Mike Huckabee

Huckabee: Obama Made Race Relations Worse By Making 'Everything About Race'

In an interview with a South Carolina radio program on Martin Luther King , Jr. Day this year, Mike Huckabee blamed President Obama and then-Attorney General Eric Holder for making things “much worse for race relations” by making “everything about race” rather than declaring racial inequality to be over.

Pastor Kevin Boling, interviewing Huckabee on his “Knowing the Truth” radio program, asked the former Arkansas governor and potential GOP presidential candidate if the country is “more united today after six years of the first African American being in the White House” or if “the president missed a golden opportunity to unite the country.”

“I think, sadly, the president has not only missed the opportunity,” Huckabee responded, “but between the president and Eric Holder, the attorney general, I think it actually made things much worse for race relations.”

“Because when a person is elected to the presidency, it’s kind of hard to say that ‘gee, there’s a glass ceiling for people of color,’” he continued. “I just think it sort of takes that argument away. That doesn’t mean that there aren’t still some racists here and there, or that it’s a view that a lot of people may have. But you can’t say that a person of color can’t make it anymore, because when you’re president, you’ve kind of made it. And when you’re attorney general, you’ve sort of made it.

“But instead of saying, ‘Look, let’s celebrate how far we’ve come, let’s now realize that we can focus on individual achievement and opportunity,’ instead both the president and the attorney general have made everything about race, and as a result, I think it’s taken us many, many steps backward rather than forward.”

Santorum & Huckabee Join Anti-Gay Extremists In Vowing To Resist Marriage Equality Ruling

Likely GOP presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee have joined more than 200 anti-gay activists in signing a pledge vowing to resist any Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality.

The pledge, which was co-written by Mat Staver of the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel and Deacon Keith Fournier, a Catholic activist who recently argued that marriage equality is quite literally an attack of the Devil, recycles the language of a similar document circulated by right-wing groups when the Supreme Court took up a previous set of marriage cases in 2013. Staver and a number of other activists introduced the current pledge at a press conference this morning.

Along with Huckabee and Santorum, signers include former House GOP leader Tom Delay; big players in the Religious Right including John Hagee, Samuel Rodriguez and Focus on the Family’s James Dobson; and fringe anti-gay activists including Peter LaBarbera, Matt Barber, Cindy JacobsLinda Harvey and Bradlee Dean.

Comparing any sweeping decision in favor of marriage equality to the Dred Scott case, the activists vow that they will not recognize such a decision and indicate that they would try to convince national and state executive branches not to enforce it.

The full text of the pledge:

We stand together in defense of marriage and the family and society founded upon them. While we come from a variety of communities and hold differing faith perspectives, we are united in our common affirmation of marriage.

On the matter of marriage, we stand in solidarity. We affirm that marriage and family have been inscribed by the Divine Architect into the order of Creation. Marriage is ontologically between one man and one woman, ordered toward the union of the spouses, open to children and formative of family. Family is the first vital cell of society, the first government, and the first mediating institution of our social order. The future of a free and healthy society passes through marriage and the family.

Marriage as existing solely between one man and one woman precedes civil government. Though affirmed, fulfilled, and elevated by faith, the truth that marriage can exist only between one man and one woman is not based on religion or revelation alone, but on the Natural Law, written on the human heart and discernible through the exercise of reason. It is part of the natural created order. The Natural Law is what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., referred to as a higher law or a just law in his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail.

Marriage is the preeminent and the most fundamental of all human social institutions. Civil institutions do not create marriage nor can they manufacture a right to marry for those who are incapable of marriage. Society begins with marriage and the family.

We pledge to stand together to defend marriage for what it is, a bond between one man and one woman, intended for life, and open to the gift of children.

The institutions of civil government should defend marriage and not seek to undermine it. Government has long regulated marriage for the true common good. Examples, such as the age of consent, demonstrate such a proper regulation to ensure the free and voluntary basis of the marriage bond. Redefining the very institution of marriage is improper and outside the authority of the State. No civil institution, including the United States Supreme Court or any court, has authority to redefine marriage.

As citizens united together, we will not stand by while the destruction of the institution of marriage unfolds in this nation we love. The effort to redefine marriage threatens the essential foundation of the family.

Experience and history have shown us that if the government redefines marriage to grant a legal equivalency to same-sex couples, that same government will then enforce such an action with the police power of the State. This will bring about an inevitable collision with religious freedom and conscience rights. The precedent established will leave no room for any limitation on what can constitute such a redefined notion of marriage or human sexuality. We cannot and will not allow this to occur on our watch. Religious freedom is the first freedom in the American experiment for good reason.

Conferring a moral and legal equivalency to any relationship other than marriage between a man and a woman, by legislative or judicial fiat, sends the message that children do not need a mother and a father. As a policy matter, such unions convey the message that moms and dads are completely irrelevant to the well-being of children. Such a policy statement is unconscionable and destructive. Authorizing the legal equivalency of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the fundamental rights of children and threatens their security, stability, and future.

Neither the United States Supreme Court nor any court has authority to redefine marriage and thereby weaken both the family and society. Unlike the Legislative Branch that has the power of the purse and the Executive Branch which has the figurative power of the sword, the Judicial Branch has neither. It must depend upon the Executive Branch for the enforcement of its decisions.

As the Supreme Court acknowledged in the 1992 decision of Planned Parenthood v. Casey, its power rests solely upon the legitimacy of its decisions in the eyes of the people. If the decisions of the Court are not based on the Constitution and reason, and especially if they are contrary to the natural created order, then the people will lose confidence in the Court as an objective arbiter of the law. If the people lose respect for the Court, the Court’s authority will be diminished.

The Supreme Court was wrong when it denied Dred Scott his rights and said, “blacks are inferior human beings.” And the Court was wrong when Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote in Buck v. Bell, “three generations of imbeciles are enough,” thus upholding Virginia’s eugenics law that permitted forced sterilization. Shamefully, that decision was cited during the Nuremburg trials to support the Nazi eugenic holocaust.

In these earlier cases, the definition of “human” was at issue. Now the definition of “marriage” is at issue. The Constitution does not grant a right to redefine marriage — which is nonsensical since marriage intrinsically involves a man and a woman. Nor does the Constitution prohibit states from affirming the natural created order of male and female joined together in marriage.

