Speaking to a Pennsylvania anti-abortion group in April, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver compared marriage equality foes to anti-Nazi dissidents, Martin Luther King Jr. and various biblical figures, declaring that it was time to decide whether to “obey God” or “obey man” on the issue. Those who think that the Supreme Court’s decision striking down marriage equality bans is “the law of the land,” he said, have been “brainwashed.”
“We are coming to a place, ladies and gentlemen, where we have to make a decision,” said Staver, who represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her war against the Supreme Court’s marriage quality ruling. “Where we have to make a decision like Dietrich Bonhoeffer made a decision, like Martin Niemoller made a decision. We are coming to the position where we are in the same place that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. had to make a decision, where the founders of this country had to make a decision that we will either obey God or we will obey man. And when those two directly, inherently, irrevocably collide with one another. We are in a position like Daniel in the lions’ den, like the three Hebrews that would not bow down, like Esther, who put her life on the line and engaged in civil resistance against the most powerful king on the planet. We are coming to that moment in time.”
The Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, he said, was “a lawless opinion.”
“When are we going to stop playing charades and pretend that whatever those five people say, whoever they might be, whatever they say, no matter how devoid of the Constitution it may be, that it becomes the law of the land?” he asked. “It doesn’t! If that’s your belief system, if you have gotten so brainwashed to think that whatever those five people in Washington, D.C., say, we now have to march to it like toy soldiers because if they say so, irrespective of the fact that they have no authority under the Constitution to do it, then you would support Dred Scott, you would support Buck v. Bell, because those decisions came down from the United States Supreme Court as well.”
In the case of Dred Scott, he reminded the audience, “we had to fight a civil war to overturn that nonsense.”
In the same speech, Staver warned that God would judge America because legal abortion means “we are doing the same thing” as ISIS.
In a speech to a Pennsylvania anti-abortion group earlier this year, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver compared legal abortion in the U.S. to the atrocities of ISIS, declaring that “God cannot continue to allow this country to exist” if legal abortion continues.
Staver, speaking at an April event hosted by the New Castle, Pennsylvania, chapter of People Concerned for the Unborn Child, spoke of a display at his group’s recent Awakening conference detailing some of the atrocities committed by ISIS, especially against Christians.
“But you know, as much as we cry at that kind of brutality, and certainly should,” he said, “we are doing the same thing under the rubric of ‘choice,’ under the idea that this is the rule of law and the people up there in Washington, D.C., seven in '73 and five in '92, said ‘the Constitution says so.’ Because we’re decapitating children, we’re breaking off their arms and legs, we’re brutalizing them in the same way that these larger people are being brutalized by ISIS.”
“Now, we want to go in and bomb those countries, right?” he asked. “We want to go in and take ‘em out to stop that brutality. In fact, there’s even people there that have given videos, ‘Please, bomb us so that we don’t have to continue’—these are people who are under the control of ISIS, they’re asking for us to bomb them to get them out of their misery, to kill everyone, to stop the carnage. But that’s happening in this country, and we drive by those places where our children are being brutalized in the same way.”
God, he said, won’t “overlook this kind of sin” and “will ultimately reap judgment on this country if we do not individually, as a church, and corporately repent of our sin and turn from our wicked ways.”
“God cannot continue to allow this country to exist under those kinds of circumstances,” he added. “He cannot bless America under those kinds of circumstances. I want God’s blessing on this country, but he cannot bless this country when we’re going down this path of destruction of the people who are created in his very image.”
Following the mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando in June, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio said he was so affected by the tragedy that he changed his mind and decided to run for re-election to the U.S. Senate, while Donald Trump claimed that he would best represent the LGBT community by opposing Muslim immigration.
“Ask the gays” who their true friend is, Trump said.
Now, Trump and Rubio are both set to appear in Orlando two months after the Pulse nightclub shooting.
But rather than stand in solidarity with the LGBT community, as they pledged to do, they will be addressing a summit on the dangers of “homosexual totalitarianism” organized by some of the country’s most extreme anti-LGBT activists.
While Rubio has denied that the “Rediscovering God in America” event has anything to do with LGBT issues, its chief organizer, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, said explicitly that the gathering will focus on how LGBT equality endangers religious liberty.
