Jay Sekulow

Right Wing Leftovers - 11/1/12

  • Jay Sekulow says the presence of international election monitors "can only be described as a troubling attempt to intimidate voters and poll works on Election Day."
  • David Caton, president of the Florida Family Association, says MSNBC "is the most dishonest, most anti-Christian, and most pro-Islamist news network out there, bar none."
  • Donald Trump continues to prove that he is a genuinely awful person, blaming President Obama for not releasing his records and thereby preventing Trump from donating millions for hurricane relief.
  • Speaking of Hurricane Sandy, FRC is praying that the storm will cause people to "repent and turn to Jesus!" 
  • Michael Brown warns that "if we have four more years of President Obama -- barring true, national revival in the Church that would lead to a cultural awakening -- it could well be that same-sex 'marriage' will be the law of the land and the norm taught in schools ... those opposing [his redefinition of marriage] will be officially classified as bigots, that public criticism of gay activism would be virtually forbidden, and that churches (and synagogues and even mosques) that differ with gay activism will be persecuted ... for their stands."
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Stephen Prothero: "I used to believe that the purpose of the religious right was to infuse American politics with Christian politicians and Christian politics. I no longer believe that. The purpose of the religious right is to use the Christian God for political purposes ... I am perfectly happy to see [Ralph] Reed stump for Romney in Ohio and [Billy] Graham plump for Romney in an ad in The Wall Street Journal. Just don’t tell me they are doing so as Christians. They are doing so as shills for the GOP."

Jay Sekulow Continues to Push False Claim that Obama is Threatening Military Voters

Yesterday we noted that Jay Sekulow’s American Center for Law and Justice is pushing a bogus charge, initially leveled by Mitt Romney’s campaign, that President Obama is trying to suppress the military vote in Ohio. The Obama campaign is challenging a new state law pushed by Republicans which limited early in-person voting to military personnel. The lawsuit’s goal is to expand early in-person voting to all eligible voters, including 900,000 veterans, not to limit military voting.

Even the Romney campaign’s general counsel admits that the lawsuit is not about excluding military voters but expanding the voter pool, as Washington Post’s “The Fact Checker” reports: “As for the memo from Katie Biber, who serves as general counsel to the Romney campaign, the plaintiffs’ argument of arbitrariness and unconstitutionality relates only to Ohio’s exclusion of civilians from the later voting deadline, not to the privilege granted to service members…. Again, the emphasis throughout the Democratic complaint is that Ohio should protect the Equal Protection Clause by ordering the state to extend the later deadline to civilian voters.”

But while Romney’s own general counsel cannot honestly defend the campaign’s preposterous claim, Jay Sekulow is standing by the debunked allegation.

Yesterday on Jay Sekulow Live, he berated Obama over the phony charge and said the ACLJ will file an amicus brief opposing the Obama campaign’s challenge. Sekulow even added to the already manufactured claim by saying that the Obama campaign wants to restrict the voting of “military men and women serving overseas,” even though the law only covers in-person early voting, and the challenge to it could in no way restrict the right of any service member to vote.

I want people to understand this, folks, the Obama administration has initiated this lawsuit, I should say to be particular the Obama re-election committee, it’s Obama for America, has filed suit against Ohio because Ohio is trying to accommodate military men and women serving overseas. I want you to think about that for a moment. The Obama administration or their re-election committee has filed a federal lawsuit to stop a law that would allow for an accommodation for men and women serving in the military serving overseas to vote. How does that make you feel? I hope you get outraged as I am on this and that’s why we’re not just talking about it because on this broadcast we don’t just talk about it we’re taking direct action but this is where you come in, I want all of the states to come to the aid of Ohio and you can do that with me so no matter where you are living, we want you on this brief.

