Erick Erickson

Can Religious Right Leaders' Disgust For Trump Be Overcome By Future Of Supreme Court?

Religious Right leaders believed this was their year. In Ted Cruz they had a candidate unquestionably committed to their agenda. Cruz was anointed the movement’s candidate at a secret endorsement meeting in Texas, followed by a wave of public endorsements by movement leaders. With only a couple of notable exceptions like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Phyllis Schlafly, Cruz had the overwhelming backing of the Religious Right’s institutional leaders. 

But it wasn’t to be. David Gushee, a Christian ethicist and author who has ruffled a lot of feathers with his move to an LGBT-affirming stance, calls the Trump victory “a major defeat” for “the Christian Right agenda.” Indeed, many Religious Right leaders and activists are bitter that Republican primary voters, including many self-described evangelicals, chose Trump over Cruz, and some have declared that they have no intention of backing Trump now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee.

The Wilks brothers, leaders of a billionaire fracking family that poured millions into a pro-Cruz super PAC, are planning to sit out the presidential race, reported Bloomberg. A family spokesperson called Trump a liar whose “despicable statements and actions” are too numerous “to count in a reasonable amount of time.”

Anti-gay activist Matt Barber is in the same camp, tweeting with the hashtag #NeverTrumpOrHillary and asking, “But what about when neither of the two evils is lesser?” On Friday, Barber tweeted, “I don’t oppose #Trump because I’m Republican & he’s not. Nor because I’m conservative & he’s not. I oppose Trump because I follow #Christ.”

A contributor to Barber’s BarbWire website, history professor Alan Snyder, wrote in piece titled “The Republican Obituary” that he “cannot, in good conscience, support Donald Trump.” Snyder slammed Republican voters for choosing “a man who rejects nearly every line in past Republican platforms.”

In an angrily bitter diatribe against Trump supporters at Charisma, Bert Farias of Holy Fire Ministries wrote that Cruz’s defeat “exposes the corruption of the American soul.” Maybe, he says, exposing the “corruption of the American soul and lukewarm church” is what God raised up Cruz to do. “While many celebrate the apparent victory of their amoral candidate, the darkness grows and moves in yet closer.” Faris even recalled, “Benny Hinn prophesied on New Year's Eve 1989 that a woman would one day be president of America and would destroy this nation.” Adds Faris, “It seemed like a far-fetched prophecy then, but not so much anymore.” Kevin Swanson, the anti-gay pastor who says the government should execute gays, suggested that God may be raising up Trump to be president as part of a divine plan to destroy America for its disobedience.

“Don’t blame us,” writes Napp  Nazworth, an editor at Christian Post. “Evangelicals led the opposition to Trump.”

Trump has already been a disaster for the Republican Party, essentially dismantling the Reagan coalition and undermining its efforts to retain control of Congress. A Trump presidency would be a disaster for the entire nation, given that he is entirely unfit, in character and experience, to be president.

For those reasons, it's important to set straight the historical record — evangelicals led the opposition to Trump.

Trump has won a lot of votes from people who call themselves evangelicals, but there’s evidence that the most frequent church-goers, probably the same people most likely to listen to Religious Right political leaders, have been much less likely to support Trump.

In February, the Christian Post editorialized against Trump, the first time ever it had taken a position on a political candidate:

"As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country," they wrote.

Republican voters have concluded that morality, integrity, the rule of law, and the Constitution must be discarded in their headlong dash into an angry reaction against all politicians, even someone like Ted Cruz who has fought the good fight for Biblical and constitutional principles all his life.

In doing so, they have brought this nation to the brink of near-total collapse. No matter who wins in the fall, Republican or Democrat, Christian values will be subjected to even greater governmental suppression. No matter how Trump fares in the general election, the very fact of his nomination is a dismal indication that whatever honor and principle remained in the Republican party is now in the past.

Some high profile right-wing pundits remain in the #NeverTrump camp, like Erick Erickson. Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace reacted to Cruz’s withdrawal by resigning from the Republican PartyJerry Bader, conservative talk radio host in Wisconsin, is with him:

“I do not want to see Hillary Clinton as president; however, I do not see Donald Trump as a better choice. Important point: There is no lesser of two evils," Mr. Bader said. "I have no reason to believe his Supreme Court nominees would be any more palatable than hers because I have nothing to go on but his word, and that don't mean much to me."

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska is probably the highest-ranking Republican official who has made it clear that Trump will not get his support. He said recently that he is resisting calls from “party bosses and politicos” telling him he has to support Trump. Sasse is trying to generate support for a third-party or independent candidate to enter the race.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a strong supporter of Cruz, is among those hedging their bets, saying evangelicals “won’t necessarily fall in line” with Trump as the nominee. While he has made his disappointment clear, he says he is “waiting to see the substance of a Trump administration and the vision he has for America.” Anti-gay activist Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is also taking a wait-and-see approach. And Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference has criticized Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric but says Hispanic evangelicals “are still up for grabs.” Religious Right activist Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association told The Hill that Cruz should “keep his powder dry and not do anything right now” while waiting to see how Trump behaves in the general election.

Of course, the most intense focus going forward will fall on Ted Cruz, the Religious Right’s anointed candidate. As runner-up and as a GOP senator, he would normally be expected to endorse the victor. But the ugly personal tone of Trump’s attacks, and the refusal of some Cruz backers to go along with the party’s ultimate choice, might make this year an exception.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is more enthusiastic than many of his fellow Religious Right activists: “Donald Trump broke the code, owned the media, and inspired the masses. I will be all in to help him defeat Hillary Clinton and I call upon all fellow Republicans to unite in defeating Hillary and abandoning and repudiating the hapless ‘Never Trump’ nonsense.”

The Washington Times reports that party officials are using the prospect of future Supreme Court nominations to cajole #NeverTrump people into getting on board the Trump train.  As Miranda has reported, the Supreme Court is the main reason that anti-abortion activists are reluctantly lining up with Trump. Perkins said this week, “We can live with bad trade deals or high taxes, but we cannot live with bad judicial nominees.”

Indeed, Trump has already said that he will let the Heritage Foundation, the conservative group led by Religious Right icon Jim DeMint, draft a list of potential justices.

Right-wing activist Grover Norquist thinks Cruz should make a deal, reports The Hill. “Norquist said Cruz will stay aloof for a while but ultimately back Trump, perhaps in exchange for a promise to be appointed to the Supreme Court.”

 

'God Help Us': Religious Right Leaders Mourn Ted Cruz's Defeat

For years, Religious Right activists have dreamed about a presidential candidate like Ted Cruz. The Texas senator pledged to bring tens of millions of new evangelical voters to the polls by running on his hostility to abortion rights, Planned Parenthood and Supreme Court rulings on marriage equality and the separation of church and state.

He won nearly unanimous support from movement leaders, who hoped that by uniting behind Cruz, they would finally get their candidate of choice in position to win the GOP nomination. Focus on the Family founder James Dobson gushed that Heidi Cruz would be the country’s “very first pro-life first lady” and many leaders fawned over Cruz’s firebrand preacher father.

In the end, Cruz was defeated by Donald Trump, who questioned whether Cruz was a true Christian, threatened to “spill the beans” on his wife and accused his father of plotting the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

While Trump has won the support of several movement figures such as Phyllis Schlafly, Robert Jeffress and Jerry Falwell Jr., and was a regular presence at Religious Right events, he did not win many fans with his frequent flip-flops on abortion rights, kind words for Planned Parenthood or his sordid personal history.

