Pastors thrown in jail. Religious texts criminalized. Evangelism outlawed.
These are all events that Religious Right activists— inaccurately —predicted would happen during President Obama’s time in office. But sadly, these are acts that are all too common around the world.
Most recently, Russian President Vladimir Putin has stepped up his attacks on Christians who belong to denominations other than the Russian Orthodox Church, particularly Protestants, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses.
But none of this has stopped Putin’s American fans from singing his praises, even while they claim that President Obama has made the U.S. dangerous for Christians.
Donald Trump and Mike Pence have enthusiasticallypraised Putin as a brilliant and mighty trailblazer while at the same time accusing President Obama of hounding Christians at home. In fact, Trump has claimed that the U.S. government is specifically targeting him with a tax audit because he’s “ a strong Christian .”
In reality, Putin’s government has done the very thing that right-wing activists falsely accuse President Obama of doing: arresting Christians, threatening churches and permitting Sharia law in majority-Muslim areas.
But it is Obama they falsely charge with being an enemy of religious liberty, and Putin they shower with praise in spite of his well-documented attacks on freedom.
The admiration for Putin from this segment of the Religious Right reveals an ugly reality behind their claims of religious oppression at the hands of the LGBT rights movement. For these activists, it seems, the persecution of LGBT people is actually more important than preserving true religious freedom, even when the welfare and freedoms of other Christians are at stake.
As president, Putin has consolidated his power through attacks on the independent media, the persecution of political opponents, and restrictions on civil society. He has annexed Crimea, supported violent separatists in Ukraine, fostered anti-democratic right-wing forces in Europe, and made the weakening of NATO a major strategic imperative.
None of that has kept Donald Trump from praising Putin and welcoming Putin’s praise for him. In Wednesday night’s forum on national security issues, Trump said, “I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Putin. And I think I would have a very, very good relationship with Russia.” When asked about some of Putin’s troubling actions, Trump didn’t criticize the Russian president, suggesting instead that he could “start naming some of the things that President Obama does at the same time.”
Trump went on to praise Putin’s leadership and pooh-pooh concerns about Putin’s authoritarianism: “I mean, you can say, oh, isn’t that a terrible thing—the man has very strong control over a country.” Then on Thursday, Trump appeared on RT, a network operated by the Russian government, to slam American media and U.S. foreign policy and dismiss as “unlikely” the idea that the Russian government was involved in hacking the DNC’s email as American intelligence agencies believe.
Some conservatives have criticized Putin’s anti-democratic actions and strategic aims, and some Republicans were not happy about Trump’s recent remarks. But his running mate Mike Pence said it is “inarguable” that Putin is a stronger leader than President Obama. Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa, a Trump supporter, told CNN that Putin is a better leader for Russia than President Obama has been for the U.S., praising the increase in “hyper-nationalism” in Russia. Conspiracy-theory-promoting radio host Alex Jones, whose “amazing” reputation Trump has praised while appearing on his show , has expressed his admiration for Putin’s promotion of homeschooling and “masculine men.”
Trump will find himself in friendly company at this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, an annual political gathering for the Religious Right. As Right Wing Watch has documented extensively, many U.S. religious conservatives have been cheerleaders for Putin because of his government’s anti-gay policies and his public support for “traditional values” and “Christian civilization.” Brian Brown, who heads both the National Organization for Marriage and the World Congress of Families, actually traveled to Russia a few years ago to testify on behalf of anti-gay legislation there.
In fact, Franklin Graham went to Russia just last fall, where he met with Putin, slammed President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and praised the Russian president for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda.” Graham reportedly said, “I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity.” Graham also praised Russian involvement in Syria, which the Russian Orthodox Church has called a “holy battle.”
Putin has developed a mutually beneficial partnership with the Russian Orthodox Church, promoting Orthodoxy as a crucial element of Russian nationalism and a vehicle for extending Russian power and undercutting U.S. influence. Some American Religious Right leaders are taken with Putin’s promotion of a Christian state; the director of last year’s World Congress of Families summit, Janice Shaw Crouse, embraced the blasphemy-law prosecution and jail sentences given to members of the band Pussy Riot for protesting in a cathedral.
