Todd Starnes

Paranoia-Rama: Another Todd Starnes Hoax, New Birther Conspiracy, Best Of Cliven Bundy

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

It turns out that getting in bed with anti-government extremist Cliven Bundy wasn’t the best idea for conservative pundits hoping to stoke anti-Obama sentiment. Now, they may also want to consider ditching serial fabricator Todd Starnes and conspiracy theorist David Horowitz as well.

5. Todd Starnes Embarrasses Himself, Again

When Fox News pundit Todd Starnes started publicizing the story of a Florida girl who said that a teacher told her to stop praying during lunch because “it’s not good to pray,” we had our suspicions. After all, Starnes habitually publishes Christian-persecution horror stories that end up being completely fabricated.

As luck would have it, it turned out that the girl in question was the daughter of the man in charge of publicizing Starnes’ book on supposed cases of anti-Christian persecution, a fact which Starnes conveniently failed to disclose in his original report.

And this week, a school investigation found that “there is no way possible” that the person identified by the girl as the one who stopped her from praying “was anywhere near the lunchroom” when she said the event occurred.

“For what the school endured, this is very vindicating,” a school district spokesman told the Orlando Sentinel, citing the harassment the elementary school received following Starnes’ bogus reporting.

4. Matt Barber Doesn’t Understand How Satire Works

Since Religious Right activists still frequently cite a sarcastic 1987 essay called “Gay Revolutionary,” it was no surprise to see anti-gay activists seizing this month on William Saletan’s obviously satirical article titled “Purge the Bigots” about the firing of Mozilla CEO Brendan Eich.

The Iowa-based group The Family Leader, led by Bob Vander Plaats, pointed to Saletan’s column to warn that gays want Christians to be “eliminated,” illustrating their blog post with a photo of a concentration camp.

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber wrote an entire column denouncing Saletan …until he was forced to rewrite it after realizing that the Slate writer’s essay was a satire.

That’s okay, as sometimes we think Barber’s purportedly serious columns are so funny that we mistake them for satire.

3. Blame Obama For Kansas City Shooting!

Did President Obama inspire a former Ku Klux Klan leader to target Kansas City Jewish centers in a deadly shooting spree? In the deranged world of right-wing paranoia, the answer is an obvious yes. Appearing on Sean Hannity’s radio show, conservative luminary David Horowitz said the shooter was “encouraged by the American left” and argued that Obama has incited anti-Semitism.

“[A]fter the Second World War, there was a certain intolerance towards these types of attitudes, thanks to the American left, which goes right into the White House,” he added. “Obama is also responsible for this — attacking Israel.... And the truth is that Barack Obama is a menace to American security, and the sooner — and of course you can't impeach him because you can't impeach the first black president.”

Erik Rush for his part blamed Obama for fueling the country’s “anti-Semitic tone” and “fomenting racial discord between various races, between blacks and whites.”

2. New Birther Hysteria

While WorldNetDaily has been the source of many (debunked) birther conspiracy theories, the outlet has tried to cover up its birther past in order to make way for the Canadian-born Ted Cruz’s possible presidential bid. But in a last-ditch effort to save its dying cause, WND’s Jerome Corsi now claims that a British “self-proclaimed intelligence expert” has bombshell evidence that will redeem the birther movement.

“[Michael] Shrimpton contends to this day that the CIA collected DNA from then-Sen. Obama and a grandparent, establishing that Stanley Ann Dunham was not Obama’s biological mother,” Corsi reports. “Shrimpton says he was informed that Obama was born in Mombasa, Kenya, in about 1960, which means, he said, the information sits in British intelligence files, because that territory was under the British Empire at the time.”

In fact, Shrimpton says “Edward Snowden, as part of his negotiations to leave Hong Kong, agreed to deliver to Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow the classified U.S. military intelligence file on Obama’s DNA.”

While Shrimpton has yet to reveal to Corsi — or anyone else for that matter — this shocking evidence, he insists that this is part of a wider cover-up of the nefarious activities of a secret German intelligence agency that he says is behind a potential nuclear attack on the London Olympics, an international pedophile ring linked to Tony Blair and the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

We cannot wait for Corsi’s next report on Shrimpton’s clearly credible testimony.

1. Cliven Bundy Meltdown

Tyranny! FEMA Camps! World War III!

What we’re getting at is that the far-right didn’t exactly have the most reasonable or balanced approach to Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with law enforcement.

But it seems that deciding to lionize and rally around a militant anti-government extremist wasn’t the best choice, as now Bundy is getting attention not for his “patriotism” but for his deranged racist rant.

“I want to tell you one more thing I know about the Negro,” he said. Mr. Bundy recalled driving past a public-housing project in North Las Vegas, “and in front of that government house the door was usually open and the older people and the kids — and there is always at least a half a dozen people sitting on the porch — they didn’t have nothing to do. They didn’t have nothing for their kids to do. They didn’t have nothing for their young girls to do. “And because they were basically on government subsidy, so now what do they do?” he asked.

