David Barton

Barton And Other Religious Right Leaders Are 'Modern Day Judases' Who Will Be Held Accountable By God

A few weeks ago, End Times radio host Rick Wiles did an entire program on how Glenn Beck's unique brand of  Islamo-Mormon deistic universalism was dangerously leading his mostly Christian audience into heresy.

Earlier this week, Wiles returned to the topic with the help of anti-Mormon activist Bill Keller as the two spent an hour attacking David Barton and others who have worked and worshiped with Beck as "modern day Judases" who will be held accountable by God for "selling out the gospel for thirty pieces of silver":

Beck has really played that same game of finding - and I'm just going to be blunt - what I call modern day Judases who are willing to sell out the faith for money to basically stand next to Beck and give his lie that he's a Christian credibility.

Just so your audience understands, I don't care what Glenn Beck wants; If he thinks he's going to die and become the man in the moon, that's great, just like I don't care what Tom Cruise believes, obviously.  But the difference is Tom Cruise doesn't want to run around paying high-profile evangelicals to give credence to a lie that he's a Christian like Beck does.

And that's my whole issue with Beck and my bigger issue with guys like Barton, John Hagee, James Robison to name a few, Ralph Reed again.  People that have come alongside Beck, have utilized his media empire - that's been their lure - and in return, they never confront Beck on his false beliefs, they never speak out against this cult that is leading souls to Hell.  And so, I believe that God's really going to hold these people accountable for literally selling out the Gospel for thirty pieces of silver.

David Barton Doesn't Need Religion Or The Bible To Lie About Gay Marriage

When it comes to honesty and accuracy, we have learned not to expect much of either from David Barton, just as we have learned that he is not going to stop repeating something just because it is demonstrably false. And that trend continues as, on his radio program today, Barton misrepresented a ten year old study to prove that "homosexual marriage is not a good deal for a country":

I don't need religion or a Bible to prove that homosexual marriage is not a good deal for a country. We have now twelve nations who have adopted homosexual marriage; they have stats. 

Jesus did give us a good admonition in Matthew 7 that you can judge a tree by its fruits, so if I take the nations that have homosexual marriage and I look at them, I say okay in those nations where you have homosexuals allowed to marry, only two percent of homosexuals do marry. So even though they want homosexual marriage, 98% of homosexuals don't marry when they get it and the average homosexual marriage lasts eighteen months and involves eight extra-marital partners.

Now by what stretch of the imagination would you consider that to be a marriage?

Predictably, nothing Barton said was true. As Jim Burroway pointed out several years ago, this talking point about gay marriages lasting only a year and a half and including multiple partners has been cited incessantly by anti-gay activists despite the fact that the study they are supposedly citing said nothing of the sort.

In fact, the study focused on the transmission of HIV infections among gay men in Amsterdam and was completed years before gay marriage even became legal, so it literally has nothing to do with gay marriage whatsoever, as Burroway diligently explained:

Claim #1: The study was of homosexual relationships between married homosexual men.

This study was not about homosexual relationships. The authors are mostly doctors and epidemiologists – they study how diseases are passed along from one person to the next. Their research article presented a mathematical model that was intended to predict how HIV and AIDS would spread among gay men. If a couple is monogamous, then by definition they would not be contributing to the spread of HIV and AIDS. Monogamous couples were simply irrelevant to the study, which is why they were explicitly excluded.

Claim #2: Homosexual relationships last for an average of only one and a half years, making same-sex marriages short-lived.

The first problem we have here is that everyone over the age of thirty was excluded from the study. By keeping the age of the sample population artificially low, this artificially limits the length of time any of them could have been in a “steady relationship”. You’re certainly not going to find any twenty-nine-year-olds in thirty-year relationships — or even fifteen-year ones.

But that’s not the only problem. The study didn’t ask if any of the participants were married because they couldn’t marry. Marriage equality didn’t arrive in the Netherlands until April 2001, two years after the study ended. Instead the participants were simply asked if they had a “steady relationship” with no further guidance on what that means. People dating for a few weeks could consider themselves in a “steady relationship” – which would be a far cry from full-fledged marriage.

