Rick Perry

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/2/13

Right Wing Round-Up - 10/1/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 9/30/13

Right Wing Leftovers - 8/6/13

  • Steve Deace is none too impressed with RNC Chairman Reince Priebus' latest stunt.
  • Similarly, Glenn Beck was none too impressed with Nancy Mace, who intends to challenge Sen. Lindsey Graham in next year’s South Carolina Republican primary.
  • Speaking of South Carolina, it looks like Rep. Steve King will be heading there as he contemplates a possible presidential run.
  • Rick Perry is also contemplating a possible presidential run ... and it looks like his memory has not improved very much since his last debacle.
  • Finally, Bryan Fischer is positively giddy over the prospect that the Iowa Family Leader might take over the Iowa Straw Poll.

Republican Presidential Hopefuls' Favorite 'Christian Nation' Extremist

Senators and presidential hopefuls Rand Paul and Ted Cruz will head to Iowa this week as featured speakers at a closed-door event for conservative pastors that has been organized by David Lane, an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as “the principle textbook” for public education and a “Christian culture” has been “re-established.” He decries Supreme Court rulings on prayer and Bible reading in public schools, and says, “It’s easily defended that America was founded by Christians, as a Christian nation.”

Cruz and Paul may be motivated by the fact that a similar David Lane-organized pastors briefing is credited with Mike Huckabee’s win in the 2008 Iowa caucus.  Evangelical political strategist Doug Wead has described Lane as “the mysterious, behind the scenes, evangelical kingmaker who stormed into Iowa in 2008 and tilted the whole thing from Romney to Huckabee,” even though subsequent renewal projects failed to deliver South Carolina and Florida to Huckabee.

Still, Lane, a self-described “political operative,” has plans that go well beyond Iowa.  The “Rediscovering God in America” event scheduled for July 17 and 18 is just one of an ongoing series of pastors briefings that are central to the American Renewal Project’s 12-state strategy to turn out conservative evangelical voters in the 2013-2014 election cycle.  (Those states: Colorado, Iowa, Louisiana, Montana, South Carolina, Alaska, Arkansas, North Carolina, Nevada, South Dakota, Virginia, and West Virginia.) 

In December, Lane described his project’s goal this way: “to engage the church in a culture war for religious liberty, to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage and to re-establish a Christian culture.” And he has a clear message to representatives and senators: “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.”

Lane is abundantly clear about his belief that the choice facing America is a return to its founding as a Christian nation or a continued descent into what he describes as paganism. He wrote  in December:

America was a Christian nation. The Mayflower Compact declared, “In the name of God, Amen. We whose names are underwritten, having undertaken – for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith…”

Let’s decide if America is a Christian nation or a pagan nation – and get on with it; the sooner the better.

Lane told the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody that “America has left God” and that “unrighteousness” is “the greatest threat to freedom.” Brody says Lane “believes it’s time to remove politicians from office who have led America down this immoral and unsustainable broken path.” 

A Christian-Nation Warrior Within the GOP

To be fair to Paul and Cruz, they are only the latest Republican presidential hopefuls who have allied themselves with the zealous David Lane in order to tap his network of politically engaged pastors. Lane has been holding “pastors briefings” in 15 states since the mid-1990s. He wrote last year that state Restoration and Renewal projects had hosted more than 10,000 pastors and spouses in ten states since 2005 alone, in events that have been used to engage pastors in anti-gay initiative battles and introduce them to politicians favored by Lane. Pastors’ expenses are covered with money from the American Family Association and other religious right mega-donors. The American Renewal Project operates as a project of the AFA; Lane also operates the California-based Pastors and Pews. 

Texas Governor Rick Perry is also reportedly scheduled to participate in this week’s Iowa gathering, which may confirm his apparent interest in another run for the presidency.  Perry has a long-term relationship with Lane.  In 2005 and 2006, Lane and his network played a huge role in mobilizing support for Perry’s re-election as governor. Six pastors briefings were held around the state, and all six were addressed by Perry.  As Governor, Perry hasn’t disappointed Lane and his friends.

Heading into the 2012 election cycle, Mike Huckabee, Michele Bachmann, Haley Barbour, and Newt Gingrich spoke to 600 pastors, ministry leaders and spouses at a March 2011 Iowa Renewal Project Pastor’s Policy Briefing. But as the primaries approached, Lane was not satisfied with the field. He played a key role in organizing conservative religious leaders to push Perry into the presidential race.  And he masterminded and served as national finance chair for “The Response”, an August 2011 prayer rally that served as Perry’s unofficial campaign launch.

