Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision, which, if Religious Right activists were to be believed, was to usher in a horrible tyranny that would lead to mass deaths and war.
Of course, the Right’s doomsday predictions about what would happen if same-sex marriage became legal nationwide were totally unfounded, and only a tiny contingent of conservativescame to a protest the ruling in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
While the conservative movement certainly hasn’t given up on the fight against LGBT rights and is thrilled by Donald Trump’spromise to appoint anti-LGBT judges who would oppose the marriage ruling, many activists have once again shown that they are more interested in stirring up fears about the LGBT community than in the facts.
Here are just five of the craziestpredictions that conservative politicians and pundits made about Obergefell v. Hodges, all of which are yet to come true.
Many “mainstream” Religious Right leaders said that if the Supreme Court were to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage, Americans should prepare for a revolution.
“We’ve got to fight to our deaths to save this great country,” said Cliff Kincaid of the conservative group Accuracy In Media, while Vision America’s Rick Scarborough vowed that he was willing to “burn” in defiance of gay marriage, which he said would “unleash the spirit of hell on the nation.”
One year later, no anti-gay revolution has occurred and Rick Scarborough has not self-immolated.
Just before the ruling, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah called on governors “to secede” from the union in order “to offer a refuge” for the “millions of Americans” who he believed would flee the country as a result of marriage equality. “The rewards could be great. I would certainly consider relocating. How about you?” he asked. “If not a state, are there any nations in the world interested in a pilgrimage by millions of Americans?”
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson warned that the U.S. could witness a second civil war over a same-sex marriage decision and televangelist Rick Joyner predicted that the court would “start an unraveling where our country fractures like it hasn’t since the Civil War.”
Radio host Rick Wiles predicted that “God will cut off America’s food supply and this nation will be hit with disease, pestilence, drought, natural calamities and a great shaking” and urged people to flee the country.
Following the passage of the 2009 law that expanded hate crime protections to LGBT people, many right-wing politicians and analysts falsely claimed that the act legalized pedophilia. Of course, it did nothing of the sort and child abuse is still a crime.
Many of these same people claimed years later that the Obergefell ruling would also legalize pedophilia, which, obviously, it did not do.
If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.
No pastor has been arrested for refusing to officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding, reading from the Bible or preaching against homosexuality, all things that conservatives predicted would happen.
Many pundits, however, have wrongly used the case of Kim Davis to claim that their fears were realized.
Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was temporarily incarcerated by a federal judge when she refused to abide by court orders which found that she was unlawfully denying same-sex couples marriage licenses. Davis, who boasted that she was defying the Supreme Court decision and subsequent rulings because she was working under “ God’s authority ,” was released after deputy clerks in the county office agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis was not incarcerated because of her religious objections but because, in her role as a government employee, she clearly defied the rule of law. She was not attempting to exercise her religious freedom as a private citizen but was trying to impose her personal religious beliefs on the functions of government, and make all the people in her jurisdiction abide by her faith.
James Dobson claims that Donald Trump was led "to accept a relationship with Christ" by Paula White and is now a "baby Christian."
Judson Phillips wants Texas to secede from the United States.
Paragon of integrity Matt Barber is now in the process of justifying voting for Trump after having previously declared that he would never do so.
A bunch of right-wing activists will be releasing a report from "the Citizens' Commission on Benghazi" on Wednesday that is sure to be objective and insightful.
Sandy Rios says that CAIR's placement of the American Family Association on an "Islamophobia" list amounts to a "declaration of jihad."
Finally, David Kupelian laments the first anniversy of the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling: "But consider that just a few short years ago, the idea of two men, or two women, marrying each other was regarded universally as not merely bizarre, but insane. Every culture, every nation, every religion in the world, and throughout every era of history, understood that two men marrying each other was off-the-charts weird – and wrong."
James Dobson dedicated his radio program today to railing against the guidelines released by the Obama administration advising public schools on the rights of transgender students, asserting that it was part of an effort by President Obama to sow chaos so that he can impose tyranny upon the country.
"It seems like everything he's tried to do has been to move us toward chaos," Dobson said. "Chaos in the military. Chaos in medicine, certainly. Chaos in the family, in marriage. Chaos in the judiciary and in the courts. Chaos in the economy. Chaos in every branch of government. Chaos in education, from kindergarten through the largest and most influential of the universities. It's been chaos and now he's trying to tell parents how to raise their children and that will be the most chaotic of all because that leads towards the next generation. He gets control of the next generation, then his predecessors will have an easier time of controlling us and that is what it comes down to. It comes down to tyranny."