Perhaps Putin’s strategic partnership with the Orthodox Church has inspired Trump’s promise to conservative evangelical leaders that he will make Christianity more politically powerful by eliminating legal restrictions on electoral politicking by churches. So far, it has worked for him, helping him line up support from the leaders of the Values Voter Summit.
Franklin Graham warns that “our country is beginning to implode” as we are “on the precipice of anarchy.”
Jason Benham is thrilled with the GOP platform: “What God wants is for us to join his side, and when we looked at the Republican Party platform, you know it’s getting closer to being on God’s side.”
Eric Metaxas hails Donald Trump: “I think he loves America and I don’t think he wants to line his own pockets.”
Dan Popp, on the other hand, says that “we’ll know by the end of July whether God has finally abandoned us to our own devices. If it’s between Hillary and Trump, we’ll know that divine patience has run out.”
For years, American Religious Right activists have lavishedpraise on Russian President Vladimir Putin, praising him as a culturally conservative bulwark against the values of the decadent West thanks to his crackdowns on LGBT rights, in particular laws curbing adoption and free speech.
Now, in a move that will likely be greeted with silence by Putin’s American allies, the Russian president has signed a counterterrorism law that watchdog groups warn will stifle religious liberties. One Russian Protestant leader said that the law “creates the basis for mass persecution” of Christians who don’t belong to the Russian Orthodox Church by making it a crime to evangelize unless they receive “a special permit” from the government.
The Religious Right claims that because President Obama supports LGBT rights, he is hostile to religious liberty. At the same time, many of the same activists seem content to ignore real religious freedom violations at the hands of Putin simply because he shares their anti-LGBT views.
The legislation, signed into law earlier this month by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had already drawn scorn from critics in and outside of Russia.
Known as the "Yarovaya Law," the measure includes new police and counterterrorism measures that directly echo the sweeping powers wielded by the KGB to stifle dissent and repress opposition activists throughout the Soviet era.
But one largely overlooked aspect of the law is garnering new scrutiny and worry: tight restrictions on the activities of religious groups, particularly smaller denominations.
The new restrictions "will make it easier for Russian authorities to repress religious communities, stifle peaceful dissent, and detain and imprison people," said Thomas J. Reese, who heads the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal government agency that monitors religious expression around the world.
"Neither these measures nor the currently existing antiextremism law meet international human rights and religious freedom standards," he said in statement released last week.
For religious groups, the new law requires people to get official permits through a registered religious group and bars things like prayer meetings from taking place anywhere except for officially recognized religious buildings. That would potentially forbid house churches.
Members of a religious group would also potentially be barred from e-mailing invitations to people interested in services, according to Christianity Today, a web-based news service focused on religious issues.
Violators could be fined, or potentially expelled from Russia.
Sergei Ryakhovsky, a Pentecostal church leader and co-head of an organization of Protestant churches in Russia, said in an open letter co-signed by him that the law contradicted the Russian Constitution.
"The obligation on every believer to have a special permit to spread his or her beliefs, as well as hand out religious literature and material outside of places of worship and used structures, is not only absurd and offensive, but also creates the basis for mass persecution of believers for violating these provisions," said the letter, which was posted on the Russian-language religious website Portal-Credo.
"This law brings us back to a shameful past," it said.
In a podcast posted yesterday, Fox News’ Todd Starnes spoke with Franklin Graham about the upcoming election and the fight over North Carolina’s recently enacted anti-LGBT law, with Graham lamenting that “President Obama sold himself completely to the gay and lesbian community.”
Graham told Starnes that Obama is pushing “dangerous” nondiscrimination measures that will allow “sexually perverted people to take advantage of women,” and now states like North Carolina are facing pressure from “a very wicked agenda within the Obama administration.”
America, according to Graham, is now facing a moral 9/11.
“The country is imploding,” he said. “We are seeing a moral implosion. Just like we saw the World Trade Center on 9/11 when the planes hit the tower, they imploded, they fell from within, and this is what’s happening to our country, we’re falling within. Our foundations have been weakened by immorality and it’s beginning to crumble.”
