At the end of a conference call about the Supreme Court marriage cases on Tuesday, Bishop E.W. Jackson addressed the riots in Baltimore following the death of Freddie Gray, saying that the violence represented President Obama and former Attorney General Eric Holder’s “chickens coming home to roost.”
“The bottom line is this is the president, Holder, Sharpton’s chickens coming home to roost,” said Jackson, who was the 2013 GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia. “These people have been racial demagogues, they have never missed an opportunity to declare how unjust, how unfair the country is and they have sowed this stuff out there. Not that this sentiment wasn’t already out there, mind you, I’m not saying that they created it, but they certainly stoked it, they fanned the flames.”
Claiming that mistreatment of black men by police is “statistically insignificant,” Jackson complained that “nobody want to address” the fact that gangs like the Bloods and the Crips are full of “evil.”
“And the reality is, folks, there are 12 million arrests every year; two-thirds of those arrests are white folks,” he said. “There are 800,000 police officers in this country. Compared to the number of police officers and the number of arrests, as much as the press plays up these particular incidents, they are statistically insignificant. Now that doesn’t mean they’re not significant to the family or the community or to the people to whom these things happen, but they are statistically insignificant. The real dangerous to the average black person is another black person, like a Blood or a Crip or, apparently, they got the Black Guerillas now in Baltimore.”
Noting that he was criticized for making similar comments on Fox News this week, Jackson told his audience, “I know that both you and many others across the country are glad to hear someone like me express an opinion that they consider to be sane.”
On Tuesday, as the Supreme Court was hearing arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans, E.W. Jackson convened a conference call with Texas-based pastor Rick Scarborough and conservative attorney William Olson to discuss how a decision in favor of marriage equality would destroy America.
“Gentlemen, we’re facing a crisis unlike any before,” Scarborough told callers, saying that while Roe v. Wade was “a dreadful decision wreaking havoc upon the nation and upon the world” at least “with abortion we can opt out of that.”
Marriage equality, he warned, would be a different story.
“I have portrayed it as two trains on the same track going in opposite directions,” he said. “One is the train of free speech and religious rights, religious liberty as defined in the First Amendment. But the other train is this newly created, unnatural civil right of two men being able to marry one another or two women marrying one another.”
“And only God knows where we go after that,” he continued, “because once you tear down that wall, how do you keep a man from marrying a child, or five men from marrying one woman or one man marrying five women? Once the wall is torn down and God’s law is no longer supported by our federal laws and our statutes, then we move into a realm that we’ve never lived in before, but I can assure you religious liberty will not survive that. And there will be a collision, a collision unparalleled in American history.”
He urged callers to sign a pledge organized by Religious Right leaders vowing to meet any marriage equality decision with civil disobedience. If enough people sign the pledge, he said, maybe the court “will pause and say, ‘We’re about to sow to the wind and reap a whirlwind.’”
“This is the day for modern-day Bonhoffers in America to stand up and speak up,” he said, referring to the German pastor who was executed by Nazi forces.
Olson warned at a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality would mean “we no longer have a written constitution, we no longer have rule of law, we have had Darwinian revolution influence the courts.”
“So we have an extraordinary moment where we might be losing just about everything…if an adverse decision is not met with resistance,” he said.
Olson told callers that while “we’re not being told we cannot preach the Gospel, but it’s awfully close to that command that requires us to obey God and not obey man.”
Referring to Scarborough’s comment at a press conference last week that he would be willing to die fighting marriage equality, Olson said, “As extraordinary as that sounds, that is not an impossibility.”
Anti-gay activists, he said, will have to practice civil disobedience such as “jury nullification” and encouraging state elected officials to refuse to enforce a marriage equality decision. This led Jackson to slam Republican politicians who say they would attend the wedding of a gay or lesbian loved one.
“The popular compromise it seems for politicians these days is, ‘I’m opposed to same-sex marriage, but I would go to a same-sex ceremony to support a friend,’” he said. “It’s unconscionable.”
Conservative activist E.W. Jackson said at an anti-gay press conference at the National Press Club earlier today that conservative Christians are prepared to die in the fight over gay marriage, just like the Christian students in Kenya who were recently murdered by radical Islamic terrorists.
Jackson, who was the 2013 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, added that gay marriage is “sowing the seeds of our eternal destruction” as it is removing people's reliance on God’s truth. “We will give our lives standing for the truth,” he said.
Janet Boynes, an ex-gay activist, also warned that the Supreme Court will try to send people “back to slavery” by ruling in favor of marriage equality, while preacher Rick Scarborough said that he is prepared to die over the marriage debate.
E.W. Jackson, the unsuccessful Virginia GOP nominee for lieutenant governor, released a video last week which he said he had to make even though he was “supposed to be heading to an airport to get on a plane” because he was so worried about the gay rights movement’s “onslaught against Christianity.”
