Most of this week's "WallBuilders Live" radio program has consisted of excerpts from the new DVD series "Constitution Alive! A Citizen's Guide to the Constitution" featuring Rick Green and David Barton. On yesterday's program, Barton explained that that the Constitution’s requirement that members of Congress and the president take an oath to "preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States" was the Founding Fathers' way of infusing religion into the document since an oath is a "direct appeal to God" to hold lawmakers accountable for their actions and "there is no such thing as a secular oath."
Any oath that is not made to God, Barton said, must instead rely on "the goodness of man and there's not a whole lot in me that says the goodness of man is great. Just look back across the Twentieth Century and the one hundred and fifty million lives that were lost because Stalin wasn't good and Hitler wasn't good and Tojo wasn't good and Pol Pot wasn't good."
The Founders knew this, Barton said, and so they "tied religion to the Constitution to give it strength" through these oath requirements, asserting that any attempt to implement the Constitution without religion is like trying to breathe on the moon.
"You and I, if we go to the moon and breathe there, we'll die," Barton said, "because that's not our atmosphere. And if you take a secular atmosphere to the Constitution, it will die because that's not its atmosphere. It was birthed and created in a religious atmosphere and if you take that air out of the room, it will suffocate. It will die because it's not made that way":
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.
Once again, David Barton has joined prosperity gospel preacher Kenneth Copeland for another week of programs encouraging Christians to be sure to vote in the upcoming midterm elections, especially for candidates running for the U.S. Senate because it is through judges that America with either be cursed or blessed.
Citing passages from II Chronicles and Psalms, Barton declared that the Bible tells us that judges are to be "ministers of God" and are therefore obligated to "make the same decision that [God] would make" when hearing cases.
If Christians "want our land to be blessed," Barton said, "it won't be blessed without righteousness. And if you want righteousness, it comes from the judges." And since, under our system of government, federal judges must be confirmed by the Senate, Christians must be dedicated to electing members of the Senate who will only confirm judges that will follow God's rules.
"If you want righteousness in the land, you'd better get involved and you'd better look at the Senate races in your state and you'd better figure out which of these persons running for Senate is going to be the best on judges," Barton said, "because if you want God to restore the land, you gotta start with judges":
Several times, we have heard David Barton make the absurd claim that biblical law was directly incorporated into the U.S. Constitution through the Seventh Amendment, which he then uses to assert that laws legalizing abortion and gay marriage are unconstitutional.
Lately, Barton has tried to bolster this argument by citing an obscure 1913 Texas Supreme Court ruling in a case called Grigsby v Reib, which he claims proves that America can never accept a definition of marriage that differs from God's definition.
In Barton's telling, this case was about efforts to attain legal recognition for secular "civil unions" that were separate from marriage as a religious institution but which the court denied on the grounds that "government is not allowed to redefine something that God himself has defined."
On his radio show yesterday, Barton once again cited the case and read excerpts from the decision to argue that gay marriage can never be legal:
Marriage was not originated by human law. When God created Eve, she was a wife to Adam; they then and there occupied the status of husband to wife and wife to husband ... The truth is that civil government has grown out of marriage. which created homes, and population, and society, from which government became necessary. Marriages will produce a home and family that will contribute to good society, to free and just government, and to the support of Christianity. It would be sacrilegious to apply the designation "a civil contract" to such a marriage. It is that and more; a status ordained by God.
The key finding in this case, Barton asserts, is that the court basically ruled that "we can't do something different than what God's done on" the issue of marriage.
Given that nothing that Barton says ought ever to be taken at face value, we decided to read the court decision for ourselves and, not surprisingly, found that Barton's interpretation of the ruling is entirely misleading.
The case involved a woman named Jessie Stallcup, who claimed to have been the wife of a widower named G.M.D. Grigsby and who had sued Grigsby's sister for control of his estate following his death. Stallcup was a prostitute whom Grigsby used to visit and she claimed that the two had agreed to become husband and wife, though they never held a ceremony, nor did they cohabitate or take any other actions to signal that they were now living has husband and wife.
The case heard by the Texas Supreme Court revolved around Stallcup's contention that she lost her lawsuit because the trial court ignored a binding appellate court precedent that stated that a common law marriage "requires only the agreement of the man and woman to become then and thenceforth husband and wife. When this takes place, the marriage is complete."
