On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer took a call from "Rebecca in College Station, Texas" who shared her theory that the massive flooding taking place in Texas is God's punishment for "witchcraft and sodomy."
As Rebecca explained, the only parts of Texas that are underwater are the parts "that are overrun with witchcraft and sodomy" like Austin and Houston, which has a "sodomite mayor."
On the other hand, the area where Rebecca lives is not underwater, even though she lives in a valley, and that is because "we kicked out abortion" and the people who live there hold conservative views.
"If God is judging Texas, it's because of the witchcraft and sodomy that we've allowed to run rampant," Rebecca said, and Fischer responded by agreeing that that was a very plausible explanation.
"If you're going to attribute the flooding in Texas to some kind of supernatural cause, you can make a geographical connection between the flooding and the practice of the occult and witchcraft and the embrace of homosexuality," he said. "That's where the disaster is being felt the worse."
Fischer then explained that the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was also a very localized natural disaster that "just wiped out those two cities where homosexuality had been embraced [so] if you're going to make a case that there is some supernatural origin to this natural disaster, that would probably be the place to look";
Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.
The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.
GOA promotes an extreme, “no compromise” ideology that has helped to pull the NRA to the right and to sink any attempts at bipartisan gun law reform. But what is even more troubling is Pratt’s long history of pushing dangerous paranoia to the far right, encouraging firearms ownership as a way to stave off race riots and government takeovers and making frequent references to assassinating political leaders.
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 promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.
On his radio show in March, Pratt said that he hoped President Obama would learn from the example of Charles I, who was executed for treason in 1649:
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.
In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.
Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
And Pratt’s reprehensible politics don’t stop there. In the 1980s, he called for a quarantine of people with AIDS, saying, “We don’t think AIDS should have civil rights.” He opposes immigration reform because he says it will bring in people who will be “sitting around drawing welfare and voting Democrat” and who will support firearms restrictions.
Despite all this, Ted Cruz and apparently other Republican presidential candidates are choosing to pander to Pratt and his group’s members.
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, said yesterday that President Bush would have thought twice about invading Iraq if he had known that his successor would be “such a total incompetent leader” who is on “the wrong side” in the fight against terrorism.
In an interview with Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks, Gohmert said he opposed an effort led by Sen. Tim Kaine of Virginia to pass a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) in the fight against ISIS, saying that “the president has all the authority he could possibly need” in the broad AUMF passed in 2001 and that the proposed new AUMF would “help tie his hands in ways a good president would not need.”
He added that the new AUMF, in addition to giving the president too little authority, would give the president too much authority. “I don’t trust this administration, I don’t want to give them any additional authority that Bush didn’t have,” he said.
“So, thank you very much, Mr. Kaine, but you need to tell your buddy in the Democratic Party to actually start fighting our enemies and quit helping our enemies and help our friends instead and quit worrying about a new AUMF,” Gohmert added. “He would be able to defeat ISIS if he just starts helping our friends and stops helping the enemies.”
“That AUMF, it’s a red herring, it’s a crock,” he continued. “The problem is the president’s on the wrong side. That’s the real problem.”
As Fredericks repeatedly tried to break in with a question, Gohmert continued his train of thought.
“I mean, seriously, John, you think a new AUMF is all of a sudden going to give us a president that will fight with the right people over there and win over there, really?
“Everybody else wants to ask that question of, ‘Gee, would you have gone into Iraq if you’d known what you know now?’ And I think if President Bush had known that he would have a total incompetent follow him that would not even be able to negotiate a status of forces agreement with Iraq and start helping our enemies and just totally put the Middle East in chaos, then he would have to think twice about doing anything if he had known he would have such a total incompetent leader take over after him. That should be the question.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, is outraged that Congress nearly approved a Defense Department spending bill that included a provision encouraging the military to allow undocumented immigrants who were brought to the country as children to enlist. Gohmert told talk radio host Greg Garrison today that provision, which was stripped from the bill in a narrow vote yesterday, would have been a “slap” at the U.S. district court judge in Texas who has placed a hold on President Obama’s executive actions deferring deportation for some undocumented immigrants.
Gohmert praised Judge Andrew Hanen, who is known as one of the most conservative federal judges in the country, for “singlehandedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty,” and declared that it would have been “just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.”
