Matt Barber

Liberty Counsel Opposes, but Doesn't Understand, 'Mix It Up Day'

October 30 is "Mix It Up at Lunch Day" which encourages students to "move out of their comfort zones and connect with someone new over lunch." The point of the effort is to break up cliques and get students to spend time with different groups of people, but because it is a project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, the Religious Right vehemently opposes it, falsely claiming that "it’s just another thinly veiled attempt to promote the homosexual agenda."

Today, Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber and Steve Crampton weighed in to warn about the dangers of "Mix It Up" day ... despite obviously having absolutely no idea what it is actually about, as Crampton bizarrely asserted that it was a day "where boys can wear girls clothes [or] pretend to be homosexual" or even dress up like an uptight, judgmental Christian who tells everyone they are going to Hell in order to "make fun of Christianity by mocking it": 

Religious Right Attacks 'Demonic' and 'Mean' Obama in Final Debate

"Mean," "Demonic," "Retard" -- just some of the words Radical Right leaders used to describe President Obama in his winning debate performance on Oct. 22. Find out who said what.

Crampton: Gay Activists 'Abhor Freedom' and Will Stop at Nothing to Intimidate Christians

On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Matt Barber and Steve Crampton discussed the recent decision by Gallaudet University to suspend its chief diversity officer for signing a petition to put Maryland’s marriage equality law on the ballot. Even though gay rights advocates, including the leaders of Marylanders for Marriage Equality and Gov. Martin O’Malley, have said that they strongly disagreed with Gallaudet’s decision, Crampton and Barber declared that it was proof that the Left will try to intimidate anyone who disagrees with the "ridiculous and oxymoronic notion of so-called same-sex marriage."  

Crampton went on to assert that liberals and gay rights activists actually "abhor freedom" and "will basically stop at almost nothing in order to accomplish their goals," which is why Christians must wake up and realize that "they want to change society in their own image [and] we've got to stop them":

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/22/12

  • Peter LaBarbera posts "one of the most amazing pieces of correspondence I have received in 20-plus years of opposing the homosexual activist agenda."
  • Harry Jackson says "the United States stands on the threshold of disastrous choices for godly change."
  • Donald Trump promises that he'll release "something very, very big concerning the president of the United States" on Wednesday.
  • Matt Barber says "that we could elect an African-American to lead the free world is indeed a very good thing. We just happened to elect the wrong African-American."
  • Finally, Gary Bauer is out with a new ad that is exactly what you would expect from Gary Bauer:

Barber: 'Our United States Government has Turned its Face From God'

While discussing the importance of prayer leading up to the election and promoting the American Prayer Initiative launched by a group of female Religious Right leaders, Matt Barber warned that America is at a crossroads because "the United States government has turned its face from God" as the Obama administration has worked to implement a "Euro-secular-humanist" ideology through things like abortion and gay marriage.

And everyone knows "how that kind of humanist approach has turned out" because all they have to do is look at Stalinist Russia, Mao's China, and Hitler's Nazi Germany: 

Liberty Counsel: Dan Savage is Encouraging Violence Against Christians Like the Nazis Did to the Jews

Earlier this month, Dan Savage set off a bit of controversy when he declared that "every dead gay kid is a victory for the Family Research Council," prompting FRC president Tony Perkins to hint that legal action might be taken against him.

Today, Matt Barber and Shawn Akers discussed Savage's comments on the "Faith and Freedom" radio program during which Barber suggested that Savage was intentionally "sending a signal to the next Floyd Corkins to go in and try again" while Akers asserted that he "didn't want to go off into hyperbole" right before he declared that Savage's remarks were just like "Hitler's programmatic desensitization of the German people toward the Jewish population": 

Barber: Personhood Amendments are Just Like Efforts to Free the Slaves

Earlier this year, the Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously struck down efforts to place a personhood amendment on the ballot that would declare embryos to be "persons" from the moment of conception, ruling that it was "clearly unconstitutional." That decision prompted Liberty Counsel to file a petition with the United States Supreme Court asking the Court to hear the case because it "presents an historic opportunity for the Court to address the issue of a state’s right to amend its own constitution to acknowledge what science has long recognized."