This is an important pont. If legally recognized marriage had been an option for these couples (and if the researchers had been interested in studying only married gay men), they would have had a consistent standard for excluding those couples who were merely dating, or even those who were living together but who didn’t want to get married. That would have been the only valid way to compared married gay couples to married straight ones. You would have weeded out those who don’t want to marry, or who weren’t at that stage in their relationships where they felt ready to be married. After all, not all straight couples in “serous relationships” are married. By including couples in short-term relationships as well as those who don’t want to be married, the average length of relationships is significantly lowered.

And of course, monogamous couples were excluded from the study altogether. I don’t think it is too much of a stretch to assume that non-monogamous relationships are less likely to be as stable as monogamous ones. By excluding monogamous couples, the average is likely reduced even more.

To make a valid comparison to straight couples, we would need to compare this group of gay men to married and unmarried urban straight couples – all under thirty and all non-monogamous. This didn’t happen.

Claim #3: Men in homosexual relationships on average have eight partners a year outside those relationships.

The authors quoted that average in their study, but they never tried to claim that it was true for gay men as a whole. Because the study excluded monogamous couples, the stated average would naturally be excessively high. What’s more, we don’t know how much this average was skewed because we don’t know how many monogamous couples were excluded.

The only thing we can conclude from this study is that when people decide to be non-monogamous, they decide to be really non-monogamous.

As we have seen, the “Dutch study” claims made by anti-gay activists are seriously distorted. Like most of their claims about gay men’s sexual behavior, anti-gay activists rely on studies that are not representative of the general population. What’s worse, they especially rely on studies culled from STD clinics for most of their claims. And by not telling you the nature of these studies or their participants, they are engaging in a deliberately deceptive practice. And they get by with it because they assume you won’t read these studies yourself, which is a safe assumption for most readers. After all, who has the time to go to a medical library to look up these studies in arcane professional journals?

This is the second time in recent weeks that we have heard Barton make these same phony claims and it presumably won't be the last, since Barton is not the sort who lets lack of truth stop him from spreading his propaganda.

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/3/13

  • Rush Limbaugh says that while “the one in Egypt’s a military coup, here it’s a Democrat Party coup.” 
  • North Carolina Republicans have added far-reaching abortion rights restrictions to a bill banning Sharia law. 
  • Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values wants Ohio Gov. John Kasich to run for president.
  • Speaking of Ohio, far-right activist Linda Harvey attended the Columbus gay pride parade. 
  • No comment: “Hi, I'm Ted Nugent. I have nine children from seven women, and I'm running for president.”

Gay Marriage Violates the Separation of Church and State, Apparently

On Wallbuilders Live today, David Barton and Rick Green hosted Baptist pastor Danny Holliday, who was active in the campaign to block marriage equality legislation in the Illinois legislature. Green kicked off the show by comparing Holliday’s anti-gay activism to John Adams’ push for the adoption of the Declaration of Independence: “He was like John Adams at the Continental Congress, the guy behind the scenes that was working day and night to make sure we got the Declaration of Independence.”

Barton also wanted people to know that there is nothing “gay” about being gay.

“I’m not going to call it gay marriage; it’s homosexual marriage,” Barton pointed out. “Our friend Ken Hutcherson says he’s the gayest guy he knows because he’s not going to give the word gay up to homosexuals; gay means happy, bright and cheerful and that’s not what homosexuality is.”

Holliday told the hosts that marriage equality for gays and lesbians violates the separation of church and state. Under his Barton-esque view, Holliday said the separation of church and state actually means that the government has “no right to disregard what God says” about marriage or other issues.

It’s not about the character or integrity of people who are gay, it’s not about them. The issue is God defined marriage and since our Constitution, our Declaration of Independence and the oath of office in the state of Illinois recognize almighty God, then we have no right to disregard what God says about the institution of marriage. They don’t have a right to step beyond the veil, that separation of church and state, because it is God who gives us religious freedom and not the state.

Ohio School District Offering Summer Course in David Barton's Revisionist History

Warren Throckmorton reports today that Ohio’s Springboro School District is planning to offer a summer course on the Constitution…taught via video by revisionist historian David Barton and his Christian Reconstructionist pal John Eidsmoe, and sponsored by the extreme Christian-nation group Institute on the Constitution.

