Rena Lindevaldsen

Staver: Same-Sex Marriage Not A Right Because Homosexuality Used To Be A Crime

On a recent episode of Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio program, Mat Staver argued that marriage equality can’t be a fundamental right because it’s not “deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it,” and in fact “homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature” and “something that’s been criminalized in our culture.”

A fundamental right in constitutional law has to either be specifically articulated in an enumeration of the Constitution — so a fundamental right would be freedom of speech, freedom of religion, so it’s part of the First Amendment, it’s actually absolutely articulated — and if it’s not articulated, the court has said it has to be deeply rooted in our history such that if you were to not protect it, it would literally unravel the concept of ordered liberty that is so essential to who we are and it is so deeply rooted in our history that you have to protect it. Parental rights can be something that falls within a category such as that.

Now, here, obviously, the issue is, did same-sex marriage become a fundamental right? And the answer clearly is no. If they really were honest, it’s no. And to the contrary, same-sex marriage or homosexuality has always been considered a crime against nature. Instead of protection deeply rooted, it’s been something that’s been criminalized in our culture, not just in America but around the world.

Later in the program Staver discussed the recent appeals court decision striking down Virginia’s marriage equality ban with Liberty University Law School’s Rena Lindevaldsen. Lindevaldsen argued that because the court acknowledged that people in same-sex relationships sometimes raise children from opposite-sex relationships that it undermined the argument that being gay is a fundamental characteristic. “Now they’re saying, by the way, we can have relationships with whoever we want to and we still get this right to marriage,” she lamented.

Religious Right Panelists: Gay Rights Activists are Christ-Hating Fascists

At Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference, gays were portrayed as enemies of religious freedom who are bent on turning public schools into indoctrination centers using the issue of bullying as a “Trojan horse.”  Greg Quinlan, president of Parents and Friends of ExGays and Gays, who describes himself as ex-gay, complained that New Jersey’s new anti-bullying law is being used to bully Christian students, and hollered that the law is actually fascism.

You don’t need a law, inculcated and put into code, to talk about bullying. What this bully bill is is behavior modification. That’s the job of the parents and the teachers and we don’t need that put into law. This is fascism! This is fascism! We need to put a swastika on it!

Quinlan complained that public officials, including Gov. Chris Christie, would not listen to Religious Right objections to the bill because gay rights advocates had exploited the suicide of a bullied boy:

Because one boy -- and the homosexual agenda is extremely good at this, when there’s a disaster -- one boy jumps off the George Washington Bridge, kills himself in the Hudson River. And they seized that moment and they took it and used it to their advantage. And what did we do? We said “Oh, that’s terrible that that happened,” but we don’t have any statements to make when these issues do happen. This is where we have to have better messaging.

Matt Barber, one of the most ferociously anti-gay voices in public life, used a question about the treatment of an anti-gay protestor to charge that gays are motivated by hatred for Jesus Christ and that the “homosexual lifestyle” is a sin-condemned “culture of death.”

The question was, an elderly woman was at a homosexual rally and she was carrying this big styrofoam cross and she was knocked around, it was caught on film, no charges were filed, they took her cross, and stomped it, and crushed into tiny bits. That is a microcosm of what we’re up here – and I thought, something that immediately occurred to me was, wasn’t that a metaphor for what we’re up against. It’s about the cross. It’s about the cross and a hatred of Christ, who is what? The way, the truth, and the life.  They hate the way, which is Christ, they hate the truth, which they are in conflict with, and they hate life. This is a culture of death we are talking about here, and the wages of sin is what? Is death. The homosexual lifestyle astronomically, from a statistical standpoint, leads to death. The wages of sin is death.

Other speakers on the panel were Rena Lindevaldsen, a Liberty University law professor and associate dean, and Cynthia Dunbar, a Religious Right activist who served on the Texas state board of education and who is now also a law professor at Liberty. Dunbar bragged in her conference bio that her work has earned her a “position” on Right Wing Watch.

Michele Bachmann to Headline Conference with 9/11 & Sandy Hook Truther, Birthers and Anti-Gay Activists

Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will be joining some of the most extreme right-wing activists in the country at the upcoming Awakening 2013 conference.

Tim Tebow Scheduled to Address another Anti-Gay Venue: Liberty University

Recently, New York Jets backup quarterback Tim Tebow pulled out of a scheduled appearance at Robert Jeffress’ megachurch “due to new information” he received regarding Jeffress' view. While he never specified what the “new information” was, Tebow was almost certainly referring to Jeffress’ virulent attacks on gays and lesbians, Roman Catholicism, Mormonism, Islam and President Obama.

Yet just weeks after withdrawing from speaking at Jeffress's church, Tebow is now set to address Liberty University later this month at a conference geared towards men’s issues in a speech that is closed to the public.