In the video, Jackson calls the debate surrounding Indiana’s since-amended “right-to-discriminate” law “an all-out war against Christianity.” “You black Christians who voted for people who support this, it’s time to wake up,” he says, telling African Americans that they voted for people who “hate the faith you represent.”
Jackson shared the video with his supporters in an email with the subject line “Totalitarianism or Tolerance? Freedom or Force?,” warning that “all Christians and fair-minded citizens must enlist in this war” against the “pro-same-sex ‘marriage’ hoards” before they usher in “totalitarianism.”
“It is as monstrous as the dictatorial regimes which force their citizens to bow or suffer,” he wrote. “We keep hearing that most of the American people now support same-sex 'marriage.' That's like saying all of the people in Cuba vote for Castro as President. No one dare do anything else.”
Unfortunately, our liberty is under attack like never before, and the solemn warnings of our Founding Fathers are as relevant as they were on the day they uttered them. One of the most recent attacks on Liberty occurred in Indiana when pro-same-sex 'marriage' hoards demanded that the Indiana Legislature strip business owners and others of their First Amendment rights to freedom of conscience and expression. They would force Christians to support or participate in same-sex ceremonies as a requirement of being allowed to do business. This is creeping totalitarianism, under the guise of tolerance and fairness. It is as monstrous as the dictatorial regimes which force their citizens to bow or suffer.
We keep hearing that most of the American people now support same-sex 'marriage.' That's like saying all of the people in Cuba vote for Castro as President. No one dare do anything else. When the homosexual radicals label you a bigot and hater for your Christian principles, there are many who choose to express the opinion that is safe. When government and businesses become a mob labeling a fairly mild law a symbol of hatred and discrimination, the message is clear that opponents better keep their mouths shut or lose their jobs and livelihood. This intimidation must stop, but sincere believers must not be moved.
It is a lie that opposition to same-sex 'marriage' is the same as Jim Crow segregation and bans on interracial marriage. The truth is that racial ideology was created to justify slavery and the continued subjugation of people based on skin color. On the other hand, Christians have believed in marriage as a sacred union between one man and one woman for 2000 years. We did not create this narrow definition in response to anything, not even the anti-Christian gay rights movement. There is no comparison between homosexuality and race. One is behavior with profound moral implications and the other is a neutral physiological characteristic.
In the brief personal message below, I exhort fellow Christians and ministers to take a STAND. The time for languishing on the sidelines of the battle for Liberty is over. There can be no spectators. All Christians and fair-minded citizens must enlist in this war. Either we will fight for our liberty or we will lose it!
In an April 9 interview with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, conservative activist E.W. Jackson insisted that President Obama does not love his country enough, in part because he refuses to acknowledge that slavery in America was “not a racial issue.”
Jackson, the 2013 Republican nominee for lieutenant governor in the state, responded to a clip of a sermon by the president’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright by insisting that Obama “always seems to want to put American down, apologize for America, indicate what America has done wrong, and yet he never — just like Jeremiah Wright — he never talks about the virtue of our country, he never talks about its greatness, its freedom.”
“I mean, Jeremiah doesn’t want to talk about, for example, the fact that slavery was a worldwide institution and that Nigerians apologized for their complicity in slavery because those slave-masters and slave-traders could not have gotten those slaves without Africans going into the interior to bring people out,” he continued.
“So this is not a racial issue, it’s a human issue, people subjugating each other. But America’s the place where people of all races, all backgrounds, have come and found freedom. And I don’t think he understands that, the president that is, and Jeremiah Wright certainly doesn’t understand it and doesn’t want to understand it and the president sat in that church for 20 years because he agrees with it.”
SPLC had posted a profile of Carson in its “extremist files,” but quickly took it down, noting that it did not meet the group’s standards, but standing by its reporting on Carson’s long history of promoting anti-government conspiracy theories and smears about LGBT people.
But Jackson told the National Press Club audience that SPLC had criticized Carson simply for opposing marriage equality, which Jackson said “is a violation of his and potentially all of our religious liberty.”
He went on to declare that SPLC’s criticism of Carson was “no different than what maybe slave masters or segregationists would have said.”
“When an organization like the Southern Poverty Law Center decides that a black man that doesn’t agree with them can be slandered the way they’ve slandered him, what it tells me is that there’s a certain level of racism that they are operating under while they are trying to point the finger at others,” he said. “And I say that for this reason: To me, this is no different than what maybe slave masters or segregationists would have said. You know, ‘Some black people are okay as long as they do what we expect them to do and they think the way we expect them to think.’ In other words, they’re the ‘good ones.’ So apparently, if you’re not one of the ‘good ones,’ then we’re going to try to destroy you. And to me, that is racism at its worst.”
On yesterday’s edition of “Trunews,” Jackson told broadcaster Rick Wiles that marriage equality for same-sex couples will lead to divine punishment on America, which Wiles speculated might be in the form of a Russian invasion.
