Mat Staver

Staver: Dalai Lama Visit, Hindu Prayer Breakfast Speaker Show Obama's 'Insensitivity To Christianity'

In an interview on VCY America's Crosstalk yesterday, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver criticized President Obama for being “very pro-homosexual” and “pro-Muslim,” and “doing more harm to our foundational, fundamental values than any president in American history.”

Asked by host Jim Schneider about the “really troubling” decision to invite the Dalai Lama to give an opening prayer at the Senate yesterday, Staver responded that the Dalai Lama's presence in the Senate and the choice of Rajiv Shah, a Hindu USAID official, to deliver an address at the National Prayer breakfast showed the president’s “insensitivity to Christianity.”

Staver criticized new IRS rules that allow legally married same-sex couples to jointly file federal tax returns and "pro-Muslim" EEOC guidelines for allowing religious dress in the workplace, which is ironic since Staver purports to represent a "religious liberty" group.

Schneider: We’ve received from the IRS, they issued a video clip that they posted on YouTube giving instructions to those that are so-called same-sex marriage partners, telling them that if they’re marriage took place in a state or country that recognizes so-called same-sex marriage, that they may claim married filing jointly on their return. The IRS is just going full-bore on this regard.

Staver: Well, it is the IRS going full bore. This is the administration focusing on things that are unnecessary and hurtful, rather than focusing on the job that they’re supposed to do.

This is the IRS that has been targeting conservative organizations and Tea Party groups, pro-Israel and pro-family organizations. This is the IRS that refuses to present testimony before Congress. And this is the IRS that now has the proposed rules to silence 501(c)4 organizations, which are going to primarily hurt conservative organizations.

And now, instead of focusing on what they should do, they’re promoting the so-called lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and whatever else of the alphabet you want to add to that, agenda. This is a very pro-homosexual administration, from President Obama right down to all the people that work underneath him. Not only here in America, but they’re pushing this agenda around the world as well. It is a very damaging agenda. This president is doing more harm to our foundational, fundamental values than any president in American history.

Schneider: Two more issues that have happened today, Matt. Today, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the EEOC, issued a very comprehensive statement on religious garb and grooming in the workplace, rights and responsibilities. What’s behind this?

Staver: Well, what’s behind it, obviously, is the president’s pro-Muslim position. And obviously, when you look at the examples, there are examples for all different kinds of religions, and particularly Muslim religions, but I really don’t see much mention at all of Christianity. This is as though Christianity doesn’t exist.

They then moved on to the Dalai Lama’s visit and the Hindu speaker at the National Prayer Breakfast, which Staver said illustrated the president’s “insensitivity to Christianity.”

Schneider: CNSNews.com is reporting that this very morning, the Dalai Lama delivered the opening prayer at the United States Senate, encouraging prayer to Buddha and all other gods. Just really troubling. We’re not a country that’s founded on ‘all other gods,’ are we?

Staver: No, and in fact if you go back to the National Prayer Breakfast just a few weeks ago in Washington, DC, after Ben Carson spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast a year ago, President Obama for six months or so threatened to not return. And unfortunately, some of the leaders, not wanting to have the first president of the Unites States not attend, ultimately caved in to his pressure, and he’s the one, we are told, that selected the person to speak. The person to speak, now, for the very first time in the National Prayer Breakfast history was not a Christian, but I believe was Hindu, and didn’t mention anything about Christianity or God. This was someone who was picked by Obama, and under those circumstances, Obama would have now agreed to come. I would have said, then go ahead and be the first president. It would certainly show some of your insensitivity to Christianity that you’ve been showing ever since you were inaugurated.

Meet Justina Pelletier, The Religious Right's Next Campaign

For the last several months, Glenn Beck has tirelessly focused on a case involving a young woman named Justina Pelletier who was diagnosed by one set of doctors at Tufts Medical Center as having a condition known as mitochondrial disease, for which she had been receiving treatment. At one point, Justina became ill and ended up at the Boston Children's Hospital to see her longtime gastroenterologist, who had switched hospitals, when doctors there determined that she did not, in fact, have mitochondrial disease but was rather suffering from a somatoform disorder, which is "a mental disorder characterized by symptoms that suggest physical illness or injury."

Justina's parents disagreed with the diagnosis given by Boston Children's Hospital and sought to discharge their daughter but the hospital refused, instead informing them that an allegation of medical child abuse had been filed against them. At that point, the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families got involved, taking custody of Justina, placing her under psychiatric care and limiting her contact with her parents.

That set off a long and on-going legal battle between Justina's parents and the state and while the case has been heavily covered in the local media, few outside of Glenn Beck have been paying much attention to the story. Beck continues to focus attention on it daily and last week, Justina's father appeared on his television program in violation of a gag order, for which he is now facing contempt charges.

Those were the latest developments until, suddenly, a bunch of Religious Right groups got involved in the fight yesterday, including Patrick Mahoney, who was deeply involved in the Terry Schiavo fight, and Personhood USA, as the two groups announced that they would be protesting outside the Suffolk County Juvenile Court during a hearing that was scheduled to take place regarding Justina's case.

On top of that, Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver just as suddenly announced that he was the Pelletier family's legal counsel and his organization made this case its top priority as Staver began making the rounds promoting it on Fox and elsewhere.