The announcement for the course offers families an opportunity to “learn your Godly American heritage and birthright”:

As RWW readers know, David Barton is the discredited “historian” whose most recent book on the nation’s “Christian heritage” was pulled by its conservative Christian publisher because it was riddled with factual errors. John Eidsmoe is a leading Christian Reconstructionist thinker and intellectual mentor of Michele Bachmann.

Springboro’s school board made national headlines last month when it debated adding creationism to its curriculum.

Barton: Gay People Will 'Enlist In the Military Just So They Can Have Gay Marriages'

Reiterating false claims he made in an interview with Glenn Beck following the Supreme Court’s ruling on DOMA, David Barton today once again alleged that the Obama administration plans to compel chaplains and Central American nations to administer same-sex marriages against their will.

Barton, speaking on Wallbuilders Live today, suggested that gays and lesbians will now enlist in the armed forces just to get hitched: “Now that there is no longer a definition of marriage as a man and a woman and DOMA’s struck down, guess what? Guess what happens in the military? Guess what is going to happen in the military? Guess who is going to enlist in the military just so they can have gay marriages and force chaplains to do that?”

He accused the State Department of telling other countries that “you gonna have to get on track with gay marriage and you gonna have to get homosexuality in the nation.” And he finally named which Central American country the US is supposedly forcing to legalize same-sex marriage: Belize.

Of course, Barton was completely off base: the State Department criticized Belize over its harsh law criminalizing homosexuality and for unbridled harassment and discrimination against gays and lesbians.

“So the United States has now become an evangelist for gay marriage, homosexual marriage, across the world,” Barton said. “This is unconscionable.”

Charisma: A Fresh Call to Revolution

Viewers who hear plenty of right-wing religious voices on cable TV might be surprised to know that the biggest problem facing America in the minds of many Religious Right leaders is that conservative preachers aren’t being sufficiently political or aggressive.  That gripe is a major theme at Religious Right gatherings, and is repeated in a new Charisma article by radio host Michael Brown, who makes a “fresh call to revolution” among America’s pastors in the wake of recent Supreme Court decisions:

How is it that nine non-elected officials in black robes can have such sweeping authority in our society? It is because the black-robed regiment that once stirred the hearts of the nation has lost its moral authority, leaving a gaping hole in the soul of the nation.

Brown draws on “historian” David Barton’s Christian-nation take on American history in crediting colonial pastors with inflaming Americans to revolution against the British. “Where are the courageous, uncompromising firebrands among us today?” he asks. “Sadly, they are few and far between.” Brown slams TV-preacher hucksterism and self-improvement theology and pines for clergy who will call people “to glorify God by life or by death.” Remember, he says, “What the world calls fanaticism and much of the church calls extremism, God calls normal.” Brown also cites Francis Schaeffer’s Christian Manifesto, which complains that Christian leaders do not emphasize “the Lordship of Jesus Christ over the whole spectrum of life” – including government.

Here’s how Brown wraps up:

Where were our national Christian leaders when the Supreme Court removed organized, public prayer from our schools in 1962 or when the Court declared abortion on demand to be the law of the land in 1973? Why were there so few who took a solid stand?

For the most part, when we have taken action, we have joined ourselves to a political party, only to find ourselves used for their purposes. Otherwise, we have either thought the social realm was not our responsibility; that Jesus was coming at any moment and so things will only get worse; or that the way to win a spiritual war is to become angry conservatives.

Surely we can do better than that. Surely we can—no, we must!—rise up into the revolutionary, Jesus-exalting, Word-based, Spirit-empowered calling that is on our lives, a calling that is on all believers but in particular on the leaders who must the lead the way.

Surely we cannot allow the moral standards of our society be determined by an unelected, unanointed black-robed regiment sitting in Washington, with all respect to their proper authority and with massive respect for the courageous voices among them.

It is time for the leaders to arise—to get alone with God, to get filled afresh with His Spirit, to get clear marching orders from heaven and to make a new commitment to be part of a Jesus-centered, moral, cultural and spiritual revolution.

By God’s grace, I have taken my stand. Will you join me?

