South Carolina

African American Ministers on VAWA: Stop Putting Women’s Lives in Danger

Washington, DC – Today members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council expressed deep concern about the House of Representatives’ failure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

Rev. Brendolyn Jenkins-Boseman of Camden, South Carolina, chair of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, released the following statement:

“Violence against women is an issue that affects everyone in America, but it disproportionately impacts women of color. The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that more than a third of Hispanic women and nearly 44% of black women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

“For 18 years, the Violence Against Women Act has helped women across America avoid and combat domestic violence, making the country safer for every American.  Thanks to VAWA, the rate of intimate partner violence fell by 67% between 1993 and 2010.  The bottom line is that it’s an effective, life-saving law. 

“As faith leaders, we feel that it is important to speak out in support of those who are most vulnerable to violence and abuse.  The members of Congress who blocked VAWA aren’t just insulting women; they’re actively putting women’s lives in danger. Congress should act quickly in this new year to reauthorize this critically important program.” 

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Tim Scott: Christians Are a Minority under Assault (VIDEO)

Tim Scott, who is set to replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, got his start in politics when he was elected in 1996 to the Charleston County Council. One year later, according to his 2010 campaign website, “he placed a plaque of the Ten Commandments outside council offices to show his support for the Ten Commandments as a guide for conduct, especially within the county chambers.”

The city was promptly sued for this blatant violation of the First Amendment. By 1998, Scott’s colleagues had decided to remove his display and settle the lawsuit. When challenged on why he was wasting taxpayer dollars, Scott replied that “whatever it costs in the pursuit of this goal is worth it.”

Scott’s unconstitutional grandstanding as a county councilmember made him a favorite of the Christian right in South Carolina and put him on the track that he’s followed ever since. Scott returned to his roots while addressing a Tea Party rally in January, hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, ahead of a GOP primary debate.

Scott claimed that the “greatest minority under assault today are Christians.” “No doubt about it,” he emphasized. (Note that Scott says 1995 in the video, but he misspoke – he was elected in 1996 and posted the display in 1997.)

Watch:

Over the last 17 years of public service, I have seen the concept of faith tested time and time again. The greatest minority under assault today are Christians. No doubt about it.

When I was on county council in 1995, I posted the Ten Commandments. And the ACLU and the folks for separation of church and state all came and attacked us at Charleston County and said we were wasting taxpayer dollars.

Think about where we are today, 17 years later. We are in desperate need of a compass, a moral compass that tells us the difference between right and wrong. And I believe that you can look no further than the word of God to find that compass.

Tim Scott actually believes what he said about Christians being a minority under assault. Never mind that Christians aren’t a minority. Never mind that Christians control every branch of government at every level. Never mind that Christians aren’t under assault in any conceivable way.

Still, Scott feels that Christians are a minority under assault because Christians like him are being prevented by the Constitution and other Americans – Christian and non-Christian alike – from forcing everyone to live in accordance with their extreme views and beliefs. It’s a bit like the Taliban claiming that the Afghan government is attacking Islam.

Scott clearly has not changed with time and will display the same utter disregard for the First Amendment as senator that he did as a county councilmember. It’s just another way that Scott will fill the shoes of his right-wing predecessor.

Tim Scott Co-Sponsored a Monument to Aborted Fetuses

When soon-to-be Senator Tim Scott was running for Congress in 2010, he touted his record as a social conservative in the state house. On the “Social Conservative” page, he featured his support for three outrageous anti-choice bills.

The first was the so-called Born-Alive Infant Protection Act, a disgusting and misleading piece of legislation. According to Scott’s site, the bill would “protect babies who survive abortions.” The second bill, the Right to Life Act, was described as a “step in the right direction to recognize ‘pre-borned’ (sic) babies as ‘human persons’ with the same equal protection under the law as borned citizens (sic).”

And then there was the Unborn Children’s Monument Commission. The bill, explained Scott’s site, would lead to the erection of a “monument on the statehouse grounds to remember all the aborted babies in South Carolina.”