Jackson said that if the U.S. doesn’t adopt a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage to “protect us against this onslaught,” then conservatives must prepare for a “long haul fight of civil disobedience and refusal to go along with the program and having Christians punished and incarcerated and fined and lose their jobs.”
“Of course, there’s a third possibility, which is a spiritual possibility, and that is that because of our absolute rebellion against God in this issue, which is exactly what is happening, because of our absolute rebellion against God, the judgment of God will fall on my beloved country in a way that I don’t desire to see and no American should as a result of the fact that we are literally shaking our fist at God,” Jackson said. “That’s not a happy or blessed or hopeful position for a nation to be in and I certainly don’t want my country in that position, but that’s where we are.”
Wiles went on to tell Jackson that “we are going to get clobbered very soon if we don’t turn around as a nation,” pointing to “warning signs” such as Russian submarines and warships near the U.S. and Great Britain.
Far-right radio host Rick Wiles invited Republican politician E.W. Jackson onto “Trunews” yesterday to discuss whether, in Wiles’ words, President Obama “has a diabolical plan to transform America into an Islamic nation or is mentally ill.”
“Maybe there’s a juxtaposition between those two,” Jackson responded. “His behavior almost suggests a kind of delusion…. I don’t know if he’s mentally ill but I do know he does not think like most Americans think.”
Jackson, the right-wing pastor and unsuccessful GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, added that the president “does not behave or think like most Americans” because “his orientation, his background is such that from the perspective of the average American, he thinks like something other than an American.”
While Jackson couldn’t say one way or the other if the president is mentally ill or a secret Islamist, he claimed that he knows for a fact that Obama speaks Arabic because he “heard” that once: “Apparently he speaks Arabic, at least that’s what I have heard, that he does speak Arabic.”
“The damage he has done is absolutely immense, it is staggering,” Jackson lamented. “President Barack Obama is really engaged in a fundamental betrayal of our country.”
After Wiles contended that Obama is actually “an agent placed in this country to destroy the United States,” Jackson claimed Obama “clearly has a mindset that is destructive of our republic” and “clearly is someone that one has to acknowledge is destructive of everything this country represents.”
E.W. Jackson, the anti-gayactivist and unsuccessful GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, hosted a conference call this weekend to discuss his upcoming “National Reconciliation Service in Response to Ferguson and Racial Unrest.”
Jackson said America suffers from a “lack of leadership,” which explains “why we have a Supreme Court and many federal district courts that really don’t care about what the true definition of marriage is and have decided that they’re going to rewrite the rules with regards to marriage.”
“What’s next?” he asked. “Are we just going to head into the abyss of moral and spiritual and cultural relativism in which nothing matters but who has the might, power, the influence to make something happen, to make it acceptable, that there is no ultimate right and wrong, no absolutes? Is that where we’re going? It seems to be. We’re coming to a time where we’re going to have to stand up against it even if it means civil disobedience, even if it means going to jail.”
Jackson also criticized President Obama, who Jackson believes is an “evil presence” and mostlikelya Muslim, for being “so quick to condemn our country, so quick to condemn Christianity and so dead-set on defending Islam, no matter what, defend Islam.”
“Unless we speak clearly, unless pastors speak clearly to what is actually happening in our country, we are doomed,” Jackson said.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who only a few years ago was lamenting the GOP’s decline into “the stupid party,” is now staking out a position on the party’s far-right fringe in preparation for an expected run for the presidency. Jindal has reached out to the party’s increasingly extreme base by undermining the teaching of evolution in public schools; promoting wild conspiracy theories about Common Core, an effort to adjust school standards that he supported before it became the target of the Tea Party’s fury; and hyping the purported persecution of Christians in America, specifically citing the plight of Christians with reality television shows.
Jindal, once hailed as the GOP’s top intellectual and reformer who denounced “dumbed-down conservatism” in an era of Tea Party populism, is slated to lead a prayer rally this weekend, “The Response: Baton Rouge,” organized and sponsored by some of the most extreme figures within the party.
“The Response” is being organized by David Lane, a Religious Right activist who boasts of his great influence and low profile, and various conservative pastors, including several who claim to be modern-day prophets and apostles, who all kicked off the prayer rally with an event at the Louisiana governor’s mansion earlier this month. The American Family Association, so notorious for its apoplectic anti-gay rhetoric and opposition to the freedoms of non-Christians that its chief spokesman earned a rebuke from Mitt Romney, is putting up the funding.
Jindal isn’t the only potential GOP candidate who is getting Lane’s help; Lane has also arranged various events focused on energizing conservative pastors in early GOP primary states that have featured appearances from potential presidential hopefuls Ted Cruz, Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee. He also organized overseas tours with various conservative activists for likely candidates including Huckabee, Perry and Paul. Lane has also teamed up with the Republican National Committee, whose chairman, Reince Priebus, sings his praises.
