Rick Santorum

Right Wing Steamed Over Pope's Climate Change Encyclical

In the past few decades, politically conservative American Catholics and their allies in the Republican Party got used to having the public voice of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops serving as a politically useful one that prioritized opposition to legal abortion and LGBT equality. So, needless to say, some are having a hard time adjusting to Pope Francis, whose critiques of the dehumanizing excesses of modern corporate capitalism have dismayed some right-wing Catholics. Now, the Pope’s new encyclical on climate change and care for the planet, which apparently did not pay much heed to an April appeal from “Biblical worldview”-promoting climate change denialists or warnings from the Koch Brothers, is pushing some right-wing pundits over the edge.

Alan Keyes, a far-right Catholic and perennial political candidate, argued that the facts about human contribution to climate change have not been established and warned that “the whole push for totalitarian government remediation of the allegedly terrible damage we are inflicting on God’s creation is a slander against the human race, a sin against humanity being committed as a pretext for the rape of human life, human conscience and God-endowed human liberty.”

The never-subtle Keyes said that when he looks “in the mirror of reason at the reflections Pope Francis offers in his encyclical, what I see looks unlike Jesus Christ (who as of now still comes to save and not harshly to penalize humanity).” He added, “Pope Francis’ reflections look more like Marx, Stalin or Mao Zedong – materialistic ideologues who punished not for the sake of God or truth, but on account of resentful, self-idolizing human will and ideology.”

Over at the free-market-adoring Acton Institute, Kishore Jayabalan was more respectful, saying he welcomed the pope’s encyclical, but wrote that he was disappointed that the pope “seems to blame markets, over-consumption and especially finance, rather than human sin, for all our environmental problems.”

Others have had much harsher words for Pope Francis. The reliably bloviating Rush Limbaugh said the encyclical seems to confirm that Francis is a Marxist, a sentiment echoed by Fox News pundit Greg Gutfield. James Delingpole, an editor at Breitbart, said the encyclical includes “hackneyed language and extremely dubious science you might expect from a 16-year-old trotting out the formulaic bilge and accepted faux-wisdom required these days…” At Fox Business, Stuart Varney warned of a sinister alliance between the Pope and President Barack Obama to “reshape the world by taxing the rich, taxing fossil fuels, and redistributing the wealth.” Right-wing radio host Michael Savage, furious at the encyclical, called the Pope “an eco-wolf in pope’s clothing” and “a stealth Marxist in religious garb,” claiming that Francis will put Catholics “in chains” and is reminiscent of “the false prophet in Revelation, an ecumenical spiritual figure directing mankind to worship the Antichrist.”

It’s not just a bunch of pundits.

The Guardian’s Suzanne Goldenberg notes that Sen. James Inhofe, a notorious climate change denier, “bluntly told reporters that Francis was out of line.” Inhofe told attendees at a conference of the right-wing Heartland Institute, “The pope ought to stay with his job.” ThinkProgress notes that back in May, the Koch-funded Heartland Institute warned that “the Left” was working with the Pope on climate change, something akin to the “unholy alliance of international communism with the jihadi Islamists.”

Republican presidential candidates have also been slamming the encyclical. Jeb Bush, who has talked about his conversion to Catholicism on the campaign trail, has also suggested the Pope should butt out of the public conversation on climate change. “I think religion ought to be about making us better as people and less about things that end up getting in the political realm,” he said.

Rick Santorum said the church is not credible when “we get involved with controversial political and scientific theories,” not a concern he seems to have when the topic is, oh, same-sex couples getting married or being parents. He told an interviewer, “The church has gotten it wrong a few times on science, and I think we probably are better off leaving science to the scientists and focusing on what we’re good at, which is theology and morality.”

As many have noted, the pope has studied more science than Rick Santorum. Rev. Thomas Reese, former editor of America Magazine and now a senior analyst for National Catholic Reporter, flipped Santorum’s comments, saying, “It's nice — for once the Catholic Church is on the side of science.” Climate scientists agree.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/18/15

  • PFAW: PFAW Foundation Mourns the Loss of Rev. Clementa Pinckney, a Member of Our Family.
  • Andrew Kaczynski @ BuzzFeed: Ben Carson Compares Abortion To Slavery.
  • David Edwards @ Raw Story: Rick Santorum thinks white Charleston shooter chose victims at black church ‘indiscriminately’.
  • Jeremy Hooper: The one where Brian Brown attacks @FakeDanSavage's son at an anti-gay church conference.
  • Andrew Kirell @ Mediaite: Fox’s Steve Doocy and Guest Wonder Whether Charleston Shooting Part of ‘War on Christians’.

President Santorum Will Protect Children From Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Rick Santorum participated in a conference call organized by right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson, during which the 2016 presidential hopeful spent most of his time promoting his economic plans.

But Santorum's agenda to provide economic opportunity to blue collar workers was obviously not what participants on the call were interested in because as soon as Santorum agreed to answer some questions, the very first thing he was asked about was what he would do as president about the fact that "our children are being forced to accept lifestyles that are totally against our values." The caller demanded to know why "is it that our government allows people that hurt children by way of child molestation" to impose their views upon this nation.

Santorum, who is not unfamiliar with having to field questions from unhinged audience members, responded to the question about child molestation by talking about same-sex marriage. "That's one of the reasons why I talk about the importance of focusing on the nuclear family," he said, adding that the next president must take a stand for the rights of children to be raised by a mother and a father.

If the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on gay marriage, he continued, "that doesn't mean we won't fight and try to push back both as the Congress should and as the president should as a co-equal branch of the government."

"Depending on what they rule," Santorum said, "we would certainly make sure that we are protecting children and that we are creating an optimal atmosphere for every child, as I said, that have their birthright, which is to be raised by their mother and father."

Rick Santorum Interviewed By Gordon Klingenschmitt, Colorado's Premier Anti-Gay Demon-Hunting Legislator

Last year, Gordon Klingenschmitt was elected to a seat in the Colorado House of Representatives, despite the fact that he was a long-time Religious Right activist with a well-documented history of making outrageous statements. Unsurprisingly, Klingenschmitt's tenure in office has been racked with controversy precisely because he has continued to make those sorts of statements, but that did not dissuade Republican presidential hopeful Rick Santorum from agreeing to be interviewed by Klingenschmitt for his daily "Pray In Jesus Name" program.

Klingenschmitt managed to interview Santorum when he was recently campaigning in the state and ask him about Indiana's effort to pass a law that would have granted business owners the right to discriminate against customers, particularly gay ones, in the name of "religious liberty."

