Jerry Boykin

Jerry Boykin Says Not Letting Him Speak At A Prayer Breakfast Violates Other People's First Amendment Rights

Last week, the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin was disinvited from a prayer breakfast that was to be held at Fort Riley in Kansas, following a complaint from the Military Religious Freedom Foundation highlighting his long history of extremism and bigotry.

As usual, Boykin has been playing the victim and took his latest tale of persecution to Glenn Beck's radio program this morning, where he insisted that not only were his First Amendment rights violated by revoking his speaking invitation, but so were the First Amendment rights of those who wanted to hear him speak at the prayer breakfast.

Seemingly unaware that the First Amendment does not guarantee that people can say anything they want without ever facing consequences, nor mean than Christians are entitled to hear their preferred speaker address any event they attend, Boykin predictably blamed the whole thing on President Obama.

"They're robbing the soldiers at Fort Riley of their First Amendment rights," he stated. "They're robbing these soldiers of their First Amendment rights and this is the condition of Obama's military. This is what you should expect. This is what your sons and daughters are living with every day in a military that is now suppressing their First Amendment rights."

"It's part of the environment that Obama has created here in America," Boykin continued. "[When] my talk gets canceled there, what you've done is you've robbed all of those people who wanted to come to that prayer breakfast and hear what I had to say, you robbed them of their First Amendment rights and this is what we're seeing all over our military today and it's a result of the environment that Obama has created."

Boykin declared that the decision to remove him from this prayer breakfast because of a complaint from the MRFF raises the question of "how do you destroy ISIS when you can't stand up to something like this?"

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/2/16

How The Religious Right Browbeat A Private School In Rehiring An Anti-LGBT Religious Right Activist

Last week, we noted that Family Research Council executive vice president Jerry Boykin announced that he had been fired from a teaching position he held at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia. Boykin asserted that he had lost his job because of comments he had made earlier in the year at a Religious Right conference where he had voiced his opposition to transgender protection efforts by declaring that "the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain't going to have to worry about surgery."

Boykin, a notoriously anti-gay and anti-Muslim right-wing activist, claimed that he was only joking but that the "LGBT community once again came after me" and pressured "the college leadership to terminate me and they did."

Predictably, the incident became a rallying cry for the likes of Ted Cruz, who used it to fundraise for his own Senate re-election bid, and Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, who wrote a column decrying the upposed persecution of Boykin.

Thanks to the outcry from Christian conservatives, Hampden-Sydney backed down and rehired Boykin, who called it "a victory for academic freedom and free thought on a college campus." 

Interestingly, Andrew Beaujon of The Washingtonian reported today that the entire story of Boykin's alleged firing was apparently an utter misrepresentation of what actually took place and was seemingly whipped up for the purpose of browbeating the college into re-hiring Boykin.

According to Hampden-Sydney College, the position held by Boykin "was created to be a rotating position, allowing Hampden-Sydney to bring distinguished individuals from a wide variety of professional backgrounds to the campus." 

The decision not to renew Boykin's contract had reportedly been made back in March, well before concerns had even been raised about his "jokingly" violent remarks: 

If the “LGBT community” indeed went after Boykin, its campaign was remarkably incompetent. Asked about the existence of such an effort, Hampden-Sydney spokesperson Tommy Shomo says, “There was a letter from Hampden-Sydney constituents expressing concerns over some of Gen. Boykin’s  public remarks, recent and past, and questioning his association with the College.” Shomo says the letter was received in April, after the college had already decided, in March, not to renew.

But thanks to the outrage generated by the false narrative created by Boykin, Cruz, Starnes and other Religious Right activists, Hampden-Sydney College was forced to back down and rehire Boykin for one more year:

After discussions with Hampden-Sydney College, Gen. Jerry Boykin has accepted another year's contract to teach in the College's Military Leadership and National Security minor as Wheat Professor. Boykin stated, he "loves the college and its students and would be honored to teach for another year."

Interim President Dennis Stevens said he was pleased that General Boykin will be with Hampden-Sydney for one more year.

At the end of the 2016-2017 academic year, the College will continue with its plan to restore the Wheat Professorship to short-term appointments in order to bring multiple perspectives on leadership to its students.

None of this should come as a surprise, since constantly alleging that he's been the victim of anti-Christian persecution has been a hallmark of Boykin's career.

Ted Cruz Fundraises Off Of Jerry Boykin Getting Fired For Threatening Violence

Earlier this year, the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin spoke at Liberty Counsel's "The Awakening" conference in Florida where he railed against efforts to protect transgender individuals by allowing them to use the facilities that match the gender with which they identify. 

"I’ve already said, and somebody’ll be recording this and this’ll be on YouTube before it’s all over with, "Boykin said. "But I will tell you what, the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain’t going to have to worry about surgery. That’s not right. That is not right. It’s not right. It’s ungodly. But it’s also just unnatural. This is crazy. Where are the Christians that are standing up?"

We posted audio of his remarks back in March and yesterday Boykin posted a message on his Facebook page announcing that he had been terminated from a teaching position he held at Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia because of the remarks.

Boykin insists that he was not threatening violence against transgender people, despite his clear reference to sex reassignment surgery, and that his comments were "understood as humor":

Because some of you already know and are contacting me about it, let me make it official and let you all know that I have been terminated from teaching at Hampden-Sydney College after nine years there. Hampden Sydney is the 10th oldest college in America and is one of the two Men's colleges left in ‪#‎America‬. Let me begin by saying that it is a fine school with some very good young men who give me hope for the future. There are also a few very good faculty members who I consider to be good friends and true patriots. They stood with me through this whole situation as the school made the decision to terminate me and I appreciate everything that these friends at the school did to try and help.

The bottom line is that I oppose these so called "‪#‎Bathroom‬" bills that let men go into women's locker rooms, showers, and toilets and I have been very public about it. When I said in Orlando that "...the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery", the LGBT community once again came after me, claiming that I was calling for violence against ‪#‎transgender‬ people.

Well, that is simply not the case and I have never called for violence against anyone. I was referring to perverts who will use these policies to get into locker rooms with girls and women, and I object to that. My statement was meant to be humor and not a call for violence, which everyone in my audience understood as humor.

Nonetheless, I gave the LGBT community just what they needed to pressure the college leadership to terminate me and they did.