Why, after months of total silence and literally no interest, did several Religious Right organizations suddenly and collectively begin to care about this case, all on the same day? 

Well, as Beck explained on his radio program today, last week an unnamed billionaire benefactor of his The Blaze network saw the program featuring Justina's father and was so outraged by it that he vowed to hire a legal team and turn this into a crusade:

As Beck said, the "new attorney" hired by this benefactor would be appearing on his program tonight to discuss the latest developments in this case ... and that attorney is none other than Mat Staver:

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, will appear on the Glenn Beck TV Show today from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time to discuss the ongoing story of Justina Pelletier, who was taken from her parents and is currently being denied medical treatment.

So that at least seems to explain why, all of a sudden, a bunch of Religious Right groups have gotten involved in this complex and frequently confusing case: because some unnamed billionaire is footing the bill for them to do so.

Impeach Obama Because State Officials Are Refusing To Defend Anti-Gay Marriage Amendments

Last week, Liberty Counsel launched a campaign calling upon Congress to impeach President Obama because he has supposedly committed multiple "high crimes and misdemeanors." But it turned out that the particular crimes that Liberty Counsel had in mind were not very specific, but rather consisted mostly of "whatever Congress says it is at any given time."

On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver continued to make their vague case for Obama's impeachment by blaming him for creating a culture of "lawlessness" in which governors and attorneys general can refuse to defend their state constitutional amendments banning gay marriage.

It is apparently Obama's fault that state-level officials are refusing to defend these discriminatory amendments and so Obama needs to be removed from office:

Staver: This lawlessness has been empowered by President Obama and Eric Holder, the Attorney General, where they have just simply ignored the laws and decided not only to not enforce certain laws that they don't like but also to actively work to undermine them. That's why we're calling for President Obama's impeachment, he's just acting in a lawless way.

...

This is where it started and now you have the same thing happening with the other Democratic governors and attorneys general. Like in Virginia for example, Mark Herring, two weeks after being sworn in as the new Democratic attorney general, he decided that he was not going to defend Virginia's marriage law, he was actually going to undermine it. Now you've got the same thing in Nevada, they're no longer going to defend the 2002 law affirming that marriage as the union of one man and one woman and not recognizing same-sex marriage.

...

Barber: And it has an even more dramatic and widespread impact, this culture of lawlessness that Barack Obama is largely responsible for creating. He has the bully pulpit, he holds the highest office in the land and so people are looking to him for direction. Well, he has set the tempo here so we are now living in a culture of lawlessness where relativists, ideologically-driven relativists, ideologues, liberals, are saying we're not really a nation of laws, we're a nation of men and we're the ones who are smart enough to know better, we need to effect change, we have to skirt the Constitution, get around the laws or just trample right over them in order to do what we want to do and accomplish what we want to accomplish. And that's why this culture of lawlessness that we can point to multiple, specific instances and actions by President Obama and inactions that have created the culture, this is why we believe and we are petitioning Congress essentially to impeach this man.

Religious Right Leaders Rail Against Virginia Marriage Equality Decision

A federal judge’s decision to strike down Virginia’s ban on same-sex marriagehas unsurprisingly stoked the ire of conservatives.

Family Research Council head Tony Perkins offered a typical rebuke of “activist judges” and the “arrogant judiciary,” and once again warned that marriage equality will in fact lead to unprecedented inequality.

It appears that we have yet another example of an arrogant judge substituting her personal preferences for the judgment of the General Assembly and 57 percent of Virginia voters. Our nation's judicial system has been infected by activist judges, which threaten the stability of our nation and the rule of law.

This ruling comes on the heels of Attorney General Mark Herring's refusal to fulfill his constitutional duty to defend the state's marriage law. His lawlessness is an insult to the voters of Virginia who rightfully expected elected officials to uphold the laws and constitution of the state, not attack them as Herring has done.

An arrogant judiciary is only one of the major consequences of the drive to redefine marriage. Increasingly, Americans are being forced to finance and celebrate unions that not only step on free speech and religious liberty but also deny children a mom and a dad. Rather than live-and-let-live, this court by redefining marriage will create a level of inequality that has never been seen in our country as people are forced to suppress or violate the basic teachings of their faith," concluded Perkins.

Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Liberty University Law School, which is based in Virginia, said the judge must not have ever read the Constitution.

“This decision is outrageous and legally flawed. Judges would be well-served to read the U.S. Constitution and not invent or rewrite it,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “The Constitution cannot be changed by the stroke of a judge’s pen, nor does it bow to a judge’s personal ideology. The overwhelming majority of Virginia voters who make up ‘we the people’ voted to affirm natural marriage. Same-sex marriage, as a policy matter, sends the message that children do not need moms and dads. There is ample evidence that children fair [sic] best when raised with a mother and a father. Same-sex marriage is not the equivalent of natural marriage. Judges should be careful to render decisions grounded in the Constitution and the rule of law. Otherwise, judges and courts will render themselves impotent when the people lose confidence in the judicial system,” Staver continued.

The Family Foundation of Virginia, meanwhile, blamed Valentine’s Day for the ruling, which the group says threatens “our entire social fabric.”