You got the Commander in Chief, the President of the United States’ re-election committee, filing a lawsuit to stop an accommodation. I want people to understand this. The Commander in Chief of the United States has his re-election committee file a federal lawsuit against the state of Ohio and the state of Ohio with wide bipartisan Democratic and Republican support passed legislation accommodating military men and women so that they’re vote will actually count. And the Obama re-election committee says ‘well we think that is arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional.’

ACLJ Promotes Bogus Claim that Obama is Suppressing Military Voters

President Obama’s campaign is suing Ohio after Republicans changed a voting law that ended early in-person voting, while leaving intact the right for service members to show up to the polls early. But Republicans, including Mitt Romney, say that the lawsuit meant to restore voting rights of most Ohioans would somehow hamper the right of soldiers to vote early, an obviously false and dishonest claim. Fox News has repeated the debunked talking points, and now Jay Sekulow, an early Romney backer, today emailed members of the American Center for Law and Justice stating that “Obama obstructs military voting rights.”

The Obama re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote prior to Election Day.

Our heroes in the military sacrifice so much for us and face considerable risks that often make it more difficult for them to vote.

It's outrageous that the President's re-election campaign would oppose giving them extra consideration to exercise their right to vote.

They are serving to protect our right to vote; we need to stand up now to protect their voting rights. The ACLJ is filing an amicus brief, and we would like you to stand with us.

The ACLJ even started the “Committee to Defend Military Voting Rights” based on an entirely manufactured threat to military voting.

The Obama Re-election campaign has filed a lawsuit to overturn a law that gives members of the military a few extra days to vote early. Men and women in the military sacrifice dearly for our country and they deserve and have the lawful and constitutional right to additional consideration.

Stand with the U.S. military. The ACLJ will file an amicus brief backing the Ohio law - giving our military men and women an opportunity to cast their ballots in a constitutional manner. Add your name to our brief defending the voting rights of the U.S. military today.

This challenge by the Obama Re-election Campaign is not only unconstitutional, but it is also offensive to millions of Americans. Our military heroes deserve to have this lawful courtesy extended to them - not more roadblocks making it even more difficult for them to participate in the election.

New Report on African Politics Features RWW Research

Political Research Associates released a new report yesterday to shed light on the activities of Religious Right organizations in Africa – activities that often fly under the radar of American media.

Exporting similar tactics used to influence voters and policymakers in the United States, a broad coalition of far-right groups have invested heavily on outposts in African nations. These groups use their outsize influence to push for radical legislation banning all rights for LGBT persons and curbing reproductive rights.

The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ's efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.

The report lays out a detailed explanation of why the Christian right enjoys sizable influence on the African continent, and issues ten recommendations for protecting human rights and developing an infrastructure for the long term.

RWW’s own Brian Tashman is featured in the report, in an article which explores the role of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a right-wing legal group founded by Pat Robertson and led by Jay Sekulow.

His research sheds light on its extensive network (and questionable accounting practices) and opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights at home and abroad:

The ACLJ is now one of the principal legal advocacy groups in the conservative movement, along with the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, the Liberty Institute, and the Thomas More Law Center. The group has built strong partnerships with many Religious Right groups, including the Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action,5 the American Family Association,6 and WallBuilders. Its reach has expanded globally with affiliates in countries including France, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.

The Better Business Bureau says the ACLJ does not meet ten of its twenty standards for charity accountability, citing problems with oversight, compensation, accuracy of expenses, financial transparency, and disclosure; even the founder of the conservative Rutherford Institute has criticized the group’s financial mismanagement.9 An Associated Press investigation found that since 1998, the ACLJ and Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), Sekulow’s family-controlled charity, “have paid more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own.”

Rep. Jeff Landry Baselessly Claims the Obama Administration offers Muslim Airline Passengers 'Waivers' to bypass TSA Screenings

Today on Jay Sekulow Live, Rep. Jeff Landry (R-LA) discussed with the American Center for Law and Justice’s Chief Counsel an amicus brief that the ACLJ is putting together on behalf of the congressman in the lawsuit against the Obama administration’s mandate for health insurance plans to include contraception coverage. Landry maintained that the Obama administration is showing its “hypocrisy” by mandating that religiously-affiliated hospitals and universities cover contraception in their health insurance plans while also “granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings.”

