Alabama

Alabama Activists Warn Of America’s Destruction, 'Sodomites' Taking Over Education In Wake Of Marriage Decision

Yesterday, the group Sanctity of Marriage Alabama organized a press conference in Montgomery to protest the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, which devolved into an unhinged anti-gay rally.

The event featured a number of activists and public officials, including state Public Service Commissioners Chip Beeker and Twinkle Cavanaugh (who are famous for deploying religion in creative ways in their work regulating public utilities); Michele Bachmann mentor and Roy Moore ally John Eidsmoe; and John Killian, chaplain of the Alabama GOP.

Alabama has been center stage of the gay marriage fight since Moore, with the backing of fellow Republicans, used his position as chief justice of the state’s supreme court to order public officials to defy a federal court decision striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Beeker, the public service commissioner, kicked things off by calling the Supreme Court’s decision “an assault on God” and on “our Christian heritage” that rendered the 10th Amendment “null and void.”

“A runaway judiciary,” he continued, “is a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS. Liberal judges have done more harm to our country and our Constitution than Al Qaeda."

Not to be outdone, Sanctity of Marriage Alabama spokesman Tom Ford, who called marriage equality part of a “war against God” and a “new invention” the results of which “no one knows.”

But he had some guesses. “The best indication that I have of what it will bring is what we’ve seen in the Bible,” he said. “I can go to Soddom and Gomorrah. In history, we can go to Pompeii, we can go to other places, we can look at Nero in the time of Rome. And in these times God brought destruction, and he also raised up people to speak his truth and he also drew people to himself. And this is our hope.”

He also warned of the dire consequences on children: “If we give our children to the sodomites to educate, when it’s all said and done and they believe that sodomy is okay, why are we surprised?”

Baptist street preacher Tommy Littleton sounded a similar alarm, saying “the human rights issue of our era” is “protecting our children from what is nothing short of gay liberation theology, full sexual liberation.”

“Today we live in probably the most challenging time of our generation, of our nation’s history,” he said, warning of an impending “climate of fear, loss of free speech, loss of religious freedom, and the overwhelming tsunami that is coming against us and our families and our churches and our children.”

After arguing that curriculum standards like Common Core indoctrinate children in homosexuality, he urged the “normal majority” to “rise up and say I don’t want my children to be educated by people who are confused about their own sexuality.”

“Are we really in an honest conversation on the other side or are the LGBT people being used for a much greater and horrendous agenda?” he asked. “I believe they are.”

Becky Gerritson, head of the Wetumpka Tea Party, cited an unfounded right-wing rumor about Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wanting to lower the age of consent to 12 years old to warn that the court’s decision paves the way for adult-child marriage and plural marriage.

She urged the audience to “have compassion” on “future victims of this decision” who will be trapped in plural marriages and all the “horrors that it will play out in their lives.”

Eidsmoe, who works for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Foundation for Moral Law, hinted at future challenges to the Supreme Court ruling, saying “this is far from over” and referring to legislators and probate judges who are ready to “obey God rather than man.”

The Supreme Court’s decision, he said, “constitutes an illegitimate means of reaching and unconstitutional decision to create an invalid institution to further the perpetration of immoral acts.”

Roy Moore's Lawyer Demands Alabama Defy 'Wicked' SCOTUS Ruling, Choose 'God Or Satan'

The head of Alabama’s court system, an employee of notoriously anti-gay Chief Justice Roy Moore, has sent a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley and other state elected officials urging them to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling or else “become complicit in the takeover by the wicked,” reports AL.com.

“Public officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous,” Win Johnson, director of legal staff at the state’s Administrative Office of the Court, wrote to the elected officials in a letter obtained by the newspaper. “If the public officials decide to officially approve of the acts of the wicked, they must logically not protect the righteous from the wicked. In fact, they must become protectors of the wicked. You cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan.”

He continues with a defense of criminal prohibitions on homosexuality: “The criminal laws against homosexual sodomy are for the protection of the righteous, particularly the young, the weak, the vulnerable, who need the law to teach them right from wrong when in a vulnerable state. The U.S. Supreme Court, although it claims to have done so in 2003, cannot take something that God calls a crime and declare it not a crime.”