Predictably, Ted Cruz, who made attacking transgender protections a part of his failed presidential campaign, has come rushing to Boykin's defense and is using this incident as an opportunity to raise funds for his own Senate re-election campaign.

Boykin was a prominent endorser of Cruz's campaign and served as a national security adviser.

Cruz dismissed Boykin’s comment’s as "levity," while lamenting that it has now become "a firing offense."

General Jerry Boykin is an American hero. He was one of the original members of the U.S. Army's Delta Force. A decorated warrior, he commanded Delta Force and he commanded all the Army's Green Berets as well as the Special Warfare Center and School.

Hampden-Sydney College has fired General Boykin. At a time where young people are desperately seeking hope and inspiration, you would think General Boykin (who had taught there nine years) would be one of their most valued faculty. But instead, he fell victim to the PC police.

Referring to President Obama's push to allow grown men into girls' bathrooms, showers, and locker rooms, General Boykin joked, "...the first man who goes in the restroom with my daughter will not have to worry about surgery." That levity, in today's precious academic world, was a firing offense.

Three observations: first, our universities are losing their souls. College should be about learning, and that requires a diversity of views. When I was a student in the 1980s and 90s, surrounded by college and law school faculty members who were militant leftists and even Marxists, I didn't curl up in a ball and plead for a "safe place." Confronting opposing views helped me learn what I myself believe, and helped me understand better how to persuade others. That's the essence of education. Raising coddled, solipsistic children who cannot handle dissent represents a complete failure and abdication of the university mission.

Second, free speech matters. If you disagree with someone, disagree with them. Don't silence or punish them. Censorship is the refuge of the weak-minded (those who cannot defend their views) or the tyrannical (those who simply want to force submission and compliance). If you think it's a good idea for men and boys to be taking showers with little girls -- whether you're the President, a presidential candidate, or a university apparatchik -- tell us why. Make the case, with reason and logic, don't just respond as jack-booted thugs.

Third, young people need heroes like General Boykin. Ironically, Hampden-Sydney's motto is Huc venite iuvenes ut exeatis viri, which translates to: Come here as boys so you may leave as men. This storied institution, founded the year before the signing of the Declaration of Independence, has decided that warriors and heroes are no longer welcome on its faculty. If you love our country, this should bother you greatly.

Update 5/20: Today, Boykin announced that he has been re-hired by Hampden-Sydney College:

I am deeply grateful for all the support - through social media, calls and emails - that I have received over the past few days. This situation has been a great reminder of how our ‪#‎FirstAmendment‬ principles are worth standing up for and defending.

I am pleased to announce that I have been rehired as the Wheat Professor at Hampden-Sydney College. I look forward to returning to Hampden-Sydney in the fall to continue my work equipping the next generation of young men to lead this nation. Hampden-Sydney College is a fine school with a proud history of young men who have led our country, and I am honored to be a part of shaping the next generation of leaders.

With that said, I would like to share some thoughts on this experience.

First, there is strength in unified numbers. The radical Left and LGBT activists completely underestimate the impact of ‪#‎freedom‬-loving ‪#‎Americans‬ banding together to protect our First Amendment freedoms. Many people spoke out on my behalf and I am eternally grateful that they stood with me. Their unified voices allowed me to return to Hampden-Sydney.

Second, never cave in when you know that you are standing for what is right and true, for these are the principles that made this nation great. STAND, even if it means you lose your job. STAND, even if it means you lose your life. The founding principles of this nation are worth defending, even if it costs you.

Third, my reinstatement is a victory for academic freedom and free thought on a college campus. The free exchange of conflicting ideas must be the bedrock of every college campus in America. This essential exchange has been greatly wounded by the PC police, but it can be restored to college campuses around the country if, in unity, freedom-loving Americans speak out. Bottom line: when you stand, freedom prevails.

Finally, I would like to thank the leadership of Hampden-Sydney College for the courage they have demonstrated in reversing their decision and allowing me to remain a part of the Hampden-Sydney community. 

Paranoia-Rama: Sharia Law Is Here, Civil War And Slavery Are Coming

RWW's Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week's most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, far-right activists broadcast their fears about America falling to Islamic rule, bloodshed and slavery. Any day now.

5) Sharia Courts

Jerry Boykin, an official with the Family Research Council who also serves as a national security adviser to Ted Cruz, is very worried that Sharia law is on the verge of taking hold in the U.S.

While speaking with Fred Jackson of the American Family Association, Boykin said that Sharia courts have already been established in Michigan and Texas, urging people to “wake up and take a stand against this and recognize the nature of the threat.”

Unfortunately for Boykin, rumors about Sharia courts in Michigan and Texas are bogus. The story about Sharia law in Michigan came from a fake news article, and the allegation about a Sharia court in Texas was actually a gross right-wing misrepresentation of a religious mediation panel similar to ones used by many Christians and Jews. The Houston Chronicle called the allegation the “2015 Texas Hoax of the Year.”

4) Civil War

The Oath Keepers, a far-right militia group, is always on the lookout for the coming civil war, which its founder, Stewart Rhodes, believes may soon arrive with armed patriots on one side and liberals, anarchists, gang members and radical Islamists on the other.

On its website, the group posted a message from Brandon Smith, who predicted that the election of Hillary Clinton would trigger an “outright civil war” while a Trump victory would signal a possible left-wing uprising:

I have said it before and I’ll say it again, if Hillary Clinton is chosen by the establishment to take Obama’s place, the result would probably be outright civil war in the U.S. The level of hatred among conservatives for that woman is so stratospheric I cannot see any other outcome. It might not happen immediately, but a solid bet would be conflagration within her first term.

With a Trump win, I could also see at the very least nationwide riots similar in tone to those that occurred in Ferguson, Missouri, with the social justice cultists running wild with their goofy slogans and molotov cocktails. These people are a paper tiger however, and are only a threat if they manage to convince a majority of the ethnic American population to follow their lead.

3) Buy Food Buckets Before It’s Too Late

Televangelist Jim Bakker knows that he has been called by God to warn people about the need to stock up on food, telling viewers this week to purchase survival food buckets to prepare for the coming crime wave and terrorist attacks caused by American immigration policy.

2) Liberalism Causes Depression

Feeling sad lately? Maybe even insane?

Well, David Kupelian of WorldNetDaily knows who to blame for that: liberals.

According to Kupelian, “the left is such a toxic influence, it is driving people crazy,” literally.

