Last month, a grand jury in Houston that had been convened to investigate Planned Parenthood in the wake of undercover videos released by the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) instead indicted CMP’s David Daleiden and his colleague Sandra Merritt on charges related to their infiltration of the women’s health provider.
But the fact that the attorney with the Planned Parenthood connection had nothing to do with the activists’ indictments hasn’t stopped Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, the attorney famous for defending anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and who is representing Merritt, from questioning her influence on the case and calling her out for once wearing “hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at a Planned Parenthood fundraising event.
A post on Liberty Counsel’s website on Friday say that the “history and actions” of the district attorney’s office “raise serious questions about bias” and includes a photo of Laruen Reeder, the attorney who is on the local Planned Parenthood board, at a costume party fundraiser for the organization “wearing a revealing tank top and hot pants.”
Staver continued this line of attack in an interview with Pennsylvania radio host Bobby Gunther Walsh today, in which he insisted that “it remains to be seen” whether Reeder influenced the investigation and added that she had once been “pictured in hot pants and a very revealing tank top” at the Planned Parenthood fundraiser.
On a recent "Freedom's Call" radio commentary, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver declared that gays are now imposing a "jizya" tax on Christians in America.
Staver, the anti-gay legal activist representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, said that gays have borrowed the concept of the jizya, a discriminatory tax imposed on non-Muslims under Islamic law, and are now subjecting Christians in America to such taxes.
"Deep in the Islamic tradition is jizya, a tax which forces non-Muslims to pay an exorbitant fee for living within a Muslim state," Staver said. "Now, from farmers in New York to those offering wedding cakes, photography and other services, all have been fined thousands, and sometimes more than a hundred thousand dollars for having and acting on a religious belief that is different from homosexuals who demand their services. These fees and fine are in essence a tax on Christians who are living out their faith and beliefs in the businesses that they labored for and have built. In America, we should not fear paying a tax or fee to Muslims, nor to homosexuals, just because our faith is different from theirs."
Mathew Staver, the anti-gay activist who represented Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her failed attempt to prevent her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, marked Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by emailing supporters of his organization, Liberty Counsel, a fundraising email that included an excerpt from King’s “Letter from the Birmingham Jail.”
P.S. Dr. King was a highly principled man and firmly held to his convictions until his untimely death.
Today, Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis stands as an example to all of us as a person of conviction who was jailed for her principled resistance to an unjust law. Yet, the Lord has restored her in ways she couldn't have imagined!
While no one wants conflict, we have no choice but to resist an unjust law, particularly one that will force us to participate in acts that directly conflict with the Natural and Revealed Law.
In yet another example of what the Religious Right’s recent focus on “religious liberty” is really about, five Republican presidential candidates are scheduled to speak this weekend at a “religious freedom” event hosted by a conservative pastor who has repeatedly declared that AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people’s “immoral act” and has called for a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality.
Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Carly Fiorina and Mike Huckabee are scheduled to join a “Free to Believe Broadcast” on Saturday, hosted by the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Vision America’s Rick Scarborough, two of the most outspoken anti-gay activists in the country.
Both, even while attempting to curtail the rights of LGBT people, have claimed that it is their rights that are being violated by the LGBT movement: Perkins has said that the supposed persecution of anti-gay Christians in America is inspiringISIS, and Scarborough has declared that he is ready to burn to death in the fight against gay marriage.
But neither Scarborough nor Perkins has ever been particularly interested in a “live and let live” truce with LGBT people.
Scarborough has declared that AIDS, “a homosexual disease,” is God’s “judgment as a result of an immoral act.” Just last year, he repeated his belief that AIDS is “God’s judgment on a sinful generation, adding that “God would probably give us the cure for AIDS today” if the U.S. stopped supporting gay rights:
He also said last year that marriage equality is part of Satan’s effort to “destroy this country,” warning that gay parents will lead their children “into an early grave called hell”:
Scarborough is so concerned about gay people that back in 2013 he brought up the idea of issuing a “class action lawsuit” against homosexuality, much like actions taken against the tobacco industry:
In 2014, Scarborough agreed with Islamic fundamentalists who call America the “Great Satan,” saying that God would be perfectly justified in sending a nuclear bomb to destroy the country because of such sins as President Obama’s appointments of a handful of gay ambassadors:
And that’s just Scarborough. Perkins has a vile anti-gay record of his own, which Brian summarized last month.
