Ken Blackwell

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/30/15

  • FRC's Ken Blackwell and Rob Schwarzwalder attack President Obama for daring to speak out against foreign laws that criminalize homosexuality.
  • Rep. Scott Garrett is "facing a revolt by corporate and Wall Street donors after he reportedly made anti-gay remarks at a private meeting of Republican lawmakers."
  • Larry Tomczak warns that "a perfect storm is developing and this is not some surreal conspiracy theory. It is no exaggeration to say America is at a crossroads ... in a meltdown ... at a tipping point ... experiencing unprecedented changes ... observing our president act like a one-man wrecking crew to bring about his 'fundamental transformation of America.'"
  • Donald Trump's presidential campaign has hired Michael Glassner to be serve as national political director: "Mr. Glassner was chief of staff for Ms. Palin’s political action committee and worked closely with her when she ran for vice president alongside Senator John McCain in 2008."
  • Finally, the Duggars are seeking donations so that they can continue to create "fresh quality content" after losing their reality show.

FRC Official: Obama Emulating 'Totalitarian Regimes' By 'Weakening The Family'

Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state who is now an official at the Family Research Council, joined former Alaska GOP politician Joe Miller on his radio program this week, where he warned that the “rapid expansion of the welfare state under the Obama administration is not unlike any of the welfare state expansions, totalitarian regimes, throughout human history.”

Totalitarian regimes, he said, “have done two things,” namely “weaken the family” and “silence the church.”

“And sure enough, that’s what the Obama administration is doing,” he said. “He’s weakening the family and he’s trying to marginalize the church by attacking religious liberty.”

Ken Blackwell: SCOTUS Gay Marriage Decision 'Just As Pivotal' As 9/11, World War II And Civil War

Yesterday, Family Research Council official Ken Blackwell explained during an anti-marriage-equality panel how anti-gay activists, just like Civil Rights Movement leaders, will resist a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage, a ruling he warned will give rise to totalitarianism.

Blackwell said that how Americans respond to “a wrong decision in this marriage case” will be just as important as the nation’s response to the Civil War, World War II and the September 11, 2001 attacks. Such a ruling would be “another one of those challenging moments, defining moments as to attest of how we response as a nation, but how we also respond as believers, as Christians,” he said.

Blackwell similarly told Tony Perkins, the head of the FRC, on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” that gay marriage would be a historic wrong, saying that the public must “take a stand” against its legalization “because it is just as pivotal as the Civil War, World War II and our response to 9/11 as a human community.”

Family Research Council: Anti-LGBT Conservatives Are The New Civil Rights Leaders

Yesterday, the Family Research Council hosted a panel discussion titled “Marriage and Civil Rights: How to Respond Rightly If the Court Gets It Wrong,” which sought to portray anti-LGBT conservatives as the heirs of the Civil Rights Movement.

Ken Blackwell, an FRC official who previously served as the secretary of state of Ohio, where he notoriously curbed voting access in the 2004 presidential election, said that anti-LGBT activists should take lessons in “direct action of resistance” from “the great Civil Rights Movement” and opponents of abortion rights.

He suggested that LGBT rights victories must be resisted since they are paving the way for a totalitarian form of government: “We are now at one of those pivotal moments in our nation’s history because any survey of human history will let you know that every totalitarian regime throughout human history, every authoritarian regime, every big welfare state regime, from the Bolsheviks to the Chinese to an administration that is growing the state right here in America, there are two things that they do. They destroy or weaken the family because the family, within our experience, is the incubator of liberty. Two, they silence the church and those in the pews of the church.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 5/27/15

  • The Iowa Religious Right group the Family Leader will not be asking GOP presidential candidates to sign its "Marriage Vow" pledge this time around, as it did in 2012.
  • Apparently, the American Family Association needs money so that it can begin broadcasting its right-wing radio programs in Washington, D.C.
  • Keith Fournier, Alveda King and Ken Blackwell will be participating next month in a Family Research Council event entitled "Marriage and Civil Rights: How to Respond Rightly If the Court Gets It Wrong."
  • Get ready, because June 6 is "The Pill Kills Truth National Day of Action."
  • Steve Deace is furious with "the GOP establishment [which] fought harder and dirtier last year to keep an aging and largely disorientated liberal adulterer in the U.S. Senate, than they fought to get Obama out of the White House in 2012."
  • Finally, Larry Tomczak warns that array of catastrophes could be right around the corner, including "devastating economic collapse; horrific drought, gas and food shortages; Middle East war; a series of coordinated Islamic terrorist attacks; outbreak of new AIDS-like virus; racial riots erupting nationwide; multiple massive earthquakes, EMP (Electromagnetic Pulse) Internet-crippling attack; assassinations and political chaos."