Lane enthusiastically applauded anti-Mormon attacks on Mitt Romney made by Perry backer Robert Jeffress at the Values Voter Summit in October 2011.  The Daily Beast revealed emails between Lane and religious broadcaster Dick Bott in which Lane praised Jeffress, saying the message “juxtaposing traditional Christianity to the false god of Mormonism, is very important in the larger scheme of things.”

After Perry’s candidacy imploded, Religious Right leaders split between Gingrich and Santorum, dooming last-ditch efforts to prevent Romney from becoming the GOP nominee.  Lane backed Gingrich.  He organized a conference call in Florida in late January 2012 to which he said he invited some 125,000 Florida evangelicals, including 2,400 pastors; the call reportedly had 1,000 participants and a recording was emailed to the other 124,000. But obviously he failed to prevent Romney from becoming the nominee.

During the flap over Perry backers’ attacks on Romney’s Mormonism, Lane had actually told broadcaster Bott that he would sit out the 2012 elections rather than vote for Romney. But whether or not Lane actually cast his personal vote for Romney, he continued mobilizing conservative Christians in an effort to defeat Barack Obama.  In Ohio, for example, Lane was part of a major effort by Republican evangelicals to put Romney over the top in that state.  Lane organized “several glitzy mass rallies for the state’s churchgoers featuring high-profile religious and political leaders,” the Washington Times reported last November. Lane and Ralph Reed each produced voter guides for “Ohio’s faithful.”

Although Perry’s tanking disrupted Lane’s plans to get conservative evangelicals to coalesce around a single candidate in 2012, it seems clear that he has similar intentions for 2016. He told the Houston Chronicle in June, “We’re going to try to eliminate the stuff that they [GOP leaders] do to us every four years, which is picking somebody who has no chance of being viable and they kill us off and we have the McCains and Romneys left.”

At War With the GOP

Lane’s comment about “the McCains and Romneys” is just the tip of the iceberg of contempt that he has for what he sees as a cowardly, compromising Republican establishment. He denounces moderate Republicans who are “bound and determined to deposit homosexuality – and homosexual marriage – into the Grand Old Party.” And he insists, “Those doing this to our country must be removed from office and from leadership.” (These aren’t necessarily idle threats: Lane was at the center of the successful 2010 campaign to remove from office three Iowa Supreme Court justices who had been part of a unanimous ruling in favor of marriage equality. “Lane called the judges “Judicial Gods” who believe they have the “right to rule a free people” and “impose their will” however they see fit.”)

Lane was outraged last year when many Republican Party leaders abandoned Senate candidate Todd Akin in the wake of his infamous comments about “legitimate rape”— Lane was especially indignant because at the same time the GOP was backing openly gay Senate candidate Richard Tisei in Massachusetts.  Lane mobilized support for Akin among conservative pastors and complained loudly about the GOP. “Following the pounding of Todd Akin by the GOP kings and lieutenants in the last 36 hours, I’ve come to the conclusion that the real issue is the soul of America,” he wrote in an email to activists. In October, almost 400 pastors who had gathered for a Pastors’ Policy Briefing in Missouri prayed over Akin, whose cause Lane said was “the opening battle for the soul of the Republican Party.” After all, he argues, “someone’s values must reign supreme.”

After the 2012 elections, Lane drew his battle lines:

The moderate GOP chieftains and lieutenants’ philosophy of government and set of values – in the long run – are incompatible with Christian morality and principles. As these secular “pastors” – the GOP chieftains and lieutenants – seek to bully and dictate their worldly, amoral ethics – according to their importance, omnipotence and power of the purse – there can be no amicability and meeting of minds….

Christian conservatives are coming to their moment of truth within the Republican Party. Be friendly and disarm, or annoy and aggravate the GOP kings and lieutenants by laying down the law on Christian principles and Christian values.

….

Another way to put it is: I don’t think that “restoring America” is a Christian imperative. Being a witnesses [sic] to the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the imperative. If that restores America, wonderful; if it means that America collapses – like Rome – the byproduct of the Permanent Republican Majority or a decadent, sinful, immoral culture and people, the church is God’s permanent “nation.” 

Lane writes that after launching a public fight for putting the Bible, Jesus, the Ten Commandments back into public schools, “then we will watch Providence call for ‘punishment executed by angels‘ to those who oppose His word.”

Lane says he believes there is “good news in the current Republican collapse and failure – brought about as a byproduct of the amoral, empty philosophy of the Permanent Republican majority” – and that is a political opening for evangelicals. In February, Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody said that Lane’s battle against Republicans who are more worried about the party than “sustaining a moral and righteous nation” is “the next confrontation to watch.”

Pastors as Cause of and Solution to America’s Descent into Hell

It is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings that the real reason for America’s slide from greatness into moral decay is that its preachers aren’t preaching aggressively enough. Lane is also in this camp. The relatively media-shy Lane told the New York Times in 2011, “From my perspective, our country is going to hell because pastors won’t lead from the pulpits.”

