Today at CPAC, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie spoke with conservative talk show host Laura Ingraham, who asked him hard-hitting questions such as one on how media commentators, a favorite target at CPAC, have “savaged” him.
“How do you survive this onslaught day in and day out?” Ingraham asked.
Christie responded that the “elite folks from the media” don’t like the fact that he decided to “take on a lot of these special interests frontally, that they support.” “They just want to kill you,” Christie said. “That’s what they try to do to me every day.”
Later in the Q&A special, Christie revealed to applause that he is giving up the New York Times for Lent.
Today, People For the American Way, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org called on GOP presidential candidates to distance themselves from Conservative Political Action Conference’s ties to ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Robert Vandervoort.
As we reported last week, ProEnglish is sponsoring a booth in the event’s exhibit hall, which costs $4,000. ProEnglish has been allowed to sponsor the event for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties with white nationalist groups. Nearly every major Republican presidential contender is scheduled to speak at the event this weekend.
Here is the full text of the open letter from PFAW, America’s Voice and ColorOfChange.org:
Dear Gov. Jeb Bush, Dr. Ben Carson, Gov. Chris Christie, Sen. Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Gov. Bobby Jindal, Sen. Rand Paul, Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Marco Rubio, Sen. Rick Santorum, and Gov. Scott Walker:
We understand that you are scheduled to speak at this week’s Conservative Political Action Conference, an event which is being partially sponsored by ProEnglish, a group led by white nationalist Bob Vandervoort. We urge you to decline to speak at CPAC unless it cuts ties with ProEnglish and Vandervoort.
ProEnglish has sponsored CPAC for the past several years, despite Vandervoort’s well documented ties to the white nationalist movement. As the Institute for Research & Education on Human Rights has reported, Vandervoort is the former leader of Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, a group dedicated to supporting the ideals of the infamous white nationalist publication American Renaissance. One member of the group described its mission as encouraging “white survival and maintaining white majorities.”
Vandervoort’s own writings reflect these views. He has expressed concern about the need to “halt the cultural and racial dispossession of the West's historic people” and expounded on “racial differences” in “intelligence and temperament.” He has wondered how “race realists and pro-Western Civ nationalists” like himself can counter historical comparisons to the Holocaust and slavery.
CPAC has a troubling history of welcoming white nationalists. In 2012, the conference hosted a panel on race featuring Vandervoort and fellow white nationalist writer Peter Brimelow. And ProEnglish has continued to be allowed to sponsor the event even after civil rights groups have raised concerns.
Clearly, Robert Vandervoort and his group should have no place as a financial sponsor of the nation’s largest convention of conservatives. We urge you to distance yourself from Vandervoort’s views and refuse to speak at CPAC unless ProEnglish’s sponsorship is withdrawn.
Michael Keegan, President
People For the American Way
Frank Sharry, Founder and Executive Director
Rashad Robinson, Executive Director
But Gov. Christie isn’t the only possible Republican presidential hopeful to have flirted with anti-vaccination conspiracy theories or happily promoted groups that do the same.
The episode is reminiscent of the 2012 GOP presidential nomination contest, when candidates piled on Rick Perry for mandating that female students in Texas receive an HPV vaccine, a stance for which he has since apologized. Rep. Michele Bachmann took the criticism of Perry even farther, baselessly charging that the vaccine causes mental retardation.
In addition, a number of top GOP presidential contenders, including Ted Cruz, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum have promoted Eagle Forum, the conservative organization founded by right-wing icon Phyllis Schlafly, which regularly pushes false claims about vaccines.
Eagle Forum is such a favorite of the Republican establishment that Schlafly received a lifetime achievement award — presented by Bachmann — at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference.
An entire section of Eagle Forum’s website is devoted to criticizing vaccines. The group has repeatedly promoted the myth that vaccines are linked to autism, featuring articles on its website about how efforts to vaccinate children are a form of government control that jeopardizes the freedoms of parents and families.