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/13/15

  • Matt Barber has some advice for gay couples who are getting married: "Bake your own damn cake."
  • Are you "unusually sluggish and tired"? If so, you are probably under spiritual attack.
  • Ken Blackwell declares that "RFRA supporters are like the brave Americans in the Deep South decades ago who stood for black civil rights against intense political pressure."
  • Larry Tomczak says that "the reason Christians are targeted and intimidated is because we represent the last obstacle in their quest for unrestrained sexual licentiousness."
  • Finally, Glenn Beck was scandalized by the existence of an "all gender restroom." Has he never used a restroom on an airplane? Is every bathroom in his house designated for use by one gender only?

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/8/15

  • "Should the court require the states and the people to ‘ritualize’ sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the nation," says an amicus brief submitted to the Supreme Court "by the William J. Olson law firm and the U.S. Justice Foundation on behalf of Public Advocate of the U.S., Joyce Meyer Ministries, the Lincoln Institute, the Abraham Lincoln Foundation, Institute on the Constitution, Conservative Legal Defense and Education Fund and pastor Chuck Baldwin."
  • Tom Tancredo cites Savannah Guthrie's interview with Rand Paul: “Well, I hate to sound like the reporterette that was giving him a hard time on television yesterday morning, but he is going to have to explain a lot of things.”
  • Ken Blackwell says that those fighting against gay marriage are modern-day civil rights activists and conscientious objectors: "We will stand up against the pink panzers of political correctness."
  • Janet Jenkins' lawsuit against those she alleges were involved in helping her former partner Lisa Miller kidnap their daughter and flee the country has been delayed.
  • Tomorrow, the American Family Association, One Million Moms, the Media Research Center, and the Family Research Council will launch a campaign to get ABC to cancel its sitcom based on the life of Dan Savage.
  • Finally, Don Boys has some thoughts: "Sodomy is evil, wrong, wicked, sinful, corrupt, perverse, bad, immoral, depraved, decadent, dissolute, debauched, and disgusting. And whether I’m writing in love or hate doesn’t change the facts."

Richard Land: Obama 'Chose To Be Mugabe Over Mandela'

Religious Right activist Richard Land guest-hosted yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch” where he expressed outrage about President Obama’s remarks on the need for more people to vote, in which he pointed to Australia as an example of a country with compulsory voting.

Land, a former Southern Baptist Convention official who left following a scandal involving plagiarism and racial remarks, brought on Kenneth Blackwell of the Family Research Council to discuss this latest “scandal,” agreeing that it was a sign that Obama seeks to vastly grow the size of government and divide Americans.

“I’m going to use an extreme analogy: he could’ve been Mandela and instead he chose to be Mugabe,” Land said, referring to late South African leader Nelson Mandela and Zimbabwean dictator Robert Mugabe, who is notorious for his use of violence against political opponents and white farmers. “He chose Mugabe over Mandela and we’re all paying the price.”

Blackwell, who helped stifle voting during the 2004 election when he served as Ohio Secretary of State, suggested that the government under Obama may soon “order you to have mandatory political party membership.”

After criticizing Obama for “doing away with Election Day” by supporting early-voting, Blackwell claimed Obama is pushing a “devilish plan” to encourage people who are “dependent” on government to vote.

“We now have a president that’s padding the books with illegal immigrants and aliens, giving them drivers’ licenses, saying that they must vote and he’s growing government at the same time,” Blackwell said. “So what do you do? You create bigger and bigger government, more and more dependency and then you tell people they have to vote. Well, if people are dependent on government handouts, who are they going to vote for? They’re going to vote for the party of big government. They’re not going to vote for the party of free markets and liberty. They will sacrifice their liberty to feed their babies. This is part of a devilish plan.”

Ted Cruz Announces Presidential Campaign At Religious Right School Stacked With Anti-Gay Activists

Earlier today, Sen. Ted Cruz announced his campaign for president at Liberty University (LU), the ultraconservative school established by Jerry Falwell. His decision to choose Liberty is rather telling, considering that LU is a radically right-wing university with a law school staffed by some of the most viciously anti-gay Religious Right activists operating today.

Of course, given that LU itself was founded by Falwell, who blamed gay people for 9/11, this should not come as much of a surprise.