Also appearing at the event will be Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who has warned that gay people seek to “groom” and “entrap” children, and David and Jason Benham, brothers who became Religious Right martyrs when they lost a TV show they were set to star in after their anti-gayactivism came to light.
Throughout the day, reporters have been trying to figure out which member of Congress invited Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her lawyer, Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, to tonight’s State of the Union address. While the invitations were arranged by the far-right Family Research Council, which gave Davis its “Cost of Discipleship Award” last year, FRC has been mum on which congressman got them the tickets in the first place. (UPDATE: The tickets came from Rep. Jim Jordan’s office, but the congressman says he wasn’t aware that they went to Davis.)
Naturally, Liberty Counsel said in a statement that Staver plans to use his appearance alongside Davis at the State of the Union to remind the president of his supposed anti-Christian tyranny:
While the President will be extolling his “accomplishments” of the last seven years, Kim Davis and Mat Staver will be a visible reminder of the Administration’s attack on religious liberty and an encouragement for people of faith to stand.
For seven years, people of faith have been in the crosshairs of the Obama Administration. The state of religious liberty is dire, but we cannot give up.
“Kim and I are encouraging all people of faith to get involved in the political process, to vote for people who support your values, and to never give up,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Our ‘one nation under God,’ is worth our continued prayers and active support.”
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is winning plaudits from Religious Right groups after he issued an administrative order directing probate judges in his state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Moore was an anti-gay activist in his own right before returning to the court in 2013, founding the far-right Foundation for Moral Law, which has published yesterday’s order on its website.
Moore told the far-right site WorldNetDaily that the Obergefell case provides “a wonderful time to teach the people of our country about states’ rights,” explaining that his order reflects the fact that “states do have powers.”
Already, Moore is winning support from those who called on state and local officials, such as Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, to defy the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling.
This Order is both courageous and very well-reasoned. We need more federal and state officers like Chief Justice Moore who understand that the job of the Federal Judiciary is not to legislate from the bench, but rather to simply decide disputes between parties consistent with the text of the Constitution. Judicial opinions, like Obergefell v. Hodges, that purport to set policy for all of America are simply not supported by the Constitutional grant of powers given to the Judiciary.
Thank God for Chief Justice Moore! Please keep him, his family, and his staff in your prayers!
“I applaud Chief Justice Roy Moore for this order reaffirming the marriage law in Alabama,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The Alabama Supreme Court issued an order in March 2015 barring probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses after a federal court in January of last year overturned Alabama's voter-approved constitutional amendment defining marriage as one man and one woman,” Staver explained. “In Alabama and across America, state judiciaries and legislatures are standing up against the federal judiciary or anyone else who wants to come up with some cockeyed view that somehow the Constitution now births some newfound notion of same-sex marriage."
“The opinion of five lawyers on the U.S. Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage is lawless and without legal or historical support," Staver concluded.
These legal developments are consistent with the developing resistance in America to the Supreme Court's attempt to legislate from the bench when it comes to marriage, ignoring the federal constitution in the process and inventing out of thin air a "right" to same-sex 'marriage.'
The American people reject judicial activism of the US Supreme Court and their attempt to redefine marriage. They continue to support marriage as it has existed throughout our nation's history, the union of one man and one woman.
Sanctity of Marriage Alabama applauds Chief Justice Roy Moore for doing his job and clarifying what is, in fact, the current law in Alabama. Chief Justice Moore has a constitutional duty (see Ala. Code 12-2-30) as head of the judicial system to "[take affirmative action to correct any] situation adversely affecting the administration of justice within the state." He has done this today. We expect that the associate justices of the Alabama Supreme Court will once again follow the line of duty before God and the Constitutions of the United States and Alabama as they did back in March."
Bryan Fischer of American Family Radio:
Judge Moore the only one upholding Constitution, which reserves marriage to the states. Civil obedience, not disobedience.
Earlier this week, extremist anti-gay activist Scott Lively released his list of the "Top Ten Pro-Family Heroes of 2015," highlighting anti-gay activists "who showed courage under fire or whose words and actions gave special encouragement to our movement."