Santorum falsely claimed that the original Indiana law was merely designed to protect religious "employees from discrimination at the workplace" and lamented that "those who are defending religious liberty backed down, they're not willing to take the fight and be called all sorts of names and take the blows for standing up for religious liberty in the face of a media onslaught that doesn't care about the truth."

Why Do Republican Officials Keep Partnering With Christian-Nation Extremist David Lane?

In pursuit of conservative evangelical voters, GOP candidates embrace far-right political operative who is raising an ‘army’ to fulfill his ‘Christian nation’ vision

On Saturday, June 13, South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will host a day-long, Christians-only prayer rally organized by political operative David Lane. Lane, who organized similar events for Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, is trying to recruit 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for office, which he believes would mobilize hundreds of thousands of election volunteers and lead to conservative election victories in 2016.

Lane prefers to work outside the glare of the national media. Although his close connections to Republican officials and presidential candidates have drawn some notice, the extremism of the agenda he is promoting deserves far more attention than it has received to date.

When one-third of the Republican National Committee took a nine-day junket to Israel in January with the American Family Association picking up the tab, things got a little ugly. Israeli media started asking questions about the extreme positions taken by AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, including his claims that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections apply only to Christians and that gays were responsible for the rise of the Nazi Party. In damage control mode, the AFA disavowed some of Fischer’s most inflammatory statements and took away his title – but not the radio show that continues to give him a bigotry-spewing platform. Meanwhile, the actual organizer of the trip, Christian nationalist David Lane, slipped out of the spotlight and got right back to building political alliances between high-level Republican politicians and conservative evangelical pastors, especially those in key primary states.

David Lane runs the American Renewal Project, which functions as a project of the American Family Association. Bad publicity over the Israel trip did not keep Lane from inviting all 168 members of the Republican National Committee to an Iowa Renewal Project “Pastors and Pews” event on March 9 and 10, which was headlined by two Republican presidential hopefuls, Sen. Ted Cruz and Gov. Bobby Jindal, along with Iowa Lt. Gov. Kim Reynolds. It didn’t prevent the RNC’s faith outreach arm from teaming up with Lane to present a breakout session at the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in May. And it hasn’t kept Gov. Haley from endorsing Lane’s latest “Response” prayer rally.

Why David Lane Matters

David Lane promotes a vision of America as a nation founded by and for Christians; denounces court rulings upholding church-state separation; calls for Christianity to be established as America’s official religion with the Bible as a primary textbook in public schools; vehemently opposes legal equality for LGBT people; and demands the impeachment of judges who rule in favor of allowing same-sex couples to be legally married. Lane matters because these are not just the opinions of a far-right fringe figure. They are the explicit agenda of a political operative who is working closely with the highest leaders of the Republican Party. The explicit goal of Lane’s political organizing is to advance his particularly narrow and divisive vision of America. Republican politicians who embrace Lane in the hope of winging votes are playing with fire, giving credibility to his divisive worldview and troubling political agenda.

David Lane’s Worldview

In Lane’s worldview, there are essentially no gray areas: America will either be a Christian nation or a pagan nation and there will be no peace until we decide which. Judges who uphold the right of same-sex couples to marry must be impeached. The Supreme Court’s rulings upholding the separation of church and state have imposed a destructive secularism on America and must be reversed. Secularism and homosexuality are twin evils from which America must be rescued. This quote gives a pretty good summary of Lane’s worldview:

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.

Lane has no patience for those who don’t see the world as he does. His message to lawmakers: “Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home,” he has written. “Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.”

Lane’s emails to activists, often including garbled syntax and repetitive rhetoric, nonetheless give a good sense of his approach to the world. These are excerpts from a January 27, 2015 email from Lane:

  • “This struggle for the Soul of America is merely the ongoing battle since the beginning of time, “man says” or “God says.” God has said multiple times over thousands of years that homosexuality is wickedness – just like stealing or committing adultery, it is sin – but to double-down on the U.S. Supreme Court, in its omniscience, sanctioned and legitimized homosexual marriage in 2014 as a diverse and acceptable lifestyle, well inside the cultural norm.”
  • “God says” or man says” is the choice facing America. “We the people” must hold the Judicial, Legislative and Executive Branches of government accountable or be ready to answer to God; this is our point of no return. The secularist ideology is more than a mere political philosophy, dueling for ideological supremacy, it is a Weltanschauung (a world view), a religion. Secularism – the false idol instituted by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 – has finally bloomed, blossomed, and produced fruit, it’s stench is nauseating.

He made similar points in a January op ed for Charisma:

“More to the point, there can be no reconciliation of opposites, particularly the spiritual and the secular. Therefore, we need to establish if America is a pagan or Christian nation and get on with it- the sooner the better….We have to make the peace: either secularism of Christian values are going to reign supreme….The grandiosity and recklessness of the radicalized, secular United States Supreme Court in the last century is mind-blowing. The Court has birthed a full-scale catastrophe, corrupting 500 years of natural law and threatening America’s long-term, sustainable freedom. Congress has failed to fulfill its historic role to check and balance the judicial and executive branches of government. It’s up to us “we the people” to hold them accountable.”

Last November he told the Washington Times:

“Government is not going to save America. Wall Street is not going to save America. The Republican party is not going to save America. If America is going to be saved it will be done by Christian men and women restoring a Judeo-Christian culture to the country….

He argued that America was established as a Judeo-Christian nation and that separation of church and state was never meant to keep religion out of politics.

“There’s no truth to that, the Constitution says the state is to keep out of the church, it doesn’t say the church is to keep out of the state,” Mr. Lane said, adding that secularism is another religion that’s being imposed on Americans.

“It’s just a matter of somebody’s values are going to reign supreme,” Mr. Lane said, “It’s just a little minority imposing their values. It’s part of a spiritual battle. If we are going to survive as a nation, we have to have a spiritual resurrection”

Christian Nation Covenant versus Secularism/Paganism

“Secularism is paganism clothed in tolerance,” Lane wrote in a January 21 email, “its ubiquitous chant, ‘We are a pluralistic society,’ is not the same nation bequeathed to us by our Founders.” 

Lane’s belief that America is “a nation founded by Christians…for the Glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” is not based on the people traditionally seen as the nation’s Founding Fathers – the authors of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution. Lane looks back to the pilgrims and the Mayflower compact, and even further to the covenant declared by Robert Hunt, founder of the Jamestown, Virginia, colony in 1607:

“We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth. May this Covenant of Dedication remain to all generations, as long as this ear remains, and may this Land, along with England, be Evangelist to the World.”