“They abort their young children, they put their young men in jail, because they never learned how to pick cotton. And I’ve often wondered, are they better off as slaves, picking cotton and having a family life and doing things, or are they better off under government subsidy? They didn’t get no more freedom. They got less freedom.”

Of course, Bundy and his ally Alex Jones are blaming the New York Times, which first reported on his statements, for distorting Bundy’s words by quoting him verbatim:

Todd Starnes Gets Definitively Debunked

A few weeks ago, we wrote a post about the amazing coincidence that was at the center of one of Todd Starnes' recent columns about a young girl who had allegedly been told that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch in her elementary school lunch room.

As it turned out, the young girl just so happened to be the daughter of the man who is the Vice President of Sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Starnes' next book, which just so happens to be all about how religious liberty is under attack in America.

Even after this rather curious connection was pointed out and the school said there was no evidence that the incident had even happened, the parents and their lawyers at the Liberty Institute continued to demand an investigation and an apology from the school; at one point even arranging a line-up of school employees so the girl could identify just which teacher had allegedly told her that she was not allowed to pray.

The school at the center of this "controversy" bent over backwards to satisfy the parents and conducted a full investigation into the incident. Yesterday, the school district announced its findings and, as expected, found the allegations to be completely bogus:

School officials said Wednesday that they can't find any evidence to suggest that a kindergartner was told not to pray in a Seminole County elementary lunchroom.

But the school district apologized anyway, and a lawyer for the girl's parents said they are satisfied with the outcome.

"We found zero evidence an incident ever occurred," said district spokesman Mike Lawrence. "There's no proof whatsoever."

...

As for the identified staffer, a school-district investigator has concluded that "there is no way possible that person was anywhere near the lunchroom" that kindergartners and first-graders use. In addition to the student and her family, the district has interviewed staffers, the accused adult and Gabriella's classmates, Lawrence said.

Predictably, the parents and their right-wing attorney are trying to use the fact that the school issued a perfunctory apology to spin this as a victory:

In a statement, Jeremy Dys, the family's attorney, said, "We are grateful for the apology offered by Seminole County Schools. The Perez family gladly accepts this apology, along with the assurances to the community by the School Board that students in Seminole County School are free to exercise their First Amendment freedoms while at school."

Todd Starnes Attacks Government 'Jihad' Against Cliven Bundy

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes has championed lawless rancher Cliven Bundy’s armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management, even going as so far as to claim that “they used to string folks up” for what the BLM did to Bundy.

In his radio alert yesterday, Starnes attacked the “government agents waging jihad” against Bundy, while dismissing the “legalese” surrounding Bundy’s extremist legal claims.

Right Wing Leftovers - 4/22/14

  • In a shocking development, a poll commissioned by the Family Research Council and America Values found "that 82 percent of Republican and Republican-leaning independents" oppose gay marriage.
  • The Patrick Henry Center for Individual Liberty has lost its tax-exempt status after the IRS determined that it “has shown a pattern of deliberate and consistent intervention in political campaigns."
  • Todd Starnes has very clever insights.
  • Any event featuring Wiley Drake and James David Manning is bound to be an exercise in insanity.
  • Finally, it is more than a little ironic that J.D. Greear, a pastor speaking at the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics Religious Liberty Commission Leadership Summit, would complain that "[p]reaching against homosexuality in our day is about as popular as preaching against slavery and racism in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1861."

Paranoia-Rama: Bundy Ranch Showdown, 'Gay Jihadists' & Fox News's Fear Of Muslim Voters

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

On top of all the dizzying anti-government rhetoric emanating from the Bundy Ranch fiasco, the right-wing still had time this week for extremist and bizarre claims about gays, Muslim-Americans and Hillary Clinton.

5. Bundy Ranch Rallying Cry

Fox News, Tea Party groups and the Koch brothers-backed Americans for Prosperity have become major cheerleaders for Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy and his allied militias in their lawless stance against Bureau of Land Management, consistently citing debunked claims that the BLM is working on behalf of a solar energy project led by Harry Reid and a Chinese firm.

Fox News host Sean Hannity hinted that the government was trying to murder Bundy, and his network colleague Todd Starnes suggested that violence would have been an appropriate response to the authorities who confronted Bundy after his defiance of several court rulings.

Conservative activists and commentators have compared Bundy to Rosa Parks and Mahatma Gandhi and likened the militia members to the colonists who fought the Battle of Bunker Hill.

Astoundingly, the violent rhetoric of Bundy and his supporters was even too much for Glenn Beck.

4. The ‘Gay Jihad’

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, whose over-the-top columns are so unbelievable that he may in fact be deliberately trying to embarrass the conservative movement and undermine it from within, this week warns that “‘gay’ jihadists,” along with the “power class of cultural Marxists and left-wing statists,” are pushing an “anti-Christian, sexually anarchist sociopolitical agenda.”

“Most people are naturally repulsed by the mechanics of homosexual conduct,” Barber writes, warning that their “filthy practice” is “the squalid, unnatural and feculent abuse of both the reproductive and digestive systems. Yuck.”