Barton: DOMA Ruling Will Force Chaplains to Perform Gay Weddings, Central America to Legalize Same-Sex Marriage

Dishonest as always, David Barton claimed yesterday that the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act will allow the Obama administration to force military chaplains to perform same-sex nuptials and withhold aid from Central American nations until they legalize gay marriage.

Speaking with Glenn Beck, Barton said that the Obama administration will use the DOMA decision to compel chaplains to “perform gay marriage against their will” and tell Central American governments that they will “withhold all State Department funds to your country until you get gay marriage in your Constitution.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/25/13

  • PFAW Foundation: Court Conservatives in Shelby County v. Holder Deal Terrible Blow to the Voting Rights Act. 
  • Slate: Watch as a State Senator Wages an Epic Filibuster to Block Sweeping New Abortion Restrictions.
  • Liberal America: Glenn Beck Revisits Chinese Missile Conspiracy. Has He Changed His Mind? 

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/21/13

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/19/13

  • PFAW: Maddow Applauds PFAW's Work Monitoring the Right Wing.
  • Alan Colmes: Why Weren’t Conservatives Upset About The Cost Of Bush’s Two Africa Trips?
  • Chris Geidner @ BuzzFeed: Head Of Group That Had Aims To “Change” Gays Issues Apology.
  • HRC: Senator Lisa Murkowski Endorses Marriage Equality.
  • Matt Wilstein @ Mediaite: Glenn Beck Bashes DC Establishment At Tea Party Rally: ‘At Least Vegas Admits Its Full Of Crooks And Hookers.’
  • Warren Throckmorton: David Barton Attempts to Cover His Historical Tracks; Changes Capitol Tour Speech.

Right Wing Leftovers - 6/7/13

  • Apparently, the real victim of Hurricane Sandy was Mitt Romney
  • Sarah Palin will join the likes of Donald Trump and Pat Robertson at Ralph Reed’s Road to the Majority conference next week. 
  • So much for rebranding the GOP: RNC chairman Reince Priebus hails extremist Virginia lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson as “dynamic” and “articulate.” 
  • Family Research Council looks to space to find a reason to oppose marriage equality. 
  • Bradlee Dean is “exposing the enemy of the people,” and you guessed right, it’s Obama
  • The Osmond Family is hosting David Barton and Rep. Jason Chaffetz for an anti-gay marriage event.
  • It seems even Fox News isn’t conservative enough for Tea Party Nation president Judson Phillips, who is now telling us to watch the One America News Network instead.
  • Quote of the day courtesy of Kirk Cameron: “When I look and see the opportunities I have here in Hollywood to spread some light and some life in a place that is notorious for exporting so much moral filth and darkness, it’s exciting.”

Glenn Beck Transforms His Network Into an Anti-Common Core Public Policy Organization

It has been several weeks since Glenn Beck spent any time talking about his Common Core conspiracy theory, despite the fact that he believes it to be "the biggest story in American history."

But just because he hasn't been talking about it much doesn't mean he hasn't been hard at work fighting against it behind the scenes.  In fact, on his program last night, he revealed that his network headquarters played host to a conference of anti-Common Core activists yesterday that was organized by none other than his best friend David Barton.

Featuring dozens of various right-wing activists, state legislators, education experts, and communications specialists, Beck's office hosted a day long conference designed to lay out a plan of attack that can be spread to Tea Party and 9/12 groups all over the nation as part of an national, coordinated effort to stop Common Core.

Beck has, in effect, turned his entire Blaze network into a public policy organization through which he is not only using his various radio and television programs to push his political agenda, but even using organizational facilities to coordinate and orchestrate a full-blown public policy campaign:

Barton: 'You Can't Drink Starbucks and be Biblically Right'

Recently, David Barton delivered his stock presentation at during a service at Whitesburg Baptist Church in Huntsville, Alabama where he once again falsely asserted that the Supreme Court banned the practice of requiring Bible reading in public school because it could give students brain damage, as well as the various other false claims that he routinely makes.

But, as he frequently does, he added in a few new bits of information; in this case, a  pronouncement that Christians cannot drink Starbucks coffee because the company supports marriage equality.