We will view any decision by the Supreme Court or any court the same way history views the Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell decisions. Our highest respect for the rule of law requires that we not respect an unjust law that directly conflicts with higher law. A decision purporting to redefine marriage flies in the face of the Constitution and is contrary to the natural created order. As people of faith we pledge obedience to our Creator when the State directly conflicts with higher law. We respectfully warn the Supreme Court not to cross this line.

We stand united together in defense of marriage. Make no mistake about our resolve. While there are many things we can endure, redefining marriage is so fundamental to the natural order and the common good that this is the line we must draw and one we cannot and will not cross.

h/t RWW reader Erik

Revolution! Anti-Gay Activists Threaten Uprising If Supreme Court Approves Marriage Equality

Speaking from the pulpit of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in May 2004, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Dobson’s words were simulcast into churches across the country as part of a “Battle for Marriage” rally that just happened to coincide with President George W. Bush’s hard-fought reelection campaign. Three months earlier, the president himself had announced to the nation that “to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.”

Opposition to same-sex marriage emerged as a key component of the president’s reelection strategy that year, as the Bush campaign worked with Religious Right leaders, including Dobson, to marshal conservative voters to the polls to back state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and other unions. Ballot measures in 11 states, all successful, aided the president’s reelection bid and helped to swing the momentum, for a time, to the side of the anti-gay Right.

While a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples had failed to clinch the required votes from either house of Congress, after the 2004 election, Dobson stressed that “mainstream Americans” supported such an amendment, knowing that they “could not stand idly by while the radical gay agenda was forced down their throats.”

A decade later, Dobson left Focus on the Family, reportedly in part because the organization he had founded refused to give a leadership position to his divorced son. Dobson and his son Ryan now host a radio program called “Family Talk” and Focus has moved on under the less fiery leadership of Jim Daly. Ted Haggard, the pastor of the church where Dobson spoke at the 2004 “Battle for Marriage,” eventually left his post after acknowledging that he had relationships with men. An architect of Bush’s 2004 re-election strategy, Ken Mehlman, announced six years later that he is gay. Another Bush campaign strategist, Karl Rove, said in 2013 that he could see a future GOP presidential nominee endorsing gay marriage.

Public opinion has also changed dramatically in the decade since Bush’s reelection. Polling now consistently shows majority support for marriage equality, which is legal in 37 states.

This dramatic shift toward marriage equality may culminate this year when the Supreme Court hears arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of cases challenging the constitutionality of the remaining state-level bans on same-sex marriage.

But the Religious Right is not ready to give up what was, until recently, a winning culture-war issue.

Now, as even many conservative pundits are predicting that the Supreme Court will strike down the remaining state bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders are preparing their response.

In a conference call with other movement figures, Dobson was steadfast in his opposition. If the Supreme Court strikes down the state bans and states across the country fail to convene “a state constitutional convention to re-examine the Constitution” on marriage, Dobson warned, “we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two.”

Worse, Dobson said, there could be a war: “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”

This style of apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision is not uncommon in a movement whose leaders are preparing to commit civil disobedience and calling on states to defy the court if it issues a broad ruling in favor of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.

Manhattan Declaration

The Religious Right’s current strategy in the fight against marriage equality — claiming to be the real victims while making wild warnings about imminent anti-Christian persecution — was previewed in the 2009 signing of the Manhattan Declaration and the campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act the same year.

Warning that America is on the brink of turning into a Nazi-like state where religious freedom is a thing of the past, a group of Roman Catholic and evangelical leaders, including prominent Religious Right figures, signed The Manhattan Declaration, pledging their commitment to civil disobedience in the face of what they described as the tyranny of gay rights laws and legal abortion.

Signers asserted that supporters of gay marriage and abortion rights are bent on trampling their religious freedoms. They compared themselves to Christian martyrs, civil rights leaders like Martin Luther, resisters to Nazi tyranny, heavenly angels and the signers of the Declaration of Independence. One of the declaration’s architects, the late Religious Right leader Chuck Colson, worried that Christians in America would soon end up in jail, while Dobson wondered if Americans will be forced to “leave this beloved country and spend the rest of our lives in exile.”

That same year, Religious Right activists launched a relentless, but unsuccessful, campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Right alleged that the bill would criminalize Christian teachings and the Bible, throw pastors in jail, quash free speech and legalize pedophilia and other illegal sex acts. In the five years following the law’s enactment, none of the wild predictions about its effects have come close to materializing. But that hasn’t stopped the Religious Right from recycling the very same discredited claims to warn against nationwide marriage equality.

For example, Rick Scarborough, a prominent Texas pastor and activist with close ties to politicians including Sen. Ted Cruz, has repeated his unfounded claims about the 2009 hate crimes act almost verbatim when discussing the potential dangers of legalizing same-sex marriage. As did Mike Huckabee, who told pastors on a conference call that preaching against homosexuality will be criminalized. Just this month, Scarborough warned that if gay couples are no longer barred from marriage, preaching from the Bible will become a crime and anti-gay conservatives will be thrown in jail. Five years ago, he made almost exactly the same dire warning about the hate crimes act.

Influential Religious Right groups including the American Renewal Project, led by GOP organizer David Lane, and the Family Research Council are asking pastors to tell their congregations that marriage equality could bring about the end of freedom and, according to Lane, “a complete moral breakdown .” Lane has previously warned that legal equality for LGBT people will eventually lead to America’s “utter destruction” and even terrorist attacks.

Others have taken to likening themselves to Jews living in Nazi Germany and African Americans during the Jim Crow era.

The Religious Right’s apocalyptic rhetoric about marriage equality has only become more incendiary as many of the ban’s defenders begin to expect that they will lose at the Supreme Court.

Nazi Germany, Jim Crow comparisons

Increasingly, Religious Right leaders have been portraying the push for equal rights for the LGBT community as a fascist, Nazi-style movement that will usher in a wave of oppression. And much like how Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement resisted Jim Crow, these activists argue, conservatives must also defy gay rights laws that they view as equally if not more oppressive.

Bryan Fischer, the conservative radio host and former American Family Association spokesman, regularly claims that gay people are modern-day Nazis and to blame for the rise of Nazism in Germany, asserting that Adolf Hitler was “an active homosexual” who recruited gays into his cause because “homosexual soldiers basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has also wondered when gay rights supporters will “start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians.”