He complains that the “the Church didn’t even shudder when the Bible, prayer, Jesus, and the Ten Commandments were removed from the public schools in 1963.” And he says there was “not a peep from the Christian Church” in response to the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973, when the church “should have initiated riots, revolution, and repentance.”

Lane is fond of quoting Peter Leithart’s Between Babel and Beast. Last fall he included this segment in one of his frequently repetitive online commentaries: 

American churches have too long discipled Christians in Americanism, and that makes Christian involvement in the American polity far smoother than it ought to be. Churches must repent of our Americanism and begin to cultivate martyrs—believers who are martyrs in the original sense of ‘witness’ and in the later sense of men and women ready to follow the Lamb all the way to an imperial cross.

In a different commentary, this one for WND, Lane also quotes from Between Babel and Beast:

Until American churches actually function as outposts of Jesus’ heavenly empire rather than as cheerleaders for America – until the churches produce martyrs rather than patriots – the political witness of Christians will continue to be diluted and co-opted.

Lane also quotes Leithart in a June 2013 commentary that seemed to be too much even for the virulent WND, which has removed the post. Here’s part of the Leithart he approvingly quotes:

Americanists cannot break Babelic or bestial power because they cannot distinguish heretical Americanism from Christian orthodoxy. Until we do, America will lurch along the path that leads from Babel to Beast. If America is to be put in its place – put right – Christians must risk martyrdom and force Babel to the crux where it has to decide either to acknowledge Jesus [as] imperator and the church as God’s imperium or to begin drinking holy blood.

To that bracing section Lane adds his own words:

Where are the champions of Christ to save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage, homosexual scouts, 60 million babies done to death by abortion and red ink as far as the eye can see on America? Who will wage war for the Soul of America and trust the living God to deliver the pagan gods into our hands and restore America to her Judeo-Christian heritage and re-establish a Christian culture?...

As to the future of America – and the collapse of this once-Christian nation – Christians must not only be allowed to have opinions, but politically, Christians must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State,” the lie repeated ad nauseum by the left and liberals to keep Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning, and pagan media….

Christian America is in ruins…

You ask, “What is our goal?” To wage war to restore America to our Judeo-Christian heritage with all of our might and strength that God will give us. You ask, “what is our aim?” 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 sees the solution as the political organizing he does among pastors.  “Bible-believing pastor,” he wrote last fall, “without overstating it, the survival of America is on your shoulders.” According to the New York Times, at a 2011 briefing in Iowa Mike Huckabee “lavished praise on Mr. Lane for ‘bringing pastors together so they go back to their pulpits and light them on fire with enthusiasm, to make America once again the greatest country on earth under God.’”

Lane’s increasingly war-like rhetoric has given people pause. Lane frequently closes his commentaries – including the one recently pulled from WND -- with the question, “Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please stand.” In the Old Testament, Gideon is called by God to defeat the armies of enemies of the Israelites and end the worship of false gods. Rahab the Harlot is another Old Testament character: she enabled the Israelites’ conquest of the city of Jericho by helping two spies sent into the city by Joshua. She and her family were the only ones spared when the city was destroyed and every other man, woman and child was killed. Politicians who stand with Lane might consider asking him just what he means by his frequently repeated calls for a Gideon or Rahab to stand up among American evangelicals.

This IS the Religious Right – and the GOP’s Dominant Right Wing

Sadly, Lane’s extremist views and rhetoric do not make him much of an outlier among today’s hard-right political figures. He is closely allied with major Religious Right leaders and has no problem attracting current and former members of Congress and Republican presidential aspirants to his closed-door gatherings.  Among those scheduled to take part in this week’s Iowa event are Christian-nation “historian” David Barton, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, and the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon.  In 2010, Lane joined Barton and anti-gay activist Jim Garlow, and Lane offered a 12-day, $4000, Next Great Awakening Tour of historical sites in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, and Washington.

Also part of this week’s program in Iowa is Lane’s friend Laurence White, who says “if we do not stop abortion then God will destroy and God should destroy America.” Another participant is Ken Canfield, who ran for Governor of Kansas in 2006 on a platform calling for a “no exceptions” ban on abortion; he came in second in a crowded GOP primary .

Lane, like other Religious Right leaders, sees the acceptance of homosexuality as a sign that America has turned its back on God. In one column he approvingly cites an author who describes gays and lesbians as “parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.” Last summer he asked pastors to “exhort the flock, entrusted to you by the Living God, to refrain from shopping at Target Stores until its leadership ends pushing homosexual marriage in America.”