He then equates compliance with the marriage equality ruling with obedience in Nazi Germany, writing “the civil government must now become a persecuting power; you cannot avoid it.”

Perhaps Johnson is an American Family Radio listener.

UPDATE: In a letter of apology to Gov. Bentley, Johnson said that Moore "reprimanded" him for sending the invective.

Here is the full letter obtained by AL.com:

Time for Public Officials to take their stand one way or the other

Jesus Christ is Lord of all. He came to save the world by His death and resurrection. That world includes you, me, the family, the civil government, all the institutions of life. He came to advance His Father's kingdom, not watch man run rampant upon the earth as if Christ had never come. As if it were the days of Noah!

Public officials are ministers of God assigned the duty of punishing the wicked and protecting the righteous. If the public officials decide to officially approve of the acts of the wicked, they must logically not protect the righteous from the wicked. In fact, they must become protectors of the wicked. You cannot serve two masters; you must pick – God or Satan.

The criminal laws against homosexual sodomy are for the protection of the righteous, particularly the young, the weak, the vulnerable, who need the law to teach them right from wrong when in a vulnerable state. The U.S. Supreme Court, although it claims to have done so in 2003, cannot take something that God calls a crime and declare it not a crime.

We're facing something even worse now, the civil government taking a new step and actually requiring the approval and sanctifying by the state of an evil behavior. Five justices on the U.S. Supreme Court have now opined that the States of this country and all of us must approve of so-called marriages of same sex couples.

Therefore, the civil government must now become a persecuting power; you cannot avoid it. The civil government must protect what it approves of. It must protect the advocates' employment, their business dealings, their lives in every way. Against whom? Against those who think their lifestyle is evil. That's you and me, bible-believing Christians, the Church, etc.

Public official, what will you do? Will you stand up for the law of Alabama, for the people, for the weak and vulnerable, for the law of God? Or will you capitulate? Will you become complicit in the takeover by the wicked?

"I must follow the law," you say. Law? What law? There is no law anymore, there's just opinion. One day this, one day that. When the law becomes merely the opinion of a handful of people on the courts, there is no longer any law. There is tyranny. There is chaos. But there is no law.

The young and the weak, those that are caused to stumble by courts that approve of what is evil, are those whom Jesus referred to when he said, "It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones." Luke 17:2. You don't want to be complicit in allowing such stumbling blocks.

Don't use the Nazi war-crimes trial defense: "My superiors (or the courts) told me to do it." You're not standing for the rule of law when you capitulate to a law that defies God and exposes people to the wicked. You're just a coward making excuses!

Or will your conscience cause you to resign? Why would you leave the people of this State, their children, your children and grandchildren to the wolves, those who would rend the society apart with their denial of what's good and evil?

Your duty is to stand against the ravages of a superior authority that would go beyond its rightful power and force upon the people something evil. That's what the founders of our country did when Parliament exceeded its powers. That's what the Puritans in civil government in the 1600's did when the King exceeded his powers.

On Judgment Day, you won't stand in front of the media, the advocates of "Equality," or even the federal courts; you'll stand before the King of Kings, the Judge and Ruler over the Kings of the Earth, Jesus Christ. His law is not subject to the vote of man, and He, asthe good and loving author of that law, does not exempt any nation from it. The law's author, speaking of Himself as "the stone which the builders rejected," said, "Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder." Luke 20:18.

What can you do? You have authority as an elected official. You also are sworn to uphold the U.S. Constitution and Alabama Constitution. Find a way to do so. Don't acquiesce to the takeover (actually the takedown)! Use your authority and every legal angle to oppose the tyrants! If necessary, just say, "No." It is not rebellion for you to say, "Your interpretation of the Constitution is wrong, beyond your authority, and detrimental to this nation." In fact, it's your duty. You're not opposing the rule of law, you're upholding it by saying that.

Alabama Official: Courts That Recognize Gay Rights 'A Bigger Threat To The United States Than ISIS'

UPDATE: We've posted some video clips of the press conference's highlights.