The Texas Supreme Court disagreed with Stallcup's contention, pointing out that the ruling in question involved a couple that had lived and presented themselves as husband and wife following their agreement, with the Texas Supreme Court stating that it takes more than a simple verbal agreement to constitute a legitimate marriage.
To demonstrate this point, the Texas Supreme Court proposed a hypothetical situation in which a man and a women met for the first time, agreed to become man and wife, and then went their separate ways, never to see one another again. This obviously would not constitute a binding marriage, the court found, and neither did the relationship between Stallcup and Grigsby on the grounds that, beyond their apparent agreement, they never took any further steps to establish themselves as husband and wife.
"It would be sacrilegious" to give legal standing to such relationships, the court found, because it would then give complete strangers the right to contest seemingly every inheritance by simply claiming to have been the secret spouse of the deceased.
Contrary to Barton's claims that this case enshrines divine principles about marriage into our civil laws, the court repeatedly notes that marriage is a nothing more than a civil contract that requires "neither license nor solemnization of religious or official ceremony" to be legally binding.
Barton claims that this case was about trying to create a secular alternative to marriage, which the court slapped down because there can never be any legal marriage that does not correspond to "God's definition." In reality, the case addressed the issue of whether a supposedly secret verbal agreement to become husband and wife constitutes a legally binding and recognizable common law marriage and whether the relationship between Stallcup and Grigsby qualified as one under the law, with the court ruling that it did not because it didn't meet the most basic requirements.
This is just one more example of Barton's willingness to intentionally and flagrantly misrepresent history in order to promote his religious and political agenda.
Federal prosecutors are seeking sixteen months in prison for Dinesh D'Souza, largely based on the fact that his supposed contrition before the court does not square with the public statements he made about the case elsewhere.
Ray Comfort's upcoming anti-gay movie is going to be absolutely amazing, according to Ray Comfort.
Peter LaBarbera is furious that the U.S. will not support other nation's efforts to criminalize homosexuality: "Just because America has fallen so far that we now treat sin, in this case homosexuality, as a civil right doesn't mean we have the right to force that on other countries that have more wholesome and biblical values."
New Jersey's ban on ex-gay therapy has been upheld by the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to our friends at the Texas Freedom Network , a new set of social studies textbooks up for approval from the state school board contain many flaws that “reflect the ideological beliefs of politicians on the state board rather than sound scholarship and factual history.”
The material presented in these textbooks on this issue seems to have been determined more by political concerns than considerations of good scholarship. On the one hand, the decisions of these textbooks seem to have been strongly influenced by the suggestions and requirements of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE). For instance, that the Texas SBOE suggested in the 2009-2010 debate over curriculum standards that Moses influenced the writing of the nation’s founding documents and that several textbooks mention Moses’ influence on the Founders seems to be no coincidence. On the other hand, the frequently vague nature of the textbooks’ statements about the influence of Moses and other religious ideas and figures on the Founders seems to indicate that the publishers did not want to be held accountable by scholars are those critical of SBOE’s standards. Unfortunately, the result of this at once overly controversial and overly careful strategy is the failure to provide students with an understanding of the influence of religion on our Founders that rests on sound scholarship and captures the diversity of the Founders’ views. These textbooks too often settle for giving students vague impressions about the Founders and religion while denying them the crucial information necessary to evaluate these claims. The SBOE and these textbooks have collaborated to make students’’ knowledge of American history a casualty of the culture wars.
Some textbooks greatly exaggerate religious influences on the American founding, with some going so far as to suggest without substantiation that Moses was a major influence, that “the roots of democratic government” can be found in the Old Testament, and that “the biblical idea of a covenant … contributed to our constitutional structure.”
While the textbooks largely make clear that slavery was the central cause of the Civil War, some give nods to neo-Confederate arguments first promoted after the war that “states’ rights” was the driving issue. Some also downplay the serious hardships faced by African Americans during segregation.
Some textbooks reinforce negative stereotypes of Islam as a violent religion spread exclusively by conquest. One tells students, inaccurately, that “the spread of international terrorism is an outgrowth of Islamic fundamentalism,” ignoring the numerous examples of terrorism not related to Islam at all.