“The timing of this decision certainly calls into question Judge Wright Allen’s objectivity,” a Friday morning statement from the group stated. “This rushed release just prior to Valentine’s Day reeks of political show, making her ruling less a legal argument and more a press release. It’s disappointing that a federal judge would so blatantly expose her personal political agenda at the expense of not just marriage, but our entire social fabric.”



“Regardless of one’s stance on marriage, the people of Virginia were disenfranchised by this ruling as our voice and our vote that amended our Constitution have been rendered meaningless by a single federal judge with the assistance of our own Attorney General,” the Family Foundation statement read. “Protecting a timeless institution for the well-being of children was the will of the overwhelming majority of Virginians and this ruling denies this important state interest as it places the desires of adults over the outcomes of children.”

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown said the “terrible decision” must be reversed:

This is another example of an Obama-appointed judge twisting the constitution and the rule of law to impose her own views of marriage in defiance of the people of Virginia. There is no right to same-sex 'marriage' in the United States constitution. In fact, the U.S. Supreme Court has said that states have the preeminent duty of defining marriage. The people of Virginia did just that in voting overwhelmingly to affirm marriage as the union of one man and woman. That decision should be respected by federal judges and we hope that the U.S. Supreme Court ends up reversing this terrible decision. This case also leaves a particular stench because of the unconscionable decision of Attorney General Mark Herring to not only abandon his sworn duty to defend the laws of the state, but to actually join the case against the very people he is duty-bound to represent.

Judson Phillips of Tea Party Nation blasted the “imperious federal judiciary” and the “liberal state apparatus,” warning that they are trying “to advance a social experiment that changes America from the nation that we know into something totally unrecognizable” and “will force you to support homosexual marriage.”

The case, if it can be appealed must be appealed to the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals. The problem is that appellate courts have to rule based on the record from the trial court. The record is the transcript of witnesses’ testimony and other evidence the trial judge heard.

With Virginia’s Attorney General refusing to defend the case, the case might not even be appealed and even if it is, the record may be very limited.

Once again, we see an imperious federal judiciary overruling the voters of a state to advance a social experiment that changes America from the nation that we know into something totally unrecognizable.

And with the striking down of this law, can the liberal state apparatus be far behind? That liberal state apparatus is the one that will force you to support homosexual marriage whether or not it conflicts with your religious beliefs.

Barber & Staver: Impeach Obama Because 'High Crimes And Misdemeanors' Means Whatever We Want It To Mean

As Brian noted yesterday, Liberty Counsel has now launched a campaign urging the House of Representatives to file articles of impeachment against President Obama for having supposedly committed multiple high crimes and misdemeanors.

What exactly those "high crimes and misdemeanors" are is kind of hard to say but it doesn't really matter apparently because, as Mat Staver and Matt Barber explained on a recent "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, "high crimes and misdemeanors" means basically whatever Congress says it means at any given time:

Staver: The Constitution refers to high crimes and misdemeanors and when you think of a misdemeanor, you think well there's a specific criminal offense. No, the Constitution throughout its history and through the intent does not refer to these as actual crimes; a high crime and misdemeanor is not an actual misdemeanor in the terms of the criminal sense, or a felony in the terms of a criminal sense, it's whatever Congress says it is at any given time and that has been the case for people accepting bribes or people lying, like President Bill Clinton, he lied to the American people. That was an impeachable offense.

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Barber: You know, high crimes and misdemeanors is a relatively subjective analysis that Congress is supposed to reasonably make. As you point out, there's not a clear definition, there's not an itemization of things that reach the level of high crimes and misdemeanors. That's left up to the discretion of Congress to look at and if you look at this president's long list of abuses of power, or lying to the American people, of intimidation, or bullying, of selective enforcement of the laws. All of those things together clearly far surpass the threshold that you need for a reasonable, subjective analysis to arrive at the conclusion that his president, over and again, has committed multiple high crimes and misdemeanors.

...

Barack Hussein Obama has brought great shame upon himself, upon the American people and upon the United States of America.

Liberty Counsel: Impeach Obama For Turning America 'Into A Godless, Socialist Nation'

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver has unveiled a new campaign calling on the House of Representatives to initiate the impeachment process against President Obama.

The Religious Right group, which is the legal and advocacy arm of Liberty University, claims that Obama is more tyrannical and oppressive than King George III and must be stopped.

We, the People of the United States of America, demand that the United States House of Representatives draft Articles of Impeachment against President Barack H. Obama for failure to adhere to the authority and rule of law, and for open oppression of our liberties, as defined by the Constitution of the United States of America and its Bill of Rights.



In my nearly three decades of work in the legal field specializing in constitutional law, I have NEVER witnessed a more blatant and consistent disregard for the Constitution as we have seen from this President and his administration!

As I have often said, today’s patriotic Americans are facing more oppression from civil government than did the colonial generation!



Together, we can stop this tyranny before President Obama and his “progressive” supporters succeed in remaking the United States of America into a godless, socialist nation!

The impeachment petition lists the health care reform law and the Benghazi attack as among Obama’s “high crimes and misdemeanors.”

Staver has repeatedly called for a revolution against Obama over gay rights, warning that his administration supports the supposed Antichrist mission to usher in “forced homosexuality” and “LGBT affirmative action.”