When Cruz dropped out of the presidential race last night, Religious Right leaders were quick to express grief:

Robert P. George, one the movement’s intellectual leaders and the founder of the National Organization for Marriage, put it simply:

Conservative pundit Steve Deace reaffirmed that he’d never support Trump:

Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, joked about how he will likely write in a vote for Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse rather than back Trump:

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer, however, suggested that people should write in Cruz in the general election:

Erick Erickson, the founder of the conservative website RedState, said that he’d leave the GOP over a Trump nomination because he is “not down with white supremacists.”

“You’ve got Klan members, David Duke, the Aryan Nation supporting Donald Trump,” he told The Daily Beast. “If the Republican Party is willing to go along with that, then I think it’s fair branding, I think it’s very fair. If Republicans aren’t going to stand up to having their party hijacked by a group of Aryan Nation-types, then they get what they deserve.”

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who has an off again, on again relationship with Trump, asked God to “have mercy on our nation” after hearing the news about Cruz:

But like many other conservatives, Starnes said he still hopes Trump will win in November: “[I]f we can survive eight years of President Obama, we can certainly survive a charlatan like Donald Trump. But I'm fairly certain we could not survive four years of Hillary Clinton.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 11/19/15

  • John Kasich is now walking back his proposal to create a government agency tasked with spreading Judeo-Christian values around the world.
  • Glenn Beck finally finds a college protest that he can support.
  • Erick Erickson declares that "the American left hates Americans more than they hate ISIS."
  • Ted Cruz launches a National Prayer Team.
  • JG Smoothy explains that "the only difference between the far-lefty and the Jihadist is that one of them will put bacon in their Caesar salad. In reality they both hate America and desire to reshape it into something we totally abhor."
  • Finally, Mike Huckabee is now being sued by the band Survivor for playing the song "Eye of the Tiger" during his Kim Davis rally earlier this year.

Who's Who At The Values Voter Summit 2015

Next weekend, GOP presidential contenders and top lawmakers will mingle with some of the most extreme Religious Right activists in the country at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, American Values, and others.

Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Ben Carson have all confirmed that they will be speaking at the event. Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich have been invited but have not yet confirmed their attendance, according to the event’s website. Jeb Bush, who was snubbed by FRC at last year’s event, declined to attend but will send a video address. Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate to have publicly turned down the invitation, provoking the ire of FRC’s president, Tony Perkins.

Candidates who attend the Values Voter Summit choose to align themselves with some of the most radical activists and organizations working to dehumanize LGBT people, erode reproductive rights, demolish the separation between church and state, and eliminate First Amendment rights for religious minorities.

The Family Research Council routinely smears LGBT people with false and degrading pronouncements and campaigns for a United States ruled by the dicta of a small faction of fundamentalists Christians. Another principal sponsor of the summit, the American Family Association, has an equally extreme record.

In addition to the abhorrent record of the sponsors of this event, the presidential candidates will also be joined by a host of radical Religious Right speakers.

Below is an introduction to some of the people who will be sharing the stage with the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Tony Perkins

As the president of the Family Research Council, the summit’s main sponsor, Tony Perkins heads the organization’s efforts to erode gay rights, reproductive rights, and the separation of church and state.

FRC continually expresses hostility to the rights of Americans who don’t share his conservative brand of Christianity. Last year, Perkins suggested that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections do not apply to Muslims, not surprising for the leader of an organization that once issued a statement that read, “[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference." He similarly suggested that Christians who support LGBT rights should not have the same religious freedoms as anti-gay conservatives because “true religious freedom” only applies to those whom he believes hold “orthodox religious viewpoints.”

Perkins has also overseen one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization. FRC officials have expressed support for the criminalization of homosexuality not only in the United States, but also in Malawi and Uganda. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg once said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He has:

Jerry Boykin

Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the fight against terrorism as a holy war between Christianity and Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He:

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the founder and head of Liberty Counsel, which is the organization currently representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her campaign to deny marriage licenses to gay couples in her county. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government as part of an effort to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Staver has:

Jonathan Cahn

Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn is best known for his novel “The Harbinger,” which asserts that the 9/11 attacks were a result of America losing God’s protection due to its sins.  Cahn also:

Todd Starnes

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, especially about the supposed persecution of Christians in America, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:

Star Parker

Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At the 2011 Values Voter Summit, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion. Parker has also:

David and Jason Benham

Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become martyrs in the eyes of the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan
  • Compared themselves to ISIS victims
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city”
  • Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America
  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation”
  • Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch”

Kim Davis

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, became a Religious-Right folk hero this summer when she refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Davis, saying that she was acting under “God’s authority” and wanted to use her county office to spread “God’s word,” spent five nights in jail after a federal judge found her in contempt of court for violating multiple court orders to begin issuing licenses. The viciously anti-gay group Liberty Counsel and its founder Mat Staver has been active supporters of Davis and have been representing her in court

At the summit, Davis will receive FRC’s “Cost of Discipleship” award, which previously went to Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was actually persecuted for her Christian faith. Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, has previously compared Davis’ experience to that of Ibrahim, who was imprisoned for converting to Christianity and was later granted asylum in the U.S.

Casey Davis

Casey Davis (no relation to Kim Davis) is another Kentucky clerk who has refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis called the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality a “war on Christianity,” and vowed to go to jail — and even die — in order to protect his “freedom” to deny gay couples marriage licenses.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is the founder and president of ACT! for America, where she works with local activists throughout the country to promote fears that Sharia law is taking hold in the U.S. and must be banned and to challenge textbooks that she believes are insufficiently critical of Islam. She makes frequent media appearances to warn of what she calls the “secret Islamification” of the West. Among other attacks on Mulsim-Americans, Gabriel has:

Pat Fagan

Pat Fagan is the director of summit sponsor the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute. He has compared a UN report criticizing the Vatican over its handling of sexual abuse cases to Kristallnacht, the spate of violence in which Nazis attacked Jews and destroyed their property while German police turned a blind eye, and  has advocated for coming up with new names for gay marriage, such as “garriage,” “larriage” or “harriage,” so that when he says “marriage” it will be clear he means heterosexual marriage. He has said that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Supreme Court ruling that allowed the distribution of contraception to unmarried people, may be “the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court,” explaining that “functioning” societies “punish” and “shame” people who have sex outside of marriage.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a Fox contributor and the editor of conservative blog RedState. Constantly pushing for the conservative movement to move further to the right, Erickson has:

Craig James

Former sportscaster Craig James joined the Family Research Council in 2014. In addition to claiming that Obama may secretly be a Muslim, James has:

Aaron & Melissa Klein

Aaron and Melissa Klein are the owners of an Oregon bakery who were sued for violating the state’s nondiscrimination laws when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. They have since become Religious Right martyrs and were featured by Sen. Ted Cruz in a campaign video. Aaron Klein has said that denying a cake to a gay couple was part of his fight against “Satan.”

Ed Vitagliano

As research director of the American Family Association, Ed Vitagliano is a vocal anti-gay activist. Not only does he believe “pray away the gay” works, but he also claims that gay rights will lead to the destruction of America.

Brent Bozell

Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center, which works to expose what it claims is rampant “liberal media bias.”

