After telling listeners last month to prepare for martyrdom, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association today warned that Christians in America may soon face death at the hands of terrorists.
Rios, reeling over yesterday’s collapse of the GOP effort to defund part of the Department of Homeland Security in order to block President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, said Obama’s immigration policy could lead to the death of Christians at the hands of ISIS.
“Some of us, honestly, may face martyrdom, there’s no question,” Rios said. “I’m not sure in our lifetime although it could be with ISIS waging — you know, now the borders are so porous and we are being so careless with our immigration policy, there are many things that may unfold more quickly than we think.”
On her radio program this morning, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios claimed once again that young immigrants are responsible for a recent outbreak of Enterovirus D68, even though health experts have found that thereisnolink between immigrants and the debilitating illness. After reading a Washington Post story about the illness that didn’t mention any connection with immigration, Rios went ahead and suggested that Central American children who “were shuttled to unknown place around the country” spread Enterovirus D68 to other kids.
Rios backed up this assertion by claiming that immigrant children don’t have any basic understanding of hygiene and are largely unvaccinated, despite the fact that Central Americans have a higher vaccination rate than U.S. youth. She even claimed that the kids don’t even know how to use the bathroom.
“We have vaccinations and hygiene and cleanliness and we teach people in western civilization how to go to the bathroom properly, how to take care of things, how to do things in a sanitary way,” Rios said. “Do you not think that when we open our borders to a glut of people from another world who have never been trained, don’t know that, that that’s not going to bring in disease?”
Potential GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina stopped by “Sandy Rios In The Morning” on Friday at CPAC, where she and Rios discussed reports that the Clinton family’s charitable foundation received donations from foreign countries. Fiorina, who has close ties to the foundation, dedicated part of the interview to attacking Hillary Clinton over the contributions.
Towards the end of the interview, Rios told Fiorina to “remember that Hamas and Hezbollah does [sic] charity work too, I’m not talking about yours, but you said that the Clinton Foundation does good work, that’s the way the left always operates, they do some good stuff.”
Fiorina said that she will at least credit the foundation for doing “some good work in Haiti,” but “now we see that there is a corruption in that foundation that is truly problematic.”
Conservative pundits are downright furious about the Federal Communications Commission’s decision to preserve net neutrality, ensuring that internet service providers treat all data equally. But their anger seems driven more by reflexive hostility to any proposal that President Obama supports rather than an understanding of the principle behind net neutrality.
American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios ended her radio show today by promoting the group’s new “bigotry map,” which she claims reveals “over 200 groups and organizations” that promote anti-Christian bigotry.
While the map has been received with generalmockery since it neither includes 200 groups nor explains how the groups on the map are anti-Christian, Rios said that the “bigotry map” shows the need for people to “stand up” against the supposedly growing anti-Christian sentiment.
She told guest Todd Starnes, who joined Rios to discuss the case of a Washington florist who is facing fines for denying service to a gay customer, that Illinois pastor Erwin Lutzer said Christians in America must now “prepare for martyrdom.”
“That would be my message this morning,” Rios said, “we are moving in a very dangerous course and direction in the country.”
While net neutrality is centered around treating all content equally and making sure that internet service providers do not favor certain kinds of content, the right-wing activists alleged that net neutrality will undermine content and even lead to government-led attacks on conservatives.
Rios claimed that net neutrality will give government bureaucrats the power to determine who can start a website, even though that claim is completely false. “I want to set up a website and then bureaucratic regulators will have to give me permission and I will have to pay and they will also see if my content is o.k. to be put out there on the internet,” Rios said.
“There is no doubt in the long term when the government takes control over not just the capacity to deliver internet services but also gets into the content monitoring game, which every indication is that they are doing that, at that juncture we have a real opportunity for free speech violations,” Manning said. “This net neutrality is just one area that President Obama has been engaged in a wholesale assault on First Amendment rights.”
The debate went even further off the rails when Rios and Manning claimed that Comcast is a strong supporter of the FCC’s decision to preserve net neutrality, with Manning telling Rios that “if I were Comcast, I’d be lobbying like crazy for this thing.”
“Comcast, owned by NBC, is all about net neutrality, they have been pushing and pushing and pushing it,” Rios said.
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, is very concerned that if the Federal Communications Commission approves rules intended to preserve net neutrality, then the Obama administration will move in to monitor online content.
“They want to manage the content, they want to control what goes into the internet,” Rios said. “Thank God for the internet, thank God for our ability to communicate to you through our Facebook pages and through AFA and our alerts and everything. And this all is being threatened.”