"If the people have to take a choice between chaos and tyranny, they will always choose tyranny because chaos is unpredictable and tyranny is generally not, even when you're under an oppressive regime," Dobson continued. "I think control is what it comes down to."
"The history of America has been a people who had a passion for freedom," he concluded. "They were not willing to be tyrannized, they fought a revolutionary war because they were being oppressed and tyrannized and we're moving in that direction. I'm not calling for a revolution, but I am saying we better stand up and fight because we're losing something precious to us; it's called liberty."
Today, Donald Trump’s campaign announced the formation of his Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, which includes right-wing figures ranging from ex-Rep. Michele Bachmann to Focus on the Family founder James Dobson.
After retiring from Congress on the heels of a campaign scandal, Bachmann has not let up in her radical preaching.
James Dobson has found a new hero in local Colorado pastor Dave Love and was so impressed by a recent sermon he delivered ranting against the Obama administration's guidelines regarding the rights of transgender students in public schools that he aired a long excerpt of it on his radio show today.
In his sermon, Love declared that he doesn't care what the government says or how the Supreme Court rules because he will never accept marriage equality or transgender rights, because both things come straight from the pit of hell.
"No culture can survive when they lose their balance between right and wrong," he preached. "Our president and this administration has put our children at risk. Our kids are no longer safe in public education, they're no longer safe from the perversion of this world in our public schools. When you see the evil that is being handed down, a directive from the president himself that encourages this perversion, I have only one thing to say: The Lord rebuke you. To give a directive to allow this, to allow our children in elementary school to use the opposite sex bathroom is pure evil and society, through our leaders, is calling evil good and good evil and justice is being taken away from the righteous. And [this] way of thinking is a philosophy that is demonic and comes from the pit of hell. This is a philosophy from Satan himself."
"The attack on the family unit is real and it's being authored by none other than Satan himself to try and destroy the moral fabric of our society," Love continued. "The devil has come to steal, to kill, to destroy. The issue is not about homosexuality, the issue is about marriage. The issue is not about transgenders using bathrooms or locker rooms of their choice, the issue is that Satan wants to ruin, absolutely ruin, the fabric of society so he can steal the innocence of your children by having them be in public schools that [are] going to allow for this transgender behavior. He wants to steal the innocence of your kids to destroy and kill the foundation of this nation, which is built on Judeo-Christian values."
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson invited Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porters on to his “Family Talk” radio program this week to discuss transgender-inclusive facilities policies in schools and stores like Target, which Dobson said violate the Levitical prohibition against selling your daughter into prostitution.
“Let me share a Scripture with you all that I came across that speaks to this issue,” he said. “It’s addressed directly to parents, I think. It’s Leviticus 19:29. Listen to this: ‘Do not degrade your daughters by making them a prostitute or the land will turn to prostitution and be filled with wickedness.’ That comes right to the heart of this. It sort of feels like that’s where we are. We’re taking our little, vulnerable kids and we’re saying in the name of political correctness, ‘Here are our children. Do with them what you want.’ And I’m here to say that I’m going to fight that as long as I have breath in my body.”
He added that he was worried not only about children but also about his wife, Shirley, “being in a bathroom where some grungy guy comes in there and zips down the zipper and does things that she will remember the rest of her life.”
“I mean, where is manhood that we don’t stand up and defend our own families?” he asked. “And I think that we’re going to be responsible before the Lord if we don’t do it.”
Porter heartily agreed, saying that while some are staying out of the issue because they’re “afraid of being called a mean name,” it’s time for “men of courage” to “stand and fight.”
Dobson’s cohost, Meg Meeker, chimed in to say, “Woe to us who do not intervene on behalf of our kids, that’s all I can say.”
“They’re sitting ducks,” said Dobson.
Porter then invoked another Bible verse, the passage in Luke where Jesus tells his disciples that "it would be better for them to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around their neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble.”
“You know, the Bible says it’s better to have a millstone hung around your neck than to cause one of these little ones to stumble,” she said. “And I think … that this applies not just to those in the schools that are doing this, those in the White House and the Target corporation, but I think it applies to parents. Because if you don’t vigilantly watch what they’re teaching your children, if you don’t stand now, school administrators, if you don’t stand now and fight this, then this verse, I believe, applies to you. Because these children are being led astray, they’re being harmed, they’re being violated and the only thing that can protect them is for those adults in authority to stand now and fight.”