Scott, it turns out, was a co-sponsor of the bill in 2009:

H 3527 Joint Resolution, By Barfield, Vick, Pinson, J.R. Smith, Stringer, G.R. Smith, Bedingfield, Hamilton, Erickson, Moss, Nanney, Duncan, Alexander, Allison, Bingham, Bowen, G.A. Brown, Gilliard, Hayes, Littlejohn, Loftis, Long, Merrill, Mitchell, Owens, Parker, Scott, D.C. Smith, Sottile, Spires, Toole, Viers, T.R. Young, Simrill, White, G.M. Smith, Millwood and Willis

A JOINT RESOLUTION TO CREATE THE SOUTH CAROLINA UNBORN CHILDREN'S MONUMENT COMMISSION TO ERECT A MONUMENT ON THE STATE HOUSE GROUNDS AS A MEMORIAL TO  SOUTH CAROLINA CHILDREN WHOSE LIVES ENDED BEFORE THEIR BIRTH AND TO PROVIDE FOR THE POWERS AND DUTIES OF THE COMMISSION AND TO REQUIRE PRIVATE FUNDING FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THIS MONUMENT.

By 2011 Scott was serving in Congress, but the effort to erect the monument moved ahead without him. The version of the bill introduced last year includes this stipulation:

The monument must be a wall six feet high and five feet wide depicting a pregnant woman pushing a baby stroller.

If the monument is ever erected on the grounds of the South Carolina state house, it will have excellent company. There is already a monument to J. Marion Sims:

Throughout the 1840s, J. Marion Sims, who is often referred to as "the father of gynecology", performed surgical experiments on enslaved African women, without anaesthesia. The women regularly died from infections resulting from the experiments. One of the women was experimented on 30 times. In order to test one of his theories about the causes of trismus in infants, Sims performed experiments where he used a shoemaker's awl to move around the skull bones of the babies of enslaved women.

There is also, among others, a monument to legendary racist and erstwhile segregationist Strom Thurmond, whose re-election campaign was once co-chaired by Tim Scott. The monument was later updated to include the name of Thurmond’s biracial daughter by his then-teenage African-American housekeeper. I suppose it’s a testament of sorts to South Carolina that a fetus monument would barely stand out.

Tim Scott’s Tea Party Poetry

Congressman Tim Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, is not a common man. He's quite uncommon, as is his right, and he doesn't cower or take handouts. He declares to the entire world, even if no one is listening, that he's a "free American."

Scott acknowledged as much in a bit of Tea Party poetry on his 2010 campaign website, entitled: "Republican Creed":

I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon.

If I can seek opportunity, not security,
I want to take the calculated risk to dream and
build, to fail and to succeed.
I refused to barter incentive for dole.

I prefer the challenges of life to
guaranteed security, the thrill of fulfillment
to the state of calm utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence,
nor my dignity for a handout.

I will never cower before any master,
save my God.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and
unafraid. To think and act for myself, enjoy the
benefits of my creation; to face the whole world
boldly and say, "I am a free American."

God Told Tim Scott to Vote against Boehner’s Debt Deal

In late July of 2011, House Speaker John Boehner was closing in on a deal to end the debt ceiling crisis, but something happened during the final hours of debate. “The math appeared to turn against the speaker,” and “key lawmakers, like Representative Tim Scott of South Carolina, a member of the freshman leadership team, said he would join the other freshmen from his state and vote no.”

Scott, who will soon replace Jim DeMint in the Senate, holed up in the House chapel with a group of freshman conservatives. There Scott received instructions from God to vote against an increase in the debt ceiling:

With the bill in limbo, a few first-term conservatives slipped into a small chapel a few paces down the hall from the Capitol Rotunda, as they contemplated one of the most consequential votes of their careers.

Asked if he was seeking divine inspiration, Republican Rep. Tim Scott said that had already happened. "I was leaning no and now I am a no," he said.

While it is typical for Tea Party and Religious Right politicians to claim to know what God wants, they normally rely on Biblical references. Tim Scott, it would appear, is in a different league with luminaries like Pat Robertson, who famously hears from God at the end of each year.

I suggested earlier that Republican leaders could come to regret the elevation of Scott to the Senate. Scott provides sorely needed diversity and will keep Tea Partiers engaged, to be sure, but Boehner surely didn’t appreciate hearing from a freshman member that God opposes his debt deal. I can’t imagine that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will appreciate going up against God’s proxy either. This could get interesting….

South Carolina's Next Senator Tim Scott Is Bachmann, Palin and Sanford-Approved

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley will announce shortly that she has picked Rep. Tim Scott to replace Senator Jim DeMint, who is leaving to head up the right-wing Heritage Foundation. DeMint’s imminent retirement is seen by many as a setback for the Tea Party, which had a genuine champion in DeMint, and a sign that the movement’s best days are behind it. But the Tea Party is still raging in South Carolina, and Scott is poised to become its new Senate standard-bearer.