Besides Lane, Trump and Rubio will be joining Religious Right activists Mat Staver, David Barton, Bill Federer and Ken Graves. That Trump and Rubio would stand with these activists shouldn’t be surprising, since both have promised to back anti-LGBT legislation and support judicial nominees hostile to LGBT rights, but it does show how their promises to defend the LGBT community only amounted to cynical and shallow political ploys.
Here is just a sampling of what Trump and Rubio’s far-right allies have said about the LGBT community:
“Homosexuality is debauchery,” he wrote, adding: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and—more so—is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.”
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver has been fighting LGBT rights for years, representing clients like Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who both defied the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, and Lisa Miller, who during a custody battle with her former female partner, kidnapped their daughter and fled to Central America.
Fresh from a week of anti-abortion protests in Wichita, Kansas, where they held an “ ecclesiastical court” holding the Supreme Court in violation of the law of God, activists affiliated with Operation Save America have descended on Montgomery, Alabama, to rally in support of Chief Justice Roy Moore as he faces ethics charges over his defiance of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
As Moore and his attorney, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, faced a hearing in front of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary yesterday, Operation Save America leaders and other activists rallied outside the court to support Moore against judges who “hate God.”
Cal Zastrow, the anti-abortion activist who said in Wichita that he was coordinating grassroots support for Moore, posted on Facebook that Moore shared supper with some of the protesters and told them about “the big challenges he is experiencing from Sodomites and lawless courts.”
“The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has some very wicked members who aren't interested in upholding the rule of law. They hate God (but still go to churches) and will be trying to remove Chief Justice Roy Moore at a trial on Sept. 28 for his beliefs,” Zastrow wrote.
After the hearing, Moore, with Staver at his side, spoke to the press with the activists lined up behind him, including one holding a sign declaring “Sodomy Ruins Nations.”
One protester told AL.com that she was supporting Moore because he’s “the only leader in the country who is standing up for the rule of law and what’s right.”
Reacting to Ambrosia Starling, a drag queen who’s become a leader in anti-Moore efforts, the protester said: “We are women, we bear children and raise them in godly homes. That is not a woman. That’s a pervert. That’s a man in a dress acting like a woman. He’s not a woman and the law should afford him no protection. The opposite of that is true. They should protect godly homes, men and women, marriage between a man and a woman as the only ordained marriage. And it’s the only one that ever will be right. It’s not loving to allow him to continue in his perversion. What’s loving is to correct him, rebuke him and show him that perversion is not a healthy life, away from God is not a healthy choice.”
Also speaking at the rally was Rusty Thomas, the head of Operation Save America, who in an email to his supporters on Sunday praised Moore for defying the “Federal beast” and comparing the chief justice to the biblical Daniel, who, instead of being tossed into a lion's den, is fighting a “beastly” homosexuality that "seeks to devour any God honoring truth or person who upholds it in the public square."
“As individuals, I pray these confused folks who have been captured by this demonic lust find freedom through the love and truth of Jesus Christ,” he wrote. “Their agenda to remake America in their perverted image, however, let that agenda fall into the pit that they have created”:
Chief Justice Roy Moore is a godly statesmen that is doing his duty as a Lesser Magistrate. His example is so desperately needed today. We pray that other Judges, Governors, Legislators, and Sheriffs will be inspired to follow his example to reapply the Constitutional chain back on the Federal beast, restore law and order, and establish the necessary checks and balances our nation needs to preserve our liberty that is rooted righteousness and justice.
In about 2 hours, we will be taking our message to a busy intersection with signs and literature, then we will pray at the Supreme Court building where the "trial" will be held tomorrow.
Tomorrow morning, we will have a rally at noon to support Chief Justice Roy Moore and then hopefully make it in for the actual hearing. Please saturate what is happening here in Montgomery in much prayer. His is the last man standing against the immorality, injustice, and tyranny that is stalking America. God grants us the victory and may Roy Moore serve as a modern day Daniel.
As you recall, Daniel's enemies were jealous of his excellent spirit, wise behavior, and strong work ethic. They devised a plan to remove him from office and bring about his demise. They stated, "We shall not find any charge against this Daniel unless we find it against him concerning the law of his God" (Daniel 6:5).