Joseph Farah says that times are tough over at his conspiracy theory website and that WND now faces an "existential threat."
Sure, Richard Viguerie once said that Donald Trump was totally unstable and had "serious psychological problems," but that was before; now he says that anyone who won't vote for Trump should just "drop the charade and have the guts to defend your choice to advance Hillary Clinton's campaign and take ownership of the destruction of liberty and constitutional government that her election will surely bring."
The latest column from David Lane: "The recent SCOTUS ruling codifying into law same-sex intercourse and marriage, and the revelry that followed by corporate America each serve as perfect examples of how our nation stands on the bring [sic] of a moral collapse. Instead of deep grief and remorse over the immorality of five Supreme Court Justices, big business gloated in the systematization of sexual deviancy and abnormality."
Bert Farias mourns that Muhammad Ali died without converting to Christianity becuase "Islam is a big fat lie from the pit of hell."
Finally, some helpful child-rearing advice from James Dobson: "It is not inappropriate for a man to feel things deeply or to reveal his inner passions and thoughts ... Tell him it is great to laugh and have fun with his friends, but advise him not to be 'goofy.' Guys who are goofy are not respected, and people, especially girls and women, do not follow boys and men whom they disrespect ... [G]irls should not call boys on the telephone—at least not until a committed relationship has developed. Guys should be the initiators, planning the dates and asking for the girl’s company."
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson took to WorldNetDaily today to urge parents to “shield” their children “from gender feminism and from those who would confuse their sexuality,” warning that the Obama administration’s recent directive on the rights of transgender students could bring down all of Western civilization.
“Have we gone absolutely mad?” Dobson asked. “Did it upset you when the president of the United States ordered every public school in America to open all its bathroom facilities including those that are in use by a member of the opposite sex? The president’s order made me furious, and then sick to my stomach. How dare this man do something so audacious and unthinkable!”
Accusing Obama of “warping our children” and “wielding dictatorial powers never envisioned in the law,” Dobson accused the president of being a “tyrant” who is “is determined to change Western civilization forever.”
Dobson then predicted that transgender women or men dressed as women will stare at women in restrooms, an act that Dobson said would get them shot, just like back in the good ol’ days: “Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls? If you are a dad, I pray you will protect your little girls from men who walk in unannounced, unzip their pants and urinate in front of them. If this had happened 100 years ago, someone might have been shot. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!”
How the world has changed! Who would have believed a day would come during my lifetime when boys could meander into the private sanctuary of girls’ toilets, or that it would someday be a civil right for men to use women’s locker rooms and showers without permission or apology? Imagine sex-absorbed junior high boys ogling the bodies of developing pubescent girls or standing beside them in their showers. Have we gone absolutely mad? What ever happened to modesty, safety, and Christian mores?
Did it upset you when the president of the United States ordered every public school in America to open all its bathroom facilities including those that are in use by a member of the opposite sex? The president’s order made me furious, and then sick to my stomach. How dare this man do something so audacious and unthinkable! His letter from the White House carried an implied threat to withhold federal money from local schools, which rocked the halls of public education. Who is this politician that is spending your hard-earned tax dollars to manipulate school officials, anyway? Who is it that is warping our children? It is Barack Obama, one of the worst presidents in American history, and it is time we stood up and said so!
Obama, acting like a king, is wielding dictatorial powers never envisioned in the law. He is determined to change the way males and females relate to one another, and worse, how children perceive themselves. If you are a married man with any gumption, surely you will defend your wife’s privacy and security in restroom facilities. Would you remain passive after knowing that a strange-looking man, dressed like a woman, has been peering over toilet cubicles to watch your wife in a private moment? What should be done to the pervert who was using mirrors to watch women and girls in their stalls? If you are a dad, I pray you will protect your little girls from men who walk in unannounced, unzip their pants and urinate in front of them. If this had happened 100 years ago, someone might have been shot. Where is today’s manhood? God help us!
(You are probably aware that Target has taken a stand to allow persons who “self-identify” as a man or woman to use the restroom of their choice. In addition to Target Stores, the following retailers have also decided, against the objection of their customers, to create “gender neutral” bathrooms: Starbucks, Ross, Walgreens, Toys “R” Us, and Barnes & Noble. My wife, Shirley, and I will no longer patronize these stores, and I hope millions of others will do likewise.)