Bozell has:

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/4/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/4/15

  • Eric Hananoki @ Media Matters: GOP 2016 Contenders Are Courting Erick Erickson, The Anti-Gay Pundit With A “Pattern Of Being Disrespectful To Women.”
  • Alan Colmes: Colmes vs. David Horowitz: Is Obama a ‘Jew-hater’?

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/19/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/16/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 2/20/15

Paranoia-Rama: Satan's 'Homosexual Agenda,' Obama’s Deadly Secrets And Sarah Palin 'Exposes' Fox News

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

According to the right-wing media, Sharia law is gaining a foothold in Michigan, President Obama is blocking the sale of miracle drugs and Satan is commanding the gay rights movement. But Sarah Palin has uncovered the most menacing threat to America of them all: criticism of Sarah Palin.

5) ‘Obama’s Deadly FDA Secret Could Kill You’

Emulating Mike Huckabee and Newt Gingrich, Fox News contributor and RedState founder Erick Erickson sells out his RedState.com email list to questionable sponsors who prey on the conspiracy-minded and science-averse.

According to Media Matters, one email to Erickson’s list claimed that the federal government is suppressing a miracle cancer cure that healed Ronald Reagan. Another warned that President Obama and the FDA could kill “over 45 million Americans…including you” because they are refusing to release a “secret” cure to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.

But 45 million deaths is low compared to the potential toll of another “Obama scandal” that a RedState sponsored email warned could “wipe out 281 million Americans.”

4) Fox News Helping … Hillary?

At least according to Sarah Palin. Upset that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly mocked the prospect of Palin and fellow reality television star Donald Trump running for president as a “reality show,” Palin charged that O’Reilly is trying to undermine the conservative movement just as it prepares to take on Hillary Clinton.

Palin fumed that “quasi-right” media outlets like Fox News should wake up to the fact that “this is a war” against Clinton and should help the GOP unify and “surface the competitor who can take on Hillary or whomever it may be and win for this country.”

Palin made the rambling, self-pitying remarks , of course, on Fox News.

3) Sharia Law In Michigan

The preposterous right-wing conspiracy theory that the city of Dearborn, Michigan, is controlled by Sharia law has long been completely discredited, but that of course hasn’t stopped the Family Research Council’sTony Perkins and Jerry Boykin from promoting it.

Perkins recently spoke with Frank Gaffney, a fellow anti-Muslim conspiracy theorist, about the supposed rise of Sharia law in the U.S., and unsurprisingly, Gaffney joined in on the frenzy and referred to the city as “Dearbornistan.” He said the “Muslim-only” city of Dearborn has become a “ghetto” that is “too dangerous” to enter.

This might be news to the city’s residents, including one Army veteran who was able to find no shortage of stores selling haram goods like ham and liquor, along with a gentleman’s club, despite the claims of right-wing activists that the city is now imposing Sharia law.

2) Marriage Equality Turns Kids Into Government Property

A group of Catholic and Protestant leaders signed a statement this week warning that the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead “to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state’s redefinition of marriage, which is beyond the state’s competence.”

Signatories, including National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher and prominent Proposition 8 supporter Rick Warren, warned that marriage equality for same-sex couples represents an even “graver threat” to society than divorce “because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.”

By legalizing same-sex marriage, the statement reads, “a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself,” since same-sex marriage apparently “disregards the created order, threatens the common good and distorts the Gospel.” The statement even claims that marriage equality will turn children “in important legal respects, the property of the state.”

1) Gay Demonic Energy

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer thinks that Satan makes people gay, so of course Fischer believes that Satan is also in command of the gay rights movement.

“I don’t think you will ever find a more directly demonic energy than when you deal with the homosexual agenda,” Fischer said this week. “They’re vicious. They are mean. You literally are staring into virtually the unvarnished energy of Satan himself when you come up against the forces that are pushing the homosexual agenda forward.”

Upset with the coverage of his comments, Fischer said that he feels bad for gay people, since they are “captives, prisoners of war” of Satan.

The Personhood Movement: Regrouping After Defeat: Part 4

This is the fourth post in a RWW series on the reemergence of the fetal personhood movement and what it means for the future of abortion rights in the U.S.

Part 1: The Personhood Movement: Where It Comes From And What It Means For The Future Of Choice
Part 2: The Personhood Movement: Internal Battles Go Public
Part 3: The Personhood Movement: Undermining Roe In The Courts

Last week, the Republican Party was forced into yet another uncomfortable public conversation about abortion and rape.

The House GOP, enjoying a strengthened majority after the 2014 elections, announced that on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, it would hold a vote on a bill banning abortion after 20 weeks of pregnancy, a top priority of groups like National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) and Americans United for Life (AUL), which see it as a legislative key to toppling Roe v. Wade.

The night before the House was set to vote on the bill, GOP leaders pulled it from the floor, citing concerns by Republican women that a clause exempting rape survivors from the ban would require survivors to first report their assault to the police — a stipulation that they argued would prevent women from reporting rapes and would be politically unpopular.

Some anti-choice groups, however, had already stated that they would not support the bill — because they believed that the rape exception violated the principles of the anti-choice movement by exempting some women from abortion prohibitions.

In fact, less than two years earlier, the addition of the rape exemption to the bill had caused an acrimonious public split in the anti-choice movement, leading to the formation of the newest group advocating for a “personhood” strategy to end legal abortion.

The 2013 bill, proposed by Republican Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona, included only an exception for abortions that would save the life of pregnant women. But in a committee hearing on the bill, Franks caused an uproar when he defended his bill by claiming that rape rarely results in pregnancy anyway. House Republicans, facing another outrageous comment about rape from one of their own, quickly added a rape exception to the bill, put a female cosponsor, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, in charge of the floor debate, and pushed it through the House.

The day before the vote, the National Right to Life Committee (NRLC) sent members of Congress a letter calling the Franks bill, which was based on its own model legislation, “the most important single piece of pro-life legislation to come before the House since the Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act was enacted, a full decade ago.”

The group told members of Congress that it would go after them if they voted against the bill, even if they opposed it because they thought the legislation did not go far enough to ban abortion: “NRLC will regard a vote against this legislation, no matter what justification is offered, as a vote to allow unlimited abortion in the sixth month or later — and that is the way it will be reported in our scorecard of key right-to-life roll calls of the 113th Congress, and in subsequent communications from National Right to Life to grassroots pro-life citizens in every state.”

Major anti-choice groups including the Susan B. Anthony List and Americans United for Life also applauded the vote.

But Daniel Becker, head of National Right to Life’s Georgia affiliate, was not pleased. In the days after Republicans added a rape exception to the bill, Becker worked the phones, urging House Republicans from his state to oppose the “shameful” watered-down legislation. His efforts convinced two Georgia Republicans, Rep. Paul Broun and Rep. Rob Woodall, to buck their party and the major anti-choice groups and vote against the bill. Georgia Right to Life then endorsed Broun in his unsuccessful campaign to win the GOP nomination for an open U.S. Senate seat.

NRLC was livid and, true to its word, sent out a press release the next day singling out Broun and Woodall for their no votes.

Also furious was a prominent NRLC ally in Georgia, conservative pundit Erick Erickson. The day that the House approved the 20-week ban, Erickson wrote a scathing blog post calling Becker’s group “the Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement.”

“Instead of saving souls, they’d rather stone those who are trying to save souls,” Erickson wrote. He called for the formation of a new anti-abortion group in Georgia to replace Becker’s as NRLC's state affiliate.

