Ted Cruz

Right Sees 2016 as Chance to Take Over Supreme Court, Reverse Marriage Equality

Right-wing leaders have spent the past month denouncing as illegitimate and tyrannical the Supreme Court’s June 26 decision that declared state laws banning same-sex couples from getting married to be unconstitutional. In addition to waging a campaign of resistance to the ruling, right-wing activists are looking toward the 2016 presidential elections as a chance to pack the Court with far-right justices who will overturn the decision.

Journalist Paul Waldman argued recently that 2016 will be a Supreme Court election because right-wing voters will be motivated by anger over their losses on marriage and health care, even though “the Roberts Court has given conservatives an enormous amount to be happy about” – gutting the Voting Rights Act and giving corporations and zillionaires the right to spend as much as they want to influence elections, and much more.

Waldman says even though the Court’s conservative are likely to do more damage to workers’ rights and women’s access to health care during the next term, “All that is unlikely to banish the memory of the last couple of weeks from Republicans' minds, and you can bet that the GOP presidential candidates are going to have to promise primary voters that they'll deliver more Supreme Court justices like Alito, and fewer like Anthony Kennedy or even Roberts.”

Indeed, presidential candidates have been making such promises.

  • Jeb Bush told right-wing radio host Hugh Hewitt that he would focus on “people to be Supreme Court justices who have a proven record of judicial restraint.”
  • Donald Trump denounced Jeb Bush for having supported the nomination of Chief Justice John Roberts, even though Roberts has presided over the most corporate-friendly Court in modern history and vigorously dissented from the marriage equality ruling. A Trump advisory said Supreme Court appointments were among the “many failings of both the Bush presidencies.”
  • Ted Cruz has vowed to make the Supreme Court “front and center” in his presidential campaign; he called the Court’s rulings on marriage equality and the Affordable Care Act among the “darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history” and is calling for constitutional amendments to limit Court terms and require justices to face retention elections.
  • Marco Rubio: “The next president of the United States must nominate Supreme Court justices that believe in the original intent of the Constitution and apply that. We need more Scalias and less Sotomayors.”
  • Rick Perry: Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said he is disappointed with the ruling and pledged to "appoint strict Constitutional conservatives who will apply the law as written."
  • Chris Christie: “If the Christie-type justices had been on that court in the majority, we would have won those cases in the Supreme Court rather than lost them.”
  • Bobby Jindal: "So it's not enough just to get a Republican in the White House, we need to have a Republican that will appoint justices that actually read the Constitution. [Justice Antonin] Scalia said it best on the Obamacare case. He said 'look, this means that words no longer have meanings. This means we've got a court where they don't read the Constitution, they don't read a dictionary.'…"It's time to get some justices that will stop being politicians, stop obeying the public opinion polls, and actually read and obey the Constitution."
  • Mike Huckabee, who has made an attack on “judicial supremacy” the centerpiece of his presidential campaign, said. “I guarantee you in a Huckabee administration there will be very different kind of people appointed to the court.”
  • Scott Walker denounced the Court’s decision on marriage, saying “The states are the proper place for these decisions to be made, and as we have seen repeatedly over the last few days, we will need a conservative president who will appoint men and women to the Court who will faithfully interpret the Constitution and laws of our land without injecting their own political agendas.

Candidates are responding to the demands of right-wing leaders and organizations, who see the 2016 election as a chance to cement right-wing control of the Supreme Court for a generation.

The National Organization for Marriage says that the definition of marriage should be a “pivotal issue” in 2016, and called on Americans to elect a president who will appoint "new justices to the Supreme Court who will have the opportunity to reverse" the decision to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide.

At a Heritage Foundation panel discussion on the Court’s marriage ruling, Carrie Severino of the right-wing Judicial Crisis Network, declared, “The next president will likely have one, two, maybe three Supreme Court nominations,” adding that the Court’s Obergefell ruling “is not the final decision in this series….”

She also looked ahead to the elections and the “generational impact” of future Supreme Court justices:

“I think it’s important to have judges on the court that are going to be faithfully interpreting the Constitution, and therefore to make sure that there’s a president in place, and senators in place, who recognize the overarching importance of this issue….