Along with its own misinformation, Eagle Forum refers members to anti-vaccine groups such as the National Vaccine Information Center and the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, which counted Rand Paul as a member for over two decades. Back in 2000, the group promoted a letter [PDF] to the Department of Health and Human Services from then-Rep. Dan Burton, R-Ind., which suggested that vaccines are responsible for an increase in autism diagnoses.
In 2012, Schlafly praised California parents who refused to vaccine their children, attacking a member of the state assembly who wanted to pass a law requiring parents consult with a pediatrician before they make a decision on whether their child receives a vaccination.
Schlafly’s anti-vaccine activism is unlikely to cost her any support from the Republican ranks, who are even more likely to seek support from her and her organization as the GOP nomination contest moves into high gear.
Over the weekend, likely Republican 2016 presidential candidates stepped up to the microphone at two extremist events to throw red meat at their Radical Right base and prove their ultraconservative bona fides in the run up to primary season.
Union-busting Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker won the day with the most well-received speech, in which his biggest applause came when he bragged about his party’s attempts at voter suppression in his state, saying, “we required in our state, by law, a photo ID to vote.”
Former Arkansas Governor and 2008 Iowa Caucus winner Mike Huckabee said states should ignore Supreme Court rulings favorable to marriage equality.
New Jersey Governor Chris Christie played up how staunchly anti-choice he is.
Senator Ted Cruz made the case for caucus voters to weed out anyone but extreme right-wing candidates. “Every candidate is going to come to you and say they are the most conservative person that ever lived,” Cruz said. “Talk is cheap.”
And at a separate Religious Right event, hosted by SPLC-designated hate group the American Family Association, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal discussed the need to enshrine discrimination against same-sex couples in the Constitution, promoted Islamophobic conspiracy theories and closed his speech with the statement “our god wins.” That event, titled The Response, perfectly embodied the dangers of mixing religion with politics in the way that the Right so loves to do.
By making political issues – even incredibly important ones, and even ones that are historically divisive – litmus tests for their followers’ religious conviction, they cast their opponents not only as wrong, but as evil and satanic, allowing for no possibility of compromise and making even civil coexistence difficult.
It was a lot of what you’d expect – unfortunately – but that doesn’t make it any less terrifying. These are the people who are setting the agenda for one of America’s two major parties – and the one that right now controls both houses of Congress.
Read more and check out video from both events at RightWingWatch.org.
UPDATE: Jon Stewart's can't-miss segment on the Freedom Summit from the Daily Show (video courtesy of Comedy Central):
For right-wing advocates, big conservative wins in the Supreme Court’s recently completed term have only confirmed the importance of electing a president in 2016 who will give them more justices in the mold of Samuel Alito and John Roberts. The Roberts and Alito nominations, and the conservative majority created by their confirmations, represent the triumph of a decades-long push by right-wing funders, big business, conservative political strategists, and legal groups to take ideological dominion of all levels of the federal judiciary.
Right-wing groups have long made attacks on the federal judiciary a staple of their rhetoric. Many claim America’s decline began with Supreme Court rulings against required prayer and Bible readings in public schools in the 1960s. Roe v. Wade, and more recently, judicial rulings in favor of marriage equality, have been characterized as “judicial tyranny” and “judicial activism.” Of course right-wing legal groups have been pushing hard for their own form of judicial activism, and have pushed Republican presidents to nominate judges they can count on.
As Jeffrey Toobin notes in a recent profile of presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz in the New Yorker,
Conservatives like Cruz never stopped denouncing liberals for their efforts to use the courts to promote their ideological agenda, even as they began to do much the same thing themselves. The heart of Cruz’s legal career was a sustained and often successful undertaking to use the courts for conservative ends, like promoting the death penalty, lowering the barriers between church and state, and undermining international institutions and agreements.
Right-wing activists are proud of what they have accomplished, as Richard Land, long-time leader of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, told National Journal’s Tiffany Stanley. As Brian Tashman reports in RWW, Land “waxed nostalgic for the days when President Bush was in office…and especially for Bush’s commitment to nominating ultra-conservative federal judges.”