He told radio host Rick Green that the “insane,” “mad” and “hard, atheistic left that has taken over most of our institutions” has pushed patriotic Americans “completely over the edge”: “I’m talking about into drug addiction, into every type of addiction, food addiction, pornography, all the rest of it; into suicide, mental illness, depression.”

1) Putting Harriet Tubman On The $20 Bill Will Lead To Slavery

Leave it to InfoWars to come up with the most fearful reaction to the decision to put Harriet Tubman on the front of the $20 bill and move Andrew Jackson to the back. The conspiracy theorist network posted this column by Mac Slavo arguing that the move will inevitably lead to the “enslavement” of the masses:

Jackson narrowly succeeded in staving off banker domination of the U.S. during his day.

Of course, Andrew Jackson, who was the United States’ seventh president, was also a complete controversy his entire lifetime. It is no surprise that the same people who took down the Confederate flag from the South on the back of a mass shooting tragedy are now trying to tear down the image of a particularly controversial and intriguing figure from the American past.



Erasing Andrew Jackson from the faces of the fiat funny-money that is passed around by an increasingly ignorant and dependent society (which itself has adopted digital currency as the new norm) will further cut off the past from the masses, and ensure their enslavement.

Ted Cruz Adviser Falls For Internet Hoaxes About 'Sharia Courts' In Texas And Michigan

Ted Cruz’s national security adviser Jerry Boykin repeated roundly debunked internet-fueled rumors about “Sharia courts” in Texas and Michigan in a radio interview on Monday.

Boykin, in an appearance on “Sandy Rios in the Morning,” alleged that agents of the Muslim Brotherhood are gaining influence in the U.S. government to further the Islamist group’s goal of “changing our culture in general and forcing us to essentially modify our own behavior in what I think is a dangerous way.”

After alleging that Islamic law has gained a foothold in Europe, the Family Research Council official said that “it is reported that you have a Sharia court in Texas, for example, and Michigan, and you’re going to see more of that if people don’t wake up and take a stand against this and recognize the nature of the threat.”

Boykin’s reports, however, are nothing but online rumors.

The supposed imposition of Sharia law in Michigan is likely a reference to a widely shared article from the National Report, a fake online news magazine that is like an unfunny version of the Onion.

The claim that a Sharia court was established in Texas refers to a religious mediation panel similar to ones used by many Christians and Jews throughout the country.

The Houston Chronicle called the Sharia court story its “2015 Texas Hoax of the Year,” noting that the panel’s “rulings are nonbinding and work within the guidelines of U.S. law” and only rule on noncriminal matters like marital and business disputes. Indeed, the mediation panel was actually launched in 2012 and functioned without issue until conservative websites and chain emails falsely implied that it was imposing Sharia law.

Boykin’s claims about Islamic law taking hold in parts of Europe are similarly dubious and are likely based on mediation panels similar to ones that are led by Christians and Jews.

But such internet-fueled conspiracy theories may be part of the security advice Ted Cruz is now receiving.

The Religious Right’s Bicoastal Political Prayer Rally Weekend

Two major prayer rallies organized by Religious Right figures are being held on Saturday —one at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and one in Los Angeles. The two events will be linked with a simulcast “Bridge to Prayer.”

The Washington event, United Cry DC 16, is scheduled to run for seven hours and will be broadcast on GodTV. It features an impressive number of familiar Religious Right figures, including Tony Perkins, Jerry Boykin, Harry Jackson, Samuel Rodriguez, Jim Garlow, Alveda King and E.W. Jackson. Joining them will be bestselling doomsday author and “Messianic” Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz and “Hour of Power” preacher Bobby Schuller.

Also in the lineup is Doug Stringer, the “apostle” who has hosted a number of “The Response” political prayer rallies organized by Christian nationalist political operative David Lane in recent years with Republican governors like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Pat McCrory.

WorldNetDaily is excited about the event, promoting it with a breathless story, declaring “what an assembly it promises to be.” WND even tries to put a good face on the lousy weather forecast, saying, “Perhaps the Almighty is already calling attention to the event by providing some freakish spring weather, with the possibility of snow in the forecast. But hardy souls will brave the elements because they consider the gathering a divine calling.”  A Thursday email from event organizer Lewis Hogan was not so excited about the weather, urging people to pray away the rain.

This is not the first “solemn assembly” called by Religious Right leaders to put America on the right path during an election year. While the Great Awakening whose beginning is predicted at every Religious Right event hasn’t yet materialized, organizers believe it’s just around the corner. Meanwhile, they say, America’s embrace of marriage equality is just asking for God’s wrath.

In WND’s story about United Cry DC, Rabbi Cahn complained that America hasn’t heeded his warnings:

In the course of the last few years, America has not turned back to God but has grown much farther from Him. We’ve witnessed a rapid acceleration in the nation’s apostasy from God and His ways. We have called good evil and evil good. We are now at the threshold of persecuting God’s people as we celebrate godlessness. The Bible is very clear on the consequences. To any nation that has been given so much as America, much is required. If we don’t turn back to God, we are advancing toward judgment.

“The fact that it is also the year of a presidential election and a critical moment with regard to the Supreme Court, raises the stakes even higher.

On the same day as the United Cry rally in DC, Dominionist “apostle” Lou Engle and friends will be in Los Angeles hosting another in his multi-year “supernatural series of events” under the banner of “The Call.” In a video promoting the event Engel talking animatedly about the symbolism of speakers flying only on United Airlines so that America can be united.Engle has held a number of “Call” events over the last decade and a half, including one on the National Mall in September 2000 and one in 2008 in California focused in part on promoting the anti-gay Proposition 8.  This one, called Azusa Now, is scheduled to run for 15 hours at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Cruz Advisers: Obama Using 'White Privilege And Nonsense Like That' To Weaken The Military

The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney and the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, both national security advisors to Sen. Ted Cruz, discussed on Gaffney’s radio program yesterday how they believe President Obama is, perhaps intentionally, weakening the military by allowing women in combat and training troops on what Boykin called “white privilege and nonsense like that.”

Gaffney asked Boykin if he thought that “the policies that the president has been pursuing” that he claimed have “diminished the readiness” of the military are “designed to have that effect” or if it’s just a coincidence.

Boykin responded that while he “can’t answer what this administration is thinking,” it’s “certainly a possibility” that the president is intentionally weakening the military.