He’s even got the Tea Party’s anti-big-government rhetoric down. He wrote in February as sequestration approached,  “we should immediately begin the mobilization of pastors and pews to contact—read tongue-lash and rail against – local Congressman and U.S. Senators to decry the immoral debt being piled on our kids and grandkids because Congress lacks the guts to make hard, painful decisions and cut spending.”

In fact, Lane covers all the issues important to the modern day right, connecting them to court decisions upholding the separation of church and state, which he says created a religion of secularism:

This ‘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.

Lane is connected to Champion the Vote, a project of United in Purpose, which had aimed to unseat President Obama with an effort “to mobilize 5 million unregistered conservative Christians to register and vote according to the Biblical worldview in 2012.” United in Purpose produced DVDs of Lane’s 2011 event in Orlando to distribute for house parties. In the wake of Rick Perry’s supposedly non-political “Response” rally, the American Family Association sent out emails to those who registered for the event  to engage them in Champion the Vote.  It said the Response “was just the beginning of a nationwide initiative to return America to the principles on which she was founded, with God at the center of our nation.”

Politicians like Ted Cruz and Rand Paul should be held to account for partnering politically with David Lane. But given the increasingly small differences between the GOP’s right wing and it’s really right wing, we probably shouldn’t expect politicians cozying up to Lane to show any discomfort with his extremism. As Ted Cruz said in another context, “If standing for liberty , if standing for free market principle and the Constitution makes you a wacko bird, then, then I am a very proud wacko bird.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 7/8/13

  • Glenn Beck, David Barton, and others are organizing some sort of "rapid response" effort through which to mobilize activists to turn out in protest of right-wing outrages.
  • Anti-Mormon activist Bill Keller wants to know "why Christians would provide much of the funding for Mormon cult member Glenn Beck's "Man in the Moon" event this past weekend at the home of his cult in Salt Lake City, Utah, which really was Beck's coming out party and a showcase for his Mormon cult."
  • For some reason, the RNC decided not to show this awesome Donald Trump video during the convention.
  • Mike Huckabee, Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar, Marilyn Musgrave, Penny Nance and others are rallying in Texas in support of the state's restrictive anti-abortion legislation.
  • On a related note, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst appeared on Bryan Fischer's radio program where he guaranteed that the legislation will be passed.
  • Coincidentally, today Gov. Rick Perry announced that he will not seek re-election.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/27/13

  • Towleroad: Supreme Court Hands Jan Brewer Defeat, Declines Review In Two More Cases Related To Gays And Marriage. 

Right Wing Leftovers - 6/26/13

  • Janet Mefferd’s reaction to Washington, DC, churches ringing their bells in support of marriage equality: “America the Pagan Country rejoices in its evil.”
  • Gary Bauer believes the “liberal media” is tricking people into thinking the Supreme Court approved marriage equality nationwide.
  • Yesterday, Texas Republican state Rep. Bill Zedler called Sen. Davis a “terrorist” and state GOP leaders claimed that Roe v. Wade, Planned Parenthood and sonogram laws were “not germane” to Davis’ abortion rights filibuster.
  • Half-term governor Sarah Palin tells Breitbart News she will back primary challenges to GOP immigration reform supporters because “every politician should be held accountable for breaking their campaign promises.”

Right Wing Leftovers - 6/25/13

  • Texas Gov. Rick Perry has launched a “national political rehabilitation tour” to prepare for a potential second presidential bid. 
  • Phyllis Schlafly claims President Obama will “institutionalize American tots” and push “the federal government to take over the care of preschool children.”

Oops: Five Conservative IRS Conspiracy Theories Fall Apart

Just as the GOP’s hyperventilation and grandstanding over Benghazi turned up empty, so are their claims that the IRS has been targeting right-wing groups. New reports show that the IRS did apply extra scrutiny to groups with phrases like “Tea Party” in their names…but the agency also applied the same scrutiny to groups with “progressive” or “occupy” in their titles. This backs up an earlier story from The Atlantic which also found that liberal groups had been targeted.

Prior to these revelations, we learned that the White House had no role in the supposed targeting and that the IRS manager accused of political bias is a conservative Republican.

But for some reason we don’t think this will stop right-wing activists from alleging that President Obama directed the IRS to go after political opponents as part of his plans to create an all-powerful, totalitarian government.

The IRS story has made its way into five right-wing conspiracy theories that we don’t expect to go away any time soon, despite being totally ungrounded in reality.

1) IRS May Deny Medical Care To Conservatives

Rep. Michele Bachmann led the way in giving credence to a claim that the IRS, through Obamacare, might attempt to “deny or delay” access to medical care for conservatives. After embracing the WorldNetDaily-inspired conspiracy theory, she told Fox News that the IRS may deny or delay health care “based upon our political beliefs.” Even Rand Paul latched onto the debunked conspiracy theory.

