Kevin Swanson

Ted Cruz's Campaign Insists He's Not A 'Gay Basher,' But He Has No Problem Embracing Those Who Are

Ted Cruz's presidential campaign has been openly contemptuous and downright dismissive of anyone who has tried to get the Republican presidential hopeful to explain why he spoke at a conference last month organized and hosted by extremist pastor and radio host Kevin Swanson.

On multiple occasions prior the conference, and twice during the conference itself, Swanson explicitly endorsed the idea of imposing the death penalty for homosexuality, yet the Cruz campaign has cavalierly waved away questions about his appearance along side Swanson at his conference, insisting that Cruz is not some sort of "gay basher":

Recently two left-wing media mainstays, MSNBC and The Daily Beast went after Cruz’s appearance at a religious freedom conference that he and two other candidates were invited to. The two liberal organizations played a video clip from another extreme left group, People for the American Way’s RightWingWatch, and imagined the conference a “kill the gays” event.

Cruz’s response to their misrepresentations was simple. He elected not to respond, “acknowledge or take their bait,” the staffer explained. “We’ve seen their follow up attempts and accusations to place Cruz into their definition of gay bashers, but that’s not even close to who he is. You have to look at his record and history, not what the left wants him to be.”

Cruz's refusal to denounce Swanson and his views is rather interesting, especially since Swanson himself has no trouble denouncing anyone who does not share his "kill the gays" views.

For instance, on a radio program from March of this year, Swanson criticized Bob Jones III for daring to apologize for comments he made 35 years ago advocating that gays be stoned to death.

"As far as I know," Swanson said, "the Apostle Paul has not backtracked on Romans 1, in which he refers to the unnatural relation between males and males, females and females, and says such who does these things are worthy of death ... I'm going to be the last guy who stands up and says whatever Paul was saying when he said they're worthy of death, whatever Moses is saying in Leviticus 20:13 as communicated to God's people as the very law God, from the lips of God himself, I'm going to be the last person to say, well, God's law is unjust. And if anybody wants to say that, I'm going to be standing about 40 feet away, whatever the diameter of lightening is."

Later in that same broadcast, Swanson took issue with those who get outraged at the prospect of the government putting people to death for homosexuality, saying that it is no big deal when compared to the prospect of gay people spending eternity in Hell.

"When people focus on the civil penalty for the sin of homosexuality," he said, "they're diverting attention from the real issue, and that is the judgment of God upon that behavior ... Capital punishment? Execution at the hands of the state? Big deal! Big deal! That's nothing. That's nothing. In comparison with the judgment of God, the judgment of the civil courts, of the human courts, as compared to the judgement of Almighty God? No comparison!"

If Cruz wants to prove that he is not one of those "gay bashers," denouncing Swanson and his rhetoric would be an easy way for him to do so. But so far, Cruz and his campaign have conspicuously refused to that while touting the endorsements of several other anti-gay extremists ... and that speaks volumes. 

Maddow: Cruz Must Answer For Appearance At 'Kill-The-Gays' Conference

Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign has finally responded to questions about his appearance at a radical anti-gay conference in Iowa last month, claiming in a statement to Rachel Maddow on Wednesday that the conference organizer’s support for the execution of gay people was “not explicit.”

Cruz appeared last month at the misnamed National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, where he courted the support of the conference’s organizer, Colorado-based pastor and radio host Kevin Swanson.

Swanson has long promoted the idea that government should impose biblical law in order to get on the right side of God but, like his fellow Christian Reconstructions, believes that conservatives like himself must change the culture first before the government can begin imposing Old Testament laws such as the death penalty for homosexuality.

The radical pastor explained that view at the end of the Iowa conference, saying that he does not advocate that the government put gay people to death only because gay people have not had enough time to repent for their homosexuality. Before the summit, Swanson repeatedly hailed Ugandan lawmakers for trying to make homosexuality a capital crime.

Swanson, who was joined at the conference by at least two other activists who had previously called for the government to execute gay people, reiterated his view that homosexuality is a death penalty crime before Cruz joined him on stage. Cruz, after Swanson introduced him, declared that “any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander-in-chief of this nation.”

While Cruz has tried to avoid questions about his attempt to woo Swanson, his campaign finally released a statement to Rachel Maddow on Wednesday, defending his appearance at the event by insisting that Swanson’s call to put unrepentant gay people to death was “not explicit.”

As Maddow pointed out, Swanson’s statements about the death penalty were not the only ones at the conference. One conference speaker, Phillip Kayser, distributed a booklet he wrote arguing that gay people should be killed by the government if they do not renounce homosexuality, listing proper biblical punishments as hanging, stoning and “being thrown off a cliff or dashed on rocks.”

“It is not necessarily news any more that there are people like this on the right, who view homosexuality according to their version of biblically-ordained judicial principles,” Maddow said. “But it is news, it is always news, when people from the purported mainstream of American politics, people who are vying to be the next president of the United States, show up at events like this and speak from the same stage where pastors are justifying the death penalty for gay Americans.”