Ryan Anderson of the Heritage Foundation said that Justice Kennedy’s majority opinion in Obergefell cited “new insights” into marriage and that a Court with more right-wing justices could use their own “new insights” to overturn the marriage equality decision. He urged the anti-marriage-equality movement to conduct new research into gay parenting (citing the widely discredited Mark Regnerus study on “family structures) to give future right-wing justices some justification for overturning the recent ruling. 

“I could see a situation in which the Court has a different composition, as Carrie mentioned, chances are the next president will have up to four seats to fill. At Inauguration Day three of the justices will be in their 80s and one of them will be 78. So there’s a chance that there will be a different composition of the Court. And if there are new insights into marriage, and new insights into the rights of children, that could be a possibility for the Court to reconsider.

Also weighing in, the notorious Frank Schubert, architect of the anti-equality movement’s anti-gay messaging strategy:

The court’s decision will also powerfully inject marriage into the 2016 presidential contest. The most direct course to reverse this ruling lies in the next president appointing new justices to the Supreme Court. Social conservatives will do everything possible to ensure that the Republican nominee is a strong pro-marriage champion, making this a litmus test throughout the GOP primaries and caucuses.

Paul Waldman says that, believe it or not, John F. Kennedy was the last Democratic president who had the chance to nominate a replacement for a conservative Supreme Court justice. Given the age of the justices, he says, “it would be strange if at least one or two didn't retire in the next president's term (the last three presidents each appointed two justices).”

If the next president gets that chance, no matter which party he or she comes from, it will profoundly affect the court's direction. If a Republican could appoint someone to replace Ginsburg or Breyer, it would mean a 6-3 conservative majority, which means that Kennedy would no longer be the swing vote and there would be a margin for error in every case. If a Democratic president were to replace Scalia or Kennedy, then the court would go from 5-4 in favor of the conservatives to 5-4 in favor of the liberals.

Those two outcomes would produce two radically different Supreme Courts, with implications that would shape American life for decades.

If progressives want to see a Court that vigorously protects the right to vote, that does not regularly bend the law in order to give more power to the already-powerful, that recognizes that the “equal” in “Equal Protection” means what it says, that does not regard the separation of church and state as some jurisprudential mistake, and that understands that Americans have a right to limit the corrosive influence of money on our elections, then they should make the Court an overriding issue for progressives in the 2016 elections.  Those who see a very different role for the Supreme Court, and wish for a very different America, have already made the connection.

 

PFAW

Cruz: Obama And Clinton 'Snuggle Up To Radical Islamic Regimes Who Hate America'

Sen. Ted Cruz, after receiving flak for alleging that President Obama is sponsoring terrorism, told conservative radio host Dana Loesch yesterday that the president should debate him one-on-one on the merits of the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, “and if he can’t be pulled off the golf course then he can send as a proxy Secretary Kerry.”

He accused Obama, along with Secretary of State John Kerry and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, of trying to “snuggle up to radical Islamic regimes who hate America,” adding that “this administration undermines allies of America and supports regimes that have deep ties to radical Islamic terrorists.”

The Texas Republican mentioned the Iranian regime and Egypt under Mohamed Morsi’s presidency, along with Turkey, as proof that Obama administration officials "consistently favor those forces that are benefiting radical Islamic terrorism at the expense of the national security of America and of our allies.”

Religious Right Billionaire Wilks Brothers Give Millions To Ted Cruz Super PAC

Dan and Farris Wilks, Texas billionaires who made a fortune from the fracking boom and have showered millions of dollars on right-wing organizations, have given $15 million to Keep the Promise, a super PAC supporting Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, according to a CNN story by Theodore Schleifer which was highlighted by John Wright at Towleroad today.

"Our country was founded on the idea that our rights come from the Creator, not the government. I'm afraid we're losing that," Farris Wilks, a 63-year-old pastor in the small town of Cisco, said in a statement to CNN. "Unless we elect a principled conservative leader ready to stand up for our values, we'll look back on what once was the land of opportunity and pass on a less prosperous nation to our children and grandchildren. That's why we need Ted Cruz."

Farris’s brother Dan added that America needs a “leader that will stand up for biblical morals…a leader who encourages hard work, not one who tells people who don’t work that they should make the same living as people who do. We need a leader who will make sure America doesn’t end up a socialist nation.”

Last year, RWW documented the Wilks brothers’ massive funding of anti-gay and anti-abortion groups, as well as organizations in the Koch brothers’ political networks. And that’s only counting gifts we know about because they are made through foundations created and funded by the brothers and their wives -- the Thirteen Foundation for Farris and Joann and Heavenly Father’s Foundation for Dan and Staci.