The mood was apparently apoplectic at a press conference held by gay-rights opponents in front of the Alabama state judicial building yesterday, as one Republican state official called the U.S. Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision “an assault on God, on Christian heritage and on our culture” and warned that the “runaway judiciary is a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS” and “liberal judges have done [more] harm to our country and our Constitution than Al Qaeda.”

Public Service Commissioner Chip Beeker, who made the ISIS remarks, was joined by Joe Godfrey of the Alabama Citizens Action Project, who warned that Christians will soon be fired from their jobs just for attending church and by John Eidsmoe, the influential Christian Reconstructionist thinker and Michele Bachmann mentor, who said that the Supreme Court’s decision is moot because two justices who had performed legal same-sex weddings should have recused themselves.

Eidsmoe is the senior counsel at the Foundation for Moral Law, the organization started by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who has been clashing with the federal courts over marriage equality. The group, which is now led by Moore’s wife, Kayla, has questioned the “validity” of the decision and vowed to keep on fighting it.

The Montgomery Advertiser was on the scene of the press conference:

Public Service Commissioner Chip Beeker told the crowd that "five unelected and unaccountable justices imposed their will on the people of Alabama and the United States."

"This was not an interpretation of the Constitution. It was an assault on God, on Christian heritage and on our culture," Beeker said.

"The runaway judiciary is a bigger threat to the United States than Isis. Liberal judges have done harm to our country and our constitution than Al Qaeda."

Joe Godfrey, executive director of the Alabama Citizens Action Program, which lobbies the Legislature on behalf of churches, said people who attend churches that oppose same-sex marriage could be threatened with losing their jobs.

"I predict it's going to happen when big corporations, CEOs, tell people that work as their employees, ''You know, if you keep going to that church that teaches against homosexuality, teaches what the Bible says, we're going to have to let you go.'

"So they're going to be forced to make a choice between a church that they attend and have been attending for years, and their job."

[John] Eidsmoe also said the Supreme Court's 5-4 decision was illegitimate because two of the justices who supported it -- Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Elena Kagan -- had performed same-sex marriages.

The foundation had filed a motion for Ginsburg and Kagan to recuse themselves from the case.

"They were incapable of considering this question objectively," Eidsmore said. "And therefore, they had every duty to recuse."

Roy Moore's Group Vows To Defy Gay Marriage Decision In Alabama

Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court who notoriously flouted a federal court ruling which struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, today suggested that he will continue to defy the federal judiciary on marriage equality.

Moore shared a statement on Facebook from his wife, who heads the Religious Right legal group he created, The Foundation for Moral Law, vowing to defy the “illegitimate” ruling from the Supreme Court:

The Foundation for Moral Law, a Montgomery-based legal foundation dedicated to the defense of the Constitution and the rights of religious persons, says the battle for traditional marriage will continue despite the decision of the U.S. Supreme Court to strike down laws prohibiting same-sex marriage.

Today the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to reverse a ruling by the Sixth Circuit Court of appeals that had upheld the marriage laws of Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Tennessee, holding that the right to marry a person of the same sex is guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. But the Foundation for Moral Law is blowing the whistle on the illegitimacy of today’s decision.

Not only does the U.S. Supreme Court have no legal authority to redefine marriage, but also at least 2 members of the Court’s majority opinion were under a legal duty to recuse and refrain from voting. Their failure to recuse calls into question the validity of this decision.

"This means we've got more work to do, but we are determined to do it," said Foundation President Kayla Moore. "The Foundation is involved with a same-sex marriage case in the Middle District of Alabama, and that case will continue. There are issues in this case that the Supreme Court's decision didn't resolve."

Moore has claimed that gay marriage would literally destroy America and lead to God’s wrath.

Roy Moore: Gay Marriage Will 'Literally Cause The Destruction Of Our Country'

In an interview with CNS News published over the weekend, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore warned that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would “literally cause the destruction of our country”:

“What [the court is] doing is they’re toying with something that’s like dynamite and will destroy our country,” Justice Roy Moore told CNSNews.com in an exclusive interview last week during the Family Research Council’s annual pastor’s retreat in Washington, D.C.

Moore said a favorable ruling would mean Americans would be forced to accept homosexual marriage and support it through goods and services for those ceremonies.

