Louisiana

Steve Scalise Hails Louisiana Anti-Marriage Equality Ruling

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

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

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

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

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

Louisiana's Marriage Ban Is Upheld By Judge Citing "Lifestyle Choices"

A judge nominated by Ronald Reagan in 1983 writes an opinion that is a throwback to that earlier and less equal time.
PFAW Foundation

Richard Land: Cities With Non-Discrimination Laws Criminalized Free Speech

Filling in for Tony Perkins on yesterday’s edition of “Washington Watch,” former Southern Baptist Convention official Richard Land discussed the defeat of an LGBT non-discrimination measure in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with Gene Mills of the right-wing Louisiana Family Forum.

Land and Mills both claimed that the ordinance barring employment and housing discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity would actually, in Land’s words, “suppress the freedom of speech.”

“Homosexuality and the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender community, that is the ultimate rebellion against God,” Land declared. “We don’t want them to take away from us the right to say that, to say that’s a rebellion against God.”

Mills replied: “And that’s exactly what they were doing, they were going to use a cause of action against us to silence — and that is what is happening in ‘everywhere USA’ — religious liberty is under assault…. Any expression, any thought, anything you just shared, could have been construed as a hate crime or an act of discrimination, and the reality is the shame and the guilt the homosexual feels is mistakenly reinterpreted as discrimination and what they attempt to do is to call it discrimination and prohibit it.”

According to the Human Rights Campaign, approximately 200 cities have non-discrimination ordinances in place. If anything Mills or Land said in the interview was true, then pastors around the country would be facing prosecution… but they’re not because the two Religious Right activists are completely dishonest.

The Right Wing's Inflammatory Reaction to the Border Crisis

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As we’re dealing with the refugee crisis on the southern border, right-wing elected officials have amped up their inappropriate, inflammatory rhetoric to dehumanize immigrants and attack immigration reform:

  • Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority”  in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and deport undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children. While trying to soften his appearance by bringing teddy bears and soccer balls to children at the southern border, he proclaimed that “as long as that promise of amnesty is there, more and more children will come... We need to eliminate the promise of amnesty.”
  • Rep. Louie Gohmert claims children being held are a problem because “we don’t even know what all diseases they have” and added that our healthcare system “can’t withstand the influx,” which, he believes was orchestrated by President Obama to recruit millions of people to cast fraudulent ballots for Democrats.
  • Sen. David Vitter has “had it with undocumented immigrants,” and tweeted on Friday that “enough is enough.” To deal with the crisis, he introduced a bill that would “require mandatory detention for anyone” that is in the U.S. illegally, in order to get “illegal aliens on the next plane home.” (Mother Jones calculated that this effort would require more than 64,000 planes to actually work.)
  • Rep. Tom Tancredo shared a similar plan when he said that President Obama should “sign an executive order saying all these people ought to be returned. Put them on buses or planes, send them back to the countries from which they came and have the governments there take care of it.”
  • Sheriff Joe Arpaio of Maricopa County, Arizona, claimed that these unaccompanied minors from Central America are probably “gangbangers” and questioned why they are being sent to this county in the first place.

Of course, elected extremists aren’t the only ones making outrageous statements:

  • The Minuteman Project’s Jim Gilchrist said this crisis is “part of a concerted effort to transfer populations of Central America and Mexico into the United States using minor children, illegal immigrants under the age of 18, as human shields… to detour our ability to enforce our immigration laws.”
  • The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios suggested the child refugees should be quarantined like lepers used to be, harking back to “biblical times” when the “lepers were separated” because it was “understood that leprosy was so contagious.” Rios' fretted that these children are transported in the “same planes that you and I fly in… How do we know about lice and disease before they get on public transportation?”
  • Jody Hice, running to replace Georgia Rep. Paul Broun in the U.S. House, suggested that people take up arms in response to “a government that refuses to secure our borders” because “that is the reason we have a Second Amendment.”

The Right Wing's inflammatory rhetoric distorts the reality of the crisis, causing more conflict and damage.