“For Ted Cruz, he can’t really say he didn’t know what was going on at that conference, and there’s a case to be made that he should be ready to answer some real questions about it,” she added.

Paranoia-Rama: God Behind Paris Attack, New Huckabee Falsehood And The Mythical 9/11 Celebration

While GOP presidential candidates continue to get away with telling obvious fabrications, right-wing media are still intent on exploiting the Paris attacks to advance their own political interests.

Kevin Swanson: Homosexuality Is 'The Catalyst By Which Nations Are Destroyed'

Earlier this month, a lesbian candidate was elected mayor of Salt Lake City, and the news did not sit well with Religious Right radio host Kevin Swanson, who told listeners on Friday that this is just one more sign that the end of America is at hand.

Denouncing Mormonism as a “sham religion,” Swanson said that the Salt Lake City mayoral election shows that homosexuality is just “the tip of the iceberg” while other sins like child molestation and porn addiction “hide under the water.”

“Sure enough, the bastion of conservativism is ultimately the place at which the future of this nation is being eroded in the most fundamental sense,” he said.

This led Swanson to talk about a LGBT conference sponsored by The Economist, lamenting that the magazine wants “to be that edgy, progressive organization that promotes the homosexuality in the business world and the very thing that will destroy nations. People don’t believe that, that homosexuality will be the catalyst by which nations are destroyed, because they don’t believe that God exists and they don’t believe God is judge and they don’t believe that God has the right to determine right and wrong, good and evil as he does in the word of God.”

Kevin Swanson: Criticism Of Me Is Criticism Of God Himself

On Friday, Religious Right radio host Kevin Swanson touted his “amazingly successfully” Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference, which featured Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, claiming that “God blessed that conference in so many different ways.”

But as Swanson acknowledged, the event “experienced a media firestorm” in part due to his remarks declaring that gays who do not repent should be sentenced to death.

Swanson told “Generations Radio” listeners that the outrage over his remarks is proof that America is at war with God.

“Any time the nation has taken up a fight with the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the Creator of the universe, you don’t pick a fight with the Creator of all of the galaxies, all of the planets, this entire solar system, you don’t pull together a couple of ants and lift a fist to the Almighty and think you can get away with it,” he said. “This is, I think, the reason why the media firestorm — we have touched the conscience of a nation and they realize they’re in trouble, they’re in trouble with the God of the universe.”

Kevin Swanson: Paris Massacre Was 'A Message From God'

After rallying with Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal at his anti-gay conference in Iowa two weeks ago, far-right pastor Kevin Swanson returned to his "Generations Radio" program to discuss the terrorist attacks in Paris, specifically focusing on the Bataclan theater massacre.

According to Swanson, the mass shooting at the theater was "a message from God" since it targeted fans of the rock band Eagles of Death Metal and reportedly occurred as the band played a song titled "Kiss the Devil."

"When you get a wake-up call like what happened at France's 9/11 last Friday night at the concert,” Swanson said, “I think we all need to pay attention to what's happening: This is a message from God. God is shooting a shot across the bow and we better be paying attention to this."

Swanson, who described the concert as "a worship service to the Devil," said that he would ask survivors of the massacre: "Did you love the Devil's works as your friends were being shot up in the massacre?"

"Did you appreciate the works of the Devil as your friends were being shot up in that concert?" he added.

GOP Candidates Really Don't Want To Talk About 'Kill The Gays' Conference

A couple of weeks ago, we reported extensively on a conference in Iowa organized by extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, at which three Republican presidential candidates joined Swanson on stage shortly before he went off on a series of rants about how the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, Harry Potter is bringing God’s judgment on America, and how if your gay child gets married you should show up to the wedding covered in cow manure.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow ran a segment on the conference, but other than that, as a number of commentators have noted, the media has been strangely silent on the Republican candidates’ participation in this event.

Today, Des Moines Register columnist Rekha Basu reports that she reached out to the campaigns of the three candidates, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal (who has since dropped out of the presidential race), and found them rather reluctant to talk about it.

A spokesperson for Huckabee, who at the event deflected a question about Swanson’s extremism, told Basu after viewing video of some of Swanson’s remarks that Huckabee “appreciated the opportunity” to speak at the conference. The Cruz and Jindal campaigns didn’t bother to reply at all. (Before the conference, Cruz had been asked about his participation by CNN’s Jake Tapper, but brushed off the question.)

Calls and emails seeking a reaction to Swanson's remarks by spokespeople for Cruz and Jindal (who suspended his campaign Tuesday) went unanswered. Huckabee’s spokeswoman Alice Stewart asked for documentation and was sent a video link. She responded the next day saying, "Gov. Huckabee appreciated the opportunity to speak with an audience in Iowa about the importance of standing up for our religious liberties."

