Jordan Sekulow

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/9/15

ACLJ: Blasphemy Laws For Me, But Not For Thee?

Yesterday, Miranda reported on the seemingly contradictory views of the American Center for Law and Justice’s European and Slavic affiliates when it comes to blasphemy laws. The ECLJ has been vocal in opposing blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority countries, but the SCLJ supported passage of a new anti-blasphemy law in Russia. The law provides for fines, “correctional labor” and up to three years behind bars for “public actions expressing obvious disrespect toward society and committed to abuse the religious feelings of believers.” SCLJ’s co-chairman Vladimir Rehyakovsky expressed some reservations about the final form of the law, but said it was “very important” to have such a law in place.

So, where does the ACLJ stand on blasphemy laws?  On one hand, it is proud of its opposition in international forums like the United Nations to blasphemy laws that are used by Islamist governments to restrict religious expression.  In 2011, the ACLJ said the UN’s Human Rights Committee endorsed an ECLJ-backed position that “no right exists to protect the reputation of an ideology, rather human rights belongs to individuals.”

But more than a decade ago, in response to an “Ask Jay” question posted on the ACLJ’s website, the group’s chief counsel, Jay Sekulow, said it was “an unfortunate situation” that states no longer have laws against blasphemy, something he blamed on “the ACLU and those who trumpet the First Amendment as a license to really degrade people.”  Sekulow bemoaned the fact that “religion lacks protection in the law.”

Joe from Rhode Island asks: In Black’s classic law dictionary, blasphemy is illegal. When did it become legal to mock a person’s faith in God?

Jay answers: Black’s is the standard of legal definitions that law students are given around the country and Black’s is still cited in Supreme Court decisions. Not only in English common law but also in most states in the USA, blasphemy was prohibited speech. Clearly, the ACLU and those who trumpet the First Amendment as a license to really degrade people have changed that and that’s an unfortunate situation. But you’re absolutely correct, Black’s Law Dictionary is right. There are many definitions like that in Black’s, but religion lacks protection in the law. Not only is religion seen as irrelevant, but religion is trivialized and even mocked. This behavior has become an accepted part of who we are as a people and in some cases the Supreme Court hasn’t been particularly helpful in that context. The composition of the Supreme Court is obviously something we’re always watching because we know that with the more conservative court obviously some of our values will be more protected. Things have changed drastically if you look at our history, and it’s not even old history. Our country is still very young, but things are very different since our founding. We’re continuing to hope here at the American Center for Law and Justice that history will continue to change in a way that protects the rights of religious people across America. This is what we’re working toward. Selection of Supreme Court Justices is critical in the interpretation of these kinds of cases.

So it appears that the ACLJ is ready to champion free speech when it comes to opposing blasphemy laws in Muslim-majority countries, but supports restrictions on blasphemy in place where Christians are in the majority.  Perhaps that double standard is not much of a surprise, given that the ACLJ, which portrays itself as a champion of religious liberty, helped lead opposition to the construction of a Muslim community center in New York that critics inaccurately called the “Ground Zero Mosque.”

The ACLJ is a legal group founded by televangelist Pat Robertson and run by Jay Sekulow and his son Jordan in a manner that is very lucrative for the Sekulow family.

There Are Two Christian Right Movies Called 'Persecuted' Coming Out This Year

We’ve written quite a bit about the Religious Right’s conviction that conservative Christians in the U.S. are facing religious persecution through things like gay rights and the expansion of contraception access. Well, in case we needed a confirmation that this is in fact the direction of the right-wing zeitgeist, it turns out that are several movies coming out this year about the supposed oppression of Christians in America. And two of them have the same title: “Persecuted.”

The much higher-budget, star-studded production is directed by 30-year-old Daniel Lusco, whose previous films have included collaborations with End Times alarmist Joel Rosenberg and a fawning documentary about former general and current Family Research Council vice president Jerry Boykin’s anti-Muslim activism.

Lusco's "Persecuted" stars James Remar and Dean Stockwell and includes guest appearances by Fox News anchor Gretchen Carlson (in her film debut!) and former Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson.

