Jay Richards

Bernie Sanders At Liberty U & Pope Francis At CATO

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who is running for the Democratic presidential nomination, spoke on Monday morning at Liberty University. Liberty was founded by Jerry Falwell and has, under his son’s leadership, grown to be a huge and influential part of the Religious Right’s cultural infrastructure. The school has a tradition of drawing attention to itself by inviting politicians to its mandatory student convocations.

Sanders stated upfront and unapologetically that he is pro-choice and pro-gay and that he knew most of the people in the audience disagreed with him about that. His speech focused on the themes of economic hardship and inequality, urging students to grapple with the morality and injustice of poverty, huge income and wage gaps, children dying for lack of health care and Republican budget proposals to slash safety-net spending for poor children and families. Sanders, who was raised Jewish but currently claims no religious ties, quoted Pope Francis’s critique of the global economy and warnings against the “idolatry” of money.

Sanders was received politely, but there was plenty of resistance to his message, and not just on abortion or marriage equality.  Nick Corasaniti at the New York Times reported from the event:

“Calling on us to help the neediest, that resonates with me as a Christian,” said Quincy Thompson, the student body president, who had a chance to briefly meet Mr. Sanders after the event. “But as a Christian, I think the responsibility to help them falls to the church, not the government.”

The idea that helping the poor is not a job for the government but for the church is a core teaching of Christian Reconstructionism that has spread throughout the Religious Right, the Tea Party, and the Republican Party, carried by people like David Barton and Michael Peroutka.

Liberty’s President Jerry Falwell, Jr. also took exception to Sanders’ approach to economics, sticking with the gospel of small government:

“I think it was Margaret Thatcher who said that the problem with socialism is that eventually you run out of other people’s money,” Mr. Falwell said in an interview after the event, making the case that he thought working toward a limited government and lowering taxes would “create the tide that rises all ships.”

A different strain of the Right took on a similar theme on Tuesday, when panelists at the libertarian CATO Institute, whose lobby features a quote from Ayn Rand, addressed Pope Francis’ critique of the  global economic system at an event titled, “Blessing or Scourge? Capitalism through the Eyes of Pope Francis.” Francis will visit Washington, D.C. next week.

Catholic University of America President John Garvey and National Catholic Reporter columnist Michael Sean Winters portrayed Francis’ statements as well within the tradition of Catholic social justice teaching and in line with comments from his papal predecessors.

Jay Richards is an assistant professor in the business school at Catholic University and a senior fellow at the creationist Discovery Institute who authored a 2010 book called “Money, Greed, and God: Why Capitalism Is the Solution and Not the Problem.” Richards, whose Twitter handle is @FreemarketJay, suggested that Francis’ views on capitalism may have been distorted by his experience in Argentina, which Richards says ranks near the bottom on “economic freedom” indicators. The pope’s beef is not really with free-market capitalism, he says, but with the kind of cronyism and corporatism found in his home country— an argument that has been advanced by other Catholic conservatives but doesn’t reflect the scope of Francis’s critique of current global economic and financial systems.

The CATO panel was moderated by Marian Tupy, editor of CATO’s HumanProgress.org project. Tupy argued that the pope is ignoring evidence that capitalism has lifted millions of people out of poverty. Two of Tupy's articles critical of Francis’s economic critiques were distributed at the event, one of which concluded condescendingly, “Pope Francis has a big heart, but his credibility as a voice of justice and morality would be immeasurably improved if he based his statements on facts.”



Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 3/26/15

  • Just as they did during the last two presidential election cycles, Religious Right activists are trying to unify behind one candidate in order to stop an unacceptably "moderate" front-runner. We are sure it'll work this time.
  • Jay Richards claims that recognizing marriage equality "strikes at the foundation of individual rights."
  • AFA Executive Vice President Ed Vitagliano tells WND that there is a "tendency for gay activists to want basically the whole world to be gay."
  • We are not quite sure how Brietbart.com thinks that it has "debunked" the "Media's Latest Ignorant, Bigoted Attack On 'Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson" given that Robertson was quoted verbatim.
  • Finally, David Lane says that if John McCain or Mitt Romney had chosen Mike Huckabee as their running mate, they would have been elected president.

Jay Richards: Banning Gay Marriage Is Not Discriminatory Because 'I Don't Have The Right To Marry A Man Either'

On Tuesday's episode of the "Hagee Hotline," Matthew Hagee interviewed Jay Richards, a professor at the Catholic University of America and senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, about the Supreme Court's upcoming marriage equality case.

Hagee asked Richards how Christians should discuss the issue of gay marriage so as not to be dismissed as close-minded and judgmental bigots who seek to deny civil rights to gay people, to which Richards replied that the issue is not about discrimination at all because there simply is no such thing as gay marriage.

"The accusation is that people on the other side just defend so-called marriage equality whereas we believe in discrimination," Richards said. "That's not it at all. The question is what is marriage? If marriage is an institution that uniquely and exclusively involves a man and a woman then we're not depriving anyone of their rights. Anyone is free to marry so long as they can find someone that is willing to marry them, but marriage, by definition, is going to involve someone of the opposite sex. So it's not like if someone identifies as gay, they have a different set of rights than I do. I don't have the right to quote 'marry' a man either, simply because that's not what marriage is":

Is David Barton's Sloppy Scholarship Starting to Catch up With Him?