"Biblically, there is no way a Christian can help support what is attacking God," Barton said, adding "I'm sorry, you've got to find some other coffee to drink.  You can't drink Starbucks and be biblically right on this thing.  It's just a real simple principle":

Barton: AIDS Is God's Penalty for Those Who Engage in 'Shameful Sexual Acts'

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton reiterated his belief that we will never be able to find a cure for AIDS because the disease is God's punishment for homosexuality, but taking it a step further by saying that even if we do cure AIDS, new deadly diseases will continue to emerge because God says there must be a "penalty" for engaging in these kinds of "shameful sexual acts":

I've gone on record before, and I'll say it again: I think Romans 1:27 is one of the reasons that we'll never find a complete cure for AIDS; and if we do there will be another disease pop up like this bacterial meningitis because the Bible says this, Romans 1:27 says 'men committed shameful acts with other men, sexual acts, and received in themselves the due penalty for the error.'

There is going to be a consequence for this type of sexual behavior, so even if we find a cure for AIDS, something like bacterial meningitis is going to pop up; if we cure that, something else is going to pop up because God says there is a penalty in your own body when you do this kind of sexual acts - the Bible calls them shameful sexual acts - and so we as Christians have to have that same position, regardless of what the culture says.

Barton: Partner Abuse 'Ten Times Higher' in Same-Sex Relationships

David Barton isn’t just a terrible and unaccredited historian, he’s also an awful amateur sociologist. While talking to co-host Rick Green on today’s edition of WallBuilders Live about how same-sex marriage will take away from society the benefits of marriage, Barton argued that “spousal abuse is through the roof, up to ten times higher in homosexual couples whether they be gay or lesbian, male or female, spousal abuse is higher.”

He also said that “no sociological study out there” is supportive of same-sex parenting, adding that “we know that kids coming out of those homes are having much more difficulty.”

Green: If you were to come and totally rearrange my house when I wasn’t here and do something totally different than what it was intended for that would— if you do that with marriage and government does that with marriage it also changes the benefits of that institution that God created. Now you’re not going to have that stability of the home, you’re not going to have that environment for a child to be raised where they won’t go down those paths that you were talking about. Just like if you were to change my house I wouldn’t have the benefit of the way that we designed our house and the things that we enjoy about our house, so if we allow government to go outside its jurisdiction and redefine what marriage is we’re going to lose all those benefits of the family and marriage as one man and one woman.

Barton: Lose is the right word because you don’t create new benefits, I mean there is no sociological study out there that says ‘hey look kids do so much better when they are in a home without a mother and a father, when they are in a home with two mothers, two fathers.’ By the way, we know that in those homes where gay marriage exists, spousal abuse is through the roof, up to ten times higher in homosexual couples whether they be gay or lesbian, male or female, spousal abuse is higher; we know that kids coming out of those homes are having much more difficulty.

But the CDC’s 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey [PDF] notes that lesbian women experience slightly higher rates of intimate partner violence (43.8%) than heterosexual women (35.0%) and found comparable rates among gay men (26.0%) and heterosexual men (29.0%).

Bisexuals are much more likely to experience partner violence, but the CDC notes that the vast majority of them — 89.5% of bisexual women and 78.5% of bisexual men — reported that an opposite-sex partner was the perpetrator.

The anti-violence group Jane Doe Inc. found that “Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are abused at approximately the same levels as heterosexual couples, but the abuse may be exacerbated by social isolation caused by societal oppression and discrimination,” and the Center for American Progress similarly reports that “studies have found that domestic violence occurs among same-sex couples at comparable rates to straight couples.”

Barton’s claim about children is also erroneous.

The American Sociological Association maintained in an amicus brief that “the social science consensus is both conclusive and clear: children fare just as well when they are raised by same-sex parents as when they are raised by opposite-sex parents.” The Washington Post adds that “there is a growing consensus among experts that the sexual orientation of parents is not a major determinant in hos well children fare in school, on cognitive tests and in terms of their emotional development,” noting that one recent survey found that children of lesbian parents “did fine—better even, than children in a similar study involving more diverse families.”

How False Religious Right Talking Points Are Born

On August 15, 2012, a gunman walked into the Washington, DC headquarters of the Family Research Council with the intent of killing as many people as possible. Fortunately, the FRC's building manager confronted him and, despite being shot in the arm, subdued him and prevented any loss of life.

