Tony Perkins

Perkins: Separation Of Church And State Helps ISIS

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins said today that the separation of church and state in the United States has contributed to the rise of Islamic extremist groups like ISIS, arguing in his radio commentary that ISIS has “filled the void left by secularism.”

According to Perkins, American ISIS militants wouldn’t have left the country to fight for the group if only the government had promoted Christianity over other faiths.

Where there is no vision, the people perish. Hello, this is Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Americans have been shocked to see the brutality and barbarism of the Islamic militants of ISIS, and they've been stunned by the revelations that radicalized Americans have joined their ranks and taken up their cause. Pundits and politicians alike have publicly pondered the question as to how young Americans can be sucked into such an evil venture. While it may be troubling, the answer is not hard. Radical secularism that has driven the defining characteristics of our Western culture, our Judeo-Christian heritage, from our schools, our entertainment and even our government has left in its place a void, a vacuum. And we should know from experience that a vacuum will be filled by something. Without a creedal vision that a society can unify around, the people, the nation, will perish. Unless we are content to allow ISIS or some other radical belief system to fill the void left by secularism, we must rediscover America's founding, Christ-centered vision.

Tony Perkins: US Constitution Doesn't Protect Muslims

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who now styles himself as an Islamic scholar, said on his “Washington Watch” radio show yesterday that members of militant groups like ISIS are the real Muslims who are truly “practicing their faith.”

Islam is such a danger, Perkins explained, that Muslim-Americans should not have the same religious freedoms as other citizens.

Perkins, who was responding to a caller who worried that mosques in her hometown are harboring terrorist sleeper cells, said the vast majority of Muslims who aren’t committing acts of violence are all phony Muslims who “don’t really believe the Quran or practice it as its written.”

He warned that Islam isn’t necessarily protected under the Constitution because it “tears at the fabric of our society” and undermines “ordered liberty,” adding that Islam is “not just a religion, it’s an economic system, it’s a judicial system and it’s a military system.”

“Those things will tear and destroy the fabric of a democracy,” he said. “So we have to be very clear about our laws and restrain those things that will harm the whole. We are a nation that was founded on Judeo-Christian principles, that’s the foundation of our nation, not Islam, but the Judeo-Chrsitian God.”

Perkins has previously described Islam as “evil” and said that LGBT-inclusive Christians shouldn’t have the same religious rights as conservatives because they aren’t real Christians.

Tony Perkins: 'Homosexual History' Among Schools' 'Liberal Landmines'

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins wants parents to understand the grave dangers of public education before school starts this year, warning in his radio commentary today that schools are inundated with “propaganda on everything from sex education to homosexual history.”

He advises listeners to learn about the “liberal landmines” in public schools before educators work to “undermine what you believe.”

It may be the kids who are heading back to school — but it's parents who need to do their homework! Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. You've bought the books and you've packed their lunch, but there's one thing kids shouldn't leave home without and that is your values. These days, all sorts of negative influences are pushing their way into the classroom and undermining what you believe. Students are exposed to propaganda on everything from sex education to homosexual history -- and it's becoming tougher for parents to navigate the liberal landmines. FRC wants to help by giving parents some free back-to-school resources. Log on to tonyperkins.com today and you'll be able to download pamphlets like "Homosexuality in Your Child's School" or "Common Core Math" and "Common Core English." The only way we can help our kids tackle the tough questions is by getting involved in what they're learning. On family values, parents are more than our first teachers -- they're our last defense.

David Dewhurst: Unaccompanied Minors Are A 'Mirage'

Speaking with Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Texas Lt. Governor David Dewhurst said that unaccompanied minors fleeing drug-related violence in Central America are just a distraction engineered by President Obama.

“This whole conversation about the unaccompanied children, ladies and gentlemen, this is a mirage, it is a public relations effort, this is an effort by the Obama administration to divert your attention,” he said.

Dewhurst said the children are a small share of the immigrant population compared to the many criminals he said are crossing the border.

Tony Perkins: Overturning Citizens United Will Anger The Founding Fathers

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council thinks the Founding Fathers would be upset by the push to overturn the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United ruling, warning on “Washington Watch” yesterday that a constitutional amendment would be “dangerous” to the country.

Perkins said amendment supporters “think they know better than the Founding Fathers” and seek to “rewrite the First Amendment to essentially silence political speech and strip it out of the First Amendment.”

He said he can’t believe anyone would support an amendment to allow voters to pass campaign finance regulations, even though a majority of voters, including Republicans, support an amendment [PDF].

