Larry Pratt, the far-right conspiracy theorist executive director of Gun Owners of America, who will be hosting a presidential campaign call with Sen. Ted Cruz next week, claimed last month that President Obama has “made it very clear he doesn’t like the United States” and that “he thinks that Christianity is at best on par with jihad.”
Pratt told fringe conservative commentator Stuart Vener that Obama ”doesn’t like people speaking against the dirt bag Muhammad like I just did, he thinks that that is a name to be revered, he thinks that Christianity at best is on par with jihad.”
Agreeing with Vener’s claim that Obama “wants to take everyone’s guns away,” Pratt hailed former New York mayor Rudy Giuliani for “speaking the truth” when he alleged that the president doesn’t love America.
Denouncing Islam as a “extremely murderous, extremely violent” religion, Pratt praises the Europeans who finally “got themselves together” during the Crusades to get “rid of the Muslim dirt bags”.
We’d also like to note that the cohost for Vener’s show, “Stuart Vener Tells It Like It Is!,” is a genie.
As Brian noted earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke today at a "Watchmen on the Wall" event hosted by the far-right Family Research Council, where he shared the stage with a variety of other extreme anti-gay activists.
Naturally, when Cruz took the stage this morning, after being introduced by his father Rafael Cruz, who is also an anti-gay Religious Right activist in his own right, the Texas senator promised the gathering of pastors that he will "always, always, always" stand for the right of Christian business owners to discriminate against gays in the name of religious liberty.
Lamenting opposition to "religious liberty" bills in Indiana and Arkansas that would have allowed businesses to deny services to gay customers, Cruz declared that "the modern Democratic Party has become so radical, so extreme, that they have determined that their devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any allegiance to religious liberty under the First Amendment."
Even worse, Cruz said, was the fact that some of the leading GOP presidential hopefuls fell silent during the controversy as well ... but not Ted Cruz!
"I can tell you this," he said, "I will always, always, always stand and fight for religious liberty of every American!"
Wellington Boone will also speak at the event, even though he once told the audience at another FRC conference that he wishes he could call people “faggots.” At a 2006 event featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney, Boone delivered a speech about the dangers of an island full of “sodomites,” defending laws making homosexuality a crime punished by the death penalty.
Gun Owners of America, the radical gun group that bills itself as far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy. The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Sen. Ted Cruz, a favorite of GOA’s executive director Larry Pratt.
In response, People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:
“Pandering to Larry Pratt – who believes President Obama is trying to ‘commandeer the military’ and agrees that Obama is ‘definitely capable of something as evil’ as leading black Americans to massacre white Americans – is beyond the pale, even for Ted Cruz.
“No one who aspires to be president of the United States should be willing to dignify the violent, bigoted record of someone like Larry Pratt. Cruz should pull out of this event immediately, and we’ll be paying close attention to see if other GOP candidates join these tele-town halls to appeal to the most extreme elements of their party’s base.”
Background on Gun Owners of America Executive Director Larry Pratt:
History with radical militia movement
Was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s 1996 presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Was influential in the formation of the militia movement in the 1990s.
Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.
The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.
Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”
A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”
Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.
In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”
Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.
In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.
Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
“We are seeing today profound threats to religious liberty in America, I think the greatest threats we’ve ever seen,” Cruz told conservative author and talk radio host Eric Metaxas.
Cruz said that the fights over “religious freedom” laws in Indiana and Arkansas were “heartbreaking” examples of how the Democratic Party has “gotten so extreme and so radical in its devotion to mandatory gay marriage that they’ve decided there’s no room for the religious liberty protected under the First Amendment.”
He added that while “Democrats joined with big business in vilifying an effort to protect our religious liberty,” too many Republican leaders and presidential candidates “ran and hid in the hills.”
“We’re a nation that was founded by men and women who were fleeing religious oppression and coming to seek out a land where everyone of us could worship God Almighty with all of our hearts, minds and souls, and that is under profound jeopardy today,” Cruz said.
