Former one-term Florida Tea Party congressman Allen West is ready to stand up and serve his country as the Republican vice presidential nominee, he told talk radio host Jeffrey Kuhner on Wednesday.
When Kuhner asked West if he would every consider running for president himself, West responded that it’s “just not my nature as a soldier” to go out “seeking political office” (an odd statement coming from someone who has run for Congress three times), but “my nature as a soldier is to serve and to step up when my country needs me, so I’m standing by.”
“I’m always ready to, if the American people need me back, I’m here, I’m ready to go,” he said.
Kuhner asked if that means he’d be willing to run for vice president if the Republican nominee asked him; West responded that if God and his wife were okay with it, he was in.
“If God is approving and my wife and my two daughters are of approval, then I would say, ‘You’ve got your guy and let’s get at it,’” he said.
Miami, FL – Last week in Florida, civil rights leader Dolores Huerta joined local voters and Latino leaders to encourage voters to turn out to vote in tomorrow’s primary and to send a strong message that the rhetoric and priorities of Cruz, Rubio and Trump are far out of line with Latino communities in Florida and across the country. Photos from the roundtable, organized by 1199SEIU Florida, Latino Victory Project, and People For the American Way, are attached. Following the roundtable, 1199SEIU Florida contacted thousands of its members over the weekend and today reminding them to vote leading up to the primaries.
Dolores Huerta, civil rights leader & board member, People For the American Way: "Donald Trump is the face of the Republican Party. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz also share the same values as Donald Trump. They’re all against immigration reform. They want to defund Planned Parenthood. They want to deprive women and families of the services they need.
“We know that we, Latino voters, will decide who will be the next President of the United States. We have a very powerful weapon in our hands – the vote.”
Pili Tobar, Communications Director of Latino Victory Project: “This November the stakes for Latinos in Florida and throughout the country couldn’t be higher. Republican presidential candidates have shown that they have no respect for our community, and they are on the wrong side of the issues the Latino community cares about. Whether we’re talking about immigration, worker’s rights, minimum wage, equal pay or taking care of our environment, the GOP field represent special interests at the expense of our community.
“This is why we have to participate, register, and come out to vote, it’s the only way we’ll truly hold Republican candidates accountable for their hateful words and their damaging policies."
Mayte Canino, the Miami Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood of South East and Norther Florida: “If any of the GOP candidates were elected they have said time and time again they would block over a million people from care at Planned Parenthood health centers, including 575,000 Latinos, many of whom rely on Planned Parenthood as their primary health care provider.
Just last week, here in Florida, the local legislature passed a bill that would strip thousands of women of their access to basic health care, such as cancer screenings, birth control, STD testing and treatment, and well-woman exams by blocking their access to Planned Parenthood. These are the same kind of wrong-headed policies we’re seeing from every single Republican candidate."
Marilyn Ralat, Registered Nurse and Delegate of 1199SEIU United Healthcare Workers in Florida: “We need to educate our community in Florida about the importance of voting and mobilize them to the polls. I am here to invite all Latinos to vote, especially our large Puerto Rican community of which I’m part of.”
Viviana Ivalo, undocumented mother and community leader from Women Working Together USA: “We've been attacked by candidates since day one, it's important to come out and remind the candidates that we are going to vote."
To schedule a follow-up interview with any of the roundtable participants, or for photos of the event, please email Laura Epstein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., said yesterday that the U.S. needs to look at “the people that are here that shouldn’t be here” and “if they have a Middle Eastern background that we can’t verify, they need to be out of the country.”
Yoho did not specify what he meant by people who “shouldn’t be here” or what the verification process would be in his comments, which he made during an interview on “The Palin Update,” a radio show hosted by Sarah Palin enthusiasts.
“If you look at what the role of the federal government is, its number-one role is to provide for the common defense of the United States of America,” he said. “And we need to look at securing our border, we need to look at enforcing the laws on the books. The people that are here that shouldn’t be here, we need to have a way of vetting and screening them. If they have a Middle Eastern background that we can’t verify, they need to be out of the country.”
He added that the U.S. should put a “pause” on the resettlement of refugees from Middle Eastern countries.