That covenant, Lane insists, “is still in force.” In May 2015, he ranted, “Egregious and scandalous is the Church’s submission to secularists,” and the abandonment of that founding “mission.”

“America was a Christian nation,” he says. But now, “America has boarded the wrong, secular train. Now we’ve lost our Judeo-Christian heritage and its byproduct – a Christian culture.”

“It’s evident we’ve lost the culture, and we’ve lost our heritage now,” he said in a fall 2014 interview.  “I mean, with Obama, you’ve got red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, 55 million babies dead.” He sounded a similar theme in Charisma in January:

 “Ah, but what has godless secularism produced? Red ink as far as the eye can see: racism, injustice, the murder of fifty-five million babies, the advancement of the homosexual agenda, fatherless homes, an epidemic of drugs and crime and the widespread acceptance and usage of pornography, especially among America’s youth.”

Punishing and Purging Judges

Who is to blame for secularism and its attendant evils? According to Lane, it’s the Supreme Court, secularists in the schools, politicians who promote the secularist agenda – and pastors who don’t stand against all these evils. 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.”

By ending Bible reading in public schools, he says, the Supreme Court removed the foundation for real knowledge and the transmission for wisdom and virtue. He wrote in August 2014:

Virtue is required for sustainable freedom. Secularists have successfully removed the transmission agent (The Word of God) for the accumulation of wisdom and knowledge, which created freedom in America. The nation is now basically biblically illiterate. Let’s be clear, the secularists and their priests — i.e., public education, higher learning, Hollywood and Media elite — have a coordinated, deliberate, sustained effort, a blitzkrieg, imposing an intolerant and aggressive false religion on America — Secularism.

This false god of Secularism — embedded in public education by the U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 — has glamorized, exalted and now normalized sin in America, creating a spiritually decadent, godless society.

This is why the work of Lane’s American Renewal Project is so urgent, he explained in a March 2015 email: “Unless Christianity resurrects in America and the moral underpinning restored, secularism’s amoral ideology will eventually collapse, along with Western Civilization.”

One response is to go after judges who don’t share Lane’s view of the Constitution. In October 2014 Lane told the Washington Post  that the American Renewal Project would “take aim at lower court judges who have overturned anti-gay marriage statutes and constitutional provisions.” Says Lane: “I want a fight over this,” he said. “I think the way to address it is to start removing these unelectable and unaccountable judges who are doing this to our country. They have no right to rule a free people. What they’re doing, it’s judicial anarchy.”

Lane has said he is looking for a member of the House of Representatives to introduce an impeachment bill. “The way we address this is we start removing unelected an unaccountable judges,” he said. “And then we remove the members of Congress who don’t vote to impeach them.” Lane was deeply involved in the 2010 purge of three Iowa Supreme Court justices who voted for marriage equality.

This approach to the courts is one reason Lane seems so fond of Huckabee, whose win in the 2008 Iowa caucus is often attributed to Lane’s efforts. (Evangelical strategist Doug Wead 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.) Huckabee has signaled for some time that he would make attacks on “judicial supremacy” central to his campaign. His call for a rejuvenated nullification movement among the states has been taken up by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore and the state Supreme Court.

Republican Party Loves Lane

While Lane often expresses his contempt for “establishment” Republicans who don’t embrace his radical vision for a Christian America in which the Bible is a primary textbook in public schools, GOP officials like party head Reince Priebus attend and promote his events. Priebus was scheduled to participate in Lane’s trip to Israel in January before controversy flared; he ended up not making the trip, saying he needed to attend a funeral.

Indeed, Republican Party officials seem unconcerned with Lane’s extremism and are eager to make use of his network of conservative pastors. The invitation letter for the Israel junket came from Priebus himself; although he said it was not an RNC trip, committee members interested in participating were told to RSVP to the RNC’s Member Services department. Priebus praised David Lane by name in October during a television interview in which he reiterated the Party’s support for a federal constitutional ban on same-sex couples marrying, which would overturn marriage equality in every state that now recognizes it.

TIME reported that the RNC members’ trip to Israel was organized by the American Family Association and Lane’s American Renewal Project, “in concert with RNC faith director Chad Connelly.” When Right Wing Watch reported in August 2014 that Cruz and Huckabee were planning to appear at a Lane-sponsored event in Michigan, the RNC’s Connelly posted on his Facebook page, “My buddy David Lane is drawing the attention of the God-haters and left wingers, but I repeat myself, out there! We had a great Michigan event and I’m convinced that the faith component is what will bring our nation together!” Connelly’s post was shared by the American Renewal Project, as was one of Connelly’s photos from the event, with Connelly’s caption: “honored to speak and give my testimony to a terrific crowd of enthusiastic pastors at the Michigan Renewal Project last night!” A few days later, Connelly bragged, “The RNC was well represented tonight at the California renewal project conference….”

Lane returns the love by helping Republicans win elections. Last year, his American Renewal Project teamed up with four potential 2016 candidates – Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, and Mike Huckabee – to record radio ads urging “God’s people” to vote in the 2014 mid-terms. The ads were reportedly meant to run on almost 300 radio stations in more than 35 states. Those ads capped off the American Renewal Project’s 12-state strategy to turn out conservative evangelical voters in the 2014 cycle, a strategy that reportedly included a $2 million registration, education, and turnout ground game in North Carolina, Colorado, Iowa and Arkansas, states with key Senate races

Lane’s love for the GOP, however, is far from unconditional. In April 2013 he complained that the Republican Party establishment was not taking a strong enough stand against homosexuality and said there was a war for ideological supremacy – “the moral against the immoral” – within the Republican Party between “establishment moderates and the biblically conservative grassroot, precinct-level ground forces.” He has praised GOP officials who speak out against marriage equality, as he did when  Iowa State GOP Chair AJ Spiker wrote:

“While inclusion is important, elected Republicans (we all know the most recent example) and National/State Party leaders who embrace so-called same sex marriage are doing grave harm to our Party and the whole of society.

Lets not forget, so-called same sex marriage is an irreconcilable difference with the Republican PARty’s largest constituency…Committed Christians.

Matchmaker, Matchmaker

All of Lane’s events are designed to promote conservative GOP candidates by introducing them to networks of politically engaged conservative pastors who are willing to turn their churches into GOTV operations on behalf of the right kind of right-wing candidate. Lane claims those events have engaged some 15,000 pastors since he began conducting them in the 1990s.