“I want the school boards of America in the hands of evangelical Christians within the next four to six years,” he said. “And it can happen and that will have a huge impact because so many school districts now are controlled by wicked, evil people, and the gays and lesbians, and I keep bringing their name up, but they are at the forefront of this attack against Christianity in America.”
While Graham said that he is not endorsing any candidates, he made it clear which candidates he doesn’t want people to support: the communist progressives.
“The problem we have in our country today,” he said, “is we have allowed the progressives and these people to send secularism — to take God out of our government. When I was growing we were afraid of the Red Threat, that the Russians were coming, and when the Berlin Wall came down we all sighed a sigh of relief. But secularism began to slowly come into government and secularism is the same as communism, it’s godless, and we have allowed godless secularism to take control of Washington, state houses, mayors, the local level, our schools, we have taken God out of our schools.”
He said that in some races, conservatives “may have to hold your nose” while voting for a certain candidate but that they should still vote, a likely nod to Donald Trump’s candidacy.
Evangelist Franklin Graham, who is currently traveling the country with his supposedly nonpartisan “Decision America” tour, appears to be fixated on the purporteddangers of LGBT rights, warning that the movement is destroying everything from the church to marriage to the Girl Scouts.
Continuing that trend, the conservative preacher took to his Facebook page today to criticize reports that President Obama is planning to erect the first national monument to the gay rights movement near the site of the Stonewall protests in New York City, calling the planned monument “a monument to sin.”
“I can’t believe how far our country has digressed,” he wrote. “I hope that the president will reconsider. Flaunting sin is a dangerous move.”
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
While Sarah Palin concentrates on fighting the supposed myth of climate change, Franklin Graham and other conservatives are warning about the imminent dangers of LGBT rights.
5) Sarah Palin Debunks Climate Science
Noted climate science expert Sarah Palin was invited to publicize the recent film “Climate Hustle,” which, according to the Guardian, “dismisses global warming as an excuse for government takeover and makes the outrageously false claim that rising carbon emissions are beneficial.”
Anyone with doubts about the film’s claims can rest assured that Palin has attested to its scientific accuracy. The former half-term Alaska governor promoted the film at an event hosted by Rep. Lamar Smith, R-Texas, who just so happens to chair the House committee on science, space and technology.
The former vice-presidential nominee admitted she did not believe scientists about anything any more – and appealed to presidential contenders to intervene, somehow.
“The science is kind of getting thrown out of the window in discussions about changes in the weather,” Palin said. “It’s something that our candidates should be talking about and giving us their view on and hopefully acknowledging that it needs to become in the science community less political. Otherwise, it leads us to believe that so many things then coming from the scientists could be bogus. If this is bogus, what else are they trying to tell us and control us around?”
To Palin’s mind, efforts by government, business leaders, campaigners – and yes, scientists like Nye – to fight climate change were a mere smokescreen for a huge power grab. She did not say by whom.
Palin said that climate science experts have a “political,” “predetermined agenda” and “have studied the data that they are erroneously delivering to the public to make us think that we can somehow change the weather and how they do that is to grow government and allow the government to have more control over us, our homes, our businesses, our families, our lives, and it’s quite unfortunate because these people must be purposely doing this, right?”
“Bill Nye is as much a scientist as I am,” she declared.
4) Gay Civil War
Conservative blogger Michael Ware is very concerned about the prospect of a coming civil war.
Ware writes that just as slavery was the “wedge” that kept “pushing the North and South apart,” now America is divided by “the economic and political bullying” of states that are “unwilling to give these perverse people the legal club with which to beat the church into submission.”
What we have to ask is: is this a replay of the events that led to that bloody conflict fought between Americans from 1861-1865? Is the Unitarian playbook now being used by the Homosexual agenda to finish the destruction they started in the Church?
Or is it just coincidence that the same things are being said about the church? Are these people just pouting or are they preparing to devour our rights?
It sure looks as if the same people are again the target of their vile threatening. We must pray for deliverance from such a situation, and from such a beast.
3) Gay Socialism
While Ware thinks that the gay rights movement is leading to war, WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush believes that the movement is part of a gradual effort to introduce socialism.