From the founding of Liberty's law school in 2004 until last year, Mat Staver served as dean while also serving as chairman of Liberty Counsel, an anti-gay hate group, which has deep ties to the university. Staver is among the leading anti-gay Religious Right activists today and has a long anti-gay record, having blamed the 2008 financial crisis on banks that "actively promoted the homosexual agenda" and has said that lawmakers who support marriage equality "are not competent for public office." He has repeatedly called for a "revolution" to protest gay equality and warned that gay rights laws will increase violent crimekill people, lead to "forced homosexuality," and eventually destroy America and western civilization.

Staver continues to call for a revolution to fight gay marriage and is currently leading an effort to get anti-gay Christians to ignore any Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage bans, saying that refusing to obey such a ruling is like refusing to turn a Jew over to the Nazis:

When Staver announced his resignation from Liberty's law school last year, LU President Jerry Falwell, Jr. announced that Rena Lindevaldsen would take over as interim dean. Lindevaldsen previously served as senior litigation counsel at Liberty Counsel, where she was the lead attorney in a custody case involving Lisa Miller, an "ex-gay" woman who kidnapped her daughter and fled the country rather than abide by court-ordered custody arrangements with her former partner. Lindevaldsen even wrote a book about the saga while she and Liberty Counsel continue to insist that they have no knowledge of Miller's whereabouts, despite the fact that she was reportedly living at a home in Nicaragua owned by the father of an administrative assistant working at the Liberty University Law School.

Furthermore, Staver and Lindevaldsen even reportedly taught a class at Liberty based on the Miller case in which students were instructed that the "right" thing for a Christian lawyer to do in a case such as this would be to counsel their client that they have an obligation to ignore the law and court orders and instead engage in "civil disobedience" to uphold God's law. In 2012, the school was hit with a lawsuit over its alleged involvement in Miller's kidnapping.

When Lindevaldsen spoke at a right-wing conference earlier this month, she told the audience at a breakout panel on "sexual rebellion" that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the "big deal" is about LGBT rights, she responds that "it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God." Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is "the heart of where Satan’s attacking":

Matt Barber is another Liberty University/Liberty Counsel crossover. He formerly served as vice president of Liberty Counsel Action and still co-hosts Liberty Counsel's daily radio program with Staver, while also holding positions as associate dean and adjunct professor at Liberty.

Baber happens to be one of the most viciously anti-gay bigots operating today, as demonstrated by his view that homosexuality is nothing more than "one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it "love.'"

He has said that marriage equality mocks God and desecrates the Church, declared that the Defense of Marriage Act was necessary to prevent children from becoming gay and getting AIDS, said that gay teens end their own lives because they "know that what they are doing is unnatural, is wrong, [and] immoral," proclaimed gay adoption to be "tragic," "unconscionable," and "reprehensible," and warned that gay activists are seeking to poison the minds of children and are "running interference for the pedophile movement."

Barber has called marriage equality the "bidding of the Devil" and warned that by legalizing same-sex marriage, America is " tempting the wrath of God." He claims that HIV/AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality. He has described homosexuality as a "cancer" that prompted Noah’s flood and will ultimately lead to Communism. Barber has said that Satan is behind gay rights efforts, asserting that demonic "spiritual pressure" was driving the campaign to end the Boy Scouts of America's ban on gay members.

He has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he'd like to see a ban on "gay propaganda" in the U.S., as well as defending Uganda's harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.

Last year, Barber launched, a right-wing website that quickly became an online repository for pieces written by some of the most viciously anti-gay pundits active today.

Several other anti-gay activists also hold teaching positions at Liberty University, including Shawn Akers, who has said that measures to prevent the bullying of LGBT youth are "a form of indoctrination and reeducation that smacks of socialist and Communist countries" and accused gay rights advocates of bullying Christians and persecuting them in the same way as Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews.

Judith Reisman is also a professor at Liberty - that is, when she is not busy fighting to criminalize pornography or claiming that schools are brainwashing children into becoming gay and that gay rights advocates are emulating the Nazis. Reisman has claimed that the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s Gay-Straight Alliances are modeled after the Hitler Youth and promote pedophilia.

Ken Blackwell, who earlier this month blamed gay activists for racist chants and blamed shooting sprees on gay marriage, likewise holds a teaching position at the university. Blackwell has previously compared gay people with arsonists and kleptomaniacs and same-sex couples with farm animals.