Yoho also lashed out at President Obama for his defense of refugees, saying, “He accuses the Republicans of being afraid of women and children. I’m concerned about women and children, and those are the women and children in my country, my wife, my daughters, your children, your families. We should be concerned about that before we worry about somebody else.”
Later in the interview, the program’s host, Kevin Scholla, asked Yoho if it is “too late” for Congress to impeach President Obama, which Yoho said it certainly is not.
“Man, I tell you what, I can’t thank you for bringing that subject up,” he said. “No, I don’t think it’s too late.”
He touted a bill he wrote that would define what constitute impeachable “high crimes and misdemeanors” in order to “show the borders of the football field so that the executive, the Supreme Court justices and everybody in Washington and government knows where the boundaries are and if you step outside of that you’re going to be penalized.”
He added that his constituents are “clamoring” for impeachment.
Donald Trump joined conservative Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday to talk about his presidential candidacy, where he said he would be open to forming a joint ticket with his Republican rival Ben Carson, boasting of his “amazing” relationship with women and Latinos, and wondering why Syrian refugees aren’t “back fighting for their country.”
Kaufman — a controversial radio host who once suggested hanging undocumented immigrants who commit crimes — could barely contain her love for Trump, joking that she and her friend Ann Coulter “have slumber parties” where they listen to Trump’s speeches. Trump, in turn, said Coulter “is fantastic, she’s been so supportive and I appreciate it, she’s been great.”
When Kaufman asked if Trump would consider forming her dream Trump-Carson ticket if he won the Republican nomination, Trump was open to the idea. “Well, we get along very well,” he said. “We get along very well and he seems to be in second place compared to these politicians, you know, the all-talk, no-action politicians. So the relationship has been very, very good, very strong, but with that being said, it’s just too early, we have to see how it all pans out.”
Kaufman, who is of Puerto Rican descent, told Trump that there are “an inordinate number of Hispanic women who are absolutely enthralled” with him, adding, “I don’t know how anyone could say that you’re against women when every woman who gets close to you becomes a millionaire.”
“Well, I’ve employed tremendous numbers at the highest positions,” Trump said. “Even right now I probably have more than virtually anybody in terms of high positions. And, you know, my relationship with women has been amazing and I have great respect for women and I will be doing things for women’s health issues, which is a very big subject, and I’ll be doing things that nobody else is going to be able to do.”
“And I get along great with the Hispanics,” he added. “You know, I have thousands of Hispanics that work for me and they’re great people, amazing people.”
The two also discussed Trump’s plan to build a wall along the southern border, which he said “works big-league” and resistance to resettling refugees from the Syrian civil war.
Apparently referring to migrants in Europe, Trump said, “I don’t know if you’ve seen this migration but a lot of young, strong, men, they look like why aren’t they back fighting for their country.”
There have been several layers of lies that have grown out of the smear campaign that anti-choice groups are currently waging against Planned Parenthood.
The first is the baseless allegation found in the heavily edited tapes that activists calling themselves the Center for Medical Progress have been slowly releasing: That Planned Parenthood violated federal laws by profiting from its voluntary fetal tissue donation program. (Or, in CMP’s words, is “selling aborted baby parts for profit.”)
Those allegations do not hold water. CMP’s videos edited out many instances of Planned Parenthood employees making clear that the organization does not profit from fetal tissue donated to medical research. Several states launched investigations into Planned Parenthood after the videos were released, and every investigation to conclude so far has found no wrongdoing.
The next layer of lie is the claim that Planned Parenthood participates in fetal tissue research in order to turn a profit. This claim, rooted in the anti-choice movement’s years-long campaign to frame abortion providers as a money-hungry “industry” is completely absurd, especially given that just two of the organization’s 59 affiliates and just one percent of its clinics offer patients the opportunity to donate fetal tissue to research.
But the third lie, the truly astounding whopper, is that Planned Parenthood only offers abortions in order to sell fetal tissue for profit. Although this is the thought process that the Center for Medical Progress seems to hope that people will follow, only the farthest-right of the anti-choice fringe has put it into so many words.
Alveda King of Priests for Life alleged that Planned Parenthood makes “a lot of money” by using birth control to give women breast cancer and coercing women to have abortions so they can sell the fetal tissue. Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made a similar claim when he suggested that Planned Parenthood opposes the 20-week abortion ban that was blocked in the Senate today because they can profit more off of fetuses in later stages of development: “This suggests why they may have been opposed to bans such as this, these five-month bans, because the longer the pregnancy goes, the more valuable the parts.”