Initially, it appeared their devious plan worked. Daniel was thrown in the lion's den where his enemies hoped for him to be devoured. And make no mistake about the vile nature of homosexuality, it is beastly. It seeks to devour any God honoring truth or person who upholds it in the public square. To their everlasting shame and demise, however, the pit they dug for Daniel, (Chief Justice Roy Moore) they fell into the same pit. The same rock they attempted to roll over Daniel (Chief Justice Roy Moore) is the same rock that rolled back on them. Daniel was removed from the lion's den and his enemies took his place and this time the lion's munched.
As individuals, I pray these confused folks who have been captured by this demonic lust find freedom through the love and truth of Jesus Christ. Their agenda to remake America in their perverted image, however, let that agenda fall into the pit that they have created. May the perverted agenda that seeks to make the good guys the bad guys wind up on the ash heap of history, along with every other tyrannical, blood lust of men who dared to defy and deny the authority of Almighty God in Jesus' mighty name!
Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is scheduled to attend a radical anti-LGBT event in being held in Orlando this week exactly two months after the Pulse nightclub shooting, according to newsreports from Jenna Browder of the Christian Broadcasting Network and Jennifer Jacobs of Bloomberg News.
As we reported last week, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and a host of anti-LGBT extremists are slated to address the “Rediscovering God in America” event, which is sponsored by the American Renewal Project.
Self-described “political operative” David Lane founded the American Renewal Project as a way to mobilize conservative Christian voters and inspire right-wing pastors to run for elected office. He told Jacobs that he intends to quiz Trump on how he plans to fight “homosexual totalitarianism” and the gay rights “militants.”
Maine pastor Ken Graves preaches against “militant homofascism” that he says “seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and argues that gay people cannot build happy families because they are “depressed.”
Rubio has denied that the “Rediscovering God in America” event, which will take place exactly two months after the horrific shooting at an Orlando gay nightclub, has anything to do with anti-LGBT activism. In response to criticism last week, the senator attacked “the media and liberal activists” for labeling “a gathering of faith leaders as an anti-LGBT event” when it is “nothing of the sort.” He also called for more courteous dialogue in the debate over marriage equality that is “respectful of the views and the dignity of those on both sides.”
The Florida senator has clearly misrepresented the nature of the event, which is being led by political activists with a clear anti-LGBT agenda.
Barton is delighted by the fact that God is preventing researchers from finding a cure or vaccine for HIV/AIDS. According to Barton, HIV/AIDS is a punishment for sin and therefore God will block a potential cure: “God says, ‘Hey you’re going to bear in your body the consequences of this homosexual behavior.’” He argues that HIV/AIDS is a divine “penalty” for gay people’s “shameful sexual acts.” On a similar note, Barton has called homosexuality “absolutely reprehensible and disgusting” and said that marriage equality means we “are going down as a nation.”
Barton “guaranteed” listeners that if they have children going to public schools “they are getting homosexual indoctrination.” He even said that public schools will “force them to be homosexual.” Barton’s gay rights conspiracy theories don’t end there: Before the passage of the 2009 Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Barton said the law was “designed to single out preachers in the pulpit” and would put pastors in prison if they condemn homosexuality. Of course, that never happened.
The appearance of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver alongside Rubio at the Orlando event should also put to rest the claim that this is an apolitical event.
Other speakers at Rubio’s event will include Maine pastor Ken Graves, who rails against “militant homofascism,” and activist Bill Federer, who thinks gay rights will usher in Islamicrule in the U.S.
While Rubio may try to deny that the event is in any way anti-LGBT, even a cursory glance at the rally speakers and principal organizer reveals that the senator’s statement flies in the face of reality.
If Rubio really believed that people should be “respectful of the views and the dignity of those on both sides,” aligning with radical activists who want homosexuality outlawed and smear gay people as pedophiles and Satanists is not a good start.
When Marco Rubio cited the deadly attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando as a reason he was changing his mind and running for re-election to the U.S. Senate, many LGBT allies immediately noted that the Florida senator and failed presidential candidate has never been an ally of the LGBT community.
“To be using the tragedy in Orlando as a time to reflect on his Senate career, when his career and his promises on the campaign trail have been anti-LGBTQ consistently, it’s just staggering to think he would be using this moment for his own personal ambitions,” said Jay Brown of the Human Rights Campaign at the time.