Right on cue, James Dobson’s son Ryan alleged that his father may be denied medical treatments under Obamacare, and Janet Porter said that the IRS may use the reform law to “target individuals on whether or not they have the ability to exist as a live human being” by denying people “lifesaving treatment” based on their “political views.”

2) Obama’s The New Hitler

Glenn Beck reacted to the IRS story by warning that the government could “shut down” and “scoop up” Tea Party members much like how Adolf Hitler persecuted Jews. “This is the way totalitarian states are created,” Beck argued. “We will be remembered as the most evil nation in the history of the world, we will dwarf what Germany did.”

World Congress of Families spokesman Don Feder agreed, maintaining that “Concentration Camp Obama” may “shove you in a cattle car” and take you “‘camping’ in a very real sense” if you are part of the conservative movement, all by “using the IRS as a presidential goon squad.” Todd Starnes of Fox News even pointed to the IRS controversy to claim that conservatives “could be facing a 1930s Germany here,” while End Times radio host Rick Wiles used the IRS as proof that Obama is leading a “modern day Nazi regime” and the “Fourth Reich.”

3) Obama Committed Impeachable Offenses

Naturally, right-wing activists brought impeachment into the debate over the IRS. Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice said Obama may face the same impeachment charges as Richard Nixon as a result of the “misuse and abuse of the IRS.” Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly said that the “IRS scandal is much worse than Watergate” and agreed that “there are many reasons why Obama should be impeached.”

Texas Gov. Rick Perry similarly drew a comparison to Nixon and said that the “scandal” may “reach the level of criminal activity” and reveal “a pattern of abuse of power.” Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner went even further and asserted that Obama is “ worse than Nixon” and added it to his long list of supposedly impeachable offenses, while Alan Keyes demanded that the GOP’s “cry should be ‘IMPEACHMENT NOW!’” Not to be outdone, Glenn Beck argued that “if there aren’t impeachment hearings” then America is “already operating under tyranny.”

4) Obama Would Have Lost If It Wasn’t For The IRS

Even though conservative outside groups greatly outspent their left-leaning counterparts in the last election, the IRS controversy has led some to allege that conservatives groups were not allowed to get off the ground and that must have been why Obama won his race for re-election.

Janet Porter reasoned that “the elections were affected” because “every Tea Party group and every conservative group…weren’t allowed to exist” or “inform their members of what’s going on and what’s at stake.” John Fund of the Wall Street Journal, a champion of suppressive voter ID laws and voter purges, told Fox News that “the real voter suppression in the 2012 election was done at the IRS” and “suppressed the vote” to the point that it “may have played a role in the outcome of that very close election.”

The American Enterprise Institute’s James Pethokoukis even made the dubious claim that 5-8.5 million voters didn’t vote last year due to IRS actions. Dean Chambers, whose “unskewed” polls predicted Obama’s defeat, claimed he was right all along, alleging that the “systematic and wide-scale suppression of Tea Party and conservative activity and votes, via the IRS targeting of those groups” had “clearly denied Mitt Romney the election that [he] clearly would have won by about the very margin I predicted on November 5 of last year.”

5) Demonic Forces Behind IRS Scandal

Larry Klayman said that “felonious liberal Jews” have used the IRS to attack conservatives to undermine “our proud Judeo-Christian roots and heritage,” but televangelist James Robison took it one step further, arguing that “Satan himself” had a role: “He and his demonic forces are fiercely focusing their fury against God’s kingdom purpose and anyone committed to it. What you are witnessing daily in news reports concerning Washington’s bad practices and policies related to the gross abuse of power by the IRS, along with unconstitutional checks on the free press, reveals satanic intent to take away freedom.” Rick Wiles also saw a demonic role in the IRS pseudo-scandal, stating that the IRS is creating the “Fourth Beat as foretold by Daniel in the Holy Bible.”

Perry Claims Boy Scouts Will Answer to God for Allowing Gay Members; Gohmert Warns of Pedophilia

Rick Perry, who has equated the fight against gays in the Boy Scouts to the fight to abolish slavery, told Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council on Friday’s edition of Washington Watch that the Boy Scouts of America’s delegates bowed to “political correctness” and “money” in ending the ban on gay members under the age of 18. The Texas governor went as so far as to say that God will hold the BSA’s leadership accountable: “they will look back on it someday and be held accountable, so that day will come and they will stand before their maker and be accountable for the decisions that they made.”

I think a loving, tolerant view towards those who have different sexual preference is the ideal position but Scouts has never been about sexuality and my point is that’s one of the reasons I wrote the book, it shouldn’t be. Scouting is not about sex, it’s about building character. But those who wanted to push their agenda have now put parents and young men in the position of making a decision, is this where I want to spend my time? Is this an organization that I do want to be associated with? I think the jury is going to be out for a while. I do think that those on that board made a decision that was driven by political correctness, by money and they will look back on it someday and be held accountable, so that day will come and they will stand before their maker and be accountable for the decisions that they made.

Later in the show, the always eloquent Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) tried to make a joke (or something) about how Boy Scouts might earn a merit badge from an openly gay troop leader. 

Perkins: Even before the ink was dry on the press releases the groups pushing this were demanding that they needed more, this was not enough; they wanted to open up the ranks of leadership to those who openly practice homosexuality.

Gohmert: I wonder what you’d call that merit badge.

Perkins: I don’t know but I’m sure they’ll think of something.

Gohmert claimed that he is “brokenhearted” over the decision, telling Perkins: “You’re going to allow a situation where a seventeen-year-old guy that’s sexually attracted to other guys gets in a little tent with an eleven-year-old new rookie Boy Scout and they spend the night together, night after night at camp? I mean, come on.” He said that the Boy Scouts only made the move over the possible financial benefits and in doing so ignored the Bible.

I was just so brokenhearted over the vote with the Boy Scouts. You’re going to allow a situation where a seventeen-year-old guy that’s sexually attracted to other guys gets in a little tent with an eleven-year-old new rookie Boy Scout and they spend the night together, night after night at camp? I mean, come on. I thought we were making progress. All I can figure is—I was an Eagle Scout, we share so much of the love of scouting—when you hear what happened, the people I talked to are, ‘well just think there are so many corporations that are holding up their donations and if we will just do this all of that money is going to flow to Boy Scouts.’ Are you kidding me? Is money the most important thing in life? Gosh no. You’re blessed so much more if you follow the teachings in the little old rulebook we call the Bible.

Rick Perry, Fox News and Religious Right Activists Jump on Fabricated Case of Christian Persecution

Todd Starnes of Fox News has dedicated himself to finding cases of Christians facing persecution. Starnes recently reported that the military is deliberately blocking access to a Baptist website and may court-martial Christian soldiers, and alleged that a school in New York is forcing girls to kiss one another. However, these three incidents were all completely false.

On Sunday, Starnes filed another report on how a high school track team in Texas “was disqualified from competing in the state championships because one of the runners made a gesture thanking God after he crossed the finish line.”

“Derrick Hayes, the anchor of the Columbus High School 4×100 relay team had just crossed the finish line when he raised his finger to the sky,” Starnes writes, “thanking the Lord for winning the race that would send them to the state finals.

His article was based on the claims of the athlete’s father, and other outlets picked up the story as well.

Gov. Rick Perry wrote a letter to the University Interscholastic League demanding an investigation:

According to press reports, the student's father, K.C. Hayes, has been widely quoted as saying the student was pointing to the heavens to thank God.

In his letter, Perry said he would “not tolerate the suppression of religious freedom anywhere.”

“It is unconscionable that a student athlete could be punished for an expression of religious faith or that an act of faith could disqualify an athlete in a UIL competition,” Perry said.

He urged the UIL to “investigate this incident thoroughly and take whatever action is necessary to ensure protection of religious freedom and expression at UIL competitions.”

As the Texas Freedom Network has pointed out, Religious Right groups such as the Liberty Institute and Liberty Counsel both jumped on the story, as did Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst and Attorney General Greg Abbott.

But much like the student who was supposedly given detention for praying in school when he was actually disciplined for fighting, the Texas athlete wasn’t waving his finger to thank God and he wasn’t even disqualified for the gesture he made at the finish line.

The student was actually disqualified for inappropriate behavior towards the referee, and he and his dad now admit that the incident had nothing to do with religious expression.

According to the UIL press release:

Over the course of the investigation, the UIL interviewed several eyewitnesses and reviewed video of the race. Additionally, the UIL spoke to the involved parties. The UIL has concluded the investigation and has found no evidence to suggest that the disqualification took place as a result of the student-athlete expressing religious beliefs. The basis for the disqualification was due to the student-athlete behaving disrespectfully, in the opinion of the local meet referee.

Based on the UIL’s investigation, the student athlete raised his hand and gestured forward at the conclusion of the 4x100-meter relay. The meet official approached the student-athlete in an effort to warn him of a possible disqualification should that behavior continue. In the opinion of the official, the student reacted disrespectfully. Based on his reaction, the student-athlete was subsequently disqualified. Any decision to disqualify a student-athlete at any track meet must be upheld by the head meet referee. The meet official and the meet referee conferred, and the disqualification was upheld on-site. At no point during the discussions surrounding the disqualification at the meet was the issue of religious expression raised by any parties.

The UIL’s investigation also revealed that all coaches involved were notified prior to the regional meet that any gestures in violation of the National Federation of State High School Associations track and field rule against unsporting behavior would be grounds for disqualification. Coaches were instructed to discuss this with their student-athletes prior to all races.

To assist the UIL in its investigation, the student-athlete’s parents submitted a letter stating that their son’s religious freedoms were not violated. “In looking back at the conclusion of the 4x100 race, we realize that Derrick could have handled the win in a different manner,” KC and Stacey Hayes said in the letter. “It was not our intention to force the issue that our son’s religious freedom was violated. Nor do we feel that way now. After discussing this with our son, we have come to the conclusion that his religious rights were not violated.”

The student-athlete who was disqualified also submitted a letter during the investigation stating: “Although I am very thankful for all God has given me and blessed me with, on Saturday, April 27, 2013 at the Regional Track Meet in Kingsville, TX, my actions upon winning the 4x100 relay were strictly the thrill of victory. With this being said, I do not feel my religious rights or freedoms were violated.”

Rick Perry Urges Boy Scouts to Oppose Gay 'Pop Culture' Like Sam Houston Resisted Slavery

Gov. Rick Perry (R-TX) appeared in the Family Research Council’s “Stand With Scouts Sunday” webcast last night where he told FRC president Tony Perkins that the Boy Scouts of America must resist those trying to “tear apart” the organization’s values and replace them with the “flavor of the month”—homosexuality.

He warned the BSA against becoming “more like pop culture” and urged scout leaders to channel the spirit of Sam Houston, whom Perry said lost his governorship because he was “against slavery” and opposed secession.

Watch:

Dominionist 'Apostle' Promotes David Barton's Distorted History

Among the many publications distributed at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference in April were two booklets examining Democratic and Republican party platforms. They were produced by Justice at the Gate, a group that describes its vision as “Building strategic partnerships to mobilize Christians to pray effectively and to vote righteously.”

The two publications are both titled “Democrats & Republicans In Their Own Words.”  One of them is subtitled, “National Party Platforms on Specific Biblical Issues.”  I’m not sure where in the Bible they find school prayer and “school choice and faith-based education,” but those are listed as biblical issues, along with abortion and homosexuality.  This booklet includes side-by-side excerpts from party platforms between 1976 and 2000. Other notable issues covered in the Bible, such as poverty, are nowhere to be found.

The other “In Their Own Words” booklet features an African American couple with a young child on the front cover. It is subtitled, “A 124-Year History of Major Civil Rights Efforts Based on a Side-by-Side Comparison of the Early Platforms of the Two Major Political Parties.” Apparently, racial justice and civil rights do not count as “biblical issues,” since they aren’t mentioned in the other publication. The side-by-side comparison in this booklet goes back to old anti-abolitionist planks in Democratic platforms from the 1840s, before the Republican Party was even formed.  The booklet takes 13 pages before it even gets to the 20th Century -- and that part of the booklet, which focuses on Southern Democrats’ support for segregation, stops in 1964.

In other words, this supposed history of racial justice and the political parties finds no room for a discussion of the Republican Party’s post-civil-rights-era southern strategy, which built power by fomenting racial resentment among southern whites, or for any of the political parties’  positions on racial justice and civil rights over the past 50 years.

Why does that sound so familiar? The answer lies inside the front cover: “Historical footnotes and annotations by David Barton, President of WallBuilders.” Barton has been peddling the notion that Republicans are civil rights heroes for more than a decade. He made the same kind of distorted and truncated history the centerpiece of his 2006 DVD, “Setting the Record Straight: American History in Black and White,” and in the outreach he has done to African Americans on behalf of the GOP.  (For those just joining us, Barton is a right-wing “historian” whose book on Jefferson was disavowed by its publisher last year after complaints about its inaccuracies.)

Who or what is Justice at the Gate?  It’s a vehicle for Alice Patterson, who is among the Religious Right leaders hoping that the right kind of outreach will get African American Christians to start voting more conservatively. Patterson is an “apostle” affiliated with the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation who believes the Democratic Party is controlled by demons. Her mission has been described as bringing NAR’s views into government, which is why she organized The Response, the dominionist-heavy prayer rally that was supposed to launch Rick Perry into the White House.  

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/8/13

  • Anti-gay/anti-Mormon pastor Pastor Robert Jeffress opened a new $130 million campus at his church and Gov. Rick Perry was on hand to dedicate it.
  • Glenn Beck returned from a week off today and guess what he talked about?
  • This is actually an article from CNSNews: "Obama Responded Faster to Ebert's Death Than He Did to Thatcher's."
  • We predict that this story about the Army supposedly calling evangelicals a threat is one of those things that we initially dismiss as obvious nonsense, but then end up having to write about because the Religious Right goes nuts over it.
  • Ken Blackwell says there can be no comparison between the fight for gay rights and civil rights because "not all racists oppose same-sex marriage, and not all who oppose same-sex marriage are racists. To say otherwise is disrespectful and frankly ludicrous."
  • Finally Rick Scarborough warns that "the drive to legalize same-sex unions is the linchpin of an effort that will eventually result in the criminalization of Christianity and traditional Judaism ...  This is tyranny masquerading as enlightenment."