Today, in discussing the legal efforts that Liberty Counsel is undertaking on behalf of this effort, Matt Barber explained that efforts to pass "personhood" amendments is just like effort to end slavery because "this merely does what we did in freeing the slaves; this frees these little people from the overhanging threat of abortion homicide": 

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/15/12

  • It must be exhausting for the American Family Association to be constantly fighting the "gay agenda" where it doesn't exist.
  • Matt Barber says this election is the most important in US history and "America’s future really does hang in the balance."
  • James Dobson says pretty much the same thing, warning that "given the state of the world and the decline of our country, how can a single Christian stay at home on Election Day? The stakes are simply too high.”
  • Mike Huckabee says Christians need to be involved in politics because "if politics is dirty in this country, it's dirty because not enough good, clean people get involved."
  • Paul Ryan and the Romney campaign “ramrodded their way” into a soup kitchen so that Ryan could get his picture taken washing already clean dishes.
  • Finally, you can now get an American-made pair of jeans, thanks to Glenn Beck, for a mere $130.

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/11/12

  • Randall Terry is now running his insanely racist new ads on 130 stations in over 30 markets.
  • Rick Santorum says marriage equality will "will destroy and undermine the church in American more than any other movement."
  • FRC prays that "America's pastors [will] arise to pray, preach and partner to communicate the whole Word of God as it pertains to our elections, our candidates and our nation without fear and intimidation. May the election of God-fearing public servants and God-sent Revival be the result!"
  • Speaking of FRC, their PAC is now running radio ads against Sen. Claire McCaskill.
  • Finally, Matt Barber says "President Obama is a wolf. Though he purports to be Christian, his policies are decidedly un-Christian. This man eagerly advances a culture of death ... Mr. Obama has shown utter disregard - if not total disdain - for the U.S. Constitution."

Staver & Barber: Banning 'Ex-Gay' Therapy Is Like Encouraging Alcoholism, Pedophilia, & Kleptomania

California recently passed a law banning sexual orientation conversion therapy for minors and the anti-gay Religious Right is predictably outraged, prompting Liberty Counsel to file suit because, as Mat Staver and Matt Barber explained on the "Faith and Freedom" radio program today, banning therapists from seeking to turn gay kids straight is like requiring therapists to help people accept and embrace their alcoholism, pedophilia, or kleptomania: 

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Romney's Right Resorts to Racial Resentment

This week, on the eve of the first presidential debate, right-wing media, led by the Drudge Report, the Daily Caller, and Fox News, hyped a supposedly secret video that they dubbed “the other race speech.”  Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity tried desperately to portray the video as “explosive” footage that the liberal media had deliberately hid from voters to protect Barack Obama. Religious Right leaders played their part, with Liberty Counsel’s ludicrous Matt Barber demanding, “Romney simply must make ad upon ad out of this devastating video exposing Obama as a white-hating racist.”  Karl Rove, who with a cadre of right-wing billionaires has kept Republican hopes alive by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the election, piled on, saying Obama’s comments were designed to “stir up racial animosity” and called them “abhorrent.”

Of course, as it turned out, the video is neither news nor explosive.  It is a 2007 campaign speech that had been well covered by mainstream media at the time.  Ultimately what is newsworthy and offensive is not Obama’s 2007 speech, but the way that right-wing pundits, desperate to defeat him in November, have resorted to a brazen strategy of stoking racial resentment, and trying to create a distraction by accusing the president of doing the same thing.  Not only is Mitt Romney unwilling to stand up to the extremists in his own party, as President Obama pointed out in last night’s debate,  Romney and his campaign are fully engaged in destructive racial politicking. It’s worth noting the contrast with John McCain, who sometimes stood up to his party’s extremists; Romney cheers them on.
 