Earlier this year, we reported that the Wilks brothers have been backing the work of Christian=nation extremist David Lane. Lane has always refused to tell reporters who funds his events, which are carried out by his American Renewal Project under the umbrella of the American Family Association. But as we reported in June,

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.

In 2013, the Christian Broadcasting Network identified the Wilks brothers as members of Lane’s “Pastors and Pews” network, which brings right-wing candidates, including GOP presidential contenders, to meet-and-greets with conservative evangelical pastors. Lane sponsored an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel taken by more than 60 members of the Republican National Committee in January, as well as a series of prayer rallies for Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal and Nikki Haley.

Not coincidentally, Lane has praised the world of big-money politics created by the Supreme Court with its Citizens United decision and related rulings, explicitly praising multi-million-dollar super PAC donations in an interview with 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.”

The Wilks brothers’ worldview, hinted at in their statements above, is grounded at least in part in the theology taught in the church founded by their father, at which Farris is now a pastor. In his sermons, Farris Wilks has quoted Christian-nation “historian” David Barton, denounced government social spending as socialism, warned that tolerance of “sexual perversion” and abortion “could bring about the end of our nation,” and declared in response to Barack Obama’s re-election as president, “I do believe that our country died that Tuesday night, to all that’s honorable, that’s good, that’s ambitious, and that has justice.”

No wonder they love Ted Cruz.

 

Ted Cruz's Hearing on Supreme Court's Marriage Equality 'Tyranny'

Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has repeatedly called recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage and health care reform “tyranny.” On Wednesday, he used his platform as chair of the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts to hold a hearing on “Supreme Court activism” in which he said that the marriage equality ruling was “the very definition of tyranny” and that “Justice Kennedy’s pop psychology has no basis in the text and history of the Constitution.”

Among the witnesses Cruz called was John Eastman, chair of the National Organization for Marriage. Eastman said a simple majority of states should be allowed to override Supreme Court decisions. (While we’re talking about “tyranny,” let’s not forget that Eastman recently defended Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act and hoped for its swift reinstatement.)

Cruz is far from the only right-winger crying “tyranny” over the prospect of gay couples getting married. We have seen right-wing activists and politicians denounce the marriage equality ruling in the most apocalyptic terms, and charge that it will bring unprecedented religious persecution to the U.S. Right-wing Catholic Hugh Brown of the American Life League even said that Justice Kennedy had “betrayed” Jesus. Another, Michael Hichborn of the right-wing Catholic Lepanto Institute, said Kennedy should be excommunicated.

Some have been calling for states to resist or ignore the ruling (Liberty Counsel is defending county clerks who refuse to do their jobs), or negate it with a “creative” law. Some are focused on passing laws to allow government officials and business owners to discriminate against same-sex couples – like the proposed federal First Amendment Defense Act. Some are calling for constitutional amendments to overturn the marriage ruling. And some are looking at the 2016 presidential election as an opportunity to pack the Court with far-right justices.

Cruz has called for a constitutional amendment that would require justices to face retention elections, and has said he would also support term limits on justices, an idea promoted by fellow presidential contender Mike Huckabee.

Ted Cruz: I've Been Singing Donald Trump's Praises On Immigration

Ted Cruz has been more than happy to attack his Republican opponents for the presidency, save one: Donald Trump.

During an appearance on “The Jan Mickelson Show” last week, Cruz insisted that “the Democrats support illegal immigration,” which led him to praise Trump for his remarks describing immigrants as rapists.

“It’s one of the reasons why I’ve been so vocal in the past couple of weeks defending Donald Trump because you’ve had a whole slew of 2016 Republican candidates running out of their way to smack Donald Trump with a stick, and not only am I not going to do that but I’ve been singing his praises,” Cruz said, before adding: “He is absolutely right.”

Jade Helm 15 Is Here! The GOP Politicians Who Encouraged Panic Over President Obama's 'Texas Takeover'

This spring, when far-right conspiracy theory websites started buzzing about Jade Helm 15, a planned military exercise in western states that they said was a cover for President Obama’s plans to impose martial law on Republicans states, we expected apoplectic reactions from the fringiest of right-wing circles. But who else was going to take it seriously?