He contrasted the recent capture of an American boat in Iranian waters to the Vietnam era, when “to get a statement out of a POW that was being held in Hanoi, you had to beat that man almost to the point of killing him.”

“Frank, what’s happened to our military?” he asked. “Now, I’ll tell you what part of it is. They have not spent their time being trained on the code of conduct. They’ve spent their time being trained on tolerance and inclusion.”

“Diversity, sensitivity, and white privilege,” Gaffney said derisively.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Boykin said, “on white privilege and nonsense like that. That’s where they spend their training time. I get feedback from military people all the time. 'Sir, we spent the entire week doing nothing but classroom training on tolerance and integrating women into the infantry.' And, I mean, Frank, we’re wasting precious training time at a time when our enemies are growing stronger and we’re growing weaker.”

Earlier in the interview, Boykin and Gaffney took aim at one of their favorite targets, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Boykin called “probably, next to the Muslim Brotherhood, the most evil group in America.”

The two also revealed that in February Boykin presented Gaffney with the “George Washington Leadership Award” on behalf of the Council for National Policy, a secretive conservative umbrella group that is currently led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Jim Bakker Would Not Be Surprised If The Government Stormed His Studio And Arrested Him For Teaching The Bible

Televangelist Jim Bakker interviewed the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin on his television program last week, where the two warned that if Christians don't start standing up for their religious liberty, then all the freedoms in America will soon be lost.

Boykin asserted that the government no longer recognizes "freedom of religion" and will only protect the "freedom of worship," meaning that Christians are allowed to believe in their faith but are prohibited from actually practicing that faith in the public square, just as happened in Nazi Germany.

"In the public square, you can't live your faith," Boykin warned. "And I'm telling you, if America doesn't wake up and start rejecting this idea of freedom of worship versus freedom of religion, we're not going to have any freedom at all, of any kind."

Bakker readily agreed, insisting that it has gotten to the point where people cannot even pray, preach or read the Bible any more ... despite the fact that he happens to host a television show where he prays, preaches and reads the Bible every single day.

"If [the government] stormed in these doors right now and arrested me, I would not be surprised," he declared.

Were this to happen, it would certainly not be Bakker's first experience with getting arrested.

The Year Bryan Fischer Became 'Mainstream'

Back in 2011, when Mitt Romney was in the starting months of his presidential campaign, he accepted an invitation to speak at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event organized by the Family Research Council. The VVS always attracts an assortment of far-right activists, but that year Romney was scheduled to speak directly before Bryan Fischer, an inflamatory American Family Association official and radio host who had viciously insulted everyone from LGBT people to women to Muslims to Native Americans to medal of honor recipients to Romney’s fellow Mormons.

After facing a public outcry for choosing to appear beside Fischer, Romney called out Fischer in his speech — albeit not by name — decrying the “poisonous language” of “one of the speakers who will follow me today.”

After that year, Fischer was nowhere to be found at the Values Voter Summit, although his employer, the American Family Association, continued to cosponsor the event.

Then, in January of last year, Fischer was, for a moment, edged further out of the conservative mainstream. When a group of 60 members of the Republican National Committee embarked on a trip to Israel organized by Christian-nation advocate David Lane and paid for by the AFA, the RNC was forced to answer why it was sending members on a junket financed by a group whose spokesman was one of the most vitriolic voices of hate in the country — and one who said the First Amendment applies only to Christians. Facing a diplomatic incident with the GOP, the AFA finally stripped Fischer of his title with the organization, although he kept his daily radio program with its affiliate, American Family Radio.

But that was then and this is now.

Earlier this month, we reported that Fischer was scheduled to join Sen. Ted Cruz at a campaign rally in Mississippi. The event was eventually canceled: not because of Fischer’s extremism but because Cruz was reportedly ill .

And, although Fischer remains one of the most hateful voices on the Right, he is hardly any more controversial than many of the figures with whom the leading Republican candidates have surrounded themselves in 2016 — or even, in some cases, the candidates themselves. As soon as the GOP began to ostracize Bryan Fischer, it was taken over by Bryan Fischer’s ideology.

Fischer himself pointed this out on his radio program last week as he prepared to discuss a column in which he reiterated his long-held views that Muslims immigrants should be barred from the U.S., American Muslims should be shut out of the U.S. military and state governments should ban the construction of mosques. Things that he’s been saying for years, he said, that were once perceived as “outlandish” and “off-the-charts lunacy,” have now “become virtually mainstream.”

He’s right. In fact, when we began to look through some of Fischer’s most controversial statements — which are bad enough that he was publicly rejected by the 2012 Republican nominee — we found that they weren’t too different from things that Republican presidential frontrunners Donald Trump and Ted Cruz say every day.

Although Fischer has campaigned for Cruz and openly despises Trump, his ideology and rhetoric is echoed by both campaigns. (Although, thankfully, neither candidate has called for stoning whales … at least not yet.)

On Muslim immigration...

Fischer: ‘Stop Muslim immigration into the United States’

Fischer was far ahead of the trend when it came to anti-Muslim bigotry,calling as early as 2010 for the U.S. to block all Muslim immigration, “repatriate” Muslims who are already here, ban American Muslims from serving in the U.S. military, and impose a policy of “no more mosques, period.” Fischer repeated these demands just last week.

Trump: ‘A total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States’

He was several years behind Fischer, but Trump called last year for a temporary ban on all of the world’s 1.6 billion Muslims entering the United States and deporting Syrian refugees who have been resettled in America, which have since become central planks in his platform. Echoing Fischer, Trump has also said that if he were to become president, he would have “no choice” but to close some mosques and once flirted with the idea of setting up a government database to monitor all Muslims. Cruz, for his part, has called for banning the resettlement of Muslim refugees from Syria.

On religious freedom for Muslims ...

Fischer: ‘Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims’

Fischer justifies his anti-Muslim plans by claiming that the First Amendment does not apply to Muslims or any other non-Christian religion and asserts that any religious liberty rights extended to non-Christians are simply a “courtesy”:

Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.

Cruz: ‘Patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods’

When Cruz called for the U.S. to “patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods” in response to this week’s terrorist attacks in Belgium, it came as no surprise since he has surrounded himself with advisers who argue, like Fischer, that Muslims do not deserve the same civil rights and civil liberties as other Americans.

One Cruz adviser, the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, has explicitly said that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections.” In an interview with Fischer, Boykin called for “no mosques in America.”

