Tony Perkins

What Persecution Looks Like

Nothing like putting things in perspective.

At the end of a week in which Religious Right leaders, cable TV pundits, and conservative politicians acted as if freedom were being destroyed because a rich TV star was suspended for making offensive racist and anti-gay comments, the Parliament in Uganda passed a bill that threatens gay people with life in prison.

And with that vote, all the alarmist bluster about persecution from Sarah Palin, Bobby Jindal and every Religious Right leader who saw a chance to boost year-end fundraising by jumping on the martyrdom bandwagon was made to look ridiculous.

This week’s news gave us plenty of evidence about real persecution, and it had nothing to do with Duck Dynasty. The face of persecution is not Phil Robertson, but the terrified LGBT people in Uganda who fear that they are about to be hunted.  Persecution looks like gay teenagers in Russia being beaten by thugs, and by gay parents who have the ability to leave Russia fleeing because anti-gay political leaders are threatening to take their children from them. Persecution looks like LGBT people all over the globe whose lives and freedom are threatened by new laws that enshrine discrimination and define them as criminals. Persecution looks like LGBT teens in Jamaica facing vigilante violence.  And on and on.

Newsweek reported a week ago that Ethiopia had declared war on gay men this year, noting, “A representative from the Ethiopian Inter-Religious Council Against Homosexuality announced that the council was making ‘promising’ progress in convincing the government to introduce the death penalty to punish ‘homosexual acts.’”

How do American conservative religious and political figures respond to this kind of persecution? Not with shouts of outrage but with enthusiastic cheering. It is no small irony that many of those most loudly screaming "persecution" over Robertson's suspension have been equally vocal supporters of international efforts to literally criminalize homosexuality. 

Brian Brown, Pat Buchanan, Matt Barber, and a sad parade of other religious conservatives fawn over Russia’s violently anti-democratic strongman Vladimir Putin as if he were Christendom’s new Defender of the Faith. Putin, in Barber’s words, is being allowed to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation.” (Of course many American Christians want nothing to do with Barber or his interpretation of the faith.)

And to their lasting shame, American Religious Right leaders’ financial and political support have been inflaming anti-gay passions in Uganda for years.  Lou Engle and Scott Lively actually traveled to Uganda and helped rally support for the bill. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, who takes such umbrage at FRC’s designation as a hate group, dismissed criticism of the Uganda law in its earlier and more sinister incarnation, calling the proposed law an effort to “uphold moral conduct.”

There’s no indication that the Uganda bill’s passage is causing any noticeable soul-searching among the far right.  Far from it. The American Family Association’s always-repellant Bryan Fischer invoked the Duck Dynasty flap in celebrating the passage of the anti-gay law in Uganda: “Uganda stands with Phil. Makes homosexuality contrary to public policy. It can be done.”

Actually, as offensive as Phil Robertson’s statements were, they pale in comparison to Fischer’s. Robertson hasn’t suggested, as far as I know, that gay people should be arrested and put in prison for life. And I seriously doubt that Robertson has ever traveled to Russia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America, the Caribbean, or Australia to promote legal discrimination against and criminalization of LGBT people or anyone who advocates for equality, the way right-wing figures like Engle, Lively, Brown, Mat Staver, Peter LaBarbera, Paul Cameron, and others have.

No worries about the Olympics on the American Right.  In fact the Illinois-based Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society is excited about having its 2014 “World Congress of Families” summit in Moscow, which they see as a new stronghold for “traditional values” against the secular moral squalor of Western Europe.

Conservative activists were prepared to see Phil Robertson as a victim of religious persecution because they’ve been primed for years with the “religious liberty” narrative being pushed by Religious Right leaders and their conservative Catholic allies. They portray criticism as persecution. They equate being on the losing side of policy debates with being under the heel of oppression. And when courts and legislatures struggle with the challenge of balancing religious liberty with other constitutional values like equality under the law, they see only black-and-white battles between good and evil.

Their rhetoric cheapens and distorts the meaning of terms like tyranny. Anti-religious persecution is a violent, heartbreaking reality for Christians in many parts of the world. But not for the privileged and powerful figures in the United States who wrap themselves in the mantle of martyrdom.

The next time you hear some talking head on Fox talk about persecution, think about people in the Central African Republic who are caught in sectarian violence verging on genocide. Or think about LGBT people whose lives and freedom are threatened every day in the name of Christian values.  

Uganda Passes Anti-Gay Bill Cheered By US Conservatives

An anti-gay law championed by evangelical Christians in Uganda with the enthusiastic backing of Religious Right leaders in the U.S. has passed parliament and is awaiting the president’s decision on whether to sign it.  The bill as passed apparently no longer includes the death penalty provision but makes homosexuality a crime punishable by life in prison. LGBT activist Frank Mugisha says his colleagues are panicking, fearing that “there is going to be a hunt.”

Martin Ssempa, a Ugandan minister who has pushed the bill for years, and has been praised by Religious Right leaders like Matt Barber for his strident anti-gay stance, tweeted “Let Freedom Ring!” and posted a celebratory picture of himself with David Bahati, the bill’s sponsor.

Ssempa got plenty of help from American Religious Right figures like Lou Engle and Scott Lively, who is facing a human rights lawsuit brought by Sexual Minorities of Uganda. “This human rights crisis was made here in the United States,” says Tarso Luís Ramos, Executive Director at Political Research Associates.

Given that American Religious Right figures had praised the bill in its even more draconian form – Tony Perkins called it an effort to “uphold moral conduct” – it is sadly unsurprising to see some of them cheering.  American Family Association hatemonger Bryan Fischer connected the law’s passage to the controversy in America over Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson. Fischer tweeted:

So much for “live and let live.” 

PFAW Foundation Condemns U.S. Right-Wing Leaders’ Connection to Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way Foundation is deeply saddened to learn of the reported passage of the infamous anti-gay bill in Uganda. The draconian bill would make so-called “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life in prison.

A number of far-right leaders in the United States are connected to this bill. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, called an older version of the bill an effort to “uphold moral conduct.” The anti-gay activism of Abiding Truth Ministries’ Scott Lively in Uganda has helped foment anti-gay sentiment there, and a lawsuit brought by gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda alleges that Lively’s activities in Uganda led to the torture and deaths of gay and lesbian Ugandans. Lively has explicitly come out in favor of a version of the bill that included life in prison as a punishment for homosexuality.

“American far-right groups have long embraced bigotry and discrimination when it comes to LGBT communities in this country. In recent years, they’ve also worked hard to export their hatred,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan. “Their help in facilitating a clear violation of human rights is abhorrent. These far-right U.S. leaders must take responsibility for the human suffering caused by their role in its development.”

The far-right’s work in Uganda is part of an ongoing effort by American anti-gay activists to spread their bigotry abroad, including support for suppressive anti-gay laws in Russia, Jamaica, and Peru. Right Wing Watch will continue to monitor and expose these efforts to export homophobia.

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FRC Upset That Gay And Transgender People Are Signing Up For Health Insurance

The Family Research Council is upset that Obama administration allies are working to enroll LGBT people – who are disproportionately uninsured -- in health care plans because they are “a high risk pool fed by even higher risk behavior.”

Religious Right Activists Suddenly Against Biblical Definition of Marriage

The same activists who support a wide definition of religious liberty that entails sweeping legal exemptions for Christians and who believe that US laws must closely follow biblical dictates, are now upset that a religious family has successfully challenged Utah’s anti-polygamy statute.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/16/13

Andrew Kaczynski @ BuzzFeed: Rick Santorum Drops Strange, Death-Filled Description Of Nationalized Health Care. Joe.My.God: Pope Francis Vs Rush Limbaugh.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/6/13

Perkins: Democrats Are Waging A 'War On Women' Through The Contraception Mandate

Recently it was reported that Republicans in Congress have been receiving training on how to communicate with female voters and, more importantly, learning what not to do when running against a female opponent.

The Family Research Council's Tony Perkins was asked about this effort by Newsmax's Steve Malzberg yesterday and it made us wish that the GOP would bring Perkins in to help them with their talking points because, as he sees it, the entire thing is utterly unnecessary since it is the Democrats who are really waging the "war on women" ... through the contraception mandate:

Let me tell you where the war on women is being waged. It is the Democratic Party that is putting an ideological emphasis on, let's take the contraception mandate that they're pushing, which is going to cost jobs, going to cost women the ability to provide for their families, it's going to take away their health care because they're putting organizations and businesses in a position of having to choose between their religious freedoms, their conscience, and providing healthcare for their workers. Look, who needs to apologize for that are not Republicans, it's the Democrats, it's the President that's pushing this failed policy that's kicking families off of coverage from health care and potentially ending their jobs. Now, what do Republicans have to apologize for because they've been fighting that?  I don't think they have anything to apologize for.

Perkins: Tide Turning Against Marriage Equality

Back in June, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins pointed to the marriage equality fight in Illinois to argue that marriage equality is not inevitable:

Today, Pew Research Center did its part to dispirit supporters of natural marriage by insisting that 72% of Americans believe same-sex "marriage" is inevitable (including 85% of same-sex "marriage" supporters and 59% of natural marriage proponents). Apparently, the folks at Pew didn't survey anyone in Illinois. Advocates of same-sex "marriage" thought victory in the President's home state was "inevitable" too -- until the churches got involved.

The reality is, same-sex "marriage" is only as inevitable as we make it. If Christians play into the media's hands and adopt this defeatist attitude, then the Left is right: It is helpless. But if believers rediscover the power of the truth, they can do more than stop the dissolution of marriage (like they did in Illinois), they can "turn the world upside down" (Acts 17:6).

Of course, Illinois eventually did in fact legalize same-sex marriage. Sixteen states and the District of Columbia now have marriage equality laws, which are favored by 58 percent of Americans and a huge majority of young people.

But undeterred by the facts, Perkins said in his radio address today that “the tide may already be turning” against equality:

Plenty of states have been processing down the same-sex marriage aisle. But according to pundits, that's all about to change. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. Homosexual activists like to say that momentum is on their side. And until recently, they might have been right. Sixteen U.S. states now recognize a right to same-sex marriage. And unfortunately, the Left's success in places like Hawaii and Illinois have helped feed the lie in America that homosexual marriage is inevitable. But don't believe it, say experts. All we've witnessed lately is the Left taking advantage of easy targets. With the exception of West Virginia, none of the other 34 states are under Democratic control. That means the Left's toughest battles are yet to come. And in places like Indiana, the tide may already be turning. State liberals are rushing to play defense while a marriage protection amendment works its way to the statewide ballot. So be encouraged. Not all same-sex wedding bills are leading to wedding bells.

Indiana will vote on an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2014, but Indiana GOP leaders are already distancing themselves from or even opposing the discriminatory initiative. While the vote is a year away, the latest polling found that most Hoosiers oppose the amendment.

Marriage equality may also soon arrive in Oregon and New Mexico (where it is already legal in some counties), which may disappoint Perkins as he tries to pretend anti-gay activists are somehow winning the fight on marriage rights.

Tony Perkins Claims Obama Judicial Picks Are 'To the Left of Hugo Chavez'

Last month, Senate Democrats were forced to change the rules of the filibuster after Republicans vowed to block all three of President Obama’s nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals despite the fact that they had no problem with the nominees themselves.

But in the alternate universe of the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins,  when it comes to judicial nominations, “Senate Republicans have rarely displayed political courage stopping only a handful of nominees – nominees that ideologically would have been to the left of Hugo Chavez.”

Perkins said in his radio address today that the president’s nominations have in fact violated God’s “specific guidance on the selection of judges.”

The now majority leader pushed the nuclear option button effectively silencing the Senate minority and all but guaranteeing the president's nominees will be confirmed. Trust me; Senate Republicans have rarely displayed political courage, stopping only a handful of nominees -- nominees that ideologically would have been to the left of Hugo Chavez. The President is now free to pack the courts with ideologues that will both advance and protect his socialist policies. There is a reason that God gave specific guidance in the selection of judges. Few things will ruin a society quicker than unqualified, activist judges.

Looking through a list of Obama judicial nominees delayed or blocked by the GOP, it’s hard to find any who resemble the late Venezuelan president, but the FRC’s perception of these things tends to be skewed. After all, the group attacked both of the women in President Obama’s slate of nominees to the DC Circuit for being too “feminist,” one because she successfully fought for the Family and Medical Leave Act, and one because she supports having more than one woman on the Supreme Court.
 

Why It's Best Not To Cite The Pilgrims While Defending Hobby Lobby

Like fellow Religious Right activist Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Nate Kellum is citing the Pilgrims as a reason to oppose the contraceptive coverage mandate for employers:

As we sat down and enjoyed our traditional Thanksgiving meals, many of us remembered the Pilgrims' quest for religious liberty. We considered how they came to this new country at great sacrifice, seeking the freedom to practice their religion.

But this noble quest is not just part of our history. The freedom to live according to faith is still being pursued today.

This quest is reflected in recent legal challenges to the Affordable Care Act's contraceptive mandate, which forces Christian employers to supply insurance coverage for abortion-inducing drugs or face enormous and business-killing fines and penalties. Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court agreed to hear and resolve this vitally important issue.

While saying that for-profit corporations like Hobby Lobby have First Amendment-protected religious beliefs is one thing, the legend of the Pilgrims going to the New World to search for religious freedom is a myth, especially considering that the Pilgrims helped establish a virtual theocracy that persecuted dissenters.

Historian Kenneth C. Davis writes in Smithsonian:

From the earliest arrival of Europeans on America’s shores, religion has often been a cudgel, used to discriminate, suppress and even kill the foreign, the “heretic” and the “unbeliever”—including the “heathen” natives already here. Moreover, while it is true that the vast majority of early-generation Americans were Christian, the pitched battles between various Protestant sects and, more explosively, between Protestants and Catholics, present an unavoidable contradiction to the widely held notion that America is a “Christian nation.”



The much-ballyhooed arrival of the Pilgrims and Puritans in New England in the early 1600s was indeed a response to persecution that these religious dissenters had experienced in England. But the Puritan fathers of the Massachusetts Bay Colony did not countenance tolerance of opposing religious views. Their “city upon a hill” was a theocracy that brooked no dissent, religious or political.

The most famous dissidents within the Puritan community, Roger Williams and Anne Hutchinson, were banished following disagreements over theology and policy. From Puritan Boston’s earliest days, Catholics (“Papists”) were anathema and were banned from the colonies, along with other non-Puritans. Four Quakers were hanged in Boston between 1659 and 1661 for persistently returning to the city to stand up for their beliefs.

Right Wing Leftovers - 12/2/13

  • The Christian Post reports that "Family Research Council President Tony Perkins led seven members of Congress known for their strong ties to evangelical Christians on a nine-day swing through Israel's Holy Land earlier this month, touring the country's most important religious sites and meeting with top-level Israeli officials."
  • Larry Pratt says people are buying weapons this time of year because they’re scared of Obama.
  • Glenn Beck is "convinced that Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s are put together through divine providence, that when we are humble enough, we will see the meaning of Christmas and we’ll be able to change our life in the new year." 
  • Mike Huckabee's audience is smaller than it appears.
  • Finally, Allen West claims that Obama administration has issued new air-quality restrictions in order to make in impossible to produce bullets as a form of "backdoor gun control." It's not true, of course.

FRC Attacks Judicial Nominee For Saying There Should Be Women On The Supreme Court

The Family Research Council’s attempts to paint President Obama’s female nominees to the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals as “radical feminists” aren’t going so well.

First, the FRC attacked Nina Pillard for quoting something the late Chief Justice Rehnquist wrote about the importance of the Family and Medical Leave Act.

Now, the FRC seems to think it’s found a winning argument against Patricia Millett, the other woman in the slate of three D.C. Circuit nominees: She thinks there should be women on the Supreme Court.

In his daily email on Friday, FRC’s Tony Perkins wrote:

As it stands right now, the D.C. Circuit is evenly divided between Democrat and Republican appointed judges -- but that's about to change. Using the nuclear option, the Senate moved forward with reconsidering Patricia Millett, the first of three previously blocked nominees the President will be employing to pack the court in his favor. Millett has shown an activist tendency in how she views the court, believing it's more important it look a certain way than judge a certain way.

When President Bush nominated Samuel Alito to replace Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, Millett bemoaned that O'Connor wasn't being replaced by another woman, as if gender impacts who's most qualified to apply the Constitution to the facts in a case or that our highest court should be seen as a representative body. She sees the redefinition of marriage turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law.

FRC seems to have picked up this line of attack from a talking points document put together by the right-wing Judicial Action Group, which claims that Millett's comment in a 2009 interview that “there was a lot of upset over the failure to put a woman on to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor” shows that she would have a poor "judicial temperament.”

Yes, this is actually the argument that FRC is using against an accomplished woman’s judicial nomination in 2013.

Here’s what Millett actually said, in a 2009 interview about whom President Obama might choose to replace Justice David Souter on the Supreme Court. At the time, there was just one woman on the court and Millett stressed that there were “many qualified women” who would make President Obama’s short-list, even if gender was not considered:

There was a lot of upset over the failure to put a woman on to replace Justice Sandra Day O’Connor and…it would be extraordinary to have no women on the Supreme Court in this day and age. But even to only have one is, I think, a sorry statement about the appointment process thus far, and where it’s gotten in the last eight years.

So, I think the pressure to have a Supreme Court that looks in many ways – and gender is just one way – that is reflective of the public it serves, would require that a woman gets serious consideration. And there’s no doubt that there are many, many qualified women who – entirely apart from their gender, if nobody even considers about their gender –would be short-listed for the Supreme Court in any event, so it makes that easy.

By the way, in case you were wondering about FRC’s claim that Millett “sees the redefinition of marriage turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law,” that also comes from JAG's talking points. JAG points to an interview Millett gave previewing the Supreme Court’s hearing of the DOMA case, in which she referred to the question before the Court – whether DOMA’s unequal treatment of same-sex and opposite-sex marriage’s violated the Fifth Amendment’s due process clause – as the “fundamental fairness question before the Court.” That is, she was accurately describing the issue the Court was asked to consider; she never implies that the issue is “turning on her own definition of fairness and not the law.”

Religious Right Piles On To Defend Proponent Of Russia Anti-Gay Laws

A couple of weeks ago, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society -- an Illinois-based group that through its World Congress of Families helped promote Russia’s new anti-gay laws -- was forced to relocate a Capitol Hill symposium on “family policy lessons from foreign lands” when Sen. Mark Kirk learned what it was up to and pulled the plug on its meeting room.

The group got a last-minute helping hand from House Speaker John Boehner , but the symposium’s speakers – World Congress of Families (WCF) founder Allan Carlson, Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute president Austin Ruse, and Concerned Women For America senior fellow/WCF board member Janice Shaw Crouse – still spent much of the event bashing Kirk over the scheduling snafu .

Now, Religious Right groups including the National Organization for Marriage, the Family Research Council, and the American Family Association are coming to WCF’s defense.

The National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown – who WCF arranged to testify before the Russian parliament in favor of its broad ban on adoption by gay people – told the American Family Association’s One News Now that Kirk decided to “discriminate against a group that stands for traditional marriage” and that by doing so he was “undermining the party platform” because “it’s part of the Republican Party platform to stand up for traditional marriage.”

The Family Research Council piled on with a press release accusing the senator of “true discrimination” and “silencing anyone who doesn’t adhere to a politically correct view of sexuality.”

"Holding a different view of marriage and sexuality is not discriminatory - especially when all the social science research demonstrates the benefits of the natural family,” added FRC’s Tony Perkins.

Meanwhile, the Illinois Family Institute, the state affiliate of the American Family Association, published an article accusing Sen. Kirk of wanting to “normalize sexual deviance while trampling the conscience rights of untold numbers of people” and followed it up with an email urging its members to call Kirk’s office and express their displeasure.

Despite what all three groups said, the Howard Center and the World Congress of Families don’t merely hold “a different view of marriage and sexuality.” WCF actively works to push oppressive anti-gay laws throughout the world, including actively working toward Russia’s ban on pro-gay-rights speech. Indeed, the speakers at the Capitol Hill symposium enthusiastically defended Russia's anti-gay laws and denyied that the laws actually harm gay people.

It maybe shouldn’t come as a surprise that three of the largest anti-gay groups in the US have jumped to the defense of WCF: Brown has close ties with WCF and has signed fundraising emails for the group, and FRC and AFA are both official “partners” of the organization.

Tony Perkins Attacks Obama For Quoting Lincoln

To commemorate the 150thanniversary of the Gettysburg Address on Wednesday, famed filmmaker Ken Burns asked President Obama read aloud Abraham Lincoln’s first draft of the speech. But things aren’t always as they seem! Immediately after Burns’ video was released, we learned from the right-wing media that because Lincoln’s initial speech — the one that Burns asked Obama to read — did not contain the word “God,” that Obama must have somehow traveled back in time to edit the word out of the speech himself.

Count the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins and Ken Blackwell among the right-wing activists who have become apoplectic over Obama’s reading of Lincoln’s speech and are badly misreporting the non-omission.

On Wednesday’s edition of Washington Watch, Blackwell said that Obama’s reading was all part of a plan to expand government. Perkins accused Obama of “editing historical texts to remove God” and even cited the bogus claim that Obama consistently removes “endowed by their Creator” out of the Declaration of Independence.

Later in the program, Perkins said, “It really reminds me of the Old Testament Israel. What really brought Judea down, they were the remaining portion of the Jewish people: their failure to acknowledge God. They forgot Him and that is what I think we see happening before our very eyes.”

Paranoia-Rama: This Week In Right-Wing Lunacy - 11/15/13

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

President Obama is up to it again, this time trying to make everyone gay (just like him) and establish a secret army of soldiers posing as doctors...and there is nothing you can do about it because Obama is rigging all the elections. At least, that’s what we have learned this week from the right-wing media. 

5. Military Attacking Christians

Religious Right activists have continued to make dubious and discredited claims about supposed religious persecution in the military as part of an effort to prove that conservative Christians are the real victims of societal discrimination. While appearing on Fox News, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council warned the Obama administration is “on a search-and-destroy mission as it pertains to religious liberty.”

“The military has been homosexualized,” Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber said. “The homosexual agenda has taken over the United States military.” Frank Gaffney alleged that policies ending discrimination against gay and female service members have made Christianity “a career-threatening activity” and as a result “invite war” on America.

4. Gohmert Exposes Obamacare’s Secret Strike Force

The Affordable Care Act included a provision to expand the U.S. Public Health Service Commissioned Corps, which focuses on emergency responses, to include part-time members who would join the affiliated Ready Reserve Corps. But Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX), who is becoming a regular fixture on Paranoia-Rama, thinks this actually may be a sinister plot by Obama to train doctors with weapons as part of a plan to suppress the American people. This isn’t the first time Gohmert made such an accusation, and even though Gohmert’s claim is completely erroneous, he will probably defend his remarks by insisting that he is just asking the question!

3. The UN Is Coming For Your Kids

“They're coming for your daughters and sons... WHO WANTS OUR DAUGHTERS? WHY DO THEY WANT OUR DAUGHTERS?” That’s how an actual email from Austin Ruse, the head of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute, begins. “The sexual radicals have your children, MY CHILDREN, in their crosshairs.” According to Ruse, a United Nations Population Fund report on ways to address adolescent pregnancy is proof that the UN wants to train kids how to masturbate and get abortions. Seriously.

2. ENDA Will Force People To Be Gay

After the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passed the US Senate with bipartisan support, Robert Knight took to the Washington Times to argue that ENDA would “repeal the Bible.” Not to be outdone, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver said that ENDA and similar gay rights laws put America on “the road toward a revolution” in order to resist the supposed anti-Christian persecution. But Michael Peroutka really knew about the gay rights end game, predicting that ENDA would ultimately “force” people to be gay.

1. Cuccinelli Won Virginia After All!

The co-founder and managing director of LifeSiteNews, one of Ken Cuccinelli’s favorite websites, claims that Cuccinelli actually won the Virginia gubernatorial election because he won more geographic territory. Steve Jalsevac writes:

Notice that the map seems to be almost solid red. And yet, Ken Cuccinelli somehow very narrowly lost to his Democrat opponent. To me, something smells about this race (not just because of all the red on the map) and I suspect Ken Cuccinelli actually won Virginia, but certain things happened, beyond the betrayal by some Republicans, campaign weaknesses and other reported issues, to ensure that that would not be the official result.