The congressman’s allegation that the Obama administration is giving Muslim passengers “special rights as they go through the TSA screening” doesn’t seem to have any basis in reality, as the TSA on its website gives no mention of religious exemptions and TSA administrator John Pistole testified that anyone who wants to avoid a pat down based on religious reasons is “not going to get on an airplane.”

Sekulow: How big of a deal, how big of an issue is this both in the body politics [sic] and among your constituents?

Landry: Down here in south Louisiana this is huge, this is very important to my constituency. I think the biggest problems that a lot of Americans are having out there is the hypocrisy of this administration. Remember, this is an administration who has no problem granting special status or waivers to Muslims as they go through TSA screenings. Look, as they believe that there is a need to grant them special rights as they go through the TSA screening based upon their religion, that’s fine, I’m ok with that. But then don’t turn around and attack Christians when they stand up and say ‘listen, we believe that the policies you’re putting in place violate our religious freedoms as well.

Landry warned that if the contraception mandate, which he called a “dangerous” exercise of power, is upheld then there will be “no limit to what the federal government can do”:

This strikes at the very foundation of freedom of religion and freedom of conscience, if we allow the federal government to violate this principle there is no limit to what the federal government can do thereafter.

To me this is one of the biggest cases brought forth in the country in a long, long time. I got to tell you, my hat’s off to the Catholic bishops around America, they have gotten to the point where they understand that this exercise that is going on with the federal government is a dangerous one. If they allow this to happen, if we allow this to happen as Americans, as Catholics, as Christians, there is no limit to where the government goes from here. You know, Jay, to me that is the biggest danger, that should be the biggest concern, I mean where does it stop after this?

Ironically-Named 'Military Religious Freedom Protection Act' Opens the Door for Conservative Scare-Tactics

After the American Center for Law and Justice hosted Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) to promote his bill that he claims would help stop Obama from “using the military as a guinea pig” for the “radical homosexual agenda,” Jay Sekulow of the ACLJ sent an email alert to members claiming that if Huelskamp’s Military Religious Freedom Protection Act fails to pass Congress, then “military chaplains could be required to perform same-sex marriages”:

Soon military chaplains could be required to perform same-sex marriages.

To continue ministering to the men and women who are putting their lives on the line for our country, military chaplains would have to violate their faith.

The Senate is considering legislation to protect religious liberty in our military, and we must act now for these strong men of faith.

The House of Representatives has already passed legislation that protects the religious liberty of everyone serving in the military – especially chaplains. The Senate is days away from taking up similar legislation, and we must act quickly.

Religious liberty is a foundational right, and we should expect our elected officials on both sides of the aisle to support it. President Obama's endorsement of same-sex marriage may be driving his policy, but it should not affect the religious freedom of our men and women who risk their lives to protect our rights and freedom.

Despite Sekulow’s ominous message, the Washington Post reported following the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell that while chaplains will be able to perform same-sex marriages in states where they are legal; they will not be required to do so:

The Pentagon will permit military chaplains to perform same-sex marriage as long as such ceremonies are not prohibited in the states where they reside, it said Friday.

Defense Department guidance issued to military chaplains said they may participate in ceremonies on or off military bases in states that recognize gay unions. Chaplains are not required to officiate at same-sex weddings if doing so is counter to their religious or personal beliefs, the guidance said.

In fact, the only way the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act significantly changes the law is by imposing a ban on the use of military installations in same-sex marriage ceremonies, prohibiting houses of worship on military property from exercising their freedom to marry same-sex couples in states where it is legal.

Regent U: Pat Robertson's Sorbonne

A new web ad for Pat Robertson's Regent University Law School makes clear that, for both students and faculty, "law is more than a profession, it is a calling" as everyone from Pat Robertson and Jay Sekulow to John Ashcroft and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonald hail the impact that the school has already had on society.