Perkins previously claimed that overturning Citizens United is a sign of anti-Christian persecution, even going so far as to link the effort to the imprisonment of a Christian Sudanese woman.

Tony Perkins: Smithsonian 'Ignores The Destructive Side Effects Of Homosexuality'

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is angry that the Smithsonian is expanding its LGBT history collection, arguing in radio bulletin today that the Smithsonian is embracing “unnatural history” and deciding to “ignore the destructive side effects of homosexuality.”

“Students are already bombarded with the LGBT agenda, do they really need to walk past exhibits treating its extremists as heroes?” Perkins asks, attacking the collection as “propaganda” meant “to rewrite history.”

Is it the Museum of Natural History or 'Unnatural History'? Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. You can't blame people for asking after the Smithsonian's decision to add a special exhibit on the LGBT movement. The collection highlights everything from "Will & Grace" show props to a transgender pride flag. Sports, politics, and cultural memorabilia are all part of the propaganda, which -- like most Smithsonian projects -- is funded by taxpayer dollars. "It's a good example," said the director, "of the kind of work that we want to move forward with." And that's exactly what people should be afraid of. This is just another platform for the Left to rewrite history -- and ignore the destructive side effects of homosexuality. Students are already bombarded with the LGBT agenda, do they really need to walk past exhibits treating its extremists as heroes? The Smithsonian may know art, but it should stop trying to frame the culture debate.

Steve Scalise Hails Louisiana Anti-Marriage Equality Ruling

Rep. Steve Scalise praised a federal judge for upholding his home state of Louisiana’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, telling the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins yesterday that the ruling “was an important win for marriage today.”

“I was the lead author of the bill that put a constitutional amendment on the ballot back in 2004,” the House GOP whip said on the FRC’s “Washington Watch.”

Perkins agreed: “A big win for Louisiana but also a big win for the nation in that it has, I think, slowed down this train of activist decisions.”

Mike Johnson of the Religious Right group Freedom Guard, who Scalise called “a great warrior on our behalf,” later told Perkins that anti-gay activists are “standing on the right side of millennia of history” and that no one in their right mind could disagree with the judge’s ruling: “His opinion was so well-written and well-reasoned that no person can objectively read this and disagree.”

Johnson defended the state’s marriage ban in court as the state attorney general’s special counsel.

Steve Scalise: Obama Is Too Busy Changing Redskins' Name To Fight ISIS

House GOP whip Steve Scalise said in an interview on “Washington Watch” yesterday that President Obama is too busy trying to change the name of the Washington Redskins to focus on bombing ISIS.

“One person asked me about this foolishness where the president is trying to change the name of the Washington Redskins. And it is a sad state of affairs for our commander-in-chief that we know what President Obama’s plan is for the name of the Washington Redskins — he wants to change it, we know his plan — but we don’t know what his plan is to deal with a major threat to American national security,” Scalise told the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins.

“I think it’s just indicative of the lack of focus and priorities that this president’s had, that he won’t lay out that plan but we know what some of his other plans are that have nothing to do with the problems facing this country.”

The Louisiana congressman called on Obama to state clearly that he wants to “take out” ISIS — which, in fact, the president has said repeatedly — and to learn from Ronald Reagan’s simple foreign policy agenda: “We win, they lose.”

He also agreed with Perkins that Obama isn’t concerned about ISIS because he is just a “community organizer.”

Tony Perkins: It's Obama's Fault People Think He's A Muslim

On yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins said that if people believe President Obama is a Muslim, then that is Obama’s own fault.

In response to a caller who insisted that Obama is “a Muslim and every time he does something he’s scoring brownie points for his side, that’s why he can go golfing and not have no problems,” Perkins said that it is reasonable to believe that the president is in fact a Muslim or at least “sympathetic to Muslims.”

Perkins said Obama’s actions as president “only give credence to those that say” that he’s a Muslim, arguing that he did nothing to help Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese Christian and wife of a U.S. citizen who was imprisoned for apostasy until she was ultimately released.

However, administration officials worked to secure Ibrahim’s release and condemned Sudan’s government over the incident, and even Fox News reported that the government was “fully engaged” in the case. A Republican congressman who appeared on Perkins’ radio show back in June told him that “a number of agencies across the board [were] working hand-in-glove to make sure” that Ibrahim was released, and he was “hearted” and “really encouraged that this is a government that cares about people.”

Tony Perkins Praises Strict Gun Laws … In Israel

There is a trend among Religious Right activists to cheer on Israel’s policies towards the Palestinian territories while conveniently ignoring other Israeli programs, such as government subsidies for abortion coverage.