Trump, for his part, has repeatedly called for government profiling of Muslims.

On Mormonism and Mitt Romney ...

Fischer: ‘I’m more Mormon’ than Mitt Romney

Fischer has never been a fan of the Mormon faith, insisting that the First Amendment doesn’t apply to Mormons and warning that a Mormon president like Romney would threaten the nation’s “spiritual health.” However, when Fischer deemed Romney to not be anti-gay enough, he declared that he himself was “more Mormon” than the candidate.

At one point, Fischer clarified that he had “love” for Mormons and just wanted them “to come into the full light of the truth” and abandon their faith.

Trump: ‘Are you sure he’s a Mormon?’

Although Trump may “love the Mormons,” he has been out on the campaign trail with Robert Jeffress , an extremist pastor who says that Mormonism and Islam are demonic faiths “from the pit of hell” (and that the Roman Catholic Church was created by Satan). It was in a radio interview with Fischer at the 2011 Values Voter Summit that Jeffress, who was stumping for Rick Perry, declared that Romney is not a “true” Christian because Mormonism is a “cult.”

Like Fischer, Trump has questioned Romney’s faith after Romney criticized him, asking a crowd in Utah: “Are you sure he’s a Mormon?”

On LGBT rights ...

Fischer: ‘Rainbow jihadists’ on the Supreme Court ‘blasted the twin pillars of truth and righteousness into rubble.’

Fischer reacted with predictable reason and restraint to the Supreme Court’s landmark Obergefell marriage equality ruling, comparing it to 9/11, Pearl Harbor and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, and referring to the justices in the majority as “rainbow jihadists.”

Cruz: The gay community is waging ‘jihad’ against religious freedom

In this case, Fischer may have picked up a turn of phrase from Cruz, who several weeks before the Obergefell ruling accused LGBT rights activists of waging “jihad” against the religious freedom of Christians.

On the role of women ...

Fischer: God ‘designed’ women to be good secretaries

Fischer explained back in 2014 that he wouldn't consider male applicants for receptionist and secretary positions at his church because God “designed” women “to be warm, to be hospitable, to be open-hearted, to be open-handed, to have their arms open, to be welcoming, to be receptive, to create a nurturing, welcoming environment.”

Trump: ‘It really doesn't matter what they write, as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass’

Trump may have a different view of women in the workplace than Fischer, but it isn’t any more enlightened.

On science ...

Fischer: ‘Liberals are absolutely anti-science when it comes climatology and global warming’

Fischer contends that when it comes to climate change, it’s the scientists who are “absolutely anti-science,” citing God’s promise to Noah in the Bible that he would never again destroy the earth with floods. He also believes that the theory of evolution is “completely irrational and scientifically bankrupt ”and argues that people who believe in evolution should be “disqualified from holding public office.” Fischer has filled the vacuum left by actual science with some of his own creative theories, such as that dinosaurs were actually giant, 1,000-year-old lizards.

Cruz: ‘Climate change is not science, it’s religion’

Cruz similarly thinks that it’s climate scientists who are being illogical, telling Glenn Beck last year that “climate change is not science, it's religion.” Trump is also “not a big believer” in climate change, which he has dismissed as “bad weather” and a Chinese fabrication designed to destroy the U.S. economy.

While Cruz has deflected questions about evolution, his father and campaign surrogate, Rafael Cruz, has called the theory “baloney” and suggested that it was a communist plot to “destroy the concept of God.”

On the military ...

Fischer: We’ve ‘feminized’ the medal of honor by giving it to service members who haven’t killed people

In 2010, Fischer reacted to the awarding of the medal of honor to an Army sergeant who had rescued two of his fellow soldiers in battle by lamenting that we have “feminized” the military honor by awarding it “for preventing casualties, not for inflicting them."

Trump: ‘I like people who weren’t captured’

Trump, who, like Fischer, has never served in the military, made headlines last summer when he attacked Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., for his time as a prisoner of war, saying, “I like people who weren’t captured.”

Cruz's Call To 'Patrol And Secure Muslim Neighborhoods' Echoes Demands Of Extremist Advisers

Sen. Ted Cruz reacted to the terrorist attacks in Brussels today by saying that the U.S. should “empower law enforcement to patrol and secure Muslim neighborhoods before they become radicalized,” a vague proposal with troubling civil liberties implications.

It should hardly be surprising that Cruz made such a statement, however, since he has recently named as national security advisers several activists who have called for the severe curtailing of civil liberties for American Muslims.

One of Cruz’s new national security advisers, Family Research Council official Jerry Boykin, has said that “Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections” and has called for “no mosques in America”:

Perhaps giving a hint at the neighborhoods Cruz wants the police to “secure,” Boykin once absurdly claimed that the police refuse to go into the city of Dearborn, Michigan, because of its large Muslim population.

Boykin first gained notoriety as a Pentagon official during the Bush administration, when he was repeatedly rebuked by the administration for giving speeches framing the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan as holy wars between Christianity and Islam (or, in his words, “our God” and the “idol” Satan).

Another of Cruz’s new national security advisers, the Center for Security Policy’sFrank Gaffney, believes that there is extensive Islamist infiltration of the federal government, the Republican Party and even the National Rifle Association, and once called for the establishment of a “House Anti-American Activities Committee” to investigate this supposed infiltration. To give you an idea of whom that committee would go after, Gaffney is the activist behind allegations that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin, conservative activist Suhail Khan and anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist are all aiding the Muslim Brotherhood. (Khan and Abedin are Muslim and Norquist’s wife is Muslim.)

Another Cruz adviser, Clare Lopez, said recently that Sen. Joseph McCarthy was “spot-on” in his notorious hunt for communist infiltrators. Another adviser, Andy McCarthy, has said that Islam may not deserve full legal protections because it may not be, “strictly speaking, a religion.”

Glenn Beck And Jerry Boykin Say Electing Trump Or Clinton Would Be National Suicide

On Monday's television show, Glenn Beck aired an interview that he conducted with the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin when the two men were in Ohio last weekend campaigning for Ted Cruz. During the discussion, the two agreed that the election of either Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton would mean that America has reached rock bottom and decided to commit national suicide.

After Beck complained that Christians are being mocked for believing, as he does, that Ted Cruz has been raised up by God for this moment, he and Boykin worried that America has not yet reached the point where it is willing to humble itself and ask God to save this nation.