Therefore, he warns that gays need to take over public schools and the media in order to “indoctrinate” the public against their better instincts to oppose gay rights.

But Barber goes on to lament that most people aren’t as smart or brave as he is, leaving them easy prey of the gay “jihad.”

3. America’s Star Of David Badge?

Eagle Forum’s national political chairwoman Sandy McDade says that while she wants the governor to require people show a photo ID in order to vote, she opposes the REAL ID Act because it will turn America into Nazi Germany.

McDade, who also heads Eagle Forum’s Louisiana chapter, testified at a Louisiana legislative hearing on Tuesday against a REAL ID compliant driver’s license bill, warning that a gold star on the license is reminiscent of the Star of David badge that the Nazis forced Jewish people to wear.

2. Birth of the Shoe Truthers

It was only a matter of time before conservative activists conjured up a conspiracy theory about the incident in which a woman threw a shoe at Hillary Clinton while she was delivering a speech in Las Vegas. Writing for Fox News commentator Bernard Goldberg’s blog, Arthur Louis speculated that “Hillary arranged to have the shoe thrown at her” in order to “make her seem presidential.”

Herman Cain, who at one point was the frontrunner for the 2012 GOP presidential nomination, suggested that Clinton engaged in “fakery,” and tweeted an article from his website’s editor-in-chief, Dan Calabrese, about how “only a completely naive fool” would believe that Clinton didn’t stage the incident.

In the article, Calabrese carefully analyzed Clinton’s movements when the shoe was thrown in her direction, concluding that she had a “snarky grin on her face” and did not have “a natural reflex action.” “Listen carefully to the inflection,” he wrote. “I'm just asking: Did that sound sincere?”

Rush Limbaugh also weighed in, saying that he wouldn’t reject the “shoe truther” conspiracy theory because it all could have been a ploy to discredit conservatives who criticize the former secretary of state’s handling of the Benghazi attack.

So, it should come as no surprise that less than 24 hours after Chelsea Clinton announced that she is pregnant with her first child, we already have Clinton baby truthers.

1. Muslims Can Vote? What A Scandal!

Of course, Fox News hosts Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Steve Doocy believe that a new group working to increase the civic involvement of the Muslim-American community is a dangerous threat to the US, so they invited former congressman Allen West to spread insane fears about the Muslim Brotherhood taking over the country.

Because only to Fox News is an effort to increase voting and participation in public life an attempt “to wage jihad from within.”

Todd Starnes Claims University Is Pushing 'Ethnic Cleansing' Of White People

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes is outraged by the president of Western Washington University’s deliberately provocative comment, which he has made at each of the school’s past six opening convocations, that “if we are as white in ten years as we are today, Western will have failed as a university.”

The president, Bruce Shepard, was referring to the fact that even though Western is a public university, its student body is disproportionately white compared to Washington state’s racial and ethnic composition and that diversity will improve students’ educational experience.

In his daily radio bulletin yesterday, Starnes said that Shepard’s statement is in fact a sign the university is embarking on an “ethnic cleansing” of white people.

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/15/14

Right Wing Round-Up - 4/11/14

  • PFAW: Edit Memo: Judicial Confirmations Under Bush and Obama — By the Numbers.
  • David Neiwert @ Hatewatch: Pete Santilli’s Violent Rant about a ‘Fight to the Death’ in Nevada.
  • Jeremy Hooper: Iowa's governor signs truly unbelievable proclamation.
  • Warren Throckmorton: Deja Vu All Over Again: David Barton Misleads Audience Again About Crime Statistics.
  • Andrew Kirell @ Mediaite: Just Try to Get Through the First Page of Todd Starnes’ New Book Without Laughing.

Todd Starnes Warns Gay Rights Will Lead To 'Cultural Armageddon'

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes is outraged that TV shows these days include “families with two mommies or two daddies or a mommy who identifies as a daddy,” arguing in a Charisma column today that the gay community is largely responsible for the rise of divorce and single parent households.

Starnes interviewed Southern Baptist megachurch pastor Robert Jeffress, who told him that marriage equality for same-sex couples “is having devastating sociological effects” because “when you counter something, you cheapen its value.”

“The traditional nuclear family is on the verge of disaster,” Starnes writes. “And once the nuclear family explodes, the United States should brace for a cultural Armageddon.”

I grew up in a time when father still knew best—when Mr. Cunningham was dispensing words of wisdom to Fonzie, when Andy took Opie fishing and when Cliff Huxtable declared that he brought his son into the world and he could take him out. It was a time when Hollywood reinforced the values of the traditional American family. Television shows like The Waltons, Little House on the Prairie and The Brady Bunch presented portraits of strong families where parents ruled the roost and children knew their place.

Those days are long gone. Nowadays, children know best and dads are portrayed as dithering dolts. Instead of a mom and dad and two kids, the cul-de-sac includes families with two mommies or two daddies or a mommy who identifies as a daddy—and they’ve been saddled with gender-neutral offspring.