Pseudo-historian David Barton has been receiving significant criticism from conservative and evangelical historians who are aghast at his numerous and deliberate misrepresentations of American history, and yet Barton continues to claim that the only people who find trouble with his work are members of the liberal, secular, anti-American elite who just don’t like him exposing the “truth” about the founders. Barton said that he is like Jesus and chooses to ignore his critics, even though he usually attacks or sues them.

But as Barton’s star continues to rise in right-wing media and the Republican Party, his work has received even more scrutiny.

Today the evangelical publication WORLD Magazine ran a story about how a leading conservative Catholic became “increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings,” finding them to be full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.” The activist was none other than Jay Richards, who this year co-authored a conservative polemical with televangelist (and Barton-ally) James Robison and has also spoken alongside Glenn Beck, one of the top endorsers of Barton’s work. Richards even shared the stage with Barton at the Religious Right rally Beck and Robison co-hosted in Texas last week, Under God: Indivisible.

Richards said he spoke to ten “conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work,” and the responses were not good, as many criticized Barton for not only his much criticized book on Thomas Jefferson but also his sweeping claims about the founders at large.

Jay W. Richards, senior fellow at the Discovery Institute, and author with James Robison of Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It’s Too Late, spoke alongside Barton at Christian conferences as recently as last month. Richards says in recent months he has grown increasingly troubled about Barton’s writings, so he asked 10 conservative Christian professors to assess Barton’s work.

Their response was negative. Some examples: Glenn Moots of Northwood University wrote that Barton in The Jefferson Lies is so eager to portray Jefferson as sympathetic to Christianity that he misses or omits obvious signs that Jefferson stood outside “orthodox, creedal, confessional Christianity.” A second professor, Glenn Sunshine of Central Connecticut State University, said that Barton’s characterization of Jefferson’s religious views is “unsupportable.” A third, Gregg Frazer of The Master’s College, evaluated Barton’s video America’s Godly Heritage and found many of its factual claims dubious, such as a statement that “52 of the 55 delegates at the Constitutional Convention were ‘orthodox, evangelical Christians.’” Barton told me he found that number in M.E. Bradford’s A Worthy Company.

A full-scale, newly published critique of Barton is coming from Professors Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, a largely conservative Christian school in Pennsylvania. Their book Getting Jefferson Right: Fact Checking Claims about Our Third President (Salem Grove Press), argues that Barton “is guilty of taking statements and actions out of context and simplifying historical circumstances.” For example, they charge that Barton, in explaining why Jefferson did not free his slaves, “seriously misrepresents or misunderstands (or both) the legal environment related to slavery.”

Richards emphasizes that he and the scholars he consulted about Barton are politically conservative evangelicals or Catholics. They largely agree with Barton’s belief that Christian principles played a major role in America’s founding, but Richards argues that Barton’s books and videos are full of “embarrassing factual errors, suspiciously selective quotes, and highly misleading claims.”

Glenn Beck Exposes the 'Scary Left'

Glenn Beck appeared alongside James Robison, Jay Richards and Jim Garlow at Garlow’s Skyline Church in San Diego, California, where he warned that America is like a “child being choked to death” because the “scary left” has been “uncorked” and given “free rein.” While holding up a copy of Saul Alinsky’s Rules for Radicals, he said the left seeks to burn America “down to the ground.” Later in the talk, Beck said that the left wants to eliminate sexual mores to turn people into slaves and have government “rule over us.”

Watch highlights from the panel here:

Jay Richards claims Marriage Equality is Incompatible with 'Individual Rights' and 'Limited Government'

Intelligent Design activist Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, who recently coauthored the book Indivisible with televangelist James Robison, appeared on Phyllis Schlafly’s radio program Eagle Forum Live this week where he argued that those who believe in individual rights and limited government should oppose the rights of gays and lesbians to marry. Richards maintained that stopping the legalization of same-sex marriage is needed to defend the rights of individuals, and argued that since marriage is “outside the jurisdiction of the state” same-sex couples cannot take part in it.

Richards: We argue that there are other pre-political realities besides just the individual that a limited government has to recognize and marriage is one of those realities, it’s a universal human institution, we find it in every time and place, in every culture, every religious tradition has this basic concept of marriage as between one man and one woman with a special connection to children. So a limited government is going to recognize that institution rather than try to redefine it, so that’s why we think, in fact, if you believe in limited government you need to believe in laws that protect marriage as it actually is historically. The institution of marriage is one of those things that is outside the jurisdiction of the state, so quite apart from the consequences, we think, if you believe that government should recognize individual rights, then you need to believe that the government is also going to recognize the rights and realities of this institution which it can’t dictate.

Robison Declares War Against 'Secular Theocracy'

James Robison (aka "God's Hit Man") and Jay Richards, a climate change-denying, Intelligent Design-promoting Senior Fellow at the Discovery Institute, have teamed up to write a new book entitled "Indivisible: Restoring Faith, Family, and Freedom Before It's Too Late" on how Christians can rise up and save America.

For the last few days, Robison and Richards have been promoting it on Robison's "Life Today" television program where, yesterday, Robison threw down the gauntlet, telling secularists that he was trying to save America so that they would be able to "keep preaching your nonsense," because in a world that doesn't believe in God, "you won't have the freedom." 

But even though Robison may be willing to let them preach their nonsense, he most certainly will not grant them "the liberty and the license to continually assault the word of God, to assault marriage, to assault family, and to literally take your secular theocracy and cram it down our throats":

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