The school was founded by the late televangelist Jerry Falwell — it is now run by his son — who has blamed gays and liberals for the September 11 attacks, supported racist laws in the U.S. and abroad and attacked the Teletubbies for “modeling the gay life style.”

Liberty University bans gay students and shut down its College Democrats chapter over the party’s views on gay rights. The university has hosted multiple anti-gay conferences and their law school is being sued over its alleged role in helping Lisa Miller disobey a court order and kidnap her daughter to Central America in order to avoid transferring custody to the girl's other mother, her former partner.

Liberty University’s Vice President and law school dean Mathew Staver has defended the criminalization of homosexuality in Malawi, promoted the dangerous ex-gay therapy and warned that President Obama supports “forced homosexuality.” Furthermore, Staver has claimed that gay rights laws are part of an Antichrist spirit that lead to crime, child molestation and death, along with the destruction of America.

Staver’s fellow Liberty University dean Matt Barber has defended a Nigerian law outlawing homosexual relationships, described the gay rights movement as “Satanic,” claimed that gay youth who committed suicide took their own lives because they “know what they are doing is unnatural,” accused gay rights advocates of supporting pedophilia (along with fascism and Communism) and defined homosexuality as “one man violently cramming his penis into another man’s lower intestine and calling it ‘love.’” He has also maintained that liberals are like Baal worshippers who hate God and are working with Islamists to destroy Christianity and that Obama should be impeached for backing same-sex domestic partner benefits.

Another professor, Rena Lindevaldsen, has claimed that Satan makes people gay and is behind the LGBT rights movement .

If Jeffress’ anti-gay remarks were too extreme for Tebow, they pale in comparison to the things regularly said by representatives of Liberty University.

Perhaps it is time for Tebow to take another look at some of this “new information” about Liberty.

Liberty Counsel Warns Gay Marriage Will Keep Boys and Girls from Becoming Men and Ladies

Back in 2010, when a federal district court in California heard the first legal challenge to the anti-gay Proposition 8, the judge asked the attorney defending Prop 8 how marriage equality would hurt the ability of straight couples to bear and raise children. The attorney sputtered and answered, “I don’t know.” A key witness for Prop 8’s supporters had the same answer, and later changed his mind to support marriage equality.

Four years later, the case is coming before the Supreme Court, and marriage equality opponents are still struggling to answer that question. In an amicus brief [pdf] filed with the court last week, the anti-gay Liberty Counsel took a shot at it. If marriage equality is achieved, Liberty Counsel argues, “Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.”

Not only does Proposition 8 further the state’s interest in steering childrearing into the husband-wife marriage model, but it furthers the important interest in providing male and female role models in the family. Male gender identity and female gender identity are each uniquely important to a child’s development. As a result, one very significant justification for defining marriage as the union of a man and a woman is because children need a mother and a father. We live in a world demarcated by two genders, male and female. There is no third or intermediate category. Sex is binary. By striking down Proposition 8, this Court will be making a powerful statement: our government no longer believes children deserve mothers and fathers. In effect, it would be saying: “Two fathers or two mothers are not only just as good as a mother and a father, they are just the same.”

The government promotion of this idea will likely have some effect even on people who are currently married, who have been raised in a particular culture of marriage. But this new idea of marriage, sanctioned by law and government, will certainly have a dramatic effect as the next generation’s attitudes toward marriage, childbearing, and the importance of mothers and fathers are formed. By destroying the traditional definition of marriage, the family structure will be dramatically transformed. Many boys will grow up without any positive male influence in their lives to show them what it means to be a man, and many girls will grow up without any female influence to show them what it means to be a lady.

The repercussions of this are incalculable and will reshape the culture in which we live. Many children learn appropriate gender roles by having interaction with both their mother and their father and by seeing their mother and their father interact together with one another. By redefining marriage to state that this is not a family structure that the state wants to foster and encourage, this Court will be overturning centuries of historical understandings of family and the home.

To give you an idea of the kind of parenting that Liberty Counsel supports, its lawyers Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, who are named on its brief, are also representing a woman accused of kidnapping her daughter rather than let her have contact with her other mother (the woman’s former same-sex partner).
 

Liberty Law School and Others Hit With RICO Lawsuit Over Lisa Miller Kidnapping

Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.

But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:

 41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.

42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.

...

47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.

48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:

"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."

49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.

...

57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.

58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.

59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.

...

62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.