Staver: Reparative Therapy Ban Lets Gays 'Entrap' & 'Groom' Children

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver is concerned that California’s ban on “ex-gay” therapy for minors is “very dangerous” because it will allow gay people to “entrap” and “groom” children into homosexuality.

Stave, who has appealed his challenge to the California law to the Supreme Court, told the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow today:

Staver notes that especially in California, children are being indoctrinated in public schools that homosexuality is normal.

"And then when someone is either abused or begins to struggle with these issues, when they're bombarded with it day after day after day, they won't be able to get any help from a licensed professional Christian counselor," says Staver. "So that's why it's very dangerous."

The law allows homosexuals to "entrap" and "groom" children into the homosexual lifestyle, without providing any opportunity for help, says the Liberty Counsel attorney.

On Friday, Staver discussed the ban with Janet Mefferd. “We’re talking about life and death situations here,” he said, blaming LGBT rights activists for “forcing homosexuality on everyone by force of law” and claiming that the reparative therapy ban “will force people into a lifestyle of destruction."

Liberty Counsel: Obama 'Destroying The Judiciary' With Black, 'Practicing Homosexual' Judicial Nominee

This week, President Obama nominated five people to federal judgeships in Florida and New Jersey. Three of these nominees are already judges; two are accomplished attorneys. But what is more relevant to the right-wing Liberty Counsel is that, according to the American Family Association’s OneNewsNow, “among the nominees are four African Americans, one of them homosexual.” (That's not actually true: one of the nominees is African American, one is Latino, and three are white).

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver told OneNewsNow today that these judicial picks show “ideological bankruptcy” on the part of a president who is “destroying the judiciary.”

"So he gets a black man, who is a practicing homosexual, and now he wants to put this individual in an appointment for life on the federal bench," Staver lamented, referring apparently to Darrin P. Gayes, a state circuit judge in Florida who Obama nominated to a federal district court.

At no point in the article does Staver or OneNewsNow touch on the nominee’s qualifications, other than to note vaguely that “all five nominees are considered liberals.”

Among the nominees are four African Americans, one of them homosexual, and the final one is white.

Mat Staver, who heads Liberty Counsel, tells OneNewsNow the president is reaching out to two communities.

"So he gets a black man, who is a practicing homosexual, and now he wants to put this individual in an appointment for life on the federal bench," Staver advises.

He refers to the situation as "ideological bankruptcy."

Why?

President Obama is "destroying the judiciary because, when he leaves office in 2016, these judges will be around for 20 to 40 years," says the Liberty Counsel attorney. "That is going to be a bad legacy that Obama will leave behind that we'll all have to deal with in the aftermath."

Earlier this year, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio succeeded in torpedoing the nomination of William Thomas, a Florida state judge who was also openly gay and African-American. Rubio also blocked another African-American nominee, Brian Davis, for months before local activists pressured him to let the nomination go forward.

Barber: 'We Know [Obama's] Sympathies Lie With These Muslim Nations And Against Christianity'

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver discussed a recent report from Open Doors USA that found that most anti-Christian persecution happening around the world is occurring in Muslim nations.

Barber, of course, used this as an excuse to trot out the standard Religious Right claim that liberals and Muslims are both persecuting Christians at home and abroad because both groups hate God's truth. But the point of the broadcast today was to discuss why American Christians have remained silent while their Christian brothers and sisters around the world have suffered brutal persecution and Barber didn't really know ... but he did know why President Obama hasn't spoken out: because he hates Christians:

Staver: it's one thing to criticize the administration but it's another thing about the church itself. Where are the voices of Christians here in the United States rising to the level of saying that this Christian persecution needs to be addressed?

Barber: Let's parse this out because I think that there are different motives here. When it comes to President Obama, as we discussed in a recent recording of Faith and Freedom, it's pretty clear; for him to criticize these Muslim nations for killing, for murdering and torturing Christians, it doesn't fit the narrative. We know that his sympathies lie with these Muslim nations and against Christianity and against Christians and so it's not surprising that he would choose to be silent. I'm disgusted by it but I'm not surprised by it.

I'm baffled by the silence of the church, as you mentioned, here in the United States and I don't know what the motive of that silence is other than perhaps fear or apathy and it's time for the church to get behind and support these Christians who are being martyred across the world.

So President Obama hasn't spoken out about this persecution because he hates Christians, but Christians haven't spoken out about it either ... for who knows what reason?

We also like to simply note that neither Barber nor Staver have said much, if anything, about this issue in all the years we have been listening to their programs. If Barber is "baffled" by the silence of the church in talking about this issue, he just so happens have a daily radio broadcast and a weekly column that he could be using to combat that, but over the last few years, he apparently hasn't felt that it was much of a priority.

Barber & Staver: Obama 'Doesn't Like America' And Is Working To Weaken It

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver asserted that President Obama was siding with terrorist Muslim nations against Israel and intentionally weakening the United States because he hates America.