Cruz later claimed that Solicitor General Donald Verrilli had said during last month’s Supreme Court marriage equality arguments that if marriage equality is legalized nationwide, the IRS will start denying tax-exempt status to churches. (In the exchange Cruz referred to, Verrilli had said nothing of the sort.)
“The next step on this,” he said, “is your church being told it now pays income taxes on the tithes that are given each week, that it is now singled out and discriminated against, that universities like Notre Dame or Georgetown and Brigham Young or any university that is founded as a Christian university, if it continues to follow biblical teachings on marriage, the federal government is asserting the power to discriminate and persecute them.” This led Metaxas to warn of “parallels” to what occured in Nazi Germany.
Metaxas seemed to be pleased with Cruz’s responses, especially compared to his GOP presidential rival Jeb Bush, whom Metaxas criticized for failing to forcefully denounce marriage equality and hiring “top people in his campaign who are very aggressively pro-same-sex-marriage.”
Last October, Ted Cruz spoke at an event in Duncan, South Carolina, where the activist introducing him lauded him as “an American Cicero,” joking that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell might kill him.
“We just hope that that he doesn’t end up for him like it did for Cicero because the [inaudible] killed him,” the activist said. “We just need to make sure that McConnell is not packing.”
Cruz went on to compare himself to Winston Churchill, saying that President Obama hopes to “send my head back to England too,” a reference to a right-wing meme about Obama removing a bust of Churchill during an Oval Office redecoration.
Trevor Loudon, the New Zealand conservative activist who has devoted himself in recent years to exposing President Obama as an “enemy within,” joined Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt on his radio program last month to discuss his upcoming movie, which he hopes will help get Ted Cruz elected president next year, thus saving America and the world.
Loudon promised Pratt that his movie “will go way further” than Dinesh D’Souza’s anti-Obama polemics “in exposing the Marxist” Obama. “America stands in the balance, and if America goes down, every Western country will fall, including my own,” he said.
Claiming that the president and dozens of members of Congress “could not pass a basic FBI security clearance to clean the toilets at any military base in your country,” he told Pratt that “Americans deserve to know the traitors that they have in their government.”
“If the Democrats get elected again, they’re going to dissolve the southern border, they’re going to legalize all the illegals, they’ll turn Texas blue, they’ll give them the vote, and basically you’ll have a one-party state in America,” he warned.
“Ted Cruz or a comparable patriot has to win the next election,” he said. “That is not a negotiable.”
Pratt was very impressed, telling Loudon, “Really, not since Joe McCarthy has anybody been willing to call these people out and say, ‘You don’t have the best interests of the country at heart.’”
Claiming that “any competent journalist could determine that Obama was a Marxist, a committed Marxist, his entire life with a couple of hours of decent research,” Loudon told Pratt that Obama is acting just like Russian agent sent to undermine America.
“If Obama was just incompetent, as some naïve people still tell you, clearly he’d make some mistakes in your favor from time to time,” he said. “Look, I say this, this is controversial: If Obama was a fully paid-up Russian agent, here to destroy the United States military, wreck your economy and take away your sovereignty, what would he be doing differently than he is today?”
“Collecting a bonus for a job done over and beyond expectation,” Pratt responded.
“This is Czechoslovakia in 1948, this is Venezuela under Hugo Chavez,” Loudon said. “And you’ve still got these naïve conservatives who tell you that America’s going to turn into France or Germany. I wish!”
Bright, who came in second in the Republican primary against Sen. Lindsey Graham last year, spent the campaign sharing far-right conspiracy theories, pushing “nullification” measures, and making thinly veiled allusions to his nostalgia for the Confederacy.
In a speech in 2013, he assured his audience that in the event of an anti-Obama revolution, South Carolina’s soldiers would turn against the president. “I’ve talked to plenty of soldiers, and these soldiers don’t much like what’s going on with Obama,” he said. “I mean, these are our troops, these are our family members, and I just don’t think he’ll have federal troops coming down here. to South Carolina.”