“Alito and Roberts are the gifts that keep on giving, and we would have gotten neither one of those without our involvement,” Land said, predicting that Roe v. Wade will soon be “thrown onto the ash heap of history.”
…The Supreme Court’s ruling this year in the Hobby Lobby case shows the Religious Right’s strong focus on the judiciary is paying off. And Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council told Stanley that conservatives will continue to use the courts as part of their strategy to keep “the barbarians at bay.”
But in spite of their wins, and their success in creating the most pro-corporate Court since the New Deal, right-wing activists are nervous that some of their big wins, like Hobby Lobby and Citizens United, were 5-4 decisions. They want to pad their majority and continue their march to remake America via the courts.
Since federal judges have to be confirmed by the Senate, right-wing groups are also using the Supreme Court in 2014 Senate campaigns. An anti-choice PAC, Women Speak Out, followed the Hobby Lobby ruling almost immediately with attacks on Mark Pryor and other Democrats for not having supported the confirmation of Samuel Alito.
On the day of the Court’s decisions in Hobby Lobby and Harris v. Quinn, North Carolina House Speaker Thom Tillis, a Republican, who is challenging U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan, a Democrat, tweeted “Today’s SCOTUS rulings were a win for our 1st Amendment freedoms, a loss for Hagan, Obama, & DC bureaucrats.”
Cleta Mitchell, a lawyer who represents right-wing groups, told the Washington Post, “These Supreme Court decisions, it’s a reminder to people on our side of the aisle of the importance of the court, and then the importance of recapturing the Senate.”
Religious Liberty ‘Hanging by a Thread’
Right-wing pundits and organizations are already ramping up their rhetoric on judges as a 2016 presidential campaign issue, with many touting the 5-4 decision in Hobby Lobby as evidence that religious liberty is “hanging by a thread.”
Rush Limbaugh went on a tirade against Hillary Clinton after she criticized the Hobby Lobby ruling:
Can I tell you the truth about the Hobby Lobby ruling? We're in such dangerous territory in terms of losing our freedom that we cheer when five out of nine people uphold the Constitution. We're not advancing anything, folks. We are barely hanging on here. … And here comes Hillary Clinton thinking this decision is a step toward the kind of anti-women policy seen in extremist undemocratic nations is outrageous.
The woman is either a blithering idiot or a total in-the-tank statist, maybe a combination of the two. But this is not a step toward anything. This is a temporary halt in the onslaught toward totalitarianism.
We're just barely hanging on. We cheer! We conservatives stand up and cheer when we manage to get five people to see it the right way. "Oh, my God! Oh, Lord! Thank you so much, Lord. You saved another day." Five people out of nine, five said the Constitution means what it says. The troubling thing to me is the four people that didn't! Liberty and freedom are hanging by a thread here!
That theme was echoed by the Archdiocese of Washington’s Msgr. Charles Pope:
“OK, We won. But the Hobby Lobby vote should have been 9-0. Wake up, America. Your liberty is on the line!”
It is simply outrageous that four Supreme Court Justices, and many Americans, cannot see the clear and offensive proposition of the Government in this regard…..We won today, but barely. It should have been 9–0. Wake up, America; your religious and other liberties are hanging by the thread of one vote.
Former presidential candidate Gary Bauer of American Values weighed in in similar fashion:
“While we celebrate this victory, the fact remains that four justices on the Supreme Court, including the two appointed by Obama, evidently share his narrow view of America's first freedom and were willing to trample the religious liberty of millions of Americans in order to advance their radical pro-abortion agenda.
This narrow decision, with four liberal justices eager to go the wrong way, is a stark reminder to every man and woman of faith that their religious liberty is hanging by a thread.