And while Robertson declares that his mission for Regent University is not simply to rival the likes of Harvard or Yale but "to rival Oxford and the Sorbonne in the Middle Ages as a school that can impact the whole society," students are dedicated to ensuring that they "use the law to further the kingdom of God" and "line up human law with what God wants it to be":

Sekulow Feigns Outrage at Challenge to Conservative Justices

PFAW Senior Fellow Jamie Raskin went on Fox News last night to discuss the Supreme Court oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act with Sean Hannity and the American Center for Law & Justice’s Jay Sekulow. Unsurprisingly, Sen. Raskin didn’t get much time to make his case before he was hit with a wave of faux outrage from Sekulow and Hannity.

The subject of the outrage? Sen. Raskin had called some of the conservative justices’ questions “weak” – which somehow for Sekulow turned into “attacking the integrity of justices of the United States.”

The conversation starts about five minutes into this clip:

Sekulow’s attempt at outrage is rather stunning, since his organization, the ACLJ, exists in a large part to rail against the motivations – or, if you will, the “integrity” -- of judges and justices with whom he disagrees. When the 9th Circuit ruled in favor of marriage equality, he slammed it as “another example of an activist judiciary that overreached.” When the Senate was considering then-appeals court judge Sonia Sotomayor for her seat on the Supreme Court, Sekulow said, "To call her a judicial activist is an insult to judicial activists."

Sekulow has every right to criticize justices and judges with whom he disagrees. But he doesn’t exactly have the high ground for slamming those who offer mild criticism of questions conservative justices ask in oral arguments.

For more on Jamie Raskin’s analysis of the health care case, read his piece in the Huffington Post yesterday.



Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform

With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.”

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity”:

Over the next three days, the ObamaCare oral arguments will be heard before the Supreme Court.

Roe v. Wade made it a "right" to end the life of an unborn child; ObamaCare forces every taxpayer to help pay to end the life of an unborn child.

We are fighting this atrocity, and we need your voice now.

As we have said since the beginning, ObamaCare uses taxpayer dollars to dramatically grow the abortion business. Now we know that President Obama is also forcing citizens to directly pay an abortion surcharge with health insurance plans.

Forcing us to pay for abortion is not only a moral outrage, it is a violation of our constitutional rights.

The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional”:

The groups will also lay 3,300 flowers around the court as a "prophetic witness" to the Justices, reminding them of the 3,300 children who die every day from abortion and the 3,300 women who are diminished through abortion.

Rev. Patrick J. Mahoney, Director of the Christian Defense Coalition and one of the organizers of "Encircle the Court in Prayer", states;

"We are calling people from all America to come to Supreme Court and 'encircle it with prayer' from March 25 as we cry out to God for justice, human rights and religious freedom.

"Sadly, the President's Health Care legislation crushes religious freedom and liberty with unjust mandates on faith institutions and forces taxpayers to subsidize abortions.

"We will be praying that the President's Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional so Congress can put forward health care legislation that will respect religious freedom, protect human life and honor the principles of our Constitution.

"When Roe v. Wade was decided, the Christian community was detached and uninvolved. We want to make sure that is not the case this time as we challenge people of faith to publicly pray and speak out with boldness and passion."

Romney's Faith Leaders Rip Gingrich's 'Despicable Behavior'

On Wednesday, Newt Gingrich held a conference call with faith leaders during which he declared that the push for marriage equality is an example of "the rise of paganism" while his supporters warned that failure to elect Gingrich would quite literally spell the end of America and Western Civilization.

On Thursday, the Mitt Romney campaign held its own conference call with its own faith leaders who ripped Gingrich for his arrogance, recklessness, and "despicable behavior":

The Mitt Romney campaign held a conference call this morning with social conservative Republicans in Florida, touting the former Massachusetts governor's integrity and values and contrasting him to Newt Gingrich. Leading the call were Pastor David Janney of Orlando Baptist Church, the largest church in Orlando, former U.S. Rep. Dave Weldon of Indialantic, and Jay Sekulow, the chief counsel of the American Center for Law and Justice and a prominent advocate for religious freedom.