"I'm a recovering alcoholic," Beck said. "There was a time when I hit my bottom and I had to decide whether I was going to repeat my mother's life, who committed suicide, or if I was going to live. My mother's bottom was suicide. Some people don't have a bottom. If we vote for Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, is our bottom suicide?"

"If we go down that road," Boykin replied, "I don't think the republic will survive."

Boykin's Defense of 'Religious Freedom' Includes Violent Anti-Trans Rhetoric

On Saturday retired Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin, executive vice president of the Family Research Council, addressed the Awakening conference, an annual event sponsored by Liberty Counsel and the Freedom Federation. Boykin, known for his anti-Muslim and anti-gay rhetoric, dedicated his remarks in the plenary session to denouncing Bernie Sanders supporters for wanting free things, and to calling on Christians to do more to stand up for religious freedom and against LGBT equality.

Boykin quoted socialist Norman Thomas saying in 1927, “America will never vote for socialism, but under the name of liberalism they will adopt every fragment of the socialist program.” Boykin asked, “Is that where we are today?” He declared that support for Sanders is “an indication of the sad state of affairs in this country.”

I am absolutely, incredibly amazed at the number of young people, particularly young people, that are flocking to Bernie Sanders. My generation never would have believed we would have taken a socialist seriously. And here we have tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people, flocking to Bernie Sanders, and when you pin ‘em down and say, ‘What is it about Bernie Sanders that you really like? it comes back to one thing. Oh, they’ll give you the pablum – ‘I like his policies, I like this and I like that.’ But listen to them very carefully they’ll eventually tell you it’s because he’s going to give them something for nothing. He’s going to give them something that’s free.

Boykin warned that American Christians are not fighting hard enough against what the Religious Right claims are efforts to narrow the concept of freedom of religion that the Founding Fathers placed in the First Amendment down into a more restrictive freedom of worship:

Folks, if you accept the concept of freedom of worship you are going down a dangerous path. They didn’t just give us freedom of worship, they gave us freedom of religion. What they said was you can believe what you want to believe, and you can live your faith. Today, that constitutional freedom is in the greatest jeopardy of any of our constitutional liberties. It is the freedom of religion and it is based on a radical agenda to tell you that you can believe what you want to believe but you cannot live your faith in the public square…

Boykin quoted Eric Metaxas, biographer of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who was killed for his resistance to German Nazis, telling him that “if America accepts what Hitler forced the church in Germany to accept, which was freedom to worship, we’re going to wind up being just like Germany.” Added Boykin, “We’re in the same situation today. We’re being told that we can have freedom of worship but we cannot have freedom of religion and we’re going to have to pay a price … We’ve got to stand up to evil.”

As is customary at Religious Right events, Boykin and other speakers blamed the church for not doing enough to resist evil and stand up to the LGBT rights movement. Boykin praised Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver for his defense of Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis, who refused to process marriage licenses for same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. And he took now-familiar Religious Right rhetoric targeting transgender people over their use of bathrooms to an ugly new low:

Where is the Christian world today? Where are the Christians of America today? They should be flocking to people like Kim Davis. They should be flocking to the city council and say, ‘No, you’re not going to let a man go in my daughter’s bathroom just because he feels like a man today.’ Where are the Christians that are standing up to this kind of evil?

And I’ve already said, and somebody’ll be recording this and this’ll be on YouTube before it’s all over with. But I will tell you what, the first man that walks in my daughter’s bathroom, he ain’t going to have to worry about surgery. That’s not right. That is not right. It’s not right. It’s ungodly. But it’s also just unnatural. This is crazy. Where are the Christians that are standing up?

 

Jerry Boykin Falsely Claims 'The Naked Communist' Was Written And Published By The Communist Party USA

Rick Joyner was joined by the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin on the most recent episode of his "Prophetic Perspective on Current Events" program, where the two lamented that young people are supporting the Bernie Sanders campaign because they have been inculcated with socialism by the public school system.

"The socialists had a systematic plan for taking over our educational system and they have pretty much done it," Joyner said, adding that students today "were educated by socialists to be socialists."

Boykin agreed, saying that communists in America specifically laid out a plan to do just this back in 1958.

"In 1958, there was a book written called 'The Naked Communist,'" he said. "It was written and published by the Communist Party USA and they laid out all the things they were going to do to take over America in time. It was a long term strategic plan."

That is, of course, totally false, as "The Naked Communist" was a book written by W. Cleon Skousen, a far right-wing conspiracy theorist and slavery apologist.

CPAC Welcomes Back Conspiracy Theorists – And Not Just Donald Trump

In 2011, the American Conservative Union, which runs the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), issued a scathing report denouncing Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy for his crusade against ACU board members Grover Norquist and Suhail Kahn.

Gaffney has spent years claiming that Norquist and Kahn are secret agents of the Muslim Brotherhood and spearheaded a movement to boycott CPAC because of its ties to the two conservative figures. The ACU found that not only were Gaffney’s claims completely specious and unfounded, but that they were also rooted in anti-Muslim bias and personal vendettas, and the organization kicked him out of the conference.

But that was then, and though Gaffney has not repudiated or apologized for his previous attacks, he is being welcomed back to CPAC this year and his Center for Security Policy will even run several panel events as a “supporting sponsor.”

One of CSP’s panels will feature Jerry Boykin, the Family Research Council official who has also accused Norquist of secretly working for the Muslim Brotherhood. Glenn Beck, who has been campaigning to remove Norquist from the board of the National Rifle Association based largely on Gaffney's smears, will be delivering the closing address at the conference.

By appearing at CPAC, Gaffney and Boykin may be making themselves vulnerable to charges that they themselves are aiding the Muslim Brotherhood since they believe the ACU has been compromised by the extremist group’s supposed agent, Norquist.

But it seems that CPAC and its ACU parent have just become more comfortable with far-right conspiracy theorists taking the stage, even the ones who believe the ACU is part of an alleged Muslim Brotherhood influence operation to subvert the conservative movement and bring down the U.S.

CPAC, after all, is hosting the country’s most prominent right-wing conspiracy theorist: Donald Trump.

The ACU, which once rejected a proposed CPAC panel questioning President Obama’s birthplace, is now hosting one of the country’s most notorious birthers.