Some textbooks suffer from an incomplete and at times inaccurate coverage of religions other than Christianity. For example, one textbook teaches students, inaccurately, that all Hindus are vegetarians. On other hand, coverage of key Christian concepts and historical events are lacking in a few textbooks, often apparently due to the presumption that all students are Christians and already familiar with that information.
Reflecting concerns already noted about the curriculum standards by the conservative Thomas B. Fordham Institute, a number of textbooks present an uncritical celebration of the free enterprise system. They downplay or even ignore legitimate problems in capitalism and the role government played in the growth of the American economy of the 1800s.
A number of U.S. History textbooks suffer from a general lack of attention to the experiences of Native American peoples and cultures and sometimes include biased or misleading information.
One textbook includes a biased even offensive treatment critical of affirmative action, including cartoons that jokingly suggest space aliens would qualify.
Most textbooks offer scant coverage of the movement for LGBT equality, one of the salient civil rights struggles of the last half-century. One publisher links the gay rights movement of the late 1960s to society “spinning out of control.”
Today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" featured an audio excerpt from David Barton's "Biblical Principles and the Political Process" DVD in which Barton explained that Christians must be in charge of crafting public policy at all levels in America or else God will be unable to bless this nation and all citizens will suffer as a consequence.
As Barton explained, God measures the righteousness of a nation "by the public policies they have and how well those policies conform to God's standards." Repeating his false claims about the non-discrimination ordinance passed last year in San Antonio, Texas, Barton warned that everyone in San Antonio, even those who opposed the ordinance, will now suffer "because the city has taken a position God cannot bless."
Just as, in the Bible, all of Israel suffered because of the wickedness of Ahab and Jezebel, so too will everyone in America suffer for electing leaders who do not base public policy on the Bible, he added.
"Even the good guys had to go through the national judgment brought on by bad policies from national leaders," Barton said. "Even if you disagree with those policies, even if you disagree with non-discrimination ordinances, if your city has one, God's not going to be able to bless that":
On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green responded to a question from a listener who complained that she was watching a program about extraterrestrials on the History Channel recently in which some professor from Notre Dame University asserted that Thomas Jefferson "hated Christianity and considered it a dangerous religion" that was responsible for atrocities such as the Inquisition.
As if that set-up was not already strange enough, Barton then launched into an explanation that "American Christianity" was nothing like the "European Christianity" that carried out the Inquisition, asserting that, in fact, the Christianity responsible for the Inquisition was not really Christianity at all.
As Barton put it, the Christianity in existence during the Inquisition was one "in which the Bible had no role."
"You had high illiteracy, people did not read, could not read the Bible," he said. "The Bible was not available to them, it was not in their language. Folks who tried to bring the Bible to the common man got themselves killed."
Barton's co-host Rick Green then piped up to declare that "you almost can't call it Christianity; it's really a hijacked religion, it was abuse of power in the name of Christianity."
"That's right," agreed Barton, as he then went on to explain that the Founding Fathers wanted the Bible taught as the foundation of public education in America in order to prevent another Inquisition from ever taking place.
"If you look at the very first public school law passed in America," Barton said, "that act says we just came out of Europe and what they call Christianity over there is full of atrocities. That's not it. We don't want that in America, so in America we're going to make sure that the Bible is the basis of all public schools because if you read the Bible, you won't do those atrocities."
On today's "WallBuilders Live" radio program, David Barton and Rick Green invited Texas Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert on to discuss America’s role in the Mideast. Barton declared that "terrorism was really on the ropes" before President Obama removed the last U.S. troops from Iraq, but now "terrorism has really rebuilt itself ... [because] this has been an administration that has not done a good job of trying to take terrorists down or take terrorism out."
Barton and co-host Green repeatedly expressed their desire to have someone like Gohmert serving as president instead of President Obama because, they said, Gohmert understands the difference between good and evil, which Obama, Secretary of State John Kerry, and the rest of the administration can never grasp because they support abortion rights and gay marriage.
"I don't know why that Louie [Gohmert] would think that John Kerry has any moral equivalency given the position that John Kerry holds on marriage, on homosexuality, on abortion, on religious conscience, on religious expressions," Barton said. "I mean, since he opposes everything that's traditionally moral, why would there be a question of whether he's moral" when it comes to terrorism?