Lane hopes to use “The Response” as a launching pad for his effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.
Lane, who has connections to the top of the Republican Party, has views which are far out of the mainstream. He has:
called on conservatives to attack Mitt Romney for worshiping “the false god of Mormonism”;
warned that LGBT rights are creating an unparalleled “crisis” leading to “our utter destruction” as a nation;
forecasted America’s destruction as a result of “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage” and “homosexual scouts”;
declared that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education”;
and predicted that “homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” in 2013 would lead to divine punishment in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.”
The American Family Association, classified as a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, is providing the financial backbone for Jindal’s prayer rally, as it did for Perry’s 2011 event.
The group’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has won nationwide notoriety for his remarks about homosexuality and religious and ethnic minorities, which he shares on his daily program on the AFA’s radio network. Fischer has:
It looks like Jindal’s rally will be no different: Doug Stringer, who considers himself to be a modern-day apostle and who also worked on Perry’s rally, is spearheading the Louisiana event. Stringer has blamed American “[l]icentiousness or moral looseness to the degree that it is ‘in your face,’ including homosexuality,” for the September 11, 2001 attacks, which he described as a “wake-up call” from God.
and claimed that gay people are possessed by a demonic “spirit of immorality” that “often enters in through some sort of abuse and the lies of the enemy [Satan] that follow.”
“The Response: Baton Rouge” has also featured endorsements from a slew of conservative politicians. Tamara Scott, as a member of the Republican National Committee representing Iowa and leader of the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, is a key political player in the first-in-the-nation caucus state. But her political clout doesn’t hide her unbridled extremism. Scott has:
Another official “Response” endorser, longtime conservative activist and failed Republican nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia E.W. Jackson, has pushed similarly radical views, particularly on gay rights, saying that “homosexuality is a horrible sin, it poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.” He has also:
Gene Mills, leader of the Louisiana Family Forum and another key “Response” endorser, is a vocal ally of Jindal’s who helped push the governor’s policies undermining public education and promoting religious schooling. It’s no surprise that Mills leads the state’s foremost anti-LGBT group, as he has:
asserted that homosexuality is not a sexual orientation but a “disorder”;
falsely claimed that anti-gay speech is now classified as hate crimes;
said that abuse shelters should turn away transgender victims of spousal abuse;
and explained that anti-gay discrimination is a myth because “the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”
Lane is actually the one orchestrating Jindal's entire prayer event, which is just part of his overarching agenda to ensure that America is run by Christians who share his extremist views. As such, Lane is also organizing an effort to recruit 1,000 pastors for run for political office.
Not surprisingly, Lane sees an opportunity to combine these efforts, which he is doing by calling upon pastors to attend Jindal's prayer rally and participate in the pastors' briefing on running for office the day before:
A month ago, I appealed for pastors to commit to pray for 30-45 days, in order to discern if the Lord is calling them to run for city council, county commissioner, school board, mayor or congress in 2016. By simple arithmetic, if the Lord called 1,000 pastors to run in 2016 and if they averaged 300 volunteers per campaign, then that would mean 300,000 ground-level evangelicals working within their local precincts. When my own pastor, Rob McCoy, ran for office this fall, he saw 625 volunteers join in his campaign. A similar grassroots evangelical movement—from coast-to-coast—would change America for good.
If we advance spiritual men and women into the public square-people who know wisdom, then we improve America's chances for remaining free. We trust in the Lord and we marshal the army ... Godly wisdom has inestimable superiority to military might and gold. A key to sustaining freedom is the launching of spiritual men and women from behind the pulpit and four walls of the church ... right on into City Hall.
If you feel called, then we hope to see you in Baton Rouge on Jan. 23, 2015. The Friday Pastors' Briefing will be called "Issachar: Training The Men and Women of Issachar."
In a conference call held by E.W. Jackson’s group Staying True to America’s National Destiny (S.T.A.N.D) last week, Liberty Institute president Kelly Shackelford said that the advancement of LGBT rights and laws protecting against anti-LGBT discrimination have led to a loss of religious freedoms and other fundamental rights in the U.S.
Shackelford, whose group works against antidiscrimination laws and represents those who claim to have been hurt by them, described how LGBT equality supporters have been “taking over the airwaves” in order to pressure people into supporting their cause.
“People are afraid to speak up, which is the opposite of our country — our country is all about people having different beliefs,” he said. “And the scary thing to me is how quickly it moved from the GLBT [community] having some victories on this issue of marriage to having complete intolerance, of trying to force people to violate their faith. This is antithetical to our country and anything we’re about.”