The Court as Right-Wing Campaign Issue for 2016
Right-wing pundits and presidential candidates frequently use the federal judiciary as an issue to excite base voters. Back in 2012, one of the most effective things Mitt Romney did to shore up his weak support among conservative activists was to name a judicial advisory team headed by Robert Bork. That year, Terence Jeffrey, who worked on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaigns and has written for right-wing publications, wrote:
Three of the nine justices on a U.S. Supreme Court that has decided many significant issues by 5-4 votes over the past decade will turn 80 years of age before the 2016 presidential election.
The three justices are Antonin Scalia, an anchor of the court’s conservative wing, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an anchor of the court’s liberal wing, and Anthony Kennedy, who is often the decisive swing vote in 5-4 opinions….
Bobby Jindal is among the crop of potential 2016 presidential candidates who is making an issue of the courts. In an interview with a conservative Christian blogger during last month’s Iowa state Republican convention, Jindal suggested if Republicans take control of the Senate this year they would block additional nominees. Asked about federal judges overturning state marriage bans for same-sex couples, Jindal said, ““This shows you the importance of the November elections. We don’t need this President putting more liberal judges on the bench.”
It is important, whether you are a lawyer or not, to understand what it means for the courts to actually apply the Constitution as opposed for them just to create new laws or to read things and just decide they are going to contradict what the other two branches of government did. We’ve gotten away from these three separate but equal branches of government and instead we’ve got these activist judges who are overreaching. We have to recognize the problem for what it is,” Jindal added.
He emphasized the importance of elections and their impact on judicial confirmations because sometimes Constitutional amendments will correct the problem, and other times federal judges will just overrule them.
Mike Huckabee has seemingly made attacks on the judiciary a centerpiece of his campaign. In May, he called for the impeachment of an Arkansas judge who ruled in favor of marriage equality. Last year, urging Senate Republicans to block an Obama appeals court nominee, he said, “Judges can linger on for decades after a President leaves office, and a bad one can wreak havoc that echoes down the ages.”
Meanwhile, presidential contender Rick Santorum and the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network are attacking Chris Christie for not sufficiently making right-wing ideology a litmus test for his state judicial appointments. Santorum told Yahoo News earlier this month, “To see a record as abysmal as Gov. Christie’s record in the state of New Jersey, I guarantee you that will be a red flag for most voters in the state of Iowa, but also most voters in the Republican primary.” (Earlier this month, while in Iowa campaigning for Gov. Terry Branstad, Christie said he supports the Court’s Hobby Lobby decision; he had initially declined to say whether he supported the decision.)
The Judicial Crisis Network has also slammed Christie, saying his failure to “deliver on judicial activism” may have doomed his 2016 presidential hopes. It has created an entire website devoted to trashing Christie’s judicial record to conservative voters: www.christiebadonjudges.com. In June, Fox News ran an op ed by JCN’s Carrie Severino using Christie’s alleged failure to appoint right-wing ideologues to the state supreme court as a way to discredit him with conservative activists.
Christie didn’t deliver on judicial activism. Has he doomed his 2016 bid?
If a candidate’s tenure as governor is his road-test for the presidency, Governor Chris Christie just flunked.
As a candidate for governor, Christie talked the talk on judges, vowing to "remake" the New Jersey Supreme Court and to transform the most activist court in the nation into one that operates under the rule of law.
Despite having the opportunity to appoint four of seven justices on the court since taking office, Christie has repeatedly nominated individuals with no discernible judicial philosophy….
And while elected representatives must stand for re-election every few years, federal judges sit for life.
Today’s nominee could still be playing the same tricks in 2050 or beyond. That is why the issue of judges matters so much during presidential primaries and caucuses….
Right-wing advocates have been talking for a while about how important it is to their judicial plans not just to elect a Republican, but to elect a Republican committed to making the kind of Supreme Court nominations they want. In February, right-wing activist Mychal Massie complained that many justices nominated by Republican presidents over the past few decades did not turn out to be ideological warriors (though that is hardly the case with more recent nominees).
