Reince Priebus

Donald Trump Grows More Toxic By the Day

Donald Trump began his campaign for the presidency with incendiary remarks about immigrants, and he has not let up. During his first speech as a candidate, Trump stated "when Mexico sends its people, they're not sending the best. …  They're bringing drugs, they're bringing crime. They're rapists.” Despite the backlash to his comments, Trump has doubled down on his extremist views on immigration. In an interview with NBC, Trump said “there's nothing to apologize for” and added that any immigration policy less strict than his own would “let everybody come in… killers, criminals, drug dealers.”

Now, companies are responding by severing ties with Trump. Univision pulled out of its contract to broadcast Trump’s Miss USA pageant and NBC cut all ties with Trump, dropping not only the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants, but also Trump’s role in Celebrity Apprentice. With this list continuing to grow, one organization is conspicuously missing: the Republican National Committee.

PFAW’s partners at the Latino Victory Project are calling on RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and the Republican Party to renounce Trump as a candidate for the Republican nomination for President. With the Republican Party claiming that they are committed to strengthening ties with the Latino and immigrant communities, surely it is time for the RNC to reject a candidate who makes such hateful and racist remarks. 

PFAW

Priebus Pal David Lane: 'Wicked' Pro-Equality Republicans Threaten Collapse of GOP

Religious Right political strategist David Lane, who urges greater political engagement by conservative evangelical pastors and promotes right-wing candidates, has managed a pretty neat trick: he trashes “establishment” Republicans while taking RNC members on junkets to Israel and being embraced by top RNC officials, including GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and Director of Faith Engagement Chad Connelly. Lane is out today with another slam at Republicans who support legal equality for LGBT Americans – a category that does not, to be clear, include Priebus and Connelly.

What has Lane so agitated is the amicus brief that was signed by 300 Republicans urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationwide. Lane, to put it mildly, is not pleased. Lane quotes 18th Century English theologian William Berriman:

"It is the property of the Devil, not to mistake the nature of virtue, and esteem it criminal, but to hate it for this reason, because it is good, and therefore most opposite to his designs. The wicked, as his proper emissaries, resemble him in this, and grieve to have the foulness of their vices made conspicuous by being placed near the light of virtuous example."

And then, just so we don’t miss the point, Lane writes:

These GOP Chieftains and Lieutenants lack wisdom. They are neither "shrewd," "insightful," nor "wise"-but "weak-willed" and "easily seduced." They do not believe in the truth that "The true glory of a nation lies in its righteousness rather than its wealth or power."

…These leaders have served as key cogs of the Republican Party apparatus for a quarter of a century. Defining themselves as "conservative" camouflages their radical, secular ideology. They are responsible for frittering away the branding and legacy of limited government, lower taxes, deregulation of business and a philosophy of-"the-one-thing-government-can-do-for-me-is-leave-me-alone"-bequeathed to the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.

Lane singles out former RNC Chair and White House Political Director Ken Mehlman for calling marriage equality “the conservative position.” Says Lane, “What Mehlman is trying to pull here is unconscionable-without principle.”

As we have noted before, Lane views himself both as a warrior for the Republican Party – turning out evenglical voters to support right-wing candidates, and a warrior within the GOP against those who do not share his Christian-nation, anti-gay extremism (or his religion). More from his latest salvo:

This trend of redefining words has only just begun. Phony Republican leaders will continue to use the word "conservative," but with two different meanings. Therefore, if we mean to appreciate conservative values, defend them, and even judge them any better than the Democrat Party's penchant for abortion, homosexual marriage, and anti-god values, then we must define the basic values of the Grand Old Party.

Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians will find little "community" with Republican secularists, as these agnostics attempt to impose a godless paganism on the nation. After all, what is a political party if not a group of individuals supporting certain beliefs?

Lane says “secular Republicans who impose so-called homosexual marriage on the nation in 2015 will have the exact same effect on the Republican Party that slavery had on the Whig Party in 1852-it will collapse.”

Lane is a Christian nationalist who says America was founded for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” and demands that the Bible be made a primary textbook in public schools. He has blamed Supreme Court decisions upholding church-state separation for imposing a “pagan” secularism on the nation. He returns to that theme in today’s screed:

The Founders established the Bible as the fixed point in order to judge, therein establishing the unity, structure, and shape that welded a people together in a single terrain and fashioned American Exceptionalism. In 1963, the shortsighted Supreme Court eliminated the Bible from public schools causing lone dissenting Justice Potter Stewart to prophesy, "...[the decision] led not to true neutrality with respect to religion, but to the establishment of a religion of secularism." This atrocity has finally reached its denouement in America. One worldview is going to reign supreme between these two competing ideologies: godless secularism or biblical Christianity. One philosophy leads on to fortune, the other "over the falls of Niagara."

 

Cruz, Jindal Headline Event with Extremist David Lane

Likely Presidential contenders Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal will headline the American Renewal Project’s Pastors and Pews event in Iowa next week, according to the Des Moines Register. By leading the event, Cruz and Jindal ally themselves with one of the most inflammatory voices in the Republican Party: David Lane, who founded the American Renewal Project.

“By standing with David Lane, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal show their extreme anti-gay allegiances and their blatant disregard for the fundamental American value of embracing religious freedom,” said People For the American Way President Michael Keegan. “We deserve to know why Cruz and Jindal would align themselves with David Lane and this event.”