Bizarrely, Barber criticized Obama for cozying up to nations that "attack ... homosexuals," which is a bid odd given that Barber openly advocates for the passage of anti-gay laws here in America while Staver, who is part of a new effort to increase civility, has no qualms about declaring that Obama simply doesn't like America:

Barber: Time and time again, he has show through his actions that Barack Hussein Obama, that his sympathies lie with these Muslim nations, many of them terrorist nations. It boggles the mind when it is clearly not in the best interest of the United States, not in the best interest of Israel or the national security of either of these two western countries, the democratic hubs of the world, frankly, in terms of freedom. Yet this president seems to consistently align himself with these nations that attack, for instance, homosexuals, women, that repress women, that keep little girls from having education, these Islamic nations that seek to destroy America and Israel. I can't figure it out.

Staver: Well, I think he doesn't like America and he doesn't like the Judeo-Christian values that founded America and are the foundation of America. So, with his foreign policy, he is really pulling back America and weakening America.

Barber and Staver Are Welcome To 'Get On The Winning Side Of History'

On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver rejoiced that recent polls show that the majority of Americans now consider themselves to be "pro-life" and encouraged politicians to "get on the winning side of history" and start passing legislation to outlaw abortion.

What anti-abortion activists always fail to mention whenever they trumpet this claim is that polls consistently show that the vast majority of Americans believe abortion should remain legal and available, with generally no more than 20% of the population wanting it to be outlawed entirely.

But for Barber and Staver, these polls demonstrate that legal abortion will soon become a thing of the past:

Barber: Today, fifty percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-life and this is the first time in the forty years since Roe v Wade that a majority of Americans have joined in the defense of women and children. In the past twenty years, opinions have shifted; in 1995, 56% of Americans identified themselves as pro-choice but now that number is less than 42%. That's a 15% swing, Mat, in thirteen years. That's huge.

Staver: And for politicians who want to run from the issue of life - I don't think they ought to guide their decisions by polls, but if they did, this would be one that would say they need to stand on the side of life.

Barber: Yeah, get rid of that pro-choice albatross that you have around your neck. Get on the winning side of history and that is the pro-life side.

Since Barber and Staver are so impressed with shifts in poll numbers on this issue, we assume that they will both soon drop their opposition to gay marriage since, back in 1996, a whopping 65% of Americans opposed it while only 27% supported it. Today, recent polls show that 55% of Americans now support marriage equality, while opposition has dropped into the low 40s.

That is a twenty-five point swing and, as Barber said, "that's huge."

So simply based on the polling advice of Barber and Staver, if politicians want to "get on the winning side of history," they probably ought to make their public support for marriage equality loud and clear.

Barber & Staver Want To See Russian-Like Anti-Gay Laws 'Right Here In The United States'

As Peter noted in his post earlier today, it is a little difficult to take seriously the new Imago Dei campaign aimed at softening the Religious Right's bigoted, extremist language considering that someone like Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver is one of the leaders of this effort.

Nothing better demonstrates this point than this "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast in which Staver and Matt Barber wholeheartedly praise foreign nations like Russia, Uganda, and Nigeria for passing draconian anti-gay laws and declaring that the same sorts of laws ought to be passed here in America:

Staver: President Obama has been going in a direction to really deconstruct this and to create this idea of same-sex marriage, which is really an oxymoron. But, at the same time, the rest of the world seems to be going exactly opposite of the president and some of the states.

Barber: Yeah, and it's encouraging to see what's happening around the world. I think many nations, you think of Russia, you think of some of the African nations around the world, are looking to a liberalized Europe and are looking to the United States under this Obama Administration and they're rejecting this notion that you can take the institution of marriage and radically redefine it by sanctifying what every major world religion and thousands of years of history and uncompromising human biology have long held: that homosexual behavior and conduct is both immoral, unnatural and self-destructive to the individuals engaged in the behavior and that you don't have a marriage built upon this immoral behavior.

...

Staver: Well, it seems as though, if people are having AIDS and most of that, as the CDC comes down and says, it is transmitted by male homosexuality, by and large, what are you going to do? Are you going to say, are you going to elevate that to a preferred status and say, well yeah, men ought to be able to marry men? That's an oxymoron. What Nigeria has done by reaffirming marriage as between one man and one woman is what a number of countries are doing around the world. They're reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman. Russia is one of those countries recently that did that. Latin American countries have reaffirmed marriage as one man and one woman. Then other countries around the world are reaffirming marriage as one man and one woman and rejecting this radicalized homosexual agenda.

...

Barber: This is a very dangerous lifestyle that countries like Russia are, in addition to reestablishing and saying no, marriage is what it's always been, they're saying additionally we are going to stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.

Rodriguez Civility Campaign Partners With World's Most Uncivil People

Rev. Sam Rodriguez, who heads the evangelical National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, has an extraordinary talent for self-promotion – and for positioning himself as a moderate evangelical while being a fully engaged culture warrior with close ties to both mainstream Religious Right groups and fringier dominionist ones.  His reputation is based on the fact that he parts ways with the right on a few issues, like comprehensive immigration reform, for which he has been an energetic advocate.

Rodriguez has repeatedly portrayed himself as a voice of reason calling for more civility in public discourse.  His latest gambit is the Imago Dei campaign, whose goal, according to TIME’s Elizabeth Dias, is “to change the narrative of evangelical engagement in the public square, especially when it comes to traditional culture war issues.”