Mat Staver, chairman of the conservative legal advocacy group Liberty Counsel, has likened a potential pro-equality Supreme Court ruling to the infamous Dred Scott decision and urged people to defy such a ruling just as they would “if the government forced you turn over a Jew in Nazi Germany.” Staver, who has warned about the prospect of “forced homosexuality” and repeatedly compared gays to terrorists, insists that the Supreme Court could spark a new Civil Rights Movement, this time to oppose gay rights.

An alarming number of anti-gay activists have compared themselves to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a Lutheran theologian who was executed for defying Nazi rule. “This is a Dietrich Bonhoeffer moment for every preacher in America,” Scarborough told participants in the recent activist conference call hosted by Dobson. Staver offered a similar message to conservatives in a recent radio interview: “This is a Bonhoeffer moment.”

David Lane has said that Christians in America “must risk martyrdom” over the issue of marriage equality. Likewise, American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios has repeatedly urged opponents of gay rights to “prepare for martyrdom.”

Conservative pundit Glenn Beck told his show’s viewers this year that gay rights advocacy is leading to concentration camps and “a Christian holocaust.” Other conservative commentators have similarly suggested that gay people are pushing for anti-Christian persecution and genocide.

The persecution theme seems to have struck a chord. Leading GOP figures including Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, along with several Republican congressmen, all appear in a film to be released this year that alleges that the gay rights movement plans to outlaw Christianity. Huckabee has repeatedly invoked Nazi tyranny while discussing gay rights, and even said that the gay community seeks to ultimately destroy churches and the Gospel. Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz accused gay rights supporters of waging a “jihad” against freedom.

Even more frequently, anti-gay activists maintain that gay rights will usher in a new form of slavery and Jim Crow.

“Apparently someone forgot to tell the Stormtroopers in the homosexual movement about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and freedom of both will and conscience,” Fischer said last year. “The leaders of the Gay Gestapo have become our new slave masters. They can now send us to the hole if we refuse the massa’s demands.”

Fischer has also charged that gay rights measures violate the constitutional ban on slavery, and even declared that as a result of gay rights, “Jim Crow is alive and well, we’ve got Jim Crow laws right back in operation, Christians are the new blacks.”

Some activists are calling for an anti-gay version of Rosa Parks. One even suggested that gay marriage opponents should follow in the footsteps of the “sidewalk counselors” who stand outside of abortion clinics in order to dissuade women from entering.

Brian Brown, the head of the National Organization for Marriage, has similarly claimed that gay rights advocates are practicing an “anti-religious” version of Jim Crow, while Fox News pundit and RedState editor Erick Erickson has said that “gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights.”

Revolution

Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, is one of the most visible and vocal figures in the Religious Right, frequently appearing on national television and hosting his own daily radio show. Perkins also organizes an annual conference, the Values Voter Summit, which brings top Republican politicians together with Religious Right activists. But despite his veneer of respectability, Perkins is just as extreme as activists considered to be on the far-right fringe: He has spoken out in defense of Uganda’s “kill the gays” measure and called gay rights supporters Satanic, among other things.

Perkins has also taken to warning that if the Supreme Court sides with marriage equality advocates, the U.S. will see a full-blown revolution.

Perkins warned in 2012 that if the Supreme Court were to strike down same-sex marriage bans throughout the country, “I’m telling you what, I think you will create a firestorm of opposition. I think that could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, when you look at a nation that is so divided along these moral and cultural issues that you could have — I hate to use the word — a revolt, a revolution. I think you could see Americans saying, ‘you know what, enough of this,’ and I think it could explode and just break this nation apart.”

“They’re sowing the seeds of the disillusion of our republic,” Perkins said of gay marriage supporters in 2014. “I think there’s coming a point that they’re going to push Christians to a point where they’re not going to be pushed anymore, and I think we’re very quickly coming to that point.”

As the Supreme Court considered a pair of marriage cases in 2013, Perkins said that the threat of a revolution may keep the justices from striking down same-sex marriage bans:

I believe the court will push as far as they think they can without creating a social upheaval or a political upheaval in this country. They’re smart people, I think, they understand how organizations and how societies work and if you get your substructure out of kilter with the superstructure, if you get government out of whack with where the people are and it goes too far, you create revolution. I think you could see a social and cultural revolution if the court goes too far on this.

Just last month, Perkins again predicted that the Supreme Court could trigger an uprising with a ruling in favor of marriage equality: “If the court imposes upon the nation a redefinition of marriage, I don’t think the nation is going to accept it, I absolutely don’t, and the conflict that is going to come as a result of it.”

Perkins may not find much support for his anti-gay revolution from the public at large, but he may find his some willing participants in his fellow Religious Right leaders.

Liberty Counsel founder Mathew Staver has claimed that a Supreme Court ruling favorable to marriage equality would take the country “back to the days of the American Revolution” and create the “groundswell of a potential new American Revolution.”

“Martin Luther [King] was always speaking of non-violent protest and I would hope that’s what we would do here but you never know what happens,” he cautioned.

Staver warns that an adverse Supreme Court ruling, along with President Obama’s pro-gay-rights policies and the possible passage of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, would have “catastrophic consequence[s] for our religious freedom, for the very function of the family, for marriage, for our human existence, for civil society and for any area of our liberty.”

“The church and people of faith and values need to rise up” against such a ruling, he said in 2013. “We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land.”

The previous year, Staver warned that marriage equality “could be the unraveling of the United States” and trigger a civil war:

This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of. This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war. I’m not talking about just people protesting in the streets, this could be that level because what would ultimately happen is a direct collision would immediately happen with pastors, with churches, with Christians, with Christian ministries, with other businesses, it would be an avalanche that would go across the country.

After the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of DOMA, Staver declared that the country was “crossing into the realm of rebellion, we’re crossing into the realm of revolution.”

The Alabama Example

After the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision led to a string of federal court decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders pleaded for governors and other state officials to openly flout the rulings.

Perkins said that states should not “listen to these courts” that make decisions “inconsistent with scripture.” Staver agreed, claiming that the states must defy any court which has “literally lost their mind.”

Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, said state and local officials should simply refuse to enforce such rulings, explaining: “Well, the courts have spoken and it’s an important voice, but it’s not the voice of God and the Supreme Court isn’t God.”

