal expense of true democracy and freedom.”
“Many of the vindictive items on homosexual agenda are designed exactly as vengeance against their supposed oppressors,” Allen writes. “Unlike the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s in which African Americans united and fought against the truly heinous injustices of racial inequality and unprovoked acts of violence, the homosexual rights movement has no intentions of being peaceful. Nobody should fool themselves, this is a hostile takeover of America.”
3. Gays Want To Molest Their Kids
Those of you who haven’t been shipped off to a gay FEMA camp yet may want to consider this brilliant analysis by Mission America’s Linda Harvey, who this week alleged that gay parents are much more likely than others to sexually abuse their children because “when you are open to sinful, God-defying behavior in one profound way, violating other boundaries happens more easily.”
2. More GOP Rebranding
Speaking out in opposition to amendment to prohibit charter schools from discriminating in hiring on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, North Carolina House Speaker Pro Tem Paul ‘Skip’ Stam compared gay people to pedophiles and “distributed a flier titled ‘What Is A “Sexual Orientation”?’ that compares being lesbian or gay to mental disorders such as apotemnophilia (sexual arousal associated with an amputee’s stump) and coprophilia (sexual arousal associated with feces).”
The handout reportedly originated from the far-right Traditional Values Coalition. Catherine Thompson of TPM notes that “Stam did not mention that the information in his handout, which dated back to 2000, had been updated in the APA manual to classify those attractions as ‘disorders’ rather than ‘orientations,’ according to the news station.”
Andy Birkey of The Column reports that the group’s leader, Steven Uggen, believes God told him that he has the “healing power” to cure people of HIV, although most will not be grateful:
One of the words we got out of this outreach, the Lord really wanted to demonstrate his goodness to this community by releasing healing of HIV and AIDS, so we believe we’re going to see people healed of HIV and AIDS and we’re just, we’re carrying that word of the Lord into this outreach. And that will be part of our training just praying with boldness for the releasing of healing power and then sending them back to their doctors literally after praying for them. ‘Here’s what I want you to do: go to your doctor, get tested for HIV or AIDS and when you come back negative, you’ve got a decision to make whether you’re gonna serve the God who just healed you’ and then give them some gospel materials that they can take with them and encourage them to call on us and let us know and I’m confident that we’re going to have people healed of HIV and AIDS that are going to be contacting us. The funny thing is Jesus healed the 10 lepers and only one came back to acknowledge him so there may be 10 that get healed but only one come back, you know. This is a strategy that God wants to use so the very fruit of their sin is what he wants to, like, take away to show them his kindness and his goodness. I mean it’s just totally Jesus. I mean it’s like totally his way so we’re excited about that.
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition emailed members yesterday to inform them that Hobby Lobby’s challenge of the contraception coverage mandate is necessary to stop the Obama administration and Planned Parenthood’s supposed “agenda of population control” and attempts to diminish freedom in America.
She added that the HHS mandate is part of a larger attack on freedom coming through the “IRS scandal” and “Islamic shariah law both at home and abroad.”
We are just one breath away from freedom.
Today the oral arguments for the Hobby Lobby case was heard in Washington, and in the snow and rain hundreds of folks turned out in support of religious liberty.
The world is seeing it for what it is.
Even the media has started to turn on Obama.
Families faced with crippling increases have nowhere to turn.
...but the Obama administration is bent on pushing its agenda of population control.
Planned Parenthood and the Obama administration have been scheming for this for the last six years. This is their time – their only time – to cram it through.
Traditional Values Coalition remains the largest Christian organization in America fighting back against Obamacare and the HHS Mandate, with over 43,000 churches and ministeriums and millions of Christian, Bible-believing Americans supporting our work.
...and should it come down to a U.S. Supreme Court justice nomination fight, it will be TVC on the camera, TVC in the halls of power, TVC working the committee rooms – because few organizations in Washington have the access and confidence to make your voice heard on Capitol Hill.