“I think there’s an attempt to destroy the institution of marriage and I think it will cause, literally cause the destruction of our country or lead to the destruction of our country over the long run,” Moore said. “And I think there are people who would like to see this country destroyed.”

“I’m not saying that everyone who’s homosexual wants to see the country destroyed,” Moore said. “I’m not saying that. I’m saying there’s a push for it.”

CNS News posted an audio clip of part of the interview:


 

Mo Brooks: Dems Use 'Sexual Exploitation,' 'Racial Division' & 'Class Warfare' To Get Votes

Last week, Alabama Republican Rep. Mo Brooks stopped by the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s radio row event in Washington to speak with home-state talk radio host Matt Murphy. The two were discussing the postal worker who flew a gyrocopter onto the White House lawn to protest the influence of money in politics, which got Brooks to talking about efforts to overturn the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

Attempts to overturn the 2010 decision, Brooks said, are in fact a Democratic plot to “engage in class warfare” in order to “get votes,” much like the way that Democrats will “resort to racial division” or “resort to sexual exploitation if that will help them get votes.”

“To the credit of the Democrats, when they get involved in political fights, they fight to win and it’s no holds barred,” he said. “They will resort to racial division if that will help them get votes. They will resort to sexual exploitation if that will help them get votes. And in this instance, if they can engage in class warfare, even if it is a suppression of the speech guaranteed by the First Amendment, if that will get them votes, they will do it. So, that’s what you’re saying with Hillary Clinton.”

Last year, Brooks famously accused Democrats of waging a “war on whites.”

Roy Moore Compares Anti-Gay Fight To Resisting Slavery & Segregation

Last week, the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP), a small group associated with the National Organization for Marriage, presented Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore with its first “Letter from the Birmingham Jail Courage Award,” comparing Moore’s defiance of federal courts on marriage equality to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s civil disobedience during the civil rights movement.

Moore accepted the award by comparing federal court decisions in favor of marriage equality to the infamous Supreme Court decisions in Plessy v. Ferguson and Dred Scott. Reading a passage from the dissent in Plessy, Moore said it “seemed to ring very true in the issue before this country today about same-sex marriage and taking away the institution of marriage as between one man and one woman.”

The blog Left in Alabama captured the video:

After the presentation of the award, a reporter in the audience repeatedly asked Moore and CAAP President William Owens how they thought legalizing marriage for gay and lesbian couples would undermine marriage for straight people.

“It takes away the very definition ordained of God,” Moore responded. “A different definition destroys the definition of marriage. It’s not about the right to marry. There is a right to marry in our Constitution and the constitutions of the majority of the states, but it’s between a man and a woman.”

Owens took a different tack: “First of all, it’s not natural law and it’s immoral. It’s not natural for man to be married to a man. That is not natural. And that’s what this award is about. Dr. King emphasized it must line up with natural law. And if you believe that so much that a man should marry a man or a woman should marry a woman, go try it with electricity.”

Former Texas GOP Chair: Gay Marriage 'Could Be The End Of America'

Cathie Adams, the former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party who now leads the state chapter of Eagle Forum, told a Republican group yesterday that if Texas doesn’t defy a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality this year, it “could be the end of America.”

“On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear arguments on marriage, and we expect that they’re going to do the wrong thing,” she said in at the end of a speech on Islam to the Smith County Republican Women, which was posted on YouTube by an attendee.

Adams told the group that before the Supreme Court decision comes down, Texas must pass a proposed bill denying compensation to county clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She said that while she admired Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defiance of the federal courts on marriage equality, “Alabama is Alabama.”

“Texas holds a whole lot more power and a whole lot more authority,” she said, “and if we don’t come out and do something before April 28, this could be the end of America.”

“If we don’t get this done by April 28, I don’t know that we’re going to be able to hold back what is happening,” she said. “And folks, if you are a believer, you understand what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. You understand. And we are on the threshold. “

“I mean, young people in schools, elementary all the way through universities, are being lied to that these people are ‘born this way,’” she continued. “No, they’re not. I’ve met friends who have come out of that lifestyle, I’ve met men who are willing and ready and begging for a bill to come up in the Texas legislature that they can testify in support of in order to defend the right of parents and defend the right of those individuals who choose to seek a way out of sexual perversion.”
 