While Barton said that he was being a little facetious, Green replied that he was absolutely correct because "if [Kerry is] so wrong on all these other clear moral issues, how can we expect him to figure this one out."
"If you're wrong on an issue as simple as innocent life, then you have real trouble with guilty life as well," Barton explained. "When you take an unborn child this is innocent life and he doesn't think that that's right and wrong to take the life of an innocent unborn child, then when you see something like Hamas, which is guilty people who are murderers being taken out, he thinks that that's abominable."
"His whole value system is skewed," Barton concluded, "and that's the way so much of this administration has been," which is why it has been wrong on everything from economic policy, social policy, and foreign policy.
"You just can't be a world leader if you don't believe that certain things are right and certain things are wrong":
Christian-nation activist David Lane is engaged in a multi-year, multi-state project to get conservative evangelical pastors more involved in electing right-wing candidates, and he is intent on making sure that the GOP nominates a 2016 presidential candidate to the Religious Right’s liking.
In spite of his extremism, Lane regularly gets Republican presidential candidates to attend his American Renewal Project events. On Monday night, Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee spoke at a Michigan Renewal Project “Pastors Policy Briefing.”
It seems as if Cruz is equally at home in front of the camera and behind closed doors. The Detroit News reports that he “made a quiet visit to Michigan Sunday and Monday, meeting with Republican Party activists in events that were kept hush-hush until photos of the tea party stalwart and potential 2016 presidential candidate surfaced on social media.”
In addition to Lane’s event, the paper reports, “Cruz appeared at four events over the two-day period organized by Ron Weiser, the Ann Arbor developer and national Republican fundraiser with connections throughout the country.” The paper says Weisner is seeking the GOP nomination for a seat on the University of Michigan board of regents. Among other attendees at Cruz events were Lt. Gov. Brian Calley and Tea Party activist Wendy Day, who recently lost a GOP primary bid for seat in the state House.
Back in June, the Republican National Committee launched an effort to mobilize Religious Right voters heading into the midterm elections called GOPFaith.com, the goal of which is to mobilize tens of thousands of Religious Right activists on behalf of GOP candidates.
In the video, Barton asserted that the Founding Fathers all believed that religion ought to be central to America's public policy and cited various instances in which these early leaders called the nation to prayer before laughably declaring that, until now, evangelical voters had been "ignored by both parties."
"The good news now," Barton then announced, "is the Republican National Committee is no longer ignoring evangelicals or people of faith," pointing to the new GOPFaith.com effort as proof that the RNC is "now reaching out and saying 'hey, we're very comfortable with faith people, we want them involved, you have been involved, you've been the basis of America from the beginning.'" This GOP outreach effort, Barton insisted, now "gives us an even stronger reason to get involved in our churches to move people forward to support, as George Washington said, our foundations of religion and morality."
"If you want to see what can be done to help increase voter turnout in the faith community to get the right standards back in America," Barton said, concluding his pitch, "you can go to GOPFaith.com":
On his “Wallbuilders Live” program yesterday, David Barton offered a handy guide to voters who are concerned about whether their elected officials respect “natural law”: ask them if they support abortion rights, and if they do, know that they will also take away your “property” and your “self-defense.”
“One of the easiest way to tell about natural law is to ask them where they are on abortion, because if they don’t respect the inalienable right to life, they do not respect any other inalienable right,” he advised.
“If you don’t respect the right to life,” he said, “you won’t respect property, you won’t respect protecting income, you’ll think you ought to tax people more rather than protect their income, you’ll take it from them, you won’t protect their property, you won’t protect their religious liberties, you won’t protect their right of self-defense, you’ll try to take their self-defense away from them.”
He added that even if the candidate is running for an office that has nothing to do with abortion policy, such as a school board, abortion should still be the litmus test.
Earlier this week, John Hagee declared that Christians (or “counterfeit Christians,” as he called them) who are pro-choice or supportive of LGBT rights are the “greatest problem” leading to America’s destruction.
David Barton picked up the theme on his “Wallbuilders Live” radio program today, rattling off statistics showing that many young Christians don’t think homosexuality and abortion are sins, and that some have even had abortions or are “active homosexuals” themselves.
“Whoa,” Barton said. “There is nothing in the Bible — nothing — that aligns with this. How can you be a Christian and a follower of Jesus Christ when you don’t follow his teachings on these things?”