What Rios lacked in an understanding of net neutrality she made up in a strong, personal feeling that the Obama administration will crack down on free speech: “Certainly we know that the president and the administration is willing to do whatever they can to stop the flow of information to the American people, we know that that’s true.”
“I don’t think that Barack Obama is a Muslim. I think he has strong Muslim sympathies because he’s been raised in that culture,” she said on her radio program today, adding that Obama is a Marxist who “doesn’t really believe in God but loves the Muslim culture.”
She insisted that the president has “actually written about in his book that if there was ever some kind of conflict, he will always come down on the side of Islam.”
Back in 2003, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore became a hero in the eyes of many Religious Right activists when he defied a court ruling to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he installed in Alabama Supreme Court building's rotunda. After defying a federal court's ruling to move the monument out of the courthouse, Moore was eventually removed from his position by the state's court of the judiciary, only to return to his old post nearly 10 years later after winning the 2012 election.
Now, Moore is back in the national spotlight thanks to his demand that state judges refuse to abide by a federal court ruling striking down the state's ban on same-sex marriage. And, once again, right-wing activists are rallying to Moore’s defense, endorsing his claim that state sovereignty and his personal reading of the Bible trump the authority of the federal courts.
Leading anti-gay groups including the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council have defended Moore, portraying his standoff with the federal judiciary as the latest example in their increasingly absurd victimization narrative. As they see it, Moore is facing unfair treatment because of his deeply-held religious beliefs and is taking a courageous stance against judicial overreach... and Satan.
Here are five of the ways that right-wing activists are defending Moore's anti-gay campaign:
5) Roy Moore IsJust Like Martin Luther King, Jr.
American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer is upset that some critics have compared Moore to the Southern leaders who openly defied federal laws and court orders during the civil rights era. Fischer, for his part, thinks that Moore is more like civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr.
The federal judge in the marriage case, according to Fischer, is the one "standing in the doorway" like Alabama Gov. George Wallace and following in the footsteps of Jim Crow supporters.
4) Roy Moore IsJust Like The Apostle Paul
After interviewing Moore on her radio program, American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios said that "Justice Moore in Alabama is standing on solid ground" while "the other justices around the country and attorneys general who have rushed to accommodate these federal judges have been out of line in doing that."
Rios added that "if the law contradicts something God has said in scripture" then people should "disobey the law."
"You may, like Justice Moore, lose your job, you may, like [the Apostle] Paul, lose your life," she said. "Some people may not like the way Justice Moore has done this but I admire any man who follows God, who is willing to give up things very precious to him in order to take a stand."
3) Roy Moore IsStopping Satan In His Tracks
Cindy Jacobs, a self-proclaimed prophet, said God told her that Alabama will become a beacon of light to the nation that will stop Satan's control over the judiciary.
Jacobs proclaimed: "God says, 'There will be an anointing come out of Alabama that is going to reserve the judicial activism that has been in this nation,' says God. 'I am going to give weight to your voice, I am going to give strength to your voice, I say Alabama will be a first fruit state that will be a bastion that will begin to undo the agendas to take the values of Jesus Christ out of this nation,' God says. 'And I'm going to use Alabama to reverse what Satan has done and it will tip the nation.'"
2) Roy Moore Is Stopping Non-Existent Hate Speech Laws
The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has praised Moore and pledged to "aggressively defend" any Alabama judge who follows his orders to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples. These judges, Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver wrote in an email to supporters, are facing "an all-out assault from radical homosexual organizations, which are threatening and demonizing these law-abiding judges.”
Although Staver told supporters last week that Liberty Counsel had “filed suit to have same-sex 'marriages' [in Alabama] cease until the United States Supreme Court rules on the issue early this summer," he told a conservative radio network just a day earlier that he thinks the state "does not have to obey" any Supreme Court decision that favors marriage equality.
Staver even claimed that Moore is preventing Alabama from following in the footsteps of states where "Christians and people of faith and values have been silenced through ‘hate speech’ laws."
Of course, laws prohibiting hate speech are unconstitutional and do not exist anywhere in America.
1) Roy Moore Stopping God's Wrath
The Alabama Republican Party is thrilled that Moore is flouting federal courts. Its chairman, Bill Armistead, wrote on the state party website that Moore's actions may fend off divine wrath:
So, how is it that God’s truth can be turned on its head as the debate now rages in Alabama regarding the meaning of marriage? The answer is that we, as a society, have become our own god. We have made God in our image. But, God will not be mocked. The State of Alabama and the United States of America will reap God’s wrath if we embrace and condone things that are abhorrent to God, such as redefining marriage as anything other than a union between one man and one woman.