Critics might argue that the nation’s divorce rate is actually declining. But [Robert] Jeffress believes that’s evidence of a much greater problem.

“Fewer and fewer people are getting married, so fewer people are getting divorced,” he says. “The overall health of the American family is in critical condition.”

Jeffress believes the legalization of same-sex marriage has “cheapened” traditional marriage.

“When you counter something, you cheapen its value,” he says. “When you say marriage is whatever you want it to be, people begin wondering—why bother getting married anyway? This counterfeit of marriage is having devastating sociological effects. More kids are being raised in one-parent homes. You simply cannot break God’s most basic moral law without serious ramifications.”

What Can We Do?

The solution is simultaneously simple yet challenging. Simple in that we must return to God’s pattern for the family. God is the one who created the family. Before the church, He created the family—the fundamental unit of community.

Yet re-establishing that unit as God intended it within our culture is easier said than done, obviously, because of the fervent opposition to biblical values.

The warning signs are all around us. The traditional nuclear family is on the verge of disaster. And once the nuclear family explodes, the United States should brace for a cultural Armageddon.

Can we prevent such a catastrophe by returning to God’s design for the family? Like it or not, answering that question begins with the church.

Paranoia-Rama: Satan's Gay Graham Crackers, Obama's 'Illegal Alien Hordes' & 'The Communist States Of America'

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

Every time we think we are tired and bored from hearing the constant complaints from far-right pundits about how President Obama is a communist tyrant, they always seem to find new ways to entertain us. Maybe they will eventually move on to more pressing issues, like Satan’s use of graham crackers to advance homosexuality.

5. Satanic Graham Crackers

Joining other anti-gay activists calling for a boycott of Honey Maid graham crackers because of a TV ad featuring a gay couple, the American Decency Association said this week that the company’s “This Is Wholesome” ad is proof of Satanic deception: “Satan wants us to see sin as normal and not so bad…. Honey Maid and others are putting two moms in a same-sex relationship. They are making two dads to seem normal. Both are wrong; both are unwholesome; both run contrary to the Word of God.”

The group adds:

It’s not a matter of acceptance; it’s a matter of an evil agenda which is being pushed upon America and around the world. Satan continues to attack God’s design and skew it to his own workings. He continues to take words like “wholesome” and “family” and twist them for his own purposes. He takes a symbol of God’s promise (the rainbow) and hijacks it, twisting it to his own design. Satan calls it normal; God calls it sin. We live in a day when “evil” is called “good” and “good” is called “evil.” That which is meant to glorify God (family, the church, etc) is being taken and bent out of shape until it is hardly recognizable.

Honey Maid offered this moving response to their critics:

4. Revolt Against Obama’s ‘Communist States Of America’

Liberty Counsel attorney Matt Barber’s weekly columns are so consistently ridiculous (and unintentionally hilarious) that they seem to be written by a liberal trying to make conservatives look bad. Barber didn’t disappoint with his latest commentary accusing President Obama of bringing communism to America.

“[N]early every adult who, at any time, was in any position of influence over a young, soon-to-be-radicalized Barry Soetoro was an avowed communist,” Barber writes. “To all this I say, if the jackboot fits, wear it. If it quacks like a commie and goose-steps like a commie, then a commie it is.”

He concludes by calling for a revolt against Obama: “We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America. Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand.”

3. Tea Party Group Embraces ‘Sandy Hook Truthers’

The National Liberty Foundation, a Florida-based Tea Party group, is now pushing the latest “Sandy Hook truther” conspiracy that President Obama orchestrated the school shooting in order to justify a crackdown on gun rights: “This my dear friends was all staged… we didn’t believe it at the time, but this is how far your president went to get your guns…. Don’t let anything he does surprise you… He wants to be a dictator, he doesn’t want to get out of the White House and he loves spending your money… Hmmm, I wonder where their off to next?”

The group posted an image of a the razed Sandy Hook elementary, which was demolished after the town voted to tear down the school, to claim that the administration is “destroying the evidence.” The group also advanced the conspiracy theory that the same female actress was photographed at the Sandy Hook, Aurora and Boston Marathon bombing aftermaths.

Raw Story notes that the Tea Party group also “questioned whether Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was hijacked and taken to a ‘secret U.S. military base on a remote island in the Indian Ocean.’”

2. Obama ‘Destabilizing’ America With ‘Hordes Of Dangerous Illegal Aliens’

Fox News has jumped on a misleading Center for Immigration Studies report that dishonestly accuses the Obama administration of releasing “68,000 convicted criminal aliens” last year.

Fox pundit Todd Starnes called the report “indisputable proof that the Obama Administration is destabilizing the nation by allowing hordes of dangerous illegal aliens to invade the country,” telling listeners of his radio bulletin to “be prepared to take whatever measures necessary to protect your family and your home.

This is not a time to be politically correct so here’s the cold hard reality - the United States is being invaded. And the Obama administration has been complicit in the invasion. Instead of repelling the invasion, the Obama administration is welcoming the invaders with open arms and providing them food stamps, driver’s licenses and health insurance.