With Court-Stripping Scheme, Ted Cruz Embraces Roy Moore School Of Constitutional Law

Ted Cruz raised more than a few eyebrows last week when, barely a week into his presidential run, he proposed a radical plan to strip federal courts of the ability to decide cases involving marriage equality.

As Esquire’s Charles Pierce notes, Cruz is echoing a time-honored rallying cry of people who are losing a battle in the federal courts: “Previous attempts include trying to remove the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over cases in a number of instances, including those involving school prayer, school busing, abortion, and pornography.”

The strategy has also been used in recent memory by another prominent player in t​oday’s marriage equality debate: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Back in 2004, shortly after Moore was removed from his first stint in the court after he defied a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, he worked with attorney Herb Titus to draft a bill that would have stripped jurisdiction over all such cases from the federal courts.

The bill, which would have barred federal courts from ruling on cases challenging officials who recognized "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," never made it out of committee, but it managed to garner 37 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate; when it was reintroduced the next year, it was up to 50 House cosponsors and nine Senate cosponsors.

Despite the bill’s failure to make it off the ground in Congress, it was a publicity boon for Moore. One of Moore’s top financial supporters, the Christian nationalist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka, spent $12,000 on a campaign to drum up support for the measure and accompanied Moore to at least one event touting it along with Peroutka’s 2004 campaign for president as the nominee of the Constitution Party.

As far as we know, Moore hasn’t spoken publicly about Cruz’s idea to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over marriage issues. But it seems that on this issue, they are two peas in a pod.

Roy Moore Films Fundraising Video For Christian Nationalist Group Run By Neo-Confederate Activist

Earlier this year, as Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore ordered probate judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling establishing marriage equality in Alabama, Brian reported extensively about Moore’s personal, financial and ideological connections to Michael Peroutka, a Republican county councilman in Maryland who has used his personal fortune to fund extreme Christian nationalist causes.

Peroutka, who until recently was active in the neo-Confederate League of the South and once said that he was “still angry” Maryland didn’t secede from the Union, runs a group called the Institute on the Constitution (IOC), which promotes the view that American laws must reflect a certain interpretation of biblical law.

The IOC teaches that the Constitution requires that public officeholders believe in God; that “the promotion of evolution is an act of disloyalty to America”; that “there is no such thing as a civil right”; and that the Maryland General Assembly is “no longer a valid legislative body” after passing laws, such as marriage equality, that Peroutka believes “violate God’s law.” Peroutka argues that one reason the U.S. has strayed from “God’s law” is because the Union won the “War Between the States.”

Peroutka largely bankrolled Moore’s latest campaign for office and has poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into groups that Moore founded. In return, Moore has spoken at events at Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution and, last month, appeared in a fundraising video for the group.

Appearing about 2 minutes and 23 seconds into the video, Moore says: “My good friend Michael Anthony Peroutka and the folks at the Institute on the Constitution have developed a course to teach the moral, legal and biblical basis of our Constitution and the principles upon which our nation began. I personally have reviewed this course and found it to be highly instructive, and recommend it.”

The fundraising video also highlights IOC’s “American Clubs,” meant to teach the groups ideology to schoolchildren.

Supreme Court Sends Alabama Racial Gerrymandering Case Back to Lower Court

The Supreme Court rules in favor of those challenging Alabama's redistricting as racially gerrymandered and harmful to African Americans.
PFAW Foundation

Radical Anti-Choice Group Heads To Alabama To Support 'Poet, Warrior, Statesman' Roy Moore

Operation Save America, the radical anti-choice group that grew out of the original Operation Rescue, will be holding a multi-day event in Montgomery, Alabama, in June to express its support for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s activism against marriage equality and abortion rights.

OSA head Rusty Lee Thomas writes in a press release today that the event will bring together “hundreds of gentle Christians from across the nation” for a march drawing on “the historical lessons of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.”

A description of the event on the group’s website boasts that “[f]or years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen [sic].” It specifically praises Moore’s work to develop a legal framework to support radical anti-choice “personhood” laws and his ongoing standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality.

(In case you weren’t familiar with Moore’s poetry, here’s a representative example.)