As the "2015 Pro-Family Hero of the Year," Lively rewarded Brian Camenker of MassResistance with a $500 donation and urged his supporters to financially support these other "worthy organizations" to "help them in their work":
1) 2015 Pro-Family Hero of the Year
Brian Camenker, MassResistance, for consistent dogged determination, effective activism, and optimism in the face of overwhelming opposition in the most homosexual-controlled state in the union.
2) Mat Staver, Liberty Counsel, for his bold, principled defiance of the United States Supreme Court in the Obergefell “gay marriage” ruling, and his defense of conscientious objector Kim Davis who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals in Kentucky.
3) Janet Folger, Faith 2 Action, for her tenacious “Restrain the Judges” campaign, culminating in a press conference on the steps of the Supreme Court asking Congress to remove jurisdiction over “gay marriage” from the United States Supreme Court, and for her subsequent valiant efforts to force SCOTUS to reconsider its Obergefell decision.
4) Arthur Goldberg, Jews Offering New Alternatives for Healing (JONAH) for standing firm through a terrible lawsuit brought against JONAH by the Southern Poverty Law Center claiming that offering recovery to homosexuals amounted to consumer fraud under New Jersey law.
5) Peter LaBarbera, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality, for his consistently gracious and courageous cultural analysis, activism and journalism at great personal cost.
6) David Kupelian, WND.com, for his ongoing fearless publication of the truth and his newest book, “The Snapping of the American Mind.”
7) J. Matt Barber of Barbwire.com for establishing a wonderful new medium for Christian witness and defense of the truth.
8) Diane Gramley, American Family Association of PA, for her steady, persistent and unflappable defense of family values.
9) Dr. Michael Brown, Line of Fire Radio Ministry, for the encouragement he has provided to the movement with his fearless radio commentary and especially new book, Outlasting the Gay Revolution.
10) Dr. Don Welch: Center for Enriching Relationships, for being the first-named of three litigants against California’s SB1172 law preventing professional psychotherapists from helping gender identity confused adolescents who possess a biblical worldview.
In addition to these "heroes," Lively also provided a list of those who "deserve honorable mention" and one name, more than any other, jumped out at us:
Rev. Franklin Graham, for his many media appearances in which he courageously articulated the truth.
Robert Reilly, for his outstanding book, “Making Gay Okay: How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything.”
Anne Paulk, executive director of Restored Hope Network for pulling the remnants of Exodus International back together and moving forward with grace, energy and truth.
Robert Oscar Lopez for his many articles, his brave stand, his amicus brief in the Obergefell case, and his book “Jephthah’s Daughters.”
Bryan Fischer and AFR radio for outstanding exposition of and defense of the truth.
Pastor Steve Branson, Village Parkway Baptist Church, San Antonio, TX for his strong public support of Master Sgt. Phillip Monk
The pastors who championed the HERO case in Houston, TX.
Dr. Steven Hotze, Conservative Republicans of Texas
Bill Wiesner, TCFamily.org, Michigan.
Aaron and Melissa Kline, Sweet Cakes by Melissa, Oregon.
Bevin was an outspoken defender of Davis’s refusal to follow a federal court order that her office grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver has no doubts that Bevin’s “absolute” backing of Davis helped put him over the top in the election.
“There is no question that the case of Kim Davis and the issue of religious freedom played a role in the Governor’s lopsided win,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “Kentuckians favor traditional values, and they are tired of the political elites represented by former Governor Beshear and Attorney General Jack Conway. The voters sided with religious liberty,” said Staver.
“On the night he won the election, Gov. Bevin tweeted that he would bring ‘Christian principles to Frankfort.’ During his campaign and following his election, Gov. Bevin promised he would issue an executive order respecting the religious liberty of Kim Davis and other Kentucky clerks. We look forward to a new day in Kentucky,” concluded Staver.
Liberty Counsel reports that Davis will “attend the inaugural events, including the worship service, a parade, and the public swearing-in ceremony on the Capitol steps.”
It’s hard to know whether Davis’ invitation and attendance are really a further public embrace by Bevin or more like the “invitation” Liberty Counsel arranged for Davis during Pope Francis’s visit to DC, when she was smuggled into the Vatican embassy for what Liberty Counsel called a private meeting with, and endorsement from, the pontiff — and which Vatican officials characterized as more of a receiving line meet-and-greet.
