Days after attending a reception hosted by two gay hotel magnates, Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced two bills that he hopes would block a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage. One bill would amend the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit same-sex marriage; the other, Bloomberg News reports, “would bar federal courts from further weighing in on the marriage issue until such an amendment is adopted.”
Rep. Steve King introduced a similar measure in the House this week to “strip federal courts of the ability to hear any case involving the issue of marriage equality.”
As Kyle noted yesterday, the proposal put forward by Cruz and King “was the brainchild of Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter,” the anti-gay activist who recently “warned that gay marriage was responsible for Noah's flood” and made a film arguing “that gay activists seek to criminalize Christianity,” among other claims:
Yesterday, Rep. Steve King announced the introduction of his "Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015," which would strip federal courts of the ability to hear any case involving the issue of marriage equality:
A Republican lawmaker is trying to keep federal courts from hearing same-sex marriage cases.
Less than a week before the Supreme Court plans to hear arguments in potentially one of the nation’s most influential cases on gay marriage, Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) introduced the Restrain the Judges on Marriage Act of 2015 to preserve state bans.
“For too long, federal courts have overstepped their constitutionally limited duty to interpret the Constitution.” King said in a news release. “Rather, federal courts have perverted the Constitution to make law and create constitutional rights to things such as privacy, birth control, and abortion. These Unenumerated, so-called constitutionally-protected rights were not envisioned by our Founding Fathers.”
King’s bill strips way Article III of the Constitution, which gives federal courts the jurisdiction to hear or decide any question pertaining to the interpretation of, or the validity under the Constitution of, any type of marriage. The bill also prohibits federal funds from being used for any litigation in, or enforcement of any order or judgment by, any federal court.
King said his bill would stop the courts from “destroying traditional marriage.”
Porter was also the driving force behind the recent anti-gay documentary "Light Wins," which featured a handful of GOP elected officials and presidential candidates along with dozens of hardline anti-gay activists warning that gay activists seek to criminalize Christianity:
Not too long ago, we produced an overview of just some of the insane things that Porter has said and done in recent years:
James Dobson, the founder of the Religious Right behemoth Focus on the Family, warned in a recent conference call with fellow anti-gay activists that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality could lead to a full-blown civil war.
He said that the gay rights issue has reached an unprecedented “level of intensity” and put the country on the brink of conflict: “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”
Dobson also claimed that marriage equality will lead to the collapse of the nation: “The country can be no stronger than its families. I really believe if what the Supreme Court is about to do is carried through with, and it looks like it will be, then we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two. I just am convinced of that. So we need to do everything we can to try to hold it back and to preserve the institution of marriage.”
He added that a “discouraged” congressman — whom he later identified as Kansas Republican Tim Huelskamp — told him that his colleagues in Congress are “scared to death” about coming out against marriage equality. “We don’t have support really anywhere in government,” Dobson lamented.
“I agree with [Home School Legal Defense Association founder] Michael Farris that the only thing we can do is to have a state constitutional convention to re-examine the Constitution,” Dobson said. “I wish I could say I believe pouring a lot of opposition, which may not even be there now, onto the Supreme Court is going to make a big difference.”
Other activists appearing on the conference call included Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, Rick Scarborough of Vision America and Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality.
Radical Religious Right activist Janet Porter has released yet another trailer for her upcoming documentary "Light Wins: How To Overcome The Criminalization Of Christianity," which features a who's who of anti-gay activists as well as several Republican members of Congress and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee.
"Like a tank in Tiananmen Square," Porter says, as she walks down the middle of a dark street as a pair of headlights bear down upon her, "the homosexual agenda has been running over people since Anita Bryant's courageous stand in the 1970s."
After that, it is nothing but 10 minutes of anti-gay activists calling upon Christians to rise up and fight back against the "homosexual agenda."
Among the participants we immediately recognized in this new clip are Huckabee, David Barton, Gary Glenn, Steven Hotze, Robert Knight, Judith Reisman, Stacy Swimp, Greg Quinlan, Rep. Louie Gohmert, Brian Camenker, James Dobson, Bill Donohue, Scott Lively, Frank Pavone, Dutch Sheets, Phyllis Schlafly, Rick Scarborough, Gary Bauer, Mark Crutcher, Jerry Boykin, and Harry Jackson.
At one point, Gohmert declares that it is the duty of Christians to "love people who engage in homosexualty" because "we all have family members that we think are making major mistakes with their lives, but you can still love them."
Later, Pastor Steve Witt declares that just as God would have saved Sodom and Gomorrah if only 10 righteous people could be found, so too can most American cities be spared, but only if thousands of people will take a stand against homosexuality.