A press release outlines the plot:

PERSECUTED tells the story of a modern-day evangelist named John Luther, played by SAG Award-nominated and Saturn Award winning actor James Remar ( X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, "Dexter", DJANGO: UNCHAINED, WHAT LIES BENEATH, RED). Luther is the last hold out for a national endorsement to make sweeping reform in freedom of speech. As the government is mandating political correctness while covertly waging a war against religious organizations, a U.S. Senator, portrayed by Oscar-nominated actor Bruce Davison (X-MEN, "Lost", "Castle"), and his political allies create a sinister plan of denial and scandal to frame John Luther for murder. Suddenly his once normal life is turned upside down as he becomes a fugitive vowing to expose those responsible. It is a mission that brings him face-to-face with the coming storm of persecution that will threaten the moral ethics and freedoms of America.

American Center for Law and Justice director Jordan Sekulow, who also has a cameo in the film, explained today to the Christian Post that he doesn’t think the premise of the movie is that far-fetched:

On the surface, "Persecuted" plays out like many government thrillers. Similar to movies based upon Tom Clancy novels, it has a hero with limited resources faced off against corrupt politicians and government officials. Central to the plot, though, is an effort by the president and his cronies to pass the "Faith and Fairness Act," which would be similar to a "fairness doctrine" for religious groups. If this law were passed, religious broadcasters would be required to present all religious points of view when presenting their own point of view.

The notion that such a law could actually be passed in the United States is not out of the realm of possibility, Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, explained to The Christian Post. The law is similar to a resolution that was passed at the United Nations about the defamation of religion.

"It's backed predominantly by Islamic countries, but in the name of tolerance, so that they can criminalize defamation or defamatory speech so that you effectively become a criminal if you say Jesus is the only way, that becomes criminal. So it's real," Sekulow said.

Carlson apparently agrees. She told Charisma in December, “There’s a Christian message here, a political message here and I think that it is very timely in regard to what some politicians might do in some cases to get things done.”

The star-studded “Persecuted” will be released this spring and had a pre-screening this week that was reportedly attended by several members of Congress. The competing “Persecuted” hasn’t been so lucky. First-time director Benjamin Bondar apparently originally intended his “Persecuted” to be a feature film but after a Kickstarter funding campaign failed is now editing it into a short film to submit to Cannes.

Bondar’s film is set in the Soviet Union, but is clearly meant to be an allegorical tale about the United States today. Describing the film as “a romantic thriller about socialism, atheism, & the ultimate corruption of BIG GOVERNMENT,” its Facebook page outlines the plot:

After several failed attempts to capture four Evangelists who have been effectively supporting Christianity throughout the Soviet Union, the Soviet government orders its best trained undercover KGB officer to infiltrate the Christian Church and stop the growing number of believers through whatever means possible. While attempting to help his government abolish Christianity and find the elusive criminals, KGB officer Vavilov falls in love with Julia, a beautiful Christian girl. For the first time, he questions his government’s agenda, the meaning of life, and his own need for salvation.

In a Facebook comment in response to a skeptical viewer, Bondar wrote, “The unfortunate reality in the U.S. is that both socialist policies and atheist propaganda are actively trying to marginalize and demonize the practice of established religions such as Christianity. I feel that watching this movie with an open and attentive mind will help prove this point by providing a historical context with which to view current events happening in the U.S. right now.”

These two films are by no means the only ones coming out this year pushing the Christian persecution narrative. Liberty Counsel’s film “Uncommon” will take on the supposed crisis of “religious liberty in public school.”

Barber: No 'Christian in Good Conscience' can Support Obama; Trust Romney to Appoint Right-Wing Judges

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber and his boss Mat Staver were consistent critics of Mitt Romney and endorsed Newt Gingrich in the Republican primary, but now Barber is out with a new column begging the Religious Right to coalesce behind Romney and today spoke to Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice about his new found support for the former governor. Barber ironically began the interview by commenting that the ACLJ, like him, was probably bothered by Romney’s inconsistent record, even though both Jay and Jordan Sekulow vigorously supported Romney both times he ran for president and ACLJ attorney David French founded the group Evangelicals for Romney.

He said he came around to supporting Romney because of his pledge to nominate right-wing judges. “The one word that made the decision for me is judges,” Barber told Sekulow, warning that if Obama can make more appointments to the judiciary then he will create a “radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation.”

Barber went on to claim that he couldn’t “imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama.” Or as Barber puts it in his column, “any Christian who votes for Mr. Obama will get to take that up with God.”