All members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) have been invited to attend the event. RNC chair Reince Priebus also has previously sung the praises of David Lane, and Priebus ignored calls from PFAW and others to cancel the recent RNC trip to Israel that Lane organized.

PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog has long documented the bigoted statements of David Lane. Here are some of the key examples:

“Homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” [7/23/13]

“Our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education.” [1/29/15]

“America was founded by Christians, as a Christian nation.” [7/17/13]

Republicans who support marriage equality are like politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War. [1/29/15]

While “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.” [7/17/13]

Americans “grovel to the false god of Islam”; “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.” [1/29/15]

See more here.

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People For the American Way Releases New Ad Calling Out Republicans for Standing with Hate Group

Today, People For the American Way released a new ad challenging members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) for accepting an all-expense paid trip to Israel from the American Family Association (AFA). The ad calls on the RNC to stand against the AFA’s hateful rhetoric about Jewish Americans, LGBT individuals, and many other people in our country.

“The hate of the American Family Association is rampant, from calling ‘Jewish atheists’ some of the ‘worst enemies of the country’ to claiming that gay people caused the Holocaust,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “We deserve to know why Republicans continue to stand with this hate group after years of offensive statements by their leaders. By failing to speak up against the AFA, Republican leaders are showing their acceptance of hateful rhetoric in their party.”

Watch the ad here:

PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog has long documented the bigoted statements of AFA leaders. Here are just some of the key examples:

Selected Statements of AFA Leaders

Bryan Fischer, Former Official Spokesperson for the AFA

“The Nazi Party, ladies and gentlemen, was formed in a gay bar. In other words, no homosexual thugs, no Nazi Party.” [6/9/11]

Gay sex is "Domestic Terrorism. I Don't Know What Else You'd Call It."[9/15/10]

Native Americans deserved to lose control of North America because "the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" made them "morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil." [2/8/11]

All new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home.” [4/8/11]

Gay rights activists “are Nazis. Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They'll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.” [5/18/11]

Christians should convert Jews to Christianity, Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” [8/26/11]

“The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.” [9/29/11]

"Political leadership ought to be ... reserved for the hands of males" [10/15/12]

People who believe in evolution are “disqualified from holding political office in the United States of America.” [1/2/14]

“Being an active homosexual should disqualify you from public office…we're going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Christianity. We can't have both.” [1/8/15]

See more here.

David Lane, Founder of the AFA’s American Renewal Project

The separation of church and state is a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.” [6/6/13]

“We were established as a Christian nation, for the advancement of the Christian faith.” [1/30/15]

“Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home. Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.” [7/17/13]

While “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.” [7/17/13]

“Homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” [7/23/13]

Republicans who support marriage equality are like politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War. [1/29/15]

Americans “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.” [1/29/15]

See more here.

Sandy Rios, Director of Governmental Affairs for the AFA

“So many of the Jews in this country are Atheist…Some dealing with Judeo-Christian ethics sometimes turn out to be the worst enemies of the country.” [3/5/12]

Marriage equality will lead to “explicit instruction in public schools” and the “rape of our children’s innocence.” [11/9/12]

“Education elites” are using gay rights to push “the most horrible trash down our children’s throats.” The child abuse scandal at Penn State is part of the “whole fabric of gay marriage.” [11/27/12]

Gay men “like youth, most of them like young men” and go into professions like teaching and coaching so “they can be around boys.” [2/6/13]

“Powerful Jewish forces” use groups like the ACLU to destroy America. [4/9/13]

“Obama seems to have a certain hatred for—oh I should be careful—let’s just say his sympathies aren’t with the white demographic.” [6/10/13]

God disapproves of Israel’s “secular government” and is not “fond of atheist Jews” who live there. [1/29/15]

See more here and here.

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Dennis Prager Says Everyone On The AFA's Israel Trip Is Repulsed By Bryan Fischer's 'Repugnant' Views

Throughout the week, we have been chronicling the fact that several dozen members of the Republican National Committee are currently in Israel on a trip organized by Christian nationalist David Lane and paid for by an anti-gay hate group, the American Family Association.

Until attention began to be focused on the trip, nobody over at the RNC seemed to have any problem with the AFA's long record of openly promoting bigotry. Then, in a pathetically transparent effort to alleviate the controversy surrounding this trip, the AFA stripped its most notorious bigot, Bryan Fischer, of his title as the organization's director of issues analysis and role as official spokesman last week, while keeping him on staff and allowing him to retain his daily radio program on the AFA's radio network.

It seems as if the AFA's feeble effort to wash its hands of Fischer's bigotry has failed, as Haaretz is reporting that RNC Chairman Reince Priebus backed out of the trip at the last moment, claiming that he had a funeral to attend in the U.S. but would be joining the group later. But now, according to the report, Priebus will not be joining the group at all.

The most interesting aspect of this report is the fact Dennis Prager, who is currently in Israel on this very trip, says that everyone who went on the AFA's dime is repulsed by Fischer and his views.