Any way you cut it, it is clear that Liberty University is home of a slew of anti-gay bigots. The fact that Ted Cruz chose this as the venue at which to announce his presidential campaign speaks volumes.

Paranoia-Rama: Gays And Immigrants Will Steal Your Freedom In Obama's Third Term

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

This week, we learned from the Right that gay people and immigrants are out to destroy our freedoms, with the help of President Obama, who is secretly preparing to stay in office for a third term.

5) Gay Marriage Threatens Freedom

Speaking with an Iowa talk show host this week, Sen. Ted Cruz once again appealed to the anti-gay Right when he railed against judges, like the members of the Iowa Supreme Court, who strike down bans on same-sex marriage. Cruz alleged that such rulings pose “ a real danger to our liberty” and are in defiance of the Constitution:

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council also described marriage equality as a threat to freedom this week, writing that the Supreme Court is “headed for another Dred Scott opinion” if it finds same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional, referring to the ruling which said that African Americans could not be U.S. citizens.

“If the Court overturns marriage, it will not only further delegitimize itself as an institution, it will gravely damage American society,” he said. “And it will undermine the ‘consent of the governed’ — the only basis for just laws.”

Blackwell, notorious for his efforts as Ohio’s secretary of state to stifle voting in  the 2004 election, went on to compare judges who rule in favor of marriage equality to officials in the Jim Crow South who restricted the voting rights of African Americans: “We should remember Selma and the ‘Bloody Sunday’ that was necessary to achieve the too-long-denied equal voting rights for all our citizens. Today, rogue federal judges are engaged in the most massive case of voter suppression we have seen since the days of Jim Crow! Across the country, but especially in the South, black Americans joined other citizens in voting to affirm true marriage.”

But neither Blackwell nor Cruz can claim the prize for the most distraught outburst against gay marriage of the week, as that honor belongs to Indiana politician John Price, who suggested that Americans should “flee” the U.S. before the Supreme Court rules on marriage rights.

4) Gay Twilight Zone

So how exactly does LGBT equality threaten freedom?

Well, according to Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler, writing in an op-ed titled “ Free speech, rights are under attack,” the LGBT rights movement is threatening his freedom not to see photos of gay people:

I’ve watched with dismay the controversy surrounding Amarillo Town Club’s family membership policy, which was placed prominently before our community by the Amarillo Globe-News on March 2 with its front-page article showing a picture of two angry-looking homosexual women.

The story was also mentioned by a reader in a letter to the editor (Letter: Shame on Amarillo Town Club, March 6, who believed the business’ conduct was “shameful.”

Shameful? Sometimes I feel like we are living in the twilight zone.

Mechler went on to write that people who criticize his view that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legalized are actually attacking the freedom of speech: “What I find troubling is the incredible attack that has been launched on free speech. I love this country, and as an American the Bill of Rights gives me the right to say what I please.”

3) Immigrants Will Take Your Guns

Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt is a staunch opponent of immigration reform since he believes that new citizens will vote Democratic and “take away our guns.”

Pratt expanded on this theory in an interview with Armed America Radio recently, explaining that immigrants have a “dependent mentality” and thus don’t understand what it’s like to want to protect yourself from bodily harm.

“A dependent class that depends on the government for their income, for all kinds of financial and other assistance, is not generally of a mind to be able to protect itself, which is after all the most important part about living, is staying alive from one moment to the next in case some dirtbag wants to try to terminate you,” he said. “And if you don’t think enough of your own freedom to take charge of that aspect of your existence, then of course you’re likely to expect handouts and ‘more, more, more’ because you have a dependent mentality.”

2) Another Petraeus Conspiracy Theory

When David Petraeus resigned as CIA director in response to allegations, to which he has since pled guilty, that he leaked classified information to a woman with whom he was having an affair, several conservative pundits rallied to his defense. According to these commentators, along with at least one GOP congressman, Petraeus was actually the victim of an Obama administration plot to stop him from exposing the truth about the 2012 Benghazi attack. In reality, since leaving the CIA, Petraeus has dismissed conspiracy theories surrounding the Benghazi attack and praised then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response.

On Wednesday, as Media Matters notes, Rush Limbaugh made a similar claim, alleging that administration officials knew Petraeus was leaking sensitive material but “kept it in reserve” and acted on it only “when Petraeus refused to go out and spout the company line on Benghazi.” Limbaugh said that Clinton knew that this cover-up of the cover-up occurred, and that is why she used a personal email account at the State Department: “And so Mrs. Clinton knew that they knew, because she was secretary of state when they sent Petraeus out there to spout the company line and refused to do it. Plus she knew Obama — so that server is to keep things from Obama.”