The one word that made the decision for me is judges. Probably the most significant thing that any president can do for better or for worse and this may not be how our Founding Fathers intended it but it is the reality we live in is to appoint judges, particularly United States Supreme Court justices. The next president, either Barack Obama, radical secular socialist, or Mitt Romney, center-right Republican, the next president is going to appoint at least probably two, potentially three United States Supreme Court judges. That will affect law, public policy, our culture at large in perpetuity, for as far out as we can see for decades, it literally will make the difference. This next election I think is the most important election we ever faced in our lifetimes, it will make the difference based on Supreme Court appointments alone between an America that we can recognize, that at least resembles what our Founding Fathers intended, versus a radical, secular, socialist, European-style nation, which is the goal of Barack Obama.



A Christian non-vote is a vote for Barack Obama in that it fails to affirmatively cancel out an Obama vote. I can’t imagine any Christian in good conscience based on Obama’s radical, counter-biblical, anti-Christian, pro-abortion, pro-homosexual activism policies voting for Barack Obama. That leaves a final choice, and that is to get out, vote for Mitt Romney, and get out the vote for Mitt Romney.

Rep. Trent Franks says Abortion Rights Supporters are on the 'Wrong Side' of 'History and Eternity'

Last week, Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) appeared on Jay Sekulow Live to voice support for his PRENDA bill, which would ban abortion on the basis of gender. Franks admitted that the legislation was essentially a ruse to push the criminalization of all abortions, and while PRENDA received a majority of votes it failed to pass because it needed a two-thirds majority to pass under the suspension of the rules. Franks intends to bring the bill up again for a vote.

On Thursday, Franks told American Center for Law and Justice executive director Jordan Sekulow, who was sitting in for his father, that opponent of his bill will be “on the wrong side of justice and the wrong side of humanity, both in history and eternity.” Back in 2009, Franks dubbed President Obama an “enemy of humanity” due to his support of abortion rights.

Sekulow: People are calling this show, congressman, and saying ‘why is this so controversial? How is this even having to be debated?” But we’re one of those countries, congressman, that has no laws on this whatsoever.

Franks: That’s true. There’s a lot of reason why this gives the left indigestion. It shouldn’t. They should just say, ‘you know what this is a good bill and we’re going to vote for it because if we don’t we’re going to find ourselves on the wrong side of justice and the wrong side of humanity, both in history and eternity.’ You know this is a serious, serious issue.

Rep. Tim Huelskamp Says the Obama Administration is 'Using the Military as a Guinea Pig' for the 'Radical Homosexual Agenda'

After telling Family Research Council president Tony Perkins back in April that the Obama administration is working with the “radical homosexual movement” at the expense of religious freedom, Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) told Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice last week on his radio show that the Obama administration is “using the military as a guinea pig for their implementation of a pretty radical homosexual agenda.” Huelskamp was promoting his Military Religious Freedom Protection Act, which like other conservative bills uses the language of religious liberty to cloak anti-gay intentions, as Huelskamp’s legislation prohibits military facilities from being used for ceremonies recognizing same-sex unions. The congressman told Sekulow that the Obama administration is trying to rewrite sermons and warned that “if we lose this cultural war we are going to lose everything for the next generation.”

Huelskamp: In my opinion this administration is attacking traditional marriage on multiple accounts. Not only in the courtroom but I believe they are using the military as a guinea pig for their implementation of a pretty radical homosexual agenda, first of all with the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but the follow up has been that many chaplains and many other service members that are not chaplains feel like their religious liberties are under attack, they’ve been pressured to change their public positions and certain military chaplains have been told to revise their actual sermons. The audacity of the administration to say ‘we don’t like that part of Corinthians and we’re going to make certain you don’t preach about that’ as a result I introduced the Military Religious Freedom Protection Act which said if you are a chaplain or any other member of the military, you don’t give up your religious conscience in order to defend our country.



If you look at a map of the United States, of those who have marriage amendments in their constitutions, nearly every state has some protections in their statute as well, not all of them but nearly every one, if you count up those electoral voters that’s over 400 votes out of 535 needed to elect the next president. This is a winning issue, number one, but more importantly it is the right thing to do. We can get the economy right, we can get the size of the government right, but if we lose this cultural war we are going to lose everything for the next generation.

Romney Successfully Wooing the Religious Right with Promises of Right Wing Judges

Last week, we unveiled a campaign featuring a website, web ad, and report exposing Mitt Romney’s dangerous agenda for America’s courts, as demonstrated by the fact that Robert Bork has been tapped to lead Romney's constitutional and judicial advisory team.