Basu also reached out to The Family Leader, an influential Iowa conservative group that sponsored Swanson’s conference and will be hosting candidates for a “presidential family forum” later this week. A Family Leader spokesman at least went as far to say that the group doesn’t condone executing gay people, but didn’t comment on the wisdom of sponsoring Swanson’s conference:

Asked if Vander Plaats or the Family Leader condemn Swanson’s remarks, Drew Zahn, its director of communications wrote in an email: “The Family Leader absolutely condemns any call for violence against homosexuals. Our involvement with the conference was intended to advocate and preserve our First Amendment religious liberties and the rights of conscience for all Americans. The Family Leader consistently advocated the Bible's principle of treating others as you would be treated, a principle come to life in the friendship between TFL President Bob Vander Plaats and One Iowa's Donna Red Wing.”

But Zahn wouldn’t say whether the organization would express those views to Swanson, or would have withdrawn sponsorship from the program if they had known what he would say.

We really wonder how long Cruz and Huckabee will be able to continue to plead ignorance about Swanson’s extremism after being asked about it repeatedly.

Huckabee Claimed Ignorance About 'Kill The Gays' Pastor's Extremist Views

In a press gaggle at last weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee dismissed concerns about the extremism of its organizer, Kevin Swanson, telling a reporter that he didn’t “have any knowledge” that Swanson backs the death penalty for homosexuality.

Indiana broadcaster Joyce Oglesby ran audio of the interaction on her radio program on Friday.

An unnamed reporter asked Huckabee, apparently directly after his speech to the conference, about “reports that there are a few pastors speaking her today that say that if you’re homosexual, you should be prosecuted, you should actually be killed.”

“Obviously, I don’t agree with that,” Huckabee responded. “I don’t think anyone’s ever accused me of saying that. And I don’t know, did anyone say that from this stage today?”

The reporter responded that while nobody had said such things from the stage yet that day, the organizer and other speakers had previously made such remarks.

“I can’t go with ‘there are some reports that,’” Huckabee responded. “Give me a specific, give me something to react to, that won’t work for me, because I don’t have any knowledge of that. All I know is what I said, I can’t be responsible for what anybody else said on that stage, and apparently nobody said that on that stage.”

If Huckabee had stuck around just a few minutes after his speech, he would have heard Swanson saying exactly that, bellowing to the audience that the biblically ordained punishment for homosexuality is death. If he had stuck around until the next day of the conference, he would have heard Swanson return to the theme, saying that he doesn’t want the government to impose the death penalty for homosexuality quite yet because he wants to give the culture time to change and gays time to repent before imposing his version of biblical law.

And if Huckabee or anybody on his staff had bothered to do any basic research before agreeing to attend the conference, these statements would not have come as a surprise. One of Huckabee’s fellow GOP candidates — likely Ben Carson — reportedly dropped out of the conference after we reported on Swanson’s extremist views. Likewise, People For the American Way called on Huckabee and his fellow candidates Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal to drop out of the summit a full week before it started, citing Swanson’s long history of extremism, including his defense of the death penalty for gay people. As the Cato Institute’s David Boaz writes today, showing up at Swanson’s conference showed “appalling judgment” on the part of Huckabee, Cruz and Jindal.

It seems that after this weekend’s conference, there are plenty of specific reports available for Huckabee to react to. He should be asked to explain himself.

Religious Right Pundit Regrets GOP Candidates Appeared At 'Kill-The-Gays' Rally

If only somebody had warned them!

Or so writes Michael Brown, the Religious Right radio host who, in a BarbWire column today, says that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal should not have appeared at a conference last week that was organized by radical activist Kevin Swanson, who advocates that the government execute gay people.

Swanson closed his National Religious Liberties Conference, which was attended by the three Republican presidential candidates, by explaining that the government should only execute gay people once they have enough time to repent. The summit also included two other speakers who want the government to treat homosexuality as a capital crime, one of whom distributed a pamphlet at the conference justifying such executions.

Responding to Rachel Maddow’s coverage of the event, Brown writes that the candidates must have been in the dark about Swanson’s extremist views, and that had they known, the Republican presidential candidates would have denounced him and rejected the invitation: “[T]he presidential candidates who attended this rally (Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, and Ted Cruz) were there to identify with the cause of religious liberty, and they too would categorically reject some of the words spoken at the conference (as well as reject some of the positions advocated by at least one of the speakers outside of the conference).”

It’s not as if Swanson’s views weren’t very easy to find.

Jake Tapper of CNN asked Cruz about appearing alongside Swanson before he (and his father) took part in the summit, reading the candidate Swanson’s remarks about the need to hold up signs at gay people’s weddings telling them that they should be put to death. Other outlets have also extensively reported on Swanson’s record before the event took place.

In fact, one presidential candidate who had been confirmed to speak at the conference pulled out of the event after he got wind of Swanson’s radical views.

Anyone who does a simple Google search for Kevin Swanson should know that he thinks that execution is the biblical punishment for gay people, and has been saying as much on his radio program for several years.

Does Brown really expect us to believe that no one on these three presidential campaigns knows how to use the Internet?

It seems more likely that these candidates just don’t mind catering to some of the most extreme anti-gay activists in the country; instead, they see it as a boon to their campaigns.