Plenty of people, it turns out, including Republican politicians seeking to capitalize on anti-Obama fears in order to lift their profile in the increasingly far-right party — a poll in May found that a full one-third of Republicans believed that the government was “trying to take over Texas.”

Today, as the military exercise begins, we look back at five Republican politicians who, whether credulously or cynically, fed the Jade Helm 15 frenzy.

1. Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the first GOP politician this fringe conspiracy theory into the Republican mainstream, assuring concerned citizens that he had ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the potential takeover effort.

After he became the object of national criticism and ridicule, Abbott said that the actually thought the military exercise would “work out just fine” and blamed President Obama for stirring up suspicion:

“Frankly, I gotta tell you, I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence. We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been,” said Abbott. “And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”

2. Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry initially criticized Abbott’s fanning of the Jade Helm 15 flames, saying that while “you can always question” civilian leadership, “I think our military is quite trustworthy.”

But the presidential candidate quickly got the messaging memo, telling Glenn Beck that while President Obama invites unhinged conspiracy theories, when he’s president, everyone will trust the government:

3. Ted Cruz

Not to be outdone by his presidential rival Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz assured his flock that he had “ reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise ,” and although he had “no reason to doubt” the official line about the training exercise, “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, “because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”

4. Louie Gohmert

After Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, Rep. Louie Gohmert threw himself into promoting the conspiracy theory, releasing a statement saying that the conspiracy theorists were “legitimately suspicious” because “true patriots” and Christians were being persecuted in America.

Gohmert continued with some theories of his own:

Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in 'hostile' control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.

Such labeling tends to make people who have grown leery of federal government overreach become suspicious of whether their big brother government anticipates certain states may start another civil war or be overtaken by foreign radical Islamist elements which have been reported to be just across our border. Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.

Like Abbott and Perry, Gohmert was insistent that the whole conspiracy theory was President Obama’s fault:

5. Rand Paul

We’ll give Rand Paul credit for seeming a little surprised when a popular Iowa talk radio host asked him about Jade Helm 15, although he said he’d been hearing about it from constituents and would “look into” it. If Paul ever did look into it and find that the conspiracy theory was completely bogus, however, he never bothered to say so.

Ted Cruz: Gay Marriage Ruling Will Spark A 'Raging Inferno'

During a Fourth of July celebration at the Rock Springs Church in Milner, Georgia, Ted Cruz lambasted the Supreme Court for its recent ruling on marriage equality.

Cruz hoped, however, that the court’s decision would prompt a massive backlash, in remarks posted by the conservative website Red Kudzu: “It is my hope that that marriage decision serves as a spark to start a fire that becomes a raging inferno and an awakening that sweeps this country as the body of Christ rise up to defend the values that have built America into this great nation that we are.”

He also noted that many Republican politicians responded to the decision by “publicly issuing critical statements and privately going in the backroom popping champagne and celebrating.”

Ted Cruz & Glenn Beck Agree: America Facing Imminent Destruction

While much of Ted Cruz’s interview with Glenn Beck last week focused on the supposed dangers of marriage equality, the two did find time to condemn the “liberal media” and warn of America’s looming downfall.

Cruz claimed that while “left-wing reporters” may seem nice, “they hate us.” He told a story about how he warned a staffer that such reporters “want to destroy you” and “take your life and fillet you on the front pages,” insisting that members of “the mainstream media” are “protecting Barack Obama and they are ready for Hillary.”

Things only went downhill from there:

Beck: We are facing, I think, destruction—
Cruz: Yes.
Beck: As a nation, I think we’re off the Constitution. Would you agree with that?
Cruz: Yes, absolutely.
Beck: Especially with the rulings last week, we are just making it up now as we go.
Cruz: Yes, yes.
Beck: So if we don’t correct it now, we’re done.
Cruz: It is now or never.

Ted Cruz: Gay 'Propaganda Effort' To Blame For Marriage Equality Victory

In an interview with Glenn Beck last week, Sen. Ted Cruz said that the two recent Supreme Court rulings on the Affordable Care Act and marriage equality are “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history” because they represent, as Beck put it, “the end of the Constitution.”

“This is hand-in-hand with a concerted assault on religious liberty and a concerted assault on the Judeo-Christian values this country was built on,” Cruz said of the marriage ruling, dismissing polls showing growing support for gay rights as biased since “it is very easy to design a poll to get the result you want.”