He writes this week that liberals are only “concerned about the supposed rights of homosexuals, transvestites and assorted sexual deviants” because they are determined to establish a “socialist state,” and can only do so by “disenfranchising” anyone who gets in their way. LGBT equality, he writes, “negates the civil liberties of the majority” and “opens the door to ever-increasing institutional oppression of the majority faction.”
“Once this has been accomplished, not only does the doctrine of the majority no longer effectively supersede the will of the State, but the State is now free to impose secular doctrines, laws and regulations that are more conducive to state control and manipulation of the populace in every area of their lives,” Rush writes. “Thus, it becomes clear that the ‘struggle for LGBT rights’ in America is and has always been nothing more than a pretext for the complete disenfranchisement of Christians.”
2) Franklin Graham’s Diagnosis
Franklin Graham took his Decision America tour to Montgomery, Alabama, this week, where he told the crowd that the devil is behind the separation of church and state “lie” and that communist secularism is taking control of America.
“When I think of the sins of this country, well, where do you begin to list them? Abortion, the murder of children in a mother's womb. Millions. Same sex marriage, the flaunting and celebrating of this sin.”
Drawing on his childhood memories of the Cold War, Graham argued that “enemies” are engaged in warfare for the spiritual salvation of the United States.
“As the [Berlin] wall came down, secularism began to creep into Washington. It crept into our universities, into our state capitols, it got into our city government. There’s no difference between secularism and communism. They’re both godless. Both are godless. And godless secularism is now taking control of our governments.”
“You say, but Franklin, how about separation of church and state? What about it? Let me tell you that’s just a lie that the enemy uses to try to keep your mouth shut.”
In a long rant that has something to do with aspartame, Alex Jones says that Beck “was hired right before 9/11 and gotten ready to come out to be the synthetic Alex Jones,” telling InfoWars viewers that Beck “watched weeks of my videos and shows” and was told, “Take this and mix it with Oprah.”
“He’s a mixture of Oprah Winfrey and Alex Jones, all in a big, weird doughboy’s body,” Jones said. “A cult leader. A Nellie high priest.”
In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network this week, right-wing evangelist Franklin Graham declared that Christians have a duty to vote even if their options do not include a candidate with a strong biblical worldview:
"And I'm not going to tell people who to vote for, I'm not going to do that -- let God tell you who to vote for," he said. "You may have to hold your nose, you may have to decide which is the least heathen of the two heathen."
Graham, who is travelling across the country for his Decision America tour, told CBN that he has no faith in either political party and that he left the Republican Party after congressional Republicans failed to defund Planned Parenthood. But he said America is at a “moral tipping point” and he denounced voices from “a left movement within the evangelical community” who he said were telling people not to vote if a particular candidate, seemingly a reference to Donald Trump, is the GOP nominee.
The goal of his tour, he said, is to encourage Christians to run for public office and vote for candidates who uphold biblical principles. The six-part pledge he wrote asks voters to promise to pray for the country and to vote in every election – “supporting, where possible, candidates who uphold biblical principles.”
Signers of Graham’s pledge also commit to “prayerfully consider running for office,” even though Graham told CBN that he has never considered doing so himself. He thinks he can do more, he said, by challenging the church and challenging Christians to get out and vote.
While political activists gathered outside Washington D.C. last Saturday for the final day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, a group of Religious Right activists converged in Orlando for “The Awakening,” an annual conference sponsored by Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation. Among the major themes of the conference were the threat posed by Islamic extremism and the need for Christians to unite in resistance to the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Before you Republicans out there start high-fiving each other, I don’t have any hope in the Republican Party. The only hope that I have is for Almighty God. We’ve got to get God back into the political process of our country.
We need God. We have become secular. And secularism and communism, you know, there’s no difference. Both are godless. And that’s what we have accepted and adopted the last few years is a secular form of government. And we’ve taken God out. And so our country is in trouble…
Pray that God would touch the hearts of men and women across this country to run for political office. We need Christian men and women to run, not just for president, or Senate or Congress. But think how important local elections are. We need Christian men and women running for mayors across this country. Just think of America if the majority of mayors of America were born-again evangelical Christians. Just think of the impact it would have…
Franklin Graham is joining other Religious Rightactivists in calling for a boycott of Girl Scout cookies, with the conservative pastor attacking the young women’s organization on his Facebook page today over its stance on LGBT issues.