Anti-Contraception Rhetoric At GOP's 'Freedom' Summit

This past weekend’s National Religious Liberty Conference in Iowa has been getting national news coverage for the completely unhinged anti-gay statements of its organizer, Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson, including his warning that God will judge America because Dumbledore from the “Harry Potter” series is a “homosexual” and his truly remarkable recommendation of what to do if your gay child invites you to their wedding.

These diatribes against homosexuality at the summit, which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates, went hand-in-hand with calls to roll back women’s rights to use contraceptives, with both birth control access and gay rights seen as threats to the family and liberty.

As we noted before the summit, a number of speakers had ties to the “biblical patriarchy” or Quiverfull movement, which rejects birth control as part of a vision in which Christian families return to traditional gender roles in order to bear and raise as many children as possible. Although the Quiverfull movement is often dismissed as a fringe ideology espoused by people like the Duggar family, some of its anti-contraception ideology has worked its way into more “mainstream” right-wing advocacy

Swanson said as much in his closing speech at the Iowa conference, claiming that while the Quiverfull movement has experienced more “persecution” than anyone in the history of America, its ideas are now taking hold in the wider Religious Right.

“It’s interesting, some of the greatest preachers in America are effectively saying contraception was a problem from the beginning,” he said, specifically citing Southern Baptist theologian Al Mohler and well-known pastor John MacArthur. “And they’re joining ranks with a fair number of those who used to be in the full quiver movement, who, by the way, have received so much persecution. I have never seen anybody receive such persecution, at least in this country, as the full quiver folks. And they didn’t always have their theology right, but now major theologians in America are saying, ‘I think we had a problem in these areas.’’

Conservatives are beginning to realize, Swanson said, that the wide availability and use of contraception is what led to marriage equality throughout the country.

“Why homosexual marriage?” he asked. “Well, 50 years of Playboy and Penthouse, pornography, illegitimate divorces and contraception.”

Elsewhere in his speech, Swanson seemed to equate hormonal contraceptives with abortion-causing drugs (a key part of the Right’s current anti-birth control strategy), claiming that Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger, who secured a grant that led to the development of the birth control pill, was responsible for the “murder” of “billions of little babies thanks to the technology she developed in the 1960s.”

He seemed to make the same argument when he blasted the “tens of millions of sometimes Christian women” who use “abortifacients” that create a “hazardous condition” in “that birth canal up into that womb” — an apparent reference to hormonal birth control rather than to abortion-causing drugs.

“If they have created a hazardous condition, exactly what the lex talionis brings out,” he said, “then God most certainly knows that somehow a snake pit’s been put in that womb.”

This is in line with statements that Swanson has made in the past. In 2013, after filming an interview for an anti-contraception documentary — copies of which were distributed at last week's summit  Swanson claimed that women on the pill have turned their wombs into “graveyards for lots and lots of little babies.”

Extreme as he is, even Swanson isn’t on board with the full Quiverfull agenda, writing in a blog post last year that although he agrees with the principle of men being the head of the family, he wouldn’t go as far as stopping women from taking college classes, going on mission trips or holding elected office.

But the Quiverfull ideology’s rejection of birth control as a social ill and its conflation of birth control and abortion isn’t just taking hold among extreme activists like Swanson — it’s increasingly becoming the norm in the wider Religious Right.

GOP Confab Ends With Call To Execute Gays Who Don't Repent, Send Queen Elsa Back To Hell

It was a Saturday night spent learning about the evils of Dumbledore (gay), Gobber (also gay) and Elsa (lesbian-recruiting bride of Satan).

These rants about “Harry Potter,” “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Frozen” weren’t out of place at a conference led by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor who has warned on his radio program that these fictional characters — along with the Girl Scouts, women’s soccer and day care — are turning kids gays.

What was most remarkable about these polemics against fictional children’s book characters is that they came at an event that was also attended by three men vying for the Republican nomination for president, including a sitting governor and a sitting U.S. senator.

When Swanson announced that he was convening a conservative summit in Des Moines, Iowa, called “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference,” it was clear that it was designed to get the attention of Republican presidential candidates. Four agreed to participate, but one unnamed candidate later withdrew, reportedly after a wise campaign aide Googled Swanson's name and found his catalogue of crazy statements.

But Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal had no such qualms. All three joined Swanson on stage at the conference for individual Q&A sessions, where he inquired about their views on Kim Davis and the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision.

The trio declared their unequivocal support for Davis, the rogue Kentucky clerk who attempted to block marriage licenses for gay couples in her county, and derided the Obergefell ruling as an unlawful violation of both constitutional and biblical codes, so egregious that it should be rebuked if not outright ignored. Another speaker, Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate Rafael Cruz, called on government officials to defy a Supreme Court intent on “trying to cram homosexual marriage down our throats.”

As soon as Huckabee left the stage, Swanson declared that if his own son were to marry another man, he would only attend the wedding after smearing cow manure all over his body.

Swanson closed out the “liberty” conference with a fiery speech in which he proclaimed that although he does believe in the death penalty for gays, he wouldn't advocate for the government to execute gay people — or, at least, not yet.