Perhaps Trump and Gaffney, a fellow birther, will be able to hold a panel on the topic next year.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 2/24/16

  • The California Republican Assembly has named Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver the recipient of its "Ronald Reagan Freedom Fighter Award."
  • Even after dropping out of the race for president, Mike Huckabee remains as bitter as ever.
  • Jerry Boykin has endorsed Janet Porter in her bid for a seat in the Ohio state senate.
  • Linda Harvey has penned an entirely fictional story about how the SPLC is out to label an innocent grandma as a hate group ... or something.
  • Finally, Walid Shoebat blasts his fellow anti-gay activists for refusing to "support the death penalty for pedophiles and homosexuals who rape young boys": "I see millions upon millions, crowds upon crowds, stadiums and arenas, yet not once did I see any of these major crowds marching to the White House crying for justice for the poor victims or calling for death for such reprobates as they do in the east." 

Ted Cruz Announces Endorsement From Jerry Boykin, Anti-Muslim, Anti-Gay Conspiracy Theorist

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign announced the support of yet another far-right figure today, issuing a press release touting the endorsement of Lt. General Jerry Boykin, the executive vice president of the Family Research Council.

Boykin first gained notoriety when he was publicly rebuked by the Bush administration for giving speeches framing American military conflicts in the Middle East as a religious conflict between “our God” and Satan. After retiring from the Army, Boykin threw himself into Religious Right activism, eventually landing the number-two post at the Family Research Council. (Boykin's boss, anti-gay extremist Tony Perkins, is also a Cruz endorser.)

Boykin’s career in the military came under further scrutiny last year when the Intercept reported that Boykin — who now frequently accuses the Obama administration of persecuting Christians at home and abroad — created a Pentagon program that used unwitting missionaries as spies.

His career as an activist has featured plenty of the same Holy War rhetoric for which he first became known, combined with conspiracy theories about President Obama as a terrorist sympathizer and a vision of Jesus as a “man’s man” who will return carrying an AR-15. He is deeply involved in both anti-Muslim activism and the fringe “dominionist” movement that seeks conservative Christian control over the U.S. government.

Just a few lowlights of Boykin’s career:

  • Thinks Christians should act more like ISIS and be “willing to die” for their God.

  • Blamed Obama and his supporters for the shooting at an Oregon community college, adding that we here at Right Wing Watch use “the exact same tactics” as ISIS and Al Qaeda to encourage attacks on Christians.

  • Suggested that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell led to the “absolute destruction” of our military.
  • Said that “God’s army” must fight the “evil” of gay rights.

Tony Perkins' Selective Posturing on Religious Liberty

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ self-important “State of the Family” address on Monday was not just about chaos and blood in the streets caused by marriage equality and other “confusion” about the definition of the family. It was also about religious liberty, and Perkins’ familiar charge that the “far left” wants to deny religious Americans both their freedom of speech and their freedom of religion:

“Desperate to preserve its power, the far left now seeks to label all of its critics as extremists or haters and aggressively seeks to silence all who oppose its agenda. But we should take heart even from this. Our opponents seek to limit our freedom of speech because they fear its power. They seek to restrain the expression of our convictions because they are unsure of the truth of theirs. The freedom of expression is the very essence of liberty. But there can be no liberty in America without religious liberty. In our hearts we know this to be true.”

America’s founders, said Perkins, “believed that the best account of our personal and civic duties comes not from the whims of the political class but from the transcendent truths of scripture itself.”

“It is easy to see why we now sail such dangerous seas. Many of our nation’s leading politicians and jurists believe that religion is a toxin in public life, something to be quarantined within the four walls of our churches. They want our culture stripped of the guidance of faith, the centrality of family, and the liberties that are our divine birthright. Not only will it be impermissible to publicly acknowledge the God who made us. It will be unlawful to act on our deepest understanding of Him and His commandments. Acting on conscience will be a bar to public service. It’ll be a reason to be fined or fired.

In his speech, Perkins declared, “Religious liberty must become a priority again within our foreign policy.”

The history of the last century is clear. Totalitarians of every stripe have made suppression of all religious freedom or the liberty of some religions the target of their regimes. Especially dangerous are those who feed on religious hatred. We must promote and defend religious liberty as a human right for all faiths to be able to live freely wherever they are and whoever they are. Why? Because advocating for religious liberty lets the oppressed throughout the world know that they have a friend in America. And, it sends a message to the terrorists and the tyrants as well. That knowledge bears long-term fruit for our own security. And frankly, it’s simply the right thing to do for a nation whose national motto is In God We Trust.”

Much of this statement, coming from someone else, would be unobjectionable. But coming from Perkins, it is jaw-droppingly hypocritical.

Perkins and his Family Research Council colleagues have not consistently advocated for religious liberty for people of all faiths. For example, when Religious Right groups were rallying opposition to the misnamed “Ground Zero Mosque,” FRC’s Ken Blackwell was among them. Perkins said just last month that banning Muslims from immigrating to the U.S. would not be imposing a religious test because “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion.” He has said that people are free to make their own theological choices, but that our nation was founded on “Judeo-Christian principles” and that “those who practice Islam in its entirety” will “destroy the fabric of a democracy.”

Retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, now FRC’s executive vice president, has also pushed the idea that Muslims do not deserve the protection of the First Amendment because Islam “is not just a religion, it is a totalitarian way of life.” On Bryan Fischer’s radio show in 2011 Boykin declared, “No mosques in America,” explaining, “A mosque is an embassy for Islam and they recognize only a global caliphate, not the sanctity or sovereignty of the United States.”

Perkins has even argued that Christians who support marriage equality for same-sex couples don’t have the same religious liberty protections as Christians like him because “true religious freedom” applies only to those with “orthodox religious viewpoints.” He has dismissed as “supposed Christians” those who support reproductive choice.

And Perkins has also criticized the military for accommodating “fringe religions” and suggested that it is not the government’s role “to try to put all religions on the same plane.”

In his remarks about religious freedom in the military, Perkins claimed that Boykin had been forced to withdraw from a West Point prayer breakfast “because of the pressure from atheist groups.” In reality, the most influential protest against Boykin’s appearing at West Point probably came from dozens of the military academy’s faculty and cadets, most of them Christians, who thought Boykin’s remarks painting the U.S. as waging a holy war against Islam were irresponsible and could threaten the lives of service members overseas.

Perkins also urged Congress to pass the co-called First Amendment Defense Act, which would give legal protection to those practicing anti-gay discrimination. Perkins called the bill “a first and a vital step” and he celebrated the fact that candidates Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and Rick Santorum have pledged to sign FADA in their first 100 days if the legislation makes it to their desk. 