1) Obama’s Third Term!

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wants his readers to know that he takes very seriously concerns “out there across the fruited plain” that President Obama will defy the U.S. Constitution and remain in office after the end of his second term. In fact, WND is so worried about this conspiracy theory that it even asked potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson how the American people can stop Obama’s (non-existent) plot.

Since “Obama himself may not even be constitutionally eligible for office,” according to Farah, there is reason to believe that “he and his family might remain in Washington after leaving office” since he has no respect for the Constitution anyway. After all, Farah believes that the Obama family enjoys lavish vacations and is “living it up” on the taxpayers’ dime so much that they may refuse to leave the White House.

Farah even suggested that groups like People For the American Way are paving the way for the third Obama term since there is “simply no organized opposition to Obama’s illegal, criminal actions and behavior.” The only one who can stop Obama, Farah writes, may be Hillary Clinton.

Family Research Council Inexplicably Links Dan Savage To Racist Frat Chant

The anti-gay Family Research Council is continuing its war with Dan Savage, the columnist and creator of the anti-bullying It Gets Better Project, this time by linking Savage to the video of University of Oklahoma fraternity members singing a racist chant.

On yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” FRC senior fellow Ken Blackwell connected the chant, which included references to lynching “ni****s,” to Dan Savage’s “coarse” language.

Blackwell told guest host Peter Sprigg, another FRC senior fellow, that it wasn’t a coincidence that the chant came “at a time when you have one of our nemeses, Dan Savage, who is now having his life story being portrayed on a new sitcom on ABC, you know, here’s a guy that’s responsible for the coarsening of civil discussion and conversation being celebrated, at a time when there are knuckleheads who are still spewing from their lips the sort of nonsense that we’ve heard from these fraternity members.”

Rewriting King: Right-Wing Activist Claims MLK Opposed Government Aid, Church-State Separation

Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council marked Martin Luther King Jr. Day yesterday by claiming that King — who supported guaranteed employment and minimum income, public works projects and policies advancing “democratic socialism” — was actually a big opponent of government involvement in the economy.

Blackwell told “Washington Watch” host Tony Perkins that King would strongly rebuke “the growth of the welfare state” and the separation of church and state, even though King actually spoke out against endeavors such as state-sponsored prayer in public schools.

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, also used the occasion to criticize the advance of marriage equality in the courts and President Obama for supposedly dividing Americans on the basis of race.

Ken Blackwell Likens Obama To Convicted Killer Rap Brown

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell compared President Obama to Jamil Abdullah Al-Amin, formerly known as H. Rap Brown, who was sentenced to life in prison in 2002 for killing a sheriff’s deputy, a crime which Al-Amin has maintained he did not commit. Blackwell was speaking with the radio program’s guest host Richard Land, a right-wing pastor who left his Southern Baptist Convention post after making racially insensitive, plagiarized comments on his since-cancelled radio show.

Land told Blackwell that he thought that during 2008 presidential campaign President Obama came across like Martin Luther King, Jr., even though Land was a harsh critic of Obama during that race, labeling him a “first-class arsonist.” “We so wanted Martin Luther King,” Land said, “and I’m afraid we’ve gotten Stokely Carmichael instead.”

“Not even that, we’ve gotten Rap Brown, which is even worse,” Blackwell responded.

Land suggested that King would join their criticisms of Obama: “Can you imagine how Dr. King would react to what’s been going on?”

Blackwell, a former Republican politician from Ohio, said Obama’s “very existence” proves that America isn’t a racist country, “but he blew it” on racial reconciliation. Land posited that Obama could have been America’s version of Nelson Mandela and ushered in the end of racism.

Ted Cruz, the Houston Hype, and the Dishonesty of the Anti-Equality Movement

Conservative religious leaders have a long track record of hyping supposed threats to religious liberty in America  specifically, to the religious liberty of conservative Christians. In fact, portraying Christians as a persecuted minority under siege by anti-freedom LGBT activists and secular humanists has become the right's primary strategy for reversing the advance of equality in America. But even in the long context of crying wolf over threats to religious freedom, Sen. Ted Cruz and his religious right allies have set new records for dishonest hype in their response to this week's controversy over subpoenas sent to a few religious leaders in Houston.

Cruz told the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that there is a "real risk" that preachers will be hauled off to jail for preaching against homosexuality, recycling an old and equally ludicrous charge that hate crimes laws would result in pastors being dragged from the pulpit.