Pastor Janney said he's watched Romney being vetted and noted his marriage of 42 years, five children and 16 grandchildren: "When I look at his life I'm not concerned about being embarrassed or distracted by his personal issues."

Weldon said he was one of the members of congress who tried to oust Gingrich as U.S. House Speaker. "With Newt it was kind of like every day we didn't know what he was gonna say, we didn't know what he was going to be doing, he was just a little bit unpredictable," Weldon said. "It worries me the idea of him being in the oval office."


State Rep. Dennis Baxley, former leader of the Christian Coalition of Florida, also spoke on the call, saying Romney "shares our Christian values and will protect our religious freedom."

"When your choosing a leader it's about integrity. The hardest thing to maintain in any leader is those essential qualities of humility and purity. ... I'm very concerned about Newt Gingrich on that front." Baxley called Gingrich "very arrogant on his moral failure - calling the press despicable for covering him instead of humbly seeking the forgiveness of his former wife and others for his own despicable behavior."

GOP Presidentials Line Up to Kiss Ralph Reed's...Ring

Remember that “game-changing” endorsement of Rick Santorum by a group of evangelical leaders desperate to deny the Republican nomination to Mitt Romney?  As Brian reports, there wasn’t really that much of a consensus in Texas.  And it certainly didn’t make it to South Carolina, where Romney, Santorum, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul, and Rick Perry all paraded before a gathering convened by Ralph Reed’s “Faith and Freedom Coalition” just hours before the latest debate.  All had their fans in the crowd, and Gingrich seemed to have more, or at least more vocal, backers, than Santorum.

“We are here today because we say unapologetically and unequivocally that there cannot be true freedom without faith in almighty God,” announced the disgraced-and-rebounding Reed, who led the Christian Coalition to prominence in the 1990s and launched the Faith & Freedom coalition in 2009 as a voter turnout machine for conservative evangelicals.  He claims that he is going to register 2 million new voters on his way to compiling a database of 27 million voters who will be contacted over and over up and through Election Day.  “If you thought we turned out in 2010, you ain’t seen nothing yet,” he warned Democratic leaders.  Reed said “in 2012 we’re going to stand up and be counted and we’re going to say that people with faith in God aren’t what’s wrong with America, they’re what’s right with America and we need more of them engaged and more of them involved.” 

The audience may not have been united on a candidate, but the candidates were unanimous in their avowed devotion to the Religious Right’s anti-abortion, anti-gay agenda, and their promises to fight “secularism” and the Obama administration’s alleged love affair with European-style “socialism” and its supposed “war on religion.” Also on the list: promises to repeal “Obamacare,” appoint right-wing justices to the Supreme Court, and shrink government.  Reed promised that a Republican Congress and president would “dramatically slash” the corporate tax rate and take the capital gains tax to zero.

Rick Perry, whose once-mighty support has virtually evaporated in recent months, promised to set the audience on fire.  His rambling remarks – punctuated with fist-pumping exclamations like “God and country!” – were well received, but South Carolina doesn’t seem likely to resurrect his candidacy.

The Supreme Court

Several candidates and their backers talked about the importance of the next president’s ability to appoint Supreme Court justices.  Jay Sekulow, head of the Religious Right legal group American Center for Law & Justice, is one of Romney’s most prominent Religious Right backers.  Sekulow talked about counting to five when he prepares Supreme Court cases, and said he was confident that with a President Romney making appointments in the mold of Justices Roberts and Alito, “I’m not going to have to worry about my math skills.” Reed, who introduced Gingrich, cited Clarence Thomas, Antonin Scalia, John Roberts, and Samuel Alito as the kind of justices he was looking forward to – and not someone like Sotomayor.  The Obama administration’s Justice Department also came in for sharp criticism, with Reed saying that Attorney General Eric Holder needs to “go back to where he came from.”