But yesterday, Marco Rubio, Republican senator from Florida and supposedly “establishment” presidential candidate, gave this completely absurd idea a new platform when he claimed on an Iowa TV news program that women are “pushed into abortions so that those tissues can be harvested and sold for a profit”:
Yes, not only does Rubio think that women who choose to terminate pregancies are “pushed into” it, but that the providers who are supposedly doing the pushing are doing it solely to protect a nonexistant fetal-tissue racket.
That’s something that we expect to hear from the farthest fringes of the anti-choice movement, not from a presidential candidate.
At Wednesday night’s presidential debate, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush went out of his way to tout “a voucher program that was created under my watch, the largest voucher program in the country, where kids can go to a Christian school” — a phrase he sandwiched into a conversation about Donald Trump criticizing him for speaking Spanish in public.
Julie Ingersoll, a religious studies professor at the University of North Florida, tweeted a reminder that her book on Christian Reconstructionism, which was recently released by Oxford University Press, mentions Bush’s voucher program. “Building God’s Kingdom: Inside the World of Christian Reconstructionism” includes chapters on the enormous influence of Christian Reconstructionism in the homeschooling and Christian school movements, which have succeeded in getting states like Florida to funnel taxpayer money to their religious education efforts
Christian Reconstructionism, grounded in the teachings of 20th-century writer R.J. Rushdoony, has greatly influenced both the Religious Right and Tea Party movements with its doctrine of “sphere sovereignty,” which states that God has given government, church, and family specific responsibilities over different “spheres.” Reconstructionists argue that there is no biblical authority for the government to take on a duty that is given to church or family – for example, they argue that the government has no role in caring for the poor because charity is the job of the church.
Reconstructionism teaches that education is the duty of parents, and that the state therefore has no role in or legitimate authority over the education of children. Reconstructionists led legal and political battles to win the right of parents to homeschool their children, and continue to resist efforts at regulating homeschoolers. As Ingersoll notes, “Reconstructionists are unabashedly committed to the dismantling of public education, and their strategies and solutions have gained a hearing far beyond the boundaries of the small groups explicitly affiliated with them.” In June, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott named a right-wing homeschooler to chair the state’s Board of Education.
The organized and intensely active network of evangelical homeschooling families in Iowa is credited, in part, with Mike Huckabee’s win in the 2008 Iowa caucus, and the Associated Press reported this year that presidential candidates have been jockeying for its leaders’ support.
Ingersoll also explores how central creationism is to the Christian Reconstructionist worldview; as others have noted, creationism also forms the basis of “science” education in books and curricula used by some Christian schools and homeschoolers.
Ingersoll writes about the independent, Reconstructionism-inspired Rocky Bayou Christian School in Niceville, Florida, which was founded in the 1970s. In addition to the hundreds of students in its K-12 program, the school offers a program allowing homeschoolers to participate in courses and activities. Writes Ingersoll, “RCBS also has a program designed to take advantage of Florida’s school voucher plan. The plan, put into place by former Governor Jeb Bush, permits students at ‘failing public schools’ to obtain vouchers that can be used at any school.”
According to Ingersoll, the Bush voucher program “has become such a significant revenue stream” for Rocky Bayou Christian School that “it would have a major impact on the school if the state were to decide to discontinue the controversial program….” But, she notes, “the conservative legislature took up the effort to expand the state’s privatization of public education with vouchers and the expansion of charter schools.”
Indeed, legislation signed by Gov. Rick Scott last year expanded voucher and tax-credit programs; it also, according to the Orlando Sentinel, created state-funded “personal learning scholarship accounts” that “parents of students with certain disabilities can use to pay for private school, buy home-school curriculum or pay for needed therapies, among other services, if their child is not in public school.”