But forward-thinking conservatives are keenly aware that we must be concerned about the future as well, and not just because of Obama. Based on age alone, one of the primary areas of concern is that the person elected president in 2016 will potentially have at least four Supreme Court Justices to replace. Two of the potential four are liberals, so a Democrat president would simply be replacing liberals with liberals, ergo, it would be a wash. But of the other two the one is a solid Constructionist, and the other is a swing vote who has, in recent years, ruled based on Constructionism enough times that we should be concerned if a Democrat president replaces him….
As you can see, the potential for the political complexion of the High Court to be changed for decades to come should be of critical concern if a Democrat wins the presidency in 2016. But, it is myopic betise on an epic level to even for an instant believe we need not be concerned if a Republican wins. Especially if it is an establishment Republican….
With Karl Rove and Reince Priebus pulling the strings of the GOP and RNC, the Republican Party resembles a RINO theme park more than it does the Party true conservatives have supported.
With them controlling things from behind the curtain it is not just critical that the next president be “conservative” but he/she must be a legitimate conservative whose conservative bonafides are unimpeachable. It does conservatism no good to elect a Mitt Romney, John McCain, or Jeb Bush type. The 2016 election will place in office a person with the potential to change the face of SCOTUS for many decades to come. And as John Boehner, Eric Cantor, Mitch McConnell, et al. have showed us — it’s not just Democrats who are betraying us.
Religious Right leaders will certainly be keeping the issue of judicial nominations at the forefront of the 2016 campaigns. This week, George O. Wood, who heads the Assemblies of God denomination, wrote:
Moreover, we should encourage voting because elections have consequences. One of those consequences is that the president nominates judges who serve on district and appellate courts and on the Supreme Court. The U.S. Senate must then approve those nominees. It is a sad fact that no evangelical sits on the Supreme Court—even though evangelicals constitute a very large faith community in America. I suspect that at present no evangelicals could even be nominated or confirmed to a federal bench because they hold views that are pro-life and pro-traditional marriage. People in our Fellowship need to remember that when they cast a ballot, they effectively decide who will sit as a federal judge. Indirectly, they are casting a vote for or against a robust understanding of the free exercise of religion.
Today, Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition announced that Gov. Chris Christie will speak at its “Road to Majority” conference this month, where perhaps Reed can offer the embattled governor advice on how to downplay scandals.
But the director of the New Jersey Faith and Freedom Coalition, Larry Cirignano, doesn’t seem to be much of a fan of his state’s governor.
On his Facebook page, Cirignano has posted columns attacking Christie from the right, including articles titled “Chris Christie dooms NJ to judicial activism and himself to obscurity” and “Chris Christie’s court pick has a pro-choice, anti-free press record,” which criticizes the governor for having “rolled over” on nominees for the Supreme Court.
Cirignano also shared a post “exposing ‘Republican’ Christie” as a secret Democrat for backing a “radical pro-abortion and pro-gun control” judicial nominee.
Last year, Christie was accused of snubbing the “Road to Majority” summit to attend a Clinton Global Initiative event.
Right-wing pundits have expressed outrage and disgust over Christie’s decision to sign a law banning ex-gay therapy for minors, even linking it to the bridge scandal, and lashed out at the governor for declining to appeal a court ruling in favor of marriage equality and appointing a Muslim-American to a judgeship.
People For the American Way’s Voters Alliance PAC has announced an endorsement of New Jersey Assemblywoman Bonnie Watson Coleman’s candidacy for New Jersey’s 12th Congressional District.
Watson Coleman has served in the New Jersey General Assembly for eight consecutive terms, and serves as vice chair of the education committee. She is the first African American woman to have served as majority leader of the state assembly and is the first African American woman to serve as chair of the New Jersey Democratic State Central Committee. She has distinguished herself as a true progressive Democrat, with a wide range of endorsements from advocacy groups, public officials, and prominent supporters. If elected, Watson Coleman would be the first woman of color to represent New Jersey in the United States House of Representatives and the only female in New Jersey’s congressional delegation.