OSA:

We are praying for God to record His name in Montgomery and by His Spirit bid His people come to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to the gates of hell (Abortion mills in Alabama). They will not prevail against the Church of the living God (Matthew 16:18). They never have and they never will. Jesus is Lord!

For years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen. Through his many battles, we supported his righteous stands in the face of persecution and tyranny. Today, the Alabama Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Moore continues to stand against injustice and once again we are going to come alongside to help.

Moore, along with Justice Tom Parker, have rendered Decisions from the court that directly or indirectly have taken on Roe vs. Wade. Currently, Moore is acting faithfully as a Lower Magistrate to resist “Gay Marriage” in his state. He is taking another just stand and once again, we will stand with him.

Alabama is also working on establishing “Personhood” for the preborn child who is made in the image of God. Alabamians are willing to stand upon the self-evident truth established by God’s Word and we our coming to stand with them.

There are at least four death camps in Alabama still applying their grisly trade to murder babies made in the image of God. This evil defiles the land and invokes God’s judgments upon us. We are coming to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. We want to give God a reason to show mercy in the midst of the American holocaust.

It’s not surprising that Operation Save America, one of the most radical anti-choice groups in the country, would find ideological kinship with Justice Moore.

Thomas has claimed that the September 11, 2001 attacks were divine punishment for legal abortion. OSA’s former director, Flip Benham (father of the new Religious Right martyrs David and Jason Benham), also used the organization to promote a fringe right agenda:

As leader of OSA, Benham has condemned the interfaith Sandy Hook memorial, protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims” and blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, which he said promotes a “culture of death.”

He has also protested LGBT pride events, interrupted church services during a sermon by “ sodomite Episcopalian bishop” Gene Robinson and was found “guilty of stalking a Charlotte abortion doctor after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician's name and photo on it.”

Alabama's Shame Grows with Bill to Make It Harder for Gays to Marry

No one should be fooled for a moment that this has anything to do with religious liberty.
PFAW

Alabama Supreme Court Orders Probate Judge to Violate Federal Court Decision

Roy Moore's colleagues seem to share his disdain for the rule of law, as well as the rights of gay and lesbian Alabamans.
PFAW Foundation

From Selma to Shelby County to Ferguson

This op-ed was originally published at The Huffington Post.

Fifty years ago in Alabama hundreds of peaceful marchers calling for voting rights were violently attacked by state police. Fifty years later Americans from all walks of life are expected to gather this weekend to mark the anniversary of what became known as Bloody Sunday and embrace the spirit for courage, sacrifice and justice of those women and men who marched, were beaten and no doubt underestimated the impact that their bruises would have on future generations.

The events of that day and the tense days and weeks that followed shocked our national consciousness and became a catalyst for passage of what some call the "crown jewel" of the civil rights movement, the 1965 Voting Rights Act. It's a law that held bipartisan support and helped protect countless Americans from discrimination at the ballot box for almost five decades.

Every year since that bloody day we have honored those 600-plus marchers who put their lives on the line in pursuit of basic democratic rights and racial justice. But this year, with a passion as never before, we must do more than just give lip service. This time marchers of today must clearly connect with the purpose in the pain that started in prayer on a Sunday morning and ended on the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma, Alabama, with blood and tears in the afternoon. Why? Because as John Legend so eloquently put it last week, "Selma is now."

The shadow of Bloody Sunday is there, nearly two years after a core provision of the Voting Rights Act was gutted by the Supreme Court in the Shelby County case, as we practice patience for Congress to restore and strengthen what was taken away. When our leaders say that they honor those who refused to turn around, will they also commit to restoring the kinds of voting protections that they were marching for?

Today, 40 bills to restrict voting rights have been introduced in states across the country, from voter ID legislation to proposals reducing access to absentee ballots to bills that would make it more difficult for those with past criminal convictions to vote. When our leaders say they honor those who were beaten and bruised with billy clubs 50 years ago, will they also commit to voting against proposed laws that would make it harder for all people to have an equal voice in our democracy? Will they commit to confirming the highly qualified Loretta Lynch, a woman with a strong commitment to civil rights, to lead -- as the first female African American -- the Justice Department in effectively monitoring and enforcing the voting rights laws we already have and those yet to come?