Bobby Jindal is one beneficiary. In January, Jindal hosted “The Response,” the Lane-organized prayer rally that was modeled on a similar event that Lane put together in 2011 to help Rick Perry launch his ill-fated presidential bid. Two months later, Lane organized a meet-and-greet for Bobby Jindal with pastors in Greenville, South Carolina. Jindal has also accepted Lane’s invitation for his own trip to Israel this summer, where he will be joined by evangelical pastors from the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada. Rand Paul talked about his own trip to Israel with Lane this past fall at a meeting Lane organized for Paul with a group of North Carolina pastors.

Lane also picked up the tab – reportedly a million dollars -- for a group of pastors from Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire and South Carolina (four early primary contests) to join Mike Huckabee on a European tour. It was a pilgrimage to Poland, London, and California to celebrate the leadership of Pope John Paul II, Margaret Thatcher, and Ronald Reagan. Right-wing blogger Bethany Blankley joined Huckabee’s European tour, on which the subpoena of Houston ministers’ emails and sermons were apparently cited to suggest American Christians were facing Nazi-like persecution. “On route to Auschwitz,” she wrote, “Lane reference similarities between 1930 Germany and 2014 America.” Huckabee said at Auschwitz that the horrors carried out by educated Germany “should be a sobering reminder that unless we stand against evil in our own time,” another Holocaust to another people group “will happen again.”

Lane, who calls himself a political operative, still tries to portray some of his events – like the Perry and Jindal prayer rallies, as spiritual and not political. But Huckabee was clear about the political benefits of his European junket:

“A lot of them asked the obvious question – sort of the 800-pound gorilla in the room: Why are pastors from Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada the lion’s share of participants on this trip?” Huckabee said. “And I think some of them probably honestly, and perhaps somewhat cynically, probably said, ‘Is it because you’re trying to secure their support, if, in fact, you decide to run?’ My honest answer was, ‘Fair enough. If I should run, would I like to have your support? Sure.’”

Also on the trip were people like Rich Bott, president of a Christian radio conglomerate, whose support could be very useful.

During the flap over RNC members’ trip to Israel, Lane told Ha’aretz that he made his first trip to the country in 2008 or 2009 and has since taken seven or eight trips, including the one with Rand Paul in 2013, abou which Lane says, “A lot of people believe that after Rand Paul went in January 2013, his views evolved and he saw how wonderful the Jewish people are.” Researcher Rachel Tabachnik reports that Perry has also taken one of Lane’s trips to Israel.

Lane’s American Renewal Project also hosted an event for Rand Paul in October 2014 with 400 anti-abortion pastors in North Carolina. At the event, which was closed to press except for Breitbart, Paul reportedly said that “a civilization cannot long endure that doesn’t respect life from the very beginning to the very last breath.”

“When we talk about freedom or liberty people say that can get carried away you can’t have too much of that. I tell people thought that the fabric of our country though wasn’t just liberty and freedom. It was liberty and freedom and tradition.”

In organizing these events, Lane works with other Religious Right leaders. Among those listed in promotional materials for an event in Michigan were right-wing radio host Dennis Prager, “historians” David Barton and Bill Federer, the American Family Association’s Don Wildmon, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, former Congressman Bob McEwen, and Pastor Laurence White of the Texas Restoration Project.

Lane’s 2016 Political Strategy

Lane himself is not a pastor; he describes himself as a political operative. He believes America is in the sad state it’s in because pastors have not preached more aggressively, and conservative Christians have not been active enough in the public arena. He told the New York Times’ Jason Horowitz in March that his goal is to raise up “an army.”

Right-wing blogger Bethany Blankley quotes Lane saying, “With the retreat of evangelical pastors from the public square, it’s no accident that America’s city halls and statehouses are spiritually empty. The only currency to rebuild America is God’s economy rooted in righteousness – beginning with a contrite spirit for what we believers have allowed to happen to America.”

In 2016, Lane’s political strategy has two major prongs: one is using “Pastors and Pews” events, trips to Israel, and public prayer rallies to promote politicians he likes and mobilize political engagement by conservative evangelicals. During controversy over Israel trip, Lane told Ha’aretz, “The Lord gave me this model of mobilizing pastors to try and engage the culture. Somebody’s values are going to reign supreme. America was founded by Christians for the glory of God and the Christian faith.”

Lane clearly hopes these efforts to vet presidential candidates will help conservative evangelicals coalesce around a single champion. He says he will not endorse in the primary, but he has complained bitterly about Jeb Bush’s hiring of pro-marriage-equality campaign staff. Lane bemoans the fact that divided evangelical voters allowed McCain and Romney to take the GOP nominations in 2008 and 2012. He told the Houston Chronicle in 2013, “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.”

Lane ally Bob Vander Plaats of the Iowa Family Leader said in November that the only way that will happen will be through prayer that God will reveal to us… that’s the one we need to coalesce around.”  Lane said something similar to the Christian Examiner in January 2015.

“Only a merciful God can cause America to change, and God works through His people,” Lane said.

That’s why prayer is so important; people need God’s guidance about whom to elect, Lane explained.

In a March 3 email, Lane summed up the quest this way: “The challenge is this – can we find a man or a woman whose faith is so great that they will voluntarily abandon those things which men cherish, including their very life, to defend against the seemingly invincible omnipotence of secularism?”

The other prong of Lane’s 2016 strategy is an effort to recruit 1,000 conservative evangelical pastors to run for office themselves. Lane says he was inspired by his own pastor, Rob McCoy of Calvary Chapel in Thousand Oaks, California, who decided to run for the state assembly last year. McCoy won the Republican primary but was defeated in the general election. In both races he was outspent but managed to mobilize hundreds of volunteers. Lane figures that if he could replicate that experience on a grand scale, “would revolutionize the political process” and dramatically change the political climate in America.”

Here’s how he described the plan to the Washington Times in January:

“Our goal in 2016 is to have 1,000 pastors running for city council, county commissioner, school board, mayor, Congress — who attract an average of 300 Christian volunteers per campaign,” Mr. Lane explained.

“That would amount to a total 300,000 grassroots, evangelical, precinct-level conservatives — from the bottom up — in 2016,” he added. “It would change America for good, a step toward restoring the nation to our Judeo Christian heritage and reestablishing a Christian cultur.”

In January, Lane put on a recruitment and training session for pastors thinking about running for office. Jindal signed an invitation letter, which said, “There is a great need for the kind of leaders we read about in the Old Testament, ‘The Men of Issachar’ (1 Chronicles 12:32). We need such men and women of wisdom today who will accept the challenge to restore our Judeo-Christian heritage in America.” Jindal and Sen. Steve Lankford of Oklahoma were among the speakers at the event, which was held the day before “The Response,” the Lane-organized, Jindal-hosted prayer rally.