Prager, a right-wing radio host and commentator who is anything but a moderate in his own right, told Haaretz that Fischer's bigotry is "mind-blowing":

Earlier this week, the AFA distanced itself from its former spokesman who had made statements described by critics as anti-Semitic, homophobic and racist. The spokesman, Bryan Fischer, had said, among other remarks, that America is a Christian nation in which Jews and Muslims are not entitled to constitutional protection for their religious expression.

Prager said he completely supported the decision to cut ties with Fischer. “The second I heard what he said, I said that if he really said those thing they’re repugnant,” he said. “Everybody here thinks they’re repugnant. Frankly, I can’t believe that a human being in the 21st century would say such things. It’s mind-blowing.”

The Jewish talk show host said he had never heard of Fischer before, nor had he had any dealings with any other representatives of the AFA. “This is all brand new news to me,” he said.

PFAW Calls On RNC To Cancel Hate Group-Funded Israel Trip

Today People For the American Way President Michael Keegan sent a letter to Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), urging him to cancel a planned trip to Israel for roughly 60 RNC members that is organized by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and funded by the anti-LGBT hate group the American Family Association (AFA).

We’ve written quite a bit about the extremism of AFA and Lane, and the problems with the RNC associating with them.

The trip is scheduled to begin tomorrow.

Keegan wrote [PDF]:

Although we have no objection to RNC members travelling to Israel, we urge you not to collaborate with those who are funding and coordinating this trip. The American Family Association and Mr. Lane have made it clear that they view the Republican Party as a vehicle for ensuring that the U.S. government is operated by and for conservative Christians, at the expense of those of other faiths and no faith, and those Christians who do not share their particular beliefs.

Mr. Lane insists that the separation of church and state is a “fabricated whopper” meant to stop “Christian America — the moral majority — from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media” and has said that his “long-term strategy” is to place the Bible as “the principle [sic] textbook” in American public schools. Mr. Lane has also warned that an openly gay speaker at President Obama’s inauguration would provoke God to allow car bombings in major American cities.

The American Family Association also holds troubling views about the role of religion in American government and regularly promotes false smears against LGBT people. Although the AFA recently sought to distance itself from its own inflammatory spokesman, Bryan Fischer, it continues to offer him a prominent platform on its radio network, American Family Radio. And AFA still employs as its governmental affairs director Sandy Rios, who along with other radical statements, has warned that “powerful Jewish forces” are using groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to destroy America and just this week mocked the notion that “God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel.”

The American Family Association and David Lane have every right to promote these extreme views. However, it is troubling that a major political party is lending them legitimacy.

Meet David Lane: The Anti-Gay, Christian-Nation Extremist Of The RNC

Last night, Rachel Maddow reported that the American Family Association has fired Bryan Fischer as its official spokesman, while letting Fischer keep his radio show on the organization’s radio network. The move apparently came as a result of growing controversy surrounding a trip to Israel for Republican National Committee delegates bankrolled by the AFA.

It didn’t look good for the RNC that the group paying the tab for the trip to Israel has a spokesman and radio host who believes that gay people are modern-day Nazis who are responsible for the Holocaust, demands Jewish conversion to Christianity (and wants to require conversion for Jewish and other non-Christian immigrants), and insists that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights: “Counterfeit religions, alternative religions to Christianity, have no First Amendment right to the free exercise of the religion.”

However, the RNC trip’s chief organizer, David Lane of the American Renewal Project, which has close ties to the AFA, is no less radical than Fischer … but his extreme views haven’t stopped Republicans from embracing Lane.

lane

Priebus, center. Lane, far right. Via The Brody File.

RNC Chairman Reince Priebus has appeared at Lane’s political gatherings and praised his radical anti-LGBT activism. In fact, potential Republican presidential candidates like Rand Paul, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rick Perry and Mike Pence have either appeared at Lane’s events, which typically take place in early primary states, or participated in election-themed advertisements for Lane’s group.

Bobby Jindal, who has participated in both ventures, even hosted a prayer rally last weekend that was organized by Lane and funded by the AFA.

Lane and the AFA also organized an earlier visit to Israel for Paul and Perry, and Lane also organized Huckabee’s recent trip to Europe.

Lane, who describes himself as a political operative who prefers working behind the scenes, shares Fischer’s view that God is preparing to violently punish America for its tolerance of homosexuality. Lane, like Fischer, also believes that gay Republicans and gay rights supporters in the GOP are dangerous figures who will help bring the country down. He has:

  • Feared that God might destroy the U.S. just as he punished Nazi Germany: “If we get judgment like Nazi Germany, I’m assuming we go to rebel, and God says ‘I’m done.’”
  • Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
  • Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
  • Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
  • Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.

“What is our aim?” Lane asked in a 2013 op-ed. “One word only: victory, in spite of all intimidation and terror, victory, however long and hard the road may be; for without victory, America will ultimately collapse.”

He has set his sights at the separation of church and state, warning that “America is lost, one has to think through and devise a strategy to recapture our Christian heritage and reestablish our Christian culture.” Lane has also outlined his strategy to further entrench his radical ideology in the Republican Party by holding prayer rallies like “The Response,” sponsoring events featuring GOP leaders, known as “restoration” and “renewal” events or “pastor policy briefings,” and recruiting 1,000 pastors to run for elected office.