“Bonnie Watson Coleman is the type of person who stands up for fundamental rights and freedoms,” said PFAW Political Director Randy Borntrager. “She is a fighter for voting rights, women’s rights, fairness, and equality for all Americans. In Congress, she’ll be a truly progressive leader that New Jersey can count on.”
Watson Coleman has distinguished herself among her primary competitors in her willingness to speak out against a wide range of Gov. Christie’s harmful policies, and against the GOP-led Congress’s assault on working families, education, and LGBT rights. She is a native of Camden, NJ, and is a long time resident of Ewing. She is married to husband William, and they have three sons. Her campaign website is http://www.bonnieforcongress.com.
When David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network interviewed Gov. Chris Christie at CPAC last week, did he ask about the bridge closure and political corruption scandals that are engulfing his administration? Of course not! Instead, Brody may have given the embattled governor one of the easiest interviews ever.
Brody kicked off the interview by asking Christie to describe his “strong conservative record” against the perception that he’s a moderate: “You just said right out there that the media loves to define us, conservatives, so tell me a little bit about – they’ve been trying to define you. Here you are with this strong conservative record, yet it’s the ‘moderate Chris Christie’ and all, what do you make of all of this?”
Christie said that “the media [is] continuing to try to put forward a myth” that he is a moderate, citing his anti-choice stance.
The CBN host then asked him the hardball question of whether he enjoyed speaking at CPAC, followed by whether President Obama should receive a grade of D or D+.
Brody then hailed Christie as a “straight shooter” and drove the interview home by asking Christie how Republicans can “capture the White House” and what he thinks of the New York Mets’ prospects next season.
Chris Christie told CPAC attendees today that Republican “intolerance on social issues” is nothing but a myth. He insisted that Republicans are the truly tolerant party because they have allowed pro-choice politicians such as Condoleezza Rice and Tom Ridge to address their nominating conventions.
“Tell me, sir, the last pro-life Democrat who was allowed to speak at a Democratic convention – and by the way, don’t strain yourself because there’s never been one,” Christie continued. “They’re the party of intolerance, not us.”
Even if we accept Christie’s definition of “tolerance,” his claim is still false: the 2012 and 2008 Democratic conventions included speakers who opposed abortion rights, while 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin refused to share the stage with pro-choice Republicans.
On his radio broadcast today, Bryan Fischer told a caller that he had serious reservations about New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and could not vote for him if he ran for president.
Not only is Fischer concerned that Christie has "capitulated on same-sex marriage, capitulated on the homosexual agenda" but he's also "concerned about his judicial appointments."
And why is Fischer concerned about this issue? Because, as governor, Christie "has appointed active homosexuals to be bench" and even "appointed Muslims to the bench":
Conservative columnist Fay Voshell is out with a doozy in The American Thinker today, where she claims that Gov. Chris Christie effectively put “New Jersey on a path similar to countries like Saudi Arabia” by signing a bill banning ex-gay therapy for minors. She warns Christie is now leading a “deeply religious sex cult” that is “determined to exterminate Christian mores, attack religious liberties, and suppress free speech,” including the right to preach and evangelize.
After writing that “abusive conversion therapy [is] already going on in our public schools and workplaces” with “brainwashing” techniques like diversity seminars and sexual harassment workshops, Voshell warns that Christians in New Jersey will face “persecution” as their children will have to see a “progressive high priest as his or her counselor -- one who reinforces homoeroticism.”
“'Howl' is the progressive equivalent of the Apostles' Creed, and homoeroticism the mark of a youth liberated from conventional mores. ‘Coming out’ is almost a holy ritual, very nearly the equivalent of a bar mitzvah or first communion in the Jewish and Christian faiths,” she continued. “The Church risks being eventually banned altogether from attempts to convert people to Christianity -- just as in Saudi Arabia.”