PFAW

Louisiana Activist Waxes Nostalgic For Days When Homosexuality Was Considered A Disorder

Gene Mills of the Louisiana Family Forum, who is campaigning against a non-discrimination ordinance in the city of Baton Rouge, said on Friday that the ordinance could potentially make pedophilia a legally protected sexual orientation.

Speaking on the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” Mills also claimed that that heterosexuality is the only sexual orientation, “and other behaviors are considered disordered. Because of the sexual, political agenda of many of these activists, they’ve been successful at redefining those disorders and classifying them as orientations.”

“Washington Watch” host Craig James also dismissed the ordinance because “less than three percent, I believe the exact number is 2.3 percent of the people in this country identify themselves with the LGBT community, yet it is a far greater feeling that they are out there in greater force.”

Self-Aware Bobby Jindal Is Tired Of 'Candidates Who Tell Us One Thing Then Go Do Another'

In an interview earlier this month with the Iowa blog Caffienated Thoughts, noted paragon of consistency Bobby Jindal lamented about “candidates who tell us one thing then go do another” on judicial nominations.

Jindal was discussing recent court decisions in favor of marriage equality, which he suggested could be grounds for recalling judges. In 2012, Jindal joined the failed effort to recall an Iowa Supreme Court justice who had joined the court’s unanimous marriage equality ruling.

The Louisiana governor spent the first half of the interview deriding the Common Core education standards — which he previously backed — as a “federal takeover of education."

Bobby Jindal Courts 'Christian Nation' Crowd For 2016 Presidential Bid

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal would like to be president, so he spent the weekend at Liberty University doing what a Republican presidential wannabe does: courting Religious Right leaders by assuring them that he is one of them and shares their vision for America.  Jindal spoke at Liberty’s commencement address on Saturday, where he spouted Religious Right talking points about the “war” on religious liberty by a “left” that wants to “silence people of faith.” And on Friday night, he spent two hours talking about his faith in a session with politically influential pastors organized by Christian-nation zealot David Lane.

The Washington Post’s Tom Hamburger reports that Jindal talked the pastors through his conversion from Hinduism to Protestantism in high school, while not spending much time on his conversion to Catholicism a few years later in college. Jindal positions himself solidly in the conservative religious coalition by calling himself an “evangelical Catholic.”  According to the Post,

The visiting pastors flew to Lynchburg over the weekend at the invitation of the American Renewal Project, a well-funded nonprofit group that encourages evangelical Christians to engage in the civic arena with voter guides, get-out-the-vote drives and programs to train pastors in grass-roots activism. The group’s founder, David Lane, has built a pastor network in politically important states such as Iowa, Missouri, Ohio and South Carolina and has led trips to Israel with Paul and others seeking to make inroads with evangelical activists.

The group that Lane invited to Lynchburg included Donald Wild­mon, a retired minister and founder of the American Family Association, a prominent evangelical activist group that has influence through its network of more than 140 Christian radio stations.

As regular RWW readers know, the Post’s description, while accurate, only begins to describe David Lane, who we reported last year is “an anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Mormon, Christian-nation absolutist who has declared war, not only on secularism and separation of church and state, but also on establishment Republicans who don’t embrace his vision of an America in which the Bible serves as ‘the principle textbook' for public education and a ‘Christian culture’ has been ‘re-established.’” Lane believes Christians “must be retrained to war for the Soul of America and quit believing the fabricated whopper of the ‘Separation of Church and State.’” He says America must repent for breaking the founders' covenant with God or face the wrath of God, which he said last year would include car bombings in Los Angeles, Des Moines, and Washington, D.C. as a consequence of abortion rights, the national debt, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.”

Jindal’s personal appeal to Religious Right leaders may encourage them to take a closer look at his record. Given his hostility to abortion rights and LGBT equality and his record of privatizing public education, using tax dollars to promote creationism, and rejecting Medicaid expansion, far-right pastors will probably like what they see. 

Eagle Forum Spokeswoman Warns Real ID Licenses Are Like Nazi Star Of David Badges

Testifying yesterday against Lousiana’s bill to allow its residents to access REAL ID compliant drivers licenses, Eagle Forum spokeswoman Sandy McDade said the gold stars marking REAL ID licenses are like the Star of David badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

However, she said that while she opposes the REAL ID Act, she does support requiring a photo ID to vote because she had “read documents” about people voting “several times.”

McDade, who is the chairwoman of Eagle Forum’s Louisiana chapter and who also serves at the national group’s political chairwoman, told the state house’s transportation committee that the only country she could think of with a national ID card was Nazi Germany.

“I will leave that there, I won’t go down that path, I just want you to have that image,” she said.

But then just a few minutes later, she ended her testimony with a “humorous, but it’s not really” anecdote. “We’re talking about putting a star on our drivers’ licenses,” she said, “and I have to ask: Is that a ‘Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star’ or is it the Star of David? Because we all know where that went.” 

She later confirmed to the Baton Rouge Advocate that she was indeed referring to the badges Jews were forced to wear in Nazi Germany.

After her testimony, Rep. Sam Jones asked her if she supported requiring photo identification to vote. McDade replied that she did because “I have read documents where people go and vote several times and declare themselves to be different people.”

“Wow,” Jones responded.

Fair Housing for LGBT People Rejected in Louisiana

Under current law, Louisiana protects the ability "to compete for available housing on an open, fair, and equitable basis, regardless of race, color, religion, [and] sex." House Bill 804, introduced by Representative Jared Brossett of New Orleans, would have added to the list protections for sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, and marital status.
PFAW

Urgent Action Needed on Georgia Early Voting Bill on Last Day of Legislative Session

Updated March 21: Georgia's legislative session closed without final action being taken on HB 891. According to Facing South, "House sponsors declined to take up a vote on the revised bill, and HB 891 was dead." The report quotes Kelli Persons of League of Women Voters of Georgia, "The message here is that it's very important . . . to pay attention to what's happening at the local level," in reference to the bill's impact on municipal early voting.
PFAW

David Lane Digs In

In July, we reported on Christian-nation extremist David Lane’s closed-door pastors briefing in Iowa, and the presidential hopefuls and other politicians who have flocked to Lane’s gatherings over the years.

This week the Des Moines Register’s Jennifer Jacobs reported that Lane’s American Renewal Project is holding church-based voter registration drives on three Sundays this month: Sept. 15, Sept. 22 and Sept. 29.  Steve Michael, a spokesperson for the project, told the Register that after the American Renewal Project’s $1.2 million voter registration campaign in Missouri during the last election cycle, the state saw a 3 percent increase in evangelical voters.  He said it will organize in Iowa “steadily until the 2014 election.”

The "Stand-up Sundays" model goes like this: Pastors ask their congregation members to stand up if they're already registered. Volunteers will then hand out voter registration paperwork to the adults still seated. But each Iowa pastor will decide how to do it, Lane told the Register.

Iowa is among 11 states the American Renewal Project is targeting in the 2014 cycle, Michael said. The others are Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota and West Virginia.

Organizers will do “Pastors and Pews” events followed by voter registration drives in each state. Next up is Louisiana on Sept. 26-27….

Lane said Iowa may be one of the most registered states in the nation, thanks to the attention from the presidential campaigns, so he expects Louisiana, Arkansas and North Carolina to be more "target rich areas."

It’s worth noting that Louisiana, Arkansas, and North Carolina are also among the top Senate races for 2014, as are other states on Lane’s target list. 

Tony Perkins' Scary Back-to-School Message

The fear-mongering in the Family Research Council’s latest mailing starts on the envelope:  “Beginning THIS MONTH…they don’t want any American child to escape. Read how we can STOP them.”

“They” turns out to be “government-run schools” and the “radical” teachers that infest them.

If a foreign enemy had plotted to infiltrate America, I’m not sure an army of undercover subversives could have done more damage than our government-run schools….

Leftists don’t want a single American child to escape their thought control.  And they are crowding out true education.

Of course, Perkins has a skewed idea about what a “true education” includes. He complains that America used to be the tops in science – after all we put a man on the moon. But not any more:

Today’s science classes often feature big-government political propaganda, taking time and focus away from true science. Not to mention attacks on the Bible and arrogant censoring of any theories like intelligent design that challenge their Darwinism.

Yes, nothing will boost American students’ science scores faster than a little the-universe-is-6000-years-old Creationism. Perkins doesn’t say exactly what big-government propaganda he’s talking about. Evolution? Astronomy? Climate change?

Even worse, says Perkins, “the federal government has endorsed and sponsored an ‘anti-bullying program’ created and run by Dan Savage, a radical homosexual activist…” Perkins thinks sex education is all about promoting promiscuity and homosexual behavior. “This obsession with liberal sex ‘education’ shows how the minds and souls of our young people are being deliberately sabotaged.”

Accompanying Perkins’ letter is a “Protect America’s Children Survey” which asks whether their local schools are experiencing a range of problems, including “Positive portrayals of homosexuality or negative portrayals of those who don’t affirm homosexuality,” “Not enough teaching of the Christian roots of America,” “Absence of presentation of intelligent design theory,” and “Not enough teaching on the virtues of limited government and free enterprise.”

There is hope, says Perkins, bragging that he was able to “assist” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal in passing “one of the most family-friendly school choice laws in America.” Jindal’s privatization scheme has resulted in public money being diverted into often  unaccountable schools wasting taxpayer dollars and teaching Religious Right curricula – no wonder Perkins loves it. 

Demand Answers from Judge Edith Jones

Investigate reports of bias and racism from a federal judge.

Election Protection: Our Broken Voting System and How to Repair It

“Although the time in our history has passed when certain Americans were excluded by force of law from electoral participation, endemic yet solvable problems continue to plague our system of elections and prevent too many eligible voters from fully participating in our democracy.”
PFAW Foundation

Creationism Advocate Bobby Jindal Warns GOP Against Becoming 'the Stupid Party'

At a Republican National Committee winter summit yesterday, Louisiana’s Gov. Bobby Jindal scolded his fellow Republicans for acting like “the stupid party,” which he said damaged their credibility in the last election:

In his remarks to the gathering, he also offered some tough medicine for the GOP, including this piece of advice: “We must stop being the stupid party. It’s time for a new Republican party that talks like adults. It’s time for us to articulate our plans and visions for America in real terms. We had a number of Republicans damage the brand this year with offensive and bizarre comments. We’ve had enough of that.” Whether or not Jindal ultimately emerges as a top presidential contender, look for him to be a major presence, not just in Louisiana, but around the country as well as a key figure in helping the party chart its course forward.

Of course, this is the same Bobby Jindal who is literally dumbing down Louisiana’s education system by advocating the teaching of creationism in taxpayer-funded schools.

Jindal signed into law and vocally supported the ironically-named Louisiana Science Education Act, which has been described as a “thinly veiled attempt to allow creationism into the science classrooms of his state.”

Last year, Jindal established a private school voucher program that will bring taxpayer dollars to schools that explicitly teach creationism:

Whatever the merits of this program might be, observers in the state were stunned when they saw some of the schools on the list of those eligible to accept the vouchers. They include a school whose students will be taught to “discern and refute the lies commonly found in textbooks,” including, of course, evolution. Another school prepares students to “defend creationism through evidence presented by the Bible,” and yet another assures students that no instruction is included in its textbooks “that would conflict with young earth creationism.”

One of the schools funded by Jindal’s program teaches that the alleged existence of the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution:

This 2012-2013 school year, thanks to a bill pushed through by governor Bobby Jindal, thousands of students in Louisiana will receive state voucher money, transferred from public school funding, to attend private religious schools, some of which teach from a Christian curriculum that suggests the Loch Ness Monster disproves evolution and states that the alleged creature, which has never been demonstrated to even exist, has been tracked by submarine and is probably a plesiosaur. The curriculum also claims that a Japanese fishing boat caught a dinosaur.

Since Jindal is trying to portray himself as the intellectual savior of the GOP – and thanks to politicians like Rick Perry and Todd Akin it’s a pretty low bar – maybe he can start by repealing the laws that encourage the teaching of pseudo-science in Louisiana’s schools.