Finally, they found their answer in Roy Moore, the elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

Moore emerged as a conservative hero over a decade ago, when he defied orders to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he installed in the courthouse rotunda during his previous term as chief justice. When the standoff eventually led to Moore losing his post, he parlayed his newfound fame into two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns and even a presidential “exploratory committee.” Moore also launched his own far-right legal advocacy group, the Foundation for Moral Law.

Moore returned to the court after winning a statewide election in 2012 and two years later, he once again made national headlines when he ordered state probate judges, who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses, to disregard a Bush-appointed federal judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Moore demanded that the state flout the ruling, saying that it had no need to implement the decision.

Moore has contended that gay marriage will “destroy the very foundation on which this country was built” and “destroy this country,” warning that the country will “suffer” divine judgment for embracing Satanic gay rights. “No society is prepared to deal with the problems arising out of same-sex marriages: child abuse, adoption, divorce, foster care, alimony, and the list could go on and on,” Moore told one anti-marriage-equality rally. In his prior stint as chief justice, he wrote that homosexuality is an “inherent evil” and “criminal lifestyle” that “should never be tolerated.”

Insisting that his personal reading of the Bible trumps the federal court’s ruling, Moore believes that any decision which contravenes his understanding of God’s law is inherently unconstitutional since the Constitution, he claims, is based on divine precepts.

His case against marriage equality is simple: “Homosexuality is wrong and we all know it. Marriage of the same sex is wrong and we all know it.” Moore’s legal advocacy organization, now led by his wife, defended his order to probate judges by explaining that “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”

Conservative politicians hailed Moore. The head of the Alabama GOP thanked Moore for saving the state from God’s wrath; Religious Right preacher Cindy Jacobs said God had told her that He is using Moore “to reverse what Satan has done”; NOM’s Brian Brown praised Moore’s “principled stand” against “tyranny”; and Bryan Fischer said that Moore acted in the finest tradition of Martin Luther King, Jr. by "waging the civil rights battle of this decade.”

Moore took his show to the road, telling a rally in Texas held in his honor that he hopes he will not have to “give his life” in the fight against gay marriage. He warned at a Family Research Council event that the government will soon legalize “parent-and-child” marriages and justify “taking your children simply by the same logic they’re following.”

“Christians need to stand up and do their duty to God as their duty to their country,” he said.

Some Republicans and their allies in the Religious Right hope that Moore’s defiant stance will serve as a model for the rest of the country.

A bill introduced in Texas not only declares that the state does not have to follow any U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, but it goes one step further by blocking funding for the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill would go so far as to punish state employees who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, barring such employees from “a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.”

In North Carolina, a group of Republican lawmakers want to create a religious exemption for officials in charge of issuing marriage licenses who don’t want to follow a recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Staver’s group, Liberty Counsel, filed a lawsuit “requesting emergency protection from the state courts for any magistrate who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.”

GOP lawmakers in Oklahoma reacted to a court ruling striking down their state’s marriage ban by proposing a bill which would remove any judge who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple and deny salaries, benefits and pensions to any state employees involved in marrying gay couples. Another bill in Oklahoma would remove judges from the marriage licenses process altogether and instead restrict marriage duties to “an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi.”

End of the Line

While social conservative leaders have mostly focused on the purported repercussions of a decision that they see as unfavorable, they also have a plan in case the court sides with their arguments: demand that states roll back same-sex marriage rights and re-impose bans previously removed by the voters, lawmakers or courts.

For now, though, right-wing leaders will be focused on doing what they always do: misleading their supporters about the so-called dangers of gay rights, making reckless charges of religious persecution, and supporting unconstitutional means to promote their discriminatory goals.

However, Dobson and his allies do see the silver lining of legal gay marriage. In a conversation with Dobson the week before the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the marriage cases, pastor Jim Garlow and former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher predicted that Americans will ultimately reject gay marriage once the country experiences its horrible consequences; that is, if America is able to survive that long.

Mike Huckabee Draws Connection Between Gay Marriage And ISIS Threat

In the same conference call today in which he claimed that gay marriage will outlaw religious freedom, Mike Huckabee suggested that the supposed threat to religious freedom posed by the gay rights movement is part of a broader attack on the rights of Christians, including anti-Christian violence.

When a pastor on the call, which was organized by the Family Research Council, asked Huckabee if the U.S. is facing a two-pronged threat of ISIS terrorist attacks and the “equally intense assault on marriage as defined by God,” Huckabee replied that the caller was “exactly right.”

“We’re seeing, certainly at the national level, internally this battle on marriage, but globally what we’re seeing is that there is an assault on the Christian faith in general,” Huckabee said, before warning that ISIS will soon “physically assault” Christians in America.

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who hosted the call, repeated his claim that gay rights efforts in the U.S. are linked to the murder of Christians by ISIS members in the Middle East.

“If we go silent on religious freedom here at home, I think that sends a message to the terrorists and the tyrants abroad that they are free to persecute our brothers and sisters in Christ,” Perkins said.

Huckabee said that Americans are closer than ever to losing their religious freedom because conservative Christians aren’t speaking out. “The other side is vocal and they sound like they are a lot more than they are but as a result they are winning battles that we should be winning,” he said.

Mike Huckabee Defends Ex-Gay Therapy, Warns Gay Rights Will Outlaw Christianity: 'God Help Us All'

In a conference call with conservative pastors today organized by the anti-gay Family Research Council, Mike Huckabee let loose with a litany of falsehoods about how marriage equality will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity” and demanded that states simply defy the Supreme Court if it strikes down bans on same-sex marriage.

“Christian convictions are under attack as never before,” Huckabee said in the call, which was meant to rally pastors to participate in the FRC’s upcoming “Stand for Marriage” event. “Not just in our lifetime, but ever before in the history of this great nation. We are moving rapidly towards the criminalization of Christianity.”

The former governor and likely GOP presidential candidate predicted that the government will bring “criminal charges” against those who oppose gay rights and pastors who preach against gay marriage. He even defended ex-gay therapy, claiming that the government is barring chaplains from telling those they counsel to “seek assistance” for a “homosexual lifestyle.”

Huckabee also blasted the “ruling class” and “donor class” for treating opponents of gay rights as “pariahs,” adding that “supposedly conservative donors and conservative office holders are running away from the issue.”