The New York Times Sheds New Light on the Lisa Miller Kidnapping Case

New York Times reporter Erik Eckholm has a big front-page story in Sunday’s paper on a case that readers of RWW are familiar with: the disappearance of Lisa Miller. Eckholm traveled to Nicaragua to talk with the Mennonite communities that have helped harbor Miller and her daughter Isabella on their flight from United States law enforcement and from Isabella’s other legal parent, Miller’s former partner Janet Jenkins of Vermont. Miller, who kidnapped her daughter rather than allow her to have visitation rights with Jenkins, has become a cause celebre among the Religious Right, a supposed victim of anti-Christian persecution.

Eckholm supplies us with an illuminating and creepy anecdote about a family of hamsters left to die in Miller’s abandoned house, and casts some light on the thinking of those who helped harbor Miller in Nicaragua. But there’s one important piece of the puzzle that remains a mystery: did Miller’s attorneys at Liberty University have anything to do with Miller’s disappearance? LU Law School dean Mat Staver tells Eckholm that he was surprised as anyone when Miller disappeared, as he has since it first became known.

But Liberty University’s relationship with Miller has always been a little complicated. Rena Lindevaldsen, an LU Law School dean and Miller’s attorney before she disappeared, has now written a book arguing Miller’s case. And even before Miller kidnapped with Isabella, Lindevaldsen and Staver were teaching Miller’s case as an example of a situation where the demands of “God’s law” trump those of “man’s law.” Religion Dispatches’ Sarah Posner talked with several students who had taken a required class from the two deans and got her hands on a copy of an exam that quizzed students on what to do in Lisa Miller’s situation:

Students at Liberty Law School tell RD that in the required Foundations of Law class in the fall of 2008, taught by Miller’s attorneys Mat Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen, they were repeatedly instructed that when faced with a conflict between “God’s law” and “man’s law,” they should resolve that conflict through “civil disobedience.” One student said, “the idea was when you are confronted with a particular situation, for instance, if you have a court order against you that is in violation of what you see as God’s law, essentially... civil disobedience was the answer.

This student and two others, who all requested anonymity for fear of reprisal by Staver (who is also the law school’s dean), recounted the classroom discussion of civil disobedience, as well as efforts to draw comparisons between choosing “God’s law” over “man’s law” to the American revolution and Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Letter from a Birmingham Jail. According to one student, in the Foundations course both Staver and Lindevaldsen “espoused the opinion that in situations where God’s law is in direct contradiction to man’s law, we have an obligation to disobey it.”
...
That semester’s mid-term exam, obtained by RD [see excerpts of the actual exam here], included a question based on Miller’s case asking students to describe what advice they would give her “as a friend who is a Christian lawyer.” After laying out a slanted history of the protracted legal battle, the exam asked, “Lisa needs your counsel on how to think through her legal situation and how to respond as a Christian to this difficult problem. Relying only on what we have learned thus far in class, how would you counsel Lisa?”

Students who wrote that Miller should comply with court orders received bad grades while those who wrote she should engage in civil disobedience received an A, the three students said. “People were appalled,” said one of the students, adding, “especially as lawyers to be, who are trained and licensed to practice the law—to disobey that law, that seemed completely counterintuitive to all of us.”

Still, some knew what they needed to “regurgitate,” in order to get a good grade. “It was obvious by the substance of the class during the semester the answer that they wanted,” said one of the students. “The majority of people that I am acquainted with who did get As wrote that because that was expected of them.”

One of the students who got an A said, “I told them she needed to engage in civil disobedience and seriously consider leaving the country,” adding, “I knew what I needed to write.”

Given what was expected of them on the exam, and the tenor of the class, there is “not a lot of shock among the students about the current developments,” said one of the students, referring to the revelation that Miller is in hiding in Nicaragua. “Everybody semi-suspected that Liberty Counsel had something to do with her disappearance.”


Of course, we have no way of knowing what Liberty Counsel knew and when they knew it. But Posner’s reporting shows that it’s certainly worth looking into.

LaBarbera and Lindevaldsen Say No to Gay Judges, Sad Sally Ride ‘Fell into Lesbianism’

Americans for Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera continued his discussion with Liberty University Law School’s Rena Lindevaldsen on Friday. The two revisited the topic of openly gay judges, specifically the Virginia prosecutor who was rejected from a judgeship simply because he was gay. That discrimination was ok, Lindevaldsen said, because “if you’re engaged in a lifestyle of immorality, whether that be a homosexual lifestyle or an adulterous relationship or fornication, that’s not the type of moral character that I believe should be someone who’s being appointed to become a judge”:

Lindevaldsen: I think we can equate this not only with the judiciary, but the same debate is taking place, you know, who we want to serve as our schoolteachers, for example. We want moral, upstanding individuals to serve as judges, and this debate’s taking place with schoolteachers too. So if you’re engaged in a lifestyle of immorality, whether that be a homosexual lifestyle or an adulterous relationship or fornication, that’s not the type of moral character that I believe should be someone who’s being appointed to become a judge.