Hailing the Roman Catholic archbishop of St. Louis who penned a letter denouncing the Girl Scouts, Graham similarly took issue with the group’s welcoming stance and said he “won’t be buying any Girl Scout cookies this year.”
Declaring that “America is being stripped of its biblical heritage and God-inspired foundations,” Graham said that although Americans were relieved by the fall of communism, “then secularism came and it infiltrated and it infected our government.”
“Secularism and communism, there’s no difference,” he said. “They’re both exactly the same, they’re both godless. And the Enemy came in and didn’t even have to fire a shot, and he’s already got control.”
The secularists, he claimed, want to prevent people from praying anywhere other than inside a church, so that “having a service like this in a few years could be illegal.”
“America needs the Christian vote,” he said. “You see, it’s not that the enemy is at the gate. They’ve come through the gate because we’ve left the gates wide open and we have allowed our moral walls to deteriorate and fall down.”
“Ladies and gentlemen, we’ve got maybe one election left,” he declared. “And I’ve been told by people who know that the game will be over. And I’m telling you right now, we’re very close to losing.”
At a stop in Atlanta this week, Graham spoke about the need for conservative Christians to not only vote, but to run for office, saying that if every city in America had a Christian mayor, we wouldn’t have “evil” and “wicked” policies like LGBT nondiscrimination measures. Better Georgia first brought the remarks to our attention.
“Can you imagine the impact if every community and every city across this great land of ours was run by Christian men and women in that office as mayor,” he asked, “the difference that that would make in our cities, if we had Christian mayors?”
Graham brought up Charlotte, North Carolina, where he claimed that “90 percent of Christians” failed to vote, allowing a candidate who is supportive of LGBT rights to be elected. Charlotte’s city council rejected an LGBT nondiscrimination measure last year after opponents fixated on transgender people using the bathroom of their choice, a new flashpoint of anti-LGBT activists.
“And we got a woman and her goal is the gay-lesbian agenda,” Graham said, “trying to get transgenders into the bathrooms so that if a person wakes up in the morning and they feel like they’re a woman that’s a man and he wants to go into a ladies’ restroom then they can do that. And that’s her goal. And I can tell you right now that that’s wicked and that’s evil. Men belong in men’s bathrooms and women belong in women’s bathrooms and we don’t need men and predators going into women’s bathrooms, I’m just telling you.”
“Now, that’s what happens when Christians don’t vote,” he declared. “That’s what we get, this is the kind of garbage we get.”
Of course, not all Christians — and not all Christian mayors — agree with Graham on LGBT rights.
Franklin Graham says that gay marriage is "just the beginning of a moral onslaught on this nation."
Phyllis Schlafly explains that women should not have to register for the Selective Service because when she heard a noise downstairs, "my husband did the manly thing and went downstairs himself."
Tony Perkins says "sexual experimentation" in the military means that our the "very survival our republic is in question."
Donald Trump says that Hillary Clinton is "in a certain way, evil."
Finally, impress your friends and neighbors with this classy "God made the rainbow " t-shirt: "It's time to take back the rainbow! God created it the rainbow as a sign to remind us of his goodness and mercy to a sinful world. So why have we let the homosexual community take over this beautiful symbol of God's love? Join us in spreading this message: no matter who uses it or claims it, God made it and it still belongs to Him!"
Franklin Graham is predicatbly unimpressed by President Obama's visit to a mosque because "Islam cannot save anyone from Hell or open the gates of Heaven."
Anti-choice activists are threatening to file ethics charges against the DA who indicted David Daleiden if she doesn’t drop the charges.
Some typically reasonable analysis from Pamela Geller: "It is no surprise that close to 70% of the Muslims surveyed will register Democrat, as the Democratic Party is the party of treason."
Todd Starnes says the "establishment" hates Ted Cruz because he’s "been a man of his word."
Jake MacAulay warns that if you vote for a candidate who won’t follow "God’s law," "you will stand before God and be judged for your failure to obey Him."
