Rafael Cruz: 'Appalling' That Houston Elected A Lesbian Mayor

Rafael Cruz believes that his son, Texas senator and presidential candidate Ted Cruz, is on a divinely inspired mission to overturn the city of Houston's nondiscrimination ordinance. The elder Cruz, who also serves as a campaign surrogate for his son’s campaign, is not just upset that Houston approved an ordinance protecting LGBT people from discrimination, but is also furious that the city even elected an openly gay mayor.

In a speech earlier this month on behalf of the group working to repeal Houston’s ordinance, Cruz lit into the Supreme Court for striking down state bans on same-sex marriage, claiming that the court "had no jurisdiction to rule over marriage."

He said the court's decision on marriage, which he has blamed on Satan, should inspire more conservative Christians to run for higher office.

"It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor," Cruz said, referring to Annise Parker. He blamed the church's inability to stop a lesbian from winning elected office on the separation of church and state, which he called "a lie."

Jeb Bush Touts Voucher Program That Funds Christian Schools, Religious Right Ideology

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.

Ted Cruz Boasts Of Endorsement From Radical Gun Group

At last night’s debate, Sen. Ted Cruz attempted to show his Second Amendment bona fides by touting his recent endorsement from Gun Owners of America, a group that thinks the National Rifle Association is not extreme enough on gun rights.

Cruz boasted of his role writing an amicus brief in District of Columbia v. Heller, the case in which the Supreme Court determined that the Second Amendment protects an individual’s right to bear arms, and his work in the Senate to defeat a bill expanding gun background checks shortly after the Sandy Hook school massacre. He then said that he was “honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today”:

You mentioned that the U.S. Supreme Court had rightly upheld the individual right to keep and bear arms. I was proud to lead 31 states before the U.S. Supreme Court defending the Second Amendment, and we won that landmark victory. And indeed, just a couple of years ago, when Harry Reid and Barack Obama came after the right to keep and bear arms of millions of Americans, I was proud to lead the fight in the United States Senate to protect our right to keep and bear arms, and for that reason. I was honored to be endorsed by Gun Owners of America as the strongest supporter of the Second Amendment on this stage today, and I will fight every day to defend the Bill of Rights.

Cruz didn’t mention that he got GOA’s endorsement because he was the only candidate in the race to return the group’s candidate survey. He also didn’t mention any of the reasons he’s the only candidate willing to publicly support GOA.

Although Cruz may be GOA’s only outspoken ally in the presidential race, he has been a good one for them. During the effort to defeat the background checks bill, the New York Times reported that Cruz was GOA’s “key ally in the Senate.” Cruz is the also the only candidate to have agreed to give a telephone briefing to GOA’s members; in his briefing, he praised GOA’s members as “fighters” and “patriots” and thanks them for helping him get elected to the Senate.

Cruz evidently has no qualms about associating with a group that promotes paranoia about an impending race war, birther conspiracy theories about President Obama, and not-so-veiled threats that elected officials will face assassination if they step out of line.

To begin with, the gun group’s executive director, Larry Pratt, has a long history on the fringes of the radical right that was too extreme for even Pat Buchanan, who dropped him from his 1996 presidential campaign because of his ties with white supremecist groups. As we wrote back in May:

Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”

A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”

Pratt continues to push wild conspiracy theories about impending government takeovers and race wars and frequently tells elected officials that they should fear being shot by his group’s members:

In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “ the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “ foolish” and having “a hissy fit .” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”

Pratt also pushes all manner of conspiracy theories regarding President Obama. He has claimed that Obama is building up a private security force within the Department of Homeland Security to use for his own purposes “if he can’t actually commandeer the military”; warned that Obama will enlist undocumented immigrants into a private “ Praetorian guard” and advise police officers to go after people with conservative bumper stickers ; said Obamacare will ultimately “take away your guns”; feared Obama is stockpiling “anti-personnel rounds” because he “ seems to view the American people as the enemy”; claimed that Obama “had to steal” the 2012 presidential election and even buys into the fringe birther theory that holds that the president’s “real father” was labor activist Frank Marshall Davis.

Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.

Just this week, Pratt joined conspiracy theorist extraordinaire Alex Jones to discuss how the military and police departments will be ready to turn on President Obama if he tries to impose any sort of tyrannical government.