Urging conservatives to “wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands,” Lane wants conservatives to embrace his exclusionary Christian Nationalist beliefs and abolish the separation of church and state. Lane:

  • Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
  • Claimed that while “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.”
  • Said America needs a “thorough cleaning from pornography, abortion, homosexuality, filth from TV and Hollywood, racism, and injustice.”
  • Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
  • Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”
  • Warned that while America has “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.”

RNC Teams Up With Anti-Gay Extremist And Hate Group

Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus insists that the GOP’s opposition to marriage equality must be “draped in the concepts of grace, love and respect” … and what better way to show it than partnering with two radical anti-gay groups to send 168 RNC members to Israel.

Priebus is working with David Lane, founder of the American Renewal Project, and the American Family Association to organize a week-long trip to Israel for committee members, paid for by Lane’s group and the AFA. Sen. Rand Paul and Gov. Rick Perry have previously traveled to Israel on tours sponsored by Lane, who also joined Mike Huckabee’s recent European tour.

Proudly working “under the radar,” Lane is a conservative activist who assembles summits in key primary states where pastors and likely presidential candidates meet, including Paul, Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Mike Pence and Bobby Jindal, who is sponsoring a prayer rally with Lane early next year. Lane’s group announced a plan to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for elected office and produced election-themed ads featuring Cruz, Perry, Jindal and Huckabee.

Lane seeks to keep a low profile, in part, to conceal his extreme rhetoric, such as his claim that “homosexuals praying at [Obama’s] inauguration” would cause God to allow “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa,” his call for conservatives to “wage war” to stop “the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage [and] homosexual scouts” and his attacks on Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith.

Despite this track record, Priebus has praised Lane and his concerns about America’s dark future.

The other sponsor of the RNC trip, the American Family Association, also attacked Romney’s faith and has decried homosexuality in similar terms, insisting that homosexuality should be outlawed and praising draconian anti-gay laws in countries like Uganda and Gambia. The AFA’s chief spokesman, Bryan Fischer, has likened homosexuality to terrorism and blamed the Holocaust on gay people, and said that non-Christians have no First Amendment rights and non-Christian immigrants should be forced to convert to Christianity.

Fischer has repeatedly defended the massacres and expulsions of Native Americans from their lands as divine justice and once lamented that welfare makes African-American women “rut like rabbits.”

We look forward to Priebus explaining how David Lane and Bryan Fischer are simply trying to address key social issues with “grace, love and respect.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/7/14

PFAW & Allies Send Open Letter to RNC Chair: “Where Does the GOP Stand on Gay Bashing?”

In anticipation of this weekend’s annual Values Voter Summit, a multi-day event where GOP elected officials and presidential hopefuls rub elbows with Religious Right leaders, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan joined the leaders of the Southern Poverty Law Center and five other civil rights and LGBT organizations in an open letter calling on Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus to ask members of his party to disassociate themselves from the summit.

The letter, printed in the Washington Post and The Hill this morning, highlights the repeated and vicious demonization of LGBT people by the groups responsible for the summit, including its host, the Family Research Council:

Its president, Tony Perkins, has repeatedly claimed that pedophilia is a “homosexual problem.” He has called the “It Gets Better” campaign — designed to give LGBT students hope for a better tomorrow — “disgusting” and a “concerted effort” to “recruit” children into the gay “lifestyle.”

… Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, a summit sponsor, has said the U.S. needs to “be more like Russia,” which enacted a law criminalizing the distribution of LGBT “propaganda.” He also has said, “Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine, and six million dead Jews.”

By participating in the summit, Republican Party leaders risk legitimizing this kind of virulent extremism. Given that reality, the letter asks a simple question: where does the GOP stand on gay bashing? Reince Priebus himself has said, “People in this country, no matter straight or gay, deserve dignity and respect.” But will he walk the talk and, as the letter asks, “tell the members of your party to shun groups that demean other people and deny them dignity?”

You can read the full letter here.
 

PFAW

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/16/14

• Right-wing leaders including Jenny Beth Martin, Tony Perkins, Richard Viguerie and Ken Blackwell are urging RNC chairman Reince Priebus to investigate the Mississippi runoff election.

• Hazelton, Pennsylvania, may be on the hook for millions more dollars for its failed anti-immigrant policy.

• The Pew Research Center is out with new findings on the “feelings that members of America’s religious groups have about one another.”

• Tony Perkins says “President Obama has put the demands of this 3% [of LGBT people] before the entire nation and its interests.”

• Finally, Laurie Higgins urges parents to “flee from public school pornogogues pronto.”

Tom DeLay And Reince Priebus Wonder Why The Obamas Keep Mentioning Race

Former Republican House Majority Leader Tom DeLay said in an interview yesterday that First Lady Michelle Obama was promoting “racism” when she pointed out in a commencement address this weekend that there is still segregation and racial inequality in America’s schools.

After playing a clip of the first lady’s speech, Newsmax host Steve Malzberg asked DeLay, “I’m not sure what she’s pushing for. Is she looking for bussing?”

“What she’s pushing for is racism,” DeLay responded. “Michelle Obama and Barack Obama can’t do anything unless there’s a certain amount of race involved in it.”

While DeLay conceded that there are racial inequalities in some “inner cities,” he blamed that “leftist organizations” who have “have completely destroyed the education system.”

“Mostly around the country, race has no part being played in our education system,” he claimed. He speculated that the Obamas talk about racial inequality “because it keeps people motivated to see their point of view, they’re world of view, and follow them right over the cliff.”