Davis has since backed down — under court orders — from her attempt to block her county office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In an email to supporters, Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver likened Davis to Christian leaders “we admire like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Jan Huss, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,” while continuing to insist that “Kim adhered to Kentucky law while standing for her First Amendment right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience.”
Kim Davis became the first Christian in America jailed as a result of the Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex "marriage."
She joins a long list of people who were imprisoned for their conscience. People who today we admire like Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr, Jan Huss, John Bunyan, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and others like them. Each had their own cause, but they all shared the same resolve not to violate their consciences.
Kim adhered to Kentucky law while standing for her First Amendment right to religious liberty and freedom of conscience. Liberty Counsel represented Kim throughout her ordeal.
According to the magazine, TIME editors will choose a winner with the announcement on December 9. But leading to the selection, they are asking readers to "have their say," in a face-off poll.
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver declared that President Obama is bringing in Syrian refugees because he "has no love for this country" and wants to undermine and destroy America.
Staver and cohost Matt Barber were ostensibly discussing last month's terrorist attacks in Paris, though most of the discussion was aimed at attacking Obama for bringing Syrian refugees into America, which Staver insisted is going to lead to a Paris-like tragedy here as well.
Barber was at a loss to understand Obama's desire to "bring in potential ISIS terrorists by the thousands," wondering if it is sheer incompetence or something he is doing intentionally.
"It's not incompetence," responded Staver. "It's intentional. This person that occupies the White House has no love for this country and, in fact, does so many things to undermine the moral, the unity and the security of this country. It's absolutely unbelievable. If he were someone else, the media would be all over him, but he gets away with all this because they don't hold him accountable. Frankly, this particular president, his legacy will be that he has weakened America and that he is making us vulnerable to some serious attacks."
Barber agreed, declaring that if any sort of terrorist attack occurs in America on Obama's watch, "he will have blood on his hands and there's a word for that and that word is 'treason.'"
Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver spoke recently at a "Standing for Jesus Christ Conference" in Delaware where he discussed his work defending Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her fight to prevent her office from issuing marriage licenses because she disagreed with the Supreme Court's gay marriage decision.
Staver declared that Davis could not simply resign from her position just because she was unwilling to carry out her duties as an elected official, but had to remain in office because otherwise she would be sending a signal that Christians are not allowed to run for or hold public office.
We cannot "just cleanse our elected officials of Christians or those who believe in what everyone has believed through millennia of human history that marriage is a union of a man and a woman because five people — because five people! — disagree with God," Staver bellowed.
This sort of "persecution" of Christians will eventually spread to all levels of society, Staver warned.
"It's coming to every facility, every organization, every person that has deeply Judeo-Christian beliefs with regards to marriage as the union of a man and a woman," he stated, before declaring that the lighting of the White House in rainbow colors in celebration of LGBT Pride Month was a devastating shock to the entire world and "put a deep, solar plexus punch in their gut."
"What is happening in our country is happening around the world,"Staver asserted. "This is the greatest attack in our modern times on the church that we have ever seen."
In an email to supporters yesterday, Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver repeated hisclaim that the U.S. is turning into Nazi Germany, warning that the “oppressive” Obama administration is working with liberal groups to push “America’s Christians into a ‘spiral of silence.’” This same “spiral of silence had devastating results in Nazi Germany,” he added.
“We need to stop the ‘spiral of silence’ in America induced by the Obama administration to mute the voices of their adversaries,” he wrote.
We are living under an oppressive regime that is pushing America's Christians into a "spiral of silence." I am calling on every friend of Liberty Counsel to rise up and be heard!
German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann coined the term "spiral of silence." Noelle-Neumann began her career working for a newspaper during Hitler's era. She found that people conceal their views when they think they are in the minority or may face reprisal for their beliefs. Of course, the spiral of silence had devastating results in Nazi Germany.
Silencing people of faith in the public square has always been the goal of those who realize the influence that pastors, churches, and people of faith have on elections and the culture. We have countless times seen and experienced the oppression of America's churches, ministries, and Christian believers by the Obama administration's use of the Department of Justice, the IRS, and even non-government organizations like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Canter [sic].