The conditions aren't right, Swanson explained. The culture hasn't fully embraced his movement's version of Christianity, and therefore gay people don't know that homosexuality is a death penalty crime that they must renounce before it provokes divine destruction. He said he would recommend that the government wait to impose the death penalty until the culture shifts, giving gays time to repent.

Draconian measures to stop homosexuality are warranted, in Swanson’s view, not only because he believes the Bible mandates them, but also because he thinks that the gay threat is coming from all directions: country musicsoccer, schools, day care and Girl Scout cookies.

The views that Swanson expressed at the conference reflect his ties to a movement known as Christian Reconstructionism.

Reconstructionists not only call for "lesser magistrates" like Davis to defy rulings like Obergefell by invoking "God's authority," as Davis did, but also to demand that all government officials enforce Old Testament laws (or, at least, the Old Testament laws that they want enforced). After all, they say, whatever contradicts God's law is no law at all.

Philip Kayser of Biblical Blueprints told one breakout session at the conference that while it may be unrealistic to expect the national imposition of biblical law at this point, it can still be achieved at state and local levels. He urged government officials like Davis to flout the federal government in order to impose their religious beliefs over whatever jurisdiction where they have sway. Such “interposition” is justified, Kayser said, as long as public officials do it in a "biblical and Christ-centric" way. "In my book, she is a hero," Kayser said of Davis. "Magistrates must follow Christ in their interposition."

Kayser, like Swanson, has repeatedly backed instituting the death penalty for gay people in order to comply with biblical dictates, a position he outlined in a pamphlet he distributed at the summit. (Kayser’s pamphlet also calls for capital punishment for blasphemers, Sabbath-breakers, apostates and witches.)

Another Reconstructionist preacher who spoke at the conference, Joel McDurmon, has said that the U.S. must embrace and enforce Old Testament laws, but that is achievable only once the country is successfully evangelized.

Some Reconstructionists also back “biblical patriarchy,” the idea that Christians must follow strict gender roles within the family, which for women means bearing and raising as many children as possible in order to repopulate the earth with believers.

In order to change the culture in their direction, the thinking goes, believers must first have lots of children (birth control is considered just as bad as abortion, as it fills women's wombs with “dead babies,” at least according to Swanson). Then, these families must adhere to the rule of male headship over the family. These strong, male-led families then create strong, male-led churches, which will then create strong, male-led societies, ones where government welfare programs and intervention in the economy aren't needed, and cultural ills like feminism fall away as cosmopolitan liberals, with their low birth rate, are outvoted.

But for Reconstructionists, the war isn't just about demographics. It is also a cosmic battle.

That is where Elsa comes in.

While these women may be having a "Quiverfull" of children (a la the Duggars), Satan is coming for them, and he takes insidious forms, such as Disney movies.

As Swanson explained on his radio show last year:

How many children are taken into these things and how many Christians are taking their kids off to see the movie "Frozen," produced by an organization that is probably one of the most pro-homosexual organizations in the country? You wonder sometimes, I’m not a tinfoil hat conspiratorialist, but you wonder sometimes if maybe there’s something very evil happening here. If I was the Devil, what would I do to really foul up an entire social system and do something really, really, really evil to five- and six- and seven-year-olds in Christian families around America?
....
Friends, this is evil, just evil. I wonder if people are thinking: “You know, I think this cute little movie is going to indoctrinate my five-year-old to be a lesbian or treat homosexuality or bestiality in a light sort of way.” I wonder if the average parent going to see "Frozen" is thinking that way.

One conference presenter, Geoff Botkin, told attendees that "Let It Go," the iconic song from “Frozen,” is "Satan's rebellion anthem," as it convinces children to rebel against God. He lamented that Christian families are unwittingly turning their kids over to Satan when they see "Frozen" or let them "sing 'Let It Go' while taking a shower."

As Botkin explained in his session, which focused on the "ten planks of communism," of the three major threats to America, Christians who don't abide by biblical law are the greatest, even worse than Islam and progressivism.

Even worse than Christians who aren't abiding by Old Testament dictates, he said, are the Christians who preach social justice, advocate liberal policies and are fully inclusive of women and the LGBT community. These scorned people of faith were also meeting that weekend in Des Moines to warn about cries of "religious liberty" becoming a cover for a larger right-wing agenda.

But three Republican presidential candidates, who have all turned the imaginary persecution of Christians in America into a central campaign message, didn't seem to mind that they were appearing at a conference whose organizer who is looking forward to the day when America is repentant enough that the government can impose the death penalty on gay people, rails against children's books and movies, and attacks large swathes of Christians as apostates.

Maddow Calls Out GOPers For 'Kill-The-Gays Rally' Appearance

As the three Democratic presidential candidates were attending a South Carolina candidate forum hosted by Rachel Maddow on Friday, three Republicans running for president were at a conference organized by a radical right-wing pastor who has defended the death penalty for homosexuality.