Pursuit of Happiness: The Gay Exception

One candidate after another cited the Declaration of Independence’s reference to the unalienable rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”  -- and then went on to call for a constitutional amendment that would prevent any state from allowing same-sex couples to get married.  Romney said he would defend the Defense of Marriage Act and called for a constitutional amendment on marriage.  Santorum said government based on the principles of strong faith and strong families was needed to constrain bad behavior and immoral activity.  Perry dropped his voice to a dramatic whisper to assure gay people that “I love you regardless of what you’ve done. I hate your sin, but I love you.”

Threats to “Religious Liberty”

Many speakers argued that Christians in America are besieged by rampaging secularists.  Romney said President Obama had put America on a path to being “more and more of a secular nation.” Rep. Tim Scott (R-SC) asserted, “The greatest minority under assault today are Christians – no doubt about it.” Rick Perry decried liberals in Congress and on the courts who he said wanted to “whitewash the public square of all spiritual references” and “sanitize from our history books our Judeo-Christian roots.”  “If I am president of the United States, I will not allow them to do it! I will welcome people of faith to the public arena!” said Perry.  “This is our country, ladies and gentlemen. This is our time. And it is time for people of faith to take this country back!”  Romney and Reed promised that 2012 would bring more than political victory; it will bring spiritual awakening and renewal to America.

Ron Paul’s Biblical Economics

Journalist Adele Stan has reported on Ron Paul’s ties to Christian Reconstructionists and their religious view of limited government. Paul cited the Bible to support his monetary policies, saying “The Bible says we’re supposed to have honest currency and we’re not supposed to print the money.”  He also cited Biblical stories from Isaiah and Elijah about the importance of the “remnant” – the small number of people who could be counted on to hear the word of God.  The portrayal of conservative Christians as the righteous remnant is a popular theme at Religious Right gatherings.

Romney v (Gingrich v Santorum)

The current story of the GOP primary seems to be whether Santorum or Gingrich can rally enough conservatives who distrust Romney to wrest the nomination away from him.  On one South Carolina radio station, Gingrich and Santorum ads ran back to back on Monday, each making the “electability” case.  Santorum and Gingrich both attacked Romney’s ability to challenge “Obamacare,” and each used their remarks to argue that they could best carry the banner of unapologetic conservatism.   Santorum bragged that he opposed the Wall Street bailouts while Romney, Gingrich, and Perry supported them.  He claimed that he was the only one whose economic plan was grounded in building strong families.  Gingrich pledged that he would challenge Obama to seven 3-hour Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, even offering to let Obama use a teleprompter (those jokes never go out of style at GOP gatherings), saying, “I think I can tell the truth without notes better than he can lie with a teleprompter.”  Gingrich’s brashness was mirrored in the comments of Rep. Trent Franks, who once called President Obama an “enemy of humanity,” told the Faith & Freedom crowd that in a debate with President Obama, Gingrich “will eat Mr. Obama’s cookies and all accoutrements thereto.”

Appropriating a Sanitized MLK

Several speakers noted that the Faith & Freedom rally and GOP debate were taking place on Martin Luther King Day.  Romney expressed admiration for King, who he referred to as “a great man.”  But King’s Poor People’s Campaign and demand for government help in finding people jobs would not have won any praise from Romney or others at this event.  Neither would Jesus’ teaching that it would be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter heaven.  Building on the backlash against Gingrich and Perry’s criticism of Romney’s record as a “vulture capitalist,” Romney denounced “class warfare” and charged that Obama wants to create an “entitlement society.”  Obama, he said, wants to replace ambition with envy, and “poison the American spirit by replacing a sense of unity with a sense of class warfare.”  According to Romney, believing “one nation under God” means not noticing economic inequality. Others took the same line. Santorum, who says it’s un-American to even talk about a “middle class,” said Obama “wants to rule us” and thinks he can win by “dividing America up.”  He said that Obama is destroying the incentive to create wealth.