“We are seeing a propaganda effort from the mainstream media and from Hollywood” to legalize same-sex marriage, he added. “This notion that gets repeated everyday on the mainstream media is baloney.”

Meanwhile, Beck congratulated himself for courageously resisting the temptation to ask Cruz about his theory that the NSA is “blackmailing” Chief Justice John Roberts.

Ted Cruz’s South Carolina Co-Chair: Confederate Flag Is 'A Proud Symbol' Of 'Freedom,' Gay Marriage Is A 'National Sin'

South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, the top Tea Party challenger to Sen. Lindsey Graham in last year’s Republican primary and now a state co-chair of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, took to the floor of the state senate today to urge legislators to focus not on removing the Confederate flag from state grounds but to instead confront the “national sin” of marriage equality.

Raw Story grabbed the video of Bright warning that "the devil is taking control of this land, and we’re not stopping him":

It’s important to note that Bright’s anti-gay rant was not a tangent unrelated to the issue of the Confederate flag, which South Carolina lawmakers are debating today. Bright, a leader of the effort to keep the flag on statehouse grounds, has directly linked the two issues, writing in a Facebook post in defense of the flag that “the recent SCOTUS decisions teach us anything, it’s that states’ rights are under attack more than ever.”

Bright has likened efforts to remove the Confederate flag to a “Stalinist purge” and his campaign has started handing out Stars and Bars bumper stickers to supporters.

In an email urging his supporters to sign a petition supporting the Confederate flag last week, Bright defended the flag as a symbol of the “brave Confederates” who “made a bold stand against an oppressive government that far overstepped its Constitutional limits” and of “a culture that values freedom, even in the face of federal tyranny.”

Is there any doubt that states’ rights are under attack more than ever before?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the latest liberal hysteria surrounding the placement of the Confederate battle flag has swept the nation. And unfortunately, many of my conservative friends and colleagues have fallen prey to this radical, Big Government scheme.

With all the noise surrounding this issue, please allow me to be abundantly clear where I stand. It is my fervent belief that the Confederate flag is a proud symbol of the following:

  • Resistance against a federal, centralized power that FAR overreached its Constitutional limits.
  • States’ rights and Constitutional liberties, which many have fought and died protecting.
  • Southern heritage and a culture that values freedom, even in the face of federal tyranny.

It is certainly important for us to take steps that prevent future acts of violence. But in this pursuit of peace, should we also dismantle the historical symbols that memorialize states’ rights?

My answer is an emphatic “NO!”

The plain and simple truth is that the placement of this flag will not prevent future tragedies. It’s abundantly clear that the radical liberal agenda is behind this push to remove the flag, which raises the question: where does it all end?

Are we to also remove the names of Confederate officers from our roads? Should we crumble all the Civil War monuments that dot our nation’s landscape?

[NAME], it’s time to take a stand. Right here. Right now.

Over 150 years ago, brave Confederates made a bold stand against an oppressive government that far overstepped its Constitutional limits. Will you please take a stand with me now by signing my online petition to keep the flag flying ?

States all over the nation are giving ground to the radical liberals by removing the symbol of states’ rights from their historical monuments. But if we can make a stand here and now, we can send a strong message to the elites in DC that states’ rights are still alive and well.

Please click here now to sign my petition , which I will then present to my colleagues in the South Carolina legislature. Let’s show them how much we value our heritage!

Cruz, for his part, has criticized people “parachuting” into South Carolina to denounce the flag.

 

Ted Cruz: Obama Attacking 'Jewish Churches' Over Gay Marriage

In an interview with Glenn Beck last Thursday, Ted Cruz once again badly misrepresented an exchange between Solicitor General Donald Verrilli and Justice Samuel Alito during Supreme Court arguments on the constitutionality of gay marriage bans, telling Beck’s listeners that the Obama administration may soon try to strip churches of their tax-exempt status if their pastors refuse to officiate gay couples’ weddings.

Hyping these unfounded fears, Cruz also said that the Justice Department will similarly target “Jewish churches” that refuse to perform same-sex marriages. (This is not the first time Cruz has spoken of the plight of “Jewish churches”).

Earlier in the program, Cruz agreed with Beck’s assessment that people “who practice real religion” may be “done” as a result of religious hostility in America.