Muslim Student Arrested For Making A Clock Lives In Hotbed Of Sharia Panic

Earlier this week, 14-year-old Ahmed Mohamed of Irving, Texas, brought a digital clock he made from a pencil case to his school. He brought the clock to show off to his teachers, but instead of receiving encouragement, Mohamed’s school day ended in handcuffs and with the threat of being charged with making a “hoax bomb.” While many have condemned the actions of the school officials and law enforcement, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne has come out in defense of the decision to arrest the teenage boy.

In a Facebook post today, Van Duyne wrote, “I do not fault the school or the police for looking into what they saw as a potential threat. . . We have all seen terrible and violent acts committed in schools, the workplace, and in public venues. Perhaps some of those could have been prevented and lives could have been spared if people were more vigilant. I hope this incident does not serve as a deterrent against our police and school personnel from maintaining the safety and security of our schools.” The mayor later edited her post to remove the latter three sentences and replaced them with a message encouraging Mohamed to not be dissuaded from pursuing engineering dreams.

Van Duyne came under fire earlier this year after she publicly condemned a rumored “Islamic Sharia court” in Irving. Van Duyne claimed the non-existent Sharia court was set up by Muslims trying to gain a foothold in America to “bypass” American courts. In another Facebook post, Van Duyne wrote, “I am working with our State Representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights. . . Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own.” The “court” that Van Duyne referred to is, in reality, simply a dispute resolution process, similar to systems set up by Christians and Jews, and does not attempt to take precedent over the law.

Nonetheless, in a move backed by Glenn Beck and Frank Gaffney, Van Duyne convinced the Irving City Council to support legislation to ban the nonexistent problem of Sharia law in Texas. Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving, asserted that the mayor’s statements fueled “anti-Islamic hysteria.” This hysteria has found a home in the Republican Party, where presidential candidates like Ted Cruz insist that Sharia law is making inroads in the U.S. and failed U.S. Senate candidate Sharron Angle said that the city of Frankford, Texas, is under the thumb of Sharia. (As CNN pointed out, Dallas annexed Frankford back in 1975 and “all that remains is a church and cemetery,” not exactly a hotbed of Islamic radicalism.)

While the Texas bill did not pass, the recent incident involving Mohamed proves that anti-Muslim panic encouraged by people like Van Duyne still thrives in Irving.

Cruz And Perry Join Pastor Who Warns God Will Wreak Judgment On America For Gay Marriage

GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Perry tried to burnish their Religious Right credentials this weekend by speaking at a “We Stand With God” rally in front of the South Carolina capitol, where Perry promised that he would root out corruption in Washington just like Jesus kicked the money changers out of the Temple and Cruz warned that the U.S. will soon be throwing pastors in jail like Iran.

The keynote address of the event was given by North Carolina Baptist pastor Ron Baity — previously known for warning that God would send a calamity worse than the Ebola virus in punishment for gay marriage — who told the crowd that marriage equality and legal abortion are inviting God’s judgment on America.

Pastors, he said, must stand up to criticism and preach that homosexuality is an “abomination” and “preach against Planned Parenthood.”

“The judgment of God will eventually fall on a nation that cheapens marriage,” he warned. “God had an urban renewal program for Sodom and Gomorrah!”

Baity warned that the U.S. will soon have to change its national bird from the eagle to the buzzard because “we have come to a time in America where we are ashamed of the old-time religion, we are ashamed of the Word of God, we are ashamed by the pastor that would stand in the pulpit, dare to raise his voice, point his index finger and dare to say, ‘Here’s the way, walk me in.’”

Ted Cruz: God Will Heal America If More Evangelicals Start Voting

Repeating the message he recently gave to the viciously anti-gay American Family Association, Sen. Ted Cruz told a conservative Christian rally in South Carolina this weekend that “we live in a country where life is under assault, where marriage is under assault, where faith is under assault” because evangelicals have failed to vote in great enough numbers. If they finally do, he said, God “will heal our land.”

Cruz urged pastors in the crowd to preach against Planned Parenthood and attacked the Supreme Court’s “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless decision that purports to tear down the marriage laws of every state.”

“Marriage was ordained by God Almighty and Caesar has no jurisdiction over the pulpit,” he declared, promising that “every justice I appoint to the United States Supreme Court will follow the law and follow the Constitution and not impose their radical views on the people of America.”

“If you ask ourselves why do we live in a country where life is under assault, where marriage is under assault, where faith is under assault,” he said, “the last election, 54 million evangelical Christians stayed home. Fifty-four million. Is it any wonder we have the country we have when believers are not honoring the commands of the Scripture? We’re told to be salt and light. You can’t be salt if you don’t come into contact with that which you are to preserve. You cannot be light if you’re hidden under a bushel.”