It comes as no surprise, then, to see that Rubio is slated to address an event in Orlando next month that will feature some of the country’s most vehement anti-LGBT activists.
The Orlando-based Liberty Counsel Action, an extreme anti-LGBTgroup whose affiliate is famous for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her stand against the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, announced in an email today that the Florida Renewal Project will be hosting an event called “Rediscovering God in America” in August. The event will be headlined by Rubio, who will speak alongside anti-LGBT activists David Barton, Bill Federer, Ken Graves and Mat Staver.
The Florida Renewal Project is an affiliate of conservative activist David Lane’s American Renewal Project, which hosts “Rediscovering God” conferences around the country.
The event will put Rubio in the company of some of the most extreme anti-gay activists in the country:
David Lane, whose organization is hosting the event, believes that gay rights will lead to the “utter destruction” of the U.S. and “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” (Learn more about David Lane here).
Mat Staver, whose Liberty Counsel Action sent out the invitation to the event and who is scheduled to speak, has gained a national reputation by representing Davis and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore through the affiliated Liberty Counsel. Last month, Staver denounced memorial gatherings for the victims of the Orlando nightclub attack as “homosexual love fests.” Staver has claimed that gay people are “demonic,” seek to abuse children and are similar to terrorists, and has warned that gay rights victories could lead to “forced homosexuality” and “another civil war.” At the same time, he has praised countries that outlaw same-sex relationships. (Learn more about Mat Staver here).
David Barton, a Republican Party activist who styles himself as a historian, thinks that God is justly preventing a cure for HIV/AIDS because it is a divine “penalty” for homosexuality, and has lamented that public schools try to “force” students “to be homosexual” when homosexuality really should be regulated by the government. (Learn more about David Barton here).
Maine pastor Ken Graves preaches against “militant homofascism” that he says “seeks to take over our land and make it Sodom” and argues that gay people cannot build happy families because they are “depressed.”
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver ripped the Supreme Court for striking down a Texas law aimed at limiting access to legal abortion under the guise of protecting the health of women, declaring that America will soon face a "day of reckoning" from God over the sin of abortion.
Citing a passage from Jeremiah condemning kings who build their palaces through the injustice of slave labor, Staver said that abortion has done much the same in America, with the Supreme Court "mixing this injustice into the mortar" of this nation.
"There will be a time of reckoning," Staver said. "I think what this Supreme Court has done in 1973 [and] 1992, when they reaffirmed Roe v. Wade, and throughout the history and obviously with this decision is they have built this country with a policy of mixing the blood of children into the mortar of this country. And there will be a day of reckoning; God will not continue to allow his children to be slaughtered by any nation. It will come a time when this nation, or any nation, that ultimately takes the lives of their innocent children that will have a day of reckoning and I think we, as a church, have to wake up to this fact."
Staver went on the urge lawmakers in Texas to defy the ruling and "stop pretending that these people on the Supreme Court can divine anything they want to and then pass it off as though it is constitutional when it has nothing to do with the Constitution at all."
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver called on churches and Christian organizations to pass resolutions supporting "traditional marriage" and vowing never to accept the legitimacy of gay marriage, saying that doing so will put them on "the right side of history."
Staver cited a resolution that he helped to write that was recently passed by the Southern Baptist Convention as the sort of thing that other denominations should emulate.
"I encourage other denominations and churches to pass resolutions," he said, "and we're certainly willing and able to draft them ... I encourage your people in your churches to step on the right side of history and step on the side of marriage and the natural created order of man and woman."
Staver went on to lament that some churches turned memorial gatherings following the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando into a "homosexual love fest."
"Even in the situation following what happened in Orlando," he said, "churches got involved and they led in some cases and in other cases they followed and they ultimately allowed that situation, instead of an opportunity to pray, some of them allowed it to be a homosexual love fest. That's not something that we need to celebrate, this is a tragedy that is against all Americans."
Co-host Matt Barber then joined in to fault gay-friendly Christians because they are "disobeying Christ, are actually running afoul of God and Jesus in the context of the marriage debate and are siding with the Prince of the World who is trying to redefine marriage."
"Believe me, this idea of gay marriage didn't come from God, it didn't come from Christ," Barber said, "so who did it come from?"