When the gunman, Floyd Lee Corkins, was interrogated by the FBI about why he carried out this attack on the FRC, he said it was because of the organization's anti-gay activism. When Corkins admitted that he had visited the website of the Southern Poverty Law Center while doing research, the Religious Right seized on the info as supposed proof that the SPLC's designation of FRC as an anti-gay hate group was leading to violence.

In particular, they insisted that the "hate map" on the SPLC's website played a direct role in Corkins' actions. 

Here is that map:

How that vague image somehow directed Corkins to the FRC's headquarters is never explained. In fact, the map doesn't even provide any data as to FRC's actual location, unlike the FRC's own website which provides its address and detailed directions.

But since Corkins mentioned the research produced by the SPLC during his interrogation, and since Corkins was charged under the District of Columbia's Anti-Terrorism Act of 2002, for activsts like Jerry Boykin and David Barton, that means that the SPLC is now "directly linked to domestic terrorism":

Boykin: Islamic terrorists are not the only people we need to be concerned about. We have now, right here, in our own country, an organization that is connected to domestic terrorism as a result of a federal trial in Washington, DC.

..

Barton: The fact that now, in federal court, they have been directly linked to domestic terrorism, that's significant stuff.

Much like the way that anti-Islam activists falsely insist that various Muslim groups were designated as "unindicted co-conspirators" with ties to terrorism by a federal court, we expect to keep hearing the Religious Right falsely assert that the SPLC is linked to domestic terrorism despite the fact that it is obviously nonsense.

Ted Cruz, Archbishop Lori Will Address FRC's 'Watchmen' Pastors

The Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference is an annual gathering for pastors and other church leaders to hear from a panoply of right-wing speakers and get motivated to “transform America.” Our coverage of last year’s event highlights speakers’ attacks on evolution, secularism, Islam, LGBT people, and other tools of Satan.

This year’s conference, which takes place in Washington DC May 22-24, has been promoted by FRC for months.  In April, FRC sent an excited alert that Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party and Religious Right favorite who is reportedly mulling a 2016 presidential bid, had confirmed.

Based on other confirmed speakers, it seems likely that there will be two major themes to this year’s gathering: 1) religious liberty in America is under attack by Obama and his gay allies; and 2) only the church – led by uncompromising fired up pastors – can save freedom and America.

A notable addition to the cast of conservative evangelicals is William Lori, Archbishop of the Diocese of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Lori has led the bishops’ attack on the Obama administration’s proposed regulations requiring insurance coverage of contraception.  Lori, who believes that “aggressive secularity” is “becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today,” will be right at home with his friends at the Family Research Council. A typical FRC Action mailing from Tony Perkins earlier this year said President Obama is out to “crush freedom.” The same letter warns about “death panels” under Obamacare, which Perkins calls “the tip of the tyranny-iceberg.”

Also entertaining the Watchmen will be Rep. James Lankford, who earlier this year blamed gun violence on “welfare moms” overmedicating their kids with psychiatric drugs because they “want to get additional benefits.”  At FRC’s Values Voter Summit in September, Lankford said of the dispute over contraception coverage, “this is not a war on women, this is a war on people of faith.” 

Also confirmed is Ergun Caner, who lost his position at Liberty University after Muslim and Christian bloggers, and then journalists, began to expose the falsehoods in the Jihadi-to-Jesus life story that Caner had used to make a name for himself in the post-9/11 evangelical universe. Caner will probably echo his remarks at the 2009 Values Voter Summit, where his message to Christians who were not being outspoken enough on the issues of the day: “You need to preach, teach, and reach, or just shut up and get out of our way.”

Anti-gay activist Harry Jackson is quick to invoke Satan and other demonic powers as the forces behind the gay rights movement, which he portrays as an enemy of religious freedom. He has charged that a “radical” gay element is trying to “close down every church in America.” In fact, one of his columns was titled,” Why do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?”  Jackson’s apocalyptic anti-Obama rhetoric did not convince many Black Christians to vote against Obama, but Jackson thinks they’ll be sorry. God, he says, will “take out” those who chose “race over grace.” Jackson is a long-time FRC ally; he and Perkins co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy, which calls Supreme Court rulings on church-state issues “assaults” on Christianity.