Lane says he sent an invitation to 100,000 pastors on his list, in which he spelled out his vision:

A thousand pastors running in 2016-and three to four hundred pastors winning their political races – would ignite a spiritual movement in the public arena of America not seen since America’s Founding. Again, the flock of God hungers for leadership in the battle for restoring America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and reestablishing a Christian culture.”

Among similar “Issachar Training” events Lane is holding across the country were a training for pastors in Las Vegas in April and one in Oklahoma City in May (featuring Ted Cruz and Sen. James Lankford).  Jindal will host an Issachar training in Charleston, South Carolina this Friday before Nikki Haley’s prayer rally and fellow presidential contender Mike Huckabee will host one in Orlando on July 9 and 10.

Funding Lane’s Christian-Nation Politicking

Lane’s American Renewal Project operates under the umbrella of the American Family Association, a nonprofit organization that is not required to disclose its donors. Lane has always refused to name the big donors who pick up the tab for flying pastors and politicians around the world, or picking up the meals and lodging for preachers to attend one of his state “Pastors and Pews” events with elected officials. But we know where at least some of Lane’s money is coming from.

 In 2013, the Christian Broadcasting Networks’ David Brody reported on one of Lane’s Iowa events. Brody’s story included short clips of comments by brothers Farris and Dan Wilks, who were identified only as members of Lane’s Pastors and Pews group. Brody introduced the brothers by saying, “The Wilks brothers worry that America’s declining morals will especially hurt the younger generation, so they’re using the riches that the Lord has blessed them with to back specific goals.”  Dan Wilks told Brody, “I just think we have to make people aware, you know, and bring the Bible back into the school, and start teaching our kids at a younger age, and, uh, you know, and focus on the younger generation.”  Brother Farris said, “They’re being taught the other ideas, the gay agenda, every day out in the world so we have to stand up and explain to them that that’s not real, that’s not proper, it’s not right.”

As Right Wing Watch reported in 2014, Farris and Dan Wilks made billions of dollars in the fracking business and have since become major funders of Religious Right organizations and groups associated with the Koch brothers’ networks. Farris also pastors a church founded by the brothers’ father, and his sermons make it clear that he shares much of Lane’s anti-gay, anti-secular, Christian-nation worldview, and has been inspired by Lane to do more to shape America’s future. RH Reality Check reported this year that the Wilks brothers’ are big funders of right-wing radio host Denis Prager’s right-wing propaganda site, Prager University.

Each of the brothers has, with their wives, set up charitable foundations: Farris and Joann created The Thirteen Foundation and Dan and Staci the Heavenly Father’s Foundation. The Thirteen Foundation in particular became a source of millions for right-wing political groups. According to the 2013 990 forms filed by the foundations with the IRS, The Thirteen Foundation gave 922,000 that year to the American Family Association. It is not clear how much of that was for Lane’s projects, but the filing from Heavenly Father’s Foundation is more explicit, reporting $750,000 to the AFA for three Pastors and Pews conferences.

Lane is, not surprisingly perhaps, a fan of today’s big-money approach to politics. Speaking about a post-Citizens United World, Lane told NBC News’s Perry Bacon in 2014: “The problem used to be, you had to raise $2,500 per person, so you had to come up with the bundlers. With Citizens United, I don’t think it’s as big of a hurdle. Now you can have somebody who gives $15 or $20 million into a super PAC and that changes the game.”

CBN’s David Brody as David Lane’s Personal Press Agent

David Lane has been careful over the years to manage his media presence, preferring with few exceptions to do his work beneath the radar of the national news. But he has often relied on the Christian Broadcasting Network’s David Brody, who calls Lane “a good friend,” to promote his events or videos, reported breathlessly by Brody as “exclusives.”

One good example of Brody serving as Lane’s public relations man came in a March blog post, in which Brody enthused about the upcoming event featuring Jindal and Cruz: “The influential David Lane has done it yet again, pulling together a big event in Iowa where the two soon-to-be presidential candidates will speak in front of a couple hundred pastors next week.”

Brody added a message directly to reporters:

“Hey mainstream media: you better pay attention to these events. These spiritual events are authentic as can be and here's some straight talk for the media as well: don't think that Cruz, Jindal, and others do these events for political purposes. They are both authentic Christians who believe every word of what they say when they talk to these pastors. They are NOT ashamed of the Gospel.

Will there be some political benefit? Well, of course but their heart is in the right place. And after all, God looks at the heart.”

Is it remotely possible that David Brody really believes that Cruz and Jindal do not go to Lane’s explicitly political events “for political purposes”?

David Lane, the GOP, Gideon and Rahab the Harlot

Lane ends just about every email and column with the question, “Will a Gideon or Rahab the Harlot please make a stand?” As RWW has noted, 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 enabled the Israelites’ conquest 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.

Appendix: A David Lane Primer

  • Argued that “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.”
  • 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.’”
  • Urged conservative Christians to prepare for martyrdom in their fight to “save the nation from the pagan onslaught imposing homosexual marriage [and] homosexual scouts.”
  • Warned that homosexuality has created an unparalleled “moral crisis” and “threatened our utter destruction.”
  • 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.”
  • Said homosexuality is part of a Marxist “psychological conditioning” plot.
  • Attacked gay Republicans Richard Tisei and Ken Mehlman along with GOP marriage equality supporters Rob PortmanLaura Bush, Barbara Bush and Cindy McCain for trying “to impose homosexual marriage — and indecency — on Christian America.”
  • Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.
  • 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.”
  • Asserted that the “false gods of multiculturalism, political correctness and secularism must be removed from Christian America.”
  • Disclosed that “our long-term strategy must be to place the Bible in Public Schools as the principle [sic] textbook of American education.”
  • 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.
PFAW

President Santorum Won't Enforce Gay Marriage Ruling Since It's A 'Violation Of The First Amendment'

Rick Santorum called into Glenn Beck's radio program this morning, where he warned that if the Supreme Court legalizes gay marriage, it will be an unconstitutional establishment of religion that, when he becomes president, he will not enforce.

Citing the absurd claims made by David Barton on his radio program yesterday, Beck warned that if the Supreme Court strikes down gay marriage bans, the government will strip churches of their tax-exempt status and force them to perform gay marriages, and asked Santorum how he would respond to this if he is elected president.

"This is tantamount to government establishing religion," Santorum said. "When the United States government comes in and says this is what you are going to believe, this is how you're going to practice your faith, this is a new religion. This violates, in my opinion, the Establishment Clause in the Constitution that says that Congress shall make no law with respect to an establishment of religion. If the government goes around and tells churches what they have to believe in and what their doctrine is, that is something that is a violation of the First Amendment."