Now we know how the Ukrainians feel.

It’s beyond frightening to imagine that our own government as unleashed this kind of evil on our streets. And heaven forbid, these illegals harm our wives and children. Should that happen, their blood is on the Obama Administration’s hands.

As Media Matters has documented, Starnes was not the only Fox commentator to use the report to promote anti-immigrant views.

However, Fox News Latino pointed out the serious flaws in the report, which unfortunately will go unnoticed by most Fox viewers.

1. Celebrating Health Insurance Enrollments Proves Obama’s A Dictator

Glenn Beck is so outraged that the “sociopath” President Obama organized a press conference to hail the millions of people who enrolled in health insurance plans under the Affordable Care Act, that he insisted he is “not going to pay attention” to Obama anymore… but nonetheless went on an epic rant where he criticized the “rat bastards” in the media and attacked Obama as a “full-fledged dictator.”

The Amazing Coincidence Behind Todd Starnes' Latest Christian Victimization Column

Earlier today we wrote a post about a new Religious Right tale of supposed victimization emerging out of Florida involving a young girl who was allegedly told that she was not allowed to pray in the lunchroom before eating her lunch.

The whole thing seemed rather suspect, as these tales usually are, since it emerged from a video posted on YouTube by the girl's parents and was then immediately turned into a column by Todd Starnes, who is notorious for ginning up these sorts of one-sided, fake controversies:

A Florida school district is giving teachers a refresher course on religious liberty after the parents of a five-year-old kindergarten student said a teacher told their daughter that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch time meal.

Marcos Perez, of Oviedo, Fla., said the incident occurred earlier this month in the lunch room at Carillon Elementary School.

He said his daughter  was sitting at a table about to eat when she bowed her head and began to pray.

“A teacher saw her and told her, ‘you’re not allowed to do that,’” he said.

Perez said his little girl replied, “But it’s good to pray.” The teacher alleged replied, “It’s not good.”

He said his daughter tried to pray once more but was admonished by the teacher. The child was not formally punished, he said.

“She’s a really good girl and if there are rules, she follows them,” he said. “She knows the biblical values we are raising her with. She was really conflicted but she wanted to submit to the authority.”

Perez said he and his wife were so upset over the incident they sat down with a video camera and had their daughter recount what happened. They posted the video to YouTube. And they also tried to reassure their daughter that she had done nothing wrong.

As we noted this morning, school officials are denying the incident took place, but now that the story is gaining some national attention, local media outlets have begun reporting on it and revealing interesting things ... such as the fact that this young girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the Vice President of Sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' next book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Just last month, Charisma House issued a press release that featured none other than Perez promoting Starnes' forthcoming book:

“We are highly anticipating the release of God Less America,” said Marcos Perez, vice president of sales at Charisma House. “From a sales standpoint, we believe this contest will engage our partnering bookstores and add to the momentum that is already building for this book release.”

FOX News commentator Todd Starnes’s highly anticipated book God Less America(FrontLine/Charisma House) uses both recent news stories and compelling interviews with today’s top conservative leaders to bring to light what is happening across our country. In his award-winning, satire-meets-serious writing style he strikes an important blow in today’s culture wars.

What are the chances that one month before Starnes' book, in which he seeks to catalog just how religious liberty is being squashed in America, is released, an incident like this takes place that perfectly exemplifies the very thing that Starnes' book claims to chronicle? 

Even more amazingly, it just happens to involve the daughter of the very man responsible for promoting Starnes' book!

What an amazing coincidence!

The Religious Right's Never-Ending Campaign To Gin Up Tales Of Victimization Rolls On

Last week, a video was posted on YouTube featuring a five year-old girl telling her parents that she was told by a "lunchroom teacher" at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch.

When the little girl responded that "it's good to pray," she claims that she was told "it's not good" and was prevented from praying.

Naturally, after the video was posted on-line, serial fabricator Todd Starnes picked it up and turned it into a column while the Family Research Council featured the story in its daily email. On top of that, attorneys from the Religious Right legal group Liberty Institute are now representing the parents and will hold a press conference today:

Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys invites all working media to attend a press availability with Mr. Perez, Tuesday, April 1, at 3:30 PM ET on the sidewalk by the sign outside of Carillon Elementary School, 3200 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo, FL. 

"Of course, students can pray at school!" said Dys.  "As the Supreme Court held over half a century ago: Students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.'  The school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding."

The Perez Family cited this offense to their daughter's religious liberty as the most immediate reason to remove their daughter from the public education system. "Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home," said Marcos Perez.  "We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised."

All the attention is now generating some local media coverage and, as usually happens in these sorts of cases where Religious Right activists gin up some tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution, school officials are saying the incident never happened:

Michael Lawrence told Local 6 that the principal spoke with staff members in the cafeteria at the time of the incident and said no one recalled having any contact with the child.

"The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school's investigation," said Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools. "We're dealing with very young children here so there's quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube."

...

