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.”
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.”
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.”
“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.”
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.
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.”
While much of Ted Cruz’s interview with Glenn Beck last week focused on the supposeddangers 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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
“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.”
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.
The Faith and Freedom Coalition, the Religious Right group led by disgracedright-winglobbyist 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.”
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."
Last month, we noted that Sen. Ted Cruz had picked Lee Bright, a state senator with a record of stoking fears of a new civil war, to co-chair his presidential campaign in South Carolina. Cruz has now made a similarly revealing choice in Tennessee, according to the AP, picking Tea Party activist and former Williamson Country GOP chairman Kevin Kookogey to lead his campaign in that state.
Back in 2012, Tennessee Republican Gov. Bill Haslam faced a backlash within his own party. His offense? Picking a Muslim American woman who had previously built expertise in Sharia-compliant finance — helping Muslim business owners arrange for loans in ways that don’t run afoul of religious restrictions on paying or collecting interest — to a top economic position in the state.
Egged on by anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney, who warned that “ the financial jihadists will soon be targeting the Volunteer state for infiltration and influence operations,” a number of county GOP committees passed resolutions condemning Haslam for his hire. One of those resolutions was spearheaded by Kookogey, who told Talking Points Memo that Haslam had neglected to “consider that, perhaps, those bent on destroying Western Civilization might just be infiltrating our institutions.”
“It is not like this has never happened before,” he continued. “The Muslim Brotherhood is following the blueprint of the Communists, who infiltrated the highest levels of government and society in the 1950's. Shariah, however, is an even greater threat, because it has cloaked itself under the auspices of a religion, thus confusing the uninformed."
Kookogey also used his position as county GOP chairman to warn that Agenda 21 — a nonbinding UN sustainable development resolution signed by President George H.W. Bush — “ is, in fact, an insidious strategy of environmental totalitarianism”:
Of course, the choice of Kookogey as a top state official isn’t a huge surprise coming from Cruz, who himself has claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in American life and warned that Agenda 21 is a scheme to abolish golf courses.
GOA has posted audio of the call on YouTube, and it was quite the love-fest. Cruz thanked the “fighters” and “patriots” at GOA for endorsing him when he ran for Senate in 2012, and said that the group “played a critical part in helping get me elected.” Media Matters captured the comment:
Cruz specifically praised GOA’s extremism, saying, "I agree with Ronald Reagan who said we must paint in bold colors and not pale pastels, that's why I'm running and that's one of the things I love about GOA is GOA has never been accused of painting in pale pastels."
GOA definitely does not paint “in pale pastels.” For instance, the group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, is fond of saying that the Second Amendment exists for the purpose of putting the fear of assassination into politicians who disagree with him on gun issues. Just the latest example of this was in April, when Pratt declared, “The Second Amendment was designed for people just like the president and his administration” and “Democrats who want to take our rights.”
The love between GOA and Cruz is mutual. Pratt frequently sings the praises of the junior senator from Texas, saying that Cruz “ has not disappointed us and I’m certain that he’s not going to disappoint us,” and rejoicing that “everybody understands that Ted Cruz runs the United States House.” The New York Times has described Cruz as Pratt’s “key ally in the Senate.”
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.
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.”