Santorum said that he holds out hope that the Supreme Court will rule against marriage equality advocates "because there is no way that the left will stop at mere tolerance, they will demand conformity, they will demand it from the church, they will demand it from every institution, they will demand it from businesses and there will be no tolerance to a different point of view on this issue."

But if the Supreme Court does legalize gay marriage, Santorum said that, as president, he will fight it.

"If they get it wrong and the consequences are what I suspect they will be toward people of faith," he said, "then this president will fight back."

Religious Right Angry At Business Support For Marriage Equality

Conservative religious leaders have been delighted to work with parts of corporate America – most notably the Koch brothers’ political networks – to elect candidates who back right-wing social and economic policies. Religious conservatives have championed Citizens United and the demolition of regulations on campaign cash. The Kochs even promote Religious Right leaders who tell their followers that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, unions, and progressive taxes. But many of America’s biggest companies have also become supporters of equality for gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people, and that’s making religious conservatives angry.

When a number of major corporations pushed back hard against an anti-gay “religious freedom” law in Indiana, Gov. Mike Pence asked the legislature to amend the law to state that it would not allow businesses to discriminate. And that made the Religious Right furious. Reliably pro-business Republican presidential candidates like Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, and Bobby Jindal have been attacking big business support for gay rights in a sometimes awkward attempt at right-wing populist rhetoric.

Today’s mail brought a direct mail letter from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins complaining, “Big Business has joined the anti-Christian bullies!” Perkins warns that “the seduction of Big Business by the homosexual rights movement is the main reason that movement has gained such momentum over our freedom to believe and live according to those beliefs.” Perkins asks for donations to “Stop Big Business’s Assault on Religious Freedom” and to support an FRC initiative to talk to business leaders and bring them around.

Another direct mail piece from Perkins, this time for FRC’s political arm, FRC Action, arrived the same day, in an envelope emblazoned with, “When you can’t make a living because you’re a Christian…THAT’S NOT FREEDOM.” The letter complains that “big corporations are foolishly aligning with the Left’s social agenda” and pledges that FRC Action will help states “create and pass a protective wall of religious freedom laws.” Perkins gripes about business opposition to Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act:

The media published incredible false claims about what the law said and what the law would do. Hollywood celebrities, giant corporations, sports leagues, and even other states became a national lynch mob. They threatened and enacted boycotts of the state.

Tragically the governor ultimately caved in to these pressures. With the corporate community threatening boycotts and economic loss to the state, it appears that many political leaders in the state were more concerned about economic issues than moral truth, religious freedom, and the well-being of the family.

Over at conservative journal First Things, University of Notre Dame Professor Patrick Deneen says it is clear that in Indiana, “Republicans and Christians lost, Democrats and gay activists won.” (Of course this simplistic formulation ignores the Christian leaders who were allied with LGBT activists in opposing the law.) Deneen, a critic of both corporate capitalism and liberal democracy, blames the outcome in Indiana on business involvement:

Had the only appreciable opposition to RFRA come from gay rights activists, RFRA would have been a smashing political success for Republicans. It would have made the right enemies while generating gratitude and energy in the base. They did not expect their usual friends in corporate America to join the opposition, which was an idiotic miscalculation given the fact that establishment outrage scuttled the Arizona RFRA last year.

Deneen wrote last year that “The modern corporation and modern marriage are born of the same philosophical roots: rootless individuals seeking self-gratification in whatever way they see fit, short of ‘harming’ another.” In his First Things article, he portrays corporations standing with LGBT groups as a smart business decision given pro-gay shifts in public attitudes. But he calls the gay-rights collaboration between cultural and economic “elites” a dangerous alignment that is “ready to steamroll anyone in their way.” After Indiana, he says, “religiously based opposition to gay marriage is now more likely than ever to be treated by our society as tantamount to a hate crime,” and warns that the “elite-sanctioned attack on ‘bigotry’” will “reach inevitably into the sanctuaries of the churches themselves.”

Rick Santorum 'Worries' About Anti-Government Rhetoric. Has He Heard His Own Speeches?

Former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential hopeful Rick Santorum said yesterday at a campaign stop in Iowa that he worries “about anti-government rhetoric,” according to a local paper and to Washington Post reporter James Hohmann, who tweeted about the remark:

Really? The Santorum we know has spent the entire Obama presidency stoking mistrust of the federal government. Here are just fifteen examples, in no particular order, of Santorum’s anti-government rhetoric in the past few years.

1. When he claimed that Obama is a ‘tyrant’ hell-bent on destroying America

2. When he said that Obama “intentionally turned his back on evil and let it prosper around the world”

3. When he argued that Obama is establishing a secular theocracy that will carry out the “persecution and prosecution” of Christians

4. When he had this calm reaction to Obamacare:

5. And this reaction to Obamacare

"If we have a system where the government is going to be the principal provider of health care for the country, we're done. Because then, you are dependent on the government for your life and your health...When Thatcher ran for prime minister she said - remember this, this is the Iron Lady - she said, 'The British national health care system is safe in my hands.' She wasn't going to take on health care, because she knew once you have people getting free health care from the government, you can't take it away from them. And the reason is because most people don't get sick, and so free health care is just that, free health care, until you get sick. Then, if you get sick and you don't get health care, you die and you don't vote. It's actually a pretty clever system. Take care of the people who can vote and people who can't vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can't vote against you. That's how it works."

6. And this reaction to Obamacare

7. When he claimed that in Obama’s America, religious people are on “the path” to being beheaded like clergy in the French Revolution

8. When he warned that Christians must fight “persecution” in America to stop us from turning into Nazi Germany

9. When he claimed Obama is faking a war with ISIS and allowing the persecution of Christians

10. When he warned of the hidden Obamacare agenda of using pre-natal testing to “cull the ranks of disabled” who are “less able than the elites who want to govern our society”

11. When he said the U.N. Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would empower the government to kill his daughter

“In the case of our 4-year-old daughter, Bella, who has Trisomy 18, a condition that the medical literature says is 'incompatible with life,' would her 'best interest' be that she be allowed to die? Some would undoubtedly say so.

So if the state, and not Karen and I, would have the final word on what is in the best interest of a child like Bella, what chance would a parent have to get appropriate care in the days of increasingly government-funded medical care?

Proponents have said that Section 7 would not affect a parent’s right under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but the education standards of CRPD do not repeat the parental rights rules of past U.N. human-rights treaties. Omission of these rules combined with Section 7 could lead to the elimination of parental rights for the education of children with disabilities.