American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios is upset that media commentators like George Will are mocking Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for refusing to say this week whether he believes in evolution. After all, Rios explained on her radio show today, “science has done nothing but disprove the theory of evolution.”
“There is no scientific evidence” to substantiate evolution, she said, at least according to “the real experts.” So why has this stunning revelation that the foundational theory behind modern biology has been refuted not percolated through the scientific community? Well, Rios explained, that’s because evolution has become a sacred, religious tenet.
“Evolution has become the religion of the elite,” Rios said. “It’s a religion to the [level of] fanaticism of what they would say was the people at the Scopes monkey trial, the Christians waving their Bibles who were not really thinking through the facts, they were just outraged because it was against God’s law. The truth of the matter is that the evolutionists like George Will, waving their evolutionary theory, have become as rabid and unreasoned as what they accuse the Scopes monkey religionists of doing to Darwin during that time. It has become a religion. Science has disproven so much of evolution…. These guys are wrong, Scott Walker is right.”
Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson has issued a coupleof statements over the past two weeks explaining that if Congress were to target his department’s funding in an effort to stop the enforcement of President Obama’s executive actions on immigration, a whole host of programs would be hurt, including “non-disaster assistance grants” to local law enforcement. This raised the ire of a Colorado county sheriff, who wrote a Facebook post calling Johnson’s remarks a “veiled threat” to sheriffs, which has since been picked up by many in the right-wing media.
Among those who are outraged by Johnson’s matter-of-fact statement on department funding is the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, who claimed on her radio program today that the Homeland Security secretary is “threatening sheriffs." She also complained about a new DHS hotline that allows people to ask about the new immigration actions and report mistreatment by immigration enforcement, and about the fact that some undocumented immigrants who are now able to file federal tax returns will get refunds.
“Ladies and gentlemen, this is thug life,” she declared.
“It is thuggery. It is thuggery at the federal level.”
People For the American Way released a new video today calling out the Republican National Committee for accepting an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for several dozen of its members from the American Family Association, an organization with a long record of promoting bigotry against LGBT people and non-Christians.
Today, People For the American Way released a new ad challenging members of the Republican National Committee (RNC) for accepting an all-expense paid trip to Israel from the American Family Association (AFA). The ad calls on the RNC to stand against the AFA’s hateful rhetoric about Jewish Americans, LGBT individuals, and many other people in our country.
“The hate of the American Family Association is rampant, from calling ‘Jewish atheists’ some of the ‘worst enemies of the country’ to claiming that gay people caused the Holocaust,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “We deserve to know why Republicans continue to stand with this hate group after years of offensive statements by their leaders. By failing to speak up against the AFA, Republican leaders are showing their acceptance of hateful rhetoric in their party.”
Watch the ad here:
PFAW’s Right Wing Watch blog has long documented the bigoted statements of AFA leaders. Here are just some of the key examples:
Selected Statements of AFA Leaders
Bryan Fischer, Former Official Spokesperson for the AFA
“The Nazi Party, ladies and gentlemen, was formed in a gay bar. In other words, no homosexual thugs, no Nazi Party.” [6/9/11]
Gay sex is "Domestic Terrorism. I Don't Know What Else You'd Call It."[9/15/10]
Native Americans deserved to lose control of North America because "the superstition, savagery and sexual immorality" made them "morally disqualified from sovereign control of American soil." [2/8/11]
All new immigrants must “convert to Christianity” or “stay home.” [4/8/11]
Gay rights activists “are Nazis. Do not be under any illusions about what homosexual activists will do with your freedoms and your religion if they have the opportunity. They'll do the same thing to you that the Nazis did to their opponents in Nazi Germany.” [5/18/11]
Christians should convert Jews to Christianity, Jews and Christians “do not worship the same God.” [8/26/11]
“The purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.” [9/29/11]
"Political leadership ought to be ... reserved for the hands of males" [10/15/12]
People who believe in evolution are “disqualified from holding political office in the United States of America.” [1/2/14]
“Being an active homosexual should disqualify you from public office…we're going to have to choose between the gay agenda and Christianity. We can't have both.” [1/8/15]
David Lane, Founder of the AFA’s American Renewal Project
The separation of church and state is a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.” [6/6/13]
“We were established as a Christian nation, for the advancement of the Christian faith.” [1/30/15]
“Vote to restore the Bible and prayer in public schools or be sent home. Hanging political scalps on the wall is the only love language politicians can hear.” [7/17/13]
While “America was a Christian nation” since its founding, now it must choose between being “a Christian nation or a pagan nation.” [7/17/13]
“Homosexuals praying at the Inauguration” of President Obama in 2013 will provoke God’s wrath in the form of “car bombs in Los Angeles, Washington D.C. and Des Moines, Iowa.” [7/23/13]
Republicans who support marriage equality are like politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War. [1/29/15]
Americans “grovel to the false god of Islam,” “America, a Christian nation in heritage and culture, is being dismantled brick by brick.” [1/29/15]
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, is upset with media coverage blaming the current measles outbreak on parents who refuse to vaccinate their children and thinks that the media should instead be baselessly blaming immigrants.