In another 2013 speech, Bright lamented that it was under Abraham Lincoln that “government started becoming God and taking over this country,” declaring that he was ready to “lay down my life” fighting Big Government.
In another campaign event, Bright pushed undisguised “welfare queen” myths, deriding people who get food assistance even though “they’ve got the nicest nails and the nicest pocketbook and they get the nicest car” and never “turn around and say thank you.”
On his radio broadcast this morning, Glenn Beck continued his incoherent attempt to explain away his comment from yesterday that he was not sure that Ted Cruz would be able to govern if he were elected president, claiming now that what he was saying is that only President Ted Cruz will be able to save America when it inevitably descends into martial law sometime in the next eight years.
"The world is about to change," Beck stated. "Mark my words, this next presidency, we will see martial law ... In this next presidency, we will see martial law, either regionally or across the entire country, I don't know. But you will see martial law because there's going to be a breakdown of the system."
"Now there is two ways that this goes," he continued. "Either the system breaks down and we go into martial law, the government closes the banks, we do what we did in the Great Depression and there are riots on the street and so we have to have martial law and it's a complete crackdown and you never get your freedoms back. Or we're better people and we do what Americans have always done and that is unite in times of crisis. I don't which way it's going to go."
Saying that it is important to have a "constitutionalist" in power when this societal breakdown comes, Beck said, "I want Ted Cruz because I believe we are going to face tough times and we may go into martial law and I want somebody that will take that and with a velvet hand, put uprisings down if we have them and then let the hand off and restore our freedoms again":
On his radio program yesterday, Glenn Beck made a rather surprising statement when he declared that he was not sure that Ted Cruz could govern effectively if he were to be elected president. Beck made the remark during a segment in which he was just randomly assessing whether any of the potential GOP candidates could govern, seemingly based on some random criteria that only Beck understood. (He also declared that Mike Huckabee would also be unable to govern if elected president.)
It was pretty obvious that even Beck did not understand whatever it was he was trying to say at the time, and predictably, he is now lashing out at everyone else for supposedly taking his "Ted Cruz can't govern" statement out of context, complaining about it on his website:
As we were discussing the challenges for Cruz and others, I mentioned that Cruz might have a tough time putting together a coalition because of all the work the media and politicians on left and right have done vilifying him. The way I tried to poorly summarize that was to say that “I’m not sure he could govern.”
Of course, the media has jumped all over that as if Vladimir Putin just came out as anti-Russia. But, context is key here. The specific example we used to discuss what we meant by “coalitions” and to “govern” was George W. Bush’s infamous decision in the midst of bailout mania as he “abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.” Bush quite clearly built a broad coalition to govern in that instance, but I don’t consider that something to aspire to.
This is also why we talked about how Jeb Bush, Chris Christie and John Mccain would be able to “govern” even though I am not a fan of any of them. Stu caught how ridiculous the way the Cruz comment sounded immediately: “you can’t think he’s the best candidate if you don’t think he can govern.”
This is obviously true. Executing the nations “policy, actions, and affairs” as the dictionary definition reads is something I consider Ted Cruz to be quite capable of. Avoiding George W. Bush type “coalitions” is precisely why I like him.
So, the media as always made this into a really big deal without context.
My question to these nitwits is this: how could I give full throated support to Ted and then not think he could govern?
I couldn't, unless
A: I am a psycho
B: I have changed my mind
C: you missed the context
The answer is C. Context matters.
I don't believe that things are going to stay the same. I believe the events that are coming are going to be so dramatic that the Republic will literally be hanging in the balance.
The country will do one of two things:
a: tear itself apart
b: come together as we always do in a crisis.
I wish I could bank on B, but I no longer know my country.
If we choose A, we will go into some sort of martial law and it will be imperative that we have a president that knows and respects the constitution and the people and will give the power back as Lincoln did.
If we choose B, then a man with vision and clear principles can and will govern.
This next president will indeed chart the course for the future and it will result in freedom unlike we have ever had due to hi tech and the constitution.
Or it will end in global an oligarchy and Russian style totalitarianism due to hi tech and the lack of a constitution.