Sunday marked the first anniversary of the Supreme Court’s landmark marriage equality decision, which, if Religious Right activists were to be believed, was to usher in a horrible tyranny that would lead to mass deaths and war.
Of course, the Right’s doomsday predictions about what would happen if same-sex marriage became legal nationwide were totally unfounded, and only a tiny contingent of conservativescame to a protest the ruling in Washington, D.C., this weekend.
While the conservative movement certainly hasn’t given up on the fight against LGBT rights and is thrilled by Donald Trump’spromise to appoint anti-LGBT judges who would oppose the marriage ruling, many activists have once again shown that they are more interested in stirring up fears about the LGBT community than in the facts.
Here are just five of the craziestpredictions that conservative politicians and pundits made about Obergefell v. Hodges, all of which are yet to come true.
Many “mainstream” Religious Right leaders said that if the Supreme Court were to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage, Americans should prepare for a revolution.
“We’ve got to fight to our deaths to save this great country,” said Cliff Kincaid of the conservative group Accuracy In Media, while Vision America’s Rick Scarborough vowed that he was willing to “burn” in defiance of gay marriage, which he said would “unleash the spirit of hell on the nation.”
One year later, no anti-gay revolution has occurred and Rick Scarborough has not self-immolated.
Just before the ruling, WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah called on governors “to secede” from the union in order “to offer a refuge” for the “millions of Americans” who he believed would flee the country as a result of marriage equality. “The rewards could be great. I would certainly consider relocating. How about you?” he asked. “If not a state, are there any nations in the world interested in a pilgrimage by millions of Americans?”
Focus on the Family founder James Dobson warned that the U.S. could witness a second civil war over a same-sex marriage decision and televangelist Rick Joyner predicted that the court would “start an unraveling where our country fractures like it hasn’t since the Civil War.”
Radio host Rick Wiles predicted that “God will cut off America’s food supply and this nation will be hit with disease, pestilence, drought, natural calamities and a great shaking” and urged people to flee the country.
Following the passage of the 2009 law that expanded hate crime protections to LGBT people, many right-wing politicians and analysts falsely claimed that the act legalized pedophilia. Of course, it did nothing of the sort and child abuse is still a crime.
Many of these same people claimed years later that the Obergefell ruling would also legalize pedophilia, which, obviously, it did not do.
If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law. It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.
No pastor has been arrested for refusing to officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding, reading from the Bible or preaching against homosexuality, all things that conservatives predicted would happen.
Many pundits, however, have wrongly used the case of Kim Davis to claim that their fears were realized.
Davis, a Kentucky county clerk, was temporarily incarcerated by a federal judge when she refused to abide by court orders which found that she was unlawfully denying same-sex couples marriage licenses. Davis, who boasted that she was defying the Supreme Court decision and subsequent rulings because she was working under “ God’s authority ,” was released after deputy clerks in the county office agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis was not incarcerated because of her religious objections but because, in her role as a government employee, she clearly defied the rule of law. She was not attempting to exercise her religious freedom as a private citizen but was trying to impose her personal religious beliefs on the functions of government, and make all the people in her jurisdiction abide by her faith.
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver appeared on “Crosstalk” on Monday to reflect on the upcoming anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, declaring that same-sex marriage will usher in pernicious consequences for America.
Staver, who gainednotoriety for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her attempt to defy the ruling, compared gay rights advocates to communist dictators who sought to suppress religious groups, predicting that Davis “is not going to be the last one jailed.”
Same-sex marriage, Staver said, “puts every household at risk because same-sex marriage, by its nature, says that, ‘boys and girls, you don’t need moms and dads,’ that they are completely irrelevant, that two men or two women are just as good as a mother and a father and that’s a complete lie from the pit of hell. It’s just simply not true. To deprive forever a boy of ever having the opportunity of a father or a mother or a girl of a father or a mother is damaging and we will see the damage that is ultimately reaped against these children as they grow up and become our future leaders.”
Later, Staver criticized LGBT rights supporters for using the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando “to promote the homosexual, LGBT agenda — as shameful as that is.”
All this week on his "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver has been interviewing ex-gay activist Janet Boynes, who today recommended that Christian parents never allow their gay child to bring their partner or spouse into their home, warning that acceptance of such relationships is a sign of the "Last Days."