Malzberg continued on the subject in an interview with Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus.

Quoting Attorney General Eric Holder’s remark that “outbursts of bigotry” like Donald Sterling’s can be less harmful than the “subtle racism” of “policies that impede equal opportunity,” Malzberg told Priebus, “It just seems that this is a Justice Department that is 100 percent only involved with race, racial issues. And one way!”

“Yeah, it is interesting that you point it out that way. There’s so many examples of that in regard to how Eric Holder runs the department,” Priebus agreed. He then suggested that racial inequality in public schools could be eliminated through school voucher programs.

The DOJ is currently working in Lousiana to make sure a school voucher program isn’t increasing segregation

Religious Right Warns RNC Not To Hold 2016 Convention In Las Vegas

The Republican National Committee is currently in the process of selecting the location for the 2016 national convention and among the cities in the running is Las Vegas, Nevada.

That, of course, is not sitting well with Religious Right activists who have now dashed off a letter to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus warning him that the RNC had better choose a different place to hold the convention:

The leaders sent a letter last week to Republican chairman Reince Priebus, putting him on notice that picking Vegas would generate friction. They call the city a “trap waiting to ensnare. … What could go wrong? The answer is obvious.”

Leaders from the religious right who have joined the effort include Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association; Phyllis Schlafly, founder of Eagle Forum; Andrea Lafferty, president of the Traditional Values Coalition; Paul Caprio, director of Family-PAC; and James Dobson, president of Family Talk ministry.

“The GOP is supposedly interested in reaching out to conservatives and evangelicals. Maybe that’s just a front, but if they really mean it this is not the way to do it,” Dobson said Tuesday. “Even though Vegas has tried to shore itself up and call itself family-friendly, it’s still a metaphor for decadence. There’s still 64 pages of escort services in the yellow pages. … You can’t have it both ways.”

...

Excerpts from social-conservative leaders’ letter to Republican Party Chairman Reince Preibus warning against selecting Las Vegas to host the 2016 GOP convention:

“In spite of ‘family-friendly’ outreach in the past decade, Las Vegas remains a metaphor for all things decadent. And looking at the yellow pages, one can see that it still delivers. With 64 pages of escort services and countless gambling casinos, it remains a trap waiting to ensnare.”

“At a time when the base needs to be motivated, this is no time to mute or offend them in any way. It may seem strange, silly even to some that conservatives would object to something that COULD be so innocuous. Surely there are shows and great restaurants and beautiful hotels. … What could possible go wrong? The answer is obvious, and wisdom dictates the chance not be taken.”

“There are several wonderful venues being considered. We are not advocating for any of them. But we urge you to reject Las Vegas and celebrate the vibrancy and strength of the Republican Party in a place not at odds with its values.”

One Year After Release Of Autopsy Report, GOP Still Caving To Voices Of Extremism

Last year, we noted five ways in which Republican leaders were either ignoring or directly contradicting the recommendations put forth in the party’s post-election “autopsy report,” which called for a more diverse and modern GOP with a broader appeal. Today, on the first anniversary of the report’s release, it is clear that those who opposed the plan for a more inclusive party have prevailed, succeeding in moving the GOP even farther to the right.

Republican leaders seem to be accepting — albeit not openly — the pleas of right-wing pundits for the party to embrace ultraconservative views and veer away from outreach to young voters and people of color. These activists have called for the GOP to become a party focused on appealing exclusively to white voters with a mixture of Tea Party populism, Nativism and social conservatism.

This tension within the party has played out the most clearly in the debate over comprehensive immigration reform, in which reform advocates found themselves facing a wall of opposition from vocal activists. Many of these activists used the immigration debate to outline their vision for the party’s future, urging the party abandon immigration reform and instead work to increase its share of the white vote.

The extremists won the debate. The House Republican leadership has refused to even hold a vote on immigration reform and have approved only draconian bills that would curtail the rights of immigrants.

The GOP’s extreme right wing kept the party from taking up immigration reform by putting forward a political strategy argument backed by wink-and-nod racism.

Conservative luminary Phyllis Schlafly spent the year arguing that Latino voters are culturally resistant to Republican principles because they “don’t really understand our country.”

“The people the Republicans should reach out to are the white votes,” Schlafly said, arguing that Latinos are more likely to vote for Democrats over Republicans because they haven’t been sufficiently “Americanized.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann also warned that immigrants will usher in a far-left government that will jeopardize the future of America. Rep. Paul Broun similarly claimed that immigration reform is a plot to “destroy our country” by “keep[ing] Democrats in power for perpetuity.”

Pat Buchanan, true to form, was upfront about the strategy to stop immigration reform and expand the Republican share of the white vote. Buchanan wrote that just as the GOP used the Southern Strategy of racial polarization to win an overwhelming share of the Southern white vote, Republicans should adopt a new strategy “to increase the enthusiasm and turnout among [white voters] for the GOP” by “demand[ing] the sealing of America’s borders against any and all intruders.”

The Center for Immigration Studies, a leading voice on the anti-immigrant Right, also told Republicans no t to bother appealing to the Latino community and instead to frame Democrats as the “party of minorities.”