Rodriguez says that too often evangelicals in the United States have become known for what they oppose, and not for what they propose, and younger generations have had enough. “The church of Jesus Christ and the word hatred should not even appear in the same sentence,” Rodriguez says. “What if every single person can recognize the image of God in the other? Wouldn’t that bring down the noise of the hateful rhetoric? Wouldn’t that build a firewall between intolerance and bullying? Wouldn’t that build a firewall against extremism?”

This might sound like a big deal to people who either aren’t familiar with Rodriguez or with the Religious Right leaders who have signed on to his campaign. But it’s hard to see anything new here. Back in 2010, Rodriguez was a signer of the “Covenant of Civility,” which said in part,

“We believe that each of us, and our fellow human beings, are created in the image of God… We pledge that when we disagree, we will do so respectfully, without impugning the other’s motives, attacking the other’s character, or questioning the other’s faith, and recognizing in humility that in our limited, human opinions, “we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror” (1 Corinthians 13:12).

In 2011 he was part of a Christianity Today ad campaign talking about disagreeing with love and civility. That same year, in the wake of the public shooting in Tucson, he was among religious leaders who signed a letter to members of Congress that said “This tragedy has spurred a sorely needed time of soul searching and national public dialogue about violent and vitriolic political rhetoric. We strongly support this reflection, as we are deeply troubled that rancor, threats and incivility have become commonplace in our public debates.”  In 2012, he told Patheos blogger Timothy Dalrymple, We want to look at a new narrative of evangelicalism, one that’s less hostile, less confrontational and more full of civility.”

The language used to launch the Imago Dei campaign comes from Rodriguez’s 2013 book, The Lamb’s Agenda. In the book he says, it is wrong to “marginalize or malign those with whom we disagree….The day of angry evangelicalism is officially over. The day of a loving, Bible-believing community espousing truth with love officially commences right now.”

Well, at least he keeps trying, right?

There are two major problems here: one is Rodriguez’s own rhetoric, which doesn’t always meet his civility standard. Sometimes he comes across as conciliatory, as when he described a meeting with President Obama as “a conversation amongst believers.” But there’s also the Rodriguez who suggests that his political opponents represent “the forces of darkness.” In a Religious Right “prayercast” that unsuccessfully asked God to defeat health care reform legislation, he declared, "the same spirit of Herod who 2000 years ago attempted to exterminate the life of the Messiah today lives even America. The legislation that incorporates death and infanticide all under the canopy of reform.”

In 2012 after Obama came out in support of marriage equality, Rodriguez said the promotion of marriage equality is “an attempt to silence the church of Jesus Christ.”

I do believe that the power of the pulpit in addressing truth and righteousness is critical.  We can’t sacrifice Biblical truth because at times it becomes confrontational. Listen, Jesus Christ had very strong confrontational moments. This idea that this is a patsy sort of Christianity. That’s not the Christianity that we follow and adhere to. Sometimes, truth hurts.

But much worse than Rodriguez’s own  rhetoric is the fact that his group has formally partnered with Liberty Counsel, an organization whose spokespeople regularly spew some of the most hostile, bullying, confrontational, uncivil rhetoric in the public arena. 

To put it bluntly, it is hard to treat with any seriousness a “civility campaign” that features the face of Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver. As Kyle wrote in 2012 when it was announced that Liberty Counsel had become NHCLC’s official legislative and policy arm, “Few groups operating today can match Liberty Counsel in terms of unmitigated hostility toward gays and Muslims and those with whom they disagree or in terms of overall general craziness ...”

In a press release announcing the Imago Dei campaign, Mat Staver is quoted:

"We should continually remind ourselves that every human being is created in the image of God," said Staver. "This has profound consequences. In the blogosphere and social media culture where people are dehumanized, bullied, and slandered, and where political rhetoric has polarized the populace, the Imago Dei in every person compels us to love and respect all people, including those who disagree with us."

It’s hard not to laugh out loud while reading this. Staver regularly denigrates his opponents, and his Liberty Counsel colleague Matt Barber is even worse.

Just a few examples from an ocean of possibilities: Staver says Planned Parenthood "is not interested in the health and well-being of women" but is really only interested in "their death agenda" and in "damaging the very core and foundation of who we are as Americans and a people of faith and values." Of the movement toward marriage equality, Staver says, “This whole assault on marriage is really an attempt to obliterate not only morality but Judeo-Christian morality, to obliterate marriage and to even obliterate the idea that there even is a God.” And he compares Republicans who are soft on the issue to cockroaches.

Here’s the mini-profile of Staver we prepared for our preview of the 2013 Values Voter Summit:

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Staver says Obama and his “bloodthirsty administration” are worse than King George. He denounces “homofascists” and praised Putin’s anti-gay laws and the Indian Supreme Court decision criminalizing homosexuality.

We could go on. And on.

Meanwhile, Staver’s Liberty Counsel Matt Barber is a bully who rivals Bryan Fischer in the realm of “rhetorical pornography.” He calls Islam “satanic” and people who don’t get it “useful idiots.” He says marriage equality isn’t about marriage or equality but is a political weapon designed to destroy religious liberty. Barber praises Putin and supports laws criminalizing homosexuality. He says Americans are living under “a tyranny of a secularist minority that wants to engage in religious cleansing." There’s much more.