Lawrence said the lunchroom is not under video surveillance and the alleged incident was not recorded. Lawrence also added that the school district allows children to pray on campus anytime.

"If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that," said Lawrence. He said the principal will remind staff members that prayer in school is OK.

...

School board member Amy Lockhart told Local 6 the incident cannot be confirmed.

"However, that being said I would be greatly disturbed to find that any Seminole County Public School student had their individual liberties infringed upon in this manner by one of our staff members," said Lockhart. "The freedom to pray when, where and how one chooses is a foundational freedom of our great nation."

If this seems familiar, that is probably because it sounds a lot like the tale of Raymond Raines, a two decade-old myth about a young boy who had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Louis that Religious Right activists still cite today even though it is totally false.

Update: In a totally unsurprising development, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the VP of sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' forthcoming book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Todd Starnes Suggests God Opposes Obamacare

In a radio bulletin yesterday about today’s Supreme Court hearing on Hobby Lobby’s challenge to Obamacare’s contraception mandate, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes said that the case really presents a choice between Obamacare and God: “Obamacare takes on the Almighty tomorrow at the Supreme Court.”

Starnes said that the contraception mandate will “force” Christians to pay for “life-terminating drugs” and will let “Obamacare trump religious liberty.”

However, as Tiffany Stanely of The Daily Beast notes, “the contraceptives in question” are “not being used to terminate established pregnancies.”

Credit Where Due: Todd Starnes Ends Interview With End Times Fanatic Rick Wiles

Several times over the last few weeks, we have wondered why members of Congress and Religious Right activists continue to appear on the radio program hosted by conspiracy theorist and End Times fanatic Rick Wiles, given that Wiles is a bona fide crackpot and a loose cannon, which is something that Todd Starnes learned first-hand when he appeared on Wiles' program on Friday.

Starnes was on to discuss his recent column about a controversy at the Air Force Academy over cadets posting Bible verses on their dormitory white boards, which brought a complaint from Mikey Weinstein, the director of the Military Religious Freedom Foundation.

Wiles announced that he was fed up with Weinstein and said that he needed to be met by a bunch of special forces commandos in a dark alley and "given an attitude adjustment." To his credit, Starnes took offense at that statement, denounced it, and ended the interview:

Wiles: You know what Mikey Weinstein needs? I'll say this on my radio show, I can get away with it: he really needs to be met in a dark alley by a couple of special forces commandos and given an attitude adjustment. You don't have to comment, Todd; I said it on my program. I'm fed up with that guy.

Starnes: I have to really incredibly object to that.

Wiles: I'm fed up with the guy. I'm fed up with the guy.

Starnes: Well, that may be the case but this is a free country and individuals are allowed to voice their opinions of whether or not they agree or disagree and they should be able to do so without any threat of violence or force ...

Wiles: Okay, but he doesn't just express his opinions ...

Starnes: It doesn't matter ...

Wiles: He's pursuing Christians. He is on a war against Christianity.

Starnes: Well, that is certainly his right. The issue here is not Mr. Weinstein and, again, we should live in a country where people can express their views without any threat of violence. The issue here is the Air Force Academy and this idea that they kowtow to ever single telephone call they receive from him.

Wiles: That's the point I'm making.

Starnes: And I do apologize, but I do have to end this interview. Again, we just strongly object to that comment you made, sir.

Wiles: I didn't mean to offend you, Todd. I'm just saying I think many Americans are just plain fed-up with this guy.

Starnes: Well, I'm sure they are and again, but we do have to end this interview. Thank you very much.

Wiles: Okay Todd, thank you. Good bye. Well, I tried to five years to get Todd Starnes on TruNews. I finally got him and he hung on me after five minutes.

After Starnes hung up, Wiles spent the remainder of the segment defending his comment and saying that he was sick of feckless Christians like Starnes who are more concerned about protecting their careers than they are with standing up to the "fat-mouthed atheists" and "Jesus-hating bigots" who are operating "under the spirit of Antichrist":

Republican Congressman Threatens Civil Disobedience On Romeike Case

The Home School Legal Defense Association announced today that the Romeike family, the German homeschoolers who lost their petition to have asylum in the US, will be granted “indefinite deferred status” by the Department of Homeland Security.

While Religious Right activists like HSLDA head Michael Farris blamed President Obama personally for the Board of Immigration Appeals decision not to grant the Romeikes asylum status, we aren’t holding our breaths for them to thank the Obama administration for the DHS’ decision.

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes, for one, is still milking the case for all it’s worth.

The Fox pundit today published an interview with Republican congressman Phil Roe, who told Starnes that it may take “civil disobedience” to prevent the Romeikes from facing deportation. Roe added that he blames Attorney General Eric Holder for the initial Board of Immigration Appeals decision, calling Holder “one of the most dangerous people in the country.” The congressman also described the Obama administration’s stance as un-American.

Roe, ironically, is a vocal opponent of immigration reform and the DREAM Act.