At the end of this new clip, Porter is shown in an empty football stadium, warning that "the battle for our freedom is being fought while most Christians are on the sidelines. We need to get out of the stands and into the game because the Super Bowl for our country is being fought and our team is not even on the field."
A group of GOP politicians, including two likely presidential candidates, have decided to appear in a documentary with anti-gay radicals accusing the equality movement of trying to ban religion. Such politicians already kowtow to extreme voices like Rush Limbaugh and the anti-government ideologues at Fox News, so it makes sense that they are now joining together to make absurd claims about the supposed dangers of gay rights in America.
Last week, we noted that fringe Religious Right activist Janet Porter was readying the release of a new anti-gay documentary she produced called "Light Wins: How To Overcome The Criminalization Of Christianity" that was reported to feature a variety of members of Congress and Republican presidential hopefuls.
At the time, there were only two clips from the movie available and the only political figure shown in either was Mike Huckabee. Today, Porter released another preview of her film, which contains footage of interviews she conducted with several anti-gay activists as well as with Rep. Louie Gohmert, Rep. Tim Huelskamp, Rep. Trent Franks, and Sen. Rand Paul, all attacking the Supreme Court for striking down the Defense of Marriage Act and for threatening to utterly destroy the institution of marriage entirely by legalizing gay marriage:
Is the government about to ban Christianity and turn it into a criminal offense? According to one documentary, the answer is 'yes' because the gay rights movement is determined to outlaw the practice of Christianity.
As Kyle reported, the “documentary” will include appearances from Sen. Rand Paul and former Gov. Mike Huckabee, both likely presidential candidates.
Reps. Trent Franks, Louie Gohmert, Steve King and Tim Huelskamp also make appearances, joining the likes of creationist leader Ken Ham, discredited pseudo-historian David Barton and even “ex-homosexuals.”
Porter has built quite a reputation for claiming that President Obama is set to literally imprison, starve and murder his political opponents and that the gay rights movement will destroy freedom as we know it.
Update: Porter has also released a trailer featuring Rand Paul and several GOP congressmen.
Today, Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter sent out an email to activists excitedly announcing that she is finishing up editing a new anti-gay documentary that she intends to release at the National Religious Broadcaster's Convention in Nashville at the end of this month.
Porter released a separate preview of the film today, featuring a clip in which she blasts the Boy Scouts for having "needlessly caved to a dark sexual agenda" by allowing gay Scouts to join the organization while Knight and Stemberger warn that, as a result, the Boy Scouts will soon face "homosexual scandals" just like Penn State and the Catholic Church:
"Light Wins" reveals the frightening trend not to simply ignore Christian believers, but to rid society of us altogether. This ground breaking, eye opening film will awaken viewers to the fact that being a spectator is no longer an option. One will be part of the solution or part of the problem, and I hope this riveting documentary will cause believers to take notice."
Bert Farias declares that churches that open the door for "homosexuality and perversion" will be "considered the chief prize of Satan and potential trophies of hell."
Religious Right activist Rob Schenck of Faith and Action called upon fellow anti-abortion activists to also take a stand against gun violence. Not surprisingly, that does not include any support for gun control efforts.
Janet Porter laments that nobody ever stops to ask God, "How is your day? How do you feel? How can I make it better?"
Bill Muehlenberg says that witches are real, but that doesn't mean they should be put to death as the Bible commands because "obviously not everything found in the Old Testament carries over into the New."
Finally, Mike Huckabee brags that people who bundled money for Mitt Romney and John McCain in previous elections "are now coming to me and saying ‘we think you can win.'" Well those people obviously have a great track record!
Janet Porter of the right-wing group Faith 2 Action already wants consumers to punish Facebook, Google, Target and Disney for the companies’ stands on LGBT issues, and now she is adding Tylenol to the list.
A timely bit of radio commentary from Phyllis Schlafly: "Of all the examples of incompetence and failure to protect Americans that the Obama Administration has displayed, its failure to keep Ebola out of our country may be the worst."
Rep. Louie Gohmert invited ultraconservative pastor Robert Jeffress to deliver the opening prayer in the House of Representatives today.
End Times broadcaster Jan Markell warns that now that the elections are over, "the White House is going to unleash unholy hell on the nation of Israel."
Obviously, the key lesson to be taken away from the Eric Garner tragedy is that "the tax hungry state is out of control, using police power to crack down on petty black market sales, to enforce the obscene taxation that created the black market in the first place."
Peter LaBarbera is scandalized: "When it comes to promiscuity and perversion, homosexual men are in a league by themselves."
Finally, Janet Porter says that the American Atheists' "skip church" billboards are proof that God exists because "nobody takes out billboards to attack fairy tales."
John Hagee nows says that he didn't mean to call President Obama one of the "most anti-Semitic presidents" in history but merely one of the most "anti-Israel."
