Next month, Donald Trump will host a meeting with some of the country’s most radical anti-LGBT and anti-choice leaders in New York City.
Trump, who has already recruited a variety of far-right activists and conspiracy theorists to his campaign, is set to take part in a convening organized by Ben Carson, a former rival turned campaign surrogate, aimed at bringing reluctant Religious Right leaders to his side.
According to a copy of the invitation to the event obtained by the National Review, Trump will be joined by Religious Right activists including Tony Perkins, James Dobson, Penny Nance, Jim Garlow, Rick Scarborough, Phil Burress, Ken Cuccinelli, Lila Rose, E.W Jackson, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Ralph Reed, Pat Robertson and Cindy Jacobs.
The meeting will be cohosted by the Family Research Council, Vision America and AFA Action, the political arm of the American Family Association, three of the most vicious anti-LGBT hate groups in the country.
Trump has already pledged to use nominees to the Supreme Court to pave the way for the reversal of the landmark rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality and has vowed to defund Planned Parenthood, key priorities of right-wing activists.
Here is a brief introduction to some of the far-right extremists Trump will be meeting with next month.
Televangelist Pat Robertson has long track record of making derogatory and bizarre statements about LGBT people and others, including remarks that he would rather have the public not know about. For instance, Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network tried unsuccessfully to expunge the web of a video segment in which Robertson said that gay people secretly wear dangerous rings that cut the hands of the people they meet in order to spread HIV/AIDS:
Robertson also joined Jerry Falwell in blaming the 9/11 attacks on gay people, feminists and People For the American Way.
Self-proclaimed prophet Cindy Jacobs claims that she receives direct messages from God about assassination plots; terrorist cells and imminent attacks, such as 9/11; hurricanes; floods; wars; coups; and Native American-induced curses. She also claims to have the power of bringing the dead back to life.
But Jacobs may be best known for her claim that the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell led to the mass death of birds in Arkansas.
During the fight over marriage equality in Maryland, Bishop Harry Jackson led a Religious Right rally by lambasting the demonic principalities that he claimed were bringing same-sex marriage into the state. “The Enemy wants it to be a legacy, or a seed that is planted in this generation that corrupts, perverts and pollutes generations to come,” he said of same-sex marriage.
He was also featured in an anti-gay film where he warned that the “homosexual agenda” is “one of those icebergs that if we don’t navigate around them correctly, will take us under.”
Vision America head Rick Scarborough is an outspoken anti-LGBT activist who once suggested filing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality modeled after the successful litigation against tobacco companies.
While his lawsuit still hasn’t materialized, Scarborough continues to lambast LGBT people, declaring that HIV/AIDS is a form of divine punishment against gay people, whom he insists on calling “sodomites” and accusing LGBT people of leading their children “into an early grave called hell.” While railing against President Obama’s appointment of several gay ambassadors, he declared that it would be “perfectly just” if God allowed a nuclear attack to destroy America in response.
Scarborough is so passionate about his contempt for LGBT rights that he said that he is ready to burn to death, “if necessary,” to stop marriage equality:
Family Research Council president Tony Perkins likes to pass himself off as a mainstream conservative leader, but is in reality a far-right zealot who has attacked gay people as pawns of Satan and defended Uganda’s “kill-the-gays” legislation.
Prior to the Supreme Court's landmark marriage equality ruling, Perkins frequently predicted that Americans would launch a revolution to block same-sex marriages, warning that advances in LGBT equality would lead to an anti-Christian holocaust and a rise in terrorism.
Perkins, like Trump, has engaged in all sorts of conspiracy theories, everything from birtherism to the belief that the government is behind “the promotion of same-sex relations” as a means of “population control.”
Virginia-based pastor E.W. Jackson has compiled a long record of anti-LGBT and anti-Obama diatribes over the years.
Jackson, who in 2013 was the unsuccessful GOP nominee for lieutenant governor of Virginia, has said of gay people: “Their minds are perverted, they’re frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally and they see everything through the lens of homosexuality.” Gay people, Jackson said, are “spiritually darkened” and have caused God to stop blessing the U.S. military. It is no wonder that Jackson said at a press conference that he was ready to die to fight gay marriage.
California-based pastor Jim Garlow, as we’ve previously noted, has “claimed his prayers helped secure the passage of California’s Proposition 8, which 'saved us from the bondage and enslavement that would come upon us if gay marriage actually passed in a state'; described the 'radical homosexual agenda' as a tool of Satan and 'almost like an Antichrist spirit'; and warned that marriage equality will lead to America’s destruction, widespread persecution and even death.”
Lila Rose of the anti-abortion group Live Action has gained widespread notoriety over her smear campaigns against Planned Parenthood, telling supporters that she wants to battle Satan and “take out Planned Parenthood,” while comparing herself to Martin Luther King Jr. and Malala Yousafzai.
Rose has said that abortions should be “done in the public square” until they can be banned.
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson is one of the creators of the modern Religious Right movement. He has:
- Threatened to leave the U.S. in protest of Obamacare.
- Alleged that Obamacare will deprive the elderly of life-saving treatments.
- Warned that the Harry Potter series is a hazard to children.
- Predicted that gay marriage will destroy religious freedom, send pastors to prison, turn America into Nazi Germany and bring about God’s judgment.
- Said that the U.S. could have a second civil war over gay marriage.
- Insisted that bisexuality means “orgies.”
- Claimed that the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act would grant legal protections to pedophilia, necrophilia, incest and bestiality .
- Blamed the Sandy Hook shooting on legal abortion and marriage equality.