Several months later, in time for an upcoming meeting of NRLC’s board, Erickson founded his own group, Georgia Life Alliance. He then asked the national group to disaffiliate itself from Georgia Right to Life and take his group on as its official state chapter. NRLC's board happily complied, saying that Becker’s group had “ruptured its relationship” with them with its defiance on the Franks bill.

It didn’t take long for Becker to strike back. Fewer than three months later, Georgia Right to Life announced that it was forming the National Personhood Alliance, a new national organization of anti-abortion rights groups committed to a “no exceptions” strategy. In a press release announcing the group’s formation, he laid out the alliance’s philosophy, including a thinly veiled attack on NRLC. “Compromise is not possible,” he wrote. “This is not like roads or highways or agricultural subsidies; when we compromise — someone dies.”

The group later renamed itself the "Personhood Alliance."

In a policy paper in June, Jay Rogers of Personhood Florida laid out the new alliance’s strategy. It would not oppose incremental measures like the 20-week ban, but it would oppose any measure that “identifies a class of human beings that we may kill with impunity.” That is, it would only support efforts to restrict abortion rights that contain no exceptions for rape, incest, or the health of the pregnant woman.

Becker announced that the group’s interim president would be another anti-choice activist who had broken ranks with National Right to Life over strategy — in this case, over LGBT rights. Molly Smith, the president of Cleveland Right to Life, had earned a rebuke from NRLC when she said her group would oppose the reelection of Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman after he came out in favor of marriage equality, citing his openly gay son. NRLC blasted Smith for opposing the staunchly anti-choice senator and taking on “an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life.”

The new Personhood Alliance won early endorsements from prominent Religious Right activist Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, popular conservative talk show host Steve Deace, and the Irish anti-abortion organization Life Institute.

But it also displayed ties to more fringe activists, boasting of an endorsement from infamous abortion clinic agitator Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America, who blames the September 11 attacks on legal abortion. Jay Rogers, who wrote Personhood Alliance’s manifesto, is a longtime ally of Operation Save America who once assisted the group by administering a website showing the locations of Florida abortion providers’ private homes.

Another founding member of Personhood Alliance was Les Riley, who spearheaded Mississippi’s failed personhood amendment in 2011. Riley is a one-time blogger for a group that advocates Christian secession from the U.S. and a current officer with the theocratic Mississippi Constitution Party. Georgia’s Constitution Party also sponsored a booth at the Personhood Alliance’s convention.

Becker himself has a history on the more radical, confrontational fringes of the anti-abortion movement. In 1992, while running for a House seat in Georgia, Becker gained national attention when he helped pioneer the strategy of using an election-law loophole to run graphic anti-abortion ads on primetime television.

Personhood Alliance hasn't only set itself up against the rest of the anti-choice movement; it's directly competing with the group that brought personhood back in to the national political conversation.

In 2007, 19-year-old Colorado activist Kristi Burton teamed up with attorney Mark Meuser to push for a ballot measure defining “person” in Colorado law as beginning “from the moment of fertilization.” Keith Mason, another young activist who as an anti-choice missionary for Operation Rescue had driven a truck covered with pictures of aborted fetuses, joined the effort. Soon after the Colorado ballot initiative failed in 2008, he joined with Cal Zastrow, another veteran of the radical anti-choice “rescue movement” to found Personhood USA.

Personhood USA has raised the profile of the personhood movement by backing state-level ballot initiatives and legislation modeled on Kristi Burton’s. None of the group's measures has become law, but the political battles they cause have drawn national attention to the personhood movement’s goals.

In 2010, Mason’s group led the effort to again place a personhood measure on the Colorado ballot, eventually garnering just 29 percent of the vote (a slight uptick from 27 percent in 2008).

Following that loss, the group announced a “50 state strategy” to launch a personhood ballot petition in every state. The group focused its organizing on Mississippi, where an amendment made it onto the 2011 ballot but was rejected by 55 percent of voters after a strong pro-choice campaign centered on exposing the risk the amendment posed to legal birth control. In 2012, the group tried again in Colorado, but failed to gather enough signatures to get a personhood amendment on the ballot. The same year, a personhood bill in Virginia was passed by the state House but defeated in the Senate. In 2014, it got measures on the ballot in Colorado and North Dakota, both of which failed by wide margins.

As it expanded its mission, Personhood USA’s fundraising boomed. According to tax returns, in 2009 the group brought in just $52,000. In 2010, it raised $264,000. In 2011, when it was fighting in Mississippi, it brought in $1.5 million. But after the Mississippi defeat, the group’s fundraising faltered, falling to $1.1 million in 2012. The funding of the group’s nonpolitical arm, Personhood Education, however, continues to expand, going from $94,000 in 2010 to $373,000 in 2011 and $438,000 in 2012. In the process, it built a database of a reported 7 million supporters.

Despite its electoral setbacks, the group continues to have national ambitions: in 2012 it hosted a presidential candidates’ forum in Iowa attended by four Republican candidates. In what can be seen as another sign of the group’s success in raising the profile of the issue, in 2012 the Republican Party added to its platform support for a federal constitutional amendment banning abortion and endorsing “legislation to make clear that the Fourteenth Amendment’s protections apply to unborn children.”

Personhood USA has also quietly become involved in international efforts to restrict abortion rights. In its 2012 tax return, the group’s political arm reported a $400,000 grant to an unnamed recipient in Europe, representing more than one third of its total spending for the year. When Buzzfeed’s Lester Feder asked Mason who and what the grant went toward, Mason declined to comment. In 2014, Personhood USA’s Josh Craddock was granted consultative status at the United Nations, where he participated in the December, 2014, “Transatlantic Summit” of anti-choice, anti-LGBT advocates from around the world. The same year, Mason was scheduled to participate in an international social conservative forum at the Kremlin in Moscow. In January 2015, a Personhood USA representative reported having delivered a presentation at the U.K. parliament.

Personhood USA initially supported the Personhood Alliance and backed Becker — a former Personhood USA employee — in his battle against NRLC. But in September 2014, Personhood USA announced that it was cutting ties with Becker, accusing him of “trying to replace Personhood USA by using our structures and intellectual property” including the word “personhood.”

But it isn't just the right to the word "personhood" that divides the two groups; they also differ sharply and publicly on strategy.

When Becker launched his group, he took with him Gualberto Garcia Jones, a top Personhood USA official and key thinker in the personhood movement, who says he drafted the failed Colorado personhood initiatives in 2010 and 2014. A few weeks later, after statewide personhood ballot initiatives promoted by Personhood USA in North Dakota and Colorado went down in flames, Garcia Jones wrote an op-ed for LifeSiteNews explaining that while he had hoped to see those measures succeed, he believed that “the statewide personhood ballot measure is dead for now.” This was a direct repudiation of the strategy of Personhood USA’s strategy of introducing these measures or legislative alternatives in all 50 states.

Garcia Jones wrote that the struggling movement needed to engage in “asymmetrical tactics” by pushing through municipal personhood measures in rural areas where the movement can “control the battlefield”:

These initial years of the personhood movement have taught us a lot. I believe that we now know how to fight to win against Planned Parenthood. And the key is being able to control the battleground.

When you look at electoral maps of the country, it is readily evident that majorities in almost every metropolitan area of the country are opposed to our worldview. These metropolitan areas are also the major media centers and accumulate large percentages of the voting population in every state.