As the report noted, Romney's choice of judicial advisors "spells serious trouble for the American people" ...  and it is no surprise that it is also music to the ear of the Religious Right.

On today's episode of "WallBuilders Live," David Barton and Rick Green invited Jordan Sekulow, who worked for Romney back in 2008, to make the case as to why the Religious Right can and should support Romney.  While Green was skeptical at first, Barton needed no convincing because Jay Sekulow (Jordan's father) was going to be involved in picking Romney's judges and that was all he needed to hear:

This has not been a hard thing for evangelicals to get over and support Romney and it shouldn't be a hard thing. When Romney ran four years ago, he wasn't my first choice but the reason I never got really worried about Romney was Jay Sekulow. And I tell you he has been very intimately involved in helping get folks like Alito and Roberts on the court. And four years ago, I heard that Sekulow is the guy that Romney has tapped to choose his judges and I said "that's it." I don't have any trouble with Romney because Isaiah 1:26 tells me the righteousness of nation is determined, not by the legislature, but by its judges. And if Romney's got folks like Sekulow picking his judges, I can live with that in a heartbeat.

When Jordan Sekulow joined the program, he made the case that conservatives should support Romney because he has pledged to nominate judges like Samuel Alito and John Roberts and has filled his campaign with people who are going to keep his feet to the fire:

Green: How important is it for us to recognize that if Romney is president, who has his ear? Who are the people that will consider those judges versus another four years of Obama if he gets another quarter of the judiciary appointed?

Sekulow: You've already got people who are long-time Romney supporters like my dad, who has argued thirteen cases before the Supreme Court and was very involved with President Bush - he was one of four people that were involved in the nomination process in the Bush White House - and so if you like Alito and Roberts, these are the kind of people. You have Judge Bork, who was filibustered by the Senate, voted down by the Senate actually, and he is on the Romney committee.

...

You want Kagan and Sotomayor, and I was at the Supreme Court during the 'Obamacare' oral arguments, you probably don't want more of that, or do you want more Alito and Roberts? And he's made those pledges; I think we need to come to the campaign say "alright, you made these pledges, we're going to keep you honest to them and keep your feet to the fire."

The ACLJ Is A Sekulow Family Affair

Earlier this month Bob Smietana of The Tennessean wrote a long article about how Jay Sekulow appears to be using the American Center For Law and Justice as a means to enrich himself and his family to the tune of millions of dollars.  This was very similar to an article Tony Mauro wrote for The Legal Times back in 2005.

Of course, Sekulow and the ACLJ say such reports present a "biased and distorted picture of the truth" but you'd think that amid such reports, they'd be a little leery of doing anything that reinforce this perception ... say, like getting the National Journal to write a profile [PDF] of their new Social Media Director who also just so happens to be getting married to Sekulow's son [and ACLJ Executive Director] Jordan next month:

Anna Handzlik considers herself in job heaven. Every day, she works with her best friend – soon-to-be-husband Jordan Sekulow – to connect people with their political causes.

Handzlik has just begun a transition to the American Center for Law and Justice’s new media team. In her position, she will be blogging, working with social media, and signing on as a regular commentator for the Jordan Sekulow Show on satellite and broadcast radio stations to discuss developments in new media and how they relate to the political landscape.

Fox News Targets Media Matters with Strange Spokesperson

Fox News is apparently getting tired of media watchdog Media Matters  pointing out the network’s inaccuracies and right-wing bias. How else to explain the recent even-less-fair-and-balanced-than-usual attack  on Media Matters and its tax status?

While flashing phrases like “Tax-Paid Propaganda” and “Gov’t Funded Group Launching Media ‘War’” on the screen, Fox News’ Steve Doocy complains about Media Matters’ nonprofit status “subsidizing their agenda and their war on Fox News” and asking why the IRS and the Federal Government lets Media Matters “get away with it.”
 
Doocy sought out Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law & Justice (ACLJ), a Religious Right legal group created when Pat Robertson wanted a legal arm for the Christian Coalition. Sekulow gave Fox what it was looking for:
You cannot be a wing of the Democrat Party and get 501 c3 status. The terminology that they’re using, their founder and their directors are using, is very dangerous if you’re trying to keep your tax exempt status, saying that Fox news has now taken over the Republican Party and that they’ve declared a guerilla war on Fox News means that they are a purely partisan organization. That doesn’t qualify under 501 c3 status.
There’s a huge basic flaw in this argument. Engaging in a public battle of ideas, like calling out Fox for its demonstrated bias, is not the kind of electoral work that is off-limits for 501 c3 groups, even if you accept, as Sekulow seems to be saying, that Fox has indeed become simply an arm of the Republican Party. 
 