Can you imagine if you’re the U.S. district judge in the Southern District of Texas that’s single-handedly stopping the illegal, unconstitutional amnesty, and then you have the House of Representatives, not only with not enough guts to stop the illegal amnesty like they promised, but then turn around and slap the one judge that’s acting constitutionally? I mean, that would have been such an outrage, and I’m glad we were able to beat that back yesterday.
This was even more egregious because it was slapping in the face the one stand-up judge who stood against the illegal amnesty while Republicans in Congress were breaking their promise that we’d stop the illegal amnesty. Our leadership didn’t stand on their promises as they promised, but we had a judge that did the right thing by the Constitution, and it was just totally inappropriate to slap him after he was being such a stand-up man for the Constitution.
Yesterday on “Washington Watch,” Jonathan Saenz of the Religious Right group Texas Values criticized state lawmakers for failing to vote on a proposal that would have invalidated several LGBT nondiscrimination measures passed by cities throughout the state.
In particular, Saenz denounced the Texas Association of Business, which opposed the measures and said “they would devastate economic development, tourism and the convention business.”
Saenz said that the business lobby offered “absurd” reasons to “oppose religious freedom efforts,” adding that members would be “shocked” if they knew about the organization’s “extreme,” “far-left” leadership.
Laws against LGBT equality, Saenz said, “have helped Texas and have been a part of what makes Texas great. You see flocking from New York and California because of our business climate but it’s also a part of the values that we have. So this type of war on values from the Texas Association of Business within our state has got to end.”
Cathie Adams of the Texas Eagle Forum similarly told a Texas Values gathering last year that people are leaving states that “embrace homosexual marriage” for Texas. Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly has also claimed that “many Americans are dissenting with their feet” and moving to states that ban gay marriage.
Soon after an event she hosted in Texas was targeted by Islamic extremists, anti-Muslim activist Pamela Geller compared herself to Rosa Parks. Now, some of her allies are comparing her to Martin Luther King, Jr., including, reportedly, one Tea Party activist who previously made headlines for suggesting that he didn’t want black people to vote.
In an interview with Indianapolis talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, the Center for Security Policy’s Frank Gaffney recalled attending a Tea Party event in Dallas the night before where Ken Emanuelson, a Tea Party activist who is an advisor to Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick, compared the attack on Geller’s event to the civil rights march that King led in Selma.
Greg, I was in a Tea Party meeting in Dallas last night, and a guy who was in the room in Garland, Texas, gave a rather chilling account of what happened. And he made an observation at the end of it that I think is directly relevant to how we all should be thinking about this.
You know, there’s been much made of late, particularly thanks to a bestselling movie on the subject of Martin Luther King’s experiences and leadership in Selma, Alabama. And this fellow, Ken Emanuelson, said, ‘You know, this is our Selma. This is a moment when people are telling us we can’t do the right thing, and we have to go right at it and do it, do exactly the right thing. Because if we allow our freedom of speech to be taken away from us, that isn’t the end of it, that’s the beginning.’
This is an interesting comparison coming from Emanuelson, who made headlines a couple of years ago for telling a Texas GOP gathering that “the Republican Party doesn’t want black people to vote if they are going to vote 9-to-1 for Democrats.”
Later in the interview, Gaffney told Garrison that any attempts at “multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity” will just invite “jihad, and the violent kind at that”:
We shouldn’t be under any illusion, that whatever we call this conduct of ours, we follow whatever the smart people are telling us, we engage in political correctness or multiculturalism or diversity sensitivity. The enemy has another name for it. They call it ‘submission.’ And under their doctrine, the Sharia program, the Koran and so on, they are hardwired to respond to submissive behavior on the part of infidels with what? With violence, with more violence. You must make them feel subdued, the Koran says.
So far from making this go away or letting us all be friends or kumbaya or whatever you want to call it, this actually is an exhortation — that’s not how we think of it, but that’s how they see it — an exhortation to redouble the jihad, and the violent kind at that.
It has now been more than five years since the passage of the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which anti-gay activists predicted would lead to the end of free speech and the criminalization of the Bible. None of these predictions has yet to come true, but that hasn’t stopped Rep. Louie Gohmert from warning that the catastrophic consequences of the hate-crimes law will materialize any day now.