Right now, fighting the abortion industry at the state level is akin to having lined up a battalion of colonists against the well-trained and well armed redcoats. We need to start engaging in more asymmetrical tactics, and this means engaging the enemy in municipalities and counties that we know we control.

This can be done at the legislative and political level, as Georgia Right to Life and other groups have done by the endorsement of state officials, or it can be done by engaging in municipal ballot measures.

Jones noted that such municipal ordinances could affect the “many [local] powers that touch upon the personhood of the preborn, from local health and building codes to local law enforcement such as child abuse prevention.” And he hopes that, in the long run, municipal-level victories could lead to greater things. Becker has told blogger Jill Stanek that he hopes municipal measures will provoke legal battles that will accellerate a reconsideration of abortion rights in the courts.

Personhood USA, meanwhile, took credit for the municipal resolutions strategy and said it supported it, but noted that its state-level activism had been successful in mobilizing the grassroots and as an "educational tool that simultaneously provides a pro-life standard for lobbying and candidate endorsements."

Will the personhood movement’s strategy work?

Polling shows that the level of support for abortion rights in the U.S. depends on how you ask the question. And Gallup has found that Americans are pretty much evenly split between those who call themselves “pro-life” and those who choose the label “pro-choice.” But behind the labels is an entirely different picture. A large majority of Americans believe that abortion should be legal under all or some circumstances; only 21 percent want the procedure to be completely banned. Similarly, Pew found in 2013 that only three-in-ten respondents favored overturning Roe v. Wade.

These numbers don’t bode well for the personhood movement. Voters in states as conservative as Mississippi and North Dakota have been turned off by personhood’s clear goal of banning abortion in all circumstances as well as the threat it poses to contraception and fertility treatments.

At the same time, the more successful anti-choice groups have managed to work within current public opinion to push through scores of state-level measures restricting access to abortion in an effort to slowly undermine Roe. These measures, many based on model legislation from Americans United for Life, restrict abortion access by such means as imposing waiting periods for women seeking care, requiring hospital “admitting privileges” for abortion providers and then banning public hospitals from providing such agreements; or even regulating the width of the hallways in clinics.

The Guttmacher Institute has calculated that between 2011 and 2014, states enacted 231 abortion restrictions, meaning that half of all reproductive-age U.S. women now live in a state that the Institute categorizes as “hostile” or “extremely hostile” to abortion rights — all without passing outright bans on abortion or establishing fetal “personhood.” The anti-choice group Operation Rescue, which keeps detailed records on abortion providers in its effort to shut them down, reports that the number of surgical abortion clinics in the country has dropped by 75 percent since 1991, with 47 such clinics closing permanently in 2014. This can be partly attributed to the increased frequency of medication abortion, a practice that anti-choice groups are targeting with new restrictions. In 2005, even before the closures of the last few years, 87 percent of U.S. counties had no abortion provider.

Even as voters reject moves to ban abortion outright, anti-choice groups have found less resistance to this strategy of chipping away at abortion rights with the same goal. This contrast played out in the 2014 election, when voters in Colorado and North Dakota rejected personhood measures when they were clearly told could end legal abortion, while voters in Tennessee approved a measure giving the state government sweeping new powers to curtail abortion rights without outright ending abortion rights.

In fact, by loudly proclaiming its end goal, the personhood movement may be inadvertently helping the incrementalists who are using a different strategy to achieve the same ends. By proudly embracing the no-compromise extremes of the anti-choice agenda, the personhood movement has allowed the incrementalists to portray themselves as the political center, giving them cover for a successful campaign to undermine the right to choose. In 2014, Americans United for Life president Charmaine Yoest told Time, “Most people want to see abortion restricted in some way, even if they don’t call themselves pro-life … We’re the ones occupying the middle ground.” She might not be able to make that statement if the personhood movement was not loudly and proudly occupying the absolutist, no-compromise stance that her group believes to be too politically risky.

Even as the personhood movement provides political cover to groups like AUL, it also serves as an ever-present reminder of the goals of the anti-choice movement as a whole. While the more visible anti-choice groups may find a total, immediate ban on legal abortion politically unfeasible, the personhood movement is a constant reminder that this is what they want to achieve — one way or another.

Anti-Choice Activists Furious About GOP's Reversal On 20-Week Abortion Ban

Yesterday, Republican leaders in the House decided to pull a plan to vote on a national ban on abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy after Republican women balked at a provision that would have exempted rape survivors only if they reported their assault to the police. The vote had been planned to coincide with the anniversary of Roe v. Wade and the anti-choice March for Life on the National Mall.

Anti-choice activists are, predictably, furious. After all, many saw the rape and incest exception as an unacceptable compromise in the first place. The bill, originally proposed by Rep. Trent Franks last year, included only an exception for abortions that could save the life of the pregnant woman. After Franks claimed in a hearing that “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low,” GOP leaders quietly added a rape exception to the bill and picked a Republican woman, Rep. Marsha Blackburn, to handle the vote on the House floor.

Rep. Steve King of Iowa told the National Journal yesterday that he would fix the problem by eliminating the rape exception entirely: "I would not make exceptions for rape and incest, and then the reporting requirement would not be necessary.”

After House leaders decided to pull the bill yesterday, prominent anti-choice blogger Jill Stanek and the group Students for Life announced that they were putting together a last-minute protest at the offices of two Republican women, Reps. Renee Ellmers and Jackie Walorski, who reportedly led the fight against the rape reporting provision:

Conservative pundit Erik Erickson, in a late-night blog post, attacked Ellmers for her “two-faced ploy” and shot off a series of tweets giving her the “abortion Barbie” label he had previously bestowed on Wendy Davis:

 

Russell Moore, head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, responded with a press release saying he was “disgusted” by the House leadership’s “act of moral cowardice” and urged his supporters to call their members of Congress to protest the “breach of trust.”

“I am disgusted by this act of moral cowardice. If the House Republicans cannot pass something as basic as restricting the abortion of five-month, pain-capable unborn children, what can they get done?

“The Republicans in Congress should come and explain this atrocity to the hundreds of thousands of people gathering here in the nation’s capital to march for life. The congressional Republicans seem to think that pro-lifers will be satisfied with Ronald Reagan rhetoric and Nancy Pelosi results. They are quite wrong.”

House Republicans are now scheduled to vote on a bill Thursday that would prohibit federal funding for abortions. This scheduled vote coincides with the annual March for Life event, held in Washington, D.C., on or around the anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision legalizing abortion in the case Roe v. Wade.

Conservative columnist Ross Douthat seemed to capture the feelings of many abortion rights opponents:

 

Paranoia-Rama: Gays Ruining Television, Jim Bakker's Warning And Mike Huckabee's Biblical Health Care Solution

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

The Religious Right rang in 2015 with dark predictions about America’s imminent collapse and God’s judgment under President Obama’s second term. So if you want to survive the remainder of the Obama presidency, you’d better sign up for Mike Huckabee’s email list.

5) Stop Making Larry Tomczak Watch Gay People On TV!

Larry Tomczak knows that the gay community is bent on “targeting innocent and impressionable children,” and he knows just what to do to stop it: kick them off television. The Religious Right pundit is greatly disturbed that “home and remodeling reality shows regularly feature lesbians and gays in partnerships exploring homes” while “Ellen DeGeneres celebrates her lesbianism and ‘marriage’ in between appearances of guests like Taylor Swift to attract young girls.” Even “’Scandal’ has two gays,” Tomczak laments.