I feel totally comfortable with Ted Cruz as the man to lead us through troubled times.
Least of all because of his father who has seen this movie before in Cuba and has raised his son for times such as this.
Please help me fight the anti ted spin and lies. If you see this story please help correct it in the comment sections and in chain emails.
Unsurprisingly, Beck's defense of himself make no sense. In the clip that we posted, Beck says that Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rand Paul, and Jeb Bush all "could govern" while Huckabee and Cruz could not. Beck has publicly been a champion of Rubio, Walker, and Paul and has not been at all shy about voicing his deep dislike for Bush.
If his standard for what qualifies a candidate as being able to "govern" is George W. Bush, whom Beck is now specifically citing as the sort of president that he doesn't want to see, then why are Rubio, Paul, and Walker on his list? And why is Huckabee not on that list, given that Beck thinks that Huckabee is a liar and "a very dangerous man"?
Beck's explanation is utterly incoherent, especially since his citation of George W. Bush as an example of bad governing is not what he said during the segment yesterday. Immediately following the end of the video we clipped yesterday, Beck and co-host Stu Burguiere had this exchange:
Burguiere: We can all look back now and it feels different in hindsight, but at the time, no one was more vilified than George W. Bush, who ran the country for eight years ... I mean, 'Bush is a terrorist' were sold in mainstream t-shirt stores in the mall.
Beck: And he couldn't govern at the end, he couldn't govern at the end and why he could govern; he couldn't govern at the beginning and he couldn't govern in the end. It was 9/11 that brought us all together.
Burguiere: Eh, there might be something to that, but towards the end he was governing the way that he was building coalitions towards the ends for things like, you know, removing capitalism to save it. I mean, that's the stuff he got broad consensus on.
Beck: Yes. That's the reason why Jeb Bush could govern.
It was not Beck who was initially arguing that George W. Bush was the negative standard for governing, since he explicitly asserted that Bush couldn't govern and it was Burguiere who was challenging Beck's assertion. On top of that, Beck then went on to say that Chris Christie and Rick Perry both "could govern" which is equally confusing if he was supposedly citing Bush's poor governing as the standard against which he was judging the current crop of candidates considering that Beck likes Perry and vehemently dislikes Christie.
The problem here is not that Beck's statement is being "taken out if context" but simply that there is no coherent explanation for why Beck thinks that Paul, Rubio, Walker, Bush, Perry, and Christie all "could govern" while Huckabee and Cruz could not.
And that is because Beck literally had no idea what he was talking about when he made this statement in the first place.
For someone who is constantly talking about how much he supposedly hates politics, it seems as if just about every episode of Glenn Beck's radio program over the last few months has featured an extended discussion about the 2016 election and the various candidates who will be running for the White House.
Today was no exception, as Beck again offered up his thoughts on whether various Republican presidential hopefuls actually have any chance of winning the election and, if so, if they possess any capability to govern if they do. The entire discussion got a bid derailed when it came to Mike Huckabee, with Beck saying that he doesn't believe that Huckabee could win or govern effectively if elected.
Co-host Stu Burguiere wondered just how Beck was making that determination, given that Huckabee actually did govern the state of Arkansas for more than 10 years, to which Beck responded that Huckabee simply does not possess the skills necessary to guide this country when "we are looking at unbelievable times ahead of us."
Surprisingly, Beck said that he believes that Sen. Ted Cruz would also be unable to govern if he became president.
"I'm not sure he could get the coalition together," Beck said of Cruz. "He'll be a bulldog and he'll stand for principles, but I'm not sure that he could govern." When Burguiere said that the same thing was said about Ronald Reagan, Beck replied that "Reagan had charm":
Cliff Kincaid does not believe that Bruce Jenner is a conservative Republican: "By that same standard, I am a transgendered [sic] communist."
If gay marriage becomes legal, Jerry Newcombe says America will no longer be "the land of the free."
Apparently, President Obama is to blame for the fact that some college students desecrated an American flag and assaulted a veteran.