The GOP has also failed to make good on its promise to appeal to young and LGBT voters by moderating its hardline opposition to LGBT equality.

Last summer, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus reassured the Christian Broadcasting Network that the GOP is not becoming more tolerant and even lauded former governor and presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, a stringently anti-LGBT politician, as “a model for a lot of people in our party” on dealing with social issues.

Priebus was apparently under pressure from social conservatives like National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher, who demanded that the party amplify its right-wing social agenda and avoid “adopting a suicidal political strategy.”

While Republican leaders say that the will accept openly gay Republican candidates for Congress, they have not budged on any items important to the LGBT community, blocking even the consideration of legislation to prevent job discrimination or inequality in the immigration system. Republican lawmakers have also pushed bills designed to roll back LGBT rights, such as the State Marriage Defense Act and the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, and have challenged the Justice Department’s treatment of marriage equality laws.

It seems that the GOP has only committed itself to changing semantics and appearances, but is still committed to the same right-wing agenda that was soundly defeated in 2012.

Reince Priebus Promises To Be 'As Strong On These Social Issues' As A Pastor 'On Sunday Morning'

In a conversation with conservative bloggers at CPAC last week, Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus promised that he would be “as strong on these social issues” – including choice and marriage equality – as a pastor “on Sunday morning.”

In the wide-ranging conversation, audio of which was posted by LifeSiteNews, Priebus assured his audience that autopsy reports aside, the GOP will not moderate or shy away from its anti-choice or anti-gay stances…while at the same time saying he wasn’t going to be “walking around down the street” proclaiming his opposition to marriage equality.

He said that his attendance at the March for Life this year was a “wake-up call” that “maybe we need to start reminding people about the core positions of our party more.”

"We're a pro-life party and I'm not shying away from that at all," he added.

He also said that he tells pastors that “church can’t just be vanilla ice cream and cotton candy on Sunday morning either, and that there’s joint responsibility in talking about issues of faith.”

“I tell a lot of pastors sometimes, in groups like this, I say, ‘Listen, I got a deal for you. I’ll be as strong on these social issues as you’re willing to be on Sunday morning. How about that deal?’”

When an attendee asked him if he considers “opposition to gay marriage still to be a core party issue,” Priebus responded that it was but implied that Republicans should avoid talking about it to much.

“Yeah, I mean, we’re a party that believes that marriage ought to be between one man and one woman, that’s our party platform, it’s a position that I’ve never backed away from,” he said. “What I have said, though, is that we need to treat each other with grace and dignity and respect. And that’s not code language, it comes out of the New Testament. So there should be no confusion about where we stand.”

When the questioner asked if opposition to marriage equality was “something that you want to be reminding people of more,” Priebus answered: “Well, I mean, I’m not like walking around down the street, but if someone wants to ask me like you did, I didn’t dance for you. I mean, I answered the question head-on and very clear.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/30/14

It's Not Just Dave Agema: 5 RNC Committee Members Who Have Pushed Anti-Gay Bigotry

With GOP leaders calling for Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign over his latest anti-gay outbursts, we were surprised that Agema’s views would really be that shocking in a party that, as former GOProud leader Jimmy LaSalvia puts it, has a wide “tolerance for bigotry.”

Republicans like RNC chairman Reince Priebus may think by denouncing Agema’s rhetoric they are putting distance between the GOP and extremists. But at the end of the day, the party’s platform embraces the extreme anti-LGBT agenda that Agema represents, opposing not just marriage equality but also civil unions, fair employment practices, non-discrimination policies, hate crimes laws and LGBT-inclusive foreign policy.

And Agema isn’t the only RNC member who has been quite open about his anti-gay bigotry. In fact, it wasn’t very hard at all to put together a short, and by no means an exhaustive, compilation of RNC members who have made anti-gay claims similar to Agema’s.

5. Tamara Scott (Iowa)

Scott, a Concerned Women for America leader and National Republican Committee member, has alleged that the legalization of gay marriage hurt her state’s economy. She also worried that marriage equality will pave the way man-Eiffel Tower marriage.

4. Steve Scheffler (Iowa)

Scheffler got his start as the head of the Christian Coalition’s Iowa chapter (which is now the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition chapter). Under his leadership, the group falsely linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claimed that gay men typically don’t live past the age of 47.

After he became a GOP committeeman, Schleffler blocked openly gay candidate Fred Karger from joining a presidential debate, saying that Karger belonged to the “radical homosexual community” which seeks “to harass supporters of REAL marriage.” He warned against a movement in Republican circles to push the party to support gay rights, arguing that such a move would “literally destroy the Republican Party.”

When Iowa legalized same-sex marriage, Schleffler tried to repeal marriage equality and warned that his state would become “the homosexual capital of the Midwest” and dangerous for kids. “We Iowans want this state to be a good, safe environment for our kids. You ask the average person in the street whether they support gay marriage, and they’ll say no,” he wrote.

3. Bill Armistead (Alabama)

Armistead, the Alabama GOP chairman, tried last year to purge a young Republican activist from the state GOP steering committee after she criticized the party’s hardline stance again marriage equality.

When the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, Armistead accused the government of “hijacking marriage.” “Whether by a constitutional amendment or other means, US taxpayers should not be forced by their government to reward those who choose to engage in activity that had been banned in 35 states,” he said. “Alabama’s state law banning gay marriage will prevent these benefits from being extended in Alabama, but our tax dollars will still go to support a lifestyle that we fundamentally disagree with.”