“The indoctrination and propaganda coming from those advocating a gay lifestyle in our country, classrooms and culture are increasing,” he writes, urging conservatives to act as “a bulwark against this tidal wave of unprecedented evil.”

He recommends that people turn off the TV and instead start watching “wholesome DVD series and streaming selected programs” such as “The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Little House on the Prairie, I Love Lucy” and “Leave It to Beaver.”

4) Equating Gays With Charlie Hebdo Assailants

An Atlanta fire chief recently lost his post after distributing to colleagues copies of self-published book containing condemnations of homosexuality, which city officials thought was a violation of employment practices. Of course, he has since turned into a Religious Right martyr.

Erick Erickson, the Fox News contributor and RedState editor, used the controversy to compare gay people to the terrorists behind the massacre at the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Another Fox News pundit, Todd Starnes, said that Christians are losing “equal rights” in the U.S. and experiencing a “cultural cleansing.” Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council even suggested that the actions taken by Atlanta’s mayor will spur the violent persecution of Christians in countries such as Iran and North Korea.

Unsurprisingly, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer also weighed in on the matter, and pointed to the fire chief’s firing as a reason that gay people should be “disqualified” from servicing in public office.

3) Who Needs Obamacare?

Mike Huckabee may have temporarily left Fox News to begin exploring a second run for the presidency, but he hasn’t stopped selling his email list to quacks and conspiracy theorists. Huckabee recently sent his fans a sponsored “special message from [the] Health Sciences Institute,” which describes a secret cancer cure found in the New Testament uncovered “by biblical researchers in Maryland.”

That’s right, “a mysterious healing message within ancient scripture” that has even “been verified by one of America’s top doctors.”

The email promoting a “cancer cure on the 859th page of an ancient Bible” that makes “‘untreatable’ late stage cancer disappear” with “zero painful side effects” is just the latest health-related email to be sent from Huckabee’s account; others have endorsed bunk treatments of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Another sponsored email sent out with Huckabee’s blessing give readers advice on how to be “darn sure your family won’t go hungry or get herded into a FEMA camp.”

2) Jim Bakker Has It All Figured Out

In his New Year’s message, televangelist Jim Bakker didn’t hold back about what God told him was in store for America in 2015. According to Bakker, God appeared to him while he was taking a bath, and gave him a morbid vision of the country’s future. Bakker revealed that it will be impossible for the U.S. military to ever win a war as a result of abortion rights, secular government and “taking God out of schools.”

1) What Awaits America In 2015

The Christian Post’s resident prophet Michael Bresciani has issued his predictions for 2015, and they don’t look good. America, Bresciani writes, will soon face a devastating economic meltdown, race riots and divine punishment for gay rights.

The U.S. economy is absolutely set to crash if not slide into its last hurrah. Jobs, new businesses and corporate profits will show declines. Obama's economic policy, started in 2008, will bear fruit in his lame duck years from which there will be little to no recovery. Racial distractions the promised new warfare with the newly elected republican congress and senate will fuel distraction, but provide little economic relief. The predictions are dire.

Even as markets and corporate earnings begin to show decline radicalism, rebellion and general lawlessness will take Obama's cue and begin its debut both at home and around the world. From Bush's drive to increase police and law enforcement to the recent cry of protestors in NYC to produce "dead cops" only someone living on a remote desert isle could not see the spirit of lawlessness beginning to flower.

Under the Obama administration we have gone from the petted slogan "don't let a good crisis go to waste' up the ladder to "why not just create our own crisis to keep the nation off balance."

We can analyze Obama's policies till the cows come home to see what they mean. A shorter route would be to examine what they are not.

For example, race riots and race baiting are not the protests of the sixties. Opening our borders to anyone at any time is not "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses." Bailouts and battles with coal and other energy companies are not free enterprise, but it is welfare for corporations. ObamaCare is not assurance against bad health it is a disease in its own right that promises to leave the nation in death and disarray if not thrown out or seriously modified.



Abortion, the eradication of DOMA and the gay agenda may seem like something debated and finally settled, but they will only settle the future of the nation and nothing less. Already conservatives are debating what will make their list of top priorities for the newly elected house and senate. The Keystone pipeline, immigration and the securitization of the borders are at the top, but so far no one has mentioned abortion or the restoration of DOMA. We may think Obama's policies are in place and unalterable, but God does not see it that way. If these mis-guided policies are left to stand we will continue to decline and suffer a full judgment as a nation.

Politicians, news organizations and pundits cannot decide the morality of our nation, only our citizenry can make that decision. In the old school of thought such changes were called repentance, revival, renewal and the end of backsliding. Can America wise up in time? That also is entirely up to us. We will soon see that if we don't return to some old school thinking that class will soon be let out and the school will close completely.

Erick Erickson: People Who Believe In Evolution Are Dumb And Jealous

It was tough to top the sanctimonious speech delivered by Religious Right activist twins David and Jason Benham at the Values Voter Summit last night, but RedState editor Erick Erickson tried his best. Erickson, who also serves as a Fox News pundit, dedicated his remarks to explaining how people like himself and the VVS audience are headed to Heaven and, because of that, everyone else is jealous of them.

These days, Erickson lamented, people “worship science” and “believe we were an accident of a primordial goo, particles bumping into each other after the Big Bang that created bacteria that created amoeba that created something that led to something that led to something, a missing link, and then men, somewhere in there there’s a monkey apparently.”

After mocking evolution as dumb and incompatible with the religious faith, even cracking a joke about the Fox series “Cosmos,” Erickson said “I see a world that is opposed to us in this room because we’re headed home to eternity, we’re just passing through.”

“There is a last day, pick a side and the right side wins,” he said, adding: “You have got to love someone enough that you don’t want them to go to Hell.”

Paranoia-Rama: Democratic War On Whites, Cliven Bundy's Divine Standoff & Ebola vs Gays

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Anti-gay activists seem rather convinced that they are facing Nazi and Jim Crow-style oppression, while one Religious Right commentator hopes that Ebola will free them from gay persecution by “solving America’s problem” with homosexuality.

5) Gays Are The New Bull Connor

The Religious Right campaign to claim that they are facing horrendous, unspeakable persecution keeps getting more pathetic this week.

RedState blogger Erick Erickson, for one, is pretty sure that gay rights advocates want to transform America into a “society bent on suicide,” and have apparently adopted “the tactics of Bull Connor” to push their destructive agenda.

After channeling Bryan Fischer and Brian Brown in framing Christians in the U.S. as the victims of a new Jim Crow, the Georgia-based activist went on to say that American Christians will face dire persecution at the hands of gays: “a faith that survived its followers being used as torches to light the streets of Rome will survive a modern age hell bent on ruthlessly stamping it out.”

That wasn’t the only sad persecution article written this week, with Scott Lively writing that gays are treating Religious Right activists the same way the Nazis oppressed the Jews, and Bill Muehlenberg warning that “the cult of homosexualism” is the “coming world religion which will enslave the entire world.”

4) Michelle Nunn (And George H.W. Bush!) In With Islamic Terrorists

The pro-GOP group Ending Spending Action Fund is running a TV ad in Georgia blasting U.S. Senate candidate Michelle Nunn for leading a foundation that “directed grants to an Islamic group tied to radical terrorists.”

The advertisement refers to her time as CEO of the Points of Light Foundation, a group founded by former president George H.W. Bush.