And to repeat, for emphasis: Staver is a leader of Rodriguez’s new Imago Dei campaign, and Liberty Counsel was chosen by Rodriguez to function as the official legislative and policy arm of his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference.

Just today, Barber tweeted:  "Gay marriage" is a disordered, sin-based & oxymoronic novelty that mocks God & defiles any church in which the silly stunt is performed...”

Paging Rev. Rodriguez.

Staver Urges Government Not To Enforce Gay Marriage Rulings That Don't Go His Way

Recent court decisions in favor of marriage equality in Utah and Oklahoma have riled Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver to the point where he is suggesting that the government simply ignore and refuse to enforce decisions that allow same-sex couples to marry.

Staver, who is also the dean of the Liberty University Law School, said yesterday in an interview on Crosstalk that judges “lose their authority” if they rule in favor of marriage equality.

Later in the broadcast, Staver argued that judges “act as dictators” and must be stopped through a campaign similar to the one calling on A&E to lift its suspension of Phil Robertson, the Duck Dynasty star who was temporarily suspended after making racist and homophobic comments.

We’re not exactly sure how that is supposed to work, but to give you a clue, Liberty Counsel joined a campaign to mail rubber ducks to A&E’s offices.

It really I think, in the minds of the people, hurts the credibility of these courts. And I think when that happens, if the people say we can no longer trust these courts, we can no longer accord them the kind of responsibility and authority that they have, then guess what? They lose their authority. They have no enforcement power, it is only because the people and the government officials in the executive branch — federal and state — give them the authority. Other than that, they have no authority and that will ultimately I think weaken the judiciary.



I think that you may ultimately see a push back to the level of which, maybe even exceeding the level of which, we saw the push back of the people to A&E when they tried to censor Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty. When he began to talk about human sexuality, homosexuality and marriage from a biblical perspective, the Duck Dynasty star was then censored by A&E and people pushed back in a very vigorous way. And I think what we’re going to see is we will likely see that kind of push back even to a greater extent against these activist judges. They have no right to act as dictators to undermine not only the will of the people but something that is part of our constitutional history and even beyond that, part of our natural created order.

Staver: Dealing With 'Homofascists' Is 'Almost Like Negotiating With Terrorists'

On the "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast scheduled to air tomorrow, Matt Barber and Mat Staver weigh in on the recent controversy surrounding "Duck Dynasty" to declare that the key lesson to be learned is that the "homofascists" are nothing but bullies who cannot and should not be negotiated with ... just like terrorists:

Barber: There's a take-away from all this; it's been a few weeks now, all the dust has settled and everything but left in the rubble of all this, the big losers GLAAD, the Gay Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Human Rights Campaign, the so-called secular progressive left in general. People are finally seeing that if you stand up to these bullies, you are dealing with a paper tiger. They have no power that people don't give them. These big corporations and individuals in the entertainment industry and people grant these homofascist bullies - I call them the Gaystapo - they grant them this power that otherwise they would not have. This tyranny of the minority has been taking place for too long now and Americans, when they stand up, when the double down and say 'no, I'm not going to waiver from biblical truth on matters of human sexuality,' it's like okay, what are you going to do now?  Nothing. They go away and lick their wounds.

...

Staver: It's the rank and file people of America, the vast majority of people who do not support this homosexual agenda, do not support this homofascism, they en masse respond and A& E and Cracker Barrel had to read the tea leaves and it was pretty easy to do it ...

So [Phil Robertson is] not going to be bullied by anyone and I think the other thing is to not back down. Some people, they get intimated, they don't want to get involved in this fight and yet Phil Robertson stood there on principle, he stood there with love and he became a national hero to many people because he would not budge. If you back down, if you give someone an inch - it's almost like negotiating with terrorists - if you give them an inch, they'll take a mile.

Barber: Contraception Mandate Like Forcing Someone To Pay For A Hitman

On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber and Mat Staver discussed the stay issued by Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, temporarily blocking the Affordable Care Act's contraception mandate from applying to an order of Catholic nuns known as the Little Sisters of the Poor.

Under the contraception mandate, religious organizations simply have to fill out a form declaring that the organization objects to having to provide contraception to its employees, which then obligates the insurance provider to provide such coverage separately.

But as Barber put it, this is unacceptable because it is no different than forcing a religious group to pay to hire a hit man to murder someone:

Barber: This is illusory, this compromise, this accommodation that the Obama administration and the HHS is calling it. It's a Chicago-style shell game. This is no different, the analogy that came to mind when I first heard about this so-called accommodation to religious organizations, it's like telling someone to go out and shoot somebody, to kill somebody. Because that's what we're talking about here, abortion is homicide, it's the taking of innocent human life. So we're saying you have fun going out and shooting somebody and you say 'no,no, I can't do that, I'm not going to do that.' And they say 'well, what we'll do is we'll set up a straw man; you have to sign on the dotted line so a hit man, on your behalf, can go out and kill somebody.' That's what we're talking about here.

In law, Mat, as you know, just because you hire out the murder doesn't mean that you're not responsible for the crime. It's still first degree murder. This is no different than what the Obama Administration is trying to do.