But on his radio show “Washington Watch” yesterday, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins went all in to praise an Israeli domestic policy that is at odds with what American conservatives are pushing at home, hailing Israeli gun laws and saying that Israeli cities are much safer than their American counterparts.

Does this mean that Perkins, of all people, is now a supporter of Israel’s very strict gun laws? Or does he just not understand what he’s talking about?

Back in 2012, the Washington Post attempted to clear up American conservatives’ “long-held misunderstanding of Israeli gun laws.”

The only problem is that Israel actually has quite strong gun restrictions and very low gun ownership rates, some of the lowest in the developed world. This confusion has gotten so bad that even Israeli government officials are now chiming in to knock back the claims, though the NRA is seen as a close ally of the U.S. Republican party, which positions itself as strongly backing Israel.



Israeli guns laws, it turns out, are much stricter than America's gun laws. This may help explain why Israeli gun ownership is just one thirteenth of what it is in the U.S. To bring that number into focus, it would likely be even lower if not for mandatory military service, which means Israelis are more likely to be familiar with guns. Israel's unique security challenges and its periodic bouts with terrorism would also seem to bolster an NRA-style case for allowing more privately owned guns so that more citizens can defend themselves. And yet, there are far fewer guns in private citizens' hands, and far less gun crime.

Sen. Ted Cruz To Join Anti-Gay Activists In Honoring His Father

Next month, Rick Scarborough's Vision America will host its annual "Heroes of Faith Gala" where the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins will receive the 2014 "National Hero of Faith Award" and Rafael Cruz, a Religious Right activist and father of Sen. Ted Cruz, will be honored with the "Don Wildmon Award," named for the founder of the American Family Association.

Today, Vision America sent out an email urging activists to register for the event, revealing that the senator is also going to be in attendance, picking up the Don Wildmon Award on behalf of his father and delivering remarks:

As we have noted before, Ted Cruz has great admiration for Scarborough despite Scarborough's long history of rabidly anti-gay bigotry.

In recent years, Scarborough has defended Russia's anti-gay laws, claimed there should be no such thing as Gay Pride Month because "those who engage in unnatural acts should hang their heads in shame," insisted that gay people should always be referred to as "sodomites," and called for a class action lawsuit to be filed against homosexuality.

Just last month, Scarborough said that God would be entirely justified for destroying America with a nuclear bomb because of the nation's tolerance and embrace of gay rights:

Back in 2011, he declared that AIDS is God's judgment upon those who engage in immoral acts:

And on September 4, Sen. Ted Cruz will be joining Scarborough for a gala honoring his father.

Tony Perkins: Obama Using Common Core To 'Attack Religious Values And Freedoms'

Tony Perkins today emailed members of the Family Research Council a conspiratorial message on the supposed dangers of Common Core, or as he calls it, “Obamacore.”

He warns that Common Core is pushing “attacks on religious values and freedoms” and using “propaganda” to ensure that “children are indoctrinated with a liberal ideology that celebrates sexual perversion, worships the creation rather than the Creator, all at the expense of academic achievement and our nation’s Christian heritage.”

We wonder if Mike Huckabee, a close ally of the FRC leader and a top figure in the Religious Right, is aware that Common Core is a liberal, anti-Christian plot, as Huckabee joined other GOP figures in calling on states to adopt the Common Core standards.

In just a few short weeks, millions of American students will head back to school. You should be very concerned about the spreading, hidden nightmare facing them in school today: public schools, private, religious, even home schools.

I'm not talking about bullies, playground predators, or school violence; I'm referring to . . .

The morally corrupt federal takeover of education called Common Core -- or as I prefer to call it -- OBAMACORE.

Common Core was originally an effort by the National Governors Association (NGA) to create national standards and tests to unify what children are taught in school. These standards were adopted by 45 states. Seems harmless enough, right? Wrong!

Since it's been hijacked by the Obama administration, Common Core has all the earmarks of the President's other power grabs: attacks on religious values and freedoms; central control; secrecy; skyrocketing costs; and catastrophic ineptitude.

It essentially takes away the rights of parents and local communities to direct their children's education and puts it under the control of an ever-expanding federal bureaucracy. Obamacore can -- and must -- be stopped!

Yes, stopped. Family Research Council (FRC) needs your help to advance our plan to expose and derail this disaster for our children!