The Texas Repubilcan joined Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday to discuss the attempted attack on a Texas anti-Islam event hosted by Pamela Geller. Kaufman was not pleased with Bill O’Reilly for criticizing Geller’s event, which she said was an attack on Geller’s free speech. This made Gohmert think of the hate-crimes law, which he said was also an attack on free speech and was useless anyway because “people who have this kind of hate, they have the best chance of being rehabilitated.”
The government will eventually use the hate-crimes law, he said, to charge Christians who quote the Bible with “hate speech.”
“I mentioned some years back that hate crimes, eventually, somebody is going to bring that up when a Christian says, ‘I believe what Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, the life, nobody goes to the Father but through me,"’” Gohmert said. “That is hate speech. You’re saying that nobody else but you goes to Heaven? That’s hate speech. I mean, this is where it ultimately goes if we’re not free to say what we believe and have disagreements about it without being shot.”
In an interview with Indianapolis-based talk radio host Greg Garrison last month, Rep. Louie Gohmert warned that “this is a really dangerous time for America,” citing the Federal Communications Commission’s new net neutrality rules and a right-wing group’s debunked report of an ISIS camp just south of the border in Mexico.
Gohmert spoke with Garrison at the annual radio row event hosted by the anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), where the topic inevitably turned to President Obama’s executive orders on immigration, which Gohmert compared to what he called the FCC’s “taking over” of the Internet with the net neutrality rules.
“Look at the FCC,” he said. “I mean, the FCC had no intention of taking over the Internet. I mean, gosh, even though it was one of the most amazing developments in the history of man when it comes to entrepreneurism and just amazing, you know, free enterprise, innovation. It was awesome. But it was doing so well Obama couldn’t stand the thought of the government not taking it over. So, he says the FCC’s going to take it over, they had to scramble and redo their thinking, and then they come out with regulations saying, in essence, they would take it over. I mean, this is really a dangerous time for America.”
“But you know, Greg, the old adage is democracy ensures a people are governed no better than they deserve,” he added. “And what breaks my heart, and I know it does yours, is Americans that have not awakened are getting what we deserve. It is really a shame.”
Garrison agreed, saying that President Obama is “batting for the other team,” as “evident” at the southern border.
This led Gohmert to bring up the debunked Judicial Watch report of an ISIS camp south of El Paso: “Then we find out this week there’s an ISIS camp three miles south of El Paso, a training center, and they’re working closely with the drug cartels. This is a dangerous time for the king of America to be allowing open borders.”
In a speech to a Gladewater, Texas, conservative group last week, former Rep. Allen West blamed high school football injuries on the end of state-sponsored prayer in schools, saying that when he was in high school, “I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Discussing a conflict between the Freedom from Religion Foundation and the University of Tennessee about sectarian prayers before football games, West said that in the days of state-sponsored school prayer, there was no problem with football injuries.
“Now see, I remember growing up in the inner city of Atlanta, Georgia,” he said. “I went to Grady High School and I played football and we didn’t have all this high-speed gear and everything like that, there was no such thing about ‘targeting.’ I mean, you were not a tough football player unless you did try to hit someone head-on. And even in high school, before every game at Grady Stadium, the pastor would come down and pray before every football game. I don’t remember catastrophic injuries. I don’t remember anyone getting carted off that field paralyzed.”
Needless to say, West’s selective view of the history of football injuries is not exactly accurate.
Cathie Adams, the former chairwoman of the Texas Republican Party who now leads the state chapter of Eagle Forum, told a Republican group yesterday that if Texas doesn’t defy a potential Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality this year, it “could be the end of America.”
“On April 28, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to hear arguments on marriage, and we expect that they’re going to do the wrong thing,” she said in at the end of a speech on Islam to the Smith County Republican Women, which was posted on YouTube by an attendee.
Adams told the group that before the Supreme Court decision comes down, Texas must pass a proposed bill denying compensation to county clerks who issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She said that while she admired Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s defiance of the federal courts on marriage equality, “Alabama is Alabama.”
“Texas holds a whole lot more power and a whole lot more authority,” she said, “and if we don’t come out and do something before April 28, this could be the end of America.”
“If we don’t get this done by April 28, I don’t know that we’re going to be able to hold back what is happening,” she said. “And folks, if you are a believer, you understand what happened in Sodom and Gomorrah. You understand. And we are on the threshold. “
“I mean, young people in schools, elementary all the way through universities, are being lied to that these people are ‘born this way,’” she continued. “No, they’re not. I’ve met friends who have come out of that lifestyle, I’ve met men who are willing and ready and begging for a bill to come up in the Texas legislature that they can testify in support of in order to defend the right of parents and defend the right of those individuals who choose to seek a way out of sexual perversion.”
Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, stopped by the anti-immigrant group FAIR’s annual radio row today to talk with Joyce Kaufman, a conservative radio host famous for her brief stint as chief of staff to then-Florida Rep. Allen West, which ended when her years of extreme anti-immigrant rhetoric came to light.
The two started out by discussing the recent hearing at which Gohmert started yelling at a female ICE official, which got them to talking about charges of a conservative “war on women,” which Gohmert said he wasn’t part of because his chief of staff is a woman.
“It’s usually the liberals that care more about race, they care more about gender and all kinds of, sexual habits,” he continued. “We don’t care about that stuff. Are you going to do the job, are you going to do what’s right, are you going to be honest? Those are the things that we’re more concerned about. In fact, we [conservatives] are coming closer to the dream of Martin Luther King, Jr. because we care more about the content of the character than we do the color of anybody’s skin.”
“I could care less what race somebody is coming into America unless they’re coming to do harm, and even then I don’t care what race it is, I care about are you going to come do harm?” he added.
Kaufman agreed, adding that it is in fact immigrants who are dividng America because by maintaining their languages and cultures they “force the indigenous people” to “ become tribal.”
There is “more discussion of race in this country than in the last 20 years,” she lamented.
“But I think that’s, a large part of that is because of this administration,” Gohmert responded. “They have been more polarizing.”
In a speech to a Georgia Tea Party group on Monday in which he warned that if Hillary Clinton is elected president, “you might as well kiss this country goodbye,” Rafael Cruz also declared that President Obama has “cursed the Jewish people” and that it is only people like his son, Sen. Ted Cruz, who are saving America from destruction at the hands of an angry God.
Calling Obama’s interactions with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu “shameful,” the elder Cruz proudly told the story of his son leaving an event focused on the persecution of Middle Eastern Christians after some members of the audience booed his statements about Israel.
“Let me tell you, the word of God tells us in Genesis 12:3, God’s speaking to Abraham, the father of Israel: ‘I will bless those who bless you and I will curse those who curse you,’” Rafael Cruz told the Georgia group. “This current administration has cursed the Jewish people, has cursed the nation of Israel more than any other administration in history. I believe the only reason judgment has not fallen upon America is because of the faithful remnant that is standing in the gap.”
At another point in his appearance, Cruz blasted what he called Obama’s “disastrous” move toward relations with Cuba.
“Well, he’s out to destroy us,” an audience member interjected.
“Oh, of course,” Cruz responded.
In a speech to a Tea Party event in Rome, Georgia, last week, Rafael Cruz declared that if Hillary Clinton is elected president next year, “you might as well kiss this country goodbye.”
The father and close adviser of GOP presidential candidate and Texas senator Ted Cruz echoed his son’s frequent comparisons of himself to Ronald Reagan, telling the audience that “there are so many parallels” between Reagan’s election in 1980 and the 2016 contest.
Drawing directly from Ted Cruz’s misleading talking points about the Carter and Obama economies, the elder Cruz reassured his audience, “It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan. Because of Jimmy Carter, we were able to mobilize millions of Americans. We did it in 1980, we can do it again.”
“If we did it then, you bet we can do it again,” he said. “And let me tell you, if we have someone like Hillary Clinton elected in 2016, you might as well kiss this country goodbye, this country’s gone. We are fighting for the survival of America.”
In the weeks leading up to oral arguments in Obergefell v. Hodges, a collection of marriage equality cases being heard at the Supreme Court this month, groups on both sides of the issue have been flooding the Court with amicus briefs.
These have inevitably included some very bad arguments from lawyers arguing on behalf of anti-LGBT groups. Here are five of the worst:
5. Gays Need ‘Tough Love,’ Like Smokers Or Drug Abusers
Mike Huckabee Policy Solutions (which identifies itself as a group “backed by private citizens and organizations who support the national policy aims of Mike Huckabee”) and anti-gay “statistician” Paul Cameron’s Family Research Institute tell the Justices that “[h]omosexuality and same-sex marriage are tied to early death” and thus gay people, much like drug abusers, need “tough love” instead of marriage rights.