Moreover, Sekulow was an extremely odd choice to be making accusations about partisanship. “I’m a pretty partisan guy, as you know,” he told attendees at the recent Faith & Freedom Coalition summit, where he represented ACLJ. “If we actually want to beat this administration, which has been the most aggressive on these issues, we still have to vote Republican, we still have to unite….Let’s get ready to unite, whoever the GOP nominates, and stop this administration.” He also bragged that the Religious Right had taken over the Republican Party and “made it ours.”

As Sekulow acknowledged, the ACLJ is itself a 501 c3 organization. So by Doocy’s logic, shouldn’t the “government-funded” ACLJ and the “tax-paid propaganda” put out by Sekulow and the ACLJ warrant a federal investigation? How about the “federal subsidies” going to support the lavish multiple-homes-and-private-jet lifestyle reportedly  enjoyed by Sekulow’s father, Jay, thanks to the tax-exempt dollars that flow into the ACLJ and connected organizations?

At Ralph Reed Confab, Obama Portrayed as Enemy of Faith and Freedom

Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition gathering in Washington, D.C. this past weekend was essentially a relentless repetition of the GOP’s 2012 attack themes on the Obama administration, mixed with Religious Right leaders’ demands that the Tea Party not abandon social conservatives’ priorities and conservative politicos’ appeals for unity behind whichever candidate emerges from the presidential crowd.  Just about everyone running, or thinking about running, for the presidency on the Republican side was in attendance with the exception of Newt Gingrich.

One of the easiest, and most frequently used, ways to get applause at F&F was to pledge that Obama will be a one-term president.  Among the other major themes:
 
American Exceptionalism
 
Former Senator Rick Santorum, who officially announced his presidential bid this morning, said his campaign theme will be American exceptionalism.  Unfortunately, for Santorum, it seems that every Republican candidate is talking about American exceptionalism – and the claim that President Obama, Democrats, and “liberal elites” don’t believe that the U.S. is the God-ordained greatest nation in the history of the world – so it’s going to be hard to break away from the pack on that score.  Gary Bauer claimed that American elites don’t believe the words of the Declaration of Independence. 
 
‘Obamacare’ = Socialism = The End of Freedom
 
Many speakers cited health care reform as the ultimate example of the Democrats’ commitment to freedom-destroying socialism.  Carrie Severino of the Judicial Crisis Network said it was one example of progressives’ tendency to say “to hell with the Constitution” when it got in the way of their policy goals.  Rep. Allen West even attacked the notion of “shared sacrifice,” which he said was code for “redistribution of wealth,” which is how the right-wing looks at progressive taxation.  Rep. Tom Price, who clearly needs to spend some time studying American history, called the health care reform bill “the furthest reach of oppression that this society has ever seen.”  Others similarly insisted that the implementation of the law would mean the end of liberty in America.  Michele Bachman shouted, “I will not rest until we repeal Obamacare. America will not rest until we repeal Obamacare.”  Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli said the fight against Obamacare is just one sign that federalism is reemerging.  He argued that Americans need to understand that there is a “liberty pie” that does not grow – and it has only two slices, government power and individual liberty – and one necessarily grows at the expense of the other. 
 
America Needs More Religion (as long as it’s not Islam)
 
The FFC was long on Religious Right rhetoric on religion and politics.  The pastor who gave the opening prayer for the conference gave thanks for “a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith.”  The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins exulted that it was good to be among folks who are “not ashamed to defend the Christian principles on which this nation was founded.”  The Republican National Committee’s Reince Priebus said America’s greatness is “rooted in our faith” and that “faith in our God, and faith in our savior” is “not a convenience, it is the foundation of a good life.” But Islam was clearly deemed a threat, with one participant telling a contentiouspanel on Sharia law that in Minnesota “we practically have a Muslim state.”  
 