Bryan Fischer likes Ted Cruz because he will "provide statesmanlike leadership for spiritual renewal" if elected president.
Finally, FRC prays that conservative Christians will swing the election: "If the hostility toward Christians and the loss of religious liberty we have seen during the past eight years continues, we will see wholesale persecution of Christians in America in the not-too-distant future. If the church does not take a stand in an important election such as we now face, will it stand when jobs and careers are on the line because of the deeply held beliefs of its members? Will it stand when obedience to Christ requires disobedience to civil and other authorities who are commanding obedience to immoral policies, ordinances and laws? May this loss of religious liberty and the hostility toward Christians motivate each of us to pray and act in 2016 as never before!"
Last year, Franklin Graham joined James Dobson at an event in Colorado where the two warned against allowing gay people into churches because, according to Graham, they are representatives of "the Enemy" who wants to "devour our homes" and "devour this nation."
On his radio program today, Dobson played excerpts from his discussion with Graham at the event, in which called for Christians to keep their kids away from gay people and to take over school boards across the nation in order to remove gay-friendly programs.
"We have allowed the Enemy to come into our churches," Graham said. "I was talking to some Christians and they were talking about how they invited these gay children to come into their home and to come into the church and that they were wanting to influence them. And I thought to myself, they're not going to influence those kids; those kids are going to influence those parent's children."
"What happens is we think we can fight by smiling and being real nice and loving," he continued. "We have to understand who the Enemy is and what he wants to do. He wants to devour our homes. He wants to devour this nation and we have to be so careful who we let our kids hang out with. We have to be so careful who we let into the churches. You have immoral people who get into the churches and it begins to effect the others in the church and it is dangerous."
Graham then went on to lament that "homosexuality is taught to be okay" in schools and "that is why I want to get the school boards back" before insisting that he loves gays and therefore feels obligated to tell them that "you cannot stay gay and call yourself a Christian."
That eventually promoted Dobson to rail against the entire LGBT agenda by once again absurdly misunderstanding bisexuality.
"You know what the 'B' stand for?" Dobson asked. "Bisexual. That's orgies! That is lots of sex with lots of people!"
Franklin Graham says conservative Christians must "get out and vote" in 2016 and "elect candidates at all levels that most closely support biblical values and principles" because "this may be the most important election in our nation’s history."
Rafael Cruz, father of GOP presidential hopeful Ted Cruz, will soon be releasing a new book "urging people of faith to get involved in politics," presumably by voting for his son.
Steve Deace has half-heartedly apologized for slamming Carly Fiorina for going "full vagina" during last night's GOP debate.
Finally, Linda Harvey says that Christians must continue to fight gay marriage: "It's a moral imperative to refuse to honor such immorality. Christians especially have not just a right, but a duty to our children and grandchildren to lawfully resist this deviance in America."
Last month, Donald Trump appeared on “The Alex Jones Show,” where he told the right-wing pundit that he has an “amazing” reputation, unlike other journalists, whom Trump commonlyrefers to as “scum.” Among Jones’ many wild conspiracy theories is his belief that the massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which took place three years ago today, was “staged” by the Obama administration.
Trump has not faced any criticism from his fellow Republicans for going on Jones’ program or for touting his work, despite the fact that Jones has been instrumental in pushing the harmful Sandy Hook conspiracy theory.
A 2013 Fairleigh Dickinson University poll found that “a quarter (25%) of Americans think that facts about the shootings at Sandy Hook elementary last year are being hidden and an additional eleven percent are unsure” and that “Republicans are more likely to think that the truth about Sandy Hook is being suppressed, with 32 percent agreeing.”
Sandy Hook truthers, who largely believe that the attack was faked as part of a government plot to push strict gun laws, are not alone in delivering twisted responses to the mass shooting. Others have used the massacre to attack gay marriage, the separation of church and state and, of course, gun laws.
WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush said that Sandy Hook shooter Adam Lanza “positively reeked of what intelligence operatives I know would call the tell-tale signs of recruitment and conditioning,” and wondered if Lanza was the target of a government scheme to recruit “vulnerable individuals for psyops” to advance “their diabolical agenda.”