“Christians are being persecuted, people of faith are being persecuted for following biblical teachings on marriage,” Cruz said. “If people of faith do not stand up in this next election, I fear the greatest nation in the history of the world will be lost.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/1/15

Why The Right's Response To Marriage Equality Is Anything But Principled

This post by PFAW and PFAW Foundation Senior Legislative Counsel Paul Gordon was originally published in the Huffington Post. 

Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, and other conservative leaders have recently lashed out against the Supreme Court's decision on marriage equality by proclaiming that local clerks who don't personally agree with marriage equality should not be required to issue marriage licenses or perform weddings for same-sex couples - even though it's their job to provide that service to the public.

Their logic is fundamentally flawed. Civil marriage is a civil function, not a religious one. Government employees allowing someone to access their legal rights are not doing anything religious, nor are they condoning the actions being licensed any more than with any other type of license.

That's why when government employees in our country have had religious objections to divorce and remarriage, they have still had to do their jobs. And when government employees have had religious objections to interracial marriages, they have still had to do their jobs. So, too, have government officials with other religious objections to whether or how certain couples get married.

But when the particular religious belief in question is opposition to lesbians and gays, that's apparently a different matter altogether. Now, suddenly, we're told that government employees need to have their religious liberty "protected."

A principle of religious liberty that is invoked only in the context of one particular religious belief is no principle at all. It is a pretext.

The far-right movement that is coalescing around these "protections" allowing civil servants to impose their religious beliefs on others and deny them service does not have clean hands in this regard. While they proclaim loudly that they just want to "live and let live," the policies they have pursued vigorously for decades have aggressively sought to prevent LGBT people from having basic human rights. The Right's new clamor for "protections" is just another form of homophobia.

If the religious right simply wanted to "live and let live," they would not have spent these past decades seeking to impose their religious beliefs about homosexuality on others both through custom and through force of law. They would not have boycotted television networks for airing shows portraying LGBT people as ordinary people. Nor would they have screamed bloody murder when popular celebrities came out of the closet. They would not have fought to prevent us from raising children. They would not have battled to ensure that surviving members of couples be denied Social Security survivor benefits. They would not have opposed letting us serve our country in the intelligence services or in the military. They would not have put so much energy into convincing Americans that we are sexual predators going after their children. They would not have tried to bar us from teaching in public schools. They would not have threatened us with criminal prosecution just for our private, consensual sexual conduct.

Whether it's religious refusals specific to marriage, more general Religious Freedom Restoration Acts in a post-Hobby Lobby world, or Sen. Mike Lee's misleadingly named "First Amendment Defense Act," the Right is yet again attacking LGBT people. With a growing number of Americans - and now the Supreme Court - affirming that the right to marry is a right guaranteed to all regardless of sexual orientation, some on the Right have come to understand that their best tactic to fight marriage equality is to couch their homophobic goals with the language of "religious liberty" instead of explicitly speaking out against LGBT rights. But it's up to all of us to make sure that they do not succeed in these efforts to portray themselves as virtuous defenders of religious liberty, because in reality they're just waging another war against LGBT people.
 

PFAW

The Time Bobby Jindal Waged War On A Local Official's 'Religious Liberty' To Deny Marriage Licenses

In wake of the Supreme Court’s decision on marriage equality, Republican leaders, led by GOP officials in Texas and North Carolina, have rallied behind the idea that public officials should be able to deny marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples if they say same-sex marriage conflicts with their religious beliefs.

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said that local clerks should be allowed to deny licenses for such reasons, as has his GOP White House rival, Bobby Jindal:

Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has said Louisiana court clerks and other state employees who don't want to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples because of religious objections won't have to do so.

Jindal's office has said the governor's religious freedom executive order as well as state and federal law will protect clerks and state employees who have moral objections to gay marriage and don't feel comfortable handing out licenses to same-sex couples.

"We believe the U.S. Constitution, Louisiana Constitution, Louisiana's Preservation of Religious Freedom Act, as well as our Executive Order prevents government from compelling individuals to violate sincerely held religious beliefs. We will continue to fight to protect religious liberty," said Mike Reed, spokesman for the governor's office.

The Louisiana governor, however, was singing a different tune back in 2009.

That year, a local justice of the peace “refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple” because he said he doesn’t “believe in mixing the races that way.” He went on to say that he denied the marriage license out of interest for the wellbeing of children, an argument similar to those marriage equality opponents make today.

Jindal said at the time that the justice of the peace violated the law and should lose his job:

The actions of a justice of the peace in Louisiana who refused to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple have prompted some top officials, including Gov. Bobby Jindal, to call for his dismissal.