Florida is not the only state where proponents of privatization have won victories. Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal used the Katrina disaster to push through a radical privatization scheme and has battled the Obama administration over its efforts to monitor the state’s voucher program’s effect on racial segregation. Proponents of “school choice” had a major victory in Nevada this year, where a law pushed by an education foundation created by Jeb Bush would allow parents of any income level to “pull a child from the state's public schools and take tax dollars with them, giving families the option to use public money to pay for private or parochial school or even for home schooling.” While some Christian homeschoolers want no part of voucher programs, because they believe taking voucher money would bring more intrusive government regulation, laws like Nevada’s could prove a windfall for Religious Right and Christian Reconstructionist groups that provide curricula to homeschoolers.
Ingersoll writes about a 2009 Men’s Leadership Summit hosted by the Christian Home Educators of Colorado at an Indianapolis facility of Bill Gothard’s Institute for Biblical Life Principles, a troubling organization in the news recently for its connection to the Duggar family. The purpose of the summit, writes Ingersoll, was the development of a “Christian Education Manifesto,” which is no longer public, but whose goals included the elimination of public education and dismantling of government agencies that regulate the rights of parents, such as child welfare and child protective service groups.
There have been some setbacks for the privatization movement. In June, the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that its state’s Choice Scholarship Pilot Program violates the state Constitution by channeling public money to private religious schools, contrary to an explicit constitutional prohibition on doing so.
But, as Ingersoll notes, the massively funded privatization movement is advancing the dream of the Christian Reconstructionists:
Florida’s efforts mirror attempts across the nation to shift the delivery of public education to the private sector; a shift of tax money from a public endeavor intended to educate and foster a shared sense of what it means to be American to sectarian efforts, including efforts at schools like Rocky Bayou which seek to transform society according to biblical law. The long-standing goal of the Christian Reconstructionists to defund, and ultimately eliminate, public education has come as close as it has ever come to being a reality.
As many predicted, Kim Davis is cashing in on her new role as a right-wing celebrity. The Family Research Council announced today that Davis will receive its “Cost of Discipleship Award” at the upcoming Values Voter Summit.
FRC head Tony Perkins has already compared Davis to the previous award winner, Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who, unlike Davis, actually faced persecution for her faith, as she was arrested and imprisoned by Sudan’s government for converting to Christianity. Leading up to Ibrahim’s appearance at the FRC event, Perkins attempted to use her story to attack the Obama administration, even though her U.S. supporters actually thanked the State Department for working diligently to secure her release. An attorney working on Ibrahim’s case, who is also a Religious Right figure, criticized Perkins for his rhetoric.
In announcing the award, Perkins praised Davis for her “courage” in standing up to “militant secularists”:
“We are pleased to announce that Kim Davis will be honored at this year's Values Voter Summit. After meeting with her last week, I can tell you that Kim Davis wasn’t looking for this fight, but she is not running from it either. What militant secularists are almost certainly afraid of is what is coming to pass: courage is breeding courage. When other people might have cowered in fear, Kim took a stand. And today, millions of Americans stand with her and for the religious freedom upon which our nation was founded.
“Far from the media's portrayal, Kim isn't trying to impose her views on anyone, she is simply asking that her orthodox religious views be accommodated.
“The courage of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis isn't just changing the conversation -- it's changing the political landscape. In places like Missouri, where state officials watched with horror as Davis was hauled off to jail for her Christian beliefs, leaders are moving quickly to protect their people from the same fate. The Supreme Court created this mess -- now it's incumbent on states to protect the victims mired in it.
“While the Court redefined marriage, it did not redefine the First Amendment. Thank goodness for people of courage like Kim Davis, who refuses to let religious liberty be trampled by legal tyranny. We applaud her. In the face of intense pressure, she's shown more courage than 99 percent of the elected officials in Kentucky,” concluded Perkins.
Another county clerk in Kentucky who is trying to prevent same-sex couples from receiving marriage licenses, Casey Davis (no relation), is also scheduled to speak at the summit. He has gone so far as to say that he may die in his fight against gay marriage.
Perkins addressed the rally in front of the Kentucky prison where Davis was detained after a federal judge held her in contempt of court but doesn’t seem to know some basic facts surrounding the case. For example, Perkins told Fox News that Davis wasn’t barring her deputy clerks from issuing marriage licenses, even though Davis explicitly said at the time that she was doing just that.
Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter was the keynote speaker at the American Decency Association's summer conference last month, where she repeated her claim that her prayers delivered the state of Florida to George W. Bush in the 2000 election.
"In the year 2000, I lived in a county named Broward," Porter said. "Remember election night? Every station had declared the election for Al Gore. Every one, ever Fox. And I did something that was odd — and I know the Right Wing Watchers are telling I'm the one that prayed it in — well, I think there were millions who prayed with me but I do think that God answers prayer and I do think He's honored when you pray ridiculous, sun-stopping prayers. And I said, 'God, I'm asking you to do what has never been done before, I'm asking you to take the state of Florida, where I lived at the time, from Al Gore and give it to George Bush so that unborn children will live and not die.' That was my prayer."
Porter also revealed that a friend of hers was in charge of delivering military ballots to the Florida Supreme Court and that her friend spent the night praying over those ballots and anointed them with oil before delivering them to the court, which then ruled in Bush's favor, as did the U.S. Supreme Court "which changed the outcome of the election."
This morning, just two days after Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson caused a national controversy when he suggested that states enslave undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave, asking, “What’s wrong with slavery?,” Sen. Ted Cruz joined Mickelson’s program to discuss his upcoming rally in Iowa which will bring together various supposed victims of anti-Christian persecution.
Mickelson asked Cruz to discuss his fight against the “brazenness of the atheist Taliban” and the fact that “anytime they furrow their brow at anyone [people] fold up and go home and give them what they want.”
Cruz, who has previously railed against what he called a gay “jihad" against Christians, apparently liked Mickelson’s phrase, and took it up while describing his work fighting against church-state separation efforts.
“There is an assault on faith and an assault on religious liberty that we see across this country and it has never been as bad as it is right now,” he said, claiming that “radical atheists and liberals” are “driving any acknowledgment of God out of the public square.”
“There are these zealots — as you put it, the atheist Taliban — that seek to tear down any acknowledgment of God in the public square, and it’s contrary to our Constitution, it’s contrary to who we are as a people.”
The owner of a Florida gun shop who declared his business to be a “Muslim-free zone” solidified his status as a far-right hero this week when he announced that he would be paying his legal bills by auctioning off a painting of the Confederate flag by George Zimmerman, the neighborhood watch volunteer who shot unarmed black teenager Trayvon Martin in 2012.
The gun shop owner, Andy Hallinan, elaborated on the plan in an interview with Miami talk radio host Joyce Kaufman on Tuesday, explaining how he and Zimmerman had become friends and how, when Zimmerman heard that Hallinan was being sued by the Council for American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), he immediately took an American flag painting he was working on and started painting a Confederate flag over it in the hopes of raising money for Hallinan.
Hallinan told Kaufman that the Confederate flag was an appropriate symbol of the need to “go into battle, in a sense, with the leadership of this country” who, with their “extreme political correctness,” are bringing about the “destruction of the American dream as a whole.”
Although “the media is portraying things like the Confederate flag as racist,” he said, it is they who “are trying to create a more racist America, not a less racist America.”
Later in the interview, Kaufman said that Americans today are facing a similar fight against a “big political machine” that the Confederacy faced before the Civil War. “It’s nice to say that the war was fought over slavery,” she said, “but in fact it was actually a war over the big political machine that they didn’t want dictating how they live their lives. And that’s not such a dissimilar theme to what we’re experiencing right now.”
“At the end of the day, the war was fought over tyranny and a difference of opinion, that’s what it was, and of course money,” Hallinan agreed. “You know, slavery was an issue but it was well known that the North actually had more slaves at the time, which was interesting.”
Hallinan told Kaufman that although he had intended to donate part of the proceeds from the painting to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, the group had declined the donation, so he is now looking for a charity that will take his money.
In last week’s GOP presidential debate, Mike Huckabee made an explicit argument in favor of radical fetal personhood laws, claiming that Congress could pass a law granting rights to fertilized eggs and fetuses under the 14th and Fifth Amendments, thus criminalizing all abortion and possibly common forms of birth control in one fell swoop.
But one of Huckabee’s fellow candidates made a very similar comment, which has received less attention because he did not explicitly acknowledge the personhood movement. Here’s what Marco Rubio said when Fox News’ Megyn Kelly asked about his support for abortion bans that have contained exceptions for survivors of rape and incest, a deal-breaker for personhood proponents:
Kelly: You don’t favor a rape and incest exception?
Rubio: I have never said that. And I have never advocated that. What I have advocated is that we pass law in this country that says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection. In fact, I think that law already exists. It is called the Constitution of the United States.
And let me go further. I believe that every single human being is entitled to the protection of our laws, whether they can vote or not. Whether they can speak or not. Whether they can hire a lawyer or not. Whether they have a birth certificate or not. And I think future generations will look back at this history of our country and call us barbarians for murdering millions of babies who we never gave them a chance to live.
As Katie McDonough at Fusion pointed out, Rubio’s answer was a “roundabout” personhood argument.
By saying that the Constitution already entitles fertilized eggs and fetuses to “the protection of our laws” and that Congress merely needs to “pass a law” stating that “says all human life at every stage of its development is worthy of protection,” Rubio seems to be arguing for a personhood bill such as that proposed by fellow GOP presidential candidate Rand Paul in the Senate. (Personhood proponents believe that there is a loophole in Roe v. Wade that allows a ban on all abortions and some common forms of birth control to be accomplished legislatively, rather than through a constitutional amendment.)
However, Rubio did not sign on as a cosponsor of Paul’s bill. And the Florida senator has supported abortion bans containing rape and incest exceptions, although he clarified after the debate he did so out of political necessity, not because he supports such exceptions.
Even anti-choice activists are unclear about what Rubio meant in his answer to Kelly. The Christian Post thinks that Rubio was taking the same position on Personhood as Huckabee. Personhood USA, the group behind state-level personhood ballot measures, was more skeptical, writing that while Rubio expressed a “noble sentiment,” he must “repent” for supporting laws containing rape and incest exceptions and “will have to clarify” his position.
What is clear is that Rubio’s answer was calculated to appeal to radical anti-choice activists without being immediately off-putting to viewers who are terrified of fetal personhood laws. Beyond that, he should be asked to clarify what his position on personhood really is.
Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace invited Florida Religious Right activist John Stemberger onto his program yesterday to push back against conservatives who are arguing that the government should just get out of marriage altogether after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, which Stemberger argues would actually expand government by destroying families and expanding the welfare state.
This is all what liberals want, he told Deace: “The left feeds on broken marriages and broken families. When families are strong, when there’s an economic system there, they start to understand the implications of taxes and all the economic implications of actually work and reward.”
This prompted Deace to share his theory that the sexual revolution was an outgrowth of the welfare state because before the expansion of the social safety net, most people were too poor to “act out immorally” by having “multiple wives” and “gay lovers” since “no one was subsidizing [their] depravity.”
“We have that today, which is why the sexual revolution came after the welfare state, because once it was obvious that people were not going to be held directly accountable for their actions, we removed the inhibitions against human nature that we already had,” he explained.
Stemberger agreed with Deace’s assessment, adding, “People who are hard-working and have to be self-sufficient and are not going to be propped up by the government don’t have the luxury of doing stupid, immoral things.”
In a speech to the National Right to Life Committee’s convention in New Orleans this morning, Sen. Marco Rubio called Roe v. Wade a “historically and egregiously flawed” decision and vowed to fight abortion rights “at home and around the world”
“My pledge to you is this: If you help send me to that place, I will never forget this place,” he said.
He went on to compare the fight against abortion rights to the battles for abolition, civil rights and women’s suffrage: “Sometimes in contemporary American life, we come to believe that all the great causes are over, that the past generation fought all the important battles: abolition, the Civil Rights Movement, women’s suffrage. But it’s not true. In fact, one of the most important battles is the one that you are engaged in now.”
In a speech to a Gladewater, Texas, conservative group last week, former Rep. Allen West blamed high school football injuries on the end of state-sponsored prayer in schools, saying that when he was in high school, “I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Discussing a conflict between the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the University of Tennessee about sectarian prayers before football games, West said that in the days of state-sponsored school prayer, there was no problem with football injuries.
“Now see, I remember growing up in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia,” he said. “I went to Grady High School and I played football and we didn’t have all this high-speed gear and everything like that, there was no such thing about ‘targeting.’ I mean, you were not a tough football player unless you did try to hit someone head-on. And even in high school, before every game at Grady Stadium, the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember catastrophic injuries. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Needless to say, West’s selective view of the history of football injuries is not exactly accurate.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, stopped by the anti-immigrant group FAIR’s annual radio row today to talk with Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio host famous for her brief stint as chief of staff to then-Florida Rep. Allen West, which ended when her years of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric came to light.
The two started out by discussing the recent hearing at which Gohmert started yelling at a female ICE official, which got them to talking about charges of a conservative “war on women,” which Gohmert said he wasn’t part of because his chief of staff is a woman.
“It’s usually the liberals that care more about race, they care more about gender and all kinds of, sexual habits,” he continued. “We don’t care about that stuff. Are you going to do the job, are you going to do what’s right, are you going to be honest? Those are the things that we’re more concerned about. In fact, we [conservatives] are coming closer to the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. because we care more about the content of the character than we do the color of anybody’s skin.”
“I could care less what race somebody is coming into America unless they’re coming to do harm, and even then I don’t care what race it is, I care about are you going to come do harm?” he added.
Kaufman agreed, adding that it is in fact immigrants who are dividng America because by maintaining their languages and cultures they “force the indigenous people” to “ become tribal.”
There is “more discussion of race in this country than in the last 20 years,” she lamented.
“But I think that’s, a large part of that is because of this administration,” Gohmert responded. “They have been more polarizing.”
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, after teaming up with Christian nationalist extremists to host his “The Response” prayer rally in Baton Rouge earlier this year, is now continuing his project of endearing himself to the far fringes of the Religious Right by addressing an annual conference hosted by Liberty Counsel this weekend.
Liberty Counsel’s “The Awakening” event will bring Jindal, along with fellow likely GOP presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, together with some of the most unapologetically extreme Religious Right leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz’s dad Rafael.
With speakers from John Eidsmoe, a founding father of the Religious Right’s current Christian nationalist thought, to Kamal Saleem, the phony ex-terrorist and prolific anti-Obama conspiracy theorist, the candidates are sure to be treated to an exciting array of far-right ideas.
The Awakening is organized by Liberty Counsel, a legal arm of Liberty University founded and chaired by Mat Staver. Staver is particularly invested in anti-LGBT activism both in the U.S. and abroad, where he has spoken out in favor of laws criminalizing homosexuality. Here at home, he has warned that marriage equality will help bring about God’s destruction of America and will be “the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.”
Staver’s extremism is not limited to LGBT rights. For instance, at the 2010 Awakening conference, Staver agreed with an audience member who asked if the Affordable Care Act created a private army of Brownshirts for President Obama.
Kamal Saleem claims to be an ex-terrorist who worked for a number of Islamist groups before coming to America to build sleeper cells and ultimately converting to Christianity. The fact that Saleem’s story doesn’t add up — and that he’s suspiciously reluctant to talk about the details — hasn’t stopped him from being a popular speaker on the Religious Right conference circuit, where he impresses audiences with his insider knowledge that President Obama is a secret Muslim out to destroy America.
Saleem uses his literally unbelievable personal story to sell a wide range of conspiracy theories, including claims that President Obama attends a mosque in Washington, DC, on Christmas (while he is simultaneously in Hawaii) and that Islamists are working through Sasha and Malia Obama’s babysitters to establish a shadow government.
In 2012, he told The Awakening that when President Obama appeared to be pledging allegiance to the flag, he was actually taking part in an Islamic prayer. The same year, he warned the Values Voter Summit that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be shutting down churches in America within the year:
John Eidsmoe is one of the leading voices behind the Religious Right’s effort to rewrite American history and law to reflect a specific “biblical worldview.” Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a research assistant on Eidsmoe’s influential 1987 book “Christianity and the Constitution,” cites him as an in influence and his work has permeated the segment of the Religious Right that seeks to take “dominion” over America to avoid God’s judgment.
Eidsmoe has specifically warned that gay rights will bring about divine judgment on the U.S. and wrote a whole book, “Gays & Guns,” arguing against allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, warning that they might molest children.
Eidsmoe, who has gotten in trouble in the past for speaking to white supremacist groups, is currently the “senior counsel and resident scholar” at the Foundation for Moral Law, the Christian nationalist group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a longtime ally.
Rick Scarborough, a Baptist pastor and the head of the Religious Right group Vision America, is one of the most extreme voices in the anti-LGBT movement. Although he insists that he is neither a Democrat or Republican, but a “Christ-ocrat,” he frequently allies with likeminded Republican politicians including Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee to get his followers to the polls.
Scarborough maintains that AIDS is God’s “judgment” for “an immoral act,” warns that the appointment of gay ambassadors would be perfect justification for God to nuke America, and once suggested filing a class action lawsuit against homosexuality.
Scarborough has also dabbled in anti-immigrant nativism, warning that “more non-white families” in the U.S. would lead to fewer Christians and that “if this country becomes 30 percent Hispanic we will no longer be America.”
Franklin Graham, a son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, couples his international humanitarian work with an apocalyptic approach to American politics. He predicted that President Obama’sreelectionwould bring about God’s destruction of America and railed that Americans “turned our back on God” by reelecting the president.
Graham’s opinion of the Obama administration was only reinforced when he was disinvited from speaking at an event at the Pentagon because of hishistory of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He has since claimed that the White House has been “infiltrated by Muslims” and is being run by Muslims who “hate Israel and hate Christians.” Just this week, he speculated that Obama’s mother “must have been a Muslim,” which he said explains why the president supposedly won’t fight ISIS.
While he may worry that God is getting ready to judge America for President Obama, Graham has implied that the Almighty is smiling on Russian President Vladimir Putin because of his crackdown on LGBT rights in his country. Graham, who has long claimed that Christianity is on the road to being criminalized in the U.S., said last year that pastors must be prepared to get their “heads chopped off” in the fight against gay rights.
Matt Barber, a former Liberty Counsel official who still hosts a daily radio program with Staver, is best known for his over-the-top bigoted anti-gay rhetoric.
Barber often frames his battle against LGBT equality and reproductive rights as a “spiritual war” in which he is on the side of God. He has called marriage equality the “bidding of the Devil” and warned that by legalizing same-sex marriage, America is “ tempting the wrath of God.” He claims that HIV/AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality.
Barber is fond of comparing his opponents to Nazis, calling supporters of reproductive rights “modern day Nazis” and LGBT rights advocates “Rainbowshirts” who have “broken out the long knives” to go after Christians. At the same time, he has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he’d like to see a ban on “gay propaganda” in the U.S., and defending Uganda’s harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.
Every week, Iowa-based radio host Steve Deace gets together with Bob Vander Plaats, head of the influential Iowa social conservative group The Family Leader and leader of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in the state, to discuss potential GOP presidential candidates. This week, they spent a good part of their segment discussing Jeb Bush’s decision to hire openly gay GOP operative Tim Miller as his spokesman. Unsurprisingly, neither was impressed.
Deace read Vander Plaats a series of “red flags” from Miller’s social media accounts, including a tweet critical of the Iowa Family Policy Center , a group affiliated with Vander Plaats, and notices on Facebook that he had attended events such events as “Sugar Tit: A Dirty Polaroid-Style New Year’s Eve” and “By Gays: All City Happy Hour.”
As Deace read the litany of posts, cohost Robert Rees said, “I feel very uncomfortable” and Vander Plaats agreed, accusing Miller of “lampooning the base of the very party he claims to serve.”
“It’s one thing to say, you know what, I really don’t want the base of the party,” Vander Plaats said of Bush. “It’s another thing to actively employ people who are going after the base of the party, intentionally going after the base of the party. This would be a sure way to tell your establishment friends, this is how you lose a general election against Hillary, is you make the base go home.”
Deace agreed that Bush’s hiring of Miller was “a middle finger” to social conservative activists. “That’s not even substantive disagreement, that’s just someone giving you the finger,” he said.
In an interview on Newsmax today, Rep. Ted Yoho, R-Fla., criticized President Obama’s recent summit on violent extremism as a “feel-good thing on something that’s very serious” and contended that what America really needs to do to fight extremism at home and abroad is to stop “taking God out of this country.”
Yoho told host J.D. Hayworth and fellow guest Michael Flanagan, both former GOP congressman: “Congressman Flanagan said we’ve got to get God back into a lot of these principles in our country that we were founded on, and I agree. We’re taking God out of this country, they’re fighting for their God, and all I can say is the person who has God on their side is going to win this. And I think we all need to huddle around and get back to some basics in this country.”