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law.

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Religious Right Leader Reportedly Used Unwitting Missionaries As Spies, Endangering Christian Aid Workers

Before joining the Family Research Council (FRC) as its executive vice president, Gen. Jerry Boykin served in the Bush administration, where he most notably was repeatedly rebuked by the president after giving speeches in uniform painting the war on terror as a holy war against Islam. (The Army later reprimanded him again for leaking classified information).

Boykin has since claimed again and again that he was a victim of anti-Christian persecution during his time in the administration. Now, as a full-time Religious Right activist, Boykin frequently claims that President Obama is persecuting Christians at home and abroad.

He has claimed that the president backs terrorists who murder Christians and has even alleged that the president’s support for LGBT equality and reproductive rights at home are putting Christian lives at risk abroad. He has even charged that the Obama administration is pushing for anti-Christian violence here at home, talking about meeting Americans who want to “take up arms” and “fulfill their constitutional duty and take out the president.”

As it turns out, it seems that in his time in the Bush administration, Boykin was the one who was putting Christians at risk. The Intercept reported today that Boykin created a Pentagon program that put Christians in harm’s way by using missionaries, some of them unwitting, as spies.

By turning a Christian NGO into an American spy front, experts warned reporter Matthew Cole, Boykin’s program could endanger all Christian charitable workers who can now be accused by foreign governments of secretly working as American spies, possibly leading to imprisonment or execution.

Cole writes that Boykin’s “brainchild” was an operation to secretly steer around $15 million from the Pentagon to a group known as Humanitarian International Services Group (HISG), which Boykin and others then turned into a spying operation against North Korea.

The revelation that the Pentagon used an NGO and unwitting humanitarian volunteers for intelligence gathering is the result of a monthslong investigation by The Intercept. In the course of the investigation, more than a dozen current and former military and intelligence officials, humanitarian aid workers, missionaries, U.S. officials, and former HISG staffers were interviewed. The U.S. government officials who were familiar with the Pentagon operation and HISG’s role asked for anonymity because discussing classified military and intelligence matters would put them at risk of prosecution. The Pentagon had no comment on HISG or the espionage operations in North Korea.

Before it was finally dismantled in 2013, Hiramine’s organization received millions in funding from the Pentagon through a complex web of organizations designed to mask the origin of the cash, according to one of the former military officials familiar with the program, as well as documentation reviewed for this article.

The use of HISG for espionage was “beyond the pale” of what the U.S. government should be allowed to do, said Sam Worthington, president of InterAction, an association of nearly 200 American NGOs. The practice of using humanitarian workers as spies “violates international principles” and puts legitimate aid and development workers at risk, he argued.

“It is unacceptable that the Pentagon or any other U.S. agency use nonprofits for intelligence gathering,” Worthington said. “It is a violation of the basic trust between the U.S. government and its civic sector.”

HISG had experience shipping “medical equipment, clothing, and disaster relief supplies around the world,” and would later use those services to move military equipment.

The Pentagon tasked [HISG founder Kay] Hiramine with gathering the intelligence it needed inside North Korea, and Hiramine would in turn utilize HISG’s access to the country to complete the assignments, according to two former military officials with knowledge of the effort. Hiramine, in his role as CEO of HISG, tapped Christian missionaries, aid workers, and Chinese smugglers to move equipment into and around North Korea — none of whom had any idea that they were part of a secret Pentagon operation.



Because American intelligence has so few assets inside North Korea, much of Hiramine’s task was to find transportation routes to move military equipment — and potentially clandestine operatives — in and around the country. The Pentagon would eventually move sensors and small radio beacons through Hiramine’s transportation network, according to another former military official. Much of what Hiramine was doing was what the military refers to as “operational preparation of the environment,” or OPE, a category that encompasses clandestine intelligence gathering and prepositioning equipment inside a country for future conflicts.

The North Korean government frequently accuses its foreign prisoners of spying for the West or trying to overthrow the government. One such prisoner was American missionary Kenneth Bae, whose case become a cause célèbre of the FRC, which used his imprisonment in North Korea to criticize Obama for supposedly failing to defend Christians abroad. As Lee Fang, a contributor to the Intercept report, put it, Boykin condemns Muslims and gays for supposedly “persecuting Christians” while his own actions “endangered Christian charities across the world.”

Programs like the one Boykin reportedly helped create threaten to give governments like North Korea a reason to clampdown on NGOs and aid workers, including missionaries, by claiming that they are working as American spies.

Fears that this would happen led to the dissolution of the program, and HISG not-so-coincidentally shut its doors not long afterwards. A group steering Pentagon dollars to HISG also closed down, donating “its remaining funds as a gift to the federal government.”

The longer HISG operated and became more legitimate, the more opportunities would be available to U.S. military and intelligence officials to run operations in other countries as they had in North Korea. In other words, Hiramine’s ability to use HISG to form partnerships and working relationships with other unsuspecting aid workers and missionaries would give the Pentagon more places to spy, according to one of the former military officials. That official would not say whether Hiramine was tasked with operating in countries besides North Korea.



“If these people had been caught and tried and executed in downtown Pyongyang you’d really understand the risk,” said Robert Baer, a retired CIA officer who spent more than 20 years conducting espionage operations.

Using humanitarian and aid workers for gathering intelligence has always been risky. U.S. intelligence policy prohibits using American clergy, journalists, or Peace Corps volunteers as a cover to conduct espionage. Using NGOs is not strictly prohibited, but though it is not unprecedented, it is dangerous.

In recent years, the risk of using legitimate aid workers as cover for spying has had deadly repercussions.



In 2012, now-retired Adm. William McRaven, the commander of the Special Operations Command in Tampa, Florida, who oversaw the Osama bin Laden raid, shut down the North Korea spying program.

McRaven told us he shut it down because he was nervous about the flap if it ever got out that the Pentagon had used a bunch of evangelicals and missionaries as spies,” said one former military officer, adding that if the program had produced better intelligence McRaven would have considered keeping it up and running. McRaven did not respond to a request for comment.

In January 2013, Hiramine and his fellow HISG executives announced to their employees that they were shuttering the organization. “We got no warning,” said Jennings, the former HISG program director. “We had no jobs, no severance, and no explanation. All they said was ‘we lost our funding.’”
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