I think it goes to fit moral character and I think that the necessary qualification of any judicial appointment. And therefore it is relevant, based on your conduct, to judge and decide whether you should be allowed to sit in the judiciary.

Immediately after Lindevaldsen and LaBarbera made the case that gay judicial nominees should be defined by and excluded for their sexual orientation, they changed the rules when it came to another prominent example of an openly gay person in public life. Lindevaldsen and LaBarbera heaped scorn on gay rights activists who have had the nerve to call the late Sally Ride, who lived for 27 years with her same-sex partner, a gay pioneer. Emphasizing Ride’s sexual orientation, LaBarbera said -- expanding on a tweet from shortly after her death --would be like defining her as an alcoholic if she had a drinking problem:

LaBarbera: They’re always using opportunities to promote what their version of reality on homosexuality. And really quickly, Sally Ride, another great example. Sally Ride was the first female astronaut, the first…and she had many amazing accomplishments. Unfortunately she also fell into lesbianism and left her husband, she was married, she ended up living in a lesbian lifestyle. She was not public about it. Now gay activists, like Michelangelo Signorile, are using her homosexual, you know, the fact that she practiced the homosexual lifestyle, to say, ‘Hey, this is another gay hero.”

Kirkwood: She was a female astronaut, now she’s the ‘lesbian astronaut.’

LaBarbera: Now she’s the lesbian astronaut, and you better believe in textbooks like in California where they’re teaching gay history now, there’s going to be Sally Ride. So people are going to learn Sally Ride as a, and we’re going a bit over here, they’re going to learn Sally Ride, Rena, as a gay hero, even though she wasn’t even public about it in her life.

Lindevaldsen: Yeah, because they need to contort our history to show that we’ve accepted this all along and that it’s perfectly normal, and see you too can do this and become great things. And you can, you can accomplish things, but that’s not who she was, that doesn’t define who she was and what she accomplished.

LaBarbera: And Rena, I tweeted, and I knew this was going to get me in trouble, but I tweeted, ‘Did she have a drinking problem too?’ In my tweet, I said that she made great accomplishments. But she should not be, and I didn’t, of course she doesn’t, I don’t know if she had a drinking problem or not, but my point was the fact that she practiced homosexuality would be about as relevant as saying, ‘Sally Ride, hey people who drink can be great.’ I mean it’s still immoral behavior, it’s very sad to me that she was involved in that lifestyle. The fact that she was in that lifestyle doesn’t take away from the great accomplishments that she had. But the point is gay identity politics now wants to seize her as a hero.

 

Anti-Gay Leaders Call for Prayer Movement to stop 'Homosexual Tornado' coming to 'Destroy America'

At the Awakening 2012’s panel on the “LGBT Agenda,” Lou Engle, who was not a panelist but an audience member, called for Religious Right leaders to launch a “massive concerted prayer movement” to counter the demonic “principalities and powers” behind gay rights activism. Panelists including Rena Lindevaldsen and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Greg Quinlan of Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays, and former Texas board of education member Cynthia Dunbar jumped over each other in expressing their hope that Engle or another conservative would lead such a movement to stop the “two tornadoes coming to destroy America,” which he said are “the homosexual and abortion tornadoes.”

Engle, who brought The Call prayer rally to Uganda to help rally support for the country’s proposed “kill the gays bill,” lamented that he gets “blasted” over his anti-gay work and is “haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing.” Lindevaldsen agreed that “we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.”

It seems that Engle’s first prayer initiative, StoneWall Now, a “nation wide prayer movement” to “stand in the gap crying to God to restrain the homosexual ideology” isn’t going so well as its website is offline.

Watch:

Engle: I think we need a massive, concerted prayer movement to deal with principalities and powers and pray that God would release laborers into the harvest field.

Barber: If there is anybody in the room who is adept that leading that ...

Dunbar: You’ve got that in your heart, with your spirit, and we’re with you.

Quinlan: We need that.

Barber: Did you volunteer yourself, Lou?

Engle: In 2006, we did 50 days and 50 nights of intercession of seven young people, we were given a dream of two tornadoes coming to destroy America and they were the homosexual and abortion tornadoes. In the dream I was given a sight to raise up intercession to confront those tornadoes.

Quinlan: Please.

Engle: And Bound4Life was raised up but I'm haunted that God has not opened the door for me to go after this thing, I’ve tried, I’ve gotten blasted.

Barber: It’s time.

Engle: I don’t know how to do it but I am crying out to God for an answer.

Lindevaldsen: Meet with us afterwards ... we need a prayer movement because a spiritual battle is at the root of this.
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