Reproductive Rights and Gay Rights = Big Government
 
In the “Social Issues: Why They Still Matter” panel, John Fund of the Wall Street Journal discussed “the psychology of those who are trying to undermine the moral fiber of this country,” arguing that liberals are compelled by a lust for power and therefore need to “control people” and “lower standards of society as a whole.” Fund explained that “if you can lower standards” by permitting legal abortion and gay equality, then liberals can gain control over society, and insisted that “we have to bring back shaming” of women who had abortions because “we need to be judgmental about this issue, we need to call out people for the choices that they made, ‘shaming’ is not a bad word in this society.” On a separate panel, National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher said, “When you redefine marriage, you also redefine the relationship between Genesis and the American tradition,” which would jeopardize freedom because “in some cases, the power of government is already being used to marginalize and stigmatize people who disagree with the foundational ideas of same-sex marriage.”
 
Obama as Enemy of Israel
 
Michele Bachman was one of several speakers who misportrayed recent Obama administration comments about Israel, calling them a “shocking display of betraying our greatest friend and ally.” One participant commented that “life, liberty, and Israel” were the elements that make up “the pursuit of happiness.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may soon be referring to Israel as “the Zionist regime” and Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission implied that Obama may bringing upon the country the curse of God for his policy towards Israel. Peter Roff of U.S. News and World Report lamented that “the American Jewish community is for some reason enamored of Democratic politicians in general and Barack Obama specifically.”
 
Unified Conservative Movement
 
FRC’s Perkins was among many Religious Right speakers who argued for keeping social conservatives’ priorities at the forefront of the movement in the name of conservative movement unity.  Perkins used a strange mixed metaphor, saying it is the “bottom of the ninth for our beloved country” and no time to lapse into an undisciplined orchestra, calling for a “rousing symphony” – drums of national defense, the horns of economic abundance, and the strings that bind a strong family.  Among others who sounded the same theme were Indiana gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence, who said, “we have to recognize that our present crisis is not just economic or political but moral in nature” and touted the importance of the sanctity of life, “traditional marriage,” and the importance of organized religion in our daily life.
 
Haley Barbour, one of the potential presidential candidates who decided not to run, devoted his remarks to lecturing attendees about the need to rally behind whichever candidate was nominated even though the nominee won’t be perfect.  “In politics,” he said, “purity is the enemy of victory.” Tony Blankley warned that the media and Democrats would love to “divide and conquer” the movement.
 
Advocating for social issues at the FFC was clearly preaching to the choir.  But some Tea Party activists were clearly annoyed by the “you’re nothing without us” attitude of Religious Right activists Jordan Sekulow and Matt Barber at a panel on the “Teavangelicals” that was moderated by the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody.

Reed: Cain and Bachmann Will Be The Religious Right's Candidates of Choice

Ralph Reed's "Faith and Freedom Conference & Summit" kicks off on Friday and, as today's New York Times reports, it serves as proof that Reed has been able to shrug off his deep ties to Jack Abramoff and regain his prominence and prestige as a leading Religious Right organizer:

As with the Christian Coalition, this group’s conference roster includes nearly all the likely contenders for the presidential nomination, including former Gov. Mitt Romney of Massachusetts, former Gov. Tim Pawlenty of Minnesota, Herman Cain, a retired businessman, and Representative Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, as well as a famous almost-candidate, Donald Trump. There will also be evangelical leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and establishment Republicans like Speaker John A. Boehner and Reince Priebus, the Republican National Committee chairman.

...

Many of the retirees gathered here could not even recall who Ralph Reed was, let alone ponder his past. But they loved his message. Weaving together themes of the Tea Party and evangelical Christians, he called the debt crisis a sign that the country has lost sight of its founding moral principles. He said that by working together, fiscal and cultural conservatives can “begin the process of turning the country around.”

Yesterday Reed appeared on The Jordan Sekulow Show to discuss the upcoming conference, during which he predicted that Michele Bachmann and Herman Cain would be the Religious Right's candidates of choice:

Sekulow: Ralph, let me ask you about the field. Has anyone caught your attention that maybe is a name that people aren't talking about enough or that is really exciting social conservative voters?

Reed: It's awfully early, but there are two that I'm hearing on the ground that are really getting a close look. One is Herman Cain, who is a terrific speaker and has a compelling personal testimony in addition to his conservative credentials. And the other is Michele Bachmann.

I think if they both go - and Cain's in and Bachmann looks like she's going to get in - they're both going to do extremely well among this constituency.

Reed then went on the predict that this event was not only going to change the lives of those in attendance, but the life of the nation as well ... which is the same thing he said last year:

ACLJ: Looking To Outlaw Islam? Let Us Help!