It's time to stand against this oppression! Pastors and Christian leaders must cast off fear, remove their muzzles, and replace them with a megaphone. We need to stop the "spiral of silence" in America induced by the Obama administration to mute the voices of their adversaries.
We MUST recapture our government, our culture, and our freedom from the clutches of tyrannical leadership, rampant socialism, and moral relativism.
Liberty Counsel believes God's answer for America is going to come through her committed Christian pastors and other church leaders in every community and state in our nation.
Ever since the Supreme Court struck down state gay marriage bans back in June, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has been leading the legal fight on behalf of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who ultimately went to jail for repeatedly refusing to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Saying that Davis has been raised up by God to take a stand against gay marriage, Staver has repeatedly dismissed arguments that Davis should resign from her elected position if she cannot or will not carry out its basic duties, so we were rather surprised to hear Staver declare that Houston mayor Annise Parker ought to resign from her position if she is unhappy that voters recently repealed the city's non-discrimination ordinance.
On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Staver's cohost Matt Barber asserted that Parker was so upset by the election results that she is now essentially urging companies to boycott her own city, prompting Staver to, without irony, declare that Parker ought to simply resign and "let somebody else do" the job if she feels that she cannot represent the "taxpayers and citizens" that she was elected to serve.
"That is like a CEO of a company who says you need to boycott our company," Staver said, "stop buying products from our company because we have a policy that I, the CEO, don't agree with even though the board of directors has ultimately voted for this policy, so stop patronizing our company. Well, you know what, if that's what your feeling is, resign from the company. Mayor, if you want people to boycott Houston, why don't you just resign and let somebody else who wants to run the mayor's office and represent the city of Houston and all of the taxpayers and citizens of Houston? Why don't you just let someone else do it because, frankly, you haven't been doing a very good job."
Turnout was small — about 50 during the day, a bit more in the evening — and the lunchtime press conference was delivered to a room devoid of press, but organizers filmed the speakers in hopes of turning the footage into a documentary or other resource for anti-gay activists.
Sprigg, who is also scheduled to speak at WCF on Wednesday, set the tone for the day by challenging the “gay identity paradigm” and urging social conservatives to avoid as much as possible using the words “gay” and “lesbian” because he said they refer to someone’s innate identity. Sprigg urged activists to separate sexual attraction, sexual behavior, and a person’s self-identification and instead to focus on gay relationships, which he called “objectively harmful to the people who engage in it and to society at large.”
He was also one of many speakers who insisted that advocacy for anti-gay policies is not motivated by hate but by love. For example, Sprigg said that while he mourns the gay men who died of AIDS, “the reason they died is because they chose to have sex with men, not because conservatives told them not to. We do no one a kindness by denying the truth.”
Sprigg, who argued against legal nondiscrimination protections for LGBT people, was one of several speakers who spoke, directly or indirectly, in opposition to this year’s “Utah compromise,” in which the Mormon Church agreed to support passage of limited LGBT nondiscrimination protections in return for religious liberty exemptions. Sprigg warned that compromise with the LGBT rights movement is “unwise” and “unsustainable.”
Also arguing for an uncompromising stance and “zero affirmation of the gay rights paradigm” was Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, who urged anti-gay activists to stop playing defense and go on the offense, reclaiming the moral high ground by always opposing homosexual behavior. One way to go on offense, he said, would be by proposing state bans on hormone therapy and surgery for transgender youth.
Other notable anti-gay activists who addressed the gathering included Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver (via video) and Brian Camenker of MassResistance. Camenker said he respectfully disagreed with those who called for always speaking the truth in love. “I think there is a place for being insulting and degrading, and I think I can back that up by scripture,” he said. “I think we have to look at this as a war, not as, you know, a church service.” Rios agreed, saying, “I do think that evangelicals have gotten a little bit soft and not understood warfare.”
Camenker said that in the Old Testament, “God has two sets of laws regarding how you treat your fellow man.” One is how you treat your neighbor, who you might work with and forgive. “There’s a whole different set of rules for people who want to tear down society, who want to push immorality, who want to tear down the moral structure of society.” That set of rules is “very brutal,” he said. “God says those people who want to do that must be destroyed.”