Larry Tomczak warns that "disregarding divinely established standards have brought epidemic STDs on America. Millions believe we shouldn’t redefine marriage, opening the floodgates for polygamy, polyamory and pederasty."
Alex Newman says that "American children are being dumbed down and indoctrinated with outrageous values – everything from the notion that America and liberty are evil to the idea that there is no right and wrong, no objective morality, no God, and no value to human life. It is precisely these values that we are seeing on display in Baltimore and other in cities across America."
In a press conference today in front of the Supreme Court, Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter gathered a who’s who of radical anti-gay activists and “ex-gays” to deliver “restraining orders” to the Supreme Court demanding that the justices not hear arguments on the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans.
Far from a far-right pipe dream, Porter’s bill to block federal courts from ruling on marriage was introduced last week by Rep. Steve King in the House and Sen. Ted Cruz in the Senate. “We have appealed to Congress to restrain the judges, and the good news is Congress has heard our cry,” Porter said.
The activists, including Scott Lively, Peter LaBarbera and Bill Owens, also announced that they were filing a motion asking Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan to recuse themselves from the case because they, in Lively’s words, “deliberately officiated at so-called homosexual wedding ceremonies.”
Ginsburg and Kagan, Lively charged, “have committed an unparalleled breach of judicial ethics by elevating the importance of their own favorite political cause of gay rights above the integrity of the court and of our nation.”
Porter distributed to attendees copies of her new anti-gay documentary “Light Wins,” which features a number of GOP politicians and conservative activists claiming that the institution of equal rights for LGBT people will lead to the “criminalization of Christianity,” a theme heard throughout the press conference.
Greg Quinlan, an “ex-gay” activist, echoed the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins , saying a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality “will bring open season on Torah Jews and biblical Christians, and it will definitely bring open season on those of us who left homosexuality.”
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas, a Roy Moore acolyte who has been advocating for a bill in his state barring the use of funds to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples if the state’s marriage ban is struck down, declared that gay marriage is “not a marriage, it’s a mirage, because it’s counterfeit, it’s a lie, it’s untrue.”
A decision in favor of marriage equality, he warned, “would force individuals to have to condone, accept, even celebrate sexual immorality among certain elements of the population and teach it to the children.”
“It would criminalize Christianity,” he added. “The pastors would be forced to have to marry those of the same-sex.”
Peter LaBarbera, the head of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality declared that the Supreme Court is “poised to nationalize a historical anomaly, so-called marriage based on a sexual perversion, as a constitutional right.”
“A nation cannot simultaneously honor God and codify sexual sin as a supposed civil right,” he said, adding that “apparently the ‘T’ in LGBT stands for ‘tyranny.’”
Bill Johnson, a former state official with the American Family Association who now runs the American Decency Association, warned that a decision favorable to marriage equality would invite God’s "wrath upon America:
Meanwhile, Wiley Drake, a pastor who has prayed for President Obama’s death, was filming the whole event, at one point turning around to tell reporters that America has a Christian “birth certificate.”
“Our nation has a birth certificate. The president doesn’t, but our nation does.”
Speaking from the pulpit of the New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, in May 2004, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to ban same-sex marriage. Dobson’s words were simulcast into churches across the country as part of a “Battle for Marriage” rally that just happened to coincide with President George W. Bush’s hard-fought reelection campaign. Three months earlier, the president himself had announced to the nation that “to prevent the meaning of marriage from being changed forever, our nation must enact a constitutional amendment to protect marriage in America.”
Opposition to same-sex marriage emerged as a key component of the president’s reelection strategy that year, as the Bush campaign worked with Religious Right leaders, including Dobson, to marshal conservative voters to the polls to back state constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage and other unions. Ballot measures in 11 states, all successful, aided the president’s reelection bid and helped to swing the momentum, for a time, to the side of the anti-gay Right.
While a federal constitutional amendment banning marriage for gay and lesbian couples had failed to clinch the required votes from eitherhouse of Congress, after the 2004 election, Dobson stressed that “mainstream Americans” supported such an amendment, knowing that they “could not stand idly by while the radical gay agenda was forced down their throats.”