These issues become real for parents because, despite what the proponents insist, ratifying the treaty will require changes to U.S. laws to comply with the U.N. provisions. Section 4 requires any country that adopts this treaty 'to adopt all appropriate legislative, administrative and other measures for the implementation of the rights recognized in the present Convention.'”

12. When he claimed the health care reform’s contraception mandate is “a descendent of the French Revolution”

13. When he told Bryan Fischer that business owners who refuse service to gay customers have been sent to “reeducation camps” and pastors will soon be jailed or martyred

14. When he said the Democrats are worried Obama will go to Indonesia and “bow to more Muslims

15. And, last but not least, when he said that the president “has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions

“Watching President Obama apologize last week for America's arrogance - before a French audience that owes its freedom to the sacrifices of Americans - helped convince me that he has a deep-seated antipathy toward American values and traditions.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/27/15

Rick Santorum's 5 Worst Smears: Attacking Gay Rights, Working Women & Church-State Separation

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum announced today that he will once again be running for president. And why not, since while he failed to clinch the Republican nomination in 2012, by coming in second place to Mitt Romney he helped resuscitate a political career that had ended with a blowout reelection defeat in 2006.

In the meantime, Santorum has been writing for the conspiracy theory website WorldNetDaily and managing, not very successfully, a Christian film studio.

Santorum hopes to build support from the farthest right base of the GOP, one which adamantly opposes gay equality and any step towards immigration reform and wants to turn back the clock on women’s rights. Santorum’s candidacy, as evidenced by his 2012 victories in Iowa and the Deep South, show that the Republican Party’s polarizing far-right flank has held on to its influential role, even as it jeopardizes the party’s ability to win elections and improve its image with the general public.

Here are five of Santorum’s worst policies, which give just a taste of what the GOP’s far-right base is craving:

1) Gay Equality

Santorum may have won the most publicity, or notoriety, for his fiery attacks on not only gay marriage but gay rights in general, boasting about his support for laws banning consensual gay sex and predicting that gays will “murder” the Boy Scouts.

He has warned that same-sex marriage could possibly lead to sibling marriages“man on child” and “man on dog” marriages, the criminalization of free speech and “the destruction of our republic.” Calling marriage equality a violation of “natural law” and the “death knell” of marriage, Santorum also warned that same-sex marriage could threaten the future of civilization itself.

He has also pushed for bans on adoption by same-sex parents as a “common sense” strategy to help children.

2) Church-State Separation

Insisting that the notion of the separation of church and state is an un-American idea that actually comes from communism, Santorum points to church-state separation as a reason to criticize the Obama administration, gay rights and secular government.

“We have the state establishing a new religion, a secular state religion, a secular orthodoxy that everybody is going to have to comply with,” he said last month. “We don’t have as the threat was at the time of our Founders, the Church of England imposing the English church on America. We have now the secular church that is being imposed on this country and anybody that defects is subject to persecution and prosecution. That is a very serious threat to liberty in America.”

Public schools, according to Santorum, should ban secular teachings from the classroom because secularism has become “a religion.” He also said there will be “agitation” in American society until civil laws “comport” with divine laws.

He also produced a film with the far-right Family Research Council, which he also appears in, warning that gay rights laws violate the “wall of separation.” Santorum criticized laws barring discrimination against gay people as “a violation of the Establishment Clause” and signed a petition vowing to defy any Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage laws.

3) Women’s Rights

In 2012, Santorum pledged that if he were elected president he would discuss “the dangers of contraception in this country,” claiming that contraception is “not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.” He claimed contraception access is an “important public policy issue” since it negatively impacts society and makes people “deconstruct” sex “to the point where it’s simply about pleasure.”

During his 2012 campaign, Santorum signed a Personhood USA pledge to support personhood laws, which would ban common corms of birth control, and railed against the health care reform law’s contraception mandate by calling it a “descendent of the French Revolution.”

A supporter of criminalizing abortion in all cases, Santorum expressed nostalgia for back-alley abortions and advocated banning abortion even in cases of rape and incest, when the fetus has no chance of survival and when the pregnant woman’s health is at the risk.

Santorum advised survivors of rape who get pregnant that they should “accept what God has given” them and “make the best out of a bad situation.”

He has denounced not only reproductive rights but also women entering the workforce, which he said was the result of a “radical feminists” bent on “undermining the traditional family.”

4) Immigration

Santorum has called on the GOP to amp up its anti-immigrant rhetoric as a way to appeal to working-class voters, falsely claiming that every new job created in the U.S. over the last decade went to immigrants instead of native-born workers. He has also demanded that the U.S. cut legal immigration to levels last seen around 1880.

While criticizing Obama’s recent executive actions on immigration reform, Santorum denounced Obama as a “tyrant” who “acted against the Constitution” and “back[ed] Americans in a corner.”

He pledged to veto the DREAM Act, saying that young people brought to the U.S. as kids should simply “go back” to “Mexico.” However, he said that the U.S should immediately grant legal status to a German family who refused to go back to Germany because of its country’s laws limiting homeschooling.

5) Conspiracy Theories

While working with a far-right homeschooling group, Santorum was the public face of a successful campaign to block Senate ratification of a disability rights treaty. Santorum warned that the treaty could empower the government to kill his daughter, who has Trisomy 18, and told Glenn Beck that the “radical” treaty was inspired by “Marxist-socialist/progressive” ideas.

Santorum has also suggested that Obama travels the globe to “bow to Muslims,” warned of mass euthanasia in the Netherlands, called climate change science a “hoax” and an “absolute travesty” and insisted that conservative Christians are facing horrendous persecution, including potential jail time and martyrdom, in the U.S.

Satanic Bonus

While Santorum deflects any criticism of his interpretation of Christianity as an attack on religious freedom, he has no problem warning that mainline Protestant churches, along with universities and the government, are under the influence of the Devil:

Rick Santorum: Democrats 'Sold Their Souls' For Immigrant Votes

Several months ago, fact-checkers completely debunked one of Rick Santorum’s talking points, that all of the net new jobs created in the U.S. since 2000 went to immigrants. However, just because the contention has absolutely no factual basis, doesn’t mean the former senator and likely presidential candidate has stopped making the claim.

Santorum trotted out the dishonest talking point once again during his speech today to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference.

Not only did Santorum push the patently false claim, he then blamed Democrats for the mythical problem of immigrants stealing 6 million jobs from U.S. workers.