He concluded that it was a problem of “real biblical illiteracy” in the U.S.
Last year, after the Supreme Court struck down the federal component of the Defense of Marriage Act, David Barton claimed that the ruling would force military chaplains to perform same-sex marriages against their will.
That fear, of course, was completely unfounded and the Pentagon clarified that DOMA repeal would in no way mean that a military chaplain would have to perform a marriage against his will.
The claim that Mormonism is simply another branch of Christianity predictably did not sit well with various Religious Right activists who criticized Liberty University for allowing Beck to come and preach this doctrine at the school, which prompted Beck to lash out in response, accusing these critics of "standing for hate and bigotry."
One of Beck's most loyal defenders within the Religious Right movement is David Barton, who regularly seeks to assure those concerned about Beck's Mormonism, especially as it pertains to his increasing influence as a religious leader within the movement, by claiming that Beck is really just a Mormon in name only, insisting that Beck is simply a Mormon only out of loyalty and is actually a Christian when it comes to all of the things that really matter.
Barton was among those who went down to the southern border with Beck last weekend to deliver supplies to churches who are providing assistance in response to the border crisis and was on Beck's radio program yesterday, where the two discussed the trip. Beck said that he believes "miracles" are occurring because of these sorts of efforts, resulting in leaders from Christian denominations being willing to put aside their specific "religion" in order to focus more on their shared Christian "faith."
"Now, I'm seeing people get together," Beck said, "and they're not abandoning their theology but what they're doing is they're saying 'my religion comes second to my faith in God ... My faith and what the Lord tells me to do comes first.'"
This effort on Beck's part to continually assure others in the Religious Right movement that Mormonism is simply a "different denomination" of the Christian faith probably took a bit of a blow later in the program when he and his co-hosts were discussing a recent poll examining how many Americans believe in various conspiracy theories that eventually evolved into a conversation about what beliefs they hold that others might dismiss as conspiracy theories.
During the discussion, Beck's co-host Pat Gray asserted that he "absolutely believes" that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene. Gray, like Beck, is also a Mormon and this belief, while not being official LDS doctrine, is a common oneamong Mormons, and it is one that Beck likewise appears to share.
"You could talk me into that," Beck said, arguing that it was simply impossible for Mary Magdalene to have been traveling closely with Jesus and his disciples unless she had been married to him.
"It just wouldn't have happened," he said. "A bunch of guys traveling around with a women? Unmarried? I don't think so":
Two candidates with sterling Religious Right credentials won runoff primary elections yesterday to become GOP nominees to the U.S. House in Georgia.
Jody Hice won a primary to succeed Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s 10th District, and seems prepared to pick up Broun’s mantle as one of the most far-right members of Congress.
In 2012, Hice wrote a book in which he claimed that gay people have launched a scheme to “sodomize” children and proposed that Muslims be denied First Amendment rights.
Hice, a Baptist pastor, also hosts a syndicated radio show in which he has compared homosexuality to alcoholism and lamented that it “enslaves” people “in a lifestyle that frankly they are not”; blamed school shootings on the end of government-sponsored school prayer; and speculated about the prophetic qualities of “blood moons.”
Hice, who made his name advocating for copies of the Ten Commandments to be displayed in government buildings, once told a newspaper reporter that a woman should be free to run for public office….as long as she stays “within the authority of her husband.”
And just last week, Hice suggested that the crisis of refugee children at the southern border might need to be dealt with through “Second Amendment” means.
There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family.
According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional conservatives” who believe, for example, the Constitution does not authorize any federal government role in education.
A stark example of the increasingly indistinct line between conservative Republicans and hard-core Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists (who believe the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion over every aspect of society) can be found in the recent Republican primary victory of Michael Petrouka in a race for a county council seat in an Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Peroutka believes that any law that runs counter to God’s law is invalid, and that the Maryland General Assembly is itself no longer a valid legislative body. Here’s a concise summation of his approach to government:
Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.
It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!
This religion-inflected ideological view of government is not relegated to inhabitants of the far-right fringe like Peroutka. David Barton, an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012, claims that the Constitution was drawn directly from the Bible and the sermons of colonial preachers, and that its focus on individual freedom reflects the founders’ theology of individual salvation. In this view, the Tea Party’s belief in a radically limited federal government is not only a question of constitutional interpretation, it is a mandate of Holy Scripture.