Let’s talk more about Barack Obama, who is a tyrant in many ways. How dare he assault centuries of modesty and moral beliefs! By what authority does he tell parents and school officials what to teach children under their care? Christian parents, does this outrageous order violate something deep within your sense of propriety? The president has already maneuvered the courts to undermine a 5,000-year-old definition of marriage, after experiencing his infamous epiphany. Now he is determined to change Western civilization forever. He becomes more reckless and defiant as his second term comes to an end. Never has an American president been so absorbed with the use and abuse of power, and unfortunately, he still has seven months to go. What is next?
Clearly, there are serious implications here for mothers and fathers. I urge you to protect your boys and girls from those who are espousing these views. Shield them from gender feminism and from those who would confuse their sexuality. They will be under increasing political pressure in years to come.
Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City.
Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side.
According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny Nance, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough, Phil Burress, Ken Cuccinelli, Lila Rose, E.W Jackson, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs.
The meeting will be cohosted by the Family Research Council, Vision America and AFA Action, the political arm of the American Family Association, three of the most vicious anti-LGBT hate groups in the country.
Trump has already pledged to use nominees to the Supreme Court to pave the way for the reversal of the landmark rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, key priorities of right-wing activists.
Here is a brief introduction to some of the far-right extremists Trump will be meeting with next month.
James Dobson says that the future of the Supreme Court makes this "one of the most significant national elections in American history. The future of our nation is hanging in the balance, and we dare not make a mistake this time around."
"Coach" Dave Daubenmire demands to know why pastors are remaining silent "as Evangelical Christian Ted Cruz OPENLY prays with Mormon Glenn Beck."
The American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property blasts CPAC for allowing gay and atheist groups to participate: "We call upon the American Conservative Union to rescind its welcoming of organizations like Log Cabin Republicans and Atheist Voters as sponsors and exhibitors. Doing so would show consistency with the word conservative in its name."
FRC prays that Antonin Scalia's replacement will be "speedily confirmed" ... after being nominated by the next president, of course: "Thank God for the Senate leadership’s stand. May GOP members hold fast, whatever pressure to do otherwise may come. May the American people elect a president who will nominate a constitutional conservative justice in the New Year! May he or she be speedily confirmed. May voters be alert to the kind of justice each presidential candidate would select, given that the next president may have the opportunity to choose three or more! God have mercy upon us!"
Finally, CBN's David Brody defends all those poor Christians who are being criticized for supporting Donald Trump: "The condemnation of Trump’s Christian supporters from within evangelical circles is troubling. Is there now a threshold of Christianity that you need to achieve to be a 'real evangelical?' In other words, if you support Cruz you’re a true believer but if you go with Trump you’re not? Are 'Trump Christians' going to have to wear a political Scarlet Letter?"
Cruz told Mefferd that “we are seeing an assault on religious liberty from Washington that is unprecedented,” citing a number of his favorite cases of people supposedly being persecuted by running afoul of state or local nondiscrimination policies, almost none of which have stemmed from the federal government.
Claiming that “these threats are growing and growing,” Cruz said that “much of this persecution is the fruit of the Supreme Court’s disastrous gay marriage ruling last year” — never mind that every single one of the incidents he referenced happened before the ruling and were in no way connected to it.
Cruz declared that it was “very sad” that some of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination called the Obergefell ruling “settled law,” which is, he said, why anti-gay leaders have flocked to endorse him.
“I believe that decision was fundamentally illegitimate, it was lawless, it was unconstitutional and it will not stand,” he said. “And I would note, that is precisely why Dr. James Dobson has endorsed me in this campaign, it is why Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has endorsed me in this campaign, it’s why the National Organization on Marriage [sic] has endorsed me on this campaign and has said it cannot support Donald Trump or Marco Rubio because if we’re not willing to defend marriage, we are giving up the foundational building blocks of the family, we’re giving up the Judeo-Christian values that built this great nation.”
In a video message today, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson onceagain urged conservatives to back Ted Cruz over Donald Trump and Marco Rubio, warning that the Texas senator’s rivals can’t be trusted to overturn the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Before winning the Iowa caucuses, Sen. Ted Cruz won a straw poll of Religious Right leaders who were determined to coalesce behind a single candidate before voting went underway. Since then, hardly a week has gone by without the Cruz campaign announcing the support of a new right-wing leader, on top of thecampaign’sfrequentsuggestions that the Texas Republican has divine support for his presidential bid.