Tim Scott was elected to Congress in 2010, becoming the first African-American Republican to represent South Carolina since Reconstruction (when the party of the Lincoln was still the party of Lincoln). Scott served for over a decade on the Charleston County Council before serving briefly in the state house. While he gained statewide – and now national – attention as a darling of the Tea Party movement, he has a far more extensive background as a cultural warrior for the Religious Right.

With Scott poised to replace DeMint in the Senate, we’re going to explore his extreme, and frequently bizarre, record. Be sure to read Peter’s primer on Scott from earlier today.

Scott made the leap from the county council to state house in 2008 with major backing from then-Governor Mark Sanford. Sanford was a family values conservative and rising star in the national GOP until he was caught eloping with his Argentine mistress. Sanford famously claimed that he had been hiking the Appalachian Trail.

Before he did all that, Sanford vouched for Scott’s sterling conservative credentials in an open letter posted to Scott’s campaign website:

I wanted to write to you today to let you know about a friend of mine who is running for the State House of Representatives who needs our help.

Tim Scott is a consistent conservative who will carry our values to the State House. […]

Tim is also a proven social conservative who will stand up for the family values that help to make our state a great place to live and work.

Because of his strong stands on conservative issues, I have endorsed Tim’s candidacy for the House.  Today, I am asking for you to join us in supporting Tim, both with your vote and with your financial contributions. 

And when Scott ran for Congress in 2010, he enjoyed strong backing and an endorsement from Sarah Palin:

Tim is a pro-life, pro-2nd Amendment, pro-development, Commonsense Conservative who’s been endorsed by the Club for Growth because of his solid commitment to the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility. […]

“I am excited to receive the support of Sarah Palin. She has been a trailblazer for the conservative cause and tea party movement going on across the nation. We share the same values of limited government, less spending and being a champion for our Constitution.”

Michele Bachmann also gushed over Scott last year during the GOP presidential primary: “All of us in Washington, D.C., are extremely proud of you for choosing the right man to send from Charleston up to Washington. We love Tim Scott!”

Bachmann and Palin clearly have good reason to be excited about a Senator Tim Scott. Republican leaders, on the other hand, may soon find that they have a new liability on their hands. Keep an eye on Right Wing Watch for more coverage of Scott’s record.

The Right to Vote Under Attack, 2012 Update

Here we detail, as of October 6, 2012, except where otherwise noted, the latest efforts across the country to suppress the vote, as well as some encouraging successes in expanding the franchise.

SC African American Ministers: Voter ID Decision Shows Continued Need for Voting Rights Act

 A three-judge US District Court panel yesterday upheld South Carolina’s restrictive new voter ID law, but ordered that the law go into effect after November’s election. South Carolina softened its interpretation of the law during litigation. Under that interpretation, voters without proper photo ID are required to cast provisional ballots, although the presumption is that the voters' ballots will be counted unless a clear case can be made that they lied about why they do not have proper ID.

South Carolina members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council reacted, expressing concern that that even the softened law could might keep African American South Carolinians from the polls in future elections.

“Today’s decision shows the continued necessity of the Voting Rights Act,” said Rev. Terry Alexander, pastor of Wayside Chapel Baptist Church in Florence and member of the South Carolina House of Representatives. “Because of the VRA’s preclearance provisions, South Carolina had to reinterpret a law that would otherwise have disenfranchised many African Americans. We now urge the state of South Carolina to enforce this law in a way that lives up to its promises in court, ensuring that every South Carolinian, with or without photo ID, can cast a vote that counts. If even one person is disenfranchised because of this law, that will be one person too many.”

The African American Ministers Leadership Council, a program of People For the American Way Foundation founded in 1997, works nationwide to help bring African Americans to the polls through the non-partisan “I Am A VESSEL and I Vote!” program.

Rev. Brendolyn Jenkins-Boseman, pastor of Abundant Life Fellowship in Camden, who was recently named the first-ever female co-chair of AAMLC, added, “We’re working every day to make sure every member of our congregations and communities can cast a vote that counts. While we work to educate voters on their rights under this law, we will also continue to work to make our elections fairer and more accessible.”

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Nikki Haley Amplifies the GOP’s Assault on Voting Rights

South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took to the stage at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, asserting her unwavering support for voter identification laws that make it harder for Americans—particularly minorities, students, and the elderly—to  exercise their constitutional right to vote.

The Justice Department is currently suing to stop South Carolina’s new voter ID law from taking effect, charging that it discriminates against traditionally disenfranchised groups. The voter ID laws particularly violate Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory voting practices and gives the federal government open-ended oversight of states and communities with a history of voter discrimination.
 