Some in the media ridicule that threat saying there is no danger of the government coming after pastors. That is the usual response." But he adds: "The specter of government trying to determine if what pastors preach from the pulpit meets with the policy views or political correctness of the governing authorities, that prospect is real and happening now.

Cruz is lying. And he has lots of company promoting the Houston hype. Todd Starnes of Fox News charged, "There is a war over religious liberty in Houston, Texas." The Family Research Council's Ken Blackwell said it smacked of totalitarianism and said it suggested that it was "a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country" who think "America is evil." Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared, "This is how religious liberty dies."

As exciting as it is to hear the alarm bells and read the hyperventilating emails, the truth is far less dramatic. Sorry, Sen. Cruz, but the government is not policing sermons for political correctness. It's not going to start tossing anti-gay preachers in jail.

So what is the real story?

The immediate cause of the ruckus was a subpoena sent by attorneys for the city of Houston to several pastors who had been active in opposition to the city's new anti-discrimination law. Conservatives ran a signature-gathering campaign to put the law before the voters, but city attorneys ruled that so many of the signatures were not valid that the effort did not qualify for the ballot.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right law firm, stepped in and sued the city over that decision. As part of the discovery process in the lawsuit, attorneys for the city sent subpoenas to five prominent pastors asking for sermons and other communications they had about the ordinance, the signature gathering effort, and the controversy over homosexuality and gender identity.

Here's the problem. The subpoena was sent to pastors who are not party to the lawsuit, and it asked for some materials that do not seem directly relevant to the determination of whether signatures were collected in accordance with the law. By giving pundits something to scream about, the subpoena was a gift to Religious Right leaders and their political allies, who thrive on promoting the myth of anti-Christian religious persecution in the U.S. And they have run with it.

On Friday the city narrowed the scope of their discovery request somewhat. And it's entirely possible that a judge will further limit the amount of materials the city can collect in the Religious Right's lawsuit. That's how our legal system works.

It's terribly inconvenient to the Religious Right's narrative that progressive religious leaders are among those who have criticized the Houston attorneys' subpoena. Among those who criticized the city's subpoena as troubling and overly intrusive were supporters of LGBT equality and church-state separation. Baptists of all stripes weighed in. Both progressive religious leaders and atheists publicly agreed. Even the ACLU! So much for the supposed enemies of religious freedom.

Even some religious conservatives have denounced the Houston hype. In reality, the entire episode undermines right-wing claims that religious liberty is hanging by a thread in America. Indeed, it demonstrates that Religious liberty is widely respected as a core constitutional principle and a fundamental American value — by people across the religious landscape and our fractured political spectrum. If only Ted Cruz and his allies were as committed to the constitutional and legal equality of Houston's, and America's, LGBT citizens.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post. 

FRC's Ken Blackwell: Houston Pastor Subpoenas Stem From 'Domestic Version Of The Terrorists Outside Our Country'

The Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell, formerly the secretary of state of Ohio, was a guest on FRC’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday, where the exclusive topic was, of course, the subpoenas of a number of pastors in Houston.

“There are two things throughout human history that welfare states, totalitarian states, utilitarian states have done to maintain their control and to force their worldview on all who are under their governance, and that is they have destroyed the family and they have silenced the church,” Blackwell told guest host Craig James.

The Houston subpoenas, he said, are part of “the big welfare state’s attempt to silence the church, to marginalize the church, to silence Christians so that they can actually concentrate power on reshaping not only their cities, their towns, their states, but also the country.”

He then urged Christians to speak out or else “buy into a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country” who think “America is evil.”

Conservative Christians must fight back against the “political powers that ride roughshod over us when we relegate ourselves to the sidelines and fall into silence in the face of this sort of abuse of power and cultural attack on what has made us not only the freest country in all of human history, the most prosperous country in all of human history, but has also made us the most diverse country in all of human history,” he said. “So for folks to buy into this ‘blame America first,’ ‘America is evil,’ to buy into a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country is ridiculous and cannot stand.”

Elsewhere in the program, Blackwell called the subpoenas “a blatant attempt to criminalize Christianity” and alleged that city officials are “engaging in a good, old-fashioned inquisition.”

“Just as the inquisition of old, it wasn’t arrested until good people overtook evil,” he added.