He claimed that Christians have explicitly been targeted and ostracized for their views. “Whether you’re a baker, or a photographer, or a florist, or who else. It’s not that there aren’t plenty of people to do a wedding for two women or two men in the states where that’s legal. They sniff around to find out the one person who has a religious conscience objective and then try to destroy them,” he added. “It kind of shows you how, once you lose your religious freedom, you lose all freedom.”
Scott is a leader of Concerned Women for America's Iowa chapter, as well as a Republican National Committee member, who believes that Muslim immigrants are being brought to America in order to wage "stealth jihad" and warns that child migrants from Central America are "highly trained as warriors" who could "rise up against" the U.S. She has also argued that gay marriage will lead to people trying to marry the Eiffel Tower.
Jackson is a Religious Right activist and former GOP candidate for lieutenant governor of Virginia who has asserted that the push for gay rights has killed more black men than the KKK and said that gay men and women are "perverted," "degenerate," and "frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally." He has warned that gay marriage will lead to bestiality and said that there is a "direct connection" between homosexuality and pedophilia. The definition of marriage can never change, Jackson has declared, because "America was ordained by Almighty God."
On Friday, the AFA's Bryan Fischer also noted that he would be in attendance at the event and providing broadcast coverage, and there is quite possibly no other figure within the "mainstream" Religious Right movement today who can match him in terms of consistently unadulterated bigotry.
Gov. Jindal does not seem to have learned any lessons from the first Response rally and, if anything, remarkably seems quite intent on surrounding himself with the same group of radical Religious Right activists that made the last one so notorious.
In a conference call with members of right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson’s STAND America that was posted online today, former senator Rick Santorum disputed the existence of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, dismissing it as a Communist idea that has no place in America.
A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.” The likely presidential candidate replied that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”
“When you cavort with Al Sharpton, you certainly aren’t into racial reconciliation, that sort of sums it up right there,” he said. “You surround yourself with folks who are not healers but dividers, this president has been the divider-in-chief on so many fronts. You had hoped, as you mentioned, Bishop [Jackson], you hoped that on this front it was an opportunity for the president to do something transformational, that he could’ve been that figure that could’ve made a real difference in racial reconciliation, could’ve made a real difference just within the black community and he chose to take a different path, he chose to use it as a wedge issue as opposed to an issue that was one that he said he wanted to accomplish when he was going to heal the country. He has done anything but.”
Two years ago, E.W. Jackson launched an effort calling for "a mass Exodus of Christians from the Democrat [sic] Party" on the grounds that the party's support for marriage equality was an attack on God and the Bible.
Jackson's effort, of course, had no discernible impact on the 2012 election but it did help him raise is profile with the Republican Party, which one year later backed his disastrous bid for lieutenant governor of Virginia.
Naturally, this year Jackson is once again calling for an “exodus”again this year, releasing a video in which he calls upon black and Hispanic Christian voters to leave the Democratic Party, telling them that if they were to dare to talk about their faith, "you will quickly find out how much they really hate you":
"Christians are being denied employment," Jackson says, "fired from their jobs, losing their businesses, facing discipline in the military and problems in school for daring to stand up for marriage as a union between one man and one woman. This is pushed by Democrats and yet Christians vote for them. To keep voting for these people is destructive of our pastors, our churches, our Constitution and our society. How long do you think God will put up with that?"
"I've heard the excuse that Democrats help the poor. Do you really think we can defy God on the one hand and prosper on the other?," he asks. "The only thing Democrats have done is create more poor people - more unemployed, higher black unemployment, and lower income for those who are working. Democrats want a captive and dependent group of people who will vote for them at election time. Where are the poorest black communities in America? Where are most young black men being murdered? In cities controlled by Democrats? What are Democrats doing about it? Nothing!"
"So you think Democrats love black, Hispanic and poor people? They reward some of our so called Civil Rights leaders if they support Planned Parenthood's mass abortion of our babies and march in the gay rights parade. But stand up with dignity and courage as a black or Hispanic Christian man or woman and say this is against the word of God and I will not support it or vote for those who do. You will quickly find out how much they really hate you."
"Do not sell your soul and vote against the Word of God for the sake of the Democrat Party," Jackson pleads.
Similar dire warnings about the federal hate crimes law that was passed five years ago today have proven to be utterly false.
The apocalyptic rhetoric is a reaction to the advances in LGBT rights, including the legalization of same-sex marriage in dozens of states and the passage of non-discrimination ordinances in municipalities across the country. Along with categories such as race, gender, religion, age and ability, more localities are recognizing sexual orientation and gender identity as traits warranting protection from discrimination in the public domain.
As anti-gay politicians lose in the courts, Congress, state houses, town halls, and perhaps most importantly, at the ballot box, many have taken to conflating political defeat with a loss of rights and liberty. Only by depriving other people of their rights, so they claim, can conservatives and people of faith in this nation truly be free.