A decade later, Dobson left Focus on the Family, reportedly in part because the organization he had founded refused to give a leadership position to his divorced son. Dobson and his son Ryan now host a radio program called “Family Talk” and Focus has moved on under the less fiery leadership of Jim Daly. Ted Haggard, the pastor of the church where Dobson spoke at the 2004 “Battle for Marriage,” eventually left his post after acknowledging that he had relationships with men. An architect of Bush’s 2004 re-election strategy, Ken Mehlman, announced six years later that he is gay. Another Bush campaign strategist, Karl Rove, said in 2013 that he could see a future GOP presidential nominee endorsing gay marriage.
This dramatic shift toward marriage equality may culminate this year when the Supreme Court hears arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of cases challenging the constitutionality of the remaining state-level bans on same-sex marriage.
But the Religious Right is not ready to give up what was, until recently, a winning culture-war issue.
Now, as even many conservative pundits are predicting that the Supreme Court will strike down the remaining state bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders are preparing their response.
In a conference call with other movement figures, Dobson was steadfast in his opposition. If the Supreme Court strikes down the state bans and states across the country fail to convene “a state constitutional convention to re-examine the Constitution” on marriage, Dobson warned, “we’re going to see a general collapse in the next decade or two.”
Worse, Dobson said, there could be a war: “Talk about a Civil War, we could have another one over this.”
This style of apocalyptic rhetoric surrounding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision is not uncommon in a movement whose leaders are preparing to commit civil disobedience and calling on states to defy the court if it issues a broad ruling in favor of marriage rights for gay and lesbian couples.
The Religious Right’s current strategy in the fight against marriage equality — claiming to be the real victims while making wild warnings about imminent anti-Christian persecution — was previewed in the 2009 signing of the Manhattan Declaration and the campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act the same year.
That same year, Religious Right activists launched a relentless, but unsuccessful, campaign against the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which expanded the federal hate crimes law to include crimes motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity. The Right alleged that the bill would criminalize Christian teachings and the Bible, throw pastors in jail, quash free speech and legalize pedophilia and other illegal sex acts. In the five years following the law’s enactment, none of the wildpredictions about its effects have come close to materializing. But that hasn’t stopped the Religious Right from recycling the very same discredited claims to warn against nationwide marriage equality.
For example, Rick Scarborough, a prominent Texas pastor and activist with close ties to politicians including Sen. Ted Cruz, has repeated his unfounded claims about the 2009 hate crimes act almost verbatim when discussing the potential dangers of legalizing same-sex marriage. As did Mike Huckabee, who told pastors on a conference call that preaching against homosexuality will be criminalized. Just this month, Scarborough warned that if gay couples are no longer barred from marriage, preaching from the Bible will become a crime and anti-gay conservatives will be throwninjail. Five years ago, he made almost exactly the same dire warning about the hate crimes act.
The Religious Right’s apocalyptic rhetoric about marriage equality has only become more incendiary as many of the ban’s defenders begin to expect that they will lose at the Supreme Court.
Nazi Germany, Jim Crow comparisons
Increasingly, Religious Right leaders have been portraying the push for equal rights for the LGBT community as a fascist, Nazi-style movement that will usher in a wave of oppression. And much like how Martin Luther King Jr. and the Civil Rights Movement resisted Jim Crow, these activists argue, conservatives must also defy gay rights laws that they view as equally if not more oppressive.
Bryan Fischer, the conservative radio host and former American Family Association spokesman, regularly claims that gay people are modern-dayNazis and to blame for the rise of Nazism in Germany, asserting that Adolf Hitler was “an active homosexual” who recruited gays into his cause because “homosexual soldiers basically had no limits and the savagery and brutality they were willing to inflict on whomever Hitler sent them after.”
David Lane has said that Christians in America “must risk martyrdom” over the issue of marriage equality. Likewise, American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios has repeatedlyurged opponents of gay rights to “prepare for martyrdom.”