In an attempt to defend the voter ID measures in South Carolina, Haley affirmed the alleged necessity of voters showing a picture ID: “…if you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed and you have to show a picture ID to set foot on an airplane, then you should have to show a picture ID to protect one of the most valuable, most central, most sacred rights we are blessed with in America - the right to vote.”
 
Haley’s statement was met with a fervent standing ovation from the Republican audience.
 
What Haley failed to mention is the overwhelming evidence proving that the implementation of voter ID laws will severely hinder many minorities from casting their vote—a right that is preserved by the Constitution. The Constitution does not protect a citizen’s right to buy Sudafed or fly on an airplane.
 
Under the South Carolina law, anyone who wants to vote but does not have one of the five acceptable forms of photo ID must acquire a new voter registration card that includes a photo. A birth certificate can be used to prove identity. But the Obama administration says the law is vague about how the new cards would be distributed, raising the issue that voters might have difficulty obtaining a new card in time for the November 6 election.
 
Another concern arising from these voter ID requirements is that many African Americans born in the era of segregation do not have accurate birth certificates or any birth certificate at all. Effectively, by requiring people to obtain a photo ID, which necessitates a birth certificate, states like South Carolina are encoding the segregation era into current voting laws.
 
 
Proponents of this law claim that it is a preventative measure that will end cases of voter fraud. Yet these claims are unfounded, as there have been no proven cases of voter misrepresentation fraud in South Carolina. During this week’s trial over South Carolina’s voter ID law, state Senator George “Chip” Campsen III even testified that he could not find cases of voter impersonation in South Carolina.
 
This law is an infringement on the constitutionally granted voting rights of minorities—a demographic that has historically maintained a liberal outlook and voted for Democratic candidates. These voter ID laws solve a problem that doesn’t exist in order to keep progressive-leaning voters from the ballot box.
 
 

 

PFAW

Akers: Religious Education vs Indoctrination into the Spartan Mindset

On today's installment of Liberty Counsel's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Shawn Akers was discussing a recent 4th Circuit Court decision upholding a South Carolina law that allows students to receive elective credits for taking off-campus religious education classes.

The case involved a lawsuit filed against a Spartanburg school district, which was interesting to Akers because it supposedly highlighted the difference between the worldview of the Founding Fathers and that held by the warriors of ancient Sparta: 

You see these two worldviews colliding. One is the worldview of the Founders that said that we are a moral and religious people, that our Constitution was created for a moral and religious people and is wholly inadequate for any other. And that not only is religious allowable but it's something that we have a responsibility to train in our children.

Versus another worldview and it's very close to that one we see in Sparta. Do you know what they did in Sparta? They took the children of people at a very early age, they took them away from people at a very early age. The ones that were deemed undesirable, especially young girls, baby girls, were just killed. The ones that were too weak to live were allowed to die. Only the toughest and the strongest were given over as property of the state and they were dictated to from the time they woke up to the time they went to bed to be completely indoctrinated with the Spartan mindset, to be completely indoctrinated with the religion of the state, the state of Sparta.

And we see these two religions, these two worldviews coming head to head. One is that of liberty of the Founders and the other says, no the state owns your children and we're going to train them accordingly.

DeMint: God Has Put Christians 'in Charge of this Vineyard we Call America'

Earlier this month, the flu-stopping, casserole-multiplying Rick Joyner hosted a "Freedom Congress" conference that featured speakers like Oliver North and Jerry Boykin, as well as Republican South Carolina Senator Jim DeMint.

DeMint used his address to urge the audience to get involved in politics because, at the moment, Washington reflects the fact that our culture has become increasingly secular, and so if parents want to teach their children right and wrong they "are likely to be persecuted in some way by the government" for doing so. 

And the reason society and government is becoming so secular, DeMint said, is because parents have been sending their children to public schools where they are no longer taught that "God created this earth" even though "we know He did" because science is proving more and more that "it could not have happened by accident."  As such, Christians must stand up because God "has put us in charge of this vineyard we call America": 

South Carolina's Attorney General Raises Money for James O'Keefe

Right-wing smear artist James O’Keefe, known for his discredited, doctored probes into ACORN, NPR and CNN is now trying to “prove” the existence of massive voter fraud. He held a fundraiser today to support his efforts and was joined by none other than the Attorney General of South Carolina.