Hobby Lobby is just the tip of the iceberg. Between the IRS scandal, the attacks on the religious liberties on military chaplains, the silencing and shaming of those standing up to the horrors of Islamic shariah law both at home and abroad, few voices have the courage to stand up and do what is right – even when it’s unpopular.
Liberty Counsel has "distributed over 4,500 copies of 'Silence is Not an Option' to pastors throughout Virginia."
The Christian Medical and Dental Associations supports efforts to repeal "exemptions to child abuse and neglect laws, which currently do not place parents at fault if they refuse medical treatment for a child because of religious beliefs."
Erik Rush finds the "perennial liberal claim of loving America akin to that of the domestic abuser who claims to love his wife, but beats the crap out of her on a daily basis."
TVC opposes ENDA because "transgender people are 'psychologically unhealthy individuals' who shouldn't be 'forced on children and parents' in schools around the country."
The government may be shut down, but Congress is still on the job, and we need to show them that they need to get back to work not only on the budget but on all of the urgent issues that we care about.
First introduced in 1994, ENDA has been introduced in every subsequent session of Congress except one, including its introduction this April by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate. Advocates in Congress and on the ground believe that the growing momentum surrounding LGBT equality should help ENDA move forward this year.
First introduced in 1994, ENDA has been introduced in every subsequent session of Congress except one, including its introduction this April by a bipartisan group of lawmakers in the House and Senate. Advocates in Congress and on the ground believe that the growing momentum surrounding LGBT equality should help ENDA move forward this year.
It looks like the American Family Association isn’t the only group pushing the patently false claim that Muslim-Americans are exempt from the new health care reform law.
The Traditional Values Coalition is now telling members that “Islam got a free pass” under Obamacare, even though as FactCheck.org pointed out back in 2010, Muslims are not one of the groups granted a religious exemption.
The health care law only exempts the same religious groups already exempt from government benefits like Social Security. In fact, the only religious sects that have exemptions are Christian denominations.
But what else would you expect from the group which claimed that President Obama signed a law that “makes the Bible illegal”?
Guess what? Muslims don't have to participate in Obamacare due to "religious exemptions" not extended to Christians! Need evidence? Here you go:
EXEMPTIONS FROM INDIVIDUAL RESPONSIBILITY REQUIREMENTS.
—In the case of an individual who is seeking an exemption certificate under section 1311(d)(4)(H) from any requirement or penalty imposed by section 5000A, the following information:
In the case of an individual seeking exemption based on the individual’s status as a member of an exempt religious sect or division, as a member of a health care sharing ministry, as an Indian, or as an individual eligible for a hardship exemption, such information as the Secretary shall prescribe.”
Senate Bill, H.R. 3590, pages 273-274
Now what's curious about this tidy little insertion is that it's primarily designed for religious groups such as the Amish. But add a wrinkle here -- for Muslims, modern health care systems are a bit more akin to "gambling" -- which is haram or forbidden in Islam. Liberty and Pride explains:
There are several reasons why an individual could claim exemption, being a member of a religion that does not believe in insurance is one of them. Islam is one of those religions. Muslims believe that health insurance is “haraam”, or forbidden; because they liken the ambiguity and probability of insurance to gambling. This belief excludes them from any of the requirements, mandates, or penalties set forth in the bill. Other excluded groups include Amish, American Indians, and Christian Scientists.
What's fascinating about this is while Christian business owners and organizations -- most notably the Catholic Church, Domino's Pizza, and Hobby Lobby -- are fighting for their very lives resisting the violations of religious conscience in Obamacare, apparently Islam got a free pass.
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition is mocking Sen. Rob Portman’s recent announcement that he changed his views on marriage equality after his son came out of the closet. Lafferty asked in a statement if a politician would support drunk driving if his son was a drunk driver. She maintained that civilization is “doomed to collapse” if gay rights laws succeed, and Portman should have told his son that it is “wrong” to be gay.
Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty issued the following statement in reaction to Ohio Senator Rob Portman's recent repudiation of his stance against gay marriage in reaction to his son's homosexual preferences:
These past few days have been very painful ones for me.
Earlier this week one of my children came to me and told me something which was shocking.