He said the LGBT movement is a “house of cards” that is “held together by force, intimidation, and propaganda” and can be destroyed by standing up to it, the way communism was. “We are in a war,” he repeated, saying of gay-rights advocates, “They would send us to concentration camps if they could.”
One premise of the #Stand4Truth gathering is that the LGBT movement and their allies in the media suppress evidence about the causes of homosexuality, the medical and mental health harms associated with it, and the possibility of change through “authentic” ex-gay therapy. The evening session began with a panel seemingly designed to portray LGBT people as lost and miserable: a few “ex-gays,” a person who experienced “transgender regret” and Canadian activist Dawn Stefanowicz, an author whose book “Out From Under” recounts growing up with a gay father and his many sex partners and is portrayed as a cautionary tale against gay parenting.
In an email to members yesterday, Liberty Counsel head Mathew Staver found another opportunity to embrace the victim narrative, this time highlighting a new Justice Department effort to combat homegrown extremism.
Unsurprisingly, conservative activists have reacted to the DOJ program by predicting that the government will begin to go after Republicans, veterans and gun owners, the exact same claim they made after the Department of Homeland Security issued a report on far-right domestic terrorism in 2009.
In its latest email about the supposedly looming government attack on conservatives, Liberty Counsel compares itself with Christians who are actually facing persecution in the Middle East and insists that the U.S. government considers conservative Christians “more dangerous than radical jihadists and ISIS.”
“Mentored by radicals, including Bill Ayers, President Obama embraces ideologies that conflict with Christian values and the very principles upon which our nation was founded. That's why we are now in the Obama administration's crosshairs,” the email says. “Help us continue to stand against the radical onslaught being waged against Christians right here in America.”
A dangerous new chapter in the persecution of Christians is underway. No, not in the Middle East, but shockingly, right here in the United States!
Last week, we learned through CNSNews.com that President Obama's assistant attorney general for national security, John Carlin, revealed that the Department of Justice (DOJ) is creating a new position called the "Domestic Terrorism Counsel," to combat the "real and present threat" of domestic terrorism...
And who are they identifying as posing that threat? Christians!
…in the opinion of President Barack Obama and his administration, you and I are considered more dangerous than radical jihadists and ISIS operatives which the State Department admits are being actively recruited in the United States.
Even more troubling is the fact that the DOJ is depending on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to help root out domestic terrorists. In earlier messages, we explained how the SPLC operates, placing groups — including conservative, Christian groups — on its "Hate List" based on their ideology, not their propensity for violence. Liberty Counsel has been added to that list!
As columnist Bryan Fisher so aptly wrote about the DOJ's methods of identifying domestic extremists, "[T]he folks at SPLC are still useful to the DOJ, which is desperate to paint conservative Christians as a greater threat to our domestic tranquility than people who are determined to decapitate us in the name of Allah."
Given the facts, why would the Obama administration name the SPLC as the DOJ's right arm in the effort to root out “domestic terrorists"?
Look no further than Barack Obama himself. Mentored by radicals, including Bill Ayers, President Obama embraces ideologies that conflict with Christian values and the very principles upon which our nation was founded. That's why we are now in the Obama administration's crosshairs.
…we can no longer ignore the increasing legislative and legal efforts to discredit and demonize our faith. This latest announcement should drive all of us to reinforce the walls for a battle that is already well underway!
Liberty Counsel has long fought on your behalf against those eager to silence believers while driving every vestige of Christian faith from public life. But we need help...
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Liberty Counsel is incensed that the Associated Press noted in a recent article that its founder and chairman, Mat Staver, once threatened to sue a library for encouraging kids to read “Harry Potter” and that he recently falsely claimed that 100,000 people in Peru gathered to pray for Kim Davis. The AP also dared to note that Liberty Counsel has been designated as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
All three claims are true, but Staver insisted in a letter to the AP’s assistant general counsel on Monday that the article was “defamatory” because it delivered an “unmistakable message to a reasonable person” that “Mat Staver and Liberty Counsel are liars and haters.”
“At a minimum, AP should permanently remove the link and the cache,” Staver wrote.
While Staver claims that the SPLC only lists Liberty Counsel as a hate group due to its biblical beliefs, the SPLC makes clear that its listing of anti-LGBT hate groups is “based on their propagation of known falsehoods — claims about LGBT people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated, groundless name-calling. Viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate groups.”