Apparently, South Carolina’s top prosecutor, Republican Alan Wilson, has no problem aiding an activist who not only has deceptively manipulated and edited videos of his past “stings” but also “received three years of probation, a fine of $1,500 and 100 hours of community service” after pleading guilty “to entering real property belonging to the United States under false pretenses.” O’Keefe and his cohorts dressed up as telephone workers and tried to tamper with the phones of Senator Mary Landrieu’s office.

Attorney General Wilson praised O’Keefe and criticized the Justice Department for putting a hold on the state’s discriminatory voter ID law:

South Carolina's top prosecutor defended the state's contested voter Identification law Tuesday at an event that doubled as a fundraiser for a conservative activist known for his undercover videos.

Attorney General Alan Wilson appeared before about a dozen people Tuesday with activist James O'Keefe in Columbia, who founded the Washington-based nonprofit, Project Veritas.



O'Keefe told the gathering he intends to make more videos, in which he pledged to "actually catch voter fraud as it actually happens." "We plan to actually catch non-citizens voting," O'Keefe said, but he didn't say where or when he thought that might happen.

Wilson lauded O'Keefe and criticized the Justice Department's intervention in the South Carolina case.

"What the Justice Department did was deny South Carolina voters the protection of law," he said.

Schlafly Tells Male Students at The Citadel not to Date Feminists

Yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly traveled to South Carolina to speak to at The Citadel, which now offers a course entitled the "Conservative Intellectual Tradition in America."

Speaking to an all-male audience, Schlafly assured them that women don't care about the issue of contraception and warned them not to date feminists:

The recent political flap about contraception being an important issue for women is completely contrived by Democrats and the media to divert attention from abortion and other important issues, said conservative political activist Phyllis Schlafly.

“Contraception is not controversial,” she said. “The issue is not access. It’s who’s going to pay for it.”

...

Most women are concerned about issues such as jobs and religious liberty, Schlafly said, not issues being drummed up by feminists to foster support for President Barack Obama.

And feminists are working through the media and other channels because the American public no longer seems to strongly support their agenda, Schlafly said. “Feminists are having a hard time being elected because they essentially are unlikable,” she said.

Schlafly talked to a group of Citadel students about the culture of conservatism and the history of the religious right. She told the all-male group that “feminist is a bad word and everything they stand for is bad.”

And she warned them about having personal relationships with feminists. “Find out if your girlfriend is a feminist before you get too far into it,” she said. “Some of them are pretty. They don’t all look like Bella Abzug.”

Voter suppression’s on the menu in Michigan

Last month we reported on the citizenship question that came up during Michigan’s primary. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg for voter suppression in the Great Lakes State.
PFAW Foundation

How Washington Gridlock Hurts Americans Seeking Justice

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights organized a call yesterday with Sen. Chris Coons of Delaware and attorneys from Ohio, South Carolina and Arizona to discuss how judicial nominations gridlock in Washington hurts Americans seeking justice around the country.

On Wednesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid reached a deal with Republicans to allow votes on 14 of 22 stalled judicial nominees. The first two of those were confirmed yesterday with overwhelming bipartisan votes.

The deal, while it represents more progress than Senate Republicans were previously willing to allow, still leaves eight nominees without even a vote from the Senate until May at least. Three of these nominees are from Ohio, Arizona and South Carolina.

This procedural gridlock is often portrayed as an inside-the-beltway issue. However, it has a real impact on American seeking justice from our federal courts.

Greg Kuykendall, a Tucson attorney who joined the call, told of a client who had to wait 14 months in jail before a District Court judge with an unmanageable caseload was finally able to review his claim that he was being detained in violation of his constitutional rights. “It effectively made the prisoner spend an additional 14 months in unconstitutional confinement, as a result of the judicial emergency,” Kuykendall said.

Cleveland attorney Michael Meuti told of a Ohio business that had to wait 14 months for a federal judge to review charges that had been brought against it. In the meantime, the business had to endure the uncertainty and cost of having a lawsuit hanging over it.


“Understaffed courts struggle to provide efficient and effective justice,” Meuti said. “When judicial vacancies increase, so do the workloads of each sitting judge. In turn, both individuals and businesses must wait longer for their cases to be resolved and must endure the uncertainties and costs of litigation for a greater period of time. President Obama’s nominees have waited four times longer than his predecessor’s. It is time for the Senate to abandon its obstructionist agenda, which can serve only to make justice harder to obtain for everyday Americans and American companies.”


Armand Derfner, a Charleston, South Carolina attorney, added, “"These nominees are being obstructed for no good reason. They’re suitable, qualified, and many have bipartisan support. The Senate should stop delaying votes to fill these vacancies.”


Full audio of the call is available here.

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