Armistead also claimed same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and charged that acceptance of gay people is a “sad testament to where we are as a nation,” warning that tolerance of LGBT people puts “America on a slippery slope.”

2. Debbie Joslin (Alaska)

Alaska Republican committeewoman Debbie Joslin led her state’s campaign to bar same-sex marriage and benefits as the state’s Eagle Forum leader.

Joslin also fought a proposal to require schools to adopt LGBT-inclusive policies, warning that increased tolerance would “foster confusion in the minds of our children.” In addition, she denounced openly gay members of the Boy Scouts, whom she claimed were not “healthy role models.”

1. Ada Fisher (North Carolina)

Fisher, a National Republican Committee member from North Carolina, expressed outrage when President Obama and former President Clinton endorsed marriage equality, suggesting that it showed a lack of respect for…straight people: “OK, now I’m confessing to a poorly kept secret — I am a heterosexual black female who loves men and has achieved some modicum of success. So, now will President Obama, Bill Clinton and others give me a call for coming out and openly expressing my sexual preference?”

Fisher also suggested that gay marriage harms the black community by destabilizing the relationships closeted gay men have with women. “The psychological side of my brain is disturbed by the further negative impact of changing gender roles in undermining already fragile black families…black men in the closet are coming out or remaining on the down-low, which may be perceived as another blow to viable relationships with these men at the expense of black women.”

 

Paranoia-Rama: Pot Welfare; Islamists In Charge & The Gay Police State Is Coming For You

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, we learned more details about President Obama’s sinister gay-Sharia plot. And according to one right-wing radio host, if the president fails to implement his nefarious policies before his second term runs out, he will simply set up “a satellite administration in exile.”

5. Pot Wreaking Havoc On Colorado!

Colorado’s legalization of marijuana went into effect at the start of the year, providing plenty of material for satirical websites such as the Daily Currant and the National Report. Unfortunately, it seems that many people fell for the Daily Currant’s post titled “Marijuana Overdoses Kill 37 in Colorado On First Day of Legalization”; many also believed the National Report articles, “Feds Raid Colorado Pot Shop” and “Colorado Pot Shop Accepting Food Stamps – Taxpayer Funded Marijuana for Welfare Recipients.”

Of course, we don’t need satirical stories from the Daily Currant or National Report when we already have terrible reporting on marijuana policy from folks like Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly and Washington Times opinion editor Emily Miller.

4. Priebus Uncovers Democratic Jobless Aid Conspiracy

After Senate Republicans failed to block a vote to extend unemployment benefits for three months, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus alleged that is actually the Democrats who want the jobless aid bill to fail, even though every single Democratic member of the Senate voted to consider the legislation. “They don’t want this to pass,” Priebus said, arguing that Democrats simply want to make Republicans look bad by trying to hold a vote on an extension of unemployment insurance for 1.3 million jobseekers.

“I’m reasonably certain this theory is stark raving mad, but let’s assume for the sake of conversation that Priebus is onto something,” Steve Benen responded. “If this were true, wouldn’t it make sense for Republican leaders to pass the measures and undermine the Democratic plan?”

Instead, all but six Senate Republicans opposed it.

3. The Mythical Gay Police State

The National Organization for Marriage is still fuming Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s brief suspension from A&E and defending his imaginary constitutional right to appear on television. In a hysterical post about the Duck Dynasty flap — since deleted but grabbed by Jeremy Hooper — NOM president Brian Brown warned that soon the police may arrest and prosecute people for “criminal hate-speech charges.” He asserted that the “homosexual lobby” is creating “a new State regime” that will make religious beliefs “subject to punishment” and “grounds for criminal action.”

“This is what our country is facing if the same-sex ‘marriage’ movement gets its way: a society in which not just Phil and other celebrities who voice Christian values are put in the crosshairs and targeted for persecution, but any ordinary citizen who believes in traditional values — ordinary citizens like you and me — will be liable to sanction,” Brown wrote.

Laura Ingraham delivered a similar message on her radio show this week, cautioning that gay rights laws represent “a victory against religious liberty” that “puts us on a very dangerous path, it’s a path that Karl Marx would be very happy from the grave, or from hell, to see us being on right now.”

2. Limbaugh: Obama Will Keep Power After Second Term

When President Obama announced that his family may stay in the Washington, DC, area after his second term ends so his youngest daughter can graduate from school, Rush Limbaugh’s sixth sense for conspiracies was immediately triggered.

The conservative talk show host alleged that Obama will try to hold on to power by establishing “a satellite administration in exile” with the “media continuing to treat him as though he is still president.” He warned that Obama will have an “unprecedented post-presidency” that will allow him to hold onto the reins of power even outside of elected office. 

“He’s gonna be staying there to protect his legacy and to make sure it is never unwound,” Limbaugh said. “Unless he’s run out of town in shame.”

1. Islamists In The White House

Doing his best Joseph McCarthy impression, Fox News pundit Tom McInerney insists that he has a list of names of the members of the Muslim Brotherhood who are working in government…except he doesn’t know their names. “We’ve got Muslim Brotherhood in the U.S. government today,” McInerney told the Washington radio station WMAL. “I haven’t got their names exactly but there’s a list of them, at least 10 or 15 of them in the U.S. government.”