On her program last night, Maddow filled her viewers in on Friday’s Republican campaign event, showing videos of Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee engaging in question-and-answer sessions with extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, who then went on to say that he would smear cow dung over his body to protest a gay couple’s wedding and urged the government to execute gays in the future if they don’t repent.

As Maddow also pointed out, Swanson’s views on homosexuality were well-known even before he hosted the weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference, and he wasn’t the only speaker at the conference who had called for homosexuality to be treated as a capital crime.

One conference speaker distributed literature at the event laying out how and why gay people should be put to death, discussing stoning and throwing people off cliffs as possible punishments. In fact, Swanson’s views are so extreme and so easy to find that one presidential candidate reportedly pulled out of the event once their campaign was tipped off to his radicalism.

“A pretty major theme of the event both in terms of the literature that was available at the event and the way the host of the conference spoke from the stage, a significant theme was the practical challenges and the timing of how exactly and when exactly the United States of America should start rounding up gay people in this country in order to execute them,” she said.

“It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms,” Maddow continued. “This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”

Seeing that the Republicans who appeared at this event will be at the Fox Business debates tonight, Maddow said it might be worth asking them why they would attend “a kill-the-gays rally.”

“I don’t know if that is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics,” she said.

Her remarks on the right-wing conference start at the 5:55 mark:

Right-Wing Summit: God To Punish Fans Of Frozen's 'Let It Go' As It's 'Satan's Rebellion Anthem'

Given that the chief organizer of last week’s “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference” — which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates — has said that the movie “Frozen” turns young girls into lesbians, it was not much of a surprise to learn that Queen Elsa would be a focal point of the summit.

It turns out that the spirit of the Disney movie’s hit song “Let It Go,” in which Queen Elsa sings about freedom after leaving her home, was not one of the freedoms valued at the “Freedom 2015.”

At a session titled “The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America’s Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From,” Geoff Botkin of the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences said that “Let It Go” is furthering America’s rebellion against God, warning that the country is already under 50 divine judgments that will only subside once the government and the wider culture begin to abide by biblical law.

He likened “Let It Go” to Eve’s temptation by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, deriding the song as “Satan’s rebellion anthem” that corrupts children.

The popularity of the song and its “spirit of licentiousness” shows that people don’t want to follow the totality of the Bible, he said, warning that God “will chasten our nation” as a result of the movie’s popularity.

Botkin also lamented that “Let It Go” fans are “rejecting God’s law” and therefore become “enemies of God” and God “does go to war against you.”

Botkin delivered most of his presentation beside a photo of the “Frozen” characters Elsa and Olaf:

Kevin Swanson Warns Criticism Of His Anti-Gay Comments Is Part Of Attempt To Shut Down Christian Media

When three Republican presidential candidates decided to address a conference in Iowa this weekend organized by Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson — a radical activist who thinks that Girl Scout cookies and the movie “Frozen” are turning girls into lesbians and has defended the death penalty for homosexuality — it showed once again that the Republican primary seems to be a competition of who can move farther to the right.

Swanson cleverly focused his Iowa conference on the theme of “religious liberties,” warning that “persecution against Christians is on the rise in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, China, Oregon, and Kentucky.” It was apparently an invitation that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — who are constantly harping on the theme that American Christians are on the road to facing persecution on par with Christians living under oppressive regimes — couldn’t pass up.

Swanson made clear what he meant by anti-Christian persecution in interview at the conference with Seattle-based radio host Michelle Mendoza, when he complained that media reports on his anti-gay comments, including his recent remarks that AIDS is “God’s retribution” for homosexuality, is part of a larger attempt to “shut down Christian media.”

Saying that the “liberal media” had taken his AIDS remarks out of context, Swanson proceeded to repeat the very same point to Mendoza.

“Any kind of disease,” he said, “this is the point I made in one of my broadcasts, any kind of disease is God’s wakeup call to us and it points us to the basic problem — Hey, there wasn’t disease, there wasn’t death in the world until sin came into the world with Adam and Eve. So, it’s a basic theological concept, every Christian in America would agree with me. Obviously, non-Christians may disagree but the fact of the matter is God has given us a warning. He gives us something of a warning with disease and death, and we ought to turn to Jesus Christ because he is the overall solution to this.”

Swanson said that in a conversation with Cruz at the conference, the Texas senator “agreed that it’s very possible that the FCC may shut down Christian media in the future if they continue to hold to the position that homosexuality is a sin.”

“Christian colleges may go away very soon, Christian media may go away very soon, conservative media may not survive, so this is going to affect every single part of life since the Obergefell ruling,” he said.

In an interview promoting the conference on the Kentucky radio program “Just Ask Joyce” last month, Swanson made a similar argument, warning that “you can kiss your liberties goodbye” if the right person isn’t elected president in 2016.

Christians must “prepare to see our radio programs and our ministries, and our churches, our schools, completely wiped out by … the homosexual forces” as a result of the Obergefell decision, he said. “This is a decision of seismic proportions for the entire socioeconomic system, for entire social systems, for entire civilizations, for our religions in our country.”