As with smoking or drug abuse, it would be neither compassionate nor kind to normalize and encourage a known and significant public health risk such as homosexuality. Heightened early mortality risk suggests that homosexual practice (whether in casual or long-term unions) is self-injurious and therefore would put undue financial, emotional, and health burdens on survivors, especially children, as well as society, pursuant to any normalization of same-sex marriage by decree of this Court.
Just as in the cases of drug abusers or suicidal individuals, it would not be compassionate nor kind of this Court to attempt to further normalize and encourage known and significant public health risks represented by LGBT lifestyles and unions. Thus, the expansion of LGBT activity by decree of this Court is likely to proliferate undue financial, emotional, and health burdens upon survivors, especially children, and upon wider society as well. Far from “hateful,” the amici curiae herein hold that deference to the States in the regulation of lawful marriage, as well as federalist restraint and humility by this Court, would represent an act of love. “Tough love,” perhaps, but love nonetheless.
4. Marriage Equality Will Lead To Civil War
While the Texas chapter of Eagle Forum, in a brief written by Phyllis Schlafly’s son Andrew, never exactly says in its Supreme Court brief that a broad ruling in favor of marriage equality would lead to civil war, it does draw an awful lot of parallels between the effects of Obergefell and those of the infamous pre-Civil War Dred Scott case.
The Texas Eagle Forum brief warns of “a badly fractious effect” if the Court declares that “the Bible is wrong about marriage,” drawing out “regional differences” similar to the regional divide over slavery before the Civil War. The group warns that, like Dred Scott, “any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.”
In 1857, as now, there were sharp regional differences over a fundamental social issue. But rather than allow Congress to sort the disputes out, the Supreme Court overstepped its bounds and attempted to dictate one solution nationwide about slavery. That poured fuel on the fire, as history teaches. Likewise, any ruling by the Court here that attempts to establish homosexual marriage for every region of our country, thereby declaring that the local voters are wrong, their political leaders are wrong, and the Bible is wrong about marriage, will have a badly fractious effect.
The disunity will greatly worsen if the Court rules that Texas and other southern states must begin performing homosexual marriage. Far from unifying the Nation, as some argue, such a Court ruling would have a divisive effect similar to that of the Dred Scott decision. The Dred Scott Court felt that by imposing its view of slavery on the entire Nation, the Court was resolving the conflict. In fact, of course, the decision made the conflict far worse. Likewise, any ruling by the Court that imposes homosexual marriage on Texas and every corner of the United States would cause vastly more conflict, along regional lines.
Texas Eagle Forum specifically argues that the supposedly unbiblical nature of same-sex marriage would “be disastrous for the unity of our Nation” because the Bible is “the strongest link that holds our society together.”
The Bible is perhaps the most unifying force of our Nation.
A Supreme Court ruling that endorses homosexual marriage would directly conflict with clear teachings in both the Old and New Testaments. See, e.g., Genesis 2:24 (“Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”) and Mark 10:6-8 (“But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’”) (ESV). In essence, the Court would be rejecting the Bible as false, and by implication perhaps even disparaging the Bible as hate speech. Whether the large percentage of Americans who respect the Bible would be persuaded by such a ruling remains to be seen. But if they are persuaded, then the results would be disastrous for the unity of our Nation, because it would weaken the strongest link that holds our society together.
3. Marriage Equality Is Bad For Gay People’s Kids Because Right Wing Watch Criticized Robert Oscar Lopez
There was a big splash in the right-wing media when four adults who were raised for at least part of their lives by same-sex couples, most prominently activist Robert Oscar Lopez, submitted an amicus brief against marriage equality.
Lopez cites one flawed study about same-sex parenting and uses it as a jumping-off point for discussing what he speculates is a trend toward things getting “harder, not easier” for children raised by same-sex couples as “gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon."