It seems that no figure is too extreme to be embraced by Cruz, including those who would wish to see the government putting their adversaries to death.
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!"
At an Iowa campaign stop with influential Religious Right activist James Dobson yesterday, Sen. Ted Cruz warned that people of faith have consented to “allow nonbelievers to elect our leaders,” and now a “secular agenda” bent on doing away with the Ten Commandments and stifling religious liberty is on the rise.
He also repeated his assertion that Republicans lost the last two presidential elections because millions of evangelicals stayed at home. “I believe the key to winning in 2016 is very simple,” he said. “We have to bring back to the polls the millions of conservatives who stayed home, we have to awaken and energize the body of Christ.”
“You know,” he said, “we look at our federal government now, and we have a federal government that is waging a war on life, a war on marriage, a war on religious liberty. We have a federal government that is advancing a secular agenda that puts the ability of Bible-believing Christians to live our faith more and more in jeopardy and that is appeasing radical Islamic terrorism, in fact refuses even to acknowledge its name. And if you look at the federal government, you might say, ‘Why do we have government attacking life, attacking marriage, attacking faith, attacking religious liberty?’ Well, is it any wonder, when a majority of believers are staying home? If we allow nonbelievers to elect our leaders, we shouldn’t be surprised when our government doesn’t reflect our values.”
Cruz also doubled down on his criticism of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling , calling both it and the King v. Burwell ruling preserving the Affordable Care Act “fundamentally illegitimate” and “lawless.” He warned that if Hillary Clinton were to become president, the Supreme Court would “tear down our constitutional liberties fundamentally” by ruling against Ten Commandments monuments on public grounds and reversing the Heller decision, which found an individual right to bear arms. (When Cruz said that this meant “the government can make it a felony for you to own a firearm and protect your family,” an audience member yelled out, “Come and take it!”)
Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council who recently endorsed Cruz, also said he was very impressed by the candidate’s wife, Heidi Cruz, saying that “there has never in American history been a pro-life first lady” and that with her we “have a chance to get one this time.”
The Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts recorded the event. Cruz and Dobson discuss prayer about 2 minutes into the video; the “missing” evangelical vote about 6 minutes in; the Supreme court around 13 minutes in; and Heidi Cruz about 24 minutes in.
The crowd was so large that when Cruz spoke the Wilkses had to open the pool patio doors to accommodate about 100 guests who stood in 28 degree weather to listen to the senator.
… By the end of the six-hour meeting Monday, dozens of the visitors lined up outside a closed room to tape video endorsements of the Cruz presidential bid. Some attended Super PAC and campaign fundraisers held Tuesday in Cisco that were timed to coincide with the fly-in.
The gathering could have been even larger. Mike Gonzalez, who leads the South Carolina Pastors Alliance, was disappointed that some of his fellow clergymen were not able to make it because bad weather caused flight cancellations.
However, when he arrived at the ranch he was stunned to see a crowd of about 300, "including many of the most prominent spiritual influencers in the country."
Those in attendance at the Monday sessions included prominent televangelists, such as John Hagee, pastor of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, and James Dobson, founder of the Focus on the Family organization. Richard Land, president of the Southern Evangelical Seminary and a longtime leader of the Southern Baptist Convention, was there, according to interviews with attendees, most of whom were not authorized to discuss the off-the-record session. They said that there were a number of Hispanic and African American clerics in the audience, including Gonzalez and Voddie Baucham, a well-known pastor in Texas.
"It was a very diverse group of national leaders who have significant standing," said David Barton, a Texas Republican author and activist who is leading one of the Super PACs that sponsored the gathering. "We brought them with no expectations and we were highly pleased with the number who decided Ted is the right man to be of the president of the U.S."
Barton said the purpose of the gathering was "to give people an opportunity to become acquainted with Ted's faith and see if they were comfortable with it."
The Texas Tribune reports that prominent Southern Baptist leader Paige Patterson was also in attendance and came away impressed, calling it “the finest presentation I ever heard from a candidate.”
The Tribune reports that Cruz praised the Wilks brothers for their efforts to pull the country “back from the brink” and stop the “relentless assault we’ve seen on constitutional liberties and Judeo-Christian values”:
Speaking with reporters before the rally capping his two days in Cisco, Cruz heaped praise on the brothers, lauding their contributions to the oil industry in Texas as well as Christian activism throughout the country.