If Obamacore is allowed to take control of America's educational system, I foresee a nation where children are indoctrinated with a liberal ideology that celebrates sexual perversion, worships the creation rather than the Creator, all at the expense of academic achievement and our nation's Christian heritage.

All indications are that the standards imposed by Obamacore will actually hamper education rather than improve it.

Obamacore opens education to even more propaganda in class than we are experiencing today. Its "one-size-fits-all" approach not only eliminates more advanced material, but also makes it difficult for teachers to teach students individually. Typical of other liberal programs, rather than raise up underperformers, Obamacore will lower standards of higher-performing states in order to "level the playing field."

The only way to save American education is for parents to take back the reins of control. That's why FRC has made it a top priority to work state by state and in Congress to save local education from the federal control lurking behind Obamacore.

• We have started a special coalition headed by nationally recognized educational and legal expert, Sarah Perry.

• FRC is providing conservative legislators at the federal and state levels, school administrators, teachers, and parents with key research that conclusively proves that this federal takeover will do more harm than good.

FRC helps give elected officials the information they need to build a compelling case with their colleagues to dismantle Obamacore, or at the state level, opt out.

Needless to say, the time to act is short and the costs of opposing Obamacore are mounting quickly.

No one will be exempt.

The future of America's children is at stake. As Christian citizens, we must never relinquish the education of our children to the federal government, which already has an abysmal track record wherever it has inserted itself.

In the past, parents concerned about what is being taught in the public schools could always resort to private schools or home schooling. Not anymore! The Obamacore standards will impact charter schools, parochial schools, and even parents who teach their children at home. Join with FRC to stop Washington radicals from taking over American education.

Tony Perkins Once Again Suggests Anti-Christian Holocaust In America Is Imminent

Back in June, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said that gay rights advocates are “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians,” and yesterday he agreed with a caller named Janet who predicted on his “Washington Watch” radio show that anti-Christian violence will erupt in America.

After the caller wondered if we are “going to find ourselves being loaded in cattle cars like it was when the Nazis took over before we realize we are in such terrible danger,” Perkins hailed her claim as an “excellent point.”

“You’ve just hit the nail on the head,” he exclaimed, warning that “isolationist” and “libertarian” politicians like Rand Paul are leaving America’s national security vulnerable and that violent anti-Christian persecution taking place in the Middle East could soon find its way here.

Anti-LGBT Activists Are Furious That Discriminatory Businesses Received Bad Reviews

When two Pennsylvania businesses declared that they would refuse service to gay and lesbian customers, it was only a matter of time before anti-LGBT activists rose up to defend the businesses’ discriminatory actions. One Pennsylvania bridal shop refused service to lesbian customers because the shop’s owner said it would “break God’s law,” and the owner of the Inne of the Abingtons similarly refused service to a lesbian couple.

As a result, the bridal shop’s Yelp page and the Inne’s Yelp page have received an uptick in reviews, many critical of their discriminatory behavior against LGBT customers, making Religious Right activists Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council angry because people are giving the businesses negative reviews.

It seems they believe these vendors should be immune from criticism for their actions.

Staver said on his radio commentary “Freedom’s Call” that the Inne of the Abingtons has been “attacked with false reviews” because of the owner’s religion.

Perkins, meanwhile, blasted the lesbian customer who was refused service at the bridal shop as “intolerant” and said the shop’s owner was simply “speaking the truth in love.”: “Instead of showing the tolerance their movement claims to practice, the women turned to social media to bully the shop — trashing its online reviews and sparking a city-wide firestorm.”

At W.W. Bridal Boutique, it isn’t unusual to see two women shopping for wedding dresses. What is unusual is two women shopping for wedding dresses for the same ceremony. That’s the predicament Victoria Miller found herself in as the owner of the Pennsylvania shop. When a lesbian couple contacted the store for an appointment, Victoria explained that she couldn’t help the women find gowns for a ceremony that violates her Christian faith. Right now, an employee explained, the Bloomsburg store doesn’t service same-sex weddings.

Instead of showing the tolerance their movement claims to practice, the women turned to social media to bully the shop — trashing its online reviews and sparking a city-wide firestorm. Miller, whose orthodox beliefs are in the bulls-eye, isn’t backing down. “We feel we have to answer to God for what we do,” she told reporters, “and providing those two girls dresses for a sanctified marriage would break God’s law.”