Today, CBN ran a report on efforts around the country to ban Sharia law, including legislation in Tennessee that would, in essence, make it a felony to be a practicing Muslim ... and Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice, which is "specifically dedicated to the ideal that religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights" was there to urge legislators who are serious about trying to outlaw Sharia to give them a call so that they can help:

We we've said at the American Center for Law and Justice is if you're a state legislator and you're serious about writing a law from stopping judges from being able to use Sharia law in court, come to us and let us walk you through this because, as you see now, the American Bar Association, the ACLU, they've got their sights set on these anti-Sharia laws and they are going to look for any holes in them to try to hold them unconstitutional.

What we've encouraged people is come to use early, let us work with the law, through the law with you, to make sure there's no holes for the ALCU and other outside groups to attack.

You know, the ACLJ really ought to change it's "about us" page to reflect the fact that its belief that "religious freedom and freedom of speech are inalienable, God-given rights" only applies to Christians.

Right Wing Leftovers

Washington Post Gives Religious Right Anti-Mosque Activist a Blog

Jordan Sekulow is the son of Jay Sekulow, who is the head of the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, where he works as the Director of International Operations.

In this capacity, he has played a key role in spreading the Religious Right's agenda both at home and abroad and taking a lead role in fighting the so-called "Ground Zero Mosque."

So of course, the Washington Post decided to give him his own blog on their website:

Ralph Reed's FFC Conference Is Going To Change Your Life!

Ralph Reed may have seen his political aspirations go up in flames thanks to his years of exploiting his Religious Right cronies for the benefit of corrupt lobbyist Jack Abramoff but, as we noted last week, that hasn't stopped a slew of right-wing leaders from signing on to participate in his upcoming Faith and Freedom Conference.

And Reed, whose ego and penchant for hyperbole have been the one constant throughout his career, is here to tell you, the ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow, and anyone who will listen that they had better plan on attending his awesome conference because it is not only going to change America, but it will change the lives of all those in attendance:

As you know, I was at the Christian Coalition in the 90s and I worked on the Bush campaign in 2000 and '04 and I decided to take that knowledge and that experience and, for lack of a better term, create a 21st Century Christian Coalition meets MoveOn.org with a smattering of the NRA.

So the Faith and Freedom Coalition is a grassroots permanent public policy organization that combines pro-family activists with what we might call the Tea Party activists uniting on the economic agenda as well as the pro-family agenda. We now have 400,000 people involved in the organization; we have state organizations in 23 states and as you mentioned, we're having our meeting, national gathering in DC September 10-11.

We're going to have over 60 of the leading conservative and pro-family activist leaders and organizers in the nation and I urge you to be here. It's going to change the life of our nation and it will change your life if you are able to be there. 

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The Pacific Justice Institute is trying to force California to defend Prop 8.
  • Richard Land may not support the "Ground Zero Mosque," but he condemns anti-Muslim crimes like arson in Tennessee.
  • Glenn Beck has some new website.
  • Peter LaBarber really likes Ryan Sorba.
  • Joseph Farah really hates GOProud.
  • Liberty Counsel wants you to cast a "Vote of No Confidence" in President Obama.
  • Jordan Sekulow says people will continue to question President Obama's faith so long as he continues to be a bad Christian.
  • Finally, behold Mike Huckabee featuring AshleyMadison.com on his program:

Right Wing Leftovers

  • The ACLJ's Jordan Sekulow is now saying that supporters of the "Ground Zero Mosque" are "terrorists."
  • On a semi-related note, Senators McCain, Snowe, and Isakson also oppose construction of the Islamic Center.
  • Yesterday, a Juvenile Court Magistrate in Ohio ruled that Rifqa Bary could apply for "special immigrant juvenile status" in an effort to clear up her immigration status as she turns 18.
  • Ann Coulter will be headlining GOProud's "Homocon 2010." They apparently have no problem with history of anti-gay attacks.
  • Elena Kagan was confirmed yesterday and Larry Klayman is already launching an impeachment campaign against her.
  • Kenya voters approved a new Constitution that expanded abortion rights ... so of course they were intimidated and bribed by the Obama Administration.
  • Finally, the quote of the day from Jim Garlow, making it clear that his "Prop 8 ruling = bestiality" statement was no fluke:  "If you did this on the basis of equal protection and a person says 'I want to be married to 3 people or 5 people or I want to be married to my dog', what right does he have not to provide 'equal protection'?"