Some Romney backers are not even bothering to try to cloak the racial-resentment strategy.  Right-wing blogger John Hawkins flat-out declared this week, “Barack Obama is an Anti-White Racist.”  And he tweeted, “A white woman voting for Barack Obama is like a black woman voting for the KKK.” When Glenn Beck accused Obama of hating white people in 2009, the resulting uproar contributed to an exodus of advertisers from his show.  But in 2012, with the election on the line, there’s been no sign that the Romney campaign is troubled by Hawkins’ claims: his pro-Romney writing is still featured on the official campaign website.
 
Hawkins isn’t alone.  Earlier this year, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, told his radio listeners:  “I believe that President Obama has a fundamental dislike, a fundamental distaste, nay I would even say he’s got what borders on a hatred for white people, and he is out to punish America and the white folks that make up the majority of the American population.”
 
Salon’s Joan Walsh has dissected the outrageous distortions of Obama’s speech by Hannity and Tucker Carlson in a post about “right-wing racial panic.” Romney officials said the campaign was not responsible for the recent “release” of the 2007 speech, but as Buzzfeed’s Zeke Miller points out, they did not distance themselves from it either.  In fact a senior Romney advisor said that voters “have to look at that video and have to make up their mind on that individually.” 
 
Indeed, the Romney campaign itself has made an appeal to racial resentment a centerpiece of its outreach to working-class white voters, who outside the South have been pretty equally divided between Romney and Obama.  Exhibit A is the television ad campaign, pretty much universally acknowledged to be an outright lie, charging that Obama gutted welfare reform by getting rid of its work requirement.  One ad shows glum white workers while claiming that thanks to Obama, people no longer have to work or train for a job; “they just send you your welfare check.”  Later ads have repeated the same false charge.
 
Romney himself pushed the same point when, gloating to a Republican audience about having been booed when he told NAACP members that he would repeal “Obamacare.”  Romney characterized those who disagreed with his speech as people who “want more free stuff” from the government. Journalist Adele Stan of AlterNet has chronicled various ways the Romney campaign is using racial resentment and racially coded language, including the welfare ads, statements such as John Sununu’s claim that Obama needs to learn how to be American, and the choice of “Keep America America” – one letter away from the KKK’s “Keep America American” – as a campaign slogan.
 
Divisive racial politics have a long history in America, of course.  But there is also a more recent history: right-wing leaders have made the politics of racial resentment key to their attacks on President Obama throughout his presidency, as People For the American Way Foundation noted in its 2009 report, “Right Plays the Race Card.” And right-wing groups such as the National Organization for Marriage have made racial wedge issues a centerpiece of their anti-equality campaigns.After this week’s debate, Romney campaign co-chair Sununu described the president as “lazy” and “not that bright.”
 
Romney might get a bit of a bump out of this week’s debate, though the president’s prospects should be boosted by Friday’s good economic news.  The longer President Obama's lead in the polls holds up, the more likely it is that we will see destructive racial politicking from the rabid right-wing.

 

Barber & Staver Hail Effort to Shut Down Medieval/Nazi/Torture/Gas Chambers

Last month, the Virginia Board of Health, under pressure from Gov. Bob McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, passed a series of onerous and medically unnecessary regulations aimed at shutting down many of the abortion clinics operating within the state. And it comes as no surprise that the anti-choice zealots over at Liberty Counsel are positively thrilled with the move, as Matt Barber admits that ultimately he wants to see every clinic in the nation shut down because they "more resemble a medieval torture chamber than they do a medical clinic" while Mat Staver declared that such clinics "are no different than Nazi Germany with regards to the gas chamber and the experiments that were done and the torture that happened to people":

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/3/12

  • Focus on the Family has spent over $50,000 on behalf of Todd Akin's run for Senate.
  • Kirk Cameron will be speaking at Liberty University's Convocation on Friday.
  • Speaking of Liberty U, Jerry Falwell, Jr. continues to defend Donald Trump's recent speech there, saying it was all a part of the "free exchange of ideas." Because everyone knows that LU is all about free speech and diversity.
  • The organizers of the America for Jesus rally need your help in paying off the $98,000 deficit they now face.
  •  Finally, Matt Barber declares that President Obama is "a white-hating racist."