In his eagerness to rally the Founding Fathers to his side, Romney mangled history in a way that called attention to the importance of MLK Day being more about learning and less about empty platitudes.  According to Romney, the Founders’ choice of words about the unalienable right to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness in the Declaration of Independence indicated that they meant to create an opportunity society.  “This would be a nation where people would pursue happiness according to their dreams,” said Romney. “We would not be limited by the circumstances of our birth, we would not be limited by our race or gender…”   Well, Mr. Romney, we’re closer to that ideal, thanks to the work of Martin Luther King and countless others, but the founders were quite willing to limit people’s opportunities based on race and gender.  And they weren’t the last.

PFAW Calls on Romney to Apply Religious Bigotry Standard to his Own Endorsers

At a news conference, Mitt Romney urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to disavow the remarks of his endorser Robert Jeffress, a Religious Right leader who has called Mormonism a "cult." People For the American Way today echoed Romney’s appeal to Perry, but also urged both candidates to disavow endorsers who have perpetuated misinformation about and fear of American Muslims.

The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism

Under the guise of defending freedom and American values, right-wing anti-Muslim activists are campaigning to prevent Muslim-Americans from freely worshiping and practicing their religion, curtail their political rights, and even compel their deportation

Free speech, Irresponsible Speech, and the Climate of Intolerance in 2009

Shortly after anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to challenge those who use powerful political and media platforms to promote the kind of inflammatory falsehoods that poison public discourse, make civil conversation impossible, and can ultimately lead to violence. The reaction from right-wing leaders of the day was sadly predictable and by now familiar: they claimed that Clinton was seeking to "silence" voices of dissent, even though his speech affirmed that the First Amendment protects both the purveyors of irresponsible speech and those who challenge him.

Right Wing Follows Deceptive Script On Supreme Court

A day after news of Justice Souter's planned resignation broke in the news, "dozens" of right-wing leaders representing more than 60 groups got together for a strategy call organized in part by the Judicial Confirmation Network to get everyone fired up and on message. All you need to know about the credibility of this campaign's leaders, and the credibility of their evaluations of potential nominees, is contained in this one sentence from the Judicial Confirmation Network's Wendy Long: "The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court."

The Right Re-Tools as a 'Resistance Movement'

Now that the Religious Right and the Republican Party are regrouping from significant electoral defeats, many progressives as well as pundits are tempted once again to dismiss the movement or the continued threat it poses to the constitutional principles of equality, privacy, and separation of church and state. But the legal, political, grassroots, and media infrastructure that has been built steadily over recent decades is still largely in place. It maintains a powerful ability to shape public debate and mobilize millions of Americans. And it is finding a renewed focus in opposing the Obama administration and obstructing progressive change.

The 'Big Lie' Strategy: Religious Right Stokes False Fears of Religious Persecution

On February 5, 2009, the U.S. Senate took up an amendment introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) to strip church-state protections from the stimulus bill. The amendment failed 43 to 54 after DeMint repeated the inflammatory claims he had been making all week and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) swiftly and effectively refuted them. The creation of a phony crisis that DeMint's amendment was supposed to solve is a case study of Religious Right leaders' strategic use of false alarms about threats to religious liberty &emdash; and of the willingness of right-wing media and elected officials to play along. Watch now, in the wake of the amendment’s defeat, for Religious Right leaders to use the vote as "evidence" that Democrats are hostile to people of faith and to try to undermine support from religious Americans for the new administration.

Statement of Ralph G. Neas on the House Constitution Subcommittee Hearing on the Federal Marriage Amendment

Today, Americans will witness the sad and sorry spectacle of right-wing legal and political activists urging Congress to reject strides toward equality and to pass a constitutional amendment that would require every state to treat some Americans as second-class citizens.

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