However, he said, “there is a spirit of revival and awakening sweeping this country today” and evangelicals “will stay home no longer.” When conservative evangelicals vote in great enough numbers, he said, God will “heal our land.”

Ted Cruz: Anti-Christian Persecution Will Soon Take Your Pastor, Your Mom, Me

Over the weekend, GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rick Perry = joined the GOP’s evangelical outreach coordinator Chad Connelly and North Carolina pastor Ron Baity — famous for warning that God would send a disease worse than Ebola in punishment for gay marriage — at a “We Stand With God ” rally in front of the South Carolina state capitol meant to remind elected leaders that there are still people who “stand for God’s definition of family.”

Cruz, unsurprisingly, focused much of his sermon-like speech on claiming that advances in LGBT rights are in fact “persecuting” conservative Christian business owners who refuse to serve LGBT customers. Discussing a few of the people he brought to his persecution-palooza in Iowa earlier this month, he warned the South Carolina crowd that they might be next and that eventually the U.S. will become like Iran, which has imprisoned American pastor Saeed Abedini.

“This is the world we’re living in,” he said. “If you think your faith is safe, next may be you. Next may be me. Next may be your pastor who preaches the Word from the pulpit. Next may be your sister or brother or mom who volunteers at the pregnancy crisis center. And you want to know how bad it can get, at that rally, we had Naghmeh Abedini, the wife of Saeed Abedini, an American citizen, a Christian pastor, sentenced to eight years in prison in Iran for the crime of preaching the Gospel.”

Cruz was introduced by South Carolina Religious Right activist and radio hsot Tony Beam, who claimed that Christianity would soon be criminalized as part of the effort to “get rid of Christians” and establish a dictatorship.

“You know, if you look back and you look through history, there’s a three-step process that’s always resulted in tyranny and dictators,” Beam said, “and that process is this: First comes the demonization of any people you want to get rid of. We saw that start in the 1970s as the church began to be demonized and God’s people were made fun of and it’s continued to today. The next step is marginalization. They take the people they want to get rid of and they push them to the side of the debate and they ignore them. You know, a lot of the national media may ignore us today, but we can’t be ignored because we stand for the sovereign God of the universe.

“And so, after marginalization comes criminalization. And you know we live in a country now that’s tried to criminalize God-fearing believers for trying to run a business to honor God.”

Cruz thanked Beam for the “tremendous” introduction:

Ted Cruz Defends 'Anchor Baby' Slur To Radio Host Who Wants To Enslave Undocumented Immigrants

Earlier this week, Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson proposed that states press undocumented immigrants into indentured servitude, asking a skeptical listener, “What’s wrong with slavery?” So, naturally, Sen. Ted Cruz dropped by Mickelson’s program this morning to discuss assaults on American Christians by the “atheist Taliban” and to discuss illegal immigration.

When Mickelson asked Cruz if he thought “the term ‘anchor baby’” is an offensive way to describe the American-born children of undocumented immigrants, who are automatically granted birthright citizenship under the Constitution, Cruz laughed.

“You know, it’s amazing what the media chooses to get offended by,” he said. “They don’t get offended when an illegal alien murders Kate Steinle in San Francisco. They don’t get offended when the Obama administration releases 104,000 violent criminal illegal aliens. And yet they get offended by people trying to solve real public policy problems.”

This led Mickelson to make a convoluted argument that his dictionary says that “anchor baby” is offensive but also defines marriage as between a man and a woman, so liberals must be wrong.

“You know, there is power, Jan, to simply speaking the truth, to not engaging in this politically correct nonsense and double-speak,” Cruz agreed. “Speak honestly and candidly about the challenges we face, whether it’s the assault on marriage — and we have the Supreme Court and the radical left trying to forcibly redefine marriage and to tear down what has been a fundamental building block of our society from time immemorial — or when it comes to, on immigration.”

Later in the interview, Cruz told Mickelson that “one of the real benefits of Donald Trump’s being in this race is it’s forced the mainstream media to talk about illegal immigration.” This, he thought, would ultimately turn anti-immigrant voters to him, because “for years, I’ve been leading the fight, actually been standing shoulder-to-shoulder with Steve King.”