This month, many Republicans latched onto a complicated legal case in Houston to justify their hyperbolic warnings about impending doom for Christians in America. After Houston passed an equal rights ordinance this year, a pastor-led group tried — and failed — to collect enough valid petition signatures to force a referendum on repealing the ordinance. When a group of conservative activists and pastors filed a lawsuit demanding that officials accept the invalid petitions, pro-bono attorneys working for the city subpoenaed several pastors’ communications, including sermons, on petition collecting and related issues like homosexuality as part of the discovery process.
While many groups from the left and right alike called out the subpoenas as overly broad and intrusive, the Religious Right cited the legal move as proof that pastors will be, as the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody put it, “hauled off to jail for a hate crimes because they are speaking for traditional marriage.”
Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, who in 2012 warned that America was “at the edge of a precipice” and would soon see non-existent “hate speech” laws used “against Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages [or] who speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage,” agreed with Brody’s assessment.
(In a similar episode this month, the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel business filed a lawsuit against their hometown over a nondiscrimination ordinance, arguing that city officials have threatened them with prosecution and jail time for denying service to same-sex couples — even though officials haven’t pursued any legal action against the couple.)
We’ve seen this movie before. In 2007, members of a group called Repent America were charged after disrupting a gay pride event and refusing to abide by police orders. The way conservatives tell the story, godly missionaries were punished by law enforcement for exercising their First Amendment rights and “sharing the gospel,” but as court records show, the group tried to disturb the peace and protest inside an event without a permit.
In fact, if Religious Right were correct in their warnings, America should have experienced a wave of arrests targeting pastors, church-goers and Republicans following the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act. Predictions about the criminalization of the Bible, pastors locked in jail cells and concentration camps for Christians never came true, mainly because these prophecies had no basis in reality.
The Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Law was passed by Congress five years ago today, and so far, the far-right’s twisted and baseless claims about the law have all been proven false. But that doesn’t mean they haven’t stopped making the exact same discredited arguments five years after the bill’s passage:
End of Free Speech
Despite the hate crimes law’s provision making clear that it is applicable only to cases of violent crime and nothing “shall be construed to allow prosecution based solely upon an individual’s expression of racial, religious, political, or other beliefs or solely upon an individual’s membership in a group advocating or espousing such beliefs,” Religious Right activists and their allies in the GOP nonetheless predicted that the 2009 law would bring free speech to an end.
“Gay activists will use it against preachers who present the Biblical view of homosexuality,” Rick Scarborough said at the time. “The federal hate crimes law doesn’t target crime, but free speech.” He also warned that the law’s passage would “criminalize pastors and ordinary citizens who speak out biblically against homosexuality,” telling members of his group, Vision America, that he may face arrest for “speaking out against sexual deviancy.”
Scarborough, a Texas anti-gay pastor and political organizer close to Ted Cruz, hasn’t backed down from his claims even years after the law has gone into effect. At the 2013 Values Voter Summit, Scarborough declared that the “infidels” in the Obama administration are “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christians wouldn’t rise up against the attacks, he feared, “until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”
The Traditional Values Coalition went as far as to claim that the hate crimes law would imprison Jesus Christ.
“I believe that ‘hate crimes’ is the most dangerous bill in America, it is precisely what they are using to silence Christians around the world,” Janet Porter, a Religious Right activist with the group Faith 2 Action, said in an interview the year before the bill was passed. “How much of a stretch is it, really, to say that because I would say to you homosexuality is a sin or it’s dangerous behavior, before that speech alone is worthy of jail time? And that’s what we’re facing.” Porter told a Washington, D.C., rally shortly after the law was passed that it “criminalizes Christianity” and “sends pastors to prison for biblical positions and speech.”
In an 2009 email message with the subject line, “The Senate Will Vote To Silence You!,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins claimed that “what ‘hate crimes’ legislation does is lay the legal foundation and framework for investigating, prosecuting and persecuting pastors, business owners, and anyone else whose actions reflect their faith.”
He also alleged that the law would “gag people of faith and conviction who disagree with the homosexual agenda” and that it “punishes a person’s beliefs — part of the Left's intolerant agenda to silence the voice of Christians and Conservatives in America and eliminate moral restraint.”
“If federal thought crimes laws are passed, your right to share politically incorrect parts of your Christian faith could become a federal crime,” Perkins warned. At another conservative event, Perkins said hate crimes laws will curtail freedom and breed “chaos in America.”
Rusty Lee Thomas of Operation Save America even encouraged opposition to the law by alleging that “there is a direct connection between the sins and crimes of abortion and the sodomite agenda and the Islamic terrorism that threatens our nation.”
One group of GOP and Religious Right figures claimed the law would be “a savage and perhaps fatal blow to First Amendment freedom of expression.”
E.W. Jackson, a Virginia pastor and GOP politician, told a conservative rally that the law “represents a virulent strain of anti-Christian bigotry and hatred” that is “another step in the process of robbing all Americans of the very freedoms the founding fathers pledged their lives for and the civil rights martyrs gave their lives for.”