He is a drunk driver and has been driving drunk regularly since college.
I have taken several days to reflect on this and I have decided to reverse my earlier opposition to drunk driving.
My child is a drunk driver and I love him. It is a part of his identity, who he is.
I have reflected on all of this, consulted Scripture (the story of Jesus changing water into wine when the wedding he was attending in Cana ran dry is particularly relevant) and decided that drunk driving is a generational issue. Younger people take a much different view of drunk driving than older people.
Therefore, today I am reversing my opposition to drunk driving. My child has caused me to revisit a decision which, up until now, had been based simply on morality.
My child is a drunk driver. That has personalized the issue for me and taken me above the whole discussion of the morality of it. It is now personal with me.
In addition, I would like to say that drunk driving will make all of us stronger drivers. Think of how much more interesting driving will be in the future if more people have the freedom to drive drunk. It will sharpen the defensive driving skills of the rest of us.
"This unreleased press statement follows the same twisted, self-serving logic that several public officials have used in explaining their switch from opposing homosexual marriage to favoring it.
"If you remember nothing else from this exchange, remember this: our children are learners and unable to determine morality and then hand it down to their parents and other impressionable adults. This is one factor in why our culture is so morally upside down!
"This whole line of argument suggesting that opposition to homosexual “marriage” is a personal and “generational” matter is equally silly.
"There are absolutes. There is right and there is wrong. There are objective truths. A civilization which has no governing principles or laws is doomed to collapse. That is the soul of conservatism.
"The tough part of being a parent is telling one of those young souls whom we have been charged with raising that he or she is wrong. But because it is tough that doesn’t mean that we are excused from doing it or we can delegate our responsibility to a teacher or “the village” or some other entity.
"Being a good parent is infinitely more difficult than being a Senator or President. And telling someone you love that he or she is wrong is the most difficult part of that difficult job.
"A nation which recognizes this is on the road to a vast spiritual recovery."
The Family Research Council says Pastor Louie Guglio's decision to withdraw from President Obama's inauguration is "another example of intolerance from the Obama administration toward those who hold to biblical views on sexuality" while Al Mohler calls it "moral McCarthyism."
TVC's Andrea Lafferty says Chuck Hagel was right to oppose James Hormel's nomination back in 1998 because she "went to the Hormel library in San Francisco and spent three days there bringing forth all of this filth and disgusting stuff that was in this man's library."
The level of Glenn Beck's delusion is pretty remarkable as he is now vowing to completely overhaul the world of advertising ... because apparently all the companies that have spent billions of dollars on it over the last fifty years simply have no idea what they are doing.
FRC prays that God will "intervene now to prevent the destruction of marriage in our nation and with it, our nation's future" by swaying the Supreme Court justices.
Why is Rep. Michele Bachmann refusing to pay those who worked on her presidential campaign?
Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition used the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in order to bolster her campaign against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act over the bill’s protections for LGBT employees. While speaking to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the Orange County, Florida, school system’s new non-discrimination policy that is similar to ENDA, Laffery said that just as parents are upset about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are concerned about keeping their children safe, they should also be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as schools will have “people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.”
ENDA, the bill itself as I have been talking about it won’t become law, but they’re going to piece meal it. They’re going to start by making federal contractors—if you want to be a plumber for the government or want to do this, that or the other with the government, you have to comply with this order. They make try and find other ways of doing it, implementing the whole ENDA but I’m not sure exactly how at this point. But what I think people should focus on is: what does this mean locally?
People are really upset because of this tragedy up in Connecticut and protecting our children and we’re going to see some devastating effects. What they did in Florida is they passed a measure which affects adults, teachers, staff and kids. Our concern is that transgender children in schools are a different issue than teachers and staff. What we’re going to see is people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.
Like other Religious Right activists who have warned that ENDA will lead to sexual assault and death, Lafferty maintained that ENDA is part of the left’s “open season” on Christians on behalf of “fringe minorities and people that are truly sick.”
