Jerry Johnson

Janet Jackson, ISIS And The Amish: Religious Right Group Fears First Amendment On Last Legs

When Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB), told the Values Voter Summit on Friday that the U.S. is witnessing the rise of “self-imposed Sharia law” due to the gay rights movement, it turns out that he was just getting started.

The next day, Johnson — whose group represents evangelical radio and television programs — hosted a panel discussion on how the First Amendment is “under siege” by liberals. Johnson and his fellow panelists Craig Parshall, an NRB official and husband of right-wing talk show host Janet Parshall, and Canadian Religious Right activist Charles McVety, stoked fears about the persecution of Christians in the United States, including warning that Janet Jackson’s decade-old “wardrobe malfunction” could lead to laws criminalizing anti-gay speech.

Johnson suggested that the anti-gay Benham brothers somehow had their constitutional rights violated when HGTV dropped their planned reality show, and repeatedly made misleading claims about a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling. He warned that without Citizens United, “private citizens” would be barred from “weighing in on elections,” which of course implies that citizens did not have those rights prior to 2010, when the case was decided.

McVety, the Canadian, claimed that the U.S. is on the verge of doing away with the First Amendment because he has heard “whispers of hate speech” laws on the horizon, alleging that even quoting from the Bible may soon become a criminal offense in America. Outside of the “whispers” he claims to have heard, McVety cited no evidence at all substantiating his claim about the imminent passage of unconstitutional hate speech laws.

McVety explained his theory that U.S. activists will use ISIS propaganda videos of hostage beheadings as an excuse to enact laws banning hate speech. “I can see it coming in America,” he said.

Johnson also tried to find evidence to back up the panel’s dire warnings of constitutional collapse, warning that the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) may cite the fines levied against Janet Jackson for her 2004 Super Bowl “wardrobe malfunction” as a precedent for fining conservative TV personalities under the guise of preserving public order and decency.

The halftime show controversy, of course, occurred a decade ago without any of the horrible results that Johnson predicted, and the NRB actually supported the FCC in the case. Seeing that the NRB filed an amicus curiae brief under Parshall’s name defending the FCC’s fine [PDF], Johnson appears to suggest that his own organization is threatening the First Amendment.

Parshall also grasped at straws in an effort to find evidence of imminent dangers to the First Amendment.

After discussing “Spanish inquisition-type investigations” taking place in America and a “tsunami” of threats to the freedom of speech, Parshall could only cite the Supreme Court’s decision in Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 case that struck down anti-sodomy laws. He said the ruling paved the way for hate speech laws because of the majority opinion’s use of international law in its decision.

Since U.S. courts citing foreign laws is nothing new, we can only assume that Parshall merely cited Lawrence to raise fears about the gay-Sharia menace that Johnson previously warned about.

Parshall then railed against hate speech policies on social media outlets like Twitter and Facebook, which of course have their own policies that users agree to uphold and do not represent the government.

Parshall also pointed to the Amish beard shaving case — in which a group of people from an Amish sect were charged with breaking federal hate crime laws, among other counts, for forcibly and violently shaving the beards and cutting the hair of former sect members — to claim that the Justice Department used the hate crime charges against the Amish beard-cutters in order to give them more leeway for future prosecutions over hate speech.

An appeals court recently overturned the religious-based hate crime conviction, finding that prosecutors couldn’t prove that the attacks were motivated for religious reasons, rather than familial, political or personal disputes (two of the victims were the parents of their assailants).

Essentially, the NRB panel’s extreme claims about the imminent annihilation of the bedrock of the U.S. Constitution came down to a string of possibly-maybe-this-could-happen incidents that wed together Janet Jackson, ISIS and Amish beard-cutters.

Johnson concluded his remarks by saying that the “NRB will be for the First Amendment what the NRA is for the Second Amendment.”

If that means making completely outlandish statements and developing doomsday conspiracy theories to spur political outrage and raise money, then his comparison is right on.

Jerry Johnson Thinks Obama Is Snubbing Straight People By Using The Term 'LGBT'

Jerry Johnson, president of the National Religious Broadcasters, closed out the "Marriage in America" panel at the Values Voters Summit today by declaring that if young people are supporting marriage equality because they want to be "on the right side of history," then anti-gay marriage activists need to explain to them that they have it exactly backwards.

Right after the audience gave a standing ovation to Aaron and Melissa Klein, bakery owners who became Religious Right celebrities for refusing service to a gay couple, Johnson went on to criticize President Obama for using the term "LGBT."

"He never says 'gay and straight' any more, now it's 'LGBT.' Straight is not even in that mix," Johnson said. "That's an interesting point."

Um, no it is not.

Later, Johnson urged Christians not to live under "some self-imposed sharia law on this issue" and instead start making the case for "natural marriage" by explaining to young people that opposing gay marriage puts them on the right side of history:

National Religious Broadcasters: Boehner, GOP Leaders Agree Government Will Try To Shut Us Down

In an interview with the American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon at the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB) convention yesterday, NRB president Jerry Johnson said that the FCC or the IRS will try to shut down religious television broadcasts as a result of “de facto Sharia law” and the issue of same-sex marriage.