Even more frequently, anti-gay activists maintain that gay rights will usher in a new form of slavery and Jim Crow.
“Apparently someone forgot to tell the Stormtroopers in the homosexual movement about the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement, and freedom of both will and conscience,” Fischer said last year. “The leaders of the Gay Gestapo have become our new slave masters. They can now send us to the hole if we refuse the massa’s demands.”
Fischer has also charged that gay rights measures violate the constitutional ban on slavery, and even declared that as a result of gay rights, “Jim Crow is alive and well, we’ve got Jim Crow laws right back in operation, Christians are the new blacks.”
Brian Brown, the head of the National Organization for Marriage, has similarly claimed that gay rights advocates are practicing an “anti-religious” version of Jim Crow, while Fox News pundit and RedState editor Erick Erickson has said that “gay rights activists use the tactics of Bull Connor to push for what they declare civil rights.”
Perkins, the Family Research Council leader, is one of the most visible and vocal figures in the Religious Right, frequently appearing on national television and hosting his own daily radio show. Perkins also organizes an annual conference, the Values Voter Summit, which brings top Republican politicians together with Religious Right activists. But despite his veneer of respectability, Perkins is just as extreme as activists considered to be on the far-right fringe: He has spoken out in defense of Uganda’s “kill the gays” measure and called gay rights supporters Satanic, among other things.
Perkins has also taken to warning that if the Supreme Court sides with marriage equality advocates, the U.S. will see a full-blown revolution.
Perkins warned in 2012 that if the Supreme Court were to strike down same-sex marriage bans throughout the country, “I’m telling you what, I think you will create a firestorm of opposition. I think that could be the straw that broke the camel’s back, when you look at a nation that is so divided along these moral and cultural issues that you could have — I hate to use the word — a revolt, a revolution. I think you could see Americans saying, ‘you know what, enough of this,’ and I think it could explode and just break this nation apart.”
“They’re sowing the seeds of the disillusion of our republic,” Perkins said of gay marriage supporters in 2014. “I think there’s coming a point that they’re going to push Christians to a point where they’re not going to be pushed anymore, and I think we’re very quickly coming to that point.”
As the Supreme Court considered a pair of marriage cases in 2013, Perkins said that the threat of a revolution may keep the justices from striking down same-sex marriage bans:
I believe the court will push as far as they think they can without creating a social upheaval or a political upheaval in this country. They’re smart people, I think, they understand how organizations and how societies work and if you get your substructure out of kilter with the superstructure, if you get government out of whack with where the people are and it goes too far, you create revolution. I think you could see a social and cultural revolution if the court goes too far on this.
Just last month, Perkins again predicted that the Supreme Court could trigger an uprising with a ruling in favor of marriage equality: “If the court imposes upon the nation a redefinition of marriage, I don’t think the nation is going to accept it, I absolutely don’t, and the conflict that is going to come as a result of it.”
Perkins may not find much support for his anti-gay revolution from the public at large, but he may find his some willing participants in his fellow Religious Right leaders.
“The church and people of faith and values need to rise up” against such a ruling, he said in 2013. “We just simply cannot allow this to become the law of the land.”
The previous year, Staver warned that marriage equality “could be the unraveling of the United States” and trigger a civil war:
This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of. This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war. I’m not talking about just people protesting in the streets, this could be that level because what would ultimately happen is a direct collision would immediately happen with pastors, with churches, with Christians, with Christian ministries, with other businesses, it would be an avalanche that would go across the country.
After the Supreme Court struck down a key portion of DOMA, Staver declared that the country was “crossing into the realm of rebellion, we’re crossing into the realm of revolution.”
The Alabama Example
After the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision led to a string of federal court decisions striking down bans on same-sex marriage, Religious Right leaders pleaded for governors and other state officials to openly flout the rulings.
Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and presidential candidate, said state and local officials should simply refuse to enforce such rulings, explaining: “Well, the courts have spoken and it’s an important voice, but it’s not the voice of God and the Supreme Court isn’t God.”