Becket Fund Pretends It's Not Fighting The Culture Wars

Politico is up with a profile of the Becket Fund, one of the Religious Right legal groups that has pushed, via Hobby Lobby and related cases, to expand the definition of “religious liberty” to allow corporations and individuals as well as religious institutions to opt out of laws they say violate their religious beliefs.

The article by Amelia Thomson-DeVeaux quotes Stanford Law School professor Michael McConnell saying nice things about Becket, but it doesn’t mention that Becket steered $1.6 million to Stanford and McConnell for a religious liberty law clinic that opened at the school last year.

In Politico, McConnell attributes to Becket the idea that religious freedom “is not – in most contexts – a culture war issue.” At a forum on religious liberty at the Newseum last year, Becket’s Mark Rienzi also suggested that religious liberty is not a culture war issue.

In reality, redefining “religious liberty” has become the central culture war issue and the primary legal and public relations strategy chosen by conservative evangelicals and their allies in the Catholic hierarchy to resist the advance of LGBT equality and restrict women’s access to reproductive care. Becket is at the center of this strategy. A corollary strategy is portraying Christians in America as the victims of religious persecution; Becket lawyers appear in Rick Santorum’s latest movie, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty.”

While it is true that support for religious freedom crosses political and religious lines, and it is admirable that Becket, unlike some other Religious Right legal groups, defends the freedom of religious minorities as well as conservative Christians, it is hard to accept with a straight face the idea that Becket’s lawyers are not culture warriors.

Let’s review some of Becket’s culture-war credentials:

  • In addition to Robert George, the intellectual force behind the Manhattan Declaration and the Catholic bishops’ “religious liberty” strategy, Becket’s board includes culture warriors like the Family Research Council’s Ken Blackwell and right-wing mega-funder Sean Fieler.
  • Earlier this year, Becket celebrated the Supreme Court’s ruling in Town of Greece v. Galloway, in which the Court upheld sectarian prayer at official public meetings and narrowly defined what would amount to unconstitutional religious coercion of people attending those meetings. Becket signaled that it hoped the decision would lead to the further dismantling of court rulings that uphold church-state separation.
  • Last year a Becket blog post about a legal victory for a Colorado voucher program that diverts public education funds to religious schools was headlined “Needy Kids 1, Anti-Catholic Bigots 0.”
  • In the fall of 2012, Becket co-sponsored an event for the Manhattan Declaration — itself a call to the culture-war barricades. According to an admiring report by Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion & Democracy, Becket President William Mumma “noted that in today’s culture wars ‘religion is not an accidental victim, it is the target’ for radical secularists. ‘When government tries to murder religion it may murder religious liberty but not religion,’ he promised, as faith will survive amid persecution.”
  • Becket’s executive director Kristina Arriaga joined hard-core culture warriors in supporting the Pray and A.C.T. group created by dominionist Lou Engle in advance of the 2010 elections.
  • In 2008 Becket ran a full-page ad in the New York Times charging that anti-Prop 8 protesters were “thugs” engaged in a “religious war” of violence and intimidation against the Mormon church; founder Kevin “Seamus” Hasson responded to criticism with a comparison of “radical secularist” Prop 8 protestors to radical Islamist terrorists.

Winners of Becket’s Canterbury Medal over the past decade include Robert George; ultraconservative Philadelphia Archbishop Charles Chaput, who has waged what a local columnist called a “war on Obama” over the HHS mandate; Eric Mataxas, the author whose 2012 prayer breakfast speech delighted right-wing activists with its thinly veiled attacks on President Obama’s faith; and Mormon Apostle Dallin H. Oaks, a strong defender of the LDS Church’s anti-equality efforts.

One more quibble with the Politico story: its headline – “God’s Rottweilers” – does give a sense of the group’s intensity, but it also implies that Becket is working for God. Media coverage all too often portrays culture war issues as a struggle between religious people and “radical secularists” when in fact there are also many religious individuals and organizations actively opposed to the Religious Right’s agendas on LGBT equality, women’s access to reproductive care, and the relationship between church and state.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/16/14

• Right-wing leaders including Jenny Beth Martin, Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie and Ken Blackwell are urging RNC chairman Reince Priebus to investigate the Mississippi runoff election.

• Hazelton, Pennsylvania, may be on the hook for millions more dollars for its failed anti-immigrant policy.

• The Pew Research Center is out with new findings on the “feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another.”

• Tony Perkins says “President Obama has put the demands of this 3% [of LGBT people] before the entire nation and its interests.”