Back in Pennsylvania, Victoria Miller continues to be a target. “As a fellow Christian, I’m ashamed of people like you,” one commenter wrote. “We are taught to love our neighbor regardless.” Unfortunately, culturally intoxicated believers like this one have a misguided (and convenient) view of Christ’s calling. Real love doesn’t mean you facilitate people’s desires that are both harmful to them and society. It means speaking the truth in love.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 8/12/14

  • Tony Perkins is furious that the National Republican Congressional Committee is supporting three gay Republican candidates.
  • Speaking of Perkins, he, Anne Graham Lotz, Richard Land, and others will be heading to Israel next week as part of a "Christians in Solidarity with Israel" trip being sponsored by the National Religious Broadcasters.
  • Allen West headlined last night's Family-PAC fundraiser (the AFA's Sandy Rios is the PAC's VP.)
  • It is nice to see other right wing "historians" mindlessly repeating David Barton's nonsense: "In fact, George Washington and Alexander Hamilton, both signers of the Constitution, pointed to Jeremiah 17:9 as an underlying principle for the separation of powers provided for in that document."
  • Do you suppose that Comcast's refusal to carry Glenn Beck's The Blaze network might have anything to do with this campaign he has started to oppose the company's merger with Time Warner?
  • Finally, James Robison has had enough! "Call me any name you wish. Put any misrepresentation or so-called 'politically correct' label on me—but I am declaring America is being encouraged to believe and embrace lies…to support them, to cast aside our founders’ principles—including God’s Word and eternal truths—and submit to the bondage of an out-of-control state. The federal government and deceived representatives are forcing legislation, policies, and practices on American citizens, demanding that our tax dollars—our money, which God has trusted to our watchcare—be used to support worthless, godless, freedom-damaging policies, programs, and laws. This nonsense—this insanity—has to stop…and stop now! Americans must come to their senses and reject this idolatry. We must refuse to bow to any false god or to trust it as our source. Not Pharaoh, not Saul, not Nebuchadnezzar, not Babylon, not Rome, not emperors, not kings, not monarchies, not Washington or Uncle Sam. Only God!"

Tony Perkins: Christian Businesses Should Donate Profits From LGBT Customers To Ex-Gay Ministries

On Monday’s “Washington Watch,” host Tony Perkins lamented how increasingly difficult it is for Christian business owners to actively discriminate against and refuse service to LGBT people or same-sex couples based on their “religious views on sexuality.”

Perkins said that business owners who fear challenges to their discriminatory practices from gay couples should prominently place signs in their businesses explaining their belief in “traditional marriage,” and emphasizing that any profits earned from LGBT customers will be donated to “ministries that actually help people who want to come out of the homosexual lifestyle.”

 Scoffing at the notion that anti-discrimination ordinances provide protection for marginalized groups, Perkins dismissed the laws as “clubs” that can be used by gay people to “force everybody to accept and participate and facilitate their lifestyle choices” and “sue people of faith.”

 He cited the recent repeal of a Chattanooga law preventing discrimination against LGBT employees as proof that Americans feel “bullied by the homosexual activists and spineless politicians who are doing the bidding of these activists.”

FRC Claims Citizens United Repeal Would 'Muzzle The Christian Viewpoint'

In a fundraising email today, FRC Action — the Family Research Council’s political arm — announced that it is “working closely with Senator Ted Cruz to take the lead” in opposing a proposed constitutional amendment to roll back Citizens United and related Supreme Court rulings that struck down federal campaign finance rules.

FRC president Tony Perkins has also picked up Cruz’s talking points about the subject, claiming in the email that an amendment restoring the power of Congress to regulate election spending would “scrap” the First Amendment and ultimately allow liberals to “quash our freedom of speech; to silence our calls for liberty and self-government; to muzzle the Christian viewpoint; to make the debate totally one-sided; to brainwash the next generation into believing that this is how it should be.”

In reality, the amendment would return to Congress and state governments the ability to place reasonable regulations on campaign spending, a power they had until very recently.

I thought I'd seen it all.

I thought the First Amendment was settled. I thought freedom of speech -- the fundamental bulwark of liberty at the very heart of our republic -- was so basic to our American way of life, no liberal would have the audacity to suggest scrapping it.

But I was wrong.

It's utterly outrageous to suggest gutting the First Amendment. It is critically important to our national life. Freedom of speech, especially political speech, sets us apart from most other countries in the world. It keeps liberty alive.

It seems Democrats want "free speech" to consist only of government-authorized speech.

They claim they want to cut back on the influence of "special interests" in election campaigns. But of course, the "special interests" they want to silence are organizations like FRC Action. They want to muzzle you and me.

This is not about "election accountability." This is a naked power grab.

This amendment to the Constitution would give the foxes the keys to the henhouse. Those in power -- whom FRC Action is committed to holding accountable -- would now have the ability to silence us, to gag us, to strip us of our right to fully engage in the political process.

Interestingly, if such a far-fetched alteration of our Constitution were to actually take place, there is a particularly strong group that would be protected -- the press! Democrats' liberal allies in the mainstream media would retain their free political speech, while organizations like FRC Action would lose theirs.

Maybe you're thinking: they can't seriously think such a proposal would make it through Congress. And you would be right: they don't.

This is a bald-faced tactic for firing up the Democrats' base -- to get more liberal voters to swarm the polls in the midterm elections this November.

But if we remain silent, if we simply sit and roll our eyes at the absurdity of it all . . . liberals in Congress will be emboldened to keep pushing in this deadly direction.

The Left would love nothing more than to quash our freedom of speech; to silence our calls for liberty and self-government; to muzzle the Christian viewpoint; to make the debate totally one-sided; to brainwash the next generation into believing that this is how it should be.

We're working closely with Senator Ted Cruz to take the lead in exposing this outrage and in challenging any attempt to rewrite our Bill of Rights.

The Family Leadership Summit: Right-Wing Activists Converge On Iowa

This weekend, a who’s who of far-right activists and politicians will convene in Iowa for the 3rd annual Family Leadership Summit, hosted by anti-gay and anti-choice organization The Family Leader and sponsored by Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council’s political wing, Alliance Defending Freedom and Focus on the Family’s CitizenLink.

In an effort to establish themselves with social conservative voters, potential Republican presidential candidates including Ted Cruz, Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum are joining a roster of speakers who push far-right views on LGBT rights, women’s equality and religious pluralism.

Below is an introduction to the sponsor and some of the featured speakers at The Family Leader Summit.

The Family Leader

The Family Leader is conservative political advocacy group based in Iowa that serves as the parent organization of The Family Leader Foundation, Marriage Matters, Iowa Family PAC, and Iowans for Freedom. The group is currently run by three-time failed gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats, who made a name for himself when he led the successful 2010 campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court justices who joined a unanimous marriage equality decision.

Under Vander Plaats’ leadership, The Family Leader has become influential in national GOP politics, helping presidential hopefuls to court Religious Right activists in the first-in-the-nation caucus.

The Family Leader has:

  • Defended the Boy Scouts’ ban on openly gay members and leaders as a “policy designed to protect Scouts from sexual abuse.”

Vander Plaats has:

  • Compared same-sex unions to polygamy and asserted that recent marriage equality laws will pave the way towards marriages between parents and children for the purposes of tax evasion.
  • Implied that same-sex marriage produces a threat to the United States equivalent to terrorism.Said that God won’t “bless the country” if the U.S. continues with marriage equality and legal abortion.

Tony Perkins

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins — whose organization is a major sponsor of the Family Leadership Summit — is one of the far Right’s top spokesmen in the national media.

Perkins has:

  • Warned that LGBT rights advocates will launch a Holocaust against Christians, placing those that oppose same-sex marriage into “boxcars.”
  • Praised a Uganda bill condemning homosexuals to death as an effort to “uphold moral conduct that protects others and in particular the most vulnerable.”
  • Agreed with a caller on his program that Obama might attempt a “hostile government takeover” that would cancel the 2016 presidential election.

The Benham Brothers

Jason and David Benham are twin brothers, Religious Right activists and entrepreneurs who operate Benham Companies, a conglomerate providing real estate, property management and marketing services, as well as the Benham Foundation, which channels company profits towards conservative social causes.

The brothers were catapulted to national attention after an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become a cause celebre for the Religious Right movement, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation.”
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking America.”Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany.
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, NC to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city.”
  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual war” between God and Satan.Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch.”

Rafael Cruz

Rafael Cruz is an evangelical Christian pastor who currently serves as the director of the Purifying Fire International ministry, an organization that espouses Christian dominionism and advocates for a theological grounding in government and public service. Cruz rose within the ranks of conservative far-right activism largely thanks to his son, Ted Cruz, the junior Republican senator from Texas and darling of the Tea Party movement, and has made a name for himself as a frequent public speaker and political commentator. The elder Cruz is a frequent campaign surrogate for his son.

Rafael Cruz has used his sudden prominence to:

  • Lament that the admission of openly gay members to the Boy Scouts would expose children “to sexual predators.”
  • Promote the theocratic Seven Mountains Dominionism theory, asserting the need for Christian leadership to have “an influence upon every area of society, upon arts and entertainment, upon media, upon sports, upon education, upon business, upon government.”

Alveda King

Alveda King is a conservative activist and Christian minister who serves as a Pastoral Associate and the Director of African American Outreach for Pastors for Life, an organization that opposes reproductive rights. The niece of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., King also campaigns against LGBT equality. King has:

  • Compared the murder of Trayvon Martin to legal abortion.
  • Condemned the wife of the late Martin Luther King, Jr., Coretta Scott King, for her pro-choice and pro-equality stances, saying the stances would bring “curses on your house and your people…cursing, vexation, rebuke in all that you put your hand to, sickness will come to you and your house, your bloodline will be cut off.”
  • Denied that her uncle supported legalized abortion, despite his acceptance of an award by Planned Parenthood and public support for family planning.
  • In response to a plaque commemorating African American slaves, said, “If Congress really wants to honor African Americans, they can start by ending federally funded programs that allow abortion.”

Joel Rosenberg

Joel Rosenberg is a conservative activist, author and former political strategist who is widely known for writing End Times-themed books.  Rosenberg is also the founder and president of the Joshua Fund, a non-profit organization that proselytizes to Israeli Jews and attempts to convert them to Christianity. A familiar presence on the right-wing talk show circuit, Rosenberg has repeatedly linked disasters and public tragedies to secular government. Rosenberg regularly employs apocalyptic prophecies to help enact an aggressively conservative social agenda. He has: 

  • Depicted the Newtown, Conn. shootings as divine punishment for Americans waging a “cultural war against Jesus and Christmas” and trying to “drive [God] out of our society.”
  • Written that Hurricane Sandy was a response to  the legalization of abortion and part of God’s plan to “get our attention and call us to repent of our sins and turn back to faith in Jesus Christ and back to reading and obeying the Bible”. 
  • Implied that legal abortion is a greater sin than exterminations during the Holocaust, predicting that since the Roe v. Wade decision “we have killed ten times more Americans than the Nazis killed of the Jews.”
  • Following the subprime mortgage crisis of 2008, pointed to home foreclosure as one feature of the Rapture, creating a “ripple effect” that will lead to the “implosion of America.” 

Rick Santorum Presents Latest 'Religious Persecution' Movie

Two current Religious Right fixations — the “persecution” of American Christians and the need for conservatives to do more to influence the pop culture — have come together in movies like “Persecuted” and “We the People—Under Attack.” The latest entry, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty,” was screened by Rick Santorum at the Heritage Foundation on Monday night.

Santorum said the movie will be released in September. His EchoLight Cinemas is trying to create an alternative to Hollywood distribution channels by building a network of thousands of tech-equipped churches who will sell tickets for "One Generation Away" and other movies. He says the long-term strategy is to bring more people into churches and put the church back at the center of the culture.

"One Generation Away" is described as a documentary, but it’s really a preaching-to-the-choir call to arms for conservative Christians and pastors to get more involved in culture war battles while they still have the freedom to do so. Among the film’s producers are Donald and Tim Wildmon from the American Family Association, which Santorum said is packaging a shorter version of the movie into more of an activist tool.

The title comes from Ronald Reagan – specifically from a speech to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 1961, a time in which Reagan was working with conservatives to rally opposition to Medicare – “socialized medicine”:

Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.

The thrust of "One Generation Away" is that religious freedom in the United States is disappearing fast, and if the church doesn’t fight for it now, it will soon be gone forever. Before running the film on Monday, Santorum quoted Cardinal Francis George, who said during the debate about insurance coverage of contraception, “I expect to die in my bed. I expect my successor to die in prison. I expect his successor to be a martyr.” That’s just the kind of hyperbolic “religious persecution” rhetoric we have come to expect from Religious Right leaders and their allies in the Catholic hierarchy.

At one point toward the end of the movie, it seems as if the filmmakers might be striking a more reasonable tone, with a couple of speakers saying that Christians should stand up for the rights of people of different faiths — even though the AFA’s chief spokesman opposes First Amendment protections for non-Christians— and others actually acknowledging that it is problematic for American Christians to be complaining of “religious persecution” over policy disputes when Christians and others are facing horrific, deadly persecution in many other parts of the world.

But that caution is quickly abandoned as the movie makes a direct comparison of the status of the Christian church in America with the church in Germany as the Nazis came to power. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who tried to mobilize German Christians to resist Nazi tyranny and was executed by the regime, is held up as the model that American Christians need to be willing to follow.