Before Nunn even took the job, Points of Light ran a business called MissionFish that “allowed eBay sellers and buyers to direct all or part of the proceeds from a transaction to their favorite charity,” according to PolitiFact. One of the approximately 20,000 nonprofit organizations that eBay users directed proceeds to was Islamic Relief USA, a charitable group, which over a period of several years received $33,000 through the program.

Based on that damning evidence, Ending Spending’s advertisement accused Nunn of “directing grants to an Islamic group tied to radical terrorists.”

Since Bush founded the Points of Light Foundation, we wonder if Ending Spending believes the former president is also implicated in terrorism.

3) Democrats Waging ‘War On Whites’

Rep. Mo Brooks thinks the reason the GOP has a problem attracting Latino voters is because of “the war on whites that’s being launched by the Democratic Party.” Democrats, the Alabama congressman claims, tell people of color “that whites hate everybody else” in order to win their votes.

Just in case you thought that might have been a gaffe, Brooks later claimed that federal law is discriminatory against white people: “What is the one race that can be discriminated against?… All whites.”

2) God Directed Cliven Bundy To Save America

The Obama administration was just about to start taking away everyone’s guns and forming a police state until Cliven Bundy stopped them! Well, that’s what happened according to Cliven Bundy, who recently told a meeting of the Independent American Party, a Third Party to the right of the GOP, that his standoff with the federal government over his refusal to pay grazing fees was part of a spiritual battle against government tyranny:

"If the standoff with the Bundys was wrong, would the Lord have been with us?" Bundy asked, noting that no one was killed as tensions escalated. "Could those people that stood without fear and went through that spiritual experience … have done that without the Lord being there? No they couldn't."

Bundy also cited personal inspiration from God in establishing his course of action.

"The Lord told me ... if (the sheriff doesn't) take away these arms (from federal agents), we the people will have to face these arms in a civil war. He said, 'This is your chance to straighten this thing up,'" Bundy said.

In a radio interview this week, Bundy was even more explicit: “I have no idea what God wants done, but he did inspire me to have the sheriffs across the United States take away these weapons, disarm these bureaucracies, and he also gave me a little inspiration on what would happen if they didn’t do that…. It was indicated that ‘this is our chance, America, to straighten this problem up. If we don’t solve this problem this way, we will face these same guns in a civil war.’”

1) Ebola: Good Or Bad?

Rick Wiles is afraid that the Ebola outbreak will not only leave people dead, but will also be used by President Obama to create an oppressive, totalitarian government. Obama, Wiles believes, may even try to spread Ebola by pushing defective vaccines.

But maybe, maybe, Ebola isn’t so bad, Wiles explains. The End Times radio host said on one program that “Ebola could solve America’s problems with atheism, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, pornography and abortion.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 8/6/14

  • Justin Levitt @ Wonkblog: A comprehensive investigation of voter impersonation finds 31 credible incidents out of one billion ballots cast.
  • Caitlin MacNeal @ TPM: South Carolina Teacher Used Limbaugh's Book To Teach Third Graders About Slavery.
  • David Dayen @ Salon: The right’s “plagiarism” scam: How low it will stoop to protect Reagan’s legacy.

Religious Right Reacts To Hobby Lobby Decision: A Victory Over King George III And 'Subsidized Consequence Free Sex'

The Religious Right’s reaction to the Supreme Court’s decision in the Hobby Lobby case — in which the Court’s conservative majority ruled that some for-profit businesses must be exempt from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage mandate — has started rolling in.

Erick Erickson sees the decision as a victory over the promiscuous:

Eric Metaxas thinks King George III would have been on the side of contraceptive insurance:

The Franciscan University of Steubenville compared businesses that don’t want to provide their employees with contraception coverage to religious martyrs in ancient Rome:

Steve Deace called the Green family, which owns the Hobby Lobby chain, "the Rosa Parks of the religious liberty fight" and urged the movement not to "settle" with just the Hobby Lobby victory:

If we play our cards right, and God grants us a favor, we can use this as a momentum changer. That’s mainly thanks to the Green family, who just became the Rosa Parks of the religious liberty fight. Just as her refusal to comply with an unjust edict on a bus one day blew the lid off the civil rights movement, perhaps the Greens’ refusal to comply with Obamacare’s unjust edict can accomplish the same for a similarly worthy cause.

But that won’t happen if we “settle” for this win like we have all too many others.

AFA’s Bryan Fischer thinks he knows Chief Justice John Roberts’ motivation to vote with the Court's majority:

And finally, the American Family Association is taking a poll:

Spurned Georgia Group Launching Even More Extreme Rival To National Right To Life Committee

A no-compromise anti-choice group that was recently ousted as National Right to Life Committee’s Georgia affiliate is launching a new, even more extreme national group to compete with NRLC.

In April, we wrote about the drama in Georgia, where an upstart group backed by pundit Erick Erickson succeeded in booting Georgia Right to Life from its spot in the NRLC. Their feud was over not ideology, but strategy. NRLC and Erickson backed a 20-week abortion ban in the House that included exemptions for pregnancies resulting from rape or incest; Georgia Right to Life and other hardline groups said that those exemptions made the bill unacceptable:

While all the major anti-choice groups share the same goal — criminalizing all abortions under nearly all circumstances — they differ in how to go about reaching that goal in a post-Roe v. Wade world. This came to a boil last year, when the House voted on a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the last minute, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor added rape and incest exemptions to the bill after the legislation’s chief sponsor, Trent Franks, stoked controversy when he said “ the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low .” The addition of rape and incest exceptions then caused the anti-choice movement to split.

National Right to Life supported the revised bill and included the vote on its congressional scorecard . But Georgia Right to Life, then the state affiliate of NRLC, opposed the revised bill because of its rape and incest exceptions and urged House members to “vote against this shameful legislation.” Two Georgia Republicans, including Rep. Paul Broun, who is now running for Senate, crossed party lines to vote against the bill, siding with Georgia Right to Life.

One of the loudest critics of Georgia Right to Life’s insubordination was Georgia-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who called the group the “Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement.” A few weeks ago, a new group with Erickson on its board sprung up with the goal of replacing Georgia Right to Life as the official state affiliate of NRLC. And this weekend, they succeeded, as NRLC cut ties with Georgia Right to Life and took on Erickson’s group, Georgia Life Alliance, in its place.

Today, Georgia Right to Life struck back, announcing that it is forming the National Personhood Alliance, a new network of state-level groups that that support the no-compromise strategy. In a press release announcing the move, Georgia Right to Life President Daniel Becker takes a clear swipe at National Right to Life: “Compromise is not possible. This is not like roads or highways or agricultural subsidies; when we compromise - someone dies."

"The focus of NPA will differ from most national pro-life groups," Becker said. "The general consensus of many in the movement is that it's time for a fresh strategy for ending the disregard for innocent human life. We intend to be 'standard-bearers' as opposed to 'king-makers'. This will require the application, politically and legislatively, of a higher standard than is currently embraced by most national pro-life groups today."

Becker said, "There has been an overwhelming call from many within the movement to form a new national pro-life group which will represent us on Capitol Hill."

The new organization will be officially formed at a convention to be held in Atlanta, GA on October 10th and 11th. Representatives of existing pro-life organizations and leaders from across the country are invited. Attendees who affirm the founding charter will begin the process of electing a national board of directors representing each state.

"The pro-life movement is more than 40 years old," Becker said. "From its inception in the late 1960's, the focus has primarily been on ending abortion. Our concern must be expanded to encompass the dignity and value of each human being at any developmental stage through natural death.