Vitter Single-Handedly Deprives Louisianans of Their Day in Court

Sen. David Vitter's single-handed partisan obstruction of a qualified judicial nominee is a far cry from the principles he claimed when a Republican was president.
PFAW

More good news on the voting rights front, this time in Louisiana

Judge Jane Milazzo of the Eastern District of Louisiana ruled in Ferrand that the National Voter Registration Act requires public assistance agencies to offer all clients the opportunity to register to vote, including those that have remote contact, not just those that seek services in-person.
PFAW Foundation

Dennis Terry and Crew Try to Scrub the Web of his 'Get Out' Sermon

As we have noted several times already, Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry is now desperately trying to deny that he told those who disagree with his views that  there is only one God and America was founded as a Christian nation that they should "get out!" of the country during an event at his church on Sunday featuring Rick Santorum.

Terry has been claiming that his words were taken out of context and misreported ... but we have the video that proves otherwise.

Now, you would think that if Terry really believed that we had taken his statements and presented them out of context, he'd be encouraging people to go and watch the original video in an effort to prove that . But that does not seem to be the case, as all of the videos from Sunday's night's event with Rick Santorum have now been removed from the Greenwell Springs Baptist Church's UStream archive:

On top of that, Greenwell Springs' Worship Minister Jeremy Dailey posted a message on his Facebook page yesterday asking that all church members "remove from Facebook and/or any other public site, any video showing footage from the Sunday Evening service of March 18, 2012":

None of this really does much good, considering that we have the orginal video that we recorded live during the event and our video featuring the "highlights" from Terry's introduction is still posted on YouTube for the whole word to see:

Dennis Terry Continues to Play the Victim

Earlier today we noted that Greenwell Springs Baptist Church pastor Dennis Terry is now trying to claim that he is being misquoted and his views misrepresented over the heated rhetoric he used on Sunday evening at an event with Rick Santorum when he told those who "don’t like the way we do things" that they can "get out" of the country.

Terry has now turned to CBN's David Brody to present his side of the story because Brody is the one Religious Right journalist that they can reliably count on to take whatever they say at face value and report it.

So here is the statement Terry released exclusively to Brody:

Sunday night our church was privileged to host Sen. Rick Santorum, a candidate in the Republican Presidential contest. As stated Sunday night, Greenwell Springs Baptist church has invited all of the candidates, including President Barack Obama to visit our congregation.

Prior to Senator Santorum speaking on Sunday night I gave a short exhortation to our congregation on why we as Christians should be involved in the political and public policy process. My message was based in 1 Peter 2:11-17. In my remarks I said the following:

“This nation was founded as a Christian Nation. The God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob, there is only one God. There is only one God! And his name is Jesus!

I’m tired of people telling me I can’t say those words, I’m tired of people telling us as Christians that we can’t voice our beliefs or we can no longer pray in public. Listen to me if you don’t love America or you don’t like the way we do things I‘ve got one thing to say get out!”

These comments have been misreported saying that I suggested those who do not believe like me should leave the country. I said no such thing. I said those who do not love America and what she stands for should leave. Chief among the principles that America is founded upon is that of religious freedom, and that includes Christianity. I will not be made to feel as if we as Christians should apologize for our faith or that we should take the backseat as America is morally and spiritually being driven in the wrong direction.

Muslims, Hindus, people of different religions or no religions have the right to be here in America, but they do not have the right to force me to be silent while they work to transform our nation.

My comments on Sunday night were my comments as a minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ. The validation of my comments is found in the response by those who are screaming separation of church and state.

You will notice that Terry conveniently left off the intro sentence of his statement where he declared "I don't care what the liberals say, I don't care what the naysayers say, this nation was founded as a Christian nation  ..." 

That is kind of a key element to understanding what Terry was saying since he was not simply saying that those who don't love America should leave but was specifically talking about liberals, claiming that liberals are the ones who are telling him he can't pray in public and that if they don't love America and don't share his views, they ought to "get out" of the country.

The video speaks for itself, as anyone who watches it can see.  But Brody, of course, simply accepts Terry's claims wholesale and reports that the controversy Terry has created is "a good example of how the mainstream media just doesn’t understand the evangelical worldview."

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