Today, African Americans and Latinos, especially males, endure being routinely profiled, targeted, and attacked by the police. The report released this week from the Department of Justice about policing in Ferguson, Missouri, revealed that 93 percent of arrests were of African Americans, though they make up only 67 percent of the city's population. It showed and confirmed that African Americans in Ferguson were disproportionately likely to have force used against them by the police. When our leaders say they honor those who were hospitalized for peaceful protest 50 years ago, will they also commit to fighting against discrimination and violence at the hands of those meant to serve and protect our communities?

Selma is now, and the march continues. Selma needed protection for voting rights then, and Selma needs protection for voting rights now. Many civil rights leaders, past and present, and even future leaders, will be in Selma this weekend. But thousands of others who can't be there in person will not be excluded from being a part of a new march. Men and women will with great intent make sure every registered voter gets to the polls to vote in every election, will minister with an activist heart to their neighborhoods when violence upends daily life, will use social media as a tool to motivate participation in work aimed at ending all forms of discrimination in the name of religion, and will organize their communities in active opposition when yet another bill is introduced to undermine, restrict, or deny basic civil and human rights.

On the evening of that Sunday, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. informed the media that ministers would march and called for clergy from around the country to join them. He said, "The people of Selma will struggle on for the soul of America, but it is fitting that all Americans help to bear the burden. ... In this way all America will testify to the fact that the struggle in Selma is for the survival of democracy everywhere in our land."

I was not there then, but today as with every day, especially because of the Shelby Counties and the Fergusons, I give thanks and will not forget that struggle. On March 7, 1965, the world watched as nonviolent mothers, fathers, students, workers, faith leaders were beaten, tear gassed and hospitalized. On March 7, 2015, let the world watch as this next generation genuinely honors those who had the courage to take a stand that Bloody Sunday "for the survival of democracy." How? By registering, advocating, teaching, speaking up, marching and continuing their work in pursuit of voting rights, freedom, and justice as if our unseen bruises, our lives, our souls depend on it.

PFAW Foundation

AL Gov's Pastor Urged Him To Defy Federal Courts On Marriage To Prevent America's Collapse

In a sermon earlier this month, Gil McKee, the pastor of the Tuscaloosa church attended by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, recalled how he pleaded with the governor to stand with the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore and refuse to follow a federal court ruling legalizing marriage equality in the state.

Bentley provoked the ire of some of his fellow conservatives when he said he wouldn't stop state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, putting him in direct conflict with Moore.

McKee told his congregation that he had had a long talk with Bentley urging him to defy the courts on marriage, implying that same-sex marriage could lead to the collapse of the United States.

“Here’s what I said to our governor yesterday,” McKee said. “'Governor, I don’t care if all 49 other states go for this same-sex marriage business, let’s be different in the state of Alabama. Let’s do what we know is the right thing to do … The reality is, we’re still living in a very conservative state. The people who are conservative and who are Christian, if you’ll just step up and lead out on this thing, if you’ll give the word to our chief justice to call all our probate judges…and say, "listen, don’t you issue one single license until the federal government does its thing and we decide whether we’re going to follow it or not, don’t you issue one of those." I’m telling you, the people of this state would rally behind that.'”

He added that he would be willing to go to jail in protest of same-sex marriage, because “there’s nothing gray about this issue. Not if you’re going to go by what God says, and God has made it very clear that marriage is between one man and one women, period. That settles it. That’s it.”

Later in the service, McKee prayed for elected officials to defy laws that go against God’s law:

“Lord we want to pray for those who are in places of leadership in our county, Lord, in our city, Lord, in our state. Lord, for those who are Christians, if it comes to the point of defying a law or an order that goes against your law and order, then God give them the courage to do it.”

Roy Moore: Ban Gay Marriage To Keep Bisexuals And 'Transgendered' From Marrying Multiple People

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore doesn’t seem to quite understand the LGBT community that he is so set against, telling the Associated Press this weekend that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, bisexual and “transgendered” people will then demand to marry two people each. “Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?" he asked:

Moore argues that no federal court, even the U.S. Supreme Court, has the right to define marriage.

"You're taking any definition of a family away. When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?"