Boynes said that parents should never cave and allow their children to bring a same-sex partner home for Christmas or Thanksgiving or to a family wedding because "anything outside of a man and a woman is a civil union."
"That is not a marriage," she said, "and so we have to not allow ourself to get so confused and realize that the Bible talks about these things are going to happen in the Last Days. We have to have a better understanding that the Bible talks about in the Last Days, these things are going to happen and trust God that he has an answer for everything in his word."
Christian parents must tell their gay child, Boynes said, that "we believe marriage is between a man and a woman and for this reason, we will not allow you and your same-sex partner to be in the house." The child should be welcome to come home any time, she stated, with the understanding that "your same-sex partner cannot come to our home and our holidays as a couple."
Straight siblings, on the other hand, should be more than welcome to come home as a couple "because they are heterosexual [and] they're doing things right," but gay relationships are "unacceptable ... in the world of God."
In a direct mail letter, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver warns that Moore and other Christian leaders “are facing intense backlash for upholding God’s unwavering TRUTH.”
“In Alabama and across America, state judiciaries and legislatures are standing up against the federal judiciary, resisting tyrannical rule and upholding the moral law of God,” writes Staver, who asks for money to “defend Christian leaders who are being targeted by deep-pocketed, radical activists.”
Staver says “you and I must continue to pray and take an active stand against the forces destroying the foundations of our nation.” More from his letter:
I support Chief Justice Moore’s action that sends a “shot across the bow” regarding the Supreme Court’s egregious 5-4 marriage opinion on same-sex “marriage.” The United States Constitution does not prohibit states from affirming the natural crated order of one man and one woman joined together in marriage.
Like Daniel in the lion’s den, Chief Justice Moore is being persecuted for his faith by liberal legal professionals and radical LGGBT activists. But like Daniel, Chief Justice Moore will not bend, having faith that God will protect those who seek and follow His Word.
Staver asks recipients of the letter to sign and return (along with some money) a “Vote of Confidence” letter to Moore, which says in part:
Thank you for not bowing your knee to the U.S. Supreme Court’s egregious 5-4 marriage opinion on same-sex “marriage.” No civil authority, including the U.S. Supreme Court, has the authority to define marriage as anything but the union of one man and one woman!
I pray that God continues to guide and protect you, and to give you and other Christian leaders the continuing strength to turn the tide of immorality sweeping our nation.
Staver also includes a card reminding people to pray for Moore that he suggests placing in your Bible or on your refrigerator or bathroom mirror.
“SB 1552 was authored by Sen. Nathan Dahm,” the press release says. “Yet this legislation was initiated by a local pastor, Paul Blair, with the support and guidance of Liberty Counsel.”
“Life begins at conception,” the press release quotes Liberty Counsel’s founder Mat Staver saying. “Preborn children are in fact children, not merely fetuses, and their lives should be protected from the moment of conception. This bill is a very positive step toward affirming the value of human life by taking away ability to murder children. Liberty Counsel stands ready to defend this legislature if it is challenged.”
As Peter wrote earlier this year, Blair has been working to convince state lawmakers to defy court rulings on abortion rights and marriage equality:
Reclaiming America for Christ , a ministry of Blair’s church in Edmond, Oklahoma, is promoting “Protect Life and Marriage,” an effort “dedicated to the proposition that the state of Oklahoma has federal and state constitutional authority to (1) protect the institution of natural, traditional marriage and; (2) protect innocent, unborn children from abortion; and that in the face of unjust, unlawful U.S. Supreme Court actions it is time for Oklahoma to exercise this authority.”
Blair said his group has 980 pastors and over 20,000 supporters, and is working with the governor, attorney general and state legislators to promote a nullification strategy: “We are trying to stop this legally, lawfully, politically, actually using the Constitution initially…”Speakers at a Protect Life and Marriage rally at the Oklahoma state capitol last October included U.S. Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Jim Bridenstine, along with state legislators and pastors. Blair also said people supporting some kind of state-led resistance are working through different channels in Tennessee, Alabama, Kentucky and Texas.
At a conference in March, Blair distributed copies of an interview he did with the magazine of the John Birch Society in which he says there is no need for constitutional amendments reversing Supreme Court decisions on marriage equality and abortion rights because states can simply cite the 10th Amendment to ignore them. He said in the interview that “we want Oklahoma to be a ‘sanctuary state’ for marriage, life and the Constitution.”