My overwhelming hunch is that the McAuliffe campaign, with the help of traitorous social liberal Republicans, engineered the voting to make sure that Ken Cuccinelli could not win the election no matter how many people voted for him.

Of course, the obvious answer is that Terry McAuliffe dominated more urban areas and that geographic space does not equal population. But Jalsevac, citing zero evidence, thinks the returns are “suspect.” He adds that Cuccinelli’s extreme social agenda made him more likely to win the election against McAuliffe than a more moderate Republican candidate, which he thinks is just another reason Cuccinelli probably won the election.

Now, you may ask, didn’t the party breakdown of the results in Virginia’s counties in the 2013 gubernatorial election look very similar to those in the 2012 presidential election?

Well, Jalsevac has an answer for that too, linking to a 2012 article which says the Democrats rigged the 2012 election too.

Right Wing Round-Up - 11/12/13

  • PFAW: The Nullification Strategy: How Senate Republicans Abuse the Filibuster to Undermine the Courts, Executive Agencies, and American Voters.
  • Josh Israel @ Think Progress: Group That Opposed Judicial Filibusters Hits Senator For Not Filibustering Judges.
  • Luke Brinker @ Equality Matters: Meet The Anti-LGBT Extremists Behind The Campaign To Repeal California's Transgender Protections.
  • Jeremy Hooper: Audio: Harry Jackson 'explains' his claim that LGBT rights = 'satanic'.
  • David Edwards @ Raw Story: Tony Perkins wants the ‘liberty’ to deny birth control: ‘That’s why the Pilgrims came here’.
  • Evan McMurry @ Mediaite: Here’s the Allen West Angry Eagle Motorcycle Book Cover You Didn’t Know You Wanted.
  • Warren Throckmorton: David Barton: Half Of Students In Christian Colleges Leave Church Due To Pagan Professors.
  • Bluestem Prarie: Fake Stalin quote included: Bradlee Dean preaching at Rick Joyner's MorningStar U.

Right-Wing Groups Gear Up To Oppose Disability Rights Treaty, Again

Last December, former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole took to the Senate floor in a wheelchair to urge his former colleagues to ratify the Convention on the Rights of Persons With Disabilities (CRPD), a United Nations treaty that would encourage countries around the world to emulate the United States’ protections for the rights of the disabled.

The treaty fell six votes short of the 2/3 majority it needed for passage, thanks to an intense lobbying effort by Religious Right groups that warned – against all evidence – that the treaty would threaten U.S. sovereignty, impede the rights of homeschoolers, expand abortion rights and allow the UN to seize children with glasses from their families.

Now, the fight is set to start over again. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee has scheduled a hearing on the treaty for tomorrow, and once again the extremist right is gearing up to defeat it by spreading myths about CRPD’s true purpose and effects.

The first sign of what is to come is that Susan Yoshihara of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) has been called as a witness for Tuesday’s hearing. C-FAM is a far-right group dedicated to defeating gay rights and reproductive health measures at the UN. Most recently, the group has made headlines for vocally defending Russia’s ban on gay-rights speech , a law that C-FAM’s president Austin Ruse said “most of the people in the United States” would agree with. C-FAM opposes UN efforts to prevent violence against LGBT people, an effort for which it has found its strongest allies in Islamic countries like Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

C-FAM also stands against any UN public health initiatives that stray from an abstinence-only ideology. The group criticized UN HIV/AIDS guidelines that called for decriminalizing adultery, homosexuality and extramarital sex, claiming that decriminalization “would fuel the spread of HIV/AIDS.” The group also opposes efforts to combat HIV/AIDS through sex education and condom distribution, which it claims are merely ruses to “protect the sexual revolution.”

C-FAM’s opposition to the CRPD has centered on the myth that the treaty would expand abortion rights – a myth that even the anti-choice National Right to Life Committee has debunked and which Sen. John McCain called just plain “wrong.”

As the Senate considered the CRPD last year, Yoshihara warned that the treaty included protections for “sexual and reproductive health,” which she said meant the treaty would be “used to advance a right to abortion.” After the treaty fell short in the Senate, Yoshihara declared that “cooler heads prevailed,” fretting that “the text could be interpreted as including a right to abortion.”

Also gearing up to fight the CRPD is the Home School Legal Defense Association (HSLDA), which is renewing its warnings that the treaty, along with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child, would imperil homeschooling families in the United States, “override existing state laws” and “surrender our nation’s sovereignty to unelected bureaucrats.” An indication of HSLDA’s mode of operation is that the group’s founder Michael Farris has written a novel set in a future in which the United States has signed the Convention on the Rights of the Child, allowing the UN to snatch children from American homeschooling parents .

It is Farris who warned last year that the treaty would allow the UN to come in and take control of children who wear glasses or have ADHD. In an interview with the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, Farris claimed that the treaty could even empower doctors to kill disabled children. He even warned that the treaty would make the United States “an official socialist nation.”

Thanks in large parts to Farris’ efforts, rumors claims that the United States’ signing of the CRPD would endanger homeschooling became so pervasive that Democratic Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware was forced to confirm with the Department of Justice that “ratification of this treaty will not do anything to change existing American law, rules or enforcement on homeschooling” and that the treaty would not “ erode one iota of American sovereignty.”

HSLDA and Farris found a powerful ally in former senator and failed presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who warned that the treaty would lead to the deaths of children with disabilities like his daughter Bella.

Under Farris and Santorum’s leadership, the Religious Right rallied to oppose the CRPD last year. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins warned – with absolutely no basis – that under the treaty, “the global community could force America to sanction sterilization or abortion for the disabled–at taxpayer expense.” Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum included the treaty vote on its “bills to watch” list, and Schlafly warned that CRPD – and UN treaties as a whole – “override national sovereignty in pursuit of social engineering, feminist ideology, or merely busybody interference in a country’s internal affairs.”Concerned Women for America, Liberty Counsel, Eagle Forum and the American Family Association also joined the effort against ratification

While right-wing groups circulate irresponsible rumors about imaginary impacts of the CRPD, international disability rights advocates are left without an important tool for their work – the United States’ approval of international standards based on US law. The Senate now has a second chance to listen to common-sense voices of support for the treaty – including leading disability rights, civil rights and business groups – and reject the unhinged rhetoric that brought down the treaty last year.

Anti-Gay Groups Rev Up Anti-ENDA Rhetoric As Senate Vote Nears

As RWW has been documenting, anti-gay groups have been getting wildly over the top in their denunciations of the federal Employment Non Discrimination Act, which would add to federal anti-discrimination law protections against workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.  With a procedural vote in the Senate scheduled as early as Monday evening, anti-LGBT groups are getting increasingly shrill.

On Friday night, the Family Research Council blasted out a breathtakingly dishonest alert charging that under ENDA “employers would be forced to reward workers based on their sexual preferences.” FRC’s Tony Perkins called ENDA a “republic-altering piece of legislation that has the power to fundamentally destroy Americans' First Amendment rights.”

Through ENDA (which FRC has blocked for a decade), businesses would be ordered to make hiring, firing, and promotion decisions -- not based on a person's qualifications -- but on their sexual expression. Homosexuals, cross-dressers, and transgendered workers would automatically qualify for special treatment that other workers would not. Can you imagine walking into your child's classroom and meeting a teacher dressed in drag? Neither can most Americans. But unfortunately, that's just one of the many consequences of adopting a law as dangerous as this one. Preschools, daycare centers, summer camps, religious chains like Hobby Lobby or Chick-fil-A -- they'll all be subject to the law, regardless of their personal beliefs and workplace standards.

Also on Friday, the National Organization for Marriage blasted ENDA, calling it “a Trojan horse built to attack the foundational institution of marriage between a man and a woman.”

That’s the same line taken a day earlier by Ryan Anderson, a protégé of Robert George and the Heritage Foundation’s answer to young Americans’ support for LGBT equality. Anderson wrote in National Review online that “ENDA would create special privileges based on sexual orientation and gender identity, backed up by coercive enforcement.” Anderson also says “ENDA would further weaken the marriage culture and the ability of civil society to affirm that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and that maleness and femaleness are not arbitrary constructs but objective ways of being human.”

Anderson and others call ENDA a threat to religious liberty even though the bill in fact includes a broad exemption for religious organizations, an exemption that is broad enough to raise concerns among some backers of the law. But for Anderson, even that religious liberty exemption is “inadequate and vaguely defined.” He says ENDA would interfere with the rights of business owners to run their businesses the way they want.

That was also the theme of a hyperventilating alert send on Sunday by former military chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt warning that the Senate was preparing to vote “to punish Christian Business Owners.” He says ENDA will trample religious freedom and “will force Christians into bankruptcy and lawsuits if they refuse to hire homosexuals that oppose their corporate mission.”

In reality, ENDA has broad support in the business community and is backed by large majorities of Republicans, Democrats, and Independents. Not only that, but majorities of all religious groups – including white evangelical Protestants – support laws to protect gay and lesbian people from workplace discrimination. So clearly, ENDA’s opponents do not speak for all Christians, or even all evangelical Christians, most of whom agree that fairness on the job is an American value that is worth upholding in law.

As President Barack Obama notes in an op-ed published in the Huffington Post on Sunday, ENDA is a concrete expression of America’s ideal of equality under the law:

America is at a turning point. We're not only becoming more accepting and loving as a people, we're becoming more just as a nation. But we still have a way to go before our laws are equal to our Founding ideals. As I said in my second inaugural address, our nation's journey toward equality isn't complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well.

In America of all places, people should be judged on the merits: on the contributions they make in their workplaces and communities, and on what Martin Luther King Jr. called "the content of their character." That's what ENDA helps us do. When Congress passes it, I will sign it into law, and our nation will be fairer and stronger for generations to come.

The ENDA is Near: The Top Ten Religious Right Claims About the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (UPDATED)

With the Senate expected to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before Thanksgiving, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent – and classic – claims from the Religious Right about ENDA.  Because ENDA is common sense legislation that would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the Right cannot gain much traction by opposing ENDA on its merits.  Instead, resorting to fear-mongering and lies, they contend that ENDA will lead to everything from the end of religious freedom to sexual assault and death. As the vote approaches, senators will have to choose whether they will cast their lot with anti-gay extremists or with common sense.

10. Matt Barber: ENDA And Hate Crimes Laws Will Be Used To Protect Pedophiles (October 2013)

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel appeared on Sandy Rios In The Morning, where he told guest host Wendy Wright that hate crimes laws and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be used to protect pedophiles:

“When you have laws like ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, being pushed, hate crimes legislation, that are as you point out so well Wendy, that are very vague in their definition of what is sexual orientation, we will arrive at the point where you know these people who define their sexual orientation by a sexual attraction to children want to be lumped in among those who cannot be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.”

9. Steve Crampton: ENDA is Insanity (June 2012)

Speaking about a Senate hearing on ENDA, Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio host Steve Crampton marveled that a transgender person was actually allowed to testify on behalf of the legislation and complained that ENDA is not about “equal rights” but rather “special rights” for gays and cross-dressers.

Crampton stated that if ENDA passed, he could come into work – “God forbid,” he said – wearing a dress and would be allowed to use the women’s restroom.  “In years past,” Crampton said, “we had another word for this: it’s called insanity.”

8. Rep. Louie Gohmert Misleads on ENDA, Criticizes Faith Groups that Affirm Gays and Lesbians 'Despite the Plumbing that God Created' (June 2012)

While speaking on Today’s Issues, the Texas congressman said the anti-discrimination legislation is “part of this administration’s ongoing war on religion, on particularly Judeo-Christian values,” and asserted that Muslims would also oppose the bill as well. However, Gohmert lamented the growth of Christian and Jewish denominations and organizations that affirm gays and lesbians and defend their rights, saying that they do so “despite the plumbing that God created.”

7. Mat Staver: ENDA ‘Will Harm Women and Children’ (July 2013)

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver in a Freedom’s Call radio alert said that the ENDA bill is a “farce” that will “harm women and children.” How? Because employers “will be forced to hire cross-dressers,” whom Staver believes will go on to molest and assault kids.

6. Linda Harvey: Gays Deserve To Be Fired Because They ‘Insist On Displaying [Their] Lifestyles To Everyone’ (May 2013)

Mission America’s Linda Harvey stated her belief that schools, and employers in general, should have the right to fire LGBT personnel and urged them to exercise that right. She said that the only person to blame for getting fired is the LGBT employee who refuses to accept their employer’s “high moral standards” and “insist[s] on displaying these lifestyles to everyone and forcing their acceptance.” She said that “no one needs to be involved in homosexuality” and that the “homosexual lifestyle” is incompatible with being “an excellent employee” as it “shows a disrespect” to others.

5. Tony Perkins: ‘Totalitarian Homosexual Lobby’ Out to Destroy Religious Freedom with ENDA (March 2013)

“Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a recent mailing. Perkins said President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.”

“In fact,” says Perkins in his letter, “under ENDA biblical morality becomes illegal.”

4. Andrea Lafferty Cites CT School Shooting to Rally Opposition to Non-Discrimination Policies (December 2012)

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition used the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in order to bolster her campaign against ENDA. While speaking to Janet Mefferd about the Orange County, Florida, school system’s new non-discrimination policy that is similar to ENDA, Lafferty said that just as parents are upset about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are concerned about keeping their children safe, they should also be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as schools will have “people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.”

Lafferty maintained that ENDA is part of the left’s “open season” on Christians on behalf of “fringe minorities and people that are truly sick.”  She warned that Chick-fil-A restaurants may soon be “forced” to hire “weirdos” seeking to undermine Christian businesses, warning that transgender people are committing “the ultimate act of self-hatred” and need “special medical treatment” rather than job protections.

3. Gordon Klingenschmitt: Under ENDA, ‘Christians Will Be Bankrupted’ And ‘Starve To Death’ (September 2013)

Dr. “Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt emailed members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project warning that Christians may face unemployment and starvation if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes.

“The Government is now ordering you: Forsake God or starve to death,” Klingenschmitt writes. “I pray that I would choose bankruptcy, starvation, even death, before disobedience to God.”

2. Bryan Fischer: Businesses Threatened by ‘Flaming Homosexual’ Job Applicants and the ‘Return of Jim Crow Laws’ (January 2013)

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer warned in a blog post that “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws.” On his radio program Focal Point, Fischer warned that if ENDA is signed into law businesses will be faced with a barrage of “flaming homosexual” job applicants. “The homosexual lobby,” Fischer said, “will send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” in order to provoke Christian business-owners “not to hire him.”

1. Mat Staver: ENDA Will Result in the 'Death of Some Individuals' (June 2012)

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to ENDA, even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”:

Staver: “So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.”

Cross-posted from People For the American Way.

 

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