Hans von Spakovsky says that the Eric Garner grand jury decision would have been "an ideal time" for President Obama "to discuss the deeper cultural, behavioral problems that exist in the black community."
Dave Daubenmire wonders "why is Fox News so white?"
The Alliance Defending Freedom's Alan Sears is excited about Pope Francis' scheduled visit to the United States in 2015 because "this could be a turning point in the struggle for marriage."
Glenn Beck muses that Ronald Reagan never would have been elected president were it not for Walt Disney.
Janet Porter is calling upon activists to "fast until the Heartbeat Bill is passed."
Writing in the Christian Post, Bethany Blankley blindly repeats David Barton's bogus history: "The founding fathers knew this, recalling Exodus 18 and 21, Leviticus 18, Ezekiel 3, and Isaiah 33:22, among others, understanding the Judeo-Christian God, the Lord, as lawgiver, judge, and king. Following this model, they devised three branches of government. Congress, the legislative branch—represents the lawgiver; the judicial branch—the judge, and the executive branch—the king, primary ruler, head of government."
OneNewsNow falsely claims that "pastors are barred from endorsing candidates or preaching about them, which means even though they are Americans, they do not have free speech rights."
Finally, dozens of Religious Right leaders are asking Governor Rick Perry to commute the death sentence of Scott Panetti, mostly because they are concerned that he is so mentally ill that he believes he is to be "executed for preaching the Gospels to his fellow prisoners."
Janet Porter's "Heartbeat Bill" has been resurrected in the Ohio legislature after passing out of a House committee today on a party line vote.
Laurie Roth asserts that "Obama and his progressive army hates Christians and Jews – remember that. As a communist-Islamic, Obama views us all as infidels and goes after us by attacking our historical and moral high ground, attacking our freedom of speech and rights in general."
Michele Bachmann says that President Obama's immigration action is designed to turn millions of "illiterate" immigrants into Democratic voters.
Glenn Beck continues to be very profound: "Small minds cannot comprehend big spirits. To be great, you must be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood."
Finally, speaking of Beck, he warns that by taking executive action on immigration, President Obama will officially become be a dictator. But we thought Obama already became a dictator when Obamacare wasn't defunded. Or maybe it was during this year's State of the Union address. Obama sure has officially become a dictator quite a few times already.
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.
Porter, the founder of Faith 2 Action, described ReaganBook as a “Facebook for patriots,” warning that Facebook has a pro-gay bias. She eventually took ReaganBook offline, telling members that “we’re under attack” from people who joined the right-wing social media website only to mock it.
Now, Porter has rebranded ReaganBook as FreedomBook and is only allowing people with invitations to join.
Yesterday, Janet Porter hosted her "Appeal To Heaven" rally outside the Ohio statehouse, which is just the latest step in her years-long effort to get the state to pass her radical anti-choice legislation known as the "Heartbeat Bill," which would outlaw abortion within weeks of conception.
Prior to the rally, Porter was joined for a press conference by various state lawmakers who support her bill, at which State Representative Matt Lynch compared the fight to outlaw abortion in Ohio to the fight against ISIS in the Middle East.
In a video posted on YouTube by OhioCapitalBlog, Lynch declared that ISIS beheading journalists and civilians in Syria and Iraq is no different than the practice of legal abortion in Ohio.
The two issues "are not dissimilar," Lynch insisted. "As a nation, as we're aroused literally to move Heaven and earth to combat this evil on the other side of the world somehow we're blind and we're silent to the twenty thousand plus deaths that are occurring, seventy a day, right here in the state of Ohio."
"We have to have the courage," he said, "to understand that the moral right against evil in the mid-east is no different than the moral fight against evil right here in the state of Ohio and that evil is abortion":
A few weeks ago, we noted that Janet Porter was organizing "An Appeal To Heaven" rally to take place outside the Ohio Statehouse this month at which she and various anti-choice and Religious Right activists will ask God to help pass Porter's "Heartbeat Bill."
For four years, Porter has been working, unsuccessfully, to pass this legislation in Ohio which, if enacted, would prevent a woman from having an abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected, which can be "as early as 18 to 24 days after conception."
The rally is scheduled for next Wednesday and somehow Porter has managed to get Glenn Beck to film a video encouraging people to attend and participate.
"I hope, by now, your aware the elected officials in Columbus haven't done the things that you've hired them to do," Beck says in the video. "They say they're pro-life, but they have held a pro-life Heartbeat Bill hostage for four years."
"You've called, you've rallied, but it's time to go over their heads," he said, "and I mean way over their heads and make an appeal, not to the courts - your're invited to join pastors and leaders from all around the state for an appeal to Heaven":