“I stood with Jeff Sessions in the Senate and Steve King in the House and we led the fight and defeated amnesty in the United States Congress,” he boasted.

Cruz also told Mickelson that he would “absolutely” support King’s legislation to end birthright citizenship, which King claims can be done without amending the Constitution.

“You know, it is an open legal question whether changing birthright citizenship could be done through statute or could be done through a constitutional amendment,” Cruz claimed. “There are serious constitutional scholars on both sides of that argument. As a policy matter, I think it is basic common sense that we shouldn’t be incentivizing illegal immigration, that it doesn’t make sense to provide rewards for people to break the law and come here.”

“In the end, I think we should pursue whatever means will be effective in ending birthright citizenship,” he said.

While ending birthright citizenship would take a “long-term solution,” Cruz said, if he is elected he will immediately “put boots on the ground to secure the border” and “stop releasing violent criminal illegal aliens.”

Ted Cruz Renews Pledge To Support Radical Personhood Amendment

Georgia Right to Life, one of the most outspoken proponents of the movement to grant legal “personhood” to fertilized eggs and fetuses, has endorsed Sen. Ted Cruz for president after he signed their candidate pledge promising to “support a personhood amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”

GRTL’s pledge, which the group says Cruz signed, asks candidates to affirm that “a continuum of human life and personhood begins at the moment of fertilization” and promise to protect “the civil rights of the pre-born at an embryonic or fetal level.” In practice, personhood would not only criminalize all abortions, it could also endanger some common forms of birth control and put women who have suffered miscarriages at risk of prosecution.

The Georgia group’s advocacy of sweeping personhood measures to ban abortion is so radical that it caused it to split from the National Right to Life Committee. 

When Cruz was running for Senate in 2012, he promised another personhood group that he would cosponsor the Life at Conception Act, a personhood bill that seeks to ban all abortions and even some types of birth control through legislation rather than a constitutional amendment. When Cruz’s presidential rival Rand Paul introduced the bill, however, Cruz never signed on as a cosponsor.

Here is a photo of Georgia Right to Life's Joshua Edmonds presenting Cruz with what appears to be GRTL's endorsement:



Gohmert: Obama Using Immigrants To 'Dilute' Votes Of People Who Know How To Keep 'Republic Going'

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, speculated in a radio interview yesterday that President Obama wants to increase the number of skilled-worker visas in order to “dilute” the American voting pool with people who haven’t “been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going.”

Discussing H-1B visas with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said, “Wow, John, it’s like the president has some idea that he wants to just dilute people that have been educated about the responsibilities of keeping a republic going out there voting, Isn’t that a crazy idea.”

Gohmert and Fredericks also expressed frustration that the House GOP leadership has yet to move to defund Planned Parenthood after the release of a series of videos smearing the organization, which both said was just bringing America closer to a “day of reckoning.”

“People are starting to feel that there’s going to be a day of reckoning for all this stuff,” Fredericks said, “whether it’s $20 trillion in debt, $123 trillion of unfunded mandates, or 60 million abortions since Roe v. Wade, and now dismembering babies. I mean, there’s going to be a day of reckoning, it always happens throughout history.”

“Yes, and there will be a day of reckoning and we know it’s coming,” Gohmert said, “so it’s really outrageous for us not to be out there dealing with these critical issues.”

Fifth Circuit Ruling on Texas Voter ID Shows Importance of Preclearance

Texas's voter ID law failed preclearance in 2012 but was implemented anyway after the Shelby County ruling. Today the 5th Circuit ruled it violates the VRA.

Louie Gohmert 'Astounded' That Americans Aren't 'Demanding Impeachment' Of Obama

Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, guest-hosted Family Research Council President Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” program last night, where he marveled that Americans are not demanding that Congress impeach President Obama.

Gohmert made his comments about impeachment in response to a caller who asked if Congress would launch impeachment proceedings against President Obama if they rejected the Iran deal but the administration decided to go ahead with parts of it anyway. 

Gohmert said that such a move would indeed be “unconscionable” but that impeachment is a “political tool,” so practically speaking requires the support of a majority of Americans.

“I’ve been astounded that more of the country has not been demanding impeachment already,” he added, “but it hasn’t, and until over half the country wants to see it, there’s no use bringing it up, nothing will happen, it will gum up all the works, we won’t be able to even talk about how devastating this Iran deal is for mankind.”