Farris, for his part, told Starnes that Tennesseans will organize like Rosa Parks to defend Romeike family, and one Republican state lawmaker called the case an “attack” on “Christian values.”

Southern Baptist Convention spokesman Roger Oldham added that the Romeikes are only facing legal problems because “this family is the antithesis of this administration’s political agenda – a heterosexual married Christian couple desiring to teach their biblical values to well-grounded children.”

Christians in an east Tennessee community are vowing to engage in civil disobedience if the Obama administration initiates deportation proceedings against a Southern Baptist family from Germany who sought asylum in the United States so that they could home school their children.

“It may require civil disobedience with this bunch,” said Rep. Phil Roe (R-Tenn.), who represents the congressional district where the Romeike family lives.

“I am furious about this,” the congressman told me. “You’ve got law-abiding people who did everything right who simply want to home school their kids. We used to be that great shining city on a hill. There’s some rust on that city if we are doing free people this way.



Rep. Roe told me the Justice Department needs to “butt out.”

“I don’t know what the Germans are thinking, but we’re not Germany,” he said. “I don’t want to be Germany. I don’t want to be Europe. I want to be America. And right now we’re not acting very much like the America I know with the administration we have.”

Roe called Attorney General Eric Holder “one of the most dangerous people in the country” and called his department’s assault on the Romeike family “appalling and worrisome.”



“The Romeikes have become a part of our family,” said Dean Haun, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Morristown, where the family attends. “I don’t think there’s any question that there will be some people who will be willing to stand with them to the very end – even if it means our imprisonment.”

The Southern Baptist pastor said should that day come, he would be counted among the local residents willing to go to jail to save the family from deportation. “If that’s what it took, yes,” the pastor said. “This is an assault in the face of Christianity in America.”



Roger "Sing" Oldham, a spokesman for the Southern Baptist Convention, told me he was deep distressed by the Obama administration’s actions.

“I’m not sure what’s more chilling – that this administration views their presence in rural east Tennessee as a threat to our nation’s economic and political well being or that this administration lobbied to deport this family to a nation determined to coercively indoctrinate the children in government sanctioned ‘tolerance’ training,” Oldham said.

Oldham said the case is simply perplexing.

“This family is the antithesis of this administration’s political agenda – a heterosexual married Christian couple desiring to teach their biblical values to well-grounded children,” he said. “For whatever reason, our government does not want them in our nation.”

State Rep. Tillman Goins told me the community is “up in arms.”

“Everybody in Morristown knows the Romeike family,” he said. “You have a family who is doing it the legal way, taking every legal step they can to ask to come to this country and to participate as citizens in this country – only to be persecuted by the United States.”

Goins introduced a resolution calling on Tennessee’s congressional delegation to defend the family.

“I don’t know if all religious liberty is under attack in this country,” he said. “It seems like Christian values are under attack more than any other religion.”

Should the day come when the immigration agents show up to take the family away, Goins said he would meet them at the front door.

“Let’s hope that it doesn’t get to that point,” he said. “(But) should it come down to it – absolutely.”



Farris predicted that if the Romeikes are deported, it would spark a movement among religious liberty supporters.

“If they come for this family, it’s going to ignite a movement that’s going to be the same as when they told courageous Rosa Parks to go to the back of the bus and she wouldn’t go,” Farris said.

“I think we may be approaching a similar moment in our country.”

Farris: Obama Wants To 'Crush Religious Freedom,' Would Have Deported The Pilgrims

UPDATE: After trashing the Obama administration, Farris announced today that "a Supervisor with the Department of Homeland Security called a member of our legal team to inform us that the Romeike family has been granted 'indefinite deferred status.'"

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes is furious that the Romeike family, a family that left Germany for Tennessee over disagreements with German homeschooling laws, has lost its petition for asylum. And of course, Starnes and Michael Farris, who has been representing the Romeike family, blame President Obama.

The Supreme Court yesterday denied an appeal by the Romeikes of a Board of Immigration Appeals ruling that found that they are not eligible for asylum.

The Sixth Circuit ruled against the Romeike’s petition last year, with Judge Jeffrey Sutton — a George W. Bush appointee — finding that “the German authorities have not singled out the Romeikes in particular or homeschoolers in general for persecution.” Conservative legal commentator Eugene Volokh notes that a ruling in favor of the Romeike family would effectively give asylum to anyone who disagreed with their home countries’ laws.

But Farris isn’t having any of it, claiming that the Obama administration seeks “to crush religious freedom” and would have deported the pilgrims: “Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the Pilgrims to go back home.”

Starnes, meanwhile, seems to think that undocumented immigrants in America, unlike the Romeike clan, do not want legal status in the US: “There are nearly 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. You’d think the Obama administration could find a place [sic] eight immigrants who want to live here legally.”

“I think this is a part of the Obama administration’s overall campaign to crush religious freedom in this country,” said Michael Farris, chairman of the Home School Legal Defense Association. His organization is representing family.

“The Obama administration’s attitude toward religious freedom, particularly religious freedom for Christians is shocking,” he told me in an exclusive telephone interview. “I have little doubt that if this family had been of some other faith that the decision would have never been appealed in the first place. They would have let this family stay.”