Ohio-based televangelist Rod Parsley, best known for his work supporting George W. Bush’s re-election campaign and the passage of his state’s gay marriage ban, said that the hate crimes law would force him out of the pulpit.
“This deceptive ploy of liberal, homosexual agenda begins to lose its allure once you pull the mask back and take a closer look,” Parsley said. “The legislation that’s before our United States senators right now extends to speech and can punish people not for their actions but for their culturally incorrect thoughts. This legislation could become law, and you and I could find ourselves forbidden to speak from God’s word right here in America. I could no longer share my heart with you on critical issues, such as this, through the medium of television, or even in the pulpit of my own church.”
We can report that despite Parsley’s grim predictions, he is still very much “sharing his heart” as a preacher.
Outlawing the Bible
One group of Michigan pastors, joined by local Republican politician and American Family Association state chairman Gary Glenn, filed an unsuccessful legal challenge against the hate crimes law soon after it was enacted. The group’s legal representative, the conservative Thomas More Law Center, contended that “the sole purpose” of the law was “to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin.”
Pastor Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ also offered an ominous warning: “If preaching the Bible is now against the law, then let us be arrested.” One WorldNetDaily commentator said the law would “crack down” on Christians for “reading the Bible.”
“Christianity Is Now Outlawed,” declared the Christian Seniors Association, a front group of the Traditional Values Coalition, in a fundraising letter following the law’s passage. “Did you know that the new Hate Crimes Act that President Obama signed into law makes the Bible illegal ‘Hate Literature?’” the letter continued.
“Most Christians might as well rip the pages which condemn homosexuality right out of their Bibles because this bill will make it illegal to publicly express the dictates of their religious beliefs,” said Andrea Lafferty of the TVC. “The ultimate objective of this legislation is to claim that ‘hate speech’ — criticism of homosexuality — incites individuals to violence and must be suppressed and punished. This will violate the First Amendment rights of any person or group that opposes the normalization of homosexuality in our culture.”
In the paranoid conservative alternate reality, pedophilia has been legal for five years now thanks to the updated federal hate crimes law.
“The main purpose of this ‘hate crimes’ legislation is to add the categories of ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity,’ ‘either actual or perceived,’ as new classes of individuals receiving special protection by federal law. Sexual orientation includes heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality on an ever-expanding continuum. Will Congress also protect these sexual orientations: zoophiles, pedophiles or polygamists?” asked televangelist Pat Robertson.
Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, similarly charged: “We have a record roll call vote that shows every Democrat on the Judiciary Committee voting to have pedophiles protected.”
King’s colleague Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, went one step further and said that as a result of the hate crimes law, courts would “have to strike any laws against bestiality” along with laws targeting “pedophiles or necrophiliacs.” Gohmert went on to warn that the law would effectively turn the U.S. into Nazi Germany.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, for his part, predicted that the law would extend legal protections to “bisexuality, exhibitionism, fetishism, incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution, sexual masochism, urophilia, voyeurism, and bestiality.”
Richard Thompson of the Thomas More Law Center claimed the law “elevates those persons who engage in deviant sexual behaviors, including pedophiles, to a special protected class of persons as a matter of federal law and policy.”
Porter dubbed the law the “Pedophile Protection Act,” “summarizing” the law by completely making things up: “Pushing away an unwelcome advance of a homosexual, transgendered [sic], cross-dresser or exhibitionist could make you a felon under this law. Speaking out against the homosexual agenda could also make you a felon if you are said to influence someone who pushes away that unwelcome advance. And pedophiles and other sexual deviants would enjoy an elevated level of protection, while children, seniors, veterans and churches would not.”
Pedophilia, bestiality and necrophilia are still against the law and such laws have not been affected by the Hate Crimes Act, while declining “an unwelcome advance of a homosexual” is still very much legal. However, we are still waiting with bated breath for Porter’s lawsuit detailing how she was forced and legally bound to succumb to the charms of a homosexual enticer.
Can the Religious Right Be Trusted?
The many frantic, unfounded warnings about the perils the 2009 Hate Crimes Act are just one example of anti-gay activists’ penchant for manufacturing myths and brazenly distorting cases of supposed persecution.
Apocalyptic warnings and blatantly dishonest remarks have always been characteristic of the Religious Right's crusade against LGBT rights and we can expect such activists to continue to engage in such shameless fear mongering and misinformation before the 2014 election.
But, like the Religious Right’s warnings about the effects of the 2009 Hate Crimes Act, these dire predictions should be taken with a heavy dose of salt.
Last month, Rep. Trent Franks appeared on a conference call with Virginia pastor and failed lieutenant governor candidate E.W. Jackson to discuss dangers to America’s survival, where they both agreed that the separation of church and state is bringing the country down.