On her radio program today, Rios claimed that it is a “fact” that unvaccinated immigrants are to blame for the outbreaks of measles and Enterovirus D68.
“We cannot lay this outbreak of measles at the feet of parents who have refused to vaccinate their kids,” she said. “It’s their kids who are getting sick, by the way, and that’s plenty punishment. But I would say, and I submit to you that the vast majority of the problem that we’re having is because we have opened our borders to great danger.”
Rios said yesterday that while she personally believes in vaccination, she thinks that parents who don’t are receiving too much criticism, noting Sen. Rand Paul’s recent statement that vaccines have been linked to “profound mental disorders.”
“The thing that I’m resisting is this groundswell of vitriol against parents who have for now a long time decided not to vaccinate their children because of their concerns,” she said, insisting that such vitriol should instead be directed against immigrants.
“The thing that bothers me even more that I have heard no one say, no one, no one, no one, at least not in this current discussion, talk about the effect of thousands of illegal immigrant children coming across the border last summer who certainly haven’t been vaccinated, who certainly have carried into our country diseases we have not seen in sometimes a century or two,” she said.
In an interview Friday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defended a letter he sent to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that he was just like abolitionists and desegregationists standing up against the “rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary.”
Moore told Rios that the case is similar to his famous defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from a court building because the 10 Commandments spat “symbolized the rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary” and “now we see the institution of marriage that God ordained under sustained attack from federal judges":
Later in the interview, Rios asked Moore what he would say to Christians who are upset that he’s breaking the law by defying the federal courts.
“This is not against the law, this is for the law,” he said.
Moore, who in 2004 helped lead a campaign to preserve segregationist language in Alabama’s constitution, compared his stand against marriage equality to a defiance of federal courts on slavery or segregation. He added that he also puts abortion rights in that category, because “everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution”:
I think we’ve got to look back. Courts are not always perfect, Sandy. The United States Supreme Court is not always perfect. What would you have done in 1857 when they came out and said slaves were property. If you were a judge, would you have followed that opinion? Or in 1896, I think it is, in Plessy v. Ferguson, when they said that separate but equal was the policy that we had to adhere to, would you have followed it?
We’ve got to realize that courts, whether they’re federal, state, Supreme Court are not always perfect. And sometimes their rulings will contradict the Constitution, as did the United States Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott, as it did in Plessy v. Ferguson, as it did in Roe v. Wade. Everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution, but you know, there it is as law. So I submit to you that we’ve got to look at these things very carefully.
Today People For the American Way President Michael Keegan sent a letter to Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), urging him to cancel a planned trip to Israel for roughly 60 RNC members that is organized by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and funded by the anti-LGBT hate group the American Family Association (AFA).
Although we have no objection to RNC members travelling to Israel, we urge you not to collaborate with those who are funding and coordinating this trip. The American Family Association and Mr. Lane have made it clear that they view the Republican Party as a vehicle for ensuring that the U.S. government is operated by and for conservative Christians, at the expense of those of other faiths and no faith, and those Christians who do not share their particular beliefs.
Mr. Lane insists that the separation of church and state is a “fabricated whopper” meant to stop “Christian America — the moral majority — from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media” and has said that his “long-term strategy” is to place the Bible as “the principle [sic] textbook” in American public schools. Mr. Lane has also warned that an openly gay speaker at President Obama’s inauguration would provoke God to allow car bombings in major American cities.
The American Family Association also holds troubling views about the role of religion in American government and regularly promotes false smears against LGBT people. Although the AFA recently sought to distance itself from its own inflammatory spokesman, Bryan Fischer, it continues to offer him a prominent platform on its radio network, American Family Radio. And AFA still employs as its governmental affairs director Sandy Rios, who along with other radical statements, has warned that “powerful Jewish forces” are using groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to destroy America and just this week mocked the notion that “God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel.”
The American Family Association and David Lane have every right to promote these extreme views. However, it is troubling that a major political party is lending them legitimacy.
Sandy Rios, the American Family Association’s director of governmental affairs, said today that criticism of her organization’s role in financing a Republican National Committee trip to Israel is unfounded because Israel “could not have a better ally” than the AFA … despite the fact that God disapproves of the country’s “secular government” and is not “fond of atheist Jews” who live there.