Moore also resisted comparisons of his standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality to former Gov. George Wallace’s stand against desegregation, saying that one major difference is that Wallace eventually backed down, and he won’t:

Moore's actions have drawn inevitable comparisons to former Gov. George Wallace's 1963 largely symbolic "stand in the schoolhouse door" aimed at preventing desegregation at the University of Alabama, nine years after education segregation was ruled illegal.

Moore said there is another difference.

"George Wallace moved," he said, noting how the former governor eventually stepped aside.

"I can't move from my position because I'm bound to uphold the Constitution," Moore said.

Matt Barber: States Should Defy Roe And Jail Abortion Providers

Matt Barber joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the actions of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who’s urging judges in his state to defy a federal judge and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Barber told Deace that whether or not the United States Supreme Court has “the authority to redefine the institution of marriage, which cannot be done, it’s contrary to reality to say that it’s anything other than the male and female,” Moore is on “solid legal ground” in claiming that the Alabama Supreme Court takes precedence over the federal district court that issued the marriage ruling.

Deace asked Barber why the conservative movement was less willing to defy the federal courts during Judge Moore’s 2003 standoff over placing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse or after Roe v. Wade, “when the court said, ‘We’re going to start just massacring, dismembering little innocent babies.’”

Barber agreed that states should have simply ignored the court’s ruling in Roe: “Why, back when the courts issued their ridiculous, non-scientific ruling in Roe v. Wade, why didn’t states like Texas and other states say, ‘Okay, well thank you for your opinion, but nope, here in the state of Texas, you kill an unborn child, you’ve committed murder, we’re going to throw you in jail for it’?”

Later in the interview, Deace repeated his prediction that a sweeping marriage ruling would ignite an even greater culture war battle than Roe did.

Barber agreed, saying the “goal all along” of the “sin-based, sodomy-based marriage” movement has been to persecute Christians.

“Religious liberty and so-called gay marriage cannot coexist in harmony,” he said. “If the Supreme Court goes Roe v. Wade on this decision and divines a new-fangled right to sin-based, sodomy-based marriage, Christians will be being persecuted across the country. They will be told, ‘You either put your stamp of approval on sin or you will be pushed to the fringes and marginalized and you will not be able to carry a job or function in society.’ That’s been their goal all along anyway.”

Michael Peroutka In 2004: 'I'm Still Angry' Maryland Didn’t Secede

As Brian wrote last week, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s judicial philosophy is closely tied to the work of Michael Peroutka, a Maryland-based activist and longtime member of the neo-Confederate League of the South, who has been a major funder of Moore’s campaigns and activism.

Although Peroutka quit the League of the South last year during a successful campaign for a Republican seat on the Anne Arundel County Council, claiming he was unaware of the group’s racist views, he has for years been a fixture at the group’s events, including leading the group in the “national anthem” of “Dixie” in 2012, the year before he was elected to join the organization’s board.

Peroutka was even less guarded about his Confederate sympathies in a 2004 speech to a League of the South event in Montgomery, Alabama, which the group posted online in 2012. At the time, Peroutka was running for president on the Constitution Party ticket, a spot that Moore had been offered but passed up.

In the speech, Peroutka tried to appeal to the neo-Confederate group by reminding them that his home state of Maryland “was below the Mason-Dixon line." Referring to the 1861 arrest of pro-Confederate members of the Maryland legislature, he added, "And we would have seceded if they hadn’t locked up 51 members of our legislature. And by the way, I’m still angry about that."

Peroutka went on to boast to the group that his children were carrying on his views, his daughter by refusing to play “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” in her school band and his son by referring to the Confederate battle flag as “the American flag.”

He added that his daughter, Elizabeth, who now helps to run the family’s foundation, was known by her peers as “Beth Booth” after John Wilkes Booth.

Even in 2004, Peroutka was extolling Moore, crediting the judge for inspiring him to run for office and boasting that he had Moore’s support because “we believe the same things.”

Right Wing Round-Up – 2/13/15

  • Kyler Geoffrey @ Towleroad: AL Pastor Rails Against ‘Comedic’ Gay Marriages, Claims You’ll Be Able To Marry Roaches In 2016
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