“I think there is a de facto Sharia law effect, where we’re not under Sharia law but broadcasters feel like they can’t talk about Jesus and the Quran, Jesus and Mohammad,” Johnson warned. “The government has a new view of marriage, they are pushing it down and increasingly broadcasters and folks in industry—we’re seeing industry censorship.”

Later in the interview, Johnson said that he recently told Speaker John Boehner, Republican senators and congressman. and an FCC commissioner that “it won’t be long” until the FCC threatens broadcasters’ licenses or the IRS scrutinizes their tax status over their stance on same-sex marriage. “This threat is coming and I want to say all of these men agreed with me, all of them.” 

We can assure Johnson that every day we observe broadcasters—both secular and religious—criticize same-sex marriage and Islam without limits on their speech. 

Anti-Mormon Activist Asks if Christians Would Vote for a Member of the First Church of Satan

Earlier this week we wrote a post about Jerry Johnson and his role in formulating a document calling on Christian leaders who decide to back Mitt Romney to also make clear that Mormonism is a cult. As Johnson explained, he personally will not be voting for either President Obama or Mitt Romney because that is like having to choose between "voting for the Beast or the False Prophet."

Of course, if there is some Christian activist out there urging Christian voters not to support Mitt Romney because of his Mormon faith, it is only a matter of time before they are invited to make their case on Steve Deace's radio program ... just as Johnson was last night.

Johnson made the case that Christians are misinformed about the true nature of Mormonism, thanks to people like David Barton who is "hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck," and asked whether Christians would be willing to vote for a member of the First Church of Satan if the candidate supported the conservative agenda, warning that the "anybody but Obama" mindset was going to drive the nation and the church "into the arms of perdition" and prevent God from blessing America:

55% of evangelicals either don't know what Mormonism teaches or they don't know that Christianity teaches. And that is our failure, that is the great calamity that we're facing right now thanks to people like Joel Olsteen and Rick Warren and David Barton, who is hugging and kissing all over Glenn Beck, calling him his brother in Christ.

Suppose you had a real conservative running again Barack Obama ... who was fiscally conservative, he believed in the right to keep and bear arms, all the things that conservatives hold to. But let's say he was a member of the First Church of Satan. Would his religion now make a difference? Would you be out endorsing and campaigning for him if he was a member of the Satanic Church?

Right now the attitude is in the country, or specifically within the Republican Party, anybody but Obama. And this idea, this mindset is going to drive, I believe, this country and even the church into the arms of perdition in many ways.

The issue is the blessings and curse of God. He is the one who is sovereign, dread sovereign, over all the universe. And we are reaping today the curses of God, I believe, in this country. So here's my question, I ask folks: do we really believe that God is going to bless America if we elect a professed polytheist to the highest office of the land?

Anti-Mormon Activist Warns Romney and Obama Represent 'Twin Evils'

Last month we noted that many Religious Right leaders have tried to rationalize their fundamentalist version of Christianity with voting for a Mormon candidate for president by arguing that it isn’t a problem since Romney supports “biblical values” and Obama, they allege, does not. Others, such as televangelist Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson, and activists like David Barton, have gone so far as to say that Mormons are indeed Christians.

Now, a group of pastors has released a document, For the Sake of the Gospel, saying that if Christian leaders decide to back Mitt Romney, they must clearly distinguish the theological differences between Mormonism and Christianity:

If an evangelical Christian chooses to vote for Mr. Romney (President Obama or any candidate), that is a decision between themselves and God.

The purpose of this call to evangelical Christians and leaders is two-fold:

1. To protect the purity and integrity of the Biblical Gospel.

2. To seize the opportunity to educate the America Public and Christians to the fundamental differences between historic Christian faith and that of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons).



It is our contention that the general population should not be left with any uncertainty whether the theological cult1 of which Mitt Romney is a faithful member, namely The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and historic evangelical Christianity are one and the same faith. This we adamantly deny!

Jerry Johnson of the Nicene Council spoke to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the document and like others such as Warren Cole Smith of World Magazine, cautioned that electing a Mormon president would give the church a powerful tool in their mission work and warned against pastors describing Romney as a Christian. He told Mefferd that he would not vote for either Romney or Obama, lamenting that “the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet” and calling the two candidates “twin evils.”

Johnson: Why can’t the Christian Church understand that this election cycle goes beyond Mitt Romney, beyond Barack Obama, even beyond the United States of America, it has to be about the Gospel. Too many Christians are just willing to either rationalize like Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen, they’re willing to rationalize and become very pragmatic, and it appears, I don’t know if they realize they’re doing this, but my question to them would be: what’s more important, the United States of America and its Constitution or the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Mefferd: Well that’s a no-brainer right there, yet you have a lot of Christians who say ‘we have to endorse Romney, we have to get behind Romney, or we’ll get Obama for a second term,’ what do you say to those Christians?

Johnson: I say to them that in this election cycle the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet. I for one, I’m not going to vote for either. This is not an issue of the lesser of two evils; I actually see two twin evils here.

Johnson also posted a video outlining “why Mormonism is a cult”:

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