Jim Garlow, a California pastor who led church backing for Prop 8 in California and was then tapped by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, had warned before the election that an Obama reelection would destroy the country.  During an FRC post-election special Garlow said that Christians should expect massive persecution from the government.  At last year’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, Garlow spoke at a press conference attacking President Obama’s use of religious language to describe his support for marriage equality. Evoking the words of a colonial preacher, Garlow said, “if necessary, here we die.” In an FRC DVD promoting Watchmen on the Wall, Garlow says an FRC-produced video was crucial to the Prop 8 win.

Richard Land is retiring in October after 25 years as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty commission; he was dogged by controversy during the past year over plagiarism charges and racially inflammatory remarks he made regarding the Trayvon Martin killing.  Land has charged that the only reason the Obama administration proposed regulations on contraception coverage was to "set the precedent of ramming this down our throats and forcing us to surrender our First amendment freedom of religion." Land says God will unleash judgment on America for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watchmen will also hear from Jacob Aranza, whose 1983 book Backward Masking Unmasked warned that rock music was encoded with satanic messages that would entice teens into drug use and abnormal sexual behavior. Aranza says he burned “hundreds of thousands” of albums in those days. More recently, Aranza was an endorser of Rick Perry’s “Awakening” and participated in Religious Right strategy sessions convened by James Robison to try to prevent Obama’s re-election. In 2011, Aranza and Perkins appeared together on Robison’s television show, and Aranza gushed about Perkin’s work to mobilize pastors:

Tony Perkins is one of the great heroes in America today. He is a hero because it is unseen. He is uniting and equipping the most important people in America, and that's the pastors in America. If the local church is the hope of the world then pastors are the hope of the local church. Tony Perkins exists to encourage them and to equip them and to empower them. He's taking regular pastors -- the average church in America, James, as you know is less than 200 people; 80% of the churches in America are 200 or less -- and he is taking men like that and he is turning them into absolute heroes, just like pastors in Maine who are literally changing the moral fiber of an entire state because he has equipped them and empowered them and told them they're the people that are supposed to be the hedge of builders, and he is encouraging them to do just that.…I believe that as you speak you are literally trumpeting a sound that is encouraging pastors across America and families across America that are Christians to unite together to see God once again bring spiritual awakening to our nation.

JC Church is one of FRC’s pastor leaders “networking churches in Ohio to answer the call on moral issues.”  His 3 Cord Alliance, which is affiliated with FRC, teaches pastors “how to bring sound scripturally based influence and change to your community.” Church has been praised by Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values: “I believe that if all the pastors in Ohio were like Pastor Church, we would have an army that Satan could not stop. He understands that America is led by the pulpit and we count on him to unite fellow pastors and their congregations to be the salt and light we so desperately need in the world today.”

Jack Hibbs is a California-based preacher who also pushed Prop 8; in 2011 he helped lead an unsuccessful effort to overturn the state’s SB 48, which he charged would lead to public schools indoctrinating students.  In a video urging pastors to get involved, he said it is not enough to teach and preach the word of God, pastors needed to be “culture changers for Christ.” Leading into the 2012 election Hibbs was outspoken about the fact that Christians should vote for Romney over Obama. In a radio show the day after the 2012 elections, He says he was on the phone with Tony Perkins on election night and they had both believed that the outcome was up to the church: “The answer wouldn’t be determined in the White House or the statehouse….the answer for righteousness or unrighteousness, for light or for darkness, for liberty or tyranny, would be decided by the pastors.” Given the way things turned out, Hibbs says “I believe the responsibility, the outcome, and the fallout falls into the hands of the pulpits of America’s pastors who did not speak up….” Hibbs also echoes Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks: “those who are looking for handouts, they don’t want to work, they want the government to give things to them, overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama.” Hibbs said he was disappointed but not discouraged, because “God’s on the throne” and therefore “God has appointed him to be our president for God’s purposes – OK that means God has got some pretty gnarly purposes coming for America.”