Lafferty warned that Chick-fil-A restaurants may soon be “forced” to hire “weirdos” seeking to undermine Christian businesses, warning that transgender people are committing “the ultimate act of self-hatred” and need “special medical treatment” rather than job protections.
Lafferty: I fully expect that depending on how the administration pushes this, we’re going to see people applying for jobs at Chick-fil-A and Christian businesses because families go there because A) the food is good and B) they want to support what Chick-fil-A stands for, and no better way of hurting a Chick-fil-A restaurant than to have a bunch of weirdos working there.
Mefferd: That is so weird you say that because I had an experience like that at Chick-fil-A just a couple of weeks ago, exact same experience. I thought: that’s very strange that this person is working at Chick-fil-A.
Lafferty: They may have chosen to hire this person but they’re going to be forced to.
Lafferty: I think minorities, those protected classes, are going to be shocked when they find out that a transgendered man or woman is going to be treated the same as an African American man or woman. That’s not right and the laws will be overridden if ENDA should pass. That’s why they are going jurisdiction by jurisdiction to try and force communities to accept this. This is the ultimate act of self-hatred and we are lifting this up? We should be giving them special medical treatment maybe.
The US Embassy in the Czech Republic, as part of the State Department’s new LGBT rights initiative, is supporting a pride festival in Prague “to address discriminatory behavior based on sexual orientation and to promote a tolerant civil society and equal opportunities in the Czech Republic.” AlreadyirateoverSecretaryHillaryClinton’sspeechonLGBTrights, American Religious Right activists joined their European, African and Latin American allies to denounce the Obama administration for “aggressively promoting the ‘gay’ agenda internationally” and leading a campaign of “cultural imperialism” [PDF]:
At the directive of the president of the United States, Washington is aggressively promoting the “gay’’ agenda internationally, including same-sex “marriage” and the stigmatization and marginalization of any who object to the same.
The Obama’s administration’s embrace of “same-sex marriage” has been overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. There have been 32 state referenda on marriage. In every one of them, voters endorsed the natural definition of marriage (a man and a woman). The North Carolina vote, on May 8, was 61% in favor of natural marriage.
It stands to reason, then, that anything which undermines the family – including changing the definition of marriage – is a breach of the State’s responsibility to protect this indispensable institution which precedes government and makes a stable and free society possible.
The Madrid Declaration of World Congress of Families VI (May 25-27, 2012) --which was unanimously adopted by more than 3,200 delegates from 72 countries --provides, in part: “We affirm the natural family to be the union of a man and a woman through marriage for the purposes of sharing love and joy, propagating children, providing their moral education, building a vital home economy, offering security in times of trouble, and binding the generations.”
Regarding “gay rights,” those caught up in this lifestyle have the same rights as other citizens. This does not include the “right” to force others to validate a lifestyle they find objectionable, for religious or other reasons. It also does not include the right of men to marry men and women to marry women.
The foregoing pseudo-rights do not advance human freedom and dignity but debase them.
We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the “gay” agenda on societies with traditional values.
Last month, Charisma posted and edited an article by Alan Chambers of Exodus International that he has since disavowed about the “gaying of the United States.” Now Charisma has posted an article by Louis Sheldon, the founder of the Traditional Values Coalition entitled “The Plan for a Gay (Domi) Nation,” where he lamented that young evangelicals Christians have become more open to gay rights and don’t see homosexuality and the Christian faith as incompatible. He also warned that the gay community is using shows like Glee to “desensitize Americans to the genuine risks of the homosexual agenda.”
Last year alumni from Wheaton College—what used to be the heart of conservative evangelicalism—made headlines for forming an organization to not only support the gay community, but also to promote the belief that homosexuality and Christianity are compatible. As on Christian college campuses throughout the United States, they have once again succeeded in convincing believers that Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor” means turning a blind eye to what the Bible explicitly calls an “abomination.”
“They” aren’t just Wheaton alumni or those who have formed similar groups—both official and unofficial—at Baylor, Harding, Samford, Seattle Pacific and a host of other universities and colleges. They would be the activists who have masterfully driven the gay agenda for more than 30 years and, with remarkable success and precision, changed our nation’s cultural mindset on homosexuality.