When Chris Christie signed a law against conversion therapy directed at counseling teens experiencing homoerotic feelings, he probably didn't think he had just put New Jersey on a path similar to countries like Saudi Arabia, which forbids conversion from the prevailing Muslim faith.
But forbidding efforts to convert is essentially what the governor did. He expressly forbade conversion from the prevailing progressive religion, whose chief doctrine is that sexual behavior, including the homoerotic behavior of some children, is a sacred, infallible, and therefore unchangeable indicator of what human identity entails.
As is usual with progressives, they are dealing with a red herring while real abuse is going on right under their noses. Few seem to be noticing the reality of abusive "conversion therapy" going on elsewhere, including in our public schools. Have they noticed the abusive "conversion therapy" directed against little boys and girls who dare even to think about guns? Do any of them remember the little guy who, when he brought a cap gun to school, was interrogated for so long he wet his pants? How about the five-year-old girl who was charged with making a "terrorist threat" because she talked about shooting another kid with her pink "Hello Kitty" bubble gun? She had to undergo psychological evaluation and was handed a ten-day suspension, graciously reduced to two days. Her parents are fighting to have the incident expunged from the tyke's school records.
Shall we talk about abusive conversion "therapy" directed at adults? Does anyone care to detail progressives' abusive therapy sessions directed at males at our foremost colleges and universities? This is to say nothing about the "diversity and sensitivity" seminars in the workplace -- seminars that amount to "conversion therapy" sessions. While the purported goal is to ensure no harassment in the work environment ("harassment" vaguely defined as whatever "offends" anyone at any particular moment), doesn't everyone who has been forced to sit through the brainwashing know the intent -- namely, to convert all workers to liberal progressivism by enforcing adherence to their zealously religious maze of rules and regulations?
In addition to overlooking the abusive conversion therapy already going on in our public schools and workplaces, the law also usurps the rights of devout parents to employ a licensed therapist who retains Judeo-Christian sexual ethics. The law ensures that if your kid has expressed homoerotic feelings, he will get a progressive high priest as his or her counselor -- one who reinforces homoeroticism. There will be no licensed therapist who shares your religious views, because Christian therapists will lose their licenses. Your child will be the equivalent of a janissary, a forced convert to a religion not your own.
Further, the punitive law directed against counselors who seek to help teens work through a time of their lives which may include confusion about sexual feelings has broader implications for the church. Conservative denominations are in particular danger of overt persecution, including attempts to silence the proclamation of the gospel, which is never more than one generation away from extinction.
Christian pastors and licensed Christian therapists counsel against ways of living that the Christian way regards as sinful. They try to convert people to Christian mores. But under this new law, preaching Christian sexual ethics will be regarded as hate speech, as it already is in countries like Sweden, whose "hate crime" laws were upheld by theEuropean Court. Christian pastors and therapists can look for increased attempts by the left to forbid conversion to Christianity and its mores, as Christianity's sexual ethics are considered inherently hateful and malevolently discriminatory by the left.
And there's the rub. Progressivism, among other things, is really a competing religion, a sex cult founded on the tenets of the sexual revolution -- a religion with its own doctrines and liturgies. "Howl" is the progressive equivalent of the Apostles' Creed, and homoeroticism the mark of a youth liberated from conventional mores. "Coming out" is almost a holy ritual, very nearly the equivalent of a bar mitzvah or first communion in the Jewish and Christian faiths. Nothing should be permitted to interfere with those first sexual stirrings of youth. Certainly no therapist should attempt to "convert" any youth experiencing attraction to the same sex to heterosexuality. That would be abusive.
Churches need to wake up and see the implications of the new "conversion therapy" laws. They need to see that they are up against a deeply religious sex cult determined to exterminate Christian mores, attack religious liberties, and suppress free speech. If they don't rise up to resist the inroads of radical progressivism, if they do not take measures to protect Christian therapists, pastors, and youth leaders, the Church will be increasingly be sidelined. The Church risks being eventually banned altogether from attempts to convert people to Christianity -- just as in Saudi Arabia.