Renew America’s Austin Miles similarly suggested that the massacre was “purposely orchestrated” to “disarm all Americans to retard resistance,” writing that Lanza and others were “brainwashed into carrying out such deeds that would prove a point about private gun ownership and the threat to all families as a result.” Then, he said, there would be no opposition to Obama using an “Executive Order to declare himself president (dictator) for life.” Fellow Renew America pundit, Laurie Roth, claimed Obama “staged” the attack because he’s on a “mission to take assault weapons from the people.”
Radio host Rick Wiles stated that “Sandy Hook was timed to coincide with the political agenda of the socialist Democrats such as Barry Soetoro [Obama], Chuckie Schumer, and Dianne Feinstein to pass stringent federal gun control laws,” alleging that “the shooting event was timed to coincide with the gun control initiative.” Another conservative radio host, Bradlee Dean, likened the Sandy Hook killings to Adolf Hitler “attacking his own Reichstag to start a world war” and said that it was orchestrated to pass an arms control treaty.
The Tea Party-aligned National Liberty Foundation insisted that the “staged” massacre showed just “how far your president went to get your guns”: “He wants to be a dictator, he doesn’t want to get out of the White House and he loves spending your money.”
Many of their assertions relied heavily on discredited claims that “crisis actors” posed as grieving family members at the school and that one of the young victims later met with President Obama (she didn’t, it was her little sister).
One Republican congressman, Louie Gohmert, however, told a fan of his that he would watch a Sandy Hook conspiracy theory video because he’s “always learning new things.”
Religious Right’s Reaction
Several Religious Right activists responded to the Sandy Hook shooting by warning that the massacre was a sign that God is no longer protecting America, removing his hand of protection due to supposed societal ills such as gay marriage, abortion rights and the separation of church and state.
“Millions of people have decided that God doesn’t exist, or he’s irrelevant to me and we have killed 54 million babies and the institution of marriage is right on the verge of a complete redefinition,” Focus on the Family founder James Dobson lamented. “Believe me, that is going to have consequences too. And a lot of these things are happening around us, and somebody is going to get mad at me for saying what I am about to say right now, but I am going to give you my honest opinion: I think we have turned our back on the Scripture and on God Almighty and I think he has allowed judgment to fall upon us.”
“We’ve taken God our of our school, we’ve taken him out of our government and now we seem shocked at all of these things,” Franklin Graham stated following the attack. “Why are we shocked? We shouldn’t be shocked. This is what happens when a society turns its back on God.” Author Joel Rosenberg said the shooting was one of the tragedies America is “reaping as a result of a society that increasingly ignores God,” specifically blaming comedian Jon Stewart for waging a “war on Christmas” and mocking conservatives.
One pastor said that a “gracious,” “merciful” and “loving” God decided not to intervene to prevent the shooting because it would “bring us back to our senses” and make people realize that God’s judgment “has really come by our turning away from the Lord.” Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio specifically blamed legal abortion and the lack of state-sponsored prayer for the attack, stating that God is a “gentleman” who “is not going to go where he is not wanted.”
Blocking background checks
Ted Cruz has proudly boasted of his role in successfully blocking a bipartisan Senate measure to expand background checks on gun purchases following the school shooting, bragging that unlike Republican “squishes,” he stood firm in opposing universal background checks. The Sandy Hook-affected families who supported the efforts, he said, were being used as “political props.”
National Rifle Association board member and musician Ted Nugent blamed the shooting on America’s “politically correct culture” and “‘anything goes’ value system” which “vilifies, condemns and mocks traditional societal values and customs at every opportunity,” while NRA executive director Wayne LaPierre delivered an unhinged speech against gun control measures, lashing out at the group’s critics, the entertainment industry, video games, the media and a lack of guns in schools.
But while nearly nine out of 10 Americans, including nine out of 10 gun owners, support more background checks, Republican lawmakers care more about the support they receive from groups like the NRA, and have done next to nothing to tackle the issue of gun violence in the wake of tragedies like Sandy Hook.
Instead, Republicans claimed that the government should focus on mental health and thentried to block access to mental health services.
Few if any of the GOP presidential candidates are offering any meaningful gun reform proposals, outside of their unwavering dogma: More guns.