The AP included in its story a quote from Staver disputing Liberty Counsel’s hate group designation, but the designation was well-earned, as the right-wing legal group has a record of spreading misinformation about the LGBT community. Staver alone has:
Bryan Fischer is not at all happy about reports that the Vatican is contradicting the claims from Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and her attorneys at Liberty Counsel that Davis was invited to meet privately with Pope Francis when both were in Washington, D.C. last week, during which the pope allegedly praised her for standing strong in her fight to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples.
On his radio show today, Fischer insisted that the version of events put forth by Liberty Counsel can be trusted because "Mat Staver is a man of absolute, unquestioned integrity, so when Mat Staver speaks, he is going to tell you the truth."
The fact that the Vatican is now backing away from Davis, Fischer said, is a testament to the strength of the bullies in "the Gay Gestapo."
"What this story illustrates is the power of the Gay Gestapo," he said. "What this story illustrates is the power and the influence of pro-sodomy lobby in international affairs. Big Gay and homosexual lobby, homosexual activists, have so much power that they can intimidate the pope himself ... The bigots and bullies of Big Gay have intimidated the pope."
UPDATE: It turns out the only private meeting held at the venue was with one of Francis’ former students, who is gay, and his partner.
The Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel boasted in a statement and at least two fundraising emails this week that their client, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, had a private meeting with Pope Francis during his recent visit to Washington and that the pope thanked Davis for her courage in denying marriage licenses to gay couples.
“Just knowing that the pope is on track with what we're doing and agreeing, you know, it kind of validates everything,” Davis said in an interview following the meeting.
But it seems that Davis’ lawyers attempt to paint Pope Francis as a Davis supporter has forced the Vatican to issue a statement claiming that the encounter between the pope and Davis has been greatly exaggerated, as she was one of dozens of people who met the pope only briefly at a stop in Washington, D.C.
Gerard O’Connell of the Catholic publication Americawrites that “a short but clear statement from the Vatican spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., ... effectively deflates and denies the widespread misinterpretation in much of the media about that encounter.”
At that same time, he said, Pope Francis also “met with several dozen persons who had been invited by the Nunciature to greet him as he prepared to leave Washington for New York City.”
He explained that “such brief greetings occur on all papal visits and are due to the pope’s characteristic kindness and availability.” But, he added, “the only real audience granted by the pope at the nunciature was with one of his former students and his family.”
Then, in the key passage of the statement, Lombardi clarified that “The pope did not enter into the details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support of her position in all of its particular and complex aspects.”
Father Thomas Rosica, who frequently assists Lombardi on matters relating to the Anglophone world, told reporters that there were “several dozens of people” in the Nunciature (the Holy See’s Embassy) for before the pope departed for New York. He said the pope would “have known little” about Mrs. Davis, apart from her name, and found it hard to give credence to Davis’s account that she had spent 15 minutes alone with the pope. There simply was not time, he said; the time was very limited and the people were scattered in small groups in different locations on the one floor of the building, and each had a very brief greeting with him, nothing more. Moreover, Rosica said, each of those present had been cleared by the U.S. Secret Service before entering the nunciature.
CBS News reports that a “ highly placed source inside the Vatican claims the Pope was blindsided” by the Davis meeting, adding that “[n]ot even Lombardi knew about it ahead of time, nor did the leadership of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which would have opposed it.”
“A close advisor to Pope Francis tweeted that the Pope was, in his words, ‘exploited’ by those who set up what the CBS 2 source says was a ‘meeting that never should have taken place,’” the report continued.
Reuters also spoke to a Vatican official who expressed a “sense of regret” about the meeting.
However, Davis’ lawyer and Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is holding firm in his claim that the two had a much more meaningful encounter:
However, Davis' lawyer, Mat Staver, told The Associated Press that the Vatican initiated the meeting as an affirmation of her right to be conscientious objector.
"We wouldn't expect the pope to weigh in on the particulars of any case," Staver said Friday.
He said Vatican personnel initiated the meeting on Sept. 14, the day she returned to work, saying the pope wanted to meet her. He said Vatican security picked up her and her husband from their hotel and told her to change her hairdo so she wouldn't be recognized since the Vatican wanted the meeting kept secret.