"To achieve that goal, we must ensure that our strategies are consistent with our policies and objectives. Compromise is not possible. This is not like roads or highways or agricultural subsidies; when we compromise - someone dies."

Keith Mason, Personhood USA President: "Personhood USA looks forward to working with emerging groups like the National Personhood Alliance who share our commitment to never compromise on the lives of pre-born babies."

The new National Personhood Alliance has the support of Personhood USA and claims to have allied groups in 17 states. It has also racked up endorsements from Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, talk show host Steve Deace, and a number of anti-choice activists.

Paranoia-Rama: End Of The First Amendment, Liberals Promoting Child Rape, Gay Marriage To Blame For Shooting

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

As the Radical Right continues its never-ending quest to stoop to new lows, this week conservative activists and Republican politicians claimed that progressives are sanctioning rape, planning to scrap the First Amendment and causing mass shootings by supporting marriage equality.

5) First Amendment About To Be Repealed

It seems that Ted Cruz isn’t even trying to pretend that he is anything more than a shameless con artist. The Texas senator told a summit of Religious Right pastors this week that “Senate Democrats are going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment” as part of their plan to “muzzle” pastors who “speak the truth.”

Cruz’s audience gasped in surprise at this bombshell announcement. It seems they hadn’t heard of this diabolical plan before – perhaps because it doesn’t exist.

It turns out that Cruz was referring to a proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and related decisions such as this year’s McCutcheon ruling. The amendment seeks to restore to Congress and state legislatures the authority to reduce the role of unchecked and often undisclosed campaign donations from corporations and wealthy individuals.

But Cruz blatantly misrepresented these efforts to claim that Senate leaders are “repealing the First Amendment” because they want to quash the church and “don’t like it when the citizenry in their community has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.”

4) Immigration Reform All About Hating America

Rush Limbaugh has a new theory that he hopes will incite conservative opposition to immigration reform: Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because they hate America, hope to demonize the country and “undermine, sabotage if you will, elements of this nation’s founding.”

3. Liberals Want To Rape Your Kids

“Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt has a history of sending out insanely anti-LGBT screeds to members of his Religious Right group, Pray In Jesus Name, and this week no was no different.

Klingenschmitt, a Republican candidate for the Colorado House, warned members that liberals want to “rape” children by defending the rights of LGBT students: “‘Transgenders’ want your children. Liberals demand public access to rape your girls, at least visually in public bathrooms, or to expose themselves to your girls at school, without parental consent or protection of any kind.”

This latest rant should come as no surprise, as Klingenschmitt once accused a same-sex couple of looking at their infant with “lust” and speculated that gay people have “something unhman inside of them.”

2. Houston Promoting Violence Against Women

Despite the attempts of anti-LGBT activists  to derail an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston, the city council approved the measure this week in an 11-6 vote.

Opponents of the nondiscrimination measure waged a nasty campaign linking the ordinance to Satanchild abuseassault and rape.

As always, conservatives pushed false claims about purported negative effects of nondiscrimination laws on religious freedom, with Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values warning that “these laws will be used as a weapon to actually run over people’s religious liberty rights” and Mike Huckabee suggesting that “this ordinance will take away your rights to live what you believe.”

1. Isla Vista Shooting: Blame Gay Marriage

It was only a matter of time until right-wing pundits blamed women’s rights advocates for the Isla Vista shooting spree by Elliot Rodger, who said he was driven by his hatred of women.

Media Matters points out that Fox News contributor Erick Erickson connected Rodger’s actions to the purported “war on masculinity” and gender equality, while another network commentator accused women tweeting under the #YesAllWomen hashtag of “man-hating.”

Glenn Beck similarly mocked women posting under #YesAllWomen for “man-bashing.”

But the Right also returned to one of their favorite targets: gay people.

Another Fox News guest, Dr. Robi Ludwig, alleged that Rodger was motivated by repressed “homosexual impulses.”

She wasn’t the only one to link the shooting to homosexuality: Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council connected Rodger’s massacre to gay marriage. Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and GOP gubernatorial candidate, also serves on the board of the National Rifle Association.

Benham Family Responds To HGTV Decision: 'Lying' Reports Sunk Show, Homosexuality 'Destroys' Nations

Yesterday, HGTV decided not to move forward with a reality TV show starring David Benham, less than 24 hours after Right Wing Watch exposed him as a far-right activist who has compared gays to Nazis and warned marriage equality will destroy society. Immediately, of course, the Religious Right drummed up the “persecution” narrative.

Anti-gay commentators including Laura IngrahamDavid LimbaughErick EricksonBryan Fischer, Ralph Reed, Todd StarnesPeter LaBarbera and Janet Mefferd — along with groups including the Family Research Council and Faith Driven Consumer — all criticized HGTV for axing the show.

LaBarbera, who once joined fellow Religious Right activists in demanding that Fox News “cease using [gay rights advocate Wayne] Besen as a guest commentator,” appeared on Mefferd’s radio show today, where the two charged that HGTV’s cancellation of the show with undermined the freedom of speech.

Pat Robertson called the move “outrageous” and a sign that society is no longer “built around the Bible.” “Good grief, isn’t there supposed to be some freedom? Aren’t we supposed to have a First Amendment?”

He even linked it to a case in Saudi Arabia where a blogger was sentenced to 10 years in jail along with 1,000 lashes for allegedly insulting Islam.

David Benham and his brother Jason said in a statement that the controversy over their show was a result of “lying” and misinformation:

"The first and last thought on our minds as we begin and end each day is; have we shined Christ's light today? Our faith is the fundamental calling in our lives, and the centerpiece of who we are. As Christians we are called to love our fellow man. Anyone who suggests that we hate homosexuals or people of other faiths is either misinformed or lying. Over the last decade, we've sold thousands of homes with the guiding principle of producing value and breathing life into each family that has crossed our path, and we do not, nor will we ever discriminate against people who do not share our views."

Their father Flip Benham, in an interview with LifeSiteNews, warned that “Christianity [is] systematically being criminalized” by “this juggernaut of the homosexual agenda.”

“Homosexuality is not a good thing,” he added. “It destroys those who practice it and nations that approve of it.”

The boys' father, Flip Benham, told LifeSiteNews.com exclusively that his family had not been notified about the cancellation before the network's public announcement. “We have some contractual obligations to the people we are helping right now,” he said.

Flip Benham called the homosexual activist lobby “the biggest bully in the country.”

“There's no one who dares oppose them,” he told LifeSiteNews. “No corporation would dare stand up to this juggernaut of the homosexual agenda.”

He said his family did nothing to hide their views from the network, which is distributed to 98 million U.S. households. “We knew – and so did HGTV – that this was a possibility,” Benham told LifeSiteNews.

He was sorry his sons had to pay for the actions of their father. “I think of my sons, who have to suffer for the fact that their dad speaks up about the Gospel of Jesus Christ,” he said. But he held firm: “Homosexuality is not a good thing. It destroys those who practice it and nations that approve of it.”



“All over the country the battle's being won, and now this battle has moved from one manifestation right into another,” calling the drive to normalize homosexuality “simply a different colored glove covering the same fist.”



“We are see [sic] Christianity systematically being criminalized,” Benham told LifeSiteNews, referencing this campaign and proposed “hate crimes” legislation. “If you are going to stand on what the Bible says, you are going to spend time in jail.”
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