Jindal said the state judiciary committee should review the incident in which Keith Bardwell, justice of the peace for Tangipahoa Parish's 8th Ward, refused to issue a marriage license to Beth Humphrey, 30, and her boyfriend, Terence McKay, 32, both of Hammond.

"This is a clear violation of constitutional rights and federal and state law. ... Disciplinary action should be taken immediately -- including the revoking of his license," the Republican governor said.

When the justice of the peace eventually resigned, Jindal said it was “long overdue.”

But now Jindal is trying to defend justices of the peace who are refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, citing the same arguments about personal beliefs and the welfare of children and describing himself as a “religious liberty” champion in doing so.

A History Lesson For Ted Cruz: Religious Right Once Opposed Interracial Marriage

In the run-up to the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality, anti-LGBT activists bristled at comparisons to the Supreme Court’s 1967 ruling in Loving v. Virginia, insisting that bans on same-sex marriage shouldn’t be compared to anti-miscegenation laws since the latter didn’t have a religious basis.

Of course, while indeed the vast majority of Christians today oppose laws restricting interracial marriages, many Christians at the time used much the same arguments in defense of interracial bans as conservatives do to oppose same-sex marriage today (something one pro-equality pastor demonstrated creatively back in 2012). In fact, one-fifth of white evangelicals and Mississippi and Alabama Republicans still look down upon interracial marriages.

Nonetheless, Ted Cruz said today in an interview with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie that unlike same-sex marriage bans, “there is no religious backing” for interracial marriage bans, and therefore government officials should be allowed to deny marriage licenses to same-sex couples if they say issuing such licenses would violate their religious beliefs. He also seemed to suggest that discrimination against interracial couples ended with the Civil War.

Cruz should know better. After all, the Tea Party leader announced his presidential campaign at Liberty University, the school founded by Jerry Falwell, one of the fathers of the modern Religious Right movement, who denounced both desegregation and interracial marriages in religious terms.

And in a 2013 speech for the Heritage Foundation’s “Jesse Helms Lecture Series,” Cruz said that “we need 100 more like Jesse Helms in the U.S. Senate,” a reference to the notorious civil rights opponent who Tim Murphy notes “got his political start by bashing interracial marriage and accusing the spouse of a political opponent of dancing with a black man.”

Helms and Falwell were far from alone, as a majority of Americans opposed interracial marriage at the time the Loving case was decided. Another Religious Right leader, Bob Jones Sr., said in 1960 that “all orthodox, Bible-believing Christians” think that racial integration is wrong. Until they didn’t.

Indiana Anti-Gay Bill Was Ted Cruz's Alamo

At a campaign stop at a shooting range in Iowa earlier this week, captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of his support for a since-altered Indiana law that would have opened the door for private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, comparing his stand to that of Texas soldiers at the Alamo.

“Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their sock drawer.”

But Ted Cruz, said Cruz, was made of stronger stuff.

“In my view, Indiana was a time of choosing. In my view, Indiana was, as William Barret Travis at the Alamo said as he drew the line in the stand, it was a moment to choose which side of the line you stand.”

Cruz previously referred to opposition to Indiana’s measure as a gay “jihad.”

Religious Right Powerbroker David Lane: 'We Are Mobilizing An Army'

The Washington Times today profiled David Lane, the far-right extremist who is working with the Republican National Committee to mobilize conservatives come Election Day, and trains pastors to get “involved in the ‘dirty’ game of politics.”

These trainings, part of Lane’s effort to recruit 1,000 pastors to run for office, have particularly popped up in early primary states, with one speaker, Bruce Waltke, urging “the righteous” in attendance to “defend against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare.”

Presidential candidates such as Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee, the conservative outlet notes, recently joined Lane’s training sessions or are scheduled to do so (Rand Paul and Rick Perry have also made appearances at Lane’s events).

“Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism,” the article continued, while adding that Lane criticized Caitlyn Jenner’s “perverse” gender transition as a “mark of a decadent society.”

“We are mobilizing an army,” David Lane, founder of American Renewal, told The Washington Times on the sidelines of the training session, which he named after a biblical tribe of Israel that produced wise leaders.