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association took this theory one step further to contend that the chief Islamist in the Obama administration is Obama himself:

Priebus: Democrats Secretly Oppose Unemployment Insurance As Part Of Obamacare Plot

Yesterday, all but six Republicans voted to block the Senate from taking up a bill extending unemployment insurance for three months. But according to RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, it is actually the Democrats who don’t want jobless aid to pass the Senate.

That’s right, even though his own party has tried to throw a wrench into efforts to extend aid to 1.3 million jobseekers — the GOP’s position would even threaten job growth and cut GDP — Priebus yesterday told radio host Lars Larson that Democrats “don’t want this to pass.” He claimed that the Democrats’ attempt to pass emergency jobless aid was in fact a ploy to “avoid Obamacare.”

Priebus claimed that President Obama is promoting income inequality, even though the federal programs such as food stamps that Republicans want to drastically cut keep millions of people out of poverty.

Priebus: I think the President is the king of income inequality. He has doubled food stamps, the poor are poorer under this president, Wall Street is doing better under this president and he’s jamming Obamacare under everybody’s throat. That’s his record.

Larson: The first three months of this extension — if the Houses is crazy enough to pass it — costs about $6-7 billion.



Priebus: All of this kind of stuff is ridiculous because we’re spending all of our time actually talking and perpetrating what the Democrats actually want. They don’t want this to pass, what they want to do is they want to talk about these things, they want to talk about minimum wage and what they want to do ultimately is create a campaign issue, this sort of rich vs. poor, the same old thing they can do and avoid Obamacare. That’s what they want.

Perhaps Priebus should have listened to the interview with Larson’s other guest today, Sen. Jim Inhofe.

The Oklahoma Republican in no uncertain terms said he has consistently opposes extensions of unemployment insurance. He also contradicted Priebus by saying that Democrats do in fact want to extend such aid…but only because it will encourage joblessness and government dependency.

“I think that we’ve developed a society that, you know, as long as they don’t have to work they don’t work. I’ve always opposed extending that and I’ve opposed that in my own state,” Inhofe said. “This president has intentionally put us in the position where people are relying upon government for their existence, this is just one element in that overall program.”

Priebus: GOP Not Embracing 'Tolerance,' Just Becoming More Loving

Following their 2012 election debacle, the Republican National Committee and the College Republicans issued reports which urged the party to go through an image makeover without adjusting its political stances. Essentially, they argued, the party should only appear to be changing and becoming more open-minded, empathetic and welcoming.

Speaking with David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network posted today, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus confirmed that the party will try to reach out to groups like gays and lesbians by simply appearing to be more respectful without actually changing its views on issues such as marriage equality.

After Brody said conservative evangelical voters are nervous that the GOP thinks “we have to be more tolerant,” Priebus said there is nothing to worry about. “I don’t know if I’ve used the word ‘tolerance,’ I don’t really care for that word myself. I don’t have a problem with it, I just think it has another meaning politically that can go the other direction,” the party chairman said.

“It’s not what you say, I think, it’s sometimes – like our moms used to tell us – it’s how you say it. And I think that’s really the issue. And quite frankly, I think some of that has been overblown.”

Priebus assured Brody that the GOP will continue to represent “things that are very square with our beliefs as Christians” and recognize that “there’s only one sovereign God.”

Watch:

Brody: I want to talk to you about this way forward for the GOP. When you use that word ‘intolerant,’ ‘you know we have to be more tolerant’ in what the RNC put out. Evangelicals start to grab the Excedrin bottles when they hear ‘tolerance’ because they think ‘oh no the GOP is changing and the whole gay marriage situation.’ Why don’t you address this and maybe put evangelicals at ease or can you put them at ease at all here?

Priebus: Well, one hundred percent. I don’t know if I’ve used the word ‘tolerance,’ I don’t really care for that word myself. I don’t have a problem with it, I just think it has another meaning politically that can go the other direction. I happen to believe that our principles are sound. I do believe, and I still will tell you that our party believes that marriage is between one man and one woman. Our party believes that life begins at conception. I think those are foundational issues that aren’t going anywhere but what I have said, which I don’t think should be controversial at all and I would think that Christians and pastors and everyone in between should agree that our principles have to be draped in the concepts of grace, love and respect and that’s not code language, that’s the New Testament, so I don’t think there should be any problem with that thinking within our party. That’s all I’ve said. It’s not what you say, I think, it’s sometimes like our moms used to tell us, it’s how you say it; and I think that’s really the issue and quite frankly I think some of that has been overblown. I’m happy to address it but clearly myself and our party haven’t changed on those principles.



Priebus: Looking at the evidence, what you will see is a party that embraces life, a party that embraces marriage and a chairman that understands that there’s only one sovereign God and that we ultimately aren’t dependent on what happens in politics, that that ultimately matters in our lives is that we’re salt and light in the world and that we’re honoring God in the things that we do every day. I get that. I think our party gets that and there’s never been a movement away from that. So ‘tolerance,’ maybe some people use that word, what I would tell you, when I think about it, I think about grace, I think about love, I think about respect, and I think those are things that are very square with our beliefs as Christians.
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