Jackson asked the Arizona congressman about the “profound threat to Christianity in general and to our Christian foundations in this country,” which he said comes from President Obama and the “drumbeat of atheism that attacks everything, ‘get the cross down,’ ‘don’t show a Bible,’ ‘don’t wear a cross,’ ‘don’t say God bless you.’ It just seems like every day we’re hearing some new effort to try to shut Christians up and shut us down.”
“The litany that you listed there is so right, dead-on,” Franks responded, before warning that ISIS may succeed in committing violence against Christians because “the secular left” in America is diluting the country’s Christian heritage. He said that ISIS may rise into power just as the Nazis did even though at one point they were just “a bunch of idiots riding across France [sic] in their brownshirts.”
Franks later claimed that there is currently a legal challenge to crosses in Arlington National Cemetery, but as manyfact-checkerspoint out, such a lawsuit does not exist and is merely a rumor. A similar story of a lawsuit against religious symbols at a military cemetery originated from a satirical website.
I think this president almost wants us to take a vacation from history, but, bishop, if we look historically, the political leaders had a profound impact on the religious communities. I don’t have to go back to the days of Adolf Hitler but the bottom line is there was a time when the Nazi Party was a bunch of idiots riding across France [sic] in their brownshirts, they had a horrific, evil intent but they had no capacity to do anybody any harm. But that philosophy that they had germinated into the intelligentsia of Germany and it grew and, my God, we had 50 million people killed as a result. Six million Jews and 50 million people died in that horrifying tragedy and yet today in the Islamic State, ISIS, we have a group that is literally as evil as the Nazis were, if not more, and they have no regard to their own lives, they are more intent than anything I’ve ever seen. If somehow this ideology that they are putting forward begins to take root in the Islamic world of 1.3 billion people, the threat that that represents to Christianity and to the world is almost impossible for me to articulate.
But as you said and as you said so wisely, it’s always the water on the inside of the ship that sinks it. Our greatest danger to religious freedom, I believe, is within our own country where we’re doing as you said, ‘take those crosses down.’ I used to say that the secular left would never quit until they said that we needed to start taking down the stars of David and the crosses of Calvary out of the tombstones out in Arlington National Cemetery. People thought that was an outrageous statement but just in the last two weeks there’s a group now that wants us to do that. It’s the water on the inside of the ship that sinks it, God help us to be salt and light while there’s still time because our faith is at risk. And if our faith in this country is destroyed, then I believe that the very foundation of the nation is destroyed and America will be remembered rather than recognized in the present.
After months of controversy, megachurch pastor Mark Driscoll has resigned.
Rick Santorum says that "I’m doing everything right now as if I’m running" for president.
Laurie Higgins says that moderate Republicans must be defeated at the ballot box because otherwise "the Democratic wing of the Republican Party will grow. It’s a ravenous beast devouring the squishy, spineless, chestless, tasteless, bootless bodies of conservatives."
E.W. Jackson is launching a new movement designed to protect Christians from "growing hostility, discrimination and anti-Christian bigotry."
Finally, Dan Snyder seems to think that having Glenn Beck on his side will somehow help his effort to save the name of his football team.
In a conference call this week with E.W. Jackson, Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin warned that to counteract the population growth of America’s Muslim minority, “Americans need to have more babies and populate this country with red-blooded patriotic Americans.”
Fearing that America would soon go the way of a Europe that he claimed is “hopelessly lost” to Muslim population growth, Boykin insisted that “Americans” (among whom he evidently doesn’t include Muslim-Americans) must increase the average birth rate to supersede that of the country’s less-than-one-percent Muslim minority. “It is a very serious issue, which is why Americans need to have more babies and populate this country with red-blooded patriotic Americans,” he said.
Boykin also claimed that President Obama’s “identity is more with Islam than with anything else,” citing myths about the president’s the so-called “apology tour” in 2009 and his supposed education in a “madrassa.”
“And I think that all goes back to his roots, to the fact that he was raised in an Islamic environment,” he said. “I think he went to a madrassa for, it’s undetermined, but at least five years of his life. I think that’s his comfort zone. And I think he was in Jeremiah Wright’s church as a matter of convenience, but his identity is more with Islam than with anything else.”
In reality, Obama attended a Catholic school and a secular public school in Indonesia.
E.W. Jackson closed out last night's session at the Values Voter Summit by lashing out at those pushing for marriage equality, thundering, "How dare you try to redefine an institution that God himself ordained!"
"The fact of the matter is they can call a union other than one man and one woman by any name they choose," Jackson proclaimed," but the reality is you can re-write a thousand dictionaries, you can put on a thousand TV shows, you can make a thousand headlines, you can have a thousand coming out parties, you can have a thousand politicians affirm the lie, but the truth will still stand and a thousand years from now, marriage will still be a union between one man and one woman because God ordained it so!"