From kindergartens to city councils to churches to the Supreme Court, the mainstreaming of homosexuality has reshaped everything in America. And one of the most powerful vehicles by which the gay agenda has accomplished this is media. The first television network program to feature a homosexual character in an ongoing role was the soap opera One Life to Live in 1992. By 1999, there were 25 sitcoms or daytime dramas with homosexual characters. Without exception, these characters were portrayed as witty, clever, lovable and just a little quirky.
It’s perfectly clear what the Hollywood writers and producers were doing—grinding away at public morality, using comedy as a vehicle to overcome the natural resistance of adults, and playing on the curiosity and credulity of children. By sheer persistence, the gay-friendly media have been forcing Americans to accept homosexuality as a normal and natural choice, whether they believe it or not.
Today, based on the large number of primetime TV shows that currently feature openly gay characters, you have to believe that the most favored and most protected type of sexuality is homosexuality. Over the last decade, overtly pro-gay programs such as Will and Grace, Queer as Folk, Queer Eye for the Straight Guy, The L Word and Glee have been designed to desensitize Americans to the genuine risks of the homosexual agenda. Again, homosexuals are invariably portrayed as funny, sensitive and caring individuals.
At the same time, critics of homosexuality are portrayed as bigoted and ignorant homophobes who have to learn to accept homosexuality as a valid lifestyle choice. Yet behind the scenes, how many people realize that organizations such as the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation actually have veto power over many of these scripts and can actually force directors and producers to rewrite dialogue that casts an unflattering light on homosexuals?
While gay conservative groups have come out attacking President Obama for endorsing marriage equality today, Religious Right groups have also started to berate Obama on the issue.
Tony Perkins of Family Research Council said Obama’s position has handed Mitt Romney “the key to social conservative support”:
The President's announcement today that he supports legalizing same-sex marriage finally brings his words in sync with his actions. From opposing state marriage amendments to refusing to defend the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DoMA) to giving taxpayer funded marriage benefits to same-sex couples, the President has undermined the spirit if not the letter of the law.
As demonstrated by yesterday's overwhelming vote in North Carolina, redefining marriage remains outside the mainstream of American politics, especially in the critical battleground states and among minority voters. In North Carolina, the amendment received more than 60 percent of the vote in majority-black counties.
Considering that ten of the sixteen battleground states have marriage amendments that could be overturned by the President's new policy position on marriage, today's announcement almost ensures that marriage will again be a major issue in the presidential election.
The President has provided a clear contrast between him and his challenger Mitt Romney. Romney, who has signed a pledge to support a marriage protection amendment to the U.S. Constitution, may have been handed the key to social conservative support by President Obama.
American Values head and former FRC president Gary Bauer claimed to be perplexed that Obama “is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage”:
The charade is finally up. We've always known that Barack Obama supports same-sex marriage. With every action he's taken, from court appointments to his rhetoric, he's been preparing the way to undermine traditional marriage. Obama's finally made that support explicit.
Every American who can't find work, whose home is under water or who can't afford to fill up his gas tank should be wondering why the president is spending even one second of his time thinking about how and to radically transform the institution of marriage. It's a political move meant to energize his left-wing base and distract Americans from his disastrous economic policies."
Bauer later commented in an email to supporters that Obama “may have just lost the presidency”:
President Obama just told ABC News that he now supports same-sex marriage. Surprised? Didn’t think so. Obama is no doubt hoping to energize his leftwing base. And he is betting this will help him to re-energize the youth vote this November. But in fact he may have just lost the presidency.
Attention Republican Party: Obama’s announcement is a chance for boldness. There are many Republicans who would rather not talk about this issue. But if the GOP confronts Obama over marriage, it could make him a one-term president. If Republicans allow Obama to exploit this issue, then it could prove decisive for him. Republicans need to remember that if their candidates can manage to win as much of the vote as the state marriage amendments have received in 31 states, they will win in a landslide in November.