Kevin Swanson Defends Linking Gay Kiss To Colorado Wildfires

At this weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which featured GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, conservative radio host Steve Deace revealed that a Republican presidential candidate had dropped out of the summit after learning of the extremism of the conference’s organizer, Kevin Swanson. (Although Deace didn’t name the candidate, Ben Carson was at one point named as a confirmed speaker but later disappeared from the event’s schedule.)

Deace said that the candidate’s campaign manager had called him up and asked him about Right Wing Watch’s reporting on Swanson, including Swanson’s support for the death penalty for gay people and his blaming of natural disasters in his home state of Colorado on such affronts to God as gay people marrying and feminist women who wear pants. Deace said that he laughed and assured the campaign manager that these were all lies made up by Right Wing Watch, but that the candidate dropped out anyway.

It might be more difficult for Deace to pretend that we fabricated all of these statements after this weekend’s conference, where Swanson repeated both views with great enthusiasm. After yelling quite a bit about Leviticus, Swanson clarified on Saturday that he does not actually want the U.S. to implement the death penalty for gay people at the moment, but instead to wait and give them time to repent first.

Then, in the same speech, Swanson declared that anyone who believes in God must see that there “might be a connection” between wildfires and flooding in Colorado and the state’s government refusing to enforce biblical law, and specifically a picture that ran on the front page of the Denver Post showing Colorado’s House speaker kissing his husband after a vote on civil unions.

“You see, when this happens, it is the most egregious, the most abominable, the most arrogant insult to Almighty God,” Swanson said of the Denver Post photo. “And then, the very same year, we had the very worst fires, the most devastating fires we ever did in the state and the worst floods. In the very same year, we had the most devastating floods and the most devastating fires and the worst possible legislature in terms of well, any standard of God’s laws as conveyed in [the Bible].”

“You’ve got to believe that God is the judge of the earth and indeed there might be a connection between the worst flood, the worst fires, and the worst government in the history of the state of Colorado,” he said.

He then defended his statement that thanks to gay rights and pro-choice laws, Colorado might be becoming worse than North Korea, saying, “Well, they murder. We put homosexuals on the front page of newspapers.”

America is held to a higher standard, he said, because of its “godly heritage” stemming from “white guys” like Irish immigrants.

“We’ve got a heritage, we’ve got a great heritage, goes back 2,000 years,” he said.
“Seems to me there’s a lot of white guys in America with a lot of heritage that goes all the way back to the 500s and 600s with Patrick and others. Friends, is America a more evil nation than North Korea in the eyes of God? And I say maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But I’d say we’re getting pretty close.”

Kevin Swanson: God Will Judge America For Harry Potter's 'Homosexual Mentor'

Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson closed out his National Religious Liberties Conference today — following speeches yesterday by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — with an extended rant about the many reasons why America needs to repent in order to avoid God’s judgment, including legal abortion, birth control, immoral themes in country music and gay characters in “Harry Potter” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Warning that “we are on the very cusp of judgment as I see it and we need to call America to repent,” Swanson listed off the various sins of which Americans need to repent.

“America, repent of your rebellion against God!” he yelled. “America, repent of stumbling the little ones! America, repent of ‘Harry Potter’! America, repent of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!

“America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time, in order that little six- and seven- and eight-year-olds might stumble, in order that tens of millions of parents, it would be better that a millstone be hanged around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea than that there would be so many people stumbling so many children in public schools, in movie theaters, in homes in which children are raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!”

Earlier in the same speech, Swanson explained that although the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, he doesn’t want to implement it yet in the U.S. because he wants to give gay people time to repent as well .

Kevin Swanson: No Death Penalty For Gays … Until They Have Time To Repent

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal all spoke this weekend at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor and activist who frequently informs his followers that the biblical penalty for homosexuality is death and defended a proposed law in Uganda that would have imposed life imprisonment or capital punishment for homosexuality.

Two other speakers invited to the conference have similarly backed capital punishment for gay people, and one came prepared with a pamphlet he wrote explaining that view

In a closing keynote address to the conference this evening, Swanson clarified that he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.

Instead, he said, gay people first need time to repent of their sins, as do people who have committed adultery, gotten divorced or looked at porn, all of which he said are inviting God’s judgment on America.

Freedom 2015 Speaker: LGBT 'Abominations' Worse Than 'Tyranny Of King George'

In a speech today to the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which also featured Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, Nebraska pastor Phillip Kayser warned that America risks “God’s intense wrath” for engaging in “sexual sins” such as the “abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement.”

Kayser, who distributed at the conference a pamphlet arguing for the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy and witchcraft, was discussing “interposition,” the idea that “lesser magistrates” have the duty to stand against higher authorities when those higher authorities are disobeying God.

Kayser advised his audience that they must pick their battles in this area because “not every act of tyranny is equally heinous.”

For instance, he said, it isn’t necessary to defy certain unbiblical tax proposals, but it is absolutely necessary to defy same-sex marriage because it is “destructive to the family”; abortion because it is “murder” and will “inevitably lead to God’s judgment” on the land; and the “sexual sins” found in Leviticus 18 — which includes homosexuality, adultery and having sex with a woman who is menstruating — because “some sexual sins are so heinous that even pagan nations are eventually vomited out of the land for engaging in those sins.”