“They’re people for whom their faith is very important, and they’ve been willing to devote their resources to fighting for principles of religious liberty, fighting to defend life, fighting to defend marriage, fighting to defend the constitutional liberties on which this country is founded," Cruz told reporters. "Their entire family is focused on pulling this country back from the brink, from the relentless assault we’ve seen on constitutional liberties and Judeo-Christian values."
Before the rally, the Cruz family hosted a fundraiser at the community center that the Wilks were expected to attend. Sitting outside the room was another ode to the prominent hosts: a large placard reading, "A special thanks from Heidi & Ted Cruz to our hosts The Wilks Family."
The fall of marriage equality bans in all 50 states following the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision was a disaster for the conservative movement, whose leaders have spent years demonizing same-sex couples and warning that the legal recognition of their marriages will unleash a wave of terror on the nation.
Even the not-exactly-pious GOP presidential frontrunner, Donald Trump, is activelycourting the anti-gay Right, although he has trouble explaining why he should be seen as a strong defender of “traditional marriage.”
In the eyes of many conservative activists, Obergefell was the product of a culture that had been slipping away for years, bringing America into an apocalyptic period where growing acceptance for homosexuality is ushering in disastrous consequences.
Weeks before the Supreme Court handed down its ruling, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah declared that if the court struck down state bans on same-sex marriage and conservative states didn’t seceded from the union in protest, anti-gay activists like himself would flee the country. “Are there any governors or legislatures out there among the 50 states willing to secede to offer a refuge for the God-fearing?” he asked, warning that if states were to stay in the U.S. following a pro-equality decision, the world should expect “a pilgrimage by millions of Americans.”
End Times radio host Rick Wiles told his listeners that the country would “be brought to its knees” if the Supreme Court were to rule in favor of marriage equality and that there would be “pain and suffering at a level we’ve never seen in this country,” caused by “riots or looting or war on American soil or a fireball from space.”
Texas pastors Robert Jeffress and Rick Scarborough also got in the mix. Jeffress said the ruling could pave the way for the Antichrist while Scarborough said conservatives must “fight until we die” and “push back with all our might” against a ruling in favor of gay marriage, which he said would “unleash the spirit of hell on the nation.” Scarborough even boasted that he was ready to go to jail and face death: “We are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and if necessary, we will burn.”
As one might expect, the responses to the ruling were not much different from the predictions.
The day after the ruling, Wiles declared that he received a message from God, who asked him to tell the people to “flee” the country before God destroys it through economic ruin, food shortages, terrorism, disease and slavery. “America is over,” he declared. Later, Wiles predicted that America is “going to see gunfire” from people resisting the government over gay marriage. “Somebody’s going to jail, somebody’s going to die, somebody’s going to suffer,” he said.
Michael Bresciani of the Christian Post said Obergefell would lead to “an economic crash much more serious than the stock market crash of 29,” while WND’s Farah envisioned “more civil and racial strife” or “an attack on our country from foreign power or terrorist group.”
Fox News pundit Todd Starnes said that “pastors who refuse to perform gay marriage and preach from the Bible should prepare for hate crime charges,” while Illinois pastor Erwin Lutzer told religious parents to prepare to “be diagnosed as culturally intolerant and personality intolerant,” as a result of which “their children will be taken away from them.” Perkins of the FRC claimed that the Supreme Court’s decision would threaten the freedom of speech and gun rights.
American Family Radio host Sandy Rios, who also serves as the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, said that homosexuality may have been “a factor” in the deadly Amtrak crash in May. She suggested that the engineer, who is gay, may have been having a breakdown as he experienced “some confusion” related to homosexuality.
Fellow AFR host Bryan Fischer specifically blamed flooding in Texas on God’s judgment for homosexuality, saying that “you can make a geographical connection” between flooding and homosexuality. (We wonder what that means for American Family Radio’s home town of Tupelo, Mississippi, which was hit by a tornado last year).
Huckabee also suggested that America is in “a dangerous place” because “if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” and God will not protect such a nation.
The Religious Right has a long history of absurdly claiming that evangelical Christians are facing persecution in America, and the Obergefell ruling only amped up such rhetoric.