• Finally, Laurie Higgins urges parents to “flee from public school pornogogues pronto.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/30/14

Paranoia-Rama: End Of The First Amendment, Liberals Promoting Child Rape, Gay Marriage To Blame For Shooting

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

As the Radical Right continues its never-ending quest to stoop to new lows, this week conservative activists and Republican politicians claimed that progressives are sanctioning rape, planning to scrap the First Amendment and causing mass shootings by supporting marriage equality.

5) First Amendment About To Be Repealed

It seems that Ted Cruz isn’t even trying to pretend that he is anything more than a shameless con artist. The Texas senator told a summit of Religious Right pastors this week that “Senate Democrats are going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment” as part of their plan to “muzzle” pastors who “speak the truth.”

Cruz’s audience gasped in surprise at this bombshell announcement. It seems they hadn’t heard of this diabolical plan before – perhaps because it doesn’t exist.

It turns out that Cruz was referring to a proposed constitutional amendment that would overturn the 2010 Supreme Court decision in Citizens United and related decisions such as this year’s McCutcheon ruling. The amendment seeks to restore to Congress and state legislatures the authority to reduce the role of unchecked and often undisclosed campaign donations from corporations and wealthy individuals.

But Cruz blatantly misrepresented these efforts to claim that Senate leaders are “repealing the First Amendment” because they want to quash the church and “don’t like it when the citizenry in their community has the temerity to criticize what they’ve done.”

4) Immigration Reform All About Hating America

Rush Limbaugh has a new theory that he hopes will incite conservative opposition to immigration reform: Democrats support a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants because they hate America, hope to demonize the country and “undermine, sabotage if you will, elements of this nation’s founding.”

3. Liberals Want To Rape Your Kids

“Dr. Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt has a history of sending out insanely anti-LGBT screeds to members of his Religious Right group, Pray In Jesus Name, and this week no was no different.

Klingenschmitt, a Republican candidate for the Colorado House, warned members that liberals want to “rape” children by defending the rights of LGBT students: “‘Transgenders’ want your children. Liberals demand public access to rape your girls, at least visually in public bathrooms, or to expose themselves to your girls at school, without parental consent or protection of any kind.”

This latest rant should come as no surprise, as Klingenschmitt once accused a same-sex couple of looking at their infant with “lust” and speculated that gay people have “something unhman inside of them.”

2. Houston Promoting Violence Against Women

Despite the attempts of anti-LGBT activists  to derail an LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinance in Houston, the city council approved the measure this week in an 11-6 vote.

Opponents of the nondiscrimination measure waged a nasty campaign linking the ordinance to Satanchild abuseassault and rape.

As always, conservatives pushed false claims about purported negative effects of nondiscrimination laws on religious freedom, with Jonathan Saenz of Texas Values warning that “these laws will be used as a weapon to actually run over people’s religious liberty rights” and Mike Huckabee suggesting that “this ordinance will take away your rights to live what you believe.”

1. Isla Vista Shooting: Blame Gay Marriage

It was only a matter of time until right-wing pundits blamed women’s rights advocates for the Isla Vista shooting spree by Elliot Rodger, who said he was driven by his hatred of women.

Media Matters points out that Fox News contributor Erick Erickson connected Rodger’s actions to the purported “war on masculinity” and gender equality, while another network commentator accused women tweeting under the #YesAllWomen hashtag of “man-hating.”

Glenn Beck similarly mocked women posting under #YesAllWomen for “man-bashing.”

But the Right also returned to one of their favorite targets: gay people.

Another Fox News guest, Dr. Robi Ludwig, alleged that Rodger was motivated by repressed “homosexual impulses.”

She wasn’t the only one to link the shooting to homosexuality: Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council connected Rodger’s massacre to gay marriage. Blackwell, a former Ohio secretary of state and GOP gubernatorial candidate, also serves on the board of the National Rifle Association.

Family Research Council Spokesman Links Isla Vista Shooting Spree To Gay Marriage

Family Research Council senior fellow Ken Blackwell yesterday linked the Isla Vista mass killings to marriage equality laws, which he claimed are destroying the culture. Speaking with FRC president Tony Perkins on “Washington Watch,” Blackwell blamed the shooting on “the crumbling of the moral foundation of the country” and “the attack on natural marriage and the family.”

“When these fundamental institutions are attacked and destroyed and weakened and abandoned, you get what we are now seeing,” Blackwell said, arguing that people who are “blaming the Second Amendment” are “avoiding talking about what is at the root cause of the problem.”

Blackwell has previously described marriage equality advocates as “opponents of natural marriage.”

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