Just this month, Barton promoted these views on “Praise the Lord,” the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest religious network and America’s most-watched faith channel. “In the Bible, Jesus has a teaching about minimum wage,” Barton said. “In the Bible, Jesus has two teachings on capital gains tax.” The Bible, according to Barton, opposes those taxes as well as estate taxes and progressive income taxes. A flat tax is “what the Bible supports.”
On the same show Barton denounced government spending on welfare. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and needy,” he said, “it’s the church’s responsibility.”
According to Barton, there are 205 verses in the Bible that instruct the family or church to take care of the poor, but not the government. “The government is told to do only one thing with taking care of the poor and that one thing is to make sure that when the poor come into court they get justice. That’s the only thing government is told….What we’re doing right now is for the first time in America we have ignored what the Bible says, the Bible says you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He went on to say that people “not having to work and getting free money…violates everything the Bible tells us” about dealing with the poor.
It is wrong, Beisner writes, to try to mitigate inequality “through force of government.” Why? “Because God ordained the state to dispense justice, and the church to dispense grace.” According to Beisner, giving someone “unearned” benefits is grace, not justice. People should graciously serve the poor, he writes. “But if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law. Then, the needy—and those who merely profess to be needy—may claim the benefits of grace as their due by justice.”
In other words, government has no right to tax someone in order to help feed someone else.
That is a widely shared belief on the Religious Right. Speakers at Religious Right conferences like Reed’s June event, and Republican Members of Congress, can be heard justifying cuts in food stamps with an appeal to the Bible passage that David Barton quoted on TBN. That verse, depending on your translation, says something like “he who will not work shall not eat.”
Reps. Kevin Cramer and Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee cited that verse last year. Fincher said, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” In equating taxation for social services with theft, Fincher echoes Barton, Beisner, and others. (In context, by the way, the work-to-eat verse referred to early Christians who were so confident of the imminent return of Christ that they quit doing anything.)
Poor people turning to the government, Beisner writes in his anti-social-justice booklet, results in “the stultifying effects of wealth redistribution by the coercive power of the state.” Even worse, he says, “it blinds [poor people] to their deepest need: the grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
Last month, Glenn Beck mentioned that David Barton had been invited to deliver his standard presentation of lies and misinformation to high-ranking government leaders in some former Soviet nation that is seeking to model itself on the United States.
Today, Barton appeared on James Dobson's radio program where he revealed that the country that had invited him was none other than Ukraine, where he spent two days meeting with members of the government and various religious leaders in order to teach them how to build a proper government based on the teachings of the Bible.
"They were absolutely shocked to find out how practical the Bible was," Barton said. "They had no clue that all of these things [pertaining to government] were in the Bible ... We talked to them about all sorts of things, about education in the Bible, about all sorts of things, so they were alive and on fire."
Since returning to America, Barton revealed that he has been contacted by several other members of the Ukrainian government, asking him to return and deliver his presentation to the entire parliament, as well as from government leaders in neighboring nations who want him to come and present his message there as well:
David Barton appeared on TBN's "Praise The Lord" program last week where he warned that America is going to suffer the wrath of God for not properly supporting Israel because "any time you go after the Jews, God comes after you."
Asserting that since God personally established Israel's boundaries, Barton said that politicians had "better get God's permission" before they start advocating any changes to those boundaries because "if you start messing with that, you're messing directly with God."
Countries like the United States that are not siding with Israel will suffer the consequences, he warned, as God strikes this nation with extreme weather, droughts, productivity declines, and agricultural disasters:
It came as no surprise that following Bob Barr's recent attack on David Barton during a Republican primary debate, Glenn Beck spent several segments on his radio program today defending Barton, even bringing Barton onto the show so that he could blame the attacks on "a bunch of George Soros-funded bloggers and groups."
Before Barton called into the program, Beck likened the attacks on him to Malcolm X's attacks on Martin Luther King, insisting that Barton "is an amazing man, an amazing uniter ... David is an amazing, decent, honorable, loving, non-bigoted man."
"I've met bigots before in my life," Beck said, "David Barton is the farthest thing from it":