'They Hate God And Want To Let The Sodomites Queer Our Country'

Shortly after the Supreme Court issued its ruling in favor of marriage equality last month, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton told county clerks in his state that they could opt out of issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

It turns out that in doing so, he had the encouragement of some vocal and influential Religious Right activists in his state, including Steve Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas, who wrote to Paxton hours after the court handed down its ruling urging him to ignore the decision by Supreme Court justices who  “hate God and want to let the Sodomites queer our country.”

The Dallas Morning News obtained Hotze’s email through an open records request:

“Greetings in the name of Christ our King!” Hotze wrote Paxton about two hours after the court ruled on June 26.

“Do what the Louisiana AG has done,” Hotze said in an email, urging Paxton to emulate that state’s Republican attorney general who said Louisiana didn’t have to comply because there was no specific line in the court ruling saying so.

“The illegitimate SCOTUS ruling does not name Texas, so fight those lousy bastards,” said Hotze, president of Conservative Republicans of Texas, a group influential in Harris County GOP primaries. “They hate God and want to let the Sodomites queer our country.”

Tom DeLay Urges Congress To Fight Gay Marriage By Impeaching Judges And Cutting Court Budgets

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay joined “Wallbuilders Live” today to discuss the Supreme Court’s decision striking down bans on gay marriage, repeating his call for states to “defy” the “illegitimate” ruling.

DeLay was especially incensed at Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for calling the Supreme Court’s ruling the “law of the land,” urging fellow Republican members of Congress to “revolt” against McConnell and start punishing the entire federal court system for the gay marriage decision by cutting courts’ budgets, limiting their jurisdictions and impeaching judge.

“The members should revolt against that and go after McConnell for saying that, because there’s a lot that Congress can do,” he said. “Not just limited jurisdiction of the courts, they can pass a constitutional amendment, they can impeach judges, they can cut the budgets of the courts — they can’t cut the Supreme Court, but lower courts — they can express themselves that way, express their abhorrence to the ruling by cutting the budgets. There’s just a lot of things that they can do to invoke the separation of powers.”

Jade Helm 15 Is Here! The GOP Politicians Who Encouraged Panic Over President Obama's 'Texas Takeover'

This spring, when far-right conspiracy theory websites started buzzing about Jade Helm 15, a planned military exercise in western states that they said was a cover for President Obama’s plans to impose martial law on Republicans states, we expected apoplectic reactions from the fringiest of right-wing circles. But who else was going to take it seriously?

Plenty of people, it turns out, including Republican politicians seeking to capitalize on anti-Obama fears in order to lift their profile in the increasingly far-right party — a poll in May found that a full one-third of Republicans believed that the government was “trying to take over Texas.”

Today, as the military exercise begins, we look back at five Republican politicians who, whether credulously or cynically, fed the Jade Helm 15 frenzy.

1. Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the first GOP politician this fringe conspiracy theory into the Republican mainstream, assuring concerned citizens that he had ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the potential takeover effort.

After he became the object of national criticism and ridicule, Abbott said that the actually thought the military exercise would “work out just fine” and blamed President Obama for stirring up suspicion:

“Frankly, I gotta tell you, I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence. We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been,” said Abbott. “And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”

2. Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry initially criticized Abbott’s fanning of the Jade Helm 15 flames, saying that while “you can always question” civilian leadership, “I think our military is quite trustworthy.”

But the presidential candidate quickly got the messaging memo, telling Glenn Beck that while President Obama invites unhinged conspiracy theories, when he’s president, everyone will trust the government:

3. Ted Cruz

Not to be outdone by his presidential rival Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz assured his flock that he had “ reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise ,” and although he had “no reason to doubt” the official line about the training exercise, “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, “because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”

4. Louie Gohmert

After Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, Rep. Louie Gohmert threw himself into promoting the conspiracy theory, releasing a statement saying that the conspiracy theorists were “legitimately suspicious” because “true patriots” and Christians were being persecuted in America.

Gohmert continued with some theories of his own:

Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in 'hostile' control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.

Such labeling tends to make people who have grown leery of federal government overreach become suspicious of whether their big brother government anticipates certain states may start another civil war or be overtaken by foreign radical Islamist elements which have been reported to be just across our border. Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.

Like Abbott and Perry, Gohmert was insistent that the whole conspiracy theory was President Obama’s fault:

5. Rand Paul

We’ll give Rand Paul credit for seeming a little surprised when a popular Iowa talk radio host asked him about Jade Helm 15, although he said he’d been hearing about it from constituents and would “look into” it. If Paul ever did look into it and find that the conspiracy theory was completely bogus, however, he never bothered to say so.