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/20/13

  • LiveAction bizarrely claims that Steven Crowder's Ashley Judd rape joke at CPAC "never happened." 
  • Matt Barber blasts Pastor Rob Bell's "apostasy" for supporting marriage equality.
  • Bryan Fischer says "same-sex 'marriage' fails to satisfy even the companionship purpose for this most sacred of relationships."
  • Keep in mind that no matter how crazy Glenn Beck gets, Sen. Rand Paul will continue to regularly appear on his program.
  • And so will Gov. Rick Perry.

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/27/13

  • More Religious Right groups have signed up [PDF] for NOM’s “Marriage March.”
  • It appears that Steve King is getting closer to locking up the GOP nomination for Iowa’s open U.S. Senate seat.
  • Rick Perry will attend Concerned Women for America’s “Texas Faith and Family Rally.”
  • Sarah Palin writes that “the feds are stockpiling bullets in case of civil unrest” after we go into default…and then calls on politicians to “stop the hysterics.”
  • An Ohio public school teacher who was fired for preaching Creationism in the classroom has taken his case to the state Supreme Court.
  • Anti-choice activists claim Planned Parenthood’s Cecile Richards is a racist for commending Richard Nixon for signing the law which created the Title X Family Planning Program. 
  • Quote of the day comes from ex-gay therapist Christopher Doyle: “We have found that 99 percent of our clients who experience homosexual feelings have very sensitive temperaments... This is what I believe to be the foundation for the development of [same-sex attraction] – a sensitive nature.”

Texas Board of Education Chair Suggests Schools Teach 'Another Side to the Theory of Evolution'

Barbara Cargill, whom Rick Perry picked to chair the State Board of Education, is upset that a curriculum used by several Texas schools called CSCOPE, which has been at the center of right-wing conspiracy theories, doesn’t teach students about alternative theories to evolution. As first reported by the Texas Freedom Network, Cargill said that publishers and CSCOPE should teach “another side to the theory of evolution.”

Our intent, as far as theories with the [curriculum standards], was to teach all sides of scientific explanations…. But when I went on [to the CSCOPE website] last night, I couldn’t see anything that might be seen as another side to the theory of evolution. Every link, every lesson, everything, you know, was taught as ‘this is how the origin of life happened, this is what the fossil record proves,’ and all that’s fine, but that’s only one side.

As we’ve pointed out before, a biology textbook that includes creationism as a “balance” to evolution would be no different than a geology textbook that includes the views of the Flat Earth Society.

Rick Perry Hopes the Boy Scouts Won't Cave to the 'Aggressive, Almost Cruel Intolerance' of the Left

Texas Governor Rick Perry stopped by "WallBuilders Live" today to voice his opposition to the upcoming vote by the Boy Scouts of America on possibly ending the organization's ban on gay scouts and scout leaders. Perry, the author of the book "On My Honor: Why the American Values of the Boy Scouts Are Worth Fighting For," was predictably opposed to any such change, calling on the organization not to "break the hearts" of those who love it by caving to the "cruel intolerance" of the left:

What this gets down to Rick is that scouting is not about sex, it's about building character.  And the Boy Scouts is not the proper intersection for a debate over sexual preference.  It is with this very aggressive, almost cruel intolerance by the far left that is making it so.  So I really urge the Boy Scouts of America leadership not to succumb to this and I happen to believe that it is every scout's, and certainly my Eagle Scout duty to speak out before scouting breaks the hearts of so many who love it.

Those just very, very aggressive, intolerant individuals on the left are what is driving this agenda and the Boy Scout leadership, I hope, will really listen and think about what the long-term impact of this is going to be.

This is about popular culture shifting in America.  The values that the Boy Scouts are based upon are not values that shift ... and Americans will be ill-served when one of the great institutions that it has in this country starts following pop culture rather than the clear, strong values that have served this country for over a century in the Boy Scouts.

Right Wing Leftovers - 1/29/13

  • Bryan Fischer warns that “homosexual pedophiles already seek to infiltrate scouting because it provides a target rich environment for their twisted desires. Abolishing the sexual orientation standard will turn every Boy Scout in America into vulnerable prey for the sexually deviant.” 
  • Peter LaBarbera claims the BSA’s “proposal opens the door to the sexual and spiritual corruption of boys.”
  • Lindsey Graham continues to be the biggest troll in the Senate. 
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