Staver: Even though you're not the one paying for the murder, but you're the one who sets it up and authorizes it, then you're still part of it.

Liberty Counsel Honors Israeli Government Days After It Adopts 'World's Most Liberal' Abortion Policy

Just two days after Israel’s cabinet approved a new policy extending government abortion subsidies to all women ages 20-33, the staunchly anti-choice Liberty Counsel released an alert entitled, “Stand With Israel Now,” complete with a photograph of Benjamin Netanyahu with Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

“There has never been a more critical time for you to show your support to Israel and its Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu! Become a Liberty Ambassador to Israel and have your faith strengthened and your resolve fortified to stand for Israel,” the group writes. “In light of the failed foreign policies of our current American administration, it has never been a more important time to express our unwavering resolve to stand united with Israel.”

Matt Barber, Staver’s deputy at Liberty Counsel, has praised Netanyahu as the “Leader of the Free World” who turned Israel into “the shining city on the hill,” unlike President Obama whom the group regularly berates as “one of the world’s immoral leaders.”

The group accuses Obama of implementing “forced abortion funding” and “rubbing the aborted babies in the face of every single American.” They also argue that God will punish America for Obama’s “self-destructive” pro-choice stance, and have linked abortion rights to SatanslaveryNazism and the Holocaust.

Just a few months ago, Staver and Barber insisted that if they were to remain silent in their opposition to abortion rights, they would be just as bad as “those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews.” “Silence is affirmation,” Staver said. “If you are silent on this issue, you are affirming that this is something that is acceptable.”

“Posterity will view those who stood in silence or who tacitly accepted this abortion holocaust just as history views those who silently stood by and allowed the Nazis to murder millions of Jews,” Barber said, adding: “Are we comparing the pro-choice movement to the Nazi movement? Yes! Absolutely.”

Now, imagine if it was the Obama administration rather than Netanyahu’s cabinet which adopted a far-reaching policy that the Times of Israel calls one of the “most liberal abortion coverage [policies] in the world”?

But so far from Liberty Counsel, there are no calls for Netanyahu’s ouster, no comparisons to Nazism and no warnings of divine wrath.

Instead just a statement entitled, “Stand With Israel Now.”

Staver Fears Everyone Will Go Gay Under Marriage Equality

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver is warning that with full marriage equality, everyone may decide to marry someone of the same sex and society could “cease to exist” altogether. While speaking to Vic Eliason of VCY America last week, Staver said that if gay marriage becomes legal nationwide then the country could become a childless, disease-ridden dystopia:

If you ultimately promoted same-sex marriage and everyone started to go towards same-sex marriage, what would happen to society? It would just simply cease to exist. Moreover, you’d have rampant increase in diseases. Already, you have rampant increase in diseases among same-sex activities, specifically men having sex with men. Same-sex marriage, same-sex relationships is destructive to individuals and it’s destructive to our very social fabric.

He later claimed that the expansion of gay rights is encouraging pedophilia and that the media “promotes” bestiality by making sex with animals seem like “a funny thing.” “That’s how this whole homosexuality began to happen on TV,” Staver said.

Staver went on to praise India’s Supreme Court for recriminalizing homosexuality and Russian president Vladimir Putin for “defending traditional marriage and criticizing President Obama.” Staver continued, “Yet we see this president refusing to meet Vladimir Putin because of this issue. The President of the United States refuses to meet with the President of Russia because the president of Russia believes in marriage as one man and one woman, that is a perverted situation that we have.”

Of course, Staver is being dishonest: Obama actually canceled a September summit with Putin over the Edward Snowden asylum controversy. Further, Putin isn’t facing criticism because he “believes in marriage as one man and one woman,” but because his government is leading a crackdown on Russia’s gay community and rolling back the free speech rights.

“The president will meet with people such as the Iranian delegation and other terrorists from around the country, but not with someone who believes that marriage is the union of a man and a woman and that homosexuality should not be actively promoted in their school systems,” Staver said.

Religious Right Activists Suddenly Against Biblical Definition of Marriage

The same activists who support a wide definition of religious liberty that entails sweeping legal exemptions for Christians and who believe that US laws must closely follow biblical dictates, are now upset that a religious family has successfully challenged Utah’s anti-polygamy statute.

A Contemporary History Lesson From Liberty Counsel

One of the Religious Right's favorite myths is that the original Pilgrims were socialists who nearly died until they turned to capitalism, after which they held the first Thanksgiving to thank God for blessing and saving them.

This story was the centerpiece of the "Faith and Freedom" program posted on Thanksgiving, where Matt Barber declared that he is thankful that "Obamacare is failing and failing catastrophically" because it is no different than the failed attempt at socialism that nearly doomed the Pilgrims.

"Obamacare is just a much larger version of what happened in the Plymouth Colony," Barber said. "President Obama, people will say it's hyperbole to call him a communist, well, his mother was an avowed communist, he sat under Uncle Frank, Frank Marshall Davis, an avowed communist. President Obama, to say that he has Marxist leanings is an understatement."

Barber went on to assert that Obamacare is nothing but communism by another name and Mat Staver readily agreed, saying that Obama "is a socialist in his mentality, government is the God in his view" and declaring that just "like the colonists in the Plymouth Plantation, it's not working":

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