It has gotten harder, not easier, for COGs [Children of Gays], to the extent that gay marriage has become a broader and more accepted phenomenon. The younger generation of COGs has lived with an enormous amount of surveillance and speech policing by people interested in ensuring that they say nothing to undermine the social prestige of their gay guardians. The younger generation of COGs seems to feel more uprooted from the missing half of their ancestry and more fearful of defying the authority of gay stepparent figures whom they still tend to view as stepparents even if they are fond of them.
COGs are now treated with less dignity, more suspicion, fewer protections and heightened discrimination/harassment/retaliation than they saw before same-sex marriage achieved a level of national success. All of this is emanating from within the gay community, enabled by complacent groups such as COLAGE and emboldened by the gay-marriage equality movement. Put simply, the situation for COGs has worsened as their numbers have multiplied.
Lopez’s main piece of evidence for the “heightened discrimination/harrassment/retaliation” being directed at the children of gay parents since those parents began to gain marriage rights seems to be his own experience being criticized by blogs, including Right Wing Watch, which he details at great length in a separate section of the brief.
2. It’s Okay To Discriminate Against Women, So Why Not Gays?
Mark Joseph Stern at Slate flagged a brief submitted by the state of South Carolina which illustrates at length the concern that the drafters of the 14th Amendment had about it granting rights to women. Since the state at the time sought to discriminate against women, the brief argues, then it is absurd to apply the amendment’s protections to gay and lesbian people who want to get married.
Here’s a representative paragraph:
Nor did the framers and their contemporaries conceive that the definition of marriage consisted of anything other than the union between man and woman. Indeed, the framers insisted upon leaving untouched those state laws depriving women of basic rights upon marriage to a man. Surely then, those state laws exclusively defining marriage as between a man and woman were hands off under the Amendment’s original meaning.
Representatives from the South Carolina solicitor general’s and attorney general’s offices followed up with Stern to clarify that “that their state does not wish to implement the sexist laws outlined in its brief—though it could if it wanted to.”
1. Marriage Equality Will Cause God To Destroy America
Really any constitutional argument you can come up with becomes irrelevant if we are threatened with God’s judgement on America. A coalition of right-wing groups (two of which have close ties with Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore), pulled out that trump card in a brief in which they warn the Justices that should they “require the States and the People to ‘ritualize’ sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation.”
The groups, including Public Advocate of the United States and the Institute on the Constitution (run by longtime Moore funder and Maryland GOP official Michael Peroutka) and assisted by former Moore collaborator Herb Titus, assure the Justices that the warnings of Leviticus are still very much in effect:
Should the Court require the States and the People to “ritualize” sodomite behavior by government issuance of a state marriage license, it could bring God’s judgment on the Nation. Holy Scripture attests that homosexual behavior and other sexual perversions violate the law of the land, and when the land is “defiled,” the people have been cast out of their homes. See Leviticus 18:22, 24-30. Although some would assert that these rules apply only to the theocracy of ancient Israel, the Apostle Peter rejects that view: “For if God ... turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly.” 2 Peter 2:4-6. The continuing application of this Levitical prohibition is confirmed by the Book of Jude: “Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering 1 Kings 14:24. 41 the vengeance of eternal fire.”
Dorrie O’Brien, a leader of the Texas chapter of the anti-Muslim group ACT! for America, warned at a rally in Austin last month that Islamist extremists are implementing “stealth jihad” in America by putting Muslim holidays on calendars and teaching foreign languages in schools.
“Stealth jihad is working in about every circle of influence you can think of in the United States, like law, politics, entertainment, like in movies and books and videos, in advertising and in publishing,” O’Brien said, in remarks captured in a YouTube video of the event, which was organized by the far-right groups Overpasses for America and 2 Million Bikers to DC as part of a national anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant day of protests and which featured representatives of a number of anti-immigrant groups.
“Have you guys noticed, I mean really noticed, calendars lately, that the Islamic holy days are in all the calendars?” she asked.
O’Brien went on to tell of an incident at a high school in New York state where students protested after the Pledge of Allegiance was read in Arabic as part of a foreign language week.
She said that it was “fantastic” that the school eventually apologized, but that it “happened for the wrong reason.”
“The school was celebrating ‘world languages’ or some such thing, ‘multiculturalism’ — socialism, in other words,” she lamented. “There is a whole lot wrong with pledging to the flag in Arabic, the language of the people trying to kill us, but the schools should be celebrating English! I don’t think we should have to have a ‘celebrate world languages.’”