Finally, they found their answer in Roy Moore, the elected chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
Moore emerged as a conservative hero over a decade ago, when he defied orders to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he installed in the courthouse rotunda during his previous term as chief justice. When the standoff eventually led to Moore losing his post, he parlayed his newfound fame into two unsuccessful gubernatorial campaigns and even a presidential “exploratory committee.” Moore also launched his own far-right legal advocacy group, the Foundation for Moral Law.
Moore returned to the court after winning a statewide election in 2012 and two years later, he once again made national headlines when he ordered state probate judges, who are responsible for issuing marriage licenses, to disregard a Bush-appointed federal judge’s decision striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Moore demanded that the state flout the ruling, saying that it had no need to implement the decision.
His case against marriage equality is simple: “Homosexuality is wrong and we all know it. Marriage of the same sex is wrong and we all know it.” Moore’s legal advocacy organization, now led by his wife, defended his order to probate judges by explaining that “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”
Moore took his show to the road, telling a rally in Texas held in his honor that he hopes he will not have to “give his life” in the fight against gay marriage. He warned at a Family Research Council event that the government will soon legalize “parent-and-child” marriages and justify “taking your children simply by the same logic they’re following.”
“Christians need to stand up and do their duty to God as their duty to their country,” he said.
Some Republicans and their allies in the Religious Right hope that Moore’s defiant stance will serve as a model for the rest of the country.
A bill introduced in Texas not only declares that the state does not have to follow any U.S. Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality, but it goes one step further by blocking funding for the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The bill would go so far as to punish state employees who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, barring such employees from “a salary, pension, or other employee benefit.”
In North Carolina, a group of Republican lawmakers want to create a religious exemption for officials in charge of issuing marriage licenses who don’t want to follow a recent court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Staver’s group, Liberty Counsel, filed a lawsuit “requesting emergency protection from the state courts for any magistrate who refuses to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple.”
GOP lawmakers in Oklahoma reacted to a court ruling striking down their state’s marriage ban by proposing a bill which would remove any judge who issues a marriage license to a same-sex couple and deny salaries, benefits and pensions to any state employees involved in marrying gay couples. Another bill in Oklahoma would remove judges from the marriage licenses process altogether and instead restrict marriage duties to “an ordained or authorized preacher or minister of the Gospel, priest or other ecclesiastical dignitary of any denomination who has been duly ordained or authorized by the church to which he or she belongs to preach the Gospel, or a rabbi.”
End of the Line
While social conservative leaders have mostly focused on the purported repercussions of a decision that they see as unfavorable, they also have a plan in case the court sides with their arguments: demand that states roll back same-sex marriage rights and re-impose bans previously removed by the voters, lawmakers or courts.
For now, though, right-wing leaders will be focused on doing what they always do: misleading their supporters about the so-called dangers of gay rights, making reckless charges of religious persecution, and supporting unconstitutional means to promote their discriminatory goals.
However, Dobson and his allies do see the silver lining of legal gay marriage. In a conversation with Dobson the week before the Supreme Court’s oral arguments in the marriage cases, pastor Jim Garlow and former National Organization for Marriage president Maggie Gallagher predicted that Americans will ultimately reject gay marriage once the country experiences its horrible consequences; that is, if America is able to survive that long.
Days after attending a reception hosted by two gay hotel magnates, Sen. Ted Cruz has introduced two bills that he hopes would block a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage. One bill would amend the U.S. Constitution to allow states to prohibit same-sex marriage; the other, Bloomberg News reports, “would bar federal courts from further weighing in on the marriage issue until such an amendment is adopted.”
Rep. Steve King introduced a similar measure in the House this week to “strip federal courts of the ability to hear any case involving the issue of marriage equality.”
As Kyle noted yesterday, the proposal put forward by Cruz and King “was the brainchild of Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter,” the anti-gay activist who recently “warned that gay marriage was responsible for Noah's flood” and made a film arguing “that gay activists seek to criminalize Christianity,” among other claims: