Tony Perkins

Family Research Council: DOJ Defending Trans Rights Is 'Fascistic'

This week the U.S. Department of Justice filed a lawsuit against the state of North Carolina over the now-notorious HB2, which overturned local civil rights protections for LGBT people and banned transgender people from using public bathrooms that match their gender identity. U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch explained that the law violates federal laws prohibiting discrimination on the basis of sex and gender identity, and creates state-sponsored discrimination against transgender people.

Lynch placed the current controversy in the historical context of other forms of state-sponsored discrimination, appealing to the people of North Carolina, “Let us write a different story this time. Let us not act out of fear and misunderstanding, but out of the values of inclusion, diversity and regard for all that make our country great.”

Not surprisingly, the Family Research Council doesn’t exactly see it that way. Senior Vice President Rob Schwarzwalder says in his “Social Conservative Review” this week that the Obama administration’s actions to “crush the government of North Carolina’s efforts to preserve privacy and security in public bathrooms, changing rooms, and showers” represent an “essentially fascistic approach to law and policy — the banning of dissent.”

Earlier in the week FRC praised North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory’s “political courage and moral clarity” for the state’s own lawsuit against the DOJ. Said FRC’s Tony Perkins, “It’s time for Republicans in Congress, who have the constitutional authority as a coequal branch of government, to bring the imperial White House under control.”

Schwarzwalder appealed to a higher power — not Donald Trump:

The federal government is a servant, not a master. Americans are citizens, not subjects. The Tenth Amendment, reserving to the states those things not specifically assigned by the Constitution to the federal government, remains in force.

Those are the principles upon which conscientious men and women have always stood in our country. To abandon them is to abandon liberty. And to abandon liberty is to abandon America.

May God give us the grace and strength never to accede to such a sordid, tragic betrayal of our historic commitment to and movement toward liberty and justice for all.

 

Can Religious Right Leaders' Disgust For Trump Be Overcome By Future Of Supreme Court?

Religious Right leaders believed this was their year. In Ted Cruz they had a candidate unquestionably committed to their agenda. Cruz was anointed the movement’s candidate at a secret endorsement meeting in Texas, followed by a wave of public endorsements by movement leaders. With only a couple of notable exceptions like Jerry Falwell Jr. and Phyllis Schlafly, Cruz had the overwhelming backing of the Religious Right’s institutional leaders. 

But it wasn’t to be. David Gushee, a Christian ethicist and author who has ruffled a lot of feathers with his move to an LGBT-affirming stance, calls the Trump victory “a major defeat” for “the Christian Right agenda.” Indeed, many Religious Right leaders and activists are bitter that Republican primary voters, including many self-described evangelicals, chose Trump over Cruz, and some have declared that they have no intention of backing Trump now that he is the presumptive GOP nominee.

The Wilks brothers, leaders of a billionaire fracking family that poured millions into a pro-Cruz super PAC, are planning to sit out the presidential race, reported Bloomberg. A family spokesperson called Trump a liar whose “despicable statements and actions” are too numerous “to count in a reasonable amount of time.”

Anti-gay activist Matt Barber is in the same camp, tweeting with the hashtag #NeverTrumpOrHillary and asking, “But what about when neither of the two evils is lesser?” On Friday, Barber tweeted, “I don’t oppose #Trump because I’m Republican & he’s not. Nor because I’m conservative & he’s not. I oppose Trump because I follow #Christ.”

A contributor to Barber’s BarbWire website, history professor Alan Snyder, wrote in piece titled “The Republican Obituary” that he “cannot, in good conscience, support Donald Trump.” Snyder slammed Republican voters for choosing “a man who rejects nearly every line in past Republican platforms.”

In an angrily bitter diatribe against Trump supporters at Charisma, Bert Farias of Holy Fire Ministries wrote that Cruz’s defeat “exposes the corruption of the American soul.” Maybe, he says, exposing the “corruption of the American soul and lukewarm church” is what God raised up Cruz to do. “While many celebrate the apparent victory of their amoral candidate, the darkness grows and moves in yet closer.” Faris even recalled, “Benny Hinn prophesied on New Year's Eve 1989 that a woman would one day be president of America and would destroy this nation.” Adds Faris, “It seemed like a far-fetched prophecy then, but not so much anymore.” Kevin Swanson, the anti-gay pastor who says the government should execute gays, suggested that God may be raising up Trump to be president as part of a divine plan to destroy America for its disobedience.

“Don’t blame us,” writes Napp  Nazworth, an editor at Christian Post. “Evangelicals led the opposition to Trump.”

Trump has already been a disaster for the Republican Party, essentially dismantling the Reagan coalition and undermining its efforts to retain control of Congress. A Trump presidency would be a disaster for the entire nation, given that he is entirely unfit, in character and experience, to be president.

For those reasons, it's important to set straight the historical record — evangelicals led the opposition to Trump.

Trump has won a lot of votes from people who call themselves evangelicals, but there’s evidence that the most frequent church-goers, probably the same people most likely to listen to Religious Right political leaders, have been much less likely to support Trump.

In February, the Christian Post editorialized against Trump, the first time ever it had taken a position on a political candidate:

"As the most popular evangelical news website in the United States and the world, we feel compelled by our moral responsibility to our readers to make clear that Donald Trump does not represent the interests of evangelicals and would be a dangerous leader for our country," they wrote.

Republican voters have concluded that morality, integrity, the rule of law, and the Constitution must be discarded in their headlong dash into an angry reaction against all politicians, even someone like Ted Cruz who has fought the good fight for Biblical and constitutional principles all his life.

In doing so, they have brought this nation to the brink of near-total collapse. No matter who wins in the fall, Republican or Democrat, Christian values will be subjected to even greater governmental suppression. No matter how Trump fares in the general election, the very fact of his nomination is a dismal indication that whatever honor and principle remained in the Republican party is now in the past.

Some high profile right-wing pundits remain in the #NeverTrump camp, like Erick Erickson. Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace reacted to Cruz’s withdrawal by resigning from the Republican PartyJerry Bader, conservative talk radio host in Wisconsin, is with him:

“I do not want to see Hillary Clinton as president; however, I do not see Donald Trump as a better choice. Important point: There is no lesser of two evils," Mr. Bader said. "I have no reason to believe his Supreme Court nominees would be any more palatable than hers because I have nothing to go on but his word, and that don't mean much to me."

U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse of Nebraska is probably the highest-ranking Republican official who has made it clear that Trump will not get his support. He said recently that he is resisting calls from “party bosses and politicos” telling him he has to support Trump. Sasse is trying to generate support for a third-party or independent candidate to enter the race.

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, a strong supporter of Cruz, is among those hedging their bets, saying evangelicals “won’t necessarily fall in line” with Trump as the nominee. While he has made his disappointment clear, he says he is “waiting to see the substance of a Trump administration and the vision he has for America.” Anti-gay activist Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage is also taking a wait-and-see approach. And Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference has criticized Trump's anti-immigrant rhetoric but says Hispanic evangelicals “are still up for grabs.” Religious Right activist Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association told The Hill that Cruz should “keep his powder dry and not do anything right now” while waiting to see how Trump behaves in the general election.

Of course, the most intense focus going forward will fall on Ted Cruz, the Religious Right’s anointed candidate. As runner-up and as a GOP senator, he would normally be expected to endorse the victor. But the ugly personal tone of Trump’s attacks, and the refusal of some Cruz backers to go along with the party’s ultimate choice, might make this year an exception.

Former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee is more enthusiastic than many of his fellow Religious Right activists: “Donald Trump broke the code, owned the media, and inspired the masses. I will be all in to help him defeat Hillary Clinton and I call upon all fellow Republicans to unite in defeating Hillary and abandoning and repudiating the hapless ‘Never Trump’ nonsense.”

The Washington Times reports that party officials are using the prospect of future Supreme Court nominations to cajole #NeverTrump people into getting on board the Trump train.  As Miranda has reported, the Supreme Court is the main reason that anti-abortion activists are reluctantly lining up with Trump. Perkins said this week, “We can live with bad trade deals or high taxes, but we cannot live with bad judicial nominees.”

Indeed, Trump has already said that he will let the Heritage Foundation, the conservative group led by Religious Right icon Jim DeMint, draft a list of potential justices.

Right-wing activist Grover Norquist thinks Cruz should make a deal, reports The Hill. “Norquist said Cruz will stay aloof for a while but ultimately back Trump, perhaps in exchange for a promise to be appointed to the Supreme Court.”

 

Tony Perkins' Odd Garland Conspiracy Theory

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins has a new conspiracy theory about the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court:

Despite spending his career on the bench and in the Justice Department, Garland doesn’t have much of an ideological paper trail. As many have pointed out, the D.C. Circuit Court deals primarily with regulatory issues, meaning that Judge Garland’s record is virtually free of cases on abortion, marriage, or religious liberty. And that’s no accident. If President Obama wants to keep up this façade of centrism, he needs someone free of social baggage. But, make no mistake. Garland was carefully vetted. This president is too worried about his activist legacy to put it in the hands of a man who values the very Constitution it defies.

According to Perkins, Garland’s 19 years as a judge on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals is merely a cover. Perkins’ attack is odd, considering that Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Clarence Thomas, and the late Antonin Scalia all served on the D.C. Circuit prior to their nominations to the Supreme Court.

Unsurprisingly, when Roberts was appointed to the court, Perkins had no objection to his previous service on the D.C. Circuit. Instead, a New York Times article referencing Robert’s “limited judicial record” quotes the Family Research Council leader gushing over the nominee. "The president is a man of his word," said Perkins. "He promised to nominate someone along the lines of a Scalia or a Thomas, and that is exactly what he has done."

If anything, Perkins’ questions about Garland’s lack of a paper trail on the issues he particularly cares about should increase his desire for a hearing at which the nominee could answer questions about his philosophy and track record from Republican senators.

If nothing else, this latest argument demonstrates the conservative movement’s inability to find anything in Garland’s record that would suggest he is unqualified to serve on the court.

Ted Cruz Laments 'Hatred' In Politics As He Demonizes The Transgender Community

Yesterday, Ted Cruz chatted with Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, one of his presidential campaign advisers and surrogates, about the upcoming Indiana primary, and Perkins gave him a chance to address “how loony the left is in pushing these genderless bathroom bills.”

Cruz, who has been running television ads smearing transgender women as potential sexual predators, said that transgender nondiscrimination policies defy “basic common sense” and accused Donald Trump of caving to “the PC police” when he criticized North Carolina’s new anti-LGBT law and expressed partial support for Planned Parenthood.

He went on to recount a story about “two little kids” who “gave me envelopes filled with change because they set up a lemonade stand and they gave me all the money they raised at the lemonade stand,” citing the incident as proof that people are “ready to crawl over broken glass” for his campaign, knowing that “our nation is hanging in the balance.”

Just minutes after denigrating transgender people, Cruz said that a vote for him would be a vote against “anger and hatred” in politics. Cruz urged voters to pray over their decision, hoping they come to the realization that he is a proven conservative warrior while Trump is simply a poser.

“The stakes [have] never been higher,” he said. “Our basic rights. Our religious liberty. The right to life. The Second Amendment. All of our rights hang in the balance if we get this wrong.”

Utah GOPer Says Access To Pornography Violates His 'Right To Not View It'

The sponsor of a recently passed Utah resolution declaring that “pornography is creating a public health crisis” appeared on the Family Research Council’s “Washington Watch” program yesterday to defend the measure, which the governor signed on Tuesday, and allege that the availability of pornography is violating his “First Amendment right to not view it.”

State Sen. Todd Weiler, a Republican, urged libraries and McDonalds restaurants with WiFi to block pornography websites, claiming that he has heard anecdotally that children go to McDonalds to view pornographic websites: “I said to McDonalds, ‘You’re a family restaurant and you market to children, why would you want to be a purveyor of pornography?’”

“You know, the librarians will put their hands over their hearts and talk about the First Amendment and yet if these libraries and these McDonalds were giving cigarettes to our children, we’d all be up in arms, we’d be picketing them,” he said. “But somehow it’s okay if they deliver pornography to them.”

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council and the host of the program, compared the availability of pornographic websites at such locations to “second-hand smoke,” saying that children and families can end up watching porn from other people’s computers and “the public has a right not to be confronted with this.”

“That’s what I think is often lost in the First Amendment discussion,” Weiler said, “because someone may have the First Amendment right, according to the U.S. Supreme Court, to view pornography, but what about my First Amendment right to not view it?”

Weiler went on to hail British Prime Minister David Cameron for his government-led push to block pornographic websites in the U.K., mentioning that he asked Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, to introduce a similar plan in the U.S. 

Tony Perkins: If Americans Followed Obama, The Koran Would Be The State Book Of Tennessee

Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, devoted his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday to discussing a Tennessee bill making the Bible the state’s official book, which was vetoed by the state’s Republican governor after being approved by its legislature.

At one point, a listener called in to share his wish that “the United States government would enact a bill where the Holy Bible was the Bible of the United States,” noting that many government buildings have references to the Bible on them.

Perkins responded that “if the left has their way, they’re going to break out the jackhammers and the sandblasters and they’re going to try to take that off of the buildings. They’re trying to certainly take it out of the hearts and minds of people, especially our children, as they drive it far from our schools and now from the public square, and eventually they’re going to get back around to these buildings.”

He told the caller that he was right that “the best defense is a good offense” and that “we need to show that, you know what, the American people are not going to take this lying down. We have every right to have our views reflected in our government by our elected officials.”

Perkins then returned to a conversation he had had with an earlier caller who had opposed the Tennessee bill and asked Perkins how he would feel if a state named the Koran its official book.

“Well, if the Koran as the state book could get through Tennessee,” he said, “our nation is a lot worse off than I ever thought, even though after we’ve had Barack Obama for seven years and I know he’s done everything he can to promote Islam in this country, but we’re not at that point yet because the American people are not following him.”

The Religious Right’s Bicoastal Political Prayer Rally Weekend

Two major prayer rallies organized by Religious Right figures are being held on Saturday —one at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., and one in Los Angeles. The two events will be linked with a simulcast “Bridge to Prayer.”

The Washington event, United Cry DC 16, is scheduled to run for seven hours and will be broadcast on GodTV. It features an impressive number of familiar Religious Right figures, including Tony Perkins, Jerry Boykin, Harry Jackson, Samuel Rodriguez, Jim Garlow, Alveda King and E.W. Jackson. Joining them will be bestselling doomsday author and “Messianic” Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, Billy Graham’s daughter Anne Graham Lotz and “Hour of Power” preacher Bobby Schuller.

Also in the lineup is Doug Stringer, the “apostle” who has hosted a number of “The Response” political prayer rallies organized by Christian nationalist political operative David Lane in recent years with Republican governors like Rick Perry, Bobby Jindal, Nikki Haley and Pat McCrory.

WorldNetDaily is excited about the event, promoting it with a breathless story, declaring “what an assembly it promises to be.” WND even tries to put a good face on the lousy weather forecast, saying, “Perhaps the Almighty is already calling attention to the event by providing some freakish spring weather, with the possibility of snow in the forecast. But hardy souls will brave the elements because they consider the gathering a divine calling.”  A Thursday email from event organizer Lewis Hogan was not so excited about the weather, urging people to pray away the rain.

This is not the first “solemn assembly” called by Religious Right leaders to put America on the right path during an election year. While the Great Awakening whose beginning is predicted at every Religious Right event hasn’t yet materialized, organizers believe it’s just around the corner. Meanwhile, they say, America’s embrace of marriage equality is just asking for God’s wrath.

In WND’s story about United Cry DC, Rabbi Cahn complained that America hasn’t heeded his warnings:

In the course of the last few years, America has not turned back to God but has grown much farther from Him. We’ve witnessed a rapid acceleration in the nation’s apostasy from God and His ways. We have called good evil and evil good. We are now at the threshold of persecuting God’s people as we celebrate godlessness. The Bible is very clear on the consequences. To any nation that has been given so much as America, much is required. If we don’t turn back to God, we are advancing toward judgment.

“The fact that it is also the year of a presidential election and a critical moment with regard to the Supreme Court, raises the stakes even higher.

On the same day as the United Cry rally in DC, Dominionist “apostle” Lou Engle and friends will be in Los Angeles hosting another in his multi-year “supernatural series of events” under the banner of “The Call.” In a video promoting the event Engel talking animatedly about the symbolism of speakers flying only on United Airlines so that America can be united.Engle has held a number of “Call” events over the last decade and a half, including one on the National Mall in September 2000 and one in 2008 in California focused in part on promoting the anti-gay Proposition 8.  This one, called Azusa Now, is scheduled to run for 15 hours at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

Cruz Advisers: Obama Using 'White Privilege And Nonsense Like That' To Weaken The Military

The Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney and the Family Research Council’s Jerry Boykin, both national security advisors to Sen. Ted Cruz, discussed on Gaffney’s radio program yesterday how they believe President Obama is, perhaps intentionally, weakening the military by allowing women in combat and training troops on what Boykin called “white privilege and nonsense like that.”

Gaffney asked Boykin if he thought that “the policies that the president has been pursuing” that he claimed have “diminished the readiness” of the military are “designed to have that effect” or if it’s just a coincidence.

Boykin responded that while he “can’t answer what this administration is thinking,” it’s “certainly a possibility” that the president is intentionally weakening the military.

He contrasted the recent capture of an American boat in Iranian waters to the Vietnam era, when “to get a statement out of a POW that was being held in Hanoi, you had to beat that man almost to the point of killing him.”

“Frank, what’s happened to our military?” he asked. “Now, I’ll tell you what part of it is. They have not spent their time being trained on the code of conduct. They’ve spent their time being trained on tolerance and inclusion.”

“Diversity, sensitivity, and white privilege,” Gaffney said derisively.

“Yeah, that’s right,” Boykin said, “on white privilege and nonsense like that. That’s where they spend their training time. I get feedback from military people all the time. 'Sir, we spent the entire week doing nothing but classroom training on tolerance and integrating women into the infantry.' And, I mean, Frank, we’re wasting precious training time at a time when our enemies are growing stronger and we’re growing weaker.”

Earlier in the interview, Boykin and Gaffney took aim at one of their favorite targets, the Southern Poverty Law Center, which Boykin called “probably, next to the Muslim Brotherhood, the most evil group in America.”

The two also revealed that in February Boykin presented Gaffney with the “George Washington Leadership Award” on behalf of the Council for National Policy, a secretive conservative umbrella group that is currently led by Family Research Council President Tony Perkins.

Tony Perkins: Businesses Who Support LGBT Rights Have 'Stockholm Syndrome'

Yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins announced that his organization will stop using PayPal because the company halted a planned expansion in North Carolina after the state’s Republican leaders enacted a sweeping anti-LGBT law.

Perkins said that businesses who oppose the North Carolina law may have “Stockholm syndrome” when it comes to the LGBT community, expressing anger that the business community “has been hijacked” by LGBT rights advocates and has failed to stand with Religious Right activists who have strongly supported pro-corporate measures in the past.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say they are being held hostage by the LGBT community, but they are certainly being used as puppets,” Perkins said.

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/28/16

Bad News For Republicans Hoping For A Platform Less Hostile To LGBT Equality

The platform approved at the Republican National Convention in 2012 was, we said at the time, “a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.” Every attempt at moderating language — whether on equality for LGBT people or the right of D.C. residents to congressional representation — was shot down by the far-right activists on the party’s platform committee.

At the convention that year, supporters of the LGBT-friendly Log Cabin Republicans vowed that things were changing, and that never again would the Republican platform include anti-equality language about “preserving and protecting traditional marriage” as “a union of one man and one woman” that “must be upheld as the national standard.” A group called Young Conservatives for the Freedom to Marry launched a million-dollar “Reform the Platform” campaign, which has since been absorbed by American Unity Fund, a pro-marriage-equality group affiliated with hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer, a major Republican Party donor.

But the road to a more gay-friendly Republican platform is going to be a rocky one. Earlier this month, the Louisiana Republican Party chose its two delegates to the platform committee: stridently anti-gay Family Research Council President Tony Perkins and Sandy McDade, political chairman of Eagle Forum, which “adamantly opposes” marriage equality.

Four years ago, FRC and Eagle Forum teamed up to make anti-equality language in the platform even stronger. Perkins bragged at the time:

With a presence in the committee meetings, the FRC Action staff has been able to help delegates hold the line of social issues.

Just this morning, our efforts made what was already a good document even better. Before this week, the GOP’s draft platform included solid language defending the family – and FRC Action, in tandem with Eagle Forum, made it even stronger.

In a press release celebrating his re-selection to the platform committee this month, Perkins again boasted about the role he had in shaping 2012’s anti-gay platform:

In 2012, my role as a delegate gave me the opportunity to play a key role in amending the marriage plank, which led to the committee approving a much stronger version than 2008's. We also tightened language on obscenity and pornography, protected conscience rights, explained how abortion hurts women, and supported the Second Amendment in D.C.

Both Perkins and McDade are backing Ted Cruz, even though Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly is in the Trump camp. Perkins is a member of Cruz’s Religious Liberty Advisory Council, which suggests that he’ll also be pushing for anti-gay platform language under the banner of religious liberty.

Ted Cruz's Religious Liberty Advisory Council Recommends Reversing LGBT Rights Victories, Curtailing Birth Control Coverage

Sen. Ted Cruz, who has touted the endorsements of many of the most extreme members of the Religious Right, has never tried to hide the fact that he plans to target LGBT rights and reproductive freedoms if elected president.

Indeed, the Texas Republican's campaign even put together a "religious liberty advisory council" led by radical activist Tony Perkins for the purpose of putting together policy recommendations for a future Cruz administration.

Along with Perkins, council members include right-wing favorites like Jim Garlow, Kelly Shackelford, Harry Jackson and David and Jason Benham.

Perkins told Fox News pundit Todd Starnes in an interview today that the group is recommending that a Cruz administration move to deny anti-discrimination protections for LGBT workers and roll back access to contraception upon entering the White House.

Cruz has already promised that in his first day in office he would order an investigation into Planned Parenthood, end the government’s “persecution of religious liberty” and “rescind every illegal and unconstitutional executive action taken by Barack Obama.”

The council, made up of prominent religious leaders, recommended 15 action items that will protect Americans from discrimination by the federal government on the basis of their view of marriage and also protect employers threatened by the HHS contraception mandate.

The council is also calling on Cruz to direct a review of the IRS’ treatment of religious organizations and to direct federal agencies to respect the free exercise of religion.



Among the policies recommended to Cruz:

- Rescind Executive Order 13672 – an order that requires certain federal contractors to not discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity;

- Direct all federal agencies to stop interpreting “sex” to include “sexual orientation” and/or “gender identity.”

- Direct the Department of Health and Human Services to eliminate its requirement that all employers include coverage for all FDA-approved contraceptive methods and sterilization procedures;

- Direct the IRS to review all of its current guidance regarding religious organizations and issue clarifying guidance to the extent to which religious organization and religious leaders are able to engage in speech regarding political issues and candidates;

- Review and clarify existing Department of Education guidance on prayer at school to ensure it adequately explains the rights of students, teachers and other employees to live out their faith.

The council also urged Cruz to protect the religious liberty of military personnel – especially the rights of chaplains.

Conservative Groups Double Down On SCOTUS Obstruction

After President Obama announced his nomination of Judge Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court today, conservative groups quickly doubled down on their calls for Senate Republicans to block any person the president nominates to fill the vacancy left by the death of Justice Antonin Scalia.

Although a handful of senators are now hinting that they may be willing to at least meet with Garland — who has won praise from Republicans in the past — conservative groups have reiterated their demands that the GOP block his nomination.

Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice issued a statement repeating his call for “no confirmation proceedings until after the election.” Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver similarly repeated that there should be “no Senate hearing on any Obama nominee.” Concerned Women for America announced that “President Obama’s choice for the Supreme Court does not change the fact that the Senate needs to continue to do the proper thing by fulfilling its role of ‘advice and consent’” — by which CWA means blocking a nominee.

Alliance Defending Freedom’s Casey Mattox offered no criticism of Garland himself but claimed that the Obama administration is untrustworthy and so Garland’s nomination should be blocked: “The Obama administration has demonstrated it cannot be trusted to respect the rule of law, the Constitution, and the limits of its own authority. So it should be no surprise that the American people would be highly skeptical that any nominee this president puts forth would be acceptable.”

Heritage Action, which was calling for an end to most judicial and executive branch confirmations even before Scalia’s death, declared that “nothing has changed” with the nomination of Garland and that we areone liberal Justice away from seeing gun rights restricted and partial birth abortion being considered a constitutional right.”

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council similarly tried to paint Garland as a liberal, saying he is “far from being a consensus nominee,” although he offered no specifics about the “serious questions” he said there were about Garland’s “ability to serve as a constitutionalist.” Kayla Moore, who heads the Foundation for Moral Law, the group founded by her husband Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, also opted for vague and dire warnings, saying that Americans “may very well lose our rights” if Garland is confirmed.

Anti-abortion groups also doubled down on their opposition to any confirmation proceedings, while at the same time struggling to find specific reasons to oppose Garland.

Father Frank Pavone of Priests for Life didn’t bother to criticize Garland at all, writing instead that this is “no time for a lame duck President to push through a judge for a lifetime appointment.” (Never mind that Obama, with nearly a year left in his second term in office, is not a lame duck president.)

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser wrote:

This changes nothing. We do not know this nominee but we do know Barack Obama. Anyone he nominates will join the voting bloc on the Court that consistently upholds abortion on-demand. The President should not be permitted one last opportunity to stack the Court with pro-abortion Justices.

Meanwhile, Americans United for Life dug up this one unconvincing piece of opposition research:

Consider that Judge Garland spoke at a gathering celebrating Linda Greenhouse’s book on Justice Harry Blackmun, Becoming Justice Blackmun. He described the release of the papers of the late Justice Blackmun—the author of one of the Supreme Court’s worst decisions, Roe v. Wade—as a “great gift to the country.”

Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman said his group would oppose any nominee who does not publicly “renounce Roe v. Wade”:

"Millions of lives hang in the balance of each ruling on abortion put forth by the Supreme Court. I refuse to support any nominee - Republican or Democrat - that will not renounce Roe v. Wade and commit to restoring legal protections to the pre-born," said Troy Newman, President of Operation Rescue.



"I strongly urge the members of the Judiciary Committee to hold fast to their promise, for the sake of the future of our country and the future of our posterity," said Newman. "The Senate Republican leadership cannot afford to break this important promise to their conservative, pro-life base, if they expect us to vote for any of them ever again."

Gun groups also came out swinging against Garland, with the National Rifle Association claiming that he “ does not respect our fundamental, individual right to keep and bear arms for self-defense” and Gun Owners of America colorfully calling on the Senate to “bury this nomination and write ‘Dead On Arrival’ as its epitaph.” Both groups based their objections on Garland’s vote, as a D.C. Circuit judge, simply to rehear an important gun rights case.

The Judicial Crisis Network’s Carrie Severino — who previously called Garland a “best case scenario” Obama nominee to the Supreme Court — has been relying on thesame flimsy criticism to attack Garland.

We’ll update this post with more reactions as they come in.

This post has been updated.

Tony Perkins: Leave Your Church If Your Pastor Likes Obama

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has once again attacked the faith of Christians who back President Obama, this time telling a caller on his radio show yesterday that she should leave her church because her pastor likes the president.

After the caller said that, among other issues, her pastor “thinks Obama is the greatest,” Perkins advised her to begin “praying about changing churches and finding another church.”

Perkins said that the Obama administration has “systematically targeted the Christian faith” and that the president’s policies on abortion rights and marriage equality conflict with Christianity.

“What more evidence is necessary that this president is not in alignment with biblical truth and even historical truth?” he added. “I think it’s time for a new church.”

Louie Gohmert: Obama's 'Hate Crimes' Against Christians Invite God's Judgment

Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Rep. Louie Gohmert railed against “the hate crimes by this administration” against conservative Christians, such as the nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor.

The Texas Republican and radio host Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, falsely claimed that the Obama administration refuses to offer religious groups an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement.

In fact, the Little Sisters of the Poor is covered under its accommodation but refuses to fill out the form seeking an exemption.

Gohmert said that instead of focusing on America’s enemies, “they just choose to spend a great deal of their time going after Christians.”

“We’ve never had a religion permit the kinds of hate crimes that this administration is in going after them and bullying them,” he added, claiming that the administration’s “bullying” is “the worst in our history.”

After alleging that the ACA has “been used as a government tool to go after Christians and those whose religious beliefs are different from the president’s,” Gohmert went on to make the baseless claim that the White House tried to cut off aid to Ethiopia, Kenya and Nigeria until they legalized same-sex marriage. “This administration hasn’t confined their bullying just to this country,” he said.

Gohmert should not be considered an expert on hate crimes, as he once said the hate crimes law passed in 2009 would legalize pedophilia, necrophilia and bestiality while ushering in Nazism.

The two also blasted an Obama administration effort to fight hate crimes directed at Muslim-Americans. Gohmert dismissed concerns about such hate crimes while saying that the White House is ignoring crimes against Christians and Jews throughout the world because “we have a United States leadership that will not protect Christians [and] puts a real prize on protecting Muslims.”

He said that Muslim people should be more grateful to U.S. service members fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, claiming that the U.S. has only gotten terrorist attacks in return.

“It is absolute insanity that this administration continues to do great harm and persecute Christians for their religious beliefs,” Gohmert continued.

The congressman then quoted from the book of Hosea to suggest that America is facing God’s wrath because “nations are made to account when they put leaders in place that persecute those who are trying to follow the words of God.”

Perkins, for his part, said that Obama is only promoting religious liberty for Muslims. (In the past, Perkins has repeatedly said that Muslims are not protected under the First Amendment).

Tony Perkins Wrongly Blames Shooting On LGBT Rights Ordinance

Before any facts of the case were known, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins quickly linked the recent shooting of an Idaho pastor to a nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Coeur d’Alene that prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination. Perkins wrote yesterday:

Like the rest of the country, we were stunned and saddened to hear about the shooting of Pastor Tim Remington in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The beloved church leader, who was known throughout the community for his outreach to the addicted and incarcerated, was gunned down at church a day after opening a Ted Cruz rally with prayer.



While his family and congregation celebrate the good prognosis, disturbing questions still linger. Coeur d’Alene had already grown increasingly hostile toward Christians, as we know from Donald and Evelyn Knapp, a husband-and-wife pastor team that ran a wedding chapel called The Hitching Post. After declining to marry a same-sex couple, Idaho city officials had warned that the decision could send them straight to jail and/or bury them in debilitating fines.

Obviously, the environment toward Christians and pastors preaching the Gospel has made a turn for the worst in the small northern town. How can it not when you have the government ordering believers to participate in things that violate their faith? Whatever the shooter’s motivations, until the policies change, tensions like these will not. In the meantime, we continue to pray for the Remingtons, Tim’s full and complete healing, and for the man responsible to be brought to justice.

First of all, the nondiscrimination ordinance Perkins mentioned did not force Donald Knapp’s for-profit chapel to host same-sex couples’ weddings, as it was exempt under the ordinance.

But even more egregiously, Perkins went out of his way to blame the ordinance for the shooting on the grounds that it was creating an environment of anti-Christian hostility, even though the suspected shooter claimed that he shot the pastor because he thought he was from Mars.

In a Facebook post, the alleged shooter, who “has a history of mental illness,” wrote that he believed Remington was a Martian:

Things are not what they appear to be. The world is ruled by ancient civilization from Mars. Pastor Tim was one of them, and he was the reason my life was ruined. I will be sharing my story with as many people as possible. I don't have time right now, they are chasing me. I shot Pastor Tim 12 times, there is no way any human could have survived that event. Anyway, I have sent my story to all the major news organizations. I have no time, I have to go.”

He was later apprehended at the White House:

He admitted to plotting to shoot Remington. He also claimed that the pastor was part of a vast alien conspiracy to enslave the human race — a conspiracy that Odom believed extended to Congress.

“My last resort was to take actions to bring this to the public’s attention,” Odom wrote in the manifesto. “I hope that something good comes of it. Just realize that I’m a good person, and I’m completely innocent. Also realize that the ‘people’ I killed are not what you think.”

You can read his manifesto about the Martian overlords here.

Nonetheless, Perkins claims this was a case of left-wing anti-Christian bigotry.

Tony Perkins Hits Trump Over David Duke Endorsement, Despite His Own Duke Connection

Former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke’s support for Donald Trump, and the GOP presidential frontrunner’s initial refusal to condemn him, must be awkward news for Family Research Council president Tony Perkins.

Perkins, a prominent endorser of Ted Cruz and one of the senator’s top campaign surrogates, had his own history with Duke when the two were involved in Louisiana politics in the 1990s:

Perkins previously served as a state lawmaker in Louisiana and unsuccessfully ran for U.S. Senate in 2002. His career was not without controversy: He spoke at least twice to the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens and reportedly “paid former Ku Klux Klan Grand Wizard David Duke $82,500 for his mailing list” while working as the campaign manager for failed U.S. Senate candidate Woody Jenkins. “The Federal Election Commission fined the campaign Perkins ran $3,000 for attempting to hide the money paid to Duke,” reported The Nation.

While Perkins’ group, the Family Research Council, insisted that “Mr. Perkins profoundly opposes the racial views of Mr. Duke and was profoundly grieved to learn that Duke was a party to the company that had done work for the 1996 campaign,” that didn’t stop Perkins from speaking years later to the CCC, a group that aims to “oppose all efforts to mix the races of mankind, to promote non-white races over the European-American people through so-called ‘affirmative action’ and similar measures, to destroy or denigrate the European-American heritage, including the heritage of the Southern people, and to force the integration of the races.”

Which brings us to the Monday edition of Perkins’ “Washington Watch” radio show, where a caller who identified as a Cruz supporter said she wanted people to know that “Donald Trump is being backed by the Ku Klux Klan.”

Perkins told the caller he was “glad to hear” that Trump disavowed Duke and the Klan, noting that days later Trump had said that “he didn’t know who David Duke was.”

“Let me just say there’s no room for racism and hatred in our national politics of that sort, based upon those immutable characteristics of race,” Perkins said. “I hope he does disavow any type of support like that.”

While he is rightfully upset that Trump feigned ignorance about Duke, Perkins may want to refresh his memory about his own relationship with Duke and white nationalists.

Tony Perkins: Obama's 'Cultural Time Bombs' Will Destroy America

On his “Washington Watch” radio program yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with Sen. Mike Lee, R-Utah, about why the Senate must rebuff any Supreme Court nominee put forward by President Obama, a conversation which led Perkins to warn about the imminent demise of the U.S.

Perkins urged Senate Republicans to hold the line in their refusal to consider a new justice until next year, claiming that the Senate would be protecting the Constitution by refusing to carry out its constitutional duties.

A new justice appointed by Obama, he warned, will undermine “the fabric of our Constitution and the republic will be at risk.” (Four years ago, Perkins similarly asserted that Obama’s re-election would mean the destruction of America).

Perkins, after praising us here at Right Wing Watch because “I don’t say anything that I don’t want exposed,” repeated his claim that the 2016 election could be the last election ever held in America unless the next president stops Obama’s “cultural time bombs” from exploding:

Every election is important because of what this president, President Barack Hussein Obama, has done in the last seven-plus years, we have moved this nation to a point that the next president cannot be a Republican who simply does business as usual and stops some of the bad stuff. This president went beyond pushing the envelope.

He has planted cultural time bombs that will eventually go off. The next president has to undo those and render them safe and turn this nation around and that means you’re going to have to have an aggressive leader. And if we don’t have that, I’m convinced that as a republic, we won’t long survive. The country as a geographical land mass will continue, but the republic, the 240 years that we’ve had, I’m not sure we’ll have another election.

Cruz: 'Disastrous' Marriage Equality Ruling Led To 'Persecution' That's 'Unprecedented'

In an interview yesterday with conservative Christian broadcaster Janet Mefferd, Sen. Ted Cruz once again touted his support from anti-gay leaders including the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and the National Organization for Marriage, saying that anti-gay conservatives support him because he knows that the Supreme Court’s “disastrous” and “fundamentally illegitimate” marriage equality decision has led to “unprecedented” persecution.

Cruz told Mefferd that “we are seeing an assault on religious liberty from Washington that is unprecedented,” citing a number of his favorite cases of people supposedly being persecuted by running afoul of state or local nondiscrimination policies, almost none of which have stemmed from the federal government.

Claiming that “these threats are growing and growing,” Cruz said that “much of this persecution is the fruit of the Supreme Court’s disastrous gay marriage ruling last year” — never mind that every single one of the incidents he referenced happened before the ruling and were in no way connected to it.

Cruz declared that it was “very sad” that some of his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination called the Obergefell ruling “settled law,” which is, he said, why anti-gay leaders have flocked to endorse him.

“I believe that decision was fundamentally illegitimate, it was lawless, it was unconstitutional and it will not stand,” he said. “And I would note, that is precisely why Dr. James Dobson has endorsed me in this campaign, it is why Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council has endorsed me in this campaign, it’s why the National Organization on Marriage [sic] has endorsed me on this campaign and has said it cannot support Donald Trump or Marco Rubio because if we’re not willing to defend marriage, we are giving up the foundational building blocks of the family, we’re giving up the Judeo-Christian values that built this great nation.”

Surprise! Tony Perkins Lies About Obama's Response To Scalia's Death

On Saturday, about an hour after officials confirmed the death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell announced that he would try to block the confirmation of any person President Obama nominated to replace Scalia on the Supreme Court. One White House aide told Politico that although the administration wasn’t surprised by McConnell’s commitment to obstruction, the speed with which he vowed a fight after Scalia’s death was a “real shocker.”

Some of McConnell’s fellow senators and conservative pressure groups — including the Family Research Council — quickly echoed his call to obstruction.

Later on Saturday evening, President Obama delivered short remarks commemorating Scalia and responding directly to McConnell’s threat by saying that he planned to nominate a new Supreme Court justice in “due time” and called on the Senate “to fulfill its responsibility to give that person a fair hearing and a timely vote.”

But in the world of Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, what really happened was that President Obama politicized the justice’s death, forcing McConnell and his fellow senators to “fire back.”

In an email to supporters yesterday, Perkins accused Obama of violating a nonexistent “80-year tradition of leaving an election-year vacancy to the next president,” prompting noble GOP senators to contradict him:

There are dozens of high-profile cases pending before the Court -- including the key conservative battles over the Texas abortion law and the conscience rights of Little Sisters of the Poor. While the Court copes with Scalia's absence, the White House seems intent on nominating his replacement, despite the 80-year tradition of leaving an election-year vacancy to the next president. Invoking the Constitution he has selective use for, President Obama told reporters it was his "duty" to submit a name to the U.S. Senate for confirmation. Of course, the greatest insult to Justice Scalia's memory would be to appoint a replacement in the mold of Obama, who's spent seven years trampling on the Constitution on the way to his own personal policy goals.

Almost immediately, Senate leaders fired back, insisting that voters were less than nine months away from selecting a new president -- and, following eight decades of tradition, Scalia's replacement should be left to that person. Senator Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) joined Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senator John McCain (R-Ariz.) and others in insisting there would be no confirmation "The fact of the matter is that it's been standard practice over the last nearly 80 years that Supreme Court nominees are not nominated and confirmed during a presidential election year," Mr. Grassley said. "Given the huge divide in the country, and the fact that this president, above all others, has made no bones about his goal to use the courts to circumvent Congress and push through his own agenda, it only makes sense that we defer to the American people who will elect a new president to select the next Supreme Court justice."

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