This led O’Brien to criticize New York Mayor Bill DeBlasio for adding two Muslim holidays to the city schools calendar, which she asserted was proof that DeBlasio is a “dhimmi” who is “paying his jizya,” a tax levied on non-Muslims.
Ted Cruz raised more than a few eyebrows last week when, barely a week into his presidential run, he proposed a radical plan to strip federal courts of the ability to decide cases involving marriage equality.
As Esquire’s Charles Pierce notes, Cruz is echoing a time-honored rallying cry of people who are losing a battle in the federal courts: “Previous attempts include trying to remove the Supreme Court's jurisdiction over cases in a number of instances, including those involving school prayer, school busing, abortion, and pornography.”
The strategy has also been used in recent memory by another prominent player in today’s marriage equality debate: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
Back in 2004, shortly after Moore was removed from his first stint in the court after he defied a federal court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building, he worked with attorney Herb Titus to draft a bill that would have stripped jurisdiction over all such cases from the federal courts.
The bill, which would have barred federal courts from ruling on cases challenging officials who recognized "God as the sovereign source of law, liberty, or government," never made it out of committee, but it managed to garner 37 cosponsors in the House and five in the Senate; when it was reintroduced the next year, it was up to 50 House cosponsors and nine Senate cosponsors.
Despite the bill’s failure to make it off the ground in Congress, it was a publicity boon for Moore. One of Moore’s top financial supporters, the Christian nationalist and southern secessionist Michael Peroutka, spent $12,000 on a campaign to drum up support for the measure and accompanied Moore to at least one event touting it along with Peroutka’s 2004 campaign for president as the nominee of the Constitution Party.
As far as we know, Moore hasn’t spoken publicly about Cruz’s idea to strip the federal courts of jurisdiction over marriage issues. But it seems that on this issue, they are two peas in a pod.
One of the anti-gay movement’s favorite pieces of ammunition is a 2012 study by University of Texas professor Mark Regnerus purporting to find that the children of gay and lesbian people are more likely to suffer negative outcomes, including drug abuse, poor school performance, and child abuse.
As soon as Regnerus’s “New Family Structures” study was released, fellow social scientists began picking apart Regnerus’s data, pointing out that barely any of the people that he interviewed had actually been raised by same-sex couples and that he failed to control for factors like family instability. Regnerus himself has acknowledged that his study didn’t actually say anything about parenting by stable same-sex couples, but that hasn’t stopped the anti-gay right from using it to bolster its case against marriage equality…and Regnerus from providing testimony in court cases against gay marriage.
This week, the Daily Texan, the newspaper of the University of Texas at Austin, published documents it had obtained from an internal review of Regnerus’s study that found a series of methodological flaws to the research.
The findings were summed up by the dean of UT’s College of Liberal Arts, Randy Diehl, who noted that while the school wouldn't conduct an ethics investigation into Regnerus's work, “no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study”:
The post-tenure review committee met again in January of this year and was tasked by Diehl with considering only methodological problems. Based on this charge, the committee found the following, as summarized and endorsed by Diehl: “Valid methodological concerns have been raised. … A key one is this: Because the design of the study ensured that the parental same-sex relationship variable was confounded with the family structure stability variable, it is not possible to conclude that the different life outcomes between the two groups were caused by the parental relationship variable.” Diehl, citing this finding and Regnerus’ original caution that the article did not deal with same-sex marriage legal rights, agreed that “no policy implications about same-sex parenting should be drawn from the study.” But the fact is Regnerus did use those findings in court.
Specifically, UT’s review found what other critics had noted: that the Regnerus study was not about same-sex parenting, but about family instability. From Diehl’s summary:
- The design of the NFS [New Family Structures] study survey instrument guaranteed that any participant who reported that their parent participated in a same-sex romantic relationship would have also experienced some form of family instability.
-Increased likelihood of negative outcomes for children who experience family instability are well-documented within existing scholarly literature.
Nobody is arguing that it isn’t difficult to find large-scale data about children raised by same-sex parents – even Regnerus has acknowledged some of his study’s shortcomings. But the problem with the Regnerus study is that the anti-gay Right continues to insist it proves a case against marriage equality – no matter how often that interpretation is debunked.