Had the family stayed in Germany, where homeschooling is illegal, they would have faced the prospect of losing their children. Like the Pilgrims, they fled their homeland yearning for a place where they could be free.

Farris said the religious bias perpetrated by the Obama administration is “palpable.”

“It’s a denial of the essence of America,” he said. “The Pilgrims left England to go to Holland to seek religious freedom. They came here to seek religious freedom and parental rights for their children. Had this administration been waiting at Plymouth Rock, they would’ve told the Pilgrims to go back home.”

There are nearly 12 million illegal immigrants living in the United States. You’d think the Obama administration could find a place eight immigrants who want to live here legally.

Farris said the Supreme Court’s decision not to hear the case sends a chilling message to Americans who currently home school their children.

“This administration thinks it’s a privilege to home school – not a right,” he told me. “We’d better buckle down and be ready to fight them every step of the way.”



Please, Mr. President, have mercy on this Christian family. They came to our shores longing to be free. They left their homeland to escape religious persecution. Please, sir. Welcome them to our land with open arms. Bestow upon them a small measure of grace so they might be able to raise their children in the land of the free, the home of the brave.

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/26/14

  • A federal judge has declared Texas' ban on gay marriage unconstitutional.
  • Craig James, with the help of Liberty Institute, is suing Fox Sports for supposedly firing him for anti-gay statements that he made.
  • In a move that will surprise nobody, "Coach" Dave Daubenmire claims that he has been the victim of character assassination.
  • The National Organization for Marriage has endorsed the Coalition of African American Pastors call for the impeachment of U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, which is not surprising since CAAP is basically a NOM front group.
  • A new "feature-length documentary revealing the truth about the cover-ups and the abuses of power at the Internal Revenue Service ... features interviews with Mike Huckabee, Glenn Beck, Ted Cruz, Michele Bachmann, David Barton, Grover Norquist, Louie Gohmert, John Linder, Carla Howell, Brian Brown and many more."
  • Finally, try not to laugh: Todd Starnes has receive the NRB Board of Directors Award, which "honors a Christian who demonstrates integrity, displays creativity, and makes a significant impact on society."

Starnes: Government Will Attempt To Criminalize The Bible 'Within Our Lifetime'

In was on Bryan Fischer's radio show last week where we first heard the absurd right-wing theory that the FCC was planning on stationing agents in newsrooms all over the country in order to "monitor" what sort of stories they ran. The entire thing turned out to be total nonsense, but the Right threw such a collective fit that the FCC pulled the plug on the study.

So naturally Fischer invited serial fabricator Todd Starnes on to his program today to talk about the issue. During the discussion, Fischer asked Starnes if he agreed with his conspiracy theory that the FCC will eventually start shutting down anti-gay radio programs and Starnes conceded that that was a very real possibility, adding his own prediction that the government will actually attempt to outlaw the Bible.

Since the opposition to homosexuality is rooted in the Bible, Starnes said that he suspects that "we are going to see, within our lifetime, an attempt to outlaw or criminalize parts of the Bible or even perhaps pulling out parts of the Bible that have to deal with those issues":

Right Wing Leftovers - 2/21/14

  • The FCC has pulled the plug on its press study after the right-wing ginned up a completely bogus freak-out over it.
  • Phil Burress says there is no way that Hillary Clinton will be elected president: "I just cannot see her being the next president of the United States knowing what we know about her."
  • "Coach" Dave Daubenmire asks "Is the Bible the New Porn?"
  • Phyllis Schlafly complains that gay rights are now trumping the First Amendment.
  • Finally, Todd Starnes can't even make it through a two minute book promo without lying, twice falsely claiming that Dan Savage is President Obama's "anti-bullying czar":

Anti-Boycott Crusader Todd Starnes Endorses Girl Scout Cookies Boycott

During the controversy over Chick-fil-A’s stance on gay rights issues, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes said that people boycotting the restaurant chain are “un-American” and warned that “the days of persecution are upon us.”

But apparently boycotts aren’t “un-American” as long as Starnes supports them, as today he endorsed the Religious Right boycott of the Girl Scouts over bogus accusations that Girl Scout cookies fund Planned Parenthood:

The Girl Scouts make a great thin mint – but I’ve decided not to buy their cookies this year.

Pro-life groups around the nation have launched a boycott of their cookies because of the organization’s alleged ties to Planned Parenthood.



Lila Rose, the president of Live Action, is one of the nation’s leading pro-life voices. She urged parents to consider healthy, wholesome alternatives.

“No little girl – or her parents – should have anything to do with an organization that kills over 330,000 pre-born children a year, covers up sexual abuse, advocates for infanticide, and builds its entire business model on harming women,” Rose said in a prepared statement.

So that’s why I’ve decided to forego their peanut butter patties this year. If I knew that a single penny of Girl Scout money was helping to fund Planned Parenthood — Well – I’d just lose my cookies.
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