(Audio note: Because of apparent technical difficulties with the conference call, there are beeping noises throughout the call signifying participants dialing in.)

Huckabee told the pastors that no matter what politicians or the polls say about the legalization of gay marriage, God is against it and so they should stand strong against the “small minority pushing this agenda.”

Huckabee claimed that if same-sex marriage bans are struck down nationwide, any pastor who refuses to conduct a same-sex wedding would be breaking the law.

“If the courts rule that people have a civil right not only to be a homosexual but a civil right to have a homosexual marriage, then a homosexual couple coming to a pastor who believes in biblical marriage who says ‘I can’t perform that wedding’ will now be breaking the law,” he said. “It’s not just saying, ‘I’m sorry you have a preference.’ No, you will be breaking the law subject to civil for sure and possible criminal penalties for violating the law…. If you do practice biblical convictions and you carry them out and you do what you’ve been led by the spirit of God to do, your behavior will be criminal.”

This, of course, is a categorically untrue claim that has not materialized in any of the dozens of states where marriage equality has been adopted.

“God help us all,” he said.

Huckabee: If Someone Breaks Into My House, 'I Call 911 To Tell Them Where To Come Pick Up The Body'

Over the weekend, Mike Huckabee was in New Hampshire to speak at the Republican Leadership Summit and while he was there, he sat down for an interview with conservative activist Kimberly Morin of the Manchester Political Buzz Examiner.

During the discussion, Huckabee shared his views on the Second Amendment by explaining that, where he comes from, the "gun nuts" are the people who support gun control and stated that if somebody broke into this house, the only reason he'd call 911 would be to tell them where to pick up the body of the intruder.

Explaining that he's owned guns since the time he was five, Huckabee said that he cringes when he hears people say that they support the Second Amendment because it protects hunting.

"The Second Amendment is not about hunting," he said, "this is about freedom. And I've heard people say 'Huckabee is one of those gun nuts.' Where I come from, a gun nut is a person who is irrationally afraid of a firearm because they don't understand the nature of having one and the importance to their liberty. I don't love guns, but I do love freedom. I love it a lot."

Huckabee went on to say that the only way to protect that freedom that he loves so much is "if we are able to outgun whoever wants to take that away from me," warning that if somebody breaks into his house, "there will be a gunfight involved in that and I plan to win."

"Yes, I will still call 911," he added, "but it's not going to be to call to helplessly wait as a victim while somebody ravages my family or my home. I call 911 to tell them where to come pick up the body of the son of a gun who broke into my house in the middle of the night":

2016 Republican Candidates Report

As the GOP embraces the reactionary politics and anti-government zealotry of the Tea Party, it is steadily purging “moderates” and empowering extremists. Nothing shows this trend more clearly than the lineup of potential Republican presidential candidates.

Mike Huckabee's Five Worst Moments

Mike Huckabee says he is making a big announcement tonight on Fox News, the former home of his television talk show, which is leaving many to speculate that he will throw his hat into the presidential race.

Huckabee has made repeated campaign-like stops in Iowa and a top Iowa political operative launched has a “super PAC” to help a potential Huckabee campaign. The former Arkansas governor is also slated to speak next Saturday at the Iowa Faith and Freedom Coalition 2015 Spring Kickoff along with other declared and likely GOP presidential candidates.

Whether or not Huckabee decides to launch another presidential campaign, the self-proclaimed ambassador of “Bubba-ville” is sure to remain a force in Republican politics.

Although Huckabee has never made it very far in his presidential ambitions, his national media platform and popularity in the Religious Right have made him influential in pushing his party further to the fringe including LGBT equality, birth control and the separation of church and state.

1) Extreme Opposition To Gay Rights

During an unsuccessful campaign for a seat in the U.S. Senate in 1992, Huckabee argued that “homosexuality is an aberrant, unnatural and sinful lifestyle” that can “pose a dangerous public health risk,” asserting that the government should make sure that people with HIV/AIDs are “isolated from the general population.” Huckabee stood by his remarks when he was asked about his comments during his last presidential bid.

Huckabee has since emerged as a consistent source of anti-gay bias, likening gay rights to Nazismcomparing gay people to alcoholics and people who have sex with sheep; attacking the presence of gay people in television commercials and professional sports; demanding the reinstitution of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; and urging states to simply ignore court rulings on gay rights.

So it should come as no surprise that Huckabee believes that God will soon punish America for gay marriage and thinks the gay rights movement ultimately aims to close all of the country’s churches.

2) Contraception Plan Hypocrisy

Huckabee waded into the legal fight over whether the government can mandate that insurance plans cover contraceptives by becoming one of the most outspoken defenders of Hobby Lobby, the craft company that dropped its own coverage of contraceptive drugs in order to sue the government.

Not only did Huckabee erroneously refer to such drugs as “tax-funded abortion pills,” but he even claimed — without a shred of evidence — that the Obama administration was trying to force “business owners to pay for employees’ abortions.” He launched a Hobby Lobby “buycott” day to support the company, disparaging the government for “thinking it’s God and trying to act like it” and imposing a “tyranny” that reminded him of “why the American revolution started.”

The former governor criticized Democratic supporters of the contraceptive coverage plan for thinking that women must depend on “Uncle Sugar” for “providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido.”

Of course, Huckabee conveniently ignored the fact that, as governor of Arkansas, he signed a contraceptive coverage mandate much more sweeping than the federal version, as it even affected church-affiliated groups.

3) Huckabee’s School Shootings Solution

Huckabee even connected his hostility to the contraception insurance mandate to the Sandy Hook school shooting, saying that the insurance policy was a sign that America has kicked God “out of our culture and marched him off the public square.” Therefore, Huckabee said, people shouldn’t “express our surprise” when a school shooting occurs.

“We ask why there is violence in our schools, but we have systematically removed God from our schools,” Huckabee told Fox News on the day of the Sandy Hook massacre. “Should we be so surprised that schools would become a place of carnage?”

Huckabee’s advice to public schools seeking to prevent shootings? Organize chapel services and Bible readings.

4) Pushing The Persecution Myth

Huckabee is under the impression that the rights of Christians are under assault in the U.S., insisting that the government “will protect the rights of almost any religion except Christians.”

According to Huckabee, President Obama has made sure that his administration does “everything possible to accommodate Muslims” — who “enjoy special rights and privileges” in America – while at the same time “stomping all over Christians.”

When Bill Maher asked Huckabee to explain his “persecution complex,” the evidence he produced was the portrayal of Christian characters in “television shows and movies.”

5) Advertising Quack Cures

While Huckabee is angry with how the entertainment industry treats conservative Christians, he seems to have no problem with sending his overwhelmingly conservative Christian email subscribers sponsored content from quack doctors and conspiracy theorists. Huckabee has used his email list to advertise bogus cures to diabetesAlzheimer’s and cancer (the latter a cure allegedly gleaned from the 859th page of an ancient Bible).

Huckabee himself once appeared in an advertisement promoting the pseudo-scientific diabetes treatment, although we still aren’t sure if he ever bought into the messages he sponsored from a notorious financial fraudster peddling survival food and investment advice.

Huckabee: Wait To Join Military Until Obama Leaves Office

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee claimed in an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that the Obama administration has “an open hostility toward the Christian faith,” and urged prospective military recruits to wait until the end of President Obama’s term to enlist.

Mickelson asked Huckabee about a recent Washington Times story that cites right-wing legal groups to claim that Christians are being discouraged from joining the military because of a “hostile work environment.” Huckabee agreed, calling the supposed persecution of Christians in the military “one of the great tragedies of our time.”

“This administration has had an open hostility toward the Christian faith,” he said. “And I know that sounds like a bold statement, Jan, but when you have a president whose administration orders its chaplains to put its Bibles away, not to pray in Jesus' name, not to counsel people on the issues of sexual morality; when you have this attitude that is more about promoting gay marriage and gay rights in the military than it is about being able to protect religious liberty for those people of faith, it’s going to be hard to find people that are truly devoted people of faith and Christian believers and Orthodox Jews and others.”

“Why would they want to be in a military that would be openly hostile and not just simply bring some scorn to their faith, but would punish them for it?” he asked.

This led Mickelson to ask Huckabee what he would tell parents whose children are considering joining the armed forces.

“There’s nothing more honorable than serving one’s country and there’s no greater heroes to our country than our military,” he responded, “but I might suggest to parents, I’d wait a couple of years until we get a new commander-in-chief that will once again believe ‘one nation under God’ and believe that people of faith should be a vital part of the process of not only governing this country, but defending this country.”

Anti-LGBT Group: Gay Marriage Violates Separation Of Church And State

The Family Research Council announced today that it has partnered with Rick Santorum’s film company, EchoLight Studios, to produce a short film for churches to air during the April 26 event “Stand for Marriage Sunday: Religious Freedom at Risk.

In the film, which features appearances by Santorum and Mike Huckabee, the FRC warns that a Supreme Court ruling striking down bans on same-sex marriage would jeopardize religious freedom and undermine the separation of church and state. The film mentions cases in Oregon and Washington state where a baker and florist, respectively, were sued for violating their states’ non-discrimination laws — not marriage laws — for refusing service to gay customers. (The baker and florist both lost their cases).

The new FRC film, narrated by the group’s president, Tony Perkins, points to the lawsuits as signs of a dark future in which the government will infringe on the rights of religious people in order to promote gay equality.

Watch highlights here:

Huckabee: Obama Calling Michael Sam Is A Sign Of America's 'Utter Collapse'

Last week, Mike Huckabee was one of several potential GOP presidential candidates who spoke at a "family leadership regional summit" in Iowa hosted by Bob Vander Plaats and The Family Leader.

During his remarks, Huckabee said the fact that President Obama called gay football player Michael Sam is a sign that the culture in America has gone into an "utter collapse" and decried boycotts against anti-gay businesses as "economic terrorism."

"The values that so many of us hold dear are values that are under assault today," Huckabee said. "I never believed that in such a short period of time, the culture in America would go into utter collapse. If you told me just a few years ago that one day the President of the United States would use his precious time in the Oval Office to call people up simply to congratulate them for being gay, I would say, 'No, surely he'll call a veteran and thank them for their service, for losing a limb or a leg.' But even when Chris Kyle was murdered, his widow didn't get a phone call, but a gay football player who came out did."

Huckabee went on to warn that religious liberty is under attack in America, citing the criticism that Chick-fil-A received several years ago after the company donated millions of dollars to anti-gay groups and the restaurant's president said that marriage equality was "inviting God's judgment on our nation."

The backlash against the company, Huckabee said, was nothing short of "economic terrorism":

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/9/15

Five Things To Know About Iowa GOP Kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats

Four Republican presidential candidates are set to appear at a forum in Iowa tonight hosted by one of the state’s best known political organizers: Bob Vander Plaats. Vander Plaats’ group, The Family Leader, along with the National Organization for Marriage, is hosting Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Rick Perry and Bobby Jindal for a “family leadership regional summit.” 

It’s no surprise that the candidates are courting Vander Plaats: He is widely seen as the organizing powerhouse behind Huckabee and Santorum’s successful 2008 and 2012 Iowa caucus campaigns. It’s even less surprising that Republican candidates are seeking to ingratiate themselves to one of the country’s most radical Religious Right activists.

Vander Plaats, although he has been unsuccessful in his own three attempts to win the Republican gubernatorial nomination, has put together a political coalition in Iowa that, along with carrying Huckabee and Santorum to caucus victories, helped to oust three state supreme court judges who had ruled in favor of marriage equality in the 2010 election. While a similar attempt two years later was unsuccessful, Vander Plaats has nonetheless become a major force in the state’s conservative movement.

5) Slavery Rhetoric

Warning Republicans not to “abandon their base” by softening their opposition to gay rights, Vander Plaats insists that fighting same-sex marriage is not a losing issue for the GOP. He believes that Republicans should stand up and be proud of their refusal to support marriage equality, just as the party fought to curb slavery during its founding era.

“We actually stand for what God has designed because, just like with slavery, the truth is on our side,” Vander Plaats said last year in an interview with right-wing talk show host Steve Deace. “We can win this battle.”

He told another outlet that Republicans shouldn’t even take the position that the states should decide their own marriage laws since same-sex marriage, like slavery, is unequivocally immoral: “You don’t leave slavery up to the states, nor should you. It’s either right or it’s wrong.” In a speech in 2012, Vander Plaats said that a court ruling in favor of marriage equality should be viewed as judicial overreach on the level of Dred Scott.

During the last presidential primary season, Vander Plaats tried to get Republican candidates to sign a pledge that, among other questionable provisions, suggested that African-American families were more stable under slavery than they are today.

4) Conspiracy Theories

In Vander Plaats’ world, the right to speak freely about “faithful heterosexual monogamy” is under attack, “Sharia Islam” is a menace in American politics and President Obama’s birth certificate is missing. (Vander Plaats has praised Donald Trump’s quixotic birther crusade as “bold.”)

Perhaps no issue has Vander Plaats more concerned than gay marriage, which he has called a grave threat to liberty and a Satanic plot. One video his group produced showed images of terrorist attacks and shootings alongside stories about same-sex couples’ weddings and gay members of the Boy Scouts to make a point about the “darkness” sweeping America

3) Gay Marriage Predictions

In his campaigns against marriage equality, Vander Plaats has done whatever it takes to scare voters about the dire consequences of gay rights. He warned that the legalization of same-sex marriage would lead to “tyranny” and sanction “a parent marrying their child.”

He defended his group’s comparison of homosexuality to second-hand smoke by explaining that both represent “a public health risk,” adding: “If we’re teaching the kids, ‘don’t smoke, because that’s a risky health style,’ the same can be true of the homosexual lifestyle.”

Vander Plaats also took the time to criticize an Iowa anti-bullying conference that focused on the targeting of LGBT youth, saying that the state should instead be promoting abstinence-only summits.

2) Crush on Putin

Vander Plaats may still be weighing which Republican candidate to endorse this year, but he has already thrown his support behind one foreign leader: Russian President Vladimir Putin. When Putin signed a law that effectively bans speech in support of gay rights, Vander Plaats praised the Russian president for saying “you know what, don’t bring this homosexual propaganda into my country.”

He said that Putin now encapsulates the traditionally American values of “military might, decisive action, core values, morality, beliefs.”

“He’s taken what used to be our strengths, which has now defaulted into our weaknesses because of Barack Obama, no leadership, and he’s making them his strengths and he’s emerging now on the world stage as a newly discovered leader,” Vander Plaats said back in 2013.

1) No Separation of Church and State

While Vander Plaats’ prediction about gay marriage ushering in adult-child marriage has come true in exactly zero of the dozens of states with marriage equality, he was prophetic in one respect: Vander Plaats advocated for governors to ignore court rulings on the marriage question well before it became a widespread sentiment among conservatives.

Vander Plaats insists that a governor can simply set aside any ruling that violates his or her reading of the Bible, insisting that if a judge legalizes marriage equality in a state, the state’s governor should simply issue an executive order “that places a stay on the judge’s decision” since it “goes against the law of nature and the law of nature’s God, which means, it’s against the Constitution.”

Vander Plaats believes that the U.S. government must fall under God’s jurisdiction and follow “God’s principles and precepts,” not just on social issues like marriage but also in economic and foreign policies.

“If you believe what you say you believe, that marriage is foundational and it’s between a man and a woman, which is what He says he believes, then you got to stand up for that, because that’s the law of nature, that’s the law of nature’s God, that’s the Declaration of Independence, which this whole country was founded on,” he said last year.

Vander Plaats specifically pointed to the Supreme Court’s recent ruling striking down part of the Defense of Marriage Act, calling it a travesty that created a “constitutional crisis” by “defying the law of nature and the law of nature’s God” and “going against the document that predates the Constitution.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 4/3/15

  • Sounds exciting! "Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee will join reality TV stars Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar for a roundtable discussion around education on Thursday, April 9."
  • Phyllis Schlafly complains that "Obama frequently refers to our Nation as 'this' country, as though it is some other country and not 'our' country."
  • Bill Muehlenberg declares that "there are no greater haters than the homosexual activists. Every day we find more conclusive proof that these folks are the most hate-filled, nasty and malicious folks in the West. The demonic rage and fury of these activists is simply frightening in the extreme."
  • Frank Turek asserts that "same-sex marriage is the new official religion" of the United States.
  • Finally, Cliff Kincaid, Peter LaBarbera, and Matt Barber will hold an event at the National Press Club on April 21 called "Crimes against Nature and the Constitution: Cultural Marxism and America’s Moral Collapse."

Paranoia-Rama: Muslims Take Over Idaho, Gays Overthrow America

Well, it seems that “homofascism” is finally here. Apparently, people who criticized an Indiana law that effectively legalized discrimination are all responsible for destroying America and ushering in a thousand years of gay darkness...

Mike Huckabee: Gay Community Won't Rest Until 'There Are No More Churches'

Mike Huckabee appeared on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday to share his outrage that Walmart, among other businesses, came out against a right-to-discriminate bill that was passed by the state legislature in his home state of Arkansas. Huckabee told FRC president Tony Perkins, the host of the program, that the gay community has turned the controversies surrounding “religious freedom” legislation in Arkansas and Indiana into a “phony crisis.”

“It’s been manufactured by the left, just as was the war on women,” Huckabee said. “There was no war on women. The left has gotten very good on creating a crisis, something to divide the country, something to create this sense in which ‘we’ve got to go after these conservatives because they are trying to trample over our rights.’”

He added that the LGBT rights movement is like something out of George Orwell’s dystopian novel “1984”: “It is a classic example of — really a page out of ‘1984,’ when what things mean are the opposite of what they really are. And that’s what I’m seeing here is that in the name of tolerance, there’s intolerance. In the name of diversity, there’s uniformity. In the name of acceptance, there’s true discrimination.”

Perkins contended that gay people who are denied service by a business should simply try to find another shop that will serve them rather than filing a lawsuit against discriminatory business owners. “Where will it stop?” he asked Huckabee.

“It won’t stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel,” Huckabee replied, “and I’m talking now about the unabridged, unapologetic Gospel that is really God’s truth.”

Later in the program, Huckabee insisted that unlike the gay community, conservative Christians would never boycott a business like Walmart. Perkins, however, interjected that he does, in fact, plan to boycott Walmart since the company is “taking a stand against religious freedom.”

Huckabee then backtracked slightly, claiming that “it may come to the place where there will be a day in which Christians have had enough of this — I don’t think they have yet, I still see too many of them folding — but there may come a day in which they realize how close they are to losing all of their freedoms. And maybe there will be a day in which every one of the believers of this nation, people of faith and even some people who aren’t necessarily Christian but they’re people of conscience and they’re people of fairness, and they’ll just say that we will have a national boycott of the following businesses, and let’s just see if they really feel that they are taking the right position.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 3/31/15

  • The American Family Association is calling on its activists to cancel their subscriptions to Angie's List because the company opposes Indiana's newly passed "religious freedom" law.
  • Radio host Peter Heck says that criticism of Indiana's law "is the reincarnation of a neo-fascist view."
  • Matt Barber declares that criticism of the law is all about focing "the affirmation of homosexual behavior and the homosexual lifestyle and to do away with any public exercise or representation of Christianity."
  • Cindy Jacobs will be taking her prayer warriors to New York City next month because a great economic "shaking" is about to occur.
  • Larry Tomczak warns that "opposition to Christianity is becoming more aggressive and hostile. Nowhere is this more evident than in the areas of natural marriage and sexual purity."
  • Finally, for $60 a year, you can get "exclusive" access to daily audio and weekly video commentaries from Mike Huckabee!

Mike Huckabee: Contraception Mandate Is Like The 'Tyranny' That Caused The American Revolution

Even though Mike Huckabee signed into law a contraception coverage mandate that was actually much more sweeping than a similar mandate in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) while serving as governor of Arkansas, the Republican politician has been one of the most incendiary opponents of the ACA mandate.

While speaking today with American Family Radio host Kevin McCullough, who falsely claimed that “Obamacare makes abortion taxpayer funded,” Huckabee baselessly charged that the mandate covers “abortifacients.”

Huckabee said that the mandate represents such a threat to freedom that it is similar to the actions of the British government that sparked the American Revolution: “When I go back to American history, that’s why the American revolution started. You had a government that became a tyranny and that government began to tell people what limitations of their belief could be.”

Mike Huckabee Stands Willing To 'Call Fire Down From Heaven'

As Peter noted in his write-up of the American Pastors Network conference in Pennsylvania last week, Mike Huckabee was unable to attend the event and instead sent a video greeting featuring him standing on Mt. Carmel in Israel, overlooking the valley in which the End Times battle of Armageddon is supposed to occur.

In his message, Huckabee focused on another story involving Mt. Carmel as he highlighted the Old Testament showdown in which the Prophet Elijah called down the fire of God and then destroyed several hundred prophets of Baal, which Huckabee used to urge his audience to be willing to take a stand for God just as Elijah did.

"God wants us to stand in the gap," Huckabee said. "And sometimes my heart's broken because, in our own country, a lot of pastors will stand in the pulpit but they won't stand in the gap ... We wonder why our culture has turned godless. We wonder why people don't grow up understanding the fundamentals of natural law, the moral basis of our Judeo-Christian founding as a nation. Might it be that the problem is not the history classes in our high schools but the pulpits of America who have not taken what they even believe and applied it to the pulpit and to the people?"

"I stand here on Mt. Carmel today," he concluded, "and I hope that, if called upon, I would be willing to stand all by myself [and] to call fire from Heaven and believe that God will answer even if there are hundreds and hundreds of false prophets on the other side."

"You may stand here someday," he said, pointing back to the Valley of Armageddon below, "and be called upon to call the fire from Heaven. I hope you're ready to believe that God will answer that prayer."

Pastors Network: America Going Down the Tubes, Needs Pastors To Call Down Fire

The American Pastors Network, a Religious Right group hoping to organize networks of politically active evangelical pastors in all 50 states, met with Pennsylvania pastors at Lancaster Bible College on Thursday. The day-long event featured several national speakers like “historian” David Barton, activist Paul Blair of Reclaiming America for Christ, and right-wing broadcaster Sandy Rios, who as Kyle reported yesterday, urged participants to prepare for martyrdom

The threat of anti-Christian persecution was a frequent theme at the U-Turn conference, which took its name and themes from a recent book co-authored by Barton and evangelical pollster George Barna. For example, Steve Scheibner, an American Airlines pilot who narrowly avoided being on a flight that was hijacked and flown into the World Trade Center, declared, “Persecution is coming.” But, he added, “It may be the best thing that’s ever happened to the church.” Another speaker, Dale Anderson, thanked “that rascal” Barack Obama for having woken up the church.

Paul Blair gave David Barton-esque remarks about the nation’s history and cited English jurist William Blackstone in arguing that there can be no valid law that is contrary to scripture. He declared that “Judge Roy Moore,” Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice, is “a hero” for defying a federal judge’s decision on marriage equality. Blair said America is in its current state because too many pastors and people have been “sheep.” He insisted that marriage equality is a line that Christians must not allow to be crossed.

Barna was the Debbie Downer of the conference, reeling off pages of statistics designed to show the moral decline of America and the diminishing influence of the church in American culture.  Among the statistics that seemed to land like a punch to the gut: only nine percent of born-again Americans have what Barna calls a “biblical worldview” – just over 51 percent of Protestant senior pastors make the grade. Barna decried the fact that so many pastors do not preach about current political topics.

Barton’s speech contained no surprises for anyone familiar with his shtick about the influence of colonial-era pastors on the country’s founding, the number of Bible verses supposedly contained in the U.S. Constitution, and his insistence that the Bible is filled with specific policy prescriptions, such as opposition to minimum wages and capital gains taxes. In fact, he said, the Bible includes 613 civil laws for running the country.

Barton cited principles of warfare taught at the Army War College to argue that the church is supposed to be on offense, not defense, in current culture war battles. Making that happen is the goal of those who are working to build the American Pastors Network, including Sam Rohrer, a former member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives and a 2010 gubernatorial candidate, who serves as president of both the national and Pennsylvania networks.

Among the video presentations at the conference was a message recorded by Mike Huckabee in Israel, standing on a ridge overlooking the valley that he said would be the site of the battle of Armageddon. He stood on Mt. Carmel, the site of an Old Testament showdown in which Elijah showed up the prophets of Baal by having God rain down fire on an altar he had drenched with water. America, said Huckabee, needs pulpits willing to call down God’s fire.

Among the vendors doing a brisk business at the conference was the Institute of the Constitution, which promotes a Christian Reconstructionist ideology, and which has used its materials to train Tea Party activists in their vision of a radically, and biblically, limited role for the government.

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