There’s a special role at the conference for FRC’s executive vice president, retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin.  Boykin retired from the military after being reprimanded by then-President Bush for making speeches depicting the war on terrorism as a Christian holy war against Islam. FRC hired Boykin last year after he was disinvited from speaking at West Point after faculty and cadets objected.  Boykin and his Religious Right allies portrayed his mythical martyrdom as an attack on freedom of speech and religion. At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Boykin invoked Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler in denouncing what he said is an effort to move Americans away from belief in a sovereign God.  He says everything President Obama is doing is right out of the” Communist Manifesto.”

Perkins seems to be counting on Boykin to strong-arm pastors at the conference into making a concrete commitment to political activism. In an insert in a packet mailed to pastors, Perkins says Boykin will offer the “concluding challenge” – and he insists that pastors book their flights home no earlier than 4pm so that they can stay.  “During the Briefing, we will share details of the strategic plan the Lord is using to bring revival and renewal in communities around the nation through the engagement of pastors. At the end, we have a ‘call to decision’ or ‘invitation’ sort of like many of you do in a worship service. Just as you want those attending your worship service to stay and respond, we would respectfully ask the same of you.” Perkins has some leverage – FRC picks up most of the tab for one pastor from each church.

FRC launched Watchmen on the Wall in 2004. A 2010 promotional DVD said the group was up to 14,000 pastors; it said Perkins’ goal was to have 40,000 Watchmen pastors by 2015. Pastors who sign up get access to regular briefings, model sermons, and other toolkits for mobilizing their congregations and communities.  The same promotional video contains a clip of “historian” David Barton quoting 19th Century preacher Charles Finney saying, in effect, that if the country is going to hell, it’s pastors’ fault.  The notion that America can only be saved by more aggressive preachers is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings, including Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/7/13

Dominionist 'Apostle' Promotes David Barton's Distorted History

Among the many publications distributed at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference in April were two booklets examining Democratic and Republican party platforms. They were produced by Justice at the Gate, a group that describes its vision as “Building strategic partnerships to mobilize Christians to pray effectively and to vote righteously.”

The two publications are both titled “Democrats & Republicans In Their Own Words.”  One of them is subtitled, “National Party Platforms on Specific Biblical Issues.”  I’m not sure where in the Bible they find school prayer and “school choice and faith-based education,” but those are listed as biblical issues, along with abortion and homosexuality.  This booklet includes side-by-side excerpts from party platforms between 1976 and 2000. Other notable issues covered in the Bible, such as poverty, are nowhere to be found.

The other “In Their Own Words” booklet features an African American couple with a young child on the front cover. It is subtitled, “A 124-Year History of Major Civil Rights Efforts Based on a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Early Platforms of the Two Major Political Parties.” Apparently, racial justice and civil rights do not count as “biblical issues,” since they aren’t mentioned in the other publication. The side-by-side comparison in this booklet goes back to old anti-abolitionist planks in Democratic platforms from the 1840s, before the Republican Party was even formed.  The booklet takes 13 pages before it even gets to the 20th Century -- and that part of the booklet, which focuses on Southern Democrats’ support for segregation, stops in 1964.

In other words, this supposed history of racial justice and the political parties finds no room for a discussion of the Republican Party’s post-civil-rights-era southern strategy, which built power by fomenting racial resentment among southern whites, or for any of the political parties’  positions on racial justice and civil rights over the past 50 years.

Why does that sound so familiar? The answer lies inside the front cover: “Historical footnotes and annotations by David Barton, President of WallBuilders.” Barton has been peddling the notion that Republicans are civil rights heroes for more than a decade. He made the same kind of distorted and truncated history the centerpiece of his 2006 DVD, “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White,” and in the outreach he has done to African Americans on behalf of the GOP.  (For those just joining us, Barton is a right-wing “historian” whose book on Jefferson was disavowed by its publisher last year after complaints about its inaccuracies.)

Who or what is Justice at the Gate?  It’s a vehicle for Alice Patterson, who is among the Religious Right leaders hoping that the right kind of outreach will get African American Christians to start voting more conservatively. Patterson is an “apostle” affiliated with the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation who believes the Democratic Party is controlled by demons. Her mission has been described as bringing NAR’s views into government, which is why she organized The Response, the dominionist-heavy prayer rally that was supposed to launch Rick Perry into the White House.  

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