Eric Metaxas, a Bonhoeffer biographer who became a Religious Right folk hero when he questioned President Obama’s faith at a National Prayer Breakfast attended by the president, warned that if the church doesn’t link arms to fight, all will be lost. “The good news,” he said, “is that the American church is slightly more attuned to the rumbling heard in the distance than the German church was in the 30s. The bad news is, only slightly, right?”

The movie cuts to Mike Huckabee saying that Bonhoeffer could have saved his life if he had been willing to soften his faith, but that instead he resisted and rebuked the Nazi regime. And then we’re back to Metaxas to complete the Nazi analogy:

 “The parallel today is simply that. You have a government, a state, which is getting larger and larger and more and more powerful, and is beginning to push against the church. There’s a window of opportunity where we can fight. If we don’t wake up and fight before then, we won’t be able to fight. That’s just what happened in Germany. And that’s the urgency we have in America now. And people that’s incendiary, or I’m being hyperbolic. I’m sorry, I wish, I wish, I wish I were. I’m not.”

Filmmakers said at the screening that they had conducted 75 interviews for the movie, and it sure feels like it.  It includes names that will be well-known to RWW readers, like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Alveda King, Robert George, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, and Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation.

Also appearing are Rep. Doug Collins; Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress; Matthew Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, which sponsored the infamous and discredited Regnerus “family structures” study; Stephen McDowell of the dominionist Providence Foundation; Gregory Thornbury of Kings College; lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund, the Beckett Fund, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; and a number of pastors.

The film also includes interviews with some opponents of the Religious Right, including Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Princeton’s Peter Singer, and Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Santorum told the audience at Heritage that he wishes he had even more of his opponents included in the film because “they scare the hell out of me” and would help motivate the right-wing base.

In order to keep the movie from being one brutally long succession of talking heads, the filmmakers resort to a tactic of constantly shifting scenes, a couple of seconds at a time, in a way that feels like they got a volume discount on stock images of Americana: boats on the water, kids playing softball, families walking together. There are also odd random fillers, like close-ups of the pattern on a couch in the room in which a speaker is sitting. The endless, repetitive succession of images actually makes the film feel even longer than it actually is. (Zack Ford at ThinkProgress had a similar reaction to this technique.)

The meat of the film, or the “red meat,” mixes the personal stories of people being  victimized by intolerant secularists and/or gay activists with miniature David Bartonesque lectures on the Christian roots of America’s founding; the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” never appears in the U.S. Constitution; the notion that the American government is trying to replace “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship” and require any expression of faith to take place behind church walls; and the disgracefulness of making any analogies between the civil rights movement and the LGBT equality movement. The 1947 Supreme Court decision in which Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” phrase was invoked by the Court and “changed everything” is portrayed as nothing more than a reflection of Justice Hugo Black’s hatred of Catholics.

Featured “persecution” stories include:

  • a long advertisement for Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, which recently won its legal battle against the contraception mandate;
  • a baker and florist who ran afoul of their state’s anti-discrimination laws when they refused to provide services for a same-sex couple getting married;
  • cheerleaders at a public high school in Texas who were challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for creating football game banners featuring Christian scriptural quotes;  
  • Catholic Charities being “forced” to give up adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples;
  • an ACLU challenge to a large cross at the Mt. Soledad war memorial; and
  • the supposed frontal attack on the religious freedom of military chaplains as a result of allowing LGBT members of the armed forces to serve openly. On this issue, Tony Perkins declares, “The military is being used as a vanguard of radical social policy. And in order for that policy to permeate and to take root, you’ve got to take out the religious opposition.”

In spite of the parade of horrors, the movie tries to end on an upbeat note, saying that the early Christian church expanded while it was being suppressed, and that it will only take “one spark of revival” to change the nation.  A familiar theme at Religious Right conferences is that blame for America’s decline rests with churches that don’t speak up and pastors who don’t preach or lead aggressively enough. One Generation Away ends on this point, telling Christian pastors it is their responsibility to wake up and challenge their congregants to live their faith “uncompromisingly.”

During the Q&A after the screening, Santorum said the fact that Hobby Lobby was a 5-4 decision demonstrated the importance of the 2016 election. “Part of me almost wishes we’d lost,” says Santorum, because that would have made the threat clearer to conservative activists. “We are one judge away,” he said, adding that “if we get a Democratic president, our five, or four-and-a-half, justices are not going to hold out forever.”

“I just worry,” he said to the young people in the audience, “that the longer we delay, and America sleeps, and your generation is indoctrinated the way it is, the harder it will be to come back.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/30/14

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