Blair told The New American that Obergefell is illegitimate, unconstitutional, violates natural law and “celebrates immoral conduct.” The decision, he said, “is an attempt to force everyone to celebrate a behavior that violates conscience and the Holy Scriptures, and to force the acceptance of that behavior on our children through public education.”
Hispanic evangelical leader Samuel Rodriguez has a consistent political strategy: position himself as a nonpartisan advocate committed “not to the agenda of the elephant or the donkey but the lamb,” all while trying to convince Hispanic Christians to support socially conservative causes and politicians.
You might think that the immigration-reform-promoting Rodriguez would be in a bind with immigrant-demeaning Trump as the Republican nominee. But even though Rodriguez has been publicly critical of Trump’s rhetoric on immigration, he seems to be positioning himself to encourage Hispanic evangelicals to support the Republican candidate. He has said Trump blew it with his early campaign rhetoric and that the candidate must “redeem the narrative” with Latinos.
(Just days ago, Trump attacked NHCLC board member Russell Moore, a leading Southern Baptist official, as a “nasty guy with no heart.” Rodriguez, who co-authored with Moore a Wall Street Journal op-ed criticizing Trump’s immigration rhetoric and policies last July, said at the time that “an attack on Russell Moore is an attack on the entire evangelical community.”)
Rodriguez told the Washington Post earlier this week that he would wait to see if the message was “respectful” before deciding whether to show it. Today it is clear that Trump has satisfied Rodriguez, because the NHCLC put out a press release saying the group would show video messages from Trump and from Hillary Clinton on Friday evening.
While Rodriguez says he will not endorse a candidate, it’s hard to take him seriously as some kind of honest broker between the staunchly pro-choice Clinton and the muddled punish-the-woman Trump, who has said he would nominate Supreme Court justices to overturn Roe v. Wade. As we recently noted, Rodriguez has said, “I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists, that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.” And he has made it clear that he believes Hispanic Christians must make opposition to abortion, not support for immigrant families, the basis of their vote.
In an interview being promoted by Glenn Beck’s The Blaze today, Rodriguez doubles down on that message, saying it would be “morally reprehensible” for Christians to vote for a candidate who supports Planned Parenthood, saying they would need to “repent.”
“I want to speak to every single African American, Latino, and Anglo Christ follower who believes in biblical orthodoxy — how can we justify supporting anything — be it Republican or Democrat — that in any way, form or shape defends Planned Parenthood?”
Trump has repeatedly praised Planned Parenthood but says he wants to defund the women’s health organization unless they agree to stop providing abortion services.
Rodriguez told The Blaze that it would take “a miracle” for Trump to win over the Latino community, but suggested it could be possible if he apologizes and chooses a Hispanic running mate, mentioning Marco Rubio, Susana Martinez and Ted Cruz.
Our friends at the Southern Poverty Law Center have obtained a copy of the 2014 membership list of the Council for National Policy, a secretive group led by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins that includes a who’s who of leaders of the Religious Right and the wider conservative movement who work together to influence national politics. (In 2014, Perkins was the group’s vice president.) We’ve known from news reports that CNP’s membership includes a wide range of Religious Right leaders, but one name on the list obtained by SPLC stood out: Michael Peroutka.
Peroutka, who made his fortune with a family debt-collection business, has become a minor benefactor to the Religious Right, including funding anti-choice groups, bankrolling some of the campaigns and advocacy work of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (who is currently suspended for attempting to defy the federal courts on marriage equality), and, maybe most notably, donating a million-dollar dinosaur skeleton to a creationist group.
Most troubling, Peroutka has a history as a neo-Confederate activist, including spending time on the board of the secessionist League of the South. In a 2004 speech to the group, Peroutka said that he was “still angry” that Maryland failed to secede from the Union during the Civil War. At the group’s 2012 convention, Peroutka led attendees in a spirited rendition of “Dixie,” which he referred to as “the national anthem”:
CNP’s membership list is closely guarded and new members can join only by invitation. This means that Peroutka didn’t just show up unannounced: He was invited to join a group that includes Perkins, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, Alliance Defending Freedom’s Alan Sears and many other high-profile conservative activists.