Right Wing Leftovers - 10/1/12

  • Rick Santorum is already dropping hints about possibly making another run for president in 2016.
  • Activists are launching a New Independent Christian Party that "intends to influence the outcome of American elections and uphold the Godly principles by which America was built and by which Christians believe, live and exist."
  • California has banned the use of "ex-gay" therapy for minors and Liberty Counsel is already threateing to sue.
  • William Gheen says President Obama is a tyrant and a dictator.
  • Matt Barber says Todd Akin "is a man of character, a true leader and true a statesman," mainly because Akin stood up for him when he was fired by AllState.
  • Finally, speaking of Akin, Gary Bauer announced that his Campaign for Working Families "would begin a six-figure independent expenditure to elect Todd Akin to the United States Senate."

Barber: The Progressive Movement Seeks to Create an 'Androgynous America'

Matt Barber is mad, yet again, at the ACLU, this time because the organization sent a letter to a Rhode Island school behalf of a mother who complained that her daughter was not able to attend the school's father-daughter dance, prompting the school to cancel the dance and consider hosting "family dances" instead that would accommodate all kinds of parenting situations.

Even though, in this case, the woman was a single-mother, Barber used the incident as an excuse to once again attack the idea of marriage equality on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program.

Claiming that those on the Left "hate God's design for the family, [and] so they are trying to undermine it at every possible chance," Barber called on people to "wake up to the progressive movement's attempts to create this androgynous America" before ripping into gay parents for being "so selfish" as to intentionally deny children a mother or father, as well as society as a whole for putting shows on television like "The New Normal":

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/27/12

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/27/12

  • Matt Barber says "people naturally bristle when they think about what would it take actually consummate a so-called same-sex marriage between a man and a man. People naturally have a revulsion of this abnormal, disordered sexual behavior."
  • The Colorado Personhood Coalition has filed a challenge to the determination that it did not gather enough valid signatures to have a personhood amendment put on the ballot for the third time.
  • FRC issues its latest prayer targets.
  • Bryan Fischer said he wiil be speaking at the civil disobedience rally outside the White House this weekend.
  • Finally, Peter LaBarbera is outraged that Paul Ryan said there is no need to reinstate DADT, saying "A nation in which sexual perversion is a 'non-issue' is a nation in precipitous moral decline. Now more than ever, America needs bold statesmen who courageously lead based on unswerving, godly principles — rather than those who adjust their positions according to polls and political calculations."

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/24/12

  • Donald Trump spoke today at Liberty University where he delivered the Christian message: "Don’t let people take advantage ... Get even."
  • Robert Knight says "we're right on the edge of losing our constitutional republic" and if Obama gets re-elected it "might just push us over that edge."
  • Phyllis Schlafly, Dick Bott and David Lane will all be out on the campaign trail in Missouri tomorrow stumping for Todd Akin.
  • Matt Barber warns that "America is keeping her head above water; but barely. The upcoming elections may determine whether we as a nation sink or swim — live or die."
  • Finally, Gary Bauer knows that "the Obama Administration and its allies in the media have spent the last ten days intentionally covering up the truth about what happened" in Libya and he wants answers!

Is Tony Perkins the Most Disingenuous Person on the Planet?

Well, in a world that includes Paul Ryan, maybe not.  But Perkins ensured his standing near the top of the list with his performance at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  Perkins heads an organization that excels in the kind of incendiary rhetoric he denounced from the podium.   I kept thinking about Bill Clinton’s recent characterization of Ryan: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
 
Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of the Religious Right organizations that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a long record of smearing LGBT people with false and denigrating rhetoric.  Perkins used his press club appearance to repeat his charge that it was irresponsible for SPLC and other groups to describe his organization that way.  He suggested that FRC’s critics had created a climate that contributed to the recent violence at FRC headquarters in downtown D.C.
 
Let me say that it was genuinely sobering and moving to hear Perkins describe the incident, in which a security guard who may have saved the lives of many FRC employees was shot while disarming a gunman.  No one should be put in the position of being hunkered down in their office in fear for their life.  No one should be subjected to violence for participating in the public arena.  At the time of the shooting, progressive and gay rights leaders immediately and unequivocally denounced the attack on FRC.
 