Staver disputed a Vatican spokesman's claims that the pope only met Davis in a receiving line. He said the couple was in a separate room with Francis and Vatican personnel.
News of the meeting sent shockwaves through the U.S. church, with Davis' supporters saying it showed the pope backed her cause and opponents questioning whether the pope had been duped into meeting with her.
Initially the Vatican only reluctantly confirmed the meeting but offered no comment.
On Friday, Lombardi met with Francis and issued a fuller statement to "contribute to an objective understanding of what transpired." Francis has made clear he dislikes being used for political ends, and Lombardi's statement appeared intended to make clear that the encounter should in no way be exploited.
An assistant to Lombardi, the Rev. Thomas Rosica, said he believed the pope would have been given a list of names of the several dozen people who were invited to the embassy to bid farewell as he left Washington, but was unaware of the details of her case or any possible implications of the meeting.
"I don't think he knew the details, the full biographies of each person, except for the names of the people there," Rosica said.
On the Friday before the pope’s arrival in Washington, D.C., Lori gave the keynote to a day-long “Religious Freedom Summit” at the Catholic University of America’s law school. Much of the day was devoted to discussion of horrific religious persecution in other parts of the world, including anti-Christian persecution in Syria and China. Those harrowing first-person accounts made it hard to consider claims of “religious persecution” by people like Kim Davis as even remotely in the same category.
Even among the conservative lawyers who filled the room, support for Davis wasn’t unanimous. The closing address at the conference was given by Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — who is now president of Baylor University, a Texas-based Christian college with Baptist heritage.
Starr talked about how courts have wrestled with the words of the First Amendment for some 80 years, and proposed some key principles that he said should guide the law: non-coercion in matters of conscience; nondiscrimination against religion; government’s ability, within limits, to provide affirmative protections for religious belief; and government noninterference with the mission and governance of religious organizations.
Starr acknowledged that in implementing many of these principles there are lines that must be drawn. For example, he explained, the majority and dissenters in the Hobby Lobby case gave different weight to the religious liberty claims of the company’s owners and the potential for demonstrable harm to the company’s employees. How we identify and measure recognizable harm to third parties, and weigh it against free exercise, will continue to be wrestled with in the courts, he said, suggesting that there were probably differing opinions even among the people in the room.
Which brings us to Kim Davis, and other Religious Right martyrs-in-the-making such as bakers and florists who refuse service to same sex couples.
I don’t think that this question is easy. Others may, and the freedom of conscience simply trumps all. But the reason I think it’s not easy is because she is a public official who has taken an oath to uphold the law. I know, I heard the panel saying, look at all the exceptions to individuals who’ve been sworn to uphold the law and who have chosen not to do it. I personally find that a little uncomfortable. Oh, you’re going to pick and choose which laws to enforce.
He asked whether people in the room would be okay with a sheriff or chief of police deciding which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.
Starr then addressed conversations about accommodations for bakers and florists who refuse to serve gay customers:
Not a public official like Kim Davis, a private citizen. But at the same time I’m going to suggest that we really think hard on this. She is one who has opened her bakery or catering service or floral shop to business. She has a license from the state to do business. And in carrying out a commercial business, the general rule is one akin to principle two of nondiscrimination. That rule is deeply anchored in the common law. You’ve got to serve people who come in to you. And also the public accommodation provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when folks were excluded from service on grounds of race. The very idea and ideal of the common law rule is equality — you take care of every customer who comes to you unless you have a very substantial — they’re trying to tear up my shop.
Starr noted that there’s plenty of litigation in these areas, and that some “creative” arguments are being mounted by those suggesting that wedding services such as cakes and flowers are protected as a freedom of speech issue. (That kind of claim was made unsuccessfully by a photographer in New Mexico, discussed in PFAW’s “Religious Liberty: Shield or Sword?”)
Starr also noted that “we are an increasingly diverse community of men, women and children who come from so many cultures and traditions …The world we inhabit is a pluralistic one.” He acknowledged that his four principles won’t magically resolve differences on these issues, suggesting that those involved should adhere to another organizing principle, the Golden Rule, and treat those with whom they disagree with kindness, dignity, and respect.