“In terms of our teachings and our biblical understanding there could not be any more strong support for Israel than you find among people who understand and believe in the Bible and believe that God’s hand is on Israel, in spite of what’s happening there, in spite of its government,” she said. She mocked the notion “that God is in favor of a secular government or that God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel.”
“It is His land and I believe He will reclaim it in time,” Rios said.
The Senate Judiciary Committee held its first hearing today on Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be U.S. attorney general, which Senate Republicans mostly used as an opportunity to attack current Attorney General Eric Holder and to try to extract promises from Lynch that she would break course from Holder on issues like immigration enforcement.
But it might be tough for Lynch to completely appease Holder’s critics on the Right, who have repeatedly attacked the attorney general for working to fight racially discriminatory voting laws and acknowledging racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
In fact, J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official who has become one of Holder’s most prominent critics on the Right, attacked Lynch today for her statements implying that structural racism exists in areas like voting rights and law enforcement.
“I think that Lynch buys into this same grievance industry about structural racism in the United States, about how minorities cannot get a fair shake ever, that the system is stacked against them, that it’s a collectivist, anti-individual approach to things,” Adams warned the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios.
“I think that Lynch is going to sound a lot like an Eric Holder mini-me when it comes to election issues and voter ID,” he said.
Earlier in the interview, Adams discussed an article he co-wrote with the Heritage Foundation’s Hans von Spakovsky yesterday urging Republicans, as he told Rios, to use the Lynch hearings to “extract course corrections out of the Justice Department.”
In particular, Adams wants the Justice Department to stop hiring attorneys who have previously provided legal representation to terror suspects. (Similar attacks on DOJ attorneys by Liz Chaney in 2010 were condemned by a group of Bush administration officials as “shameful” and “unjust.”)
“We’ve had an attorney general who has turned toward lawyers who have worked for Al Qaeda terrorists, who were their attorneys, to then work at the Justice Department,” Adams said.
“That’s how crazy it’s gotten in the last six years, where it seems that one of the top qualifications to become a lawyer working for the Justice Department is that you used to work at Al Qaeda, or for Al Qaeda detainees.”
Adams demanded that Republicans “get a commitment out of [Lynch] to stop catering to this far-left-wing legal world that hates U.S. foreign policy, that hates detainee policy, that hates Gitmo, that that hates our war on terror.”
On her radio program today, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios raised the prospect that someone in high places may be blackmailing Sen. Robert Menendez, the New Jersey Democrat who recently agreed to delay a vote on an Iran sanctions bill he is cosponsoring as nuclear negotiations continue.
Rios speculated that Menendez has been “silenced” by someone with information about his alleged use of prostitutes. The prostitution story, which originated with The Daily Caller, was discredited after it was revealed that people were paid off to make the false claims about Menendez, possibly at the behest of the Cuban government.
But Rios seems to have missed the fact that the prostitution story was completely bogus, speculating that Menendez is now being blackmailed into delaying the vote on new Iranian sanctions.
“He has a terrible personal — there are terrible personal reports about his life, with prostitutes and young girls,” Rios said. “Remember he just barely made it through the last scandal so when people are not careful about their personal conduct, then they can be silenced over threats. Now I’m not saying — I don’t know that this is happening, but why in the world, suddenly he saw it very clearly just a few days ago, now not so clearly.”
McFarland criticized Louisiana State University professors and students who attended the protest for criticizing Jindal’s prominent role in gathering: “This undermines America. This is borderline treasonous.”
Rios, upset by a sign advertising the Satanic Temple — which is best known for taking advantage of the Religious Right’s legal claims on religious accommodation to force states to host Satanic monuments and materials — held up the sign as proof that the demonstrators were demonic.
“It is tipping its hand to the fact that this really is a spiritual battle and we can see more clearly who the enemy is,” Rios said. “This is really, pulled back the layers, we’re talking about a spiritual battle against darkness and light.”
Later, McFarland described the demonstrations as an “intense spiritually oppressive environment,” saying that he tried to explain to the protesters that “if Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, John Witherspoon, Benjamin Rush, Patrick Henry were here today, they would be in that prayer rally.”
“But the students weren’t hearing it because their one core value is sexual license and heaven help anything or anybody that tries to stand in the way of that,” he said.
Rios claimed that liberals have steered away from “rational thinking” and are now driven by a “blindness, a passion for their passions, a passion for passion, and they are not going to be logical, they are not thinking about logic, they don’t care, they just want to do what they want to do.”
“This is all about the Father of Lies, Satan, this is really a spiritual battle,” Rios said.