It is true that irresponsible and hateful speech can poison our public discourse. But in today’s political climate, that speech is most likely to come from right-wing groups and their allies.  I remember feeling nervous as well as outraged when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two days after the 9-11 attacks, blamed People For the American Way by name, as well as feminists, liberals, and others.  And the right’s rhetorical extremism has become supercharged since the election of President Obama.
 
The First Amendment does protect hateful and irresponsible speech.  But being free to participate in the public arena does not meaning being exempt from criticism.  And calling hateful speech hateful is not the same as actually promoting hatred toward a particular group of Americans.  We have noted before how quickly Perkins moved to exploit the shooting in an effort to discredit his opponents and deflect attention from his own group’s extreme record and rhetoric:
 
You don't have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct."  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  
 
What does it even mean for Perkins to make a public commitment to advocate with civility and compassion when his guests at the head table include rhetorical bomb-throwers like Bishop Harry Jackson, who has said that gay rights advocates are trying to recruit young people “just like during the times of Hitler” and that gay marriage is part of a “satanic plot” to destroy the family, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, who participated in the McCarthyite smear of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and who says that President Obama “wants a dictatorship?” Or when he recently hired as his executive vice president retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has called for limits on American Muslims’ religious liberty and accuses Obama of using the health care reform law as cover to create a private army of Brownshirts?
 
Perkins also used his speech to promote this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, which is co-sponsored by organizations whose leaders regularly spout rhetoric that is often even more extreme than FRC’s -- about LGBT Americans, Muslims and other non-Christians, supporters of church-state separation and more.  Among the worst are the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer is such a torrent of bigotry that it cannot be easily condensed, and Liberty Counsel, whose Matt Barber purveys loathsome attacks on his political opponents, charging that satanic gay rights activists are “running interference for pedophiles” and charging that groups supporting church-state separation, like People For the American Way, are enemies of religious freedom.
 
Calling for civil discourse on the eve of the Values Voter Summit sounds like nothing more than a bad joke.  If Tony Perkins is at all sincere about his call for civility, this weekend would be a good time to start.
 

Raymond Raines and the Undying Myth of Christian Persecution

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about a new report from Liberty Institute and the Family Research Council entitled "The Survey on Religious Hostility in America" which claims to have chronicled "more than 600 cases detailing religious bigotry throughout America."

We noted that one of the cases prominently cited in the report was the story about a ten-year old boy named Raymond Raines who was supposedly yanked out of his chair in the school cafeteria and screamed at by a teacher simply for praying before eating his lunch.

It is one of the Religious Right's favorite tales of victimhood and, as we have noted several times before, it's nearly twenty years old and totally false

The St. Louis case concerned 10-year-old Raymond Raines who, his mother said, was given detention because he sought to pray over his lunch. When lawyers for the Rutherford Institute heard about the case, they filed a lawsuit against the principal and issued a press release denouncing the school system.

"I know it sounds bizarre, but we have substantial evidence to believe it happened," said Timothy Belz, the St. Louis lawyer working with the Rutherford Institute.

On NBC-TV's "Meet the Press," Gingrich described the situation as "a real case about a real child. Should it be possible for the government to punish you if you say grace over your lunch? That's what we used to think of Russian behavior when they were the Soviet Union."

But school officials said the incident never happened. Rather, they said, Raymond was disciplined for fighting in the cafeteria.

"I can tell you he was not reprimanded for praying," said Kenneth Brostron, the school's lawyer. "Do you think it makes sense that the teachers would look around the cafeteria and target the one student who was praying quietly at his seat?"

But that, of course, didn't stop Matt Barber and Shawn Akers from citing it on today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, where Akers bizarrely linked it to the Declaration of Independence:

For good measure, Barber chimed in to declare that "the hostility against religion, Christianity in particular, has reached such heights that government officials are physically assaulting for praying over a meal in the schools.  That's not hyperbole; that's a specific example."

The claim is, of course, nothing but hyperbole.

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