During the six-hour session, Bruce Watke [sic], author of “Proverbs and Politics: The Biblical Foundation for Righteous Governing,” told the rapt attendees that there has been a misunderstanding of the separation of church and state in politics. He used parables to outline the need for Christians to be involved in the “dirty” game of politics.

“The righteous must defend society against the wicked by vigilant and spiritual warfare. If Christians don’t fight, the wicked will plunder their heritage,” Mr. Watke [sic] said. “With hard work, the wise will prevail over the evil as surely as oil protects iron from rust, as cedar wood protects cloth from moths and salt preserves meat from maggots.”

Dave Hageman and Steve Michael, the young political masterminds behind the American Renewal Project’s $2 million ground game in last year’s U.S. Senate races that helped turn out low-propensity evangelical Christian voters, shared a beginner’s guide on running for office, outlined the mechanics of campaign operations and provided some insight into messaging.



In response to a question about Bruce Jenner, he said he feels sorry for the former Olympic athlete, who now goes by the name Caitlyn, whom he argued needs prayer. He shook his head at the attention the “liberal” media have given to his “perverse” behavior.

“The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin,” he said. “That is what they are doing.”



Fighting back tears, Mr. Lane prayed for mercy over the 55 million babies that have been aborted since Rove v. Wade, the mounting national debt, the growing acceptance of homosexuality and fears of Islamic terrorism.

Some of the big names in Republican Party politics have taken notice. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, a declared presidential candidate, attended the second training in Oklahoma, and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who is expected to enter the presidential race June 24, addressed a training session in Baton Rouge and last week’s session in South Carolina.

Mr. Huckabee is scheduled to appear at the next training session July 10 in Orlando, Florida. Close to 100 pastors have signed up for the event.

Right Wing Round-Up - 6/11/15

John Kasich Kicks Off Presidential Bid By Addressing Religious Right Gathering

The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgraced right-wing lobbyist Ralph Reed, is holding its annual “Road to Majority” conference next week. Nearly every Republican presidential candidate has signed up for the event, and today, the FFC announced that Ohio Gov. John Kasich will be addressing the conservative summit.

Kasich recently made waves by tapping John Weaver and Fred Davis, two veterans of John McCain’s 2008 campaign, to work for his increasingly likely campaign for president.

The conference is cosponsored by radical right-wing groups such as Concerned Women for America, the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family & Property and the World Congress of Families, and will feature speeches from Religious Right favorites such as Reps. Steve King and Louie Gohmert, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, Christian Broadcasting Network “reporter” David Brody, pastor Jim Garlow, rabbi Daniel Lapin and activists like Phyllis Schlafly, Lila Rose and Gary Bauer.

Clearly, no right-wing activist is too radical or corrupt for Republican presidential candidates to embrace, which is why Kasich, Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Rick Perry, Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal, Lindsey Graham and Carly Fiorina have no qualms about attending this event organized by someone like Reed.

Reed is best known for his involvement in the Jack Abramoff scandal, where he organized a Christian Coalition anti-gambling campaign in Alabama with the help of secretive funding from Mississippi tribes that owned casinos – who just so happened to be Abramoff’s clients that didn’t want business competition from the neighboring state. Reed denied knowing the source of the funding, even though investigators uncovered emails from Abramoff asking Reed to send invoices for approval from a Mississippi tribe which controlled major gaming interests. Abramoff later said that Reed “didn't want it out that he was getting gambling money,” adding that Reed was “a tap dancer and constantly just asking for money.”

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 6/9/15

  • It looks like Ted Cruz easily won over the Religious Right activists who gathered for the secretive Council for National Policy vetting session.
  • OneMillionMoms is now going after the TV Land show "Impastor," warning the network "that if the show does air, then we will contact sponsors aggressively."
  • The person handling the Duggar family's current public image crisis also just happens to be one of Mike Huckabee's long-time political advisors.
  • Joseph Farah says that "it's not only true that Christians and Jews are facing a new wave of marginalization and persecution in America today, it’s also true that those precious freedoms are also under assault."
  • Phyllis Schlafly uncovers Hillary Clinton's "devious plan to capture even more illegal-alien vote" and stuff the ballot box.
  • Finally, David Ravenhill has a dire warning: "As tragic as Bruce Jenner's twisted mind and mutilated body has become, it is nothing in comparison to what is about to be unleashed. The scriptures make it clear that God is not mocked and that whatever we sow we reap. And when we sow to the wind we will reap a whirlwind."
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