Robertson's ACLJ Shaping Kenya's Constitution

A few months ago we noticed that the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice had expanded into Africa, where they were poised to get involved in helping to draft constitutions in both Zimbabwe and Kenya.

This seems like an entirely predictable result of that effort: 

Church leaders in Kenya are vowing to scuttle a decades-long quest for a more democratic constitution over the issue of abortion, and American groups on both sides are weighing in on the debate.

Abortions are illegal in Kenya under current law, but hundreds of thousands of women still seek them each year. The existing law, however, does allow a doctor to perform an abortion if a woman's life is in danger.

That exception is also included in a proposed constitution due to be put to a referendum later this year. Church leaders fear the phrasing will open the door to legalizing abortion, saying that defining a threat to a woman's health could be interpreted broadly.

"It opens the door to abortion on demand, which is why Christian organizations who are pro-life are so opposed to that provision," said Jordan Sekulow, director for international operations at the anti-abortion American Center for Law and Justice, one of the U.S. groups now involved in Kenya's debate.

Jordan Sekulow Outraged That Administration Meets With Atheists Because "99.9% of Americans" Believe In God

Last week we noted that some Religious Right groups were up in arms over news that representatives from the Secular Coalition for America were meeting with officials from the Obama administration.

Today, the Christian Broadcasting Network brought on Jordan Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice to discuss the meeting, who claimed that the group is "not just an anti-Christian, they are an anti-religious organization" that looks down upon and attacks anyone who has a deep personal faith.

Sekulow also warned CBN's viewers not to underestimate the Secular Coalition for America, saying people are some times tempted to down play their influence since "99.9% of the American people, and that's about accurate, acknowledge that there is some higher power ... [very few] consider themselves 'atheists,' that's a very small percent of the American people." 

I don't know where Sekulow is getting his data, because the most recent American Religious Identification Survey reports that "1.6 percent of Americans call themselves atheist or agnostic" and further reports [PDF] that:

Based on their stated beliefs rather than their religious identification in 2008 ... roughly 12% of Americans are atheist (no God) or agnostic (unknowable or unsure), and another 12% are deistic (a higher power but no personal God).

So almost 2% of the population self-identifies as atheist or agnostic and 12% are classified as atheist or agnostic based upon their stated beliefs ... that seems to be significantly more than the .1% that Sekulow claims the Secular Coalition of America represents.

Where Have You Gone, John Hagee?

We haven't heard much from John Hagee ever since he was uncerimoniously dropped by John McCain back in 2008.

But he is still around, as evidence by this new letter from a variety of right-wing leaders demanding that Congress impose tough sanctions on Iran:

There is an overwhelming bipartisan consensus in Congress in favor of these sanctions. President Obama’s December 31 deadline is days away. And the IAEA has concluded that diplomatic efforts have reached a dead end. It is time for you to bring legislation implementing these sanctions to the floor for a vote. Additionally we urge you to make your actions and concerns known to the United Nations Security Council and our allies in the international community who share a common interest in preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.

As the clock runs out, we must remember that Iran remains the world’s leading state sponsor of terror, is funding Hezbollah and Hamas in Lebanon and Gaza, has sought to destabilize democratic and Western-leaning regimes throughout the Middle East, is currently arresting and detaining political opponents, actively persecutes its Christian citizens, has shot protestors in cold blood in the streets, and its president has denied the Holocaust and vowed to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. We speak out today on behalf of millions of Christians who believe that the interests of peace and security would best be served by our elected representatives sending a powerful signal that this tyrannical Iranian regime shall never threaten the world with nuclear weapons.

The letter is signed by Hagee along with a variety of other right-wing leaders including Pat Robertson, Chuck Colson, Richard Land, Tom Minnery, Wendy Wright, Mat Staver, Bill Donohue, Lou Sheldon, Jordan Sekulow, and Gary Bauer.

On a related note, did you know that Hagee's book "Jerusalem Countdown" is being turned into a movie starring Randy Travis?  Well, apparently it is:

Filming for the upcoming Pureflix Entertainment movie Jerusalem Countdown continued Thursday in downtown Manistee, with crews shooting scenes involving country music super star Randy Travis. The scenes were shot in a large, empty downtown storefront.

The film is based on a book by the same name, written by John Hagee. The movie version features a plot full of romance and a lot of action. It is the fourth movie to be filmed in Manistee.

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