Now look at North Carolina. It is considered a swing state. Obama won it by only 14,000 votes in 2008 – and it is a high priority for the Dems this year, which is why they are holding their national convention in Charlotte and why he has visited the state repeatedly. This morning Obama might be second guessing that Charlotte venue.
Voters in North Carolina passed a marriage amendment yesterday, making clear that marriage is one man and one woman. Obama, Biden and the entire media establishment opposed the amendment. Bill Clinton did robo calls opposing the measure. The voters felt otherwise by a 61% to 39% vote – a huge landslide and a record turnout. Current polls have Romney beating Obama in North Carolina by only two points! Governor Romney should look at the results of the marriage issue. He can win North Carolina by a landslide if he takes on Obama on this issue.
Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage pledged to defeat Obama and warned, "God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim”:
President Obama has now made the definition of marriage a defining issue in the presidential contest, especially in swing states like Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida and Nevada. Voters in all these states, and over two dozen more, have adopted state constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman. President Obama says that although he personally supports gay marriage, he still supports the concept of states deciding the issue on their own. However, that is completely disingenuous. His administration is already trying to dismantle the nation's marriage laws by refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court. All the state marriage amendments and laws are at risk under a president who actively wants to change the definition of marriage. NOM will work ceaselessly in these swing states and across the nation to preserve traditional marriage because it is profoundly in the public good to do so. God is the author of marriage, and we will not let an activist politician like Barack Obama who is beholden to gay marriage activists for campaign financing to turn marriage into something political that can be redefined according to presidential whim. The definition of marriage was already headed for the ballot in four states this fall; now it will be one of the defining issues of the presidential election. No state in this country has ever voted for gay marriage. Just yesterday North Carolina voters sent a clear message that America wants to preserve marriage. We intend to win the marriage debate this November.
The Traditional Values Coalition president Andrea Lafferty maintained Obama’s view on marriage equality displays his “radical ideology”:
This isn’t exactly a bold move by the president. Forced by Joe Biden’s big mouth, Obama had no choice left but to publicly embrace an agenda he has privately promoted for years.
I’ve been saying this for the last four years. Obama has always been in favor of homosexual marriage, but was forced to keep his enthusiasm at a distance for fear of offending the American public.
Obama needs new friends. His leadership has completely alienated Wall Street, financial investors, small businesses, soccer moms, and virtually every other constituency by pushing his radical ideology at a time when America needed principled leadership. Who better to appease than the LGBT community with tons of disposable income to fund his re-election campaign?
North Carolina just became the 31st state to affirm the sanctity of marriage. As if mainstream Americans needed any further reasons to reject Obama’s radical social agenda, we were most certainly reminded today.
Matt Smith of the Catholic Advocate said Obama’s support for marriage equality is part of “an anti-Catholic agenda”:
Once again, the President is spending time advancing an anti-Catholic agenda. Marriage was created long before any government came into existence. It is a settled issue in the eyes of the Catholic Church and should not be redefined.
First, the Obama administration takes away grant money helping victims of sex-trafficking over the Church refusing to refer the victims for abortions. Then the Obama administration violates our religious liberties by forcing Catholic institutions to pay for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilization as the President's health care law is being implemented. And now, should his advocacy for same-sex marriage succeed, Catholic institutions could be forced once again to violate our beliefs.
Many faithful Catholics were fooled by clever political rhetoric in 2008. This year, the anti-Catholic record of the Obama administration should inform their vote."
Rob Schenck of the Faith and Action commented: “Frankly, I question whether he really does in his heart-of-hearts. Maybe I'm naive, but, if I'm right, it's even worse, because it means he has surrendered a moral conviction for political expediency. Very wrong and very sad.”
Update: Faith and Freedom Coalition chairman Ralph Reed said the announcement shows the President is “tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans”:
Four years ago 2008 Barack Obama promised if elected not to raise taxes on those making less than $250,000, pledged to cut the deficit in half by the end of his first term — and made clear his support for traditional marriage. All those promises are now broken.