We don’t know if Peroutka is still a member of the group. But even by the time CNP’s 2014 membership directory was published, there was already plenty of public information available about his troubling ideology. Why was the leadership of the Religious Right willing to invite Peroutka into their fold?
But it appears that Rodriguez has thrown his lot in with Donald Trump, the very candidate who kicked off his campaign by trash-talking Latino immigrants and calling for mass deportations.
While he may be an outspoken advocate of immigration reform, when push comes to shove, as it has with Trump’s all-but-certain nomination, Rodriguez makes it clear that he is first and foremost a Religious Right culture warrior.
In the end, his advocacy for immigrant families takes a back seat to his opposition to legal abortion and marriage equality. He said as much at an Evangelicals for Life event in January, telling Latinos that it’s fine to march for immigration reform —“as long as it’s not amnesty or illegal immigration; we need to stop that” — but “we must be above all things pro-life.”
In a story last week by right-wing pundit Todd Starnes of Fox News, Rodriguez dismissed talk by some evangelical leaders that Christians should, in the words of pastor Charles Haddon Spurgeon, “Of evils choose none.” Rodriguez says not voting is “sacrificing your Christian worldview on the altar of political expediency. It is silly to talk about not voting for either candidate. Every single Christian should vote.”
And while Rodriguez doesn’t mention Trump by name, it is clear that he will not be voting for Hillary Clinton or Bernie Sanders:
“I will vote my Christian values,” Rodriguez said. “It’s life, the family ethos, it’s religious liberty, it’s limited government. That’s the person I’m going to vote for.”
Rodriquez conceded that the 2016 candidates are not his “dream team” – but he’s only concerned about one issue – the Supreme Court.
“I’m going to vote for protecting the Supreme Court from judges that are activists – that run counter to our Judeo-Christian value system.”
Staver said that he and Moore are engaged in “spiritual warfare” against demonic forces, and urged listeners to contact Alabama officials to defend Moore.
He then went after the Obama administration’s “ridiculous” challenge to North Carolina’s anti-LGBT law, HB2, accusing the White House of “forcing this immorality, absolute rejection of objective reality and male and female, pushing all this agenda across America and down our throats.”
Advances in transgender rights, Staver warned, could mean that white people will soon be able to identify as black in order to attain “minority protection” or that young people will be able to identify as older in order to acquire firearms licenses.
Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.
Moore's actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
This isn’t the first time Moore has been in this situation.
Back in 2003, he was removed from the office of chief justice for flouting a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the courthouse rotunda.
The episode turned Moore into a martyr in the eyes of right-wing activists, although his newfound celebrity wasn’t enough to help his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor.
But in 2012 Moore returned to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he was once again lauded by the Religious Right when he tried to block same-sex marriages from taking place in the state in defiance of the federal courts.
Moore himself has likened the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling to Nazi oppression and has tapped Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, the Religious Right activist who used bizarre legal arguments to defend Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her unsuccessful attempt to flout the Supreme Court on marriage equality, to represent him in the case.
Just as Staver likenedDavis to victims of the Holocaust, expect him to turn Moore, once again, into a symbol of the supposed persecution of Christians in America.
Indeed, far-right pastor Dave Daubenmire is already planning to hold a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, to support Moore and challenge the “uncircumcised philistine of the federal court system.”
Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who succeeded him in leading the Religious Right legal group Foundation for Moral Law, posted a song on her Facebook page yesterday comparing her husband to actual Christian martyrs.
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver asserted that North Carolina's anti-LGBT law and the Religious Right's boycott of Target are necessary because efforts to allow transgender people to use facilities that match their gender identity are being pushed by pedophilia advocates.
"The fact is we know sexual assaults occur," he said, "they are going to occur with or without these laws, there's no question about that. People commit sexual assaults, they commit them in buildings, they commit them in restrooms; but what you have now done, knowing that sexual assaults occur, knowing that they occur in these places where women are trapped and they can't get out, now what we've done, through these laws, is we've opened the door for every rapist and pedophile."
"Frankly," he continued, "when you look at some of the people behind the North Carolina law and some of these other laws, who are they? They have been identified, some of them that have been advocating this, as pedophiles. Some of this is being financed by those who are actively promoting pedophilia."
Of course, Staver did not disclose which groups were identified as organizations that promote child abuse.