Rick Perry Promises To Heal America By Fighting Abortion Rights

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry gave a rambling speech to the National Right To Life Committee’s convention this morning boasting of the radical anti-choice legislation that he signed as governor to claim that he would be the most “pro-life” of all the GOP presidential candidates.

Channeling Scott Walker, Perry boasted of a law he signed in Texas requiring women seeking an abortion to first undergo a sonogram and another banning abortion procedures after 20 weeks of pregancy, saying, “I know it works. On my iPad there’s that 20-week picture of my first grandbaby, and her mother understands now the most preciousness of life.”

“That was one of the tools we used in protecting women’s health, in being able to say that that is a very important date, if you will, that 20-week period where we outlawed abortion in the state of Texas,” he said.

Perry added later in his speech that abortion rights opponents must react to “those who live with those scars of abortion” with “healing and acceptance,” which he contrasted with President Obama’s “divisiveness” on abortion rights.

“For six and a half years, we have had a president who has used divisiveness as a tool for his political advantage,” he said. “He’s advertised in the battleground states that Republicans are a threat to women’s health. It’s time we had a president who transcends petty politics, who heals this nation, who brings us together, who can change truly this culture that we see in America today and do it through love, do it through tolerance, do it through healing.

"Because this is the most important truth: As long as Roe v. Wade is the law of the land, the only way to stop abortion is one pregancy at a time, one woman at a time, one heart at a time.”

Perry specified that he would help unite America by making sure that Roe v. Wade is overturned, promising that he wouldn’t nominate “squishy” judges to the federal courts. “If I’m the president of the United States and have the opportunity to put individuals on the United States Supreme Court, they will not be squishy. They will be individuals who understand what the constitution says. They will be individuals who understand what the 10th Amendment says.”

Ted Cruz’s South Carolina Co-Chair: Confederate Flag Is 'A Proud Symbol' Of 'Freedom,' Gay Marriage Is A 'National Sin'

South Carolina state Sen. Lee Bright, the top Tea Party challenger to Sen. Lindsey Graham in last year’s Republican primary and now a state co-chair of Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential campaign, took to the floor of the state senate today to urge legislators to focus not on removing the Confederate flag from state grounds but to instead confront the “national sin” of marriage equality.

Raw Story grabbed the video of Bright warning that "the devil is taking control of this land, and we’re not stopping him":

It’s important to note that Bright’s anti-gay rant was not a tangent unrelated to the issue of the Confederate flag, which South Carolina lawmakers are debating today. Bright, a leader of the effort to keep the flag on statehouse grounds, has directly linked the two issues, writing in a Facebook post in defense of the flag that “the recent SCOTUS decisions teach us anything, it’s that states’ rights are under attack more than ever.”

Bright has likened efforts to remove the Confederate flag to a “Stalinist purge” and his campaign has started handing out Stars and Bars bumper stickers to supporters.

In an email urging his supporters to sign a petition supporting the Confederate flag last week, Bright defended the flag as a symbol of the “brave Confederates” who “made a bold stand against an oppressive government that far overstepped its Constitutional limits” and of “a culture that values freedom, even in the face of federal tyranny.”

Is there any doubt that states’ rights are under attack more than ever before?

As I’m sure you’ve heard, the latest liberal hysteria surrounding the placement of the Confederate battle flag has swept the nation. And unfortunately, many of my conservative friends and colleagues have fallen prey to this radical, Big Government scheme.

With all the noise surrounding this issue, please allow me to be abundantly clear where I stand. It is my fervent belief that the Confederate flag is a proud symbol of the following:

  • Resistance against a federal, centralized power that FAR overreached its Constitutional limits.
  • States’ rights and Constitutional liberties, which many have fought and died protecting.
  • Southern heritage and a culture that values freedom, even in the face of federal tyranny.

It is certainly important for us to take steps that prevent future acts of violence. But in this pursuit of peace, should we also dismantle the historical symbols that memorialize states’ rights?

My answer is an emphatic “NO!”

The plain and simple truth is that the placement of this flag will not prevent future tragedies. It’s abundantly clear that the radical liberal agenda is behind this push to remove the flag, which raises the question: where does it all end?

Are we to also remove the names of Confederate officers from our roads? Should we crumble all the Civil War monuments that dot our nation’s landscape?

[NAME], it’s time to take a stand. Right here. Right now.