At a time of high unemployment and severe economic distress, President Obama chose the week he launched his re-election campaign to flip-flop on same-sex marriage.
Combined with his administration’s opposition to the Defense of Marriage Act, it reveals a president who is tone-deaf and out-of-touch with the time-honored values of millions of Americans. This is an unanticipated gift to the Romney campaign. It is certain to fuel a record turnout of voters of faith to the polls this November.
Bill Donohue of the Catholic League claimed Obama “has fully broken with his Christian moorings” and suggested he also favors polygamy:
In 1996, when Barack Obama was up for a state senate post in Illinois, he said he supported gay marriage. Eight years later, when he set his sights on the U.S. Senate, he discovered his Christian roots and said he was against it. In 2008, he said he was opposed to homosexuals marrying, but he also opposed a ballot initiative in California, Proposition 8, that affirmed marriage as being exclusively between a man and a woman. In other words, his Christian roots were losing their grip. Since then he’s been “evolving.” Now the evolution is over and he has fully broken with his Christian moorings.
The president of the United States likes the idea of Tom and Dick marrying. He did not say whether he supports Tom, Dick and Harry marrying, or whether he is “evolving” in that direction. Perhaps he has to consult with his mentor on this issue, Mr. Joseph Biden of Delaware.
Yesterday, North Carolina voters affirmed marriage as being between a man and a woman. In the 32 times voters have been asked to decide this issue, they have voted 32 times to support traditional marriage. Gay rights advocates have never won.
President Obama will be hurt by this decision in the swing states. More than that, he has now made this cultural matter a major issue in the presidential campaign.
The time has finally come to pass a constitutional amendment affirming marriage as an institution reserved to the only two people who can naturally produce a family, namely a man and a woman.
NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher, now with the Culture War Victory Fund, writes:
On the one hand, morally this is good because lying to the American people is always wrong. President Obama has come clean that he is for gay marriage. Politically, we welcome this. We think it's a huge mistake. President Obama is choosing the money over the voters the day after 61 percent of North Carolinians in a key swing state demonstrated they oppose gay marriage. We now have clear choice between Romney and Obama, and we look forward to demonstrating in November that it's a bad idea for a national candidate to support gay marriage. Marriage is a winning issue for the GOP.
American Family Association president Tim Wildmon tells OneNewsNow:
[He] has finally come out of the closet, if you will, on the homosexual marriage issue. He's in favor of it. He always has been. The only reason he didn't say anything about it before the election last time is because he didn't want to hurt himself [politically].
President Obama, [in] his first year in office, had the homosexual activists to the White House for a dinner and he promised them he would be their 'champion' -- and so he is coming through for them on many different fronts, including the military, changing the military to allow open homosexuality there.
Jim Campbell of the Alliance Defense Fund said his endorsement “promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes”:
This shows that the Obama administration doesn’t understand the public purpose of marriage. Marriage–the lifelong, faithful union of one man and one woman–is the building block of a thriving society. It’s not something that politicians should attempt to redefine for political purposes. The president has spoken eloquently about how fatherless homes often hurt children and society. Today’s statement is a tragic contradiction that promotes the creation of even more fatherless and motherless homes.
Liberty Counsel Action released a statement [pdf] from chairman Mathew Staver, who said the country under Obama’s leadership is “headed to disaster”:
“The President has made the issues in this election very clear,” said Mat Staver, Chairman of Liberty Counsel Action. “Today, Governor Mitt Romney said he unequivocally supports natural marriage and opposes ‘marriage between people of the same gender,’ drawing a stark contrast in the upcoming election. For most voters, this election will now be an easy choice,” said Staver.
The decision by the President is not a surprise. He needs to appeal to his far-left base that helped propel him to the White House in 2008 but whose support has weakened in 2012.
“We are six months away from arguably the most critical national election in our lifetime,” said Mat Staver. “America is headed in the wrong direction: we are on the edge of a moral, financial, spiritual, and national security abyss. President Obama’s 2012 campaign slogan is ‘Forward.’ The Titanic was moving forward but headed to disaster. We need to change course.”