“The sad part is that the Democratic Party that used to be the party of working people have now sold their souls because they have read the polls and they realize the more people they can bring into this country, the higher percentage of votes they’re going to get,” Santorum said. “So they’re for unlimited immigration. Why? Because they’re going to get a high percentage of those votes, that’s what they care about. They care about workers who see their wages depressed and opportunities scarce? No. No they’ve long abandoned working men and women.”

Rick Santorum: Obama Community College Plan Meant To Create 'Another Layer Of Government Schools'

Rick Santorum, speaking on the Iowa conservative radio show Caffeinated Thoughts in March, argued that President Obama does not want to grant free community college to all in order to raise the number of college graduates and create an educated workforce, but rather wants to “eliminate” private sector programs in order to make way for “another layer of government schools.” 

 “It’s the same old stuff from the president,” he said, “which is, ‘Our schools don’t work, our schools don’t function to educate our children enough so they can get a job, so we’re going to bring in another layer of government schools to try to do this and you’re going to pay for it.’”

During the 2012 presidential campaign, Santorum criticized Obama’s effort to improve access to college as “snobbery” and a threat to “our freedoms.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/15/15

  • Brendan James @ TPM: Judith Miller And James O'Keefe Discuss Ethics In Journalism.
  • Media Matters: Limbaugh: The Civil Rights Movement Has Become "An Off-Shoot Of An Effort To Segregate People".
  • Steve Benen @ The Maddow Blog: Boehner would fail his own test of patriotism.
  • Tom Boggioni @ Raw Story: Rick Santorum: Bruce Jenner can call himself a woman — but ‘obviously and biologically’ he’s not.
  • Kyler Geoffroy @ Towleroad: RNC to Approve Resolution Reaffirming Support of Discriminatory 'Religious Freedom' Measures.
  • Alan Colmes: Alex Jones: Jade Helm Purpose Is To Prepare Us For ‘Police State’.

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/14/15

Right Wing Round-Up - 5/13/15

Rick Santorum: Supreme Court Marriage Ruling Could Lead To Christians Being 'Persecuted And Maybe Even Prosecuted'

Rick Santorum’s movie studio, EchoLight Studios, issued a press release yesterday in anticipation of today’s arguments in the marriage cases before the Supreme Court, warning that a decision in favor of marriage equality could lead to the persecution of people who reject “the secularism that is now coming from the government.”

In the press release, Santorum warns that those “who want to live their life consistent with biblical teachings are not being given space to do that."

"It is an increasing view that if you are not with this new orthodoxy, the secularism that is now coming from the government, that these are the values that the government values. If you don't live up to those values, well then you can be persecuted and maybe even prosecuted for doing so," he added.

Supreme Court will begin hearing arguments to determine if same-sex marriage should be nationally recognized in the United States starting April 28. The outcome of these hearings, set for late June, could cause a potentially damaging ripple effect for conservative business owners who, based on their personal religious beliefs, do not want to participate in same-sex wedding ceremonies as was explored in the award-winning EchoLight Studios documentary, "One Generation Away."

"One of the biggest changes in this country in the last four or five years is the level of hostility rising toward people of faith taking public viewpoints in their business or in the public square, even in schools and the military," said Former Senator and EchoLight CEO Rick Santorum. "Those who want to live their life consistent with biblical teachings are not being given space to do that. "

The backdrop to the Supreme Court holding this hearing is a number of high-profile cases of Christian business owners being forced by the government to provide services for same-sex weddings. As highlighted in "One Generation Away," which was released last September, there is a growing understanding that the redefinition of marriage cannot be separated from a loss of freedom.

"It is an increasing view that if you are not with this new orthodoxy, the secularism that is now coming from the government, that these are the values that the government values. If you don't live up to those values, well then you can be persecuted and maybe even prosecuted for doing so," concluded Santorum.
 

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

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

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

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

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

The full text of the pledge:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

h/t RWW reader Erik

Santorum: Not Allowing Christians To Discriminate Is 'A Violation Of The Establishment Clause'

Earlier this week, Rick Santorum warned on the Family Research Council's radio program that not allowing Christian business owners to discriminate against gay customers in the name of "religious liberty" was essentially establishing a new secular theocracy in America.

This has obviously become Santorum's new line of attack, because he used it again when he recently sat down for a short interview with Randy Robison, son of Religious Right televangelist James Robison.

Santorum said that the courts and liberal activists have flipped Thomas Jefferson's famous "separation of church and state" on its head so that now Christians are being prohibited from exercising their faith in the public square.

"The separation now is people of faith can't tell the government what to do," he said. "In other words, we can't bring our faith claims into the public square to live them out fully. And that is an interesting thing because what people say now is 'anywhere the government is, faith can't be.' Well, where isn't the government?"

"I think you're also starting to see a violation of the Establishment Clause," Santorum continued, "because what we're seeing now is an establishment not of a traditional church that you and I [know], a Bible-based church, but a liberal orthodoxy that says you have to believe these things or else you're going to run afoul of the federal government":

Rick Santorum: Obama Established A Secular Theocracy

Rick Santorum appeared on Tony Perkins’s “Washington Watch” radio show yesterday to discuss national security threats from ISIS and Iran, but Perkins eventually moved the discussion to the “domestic threats” to the country: namely, gay marriage.

Perkins thanked Santorum for working with the Family Research Council on creating a short film about the dangers of marriage equality, which will be shown in participating churches on the Sunday before the Supreme Court hears oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges.

Santorum told Perkins that, for the first time ever in U.S. history, religious liberty is under assault from a new secular theocratic system:

For the first time in the history of our country, the government is attacking people, prosecuting people, calling for people to be rehabilitated, constraining in the military with our chaplaincy. We now see chaplain after chaplain being dismissed for not accepting the secular orthodoxy that this administration wants to put forward, criticizing people for holding biblical truth and counseling them in a biblically coherent way. We see businesses being prosecuted. We see all sorts of activity on the legislative front, where they are pushing — as we saw in Indiana — pushing bills that simply protect employees’ rights to be able to practice their faith consistent within an employment situation. And those things which were unanimously passed are now being fought against.

It’s a hostility to religion that we’ve never seen in the history of our country. And I read an interesting article the other day; it’s actually not the free exercise of religion that is being attacked, it’s actually a new religion that is being established. So we have the state establishing a new religion, a secular state religion, a secular orthodoxy that everybody is going to have to comply with. We don’t have as the threat was at the time of our Founders, the Church of England imposing the English church on America. We have now the secular church that is being imposed on this country and anybody that defects is subject to persecution and prosecution. That is a very serious threat to liberty in America.

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

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

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

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

Watch highlights here:

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