“And if we love our country and we don’t want to see God’s intense wrath falling upon it, we cannot ignore the abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement,” he warned.

“Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and their sacred honor to resist the tyranny of King George and Parliament,” he said. “And I think what we are facing today is a whole lot worse.”

'Death Penalty For Gays' Literature At Right-Wing Conference

Phillip Kayser is among the several speakers joining Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa this weekend, and as we've reported, he, along with the conference's chief organizer, Kevin Swanson, has called on the government to execute gay people. Kayser's views are so extreme that back in the 2012 election, Ron Paul's campaign tried to cover up his endorsement.

However, it seems that in today's GOP, calling for the execution of gay people isn't beyond the pale.

At the conference, where he is giving two speeches on how local officials and others can defy the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, Kayser distributed the very pamphlet calling for the death penalty for gay people that caused a stir back when he endorsed Paul.

In the pamphlet, “Is The Death Penalty Just?,” Kayser unsurprisingly concludes that the death penalty is in fact just, and lists homosexuality among the offenses deserving of capital punishment. Ironically for a "religious liberties" summit, he also claims that the government should treat "breaking the Sabbath," "blasphemy and cursing God publicly," "publicly sacrificing to other gods" and "apostasy" as death penalty crimes as well.

He writes that government officials are "subject to Biblical statutes and judgments," claiming that "Christians should advocate the full implementation of all God's civil penalties in every age.... Every Old Testament statue continues on the books, and without those statutes, we could not have a consistent ethnical standard." Even "pagan" nations are obliged to follow biblical law, he writes, as "God held gentile kings accountable to these civil laws."

Kayser believes that the government should execute murderers, among whom he includes abortion providers: "What could be more pro-life than having the state pass laws establishing a certain date after which all doctors who continue to perform abortions will be executed? Certainly, a handful of doctors might be killed [pro-death for killers], but think of the millions of little lives that would be saved!"

He writes that the death penalty should also apply to those who commit acts of blasphemy; apostasy; breaking the Sabbath; sorcery and witchcraft; kidnapping; rape; adultery; prostitution; bestiality; and of course, homosexuality.

But don't worry, Kayser has good news for the gays who rather not be stoned to death or get "thrown off a cliff," methods he mentions as biblically approved ways to execute someone.

While "these crimes are so heinous that they deserve death in God's eyes," he writes, with cases "of sexual sins, people who kept these things to themselves could not be prosecuted because it would require two or three witnesses (depending on judicial discretion), the pressing of charges by a victim-citizen, the exclusion of government from spying, sting operations, etc., and other checks and balances."

Essentially, Kayser says that the government should put gay people to death, but only if they get caught.

"Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, execution would be rare," he explains, because "the civil government could not round them up." What a relief!

"Only those who were prosecuted by citizen-victims could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, analogous to the flexibility in dealing with adultery — which ranged all the way from forgiveness, to divorce, to death," he continues. "Some people characterize this as a victimless crime since homosexuals cannot get married. But there are plenty of circumstances (homosexual rape, homosexual incest, homosexual death threats against politicians, etc.) where victims might be motivated to bring charges."

Kayser writes that "natural knowledge" endorses the view that homosexuality is "worthy of death."

"It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality," he said. "The reason men have an innate sense of justice is because God's law reflects not only His holiness but also His justice and goodness (Rom. 7:12). Romans 13 says that magistrates are subject to all three."

And remember, this is the kind of literature being promoted at a "religious liberty" conference.

If Kevin Swanson's Son Got Gay Married, 'I'd Sit In Cow Manure And I'd Spread It All Over My Body'

After interviewing both Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal at his "National Religious Liberties Conference" this morning, radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson returned to the stage to discuss the issue of how Christians are to live in an increasingly debased and secular society.

During his remarks, Swanson reiterated his view that both the Old and New Testament require the death penalty for the crime of homosexuality, as well as his position that any Christian who attends a gay wedding can only do so in order to hold up a sign informing the couple that they ought to be put to death.

He drove home his point with a passionate declaration that if he ever found out that his own son was gay and that son invited him to his wedding, he would show up covered in "sackcloth and ashes" and then smear himself in cow manure as he sat on the steps of the church and wailed lamentations.

"There are families, we're talking Christian families, pastors' families, elders' families from good, godly churches," Swanson said, "whose sons are rebelling, hanging out with homosexuals and getting married and the parents are invited. What would you do if that was the case? Here is what I would do: sackcloth and ashes at the entrance to the church and I'd sit in cow manure and I'd spread it all over my body. That is what I would do and I'm not kidding, I'm not laughing."

"I'm grieving, I'm mourning, I'm pointing out the problem," Swanson screamed as he went off about people trying to "carve happy faces on the sores" of a society that is utterly "messed up."

Here is Swanson stating his belief that the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, declares that the punishment for homosexuality is to be death:

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