Huckabee warned that the gay rights movement “won’t stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel,” lamenting that too many Christians don’t realize “how close they are to losing all of their freedoms.” Huckabee’s fellow GOP presidential candidate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, also got in on the action, warning that a gay “jihad” is “going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”
Glenn Beck predicted that Obergefell would result in serious repercussions for the media, claiming that “anybody on this show [who] says they’re for traditional marriage” will have their airtime in jeopardy as the ruling “could mean the end of radio broadcasts like mine.”
Nothing set off more persecution rhetoric than the Kim Davis saga, in which the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk blocked her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a court order, citing “God’s authority.” She was temporarily placed in the custody of U.S. Marshals after she said she would continue to flout the courts and was only released after deputy clerks started to issue the licenses.
Even before the Davis case, many Republicans had been insisting that government officials may not have to treat court rulings on marriage as authoritative after all, and can simply flout the process of judicial review. Obergefell gave them the perfect opportunity to put these arguments into action.
Before quitting the presidential race, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal lambasted the decision, explaining that “no earthly court can change the definition of marriage.” Huckabee said that if elected president, he would tell the Supreme Court: “Thank you for your opinion, but we shall ignore it.” “It’s a matter of saving our republic to say that, as president, we’re not going to accept this decision, we will ignore it and we will not enforce it,” he said.
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida also claimed that when civil law conflicts with “God’s rules,” then government officials must choose the latter because “God’s rules always win.” Rubio, along with his fellow GOP presidential candidates Cruz, Huckabee, Ben Carson, Rick Santorum and Carly Fiorina, also pledged to sign legislation confronting the supposed discrimination faced by gay marriage opponents.
The “700 Club” host worried in September that gay marriage would trigger a perilous financial crisis, warning that “the rupture of the entire financial framework of our world” could occur because of the Obergefell ruling. He again alleged in November that “the wrath of God” is headed to America now that “it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” possibly in the form of “a massive financial collapse.”
“They’re going to make you conform to them,” he said of gay rights advocates. “You are going to say you like anal sex, you like oral sex, you like bestiality, you like anything you can think of, whatever it is.”
“Christianity, the founding principle of this nation, is criminalized,” he said in response to the Davis controversy. “You go to jail if you believe in God and stand fast for your beliefs against the onslaught of secular humanism and the flood that comes about with it.” (Robertson, of course, has not been jailed).
Warning viewers that “the homosexuals don’t just want to be left alone, now they want to come out and stick it to the Christians,” Robertson said that gay rights laws are creating “absolute tyranny” and “it's high time we call it what it is and we stand up for freedom.”
The televangelist also offered his patented advice to people with gay children.
He told one mother to send her daughter, who is dating another woman, to a Christian summer camp and “pray that God will straighten her out.” He said that the girl was probably “pressured” into embracing a lesbian identity because “there’s so much lesbian stuff, I mean, lesbian this, lesbian the other, so much homosexual — the media is pushing this as hard as they can possibly push it.” He told another viewer who has a gay son to treat him like a drug addict, and advised yet another parent that God could change his gay son if only the son were to start “acting like a man.”
“For reasons I don’t fully understand, years and years of actually doing something and getting things done didn’t matter,” Huckabee said of the group’s deliberations. ”And I don’t understand that.”
…Huckabee, according to sources, has often reminded Perkins and his fellow influencers that a major reason he gave up his Fox News show and launched a 2016 campaign was because he expected to have their backing. Their decision to instead support Cruz, then, seemed to sting Huckabee personally as much as politically. “You know, everybody has a right to do what they want to do. But it was disappointing to me. These are guys I’ve worked with for years and years. Many of them I’ve helped with their projects and their various endeavors,” Huckabee says, shaking his head. A moment later, he adds, “But you know, that’s life.”
The Southern Baptist minister said leaders who stood behind pulpits and shared biblical stories of faith were far less likely to put faith in Huckabee’s candidacy.
“Some people really worshipped at the altar of electability rather than to be faithful and loyal to the principles they were supposed to be committed to,” Huckabee said on a telephone conference call sponsored by Charisma magazine.
“When it gets to their own political realm, they think more secularly than even the secular people. That was very troubling,” he said.
Right-wing activist Paul Weyrich said at the time that he regretted not having backed Huckabee when it might have made a difference. It seems likely that Huckabee could have made a strong case for Religious Right backing in 2012; in fact he had strong poll numbers in 2011 and the New York Times suggested that if he had entered the race he would have become the “presumed candidate of evangelicals.” But he seems to have missed his chance when he decided, after sending lots of contradictory signals, to sit that one out.
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.