Over 150 years ago, brave Confederates made a bold stand against an oppressive government that far overstepped its Constitutional limits. Will you please take a stand with me now by signing my online petition to keep the flag flying ?

States all over the nation are giving ground to the radical liberals by removing the symbol of states’ rights from their historical monuments. But if we can make a stand here and now, we can send a strong message to the elites in DC that states’ rights are still alive and well.

Please click here now to sign my petition , which I will then present to my colleagues in the South Carolina legislature. Let’s show them how much we value our heritage!

Cruz, for his part, has criticized people “parachuting” into South Carolina to denounce the flag.


Indiana Anti-Gay Bill Was Ted Cruz's Alamo

At a campaign stop at a shooting range in Iowa earlier this week, captured on video by the conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts, Sen. Ted Cruz boasted of his support for a since-altered Indiana law that would have opened the door for private businesses to discriminate against LGBT people in the name of religious freedom, comparing his stand to that of Texas soldiers at the Alamo.

“Sadly more than a few Republicans ran for the hills, including more than a few candidates who are running for president in 2016,” he said. :Some of them chose that exact moment to go rearrange their sock drawer.”

But Ted Cruz, said Cruz, was made of stronger stuff.

“In my view, Indiana was a time of choosing. In my view, Indiana was, as William Barret Travis at the Alamo said as he drew the line in the stand, it was a moment to choose which side of the line you stand.”

Cruz previously referred to opposition to Indiana’s measure as a gay “jihad.”

Perry: Obama Lacks 'Executive Experience' To Fight ISIS

Former Texas governor and GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry told conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch on Wednesday that President Obama hasn’t shown any “engagement to stop ISIS,” which he attributed to the president’s “lack of being able to really connect the dots” and “lack of executive experience.”

Loesch asked Perry to respond to the president’s comment that the U.S. doesn’t “yet have a complete strategy” for training Iraqi defense forces to fight ISIS “because it requires commitments on the part of the Iraqis as well about how recruitment takes place, how the training takes place, so the details of that are not yet worked out.”

Perry said that he was “stunned” and claimed that the president, who is leading a coalition that has been hammering ISIS with airstrikes, has shown a “lack of engagement to stop ISIS.” This shows, he said, that the president of six years “has a hard time connecting the dots from time to time, of understanding,” due to his “lack of executive experience” and “a philosophical void when it comes to understanding what it takes to keep America safe.”

“I think that’s the reason ISIS has gone forward, I think that’s the reason Putin is standing there basically laughing at us as we have one lack of impact after another in the global world that we’re living in,” he said.

Fifth Circuit Upholds Extreme Abortion Restrictions in Texas

On Tuesday the Fifth Circuit federal appeals court upheld most of Texas’ stringent anti-abortion law, which could leave as few as seven clinics open in the nation’s second largest state. The U.S. Supreme Court temporarily blocked these restrictions in October; however, the Fifth Circuit’s ruling allows the law to stand, ushering in a likely wave of clinic closings for the Lone Star State.

The Associated Press explains how the law works:

 The decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals allows Texas to enforce Republican-backed restrictions that require abortion clinics to meet hospital-level operating standards, a checklist that includes rules on minimum room sizes, staffing levels and air ventilation systems.

This decision represents an endorsement of a long series of right-wing initiatives to chip away at the rights protected by Roe v. Wade. By pushing unnecessary laws targeting abortion facilities, the Right can mandate costly renovations that create a needless economic strain on clinics. For example, the Texas law requires abortion clinics to abide by the same standards as hospital surgical centers, despite the fact that many clinics solely provide medical abortions, which do not involve surgery. The Supreme Court has said that states may not pass laws with the purpose or effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of a woman seeking an abortion. But the court yesterday turned a blind eye to the obvious in order to further the Right’s anti-choice agenda.

A panel of three judges, all appointed by George W. Bush, delivered the decision, which will force facilities across the state to shut their doors and leave women hundreds of miles away from a licensed abortion provider. Verdicts from the ultra-conservative Fifth Circuit bench, like the decision in October letting Texas enforce strict voter ID laws, highlight the importance of who sits on our nation’s courts.  Although Fifth Circuit has two longstanding vacancies, Republican obstruction has prevented the filling of these seats. Tuesday’s decision further exemplifies the critical need for fair and just courts, particularly as right-wing legislators continue their relentless attack on the rights established by Roe.

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