Last week, the Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin spoke at one of the organization's regional "Watchmen on the Wall" events in Springfield, Missouri, where he warned that Christians in America are being persecuted and called upon conservative activists to rise up like "God's army."
"If you're a Bible-believing Christian, if you're a person who has a biblical worldview, if you serve the one and only God, you are going to be persecuted, plain and simple" he said, pointing to Springfield's non-discrimination ordinance which bans discrimination on the basis sexual orientation and gender identity [SOGI].
"This SOGI nonsense is an example of exactly what they're trying to do us," Boykin said. "They're trying to put us in a situation where we're going to lose our businesses, where we're going to be forced to accept what Adolf Hitler forced the church to accept in Germany in 1937."
"We're at war," Boykin said, as he declared that the push for gay rights is "evil" and cannot be compared to the fight for civil rights: "This is not about civil rights, this is about the evil that has come into our society and is trying to destroy our ability and our freedom to be able to worship our god as we choose."
"We're not rising up against evil," he warned. "When we rise up against evil, we've got to rise up like an army. We've got to act like we're in the military because, in fact, we are God's army":
Before railing against that notorious “gay porn outlet” The Huffington Post, Accuracy in Media’s Cliff Kincaid appeared on yesterday’s edition of “Trunews” with Rick Wiles to denounce the gay rights movement as a dire threat to America.
While Wiles said that he is afraid of an Iranian-led EMP attack against the U.S., Kincaid claimed that America “may collapse from within before that happens” because “we’re on the verge now of the Supreme Court deciding whether to impose gay marriage on all fifty states.”
“It is almost like a perfect storm that’s come together, not only militarily but economically, socially, culturally,” Kincaid continued. “What has happened to this country? Well, you and I know it: We’ve been infiltrated. Our enemies are within. They’re at the gates and Obama is in the Trojan Horse.”
Kincaid told Wiles that gay rights advocates “want our kids.” He claimed that advocates are trying to make it legal for men to begin “marrying a kid, marrying his son” or to have marriages “involving five, ten, maybe 150 people running around naked having sex.”
The two also wondered if the Mormon community will begin funding pro-gay marriage efforts, with Wiles explaining that “the Mormons are saying, ‘Hotdog, these guys figured out how to do it. Joseph Smith couldn’t legalize polygamy but the homosexual rights movement has gone even farther than the Mormons ever dreamed of doing, so they’re making an alliance with them. You’re going to see Mormon money flowing into the gay rights movement in return for political support for the Mormons to change marriage laws.”
“We have reached Sodom and Gomorrah state,” Wiles said. “We’re in it now, we’re over our head in Gomorrah slime. I really think we’re witnessing the demise of the American Republic, I think for all practical purposes, it’s over. And I don’t see how it can be salvaged at this point.”
Kincaid agreed: “What we’re seeing now, socially and culturally, is like an EMP attack on the basic moral foundations of our country.”
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson fielded a question from a viewer who asked what he should do about his son who plans to have a child with his husband.
The dejected televangelist said that while it would be “wrong” for his gay son to raise a child, he conceded that there wasn’t much the viewer can do — besides praying and speaking out about it — because the courts have largely sided with gay rights advocates.
“This so-called lifestyle — I just can’t believe it, they have tried to destroy marriage,” Robertson said. “Marriage is between a man and a woman and they’ve now brought cases to the Supreme Court saying, well, the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and so forth. So what should you do? You better get on your knees and pray and let the Lord take care of it because there isn’t a whole lot else you can do.”
Duck Dynasty’s Phil Robertson caused quite a stir with comments that he made in GQ about how black people were happy during Jim Crow and how gay people are no different from people engaging in bestiality, adding that he doesn’t understand why they don’t find vaginas desirable.
During a Friday prayer breakfast speech in Vero Beach, Florida, Robertson offered some more advice to gay men: marry a woman.
After telling men who are “shacked up” with their girlfriends to get married and “have it, she’s yours then,” Robertson said men in same-sex relationships should simply “call the dude, find you a woman and marry her.” “You’re not in a trap you can’t get out of,” Robertson said. “Come on!”
Earlier in his remarks, he offered a twisted thought experiment about the murder of an atheist family and suggested that liberals are led by Satan.
At yesterday’s “Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally,” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore joined Texas politicians, including the state’s lieutenant governor and attorney general, in denouncing the gay rights movement and federal judges who rule in favor of marriage equality.
Moore said he was motivated to speak at the anti-gay rally even though “normally judges don’t speak in public about issues like this,” he felt that “if I should hold back my opinions at such a time as this, I would consider myself guilty of treason toward my country and an act of disloyalty to the majesty of heaven which I revere above all earthly kings.”
While discussing an Alabaman, William Barret Travis, who died fighting with the Texas Army in the Battle of the Alamo, Moore wondered if he too will have to give his life in his fight against gay rights: “He took a stand in the face of an enemy that was far more numerous, but he knew that he had to make a statement for the people of Texas and that he would give his life. I hope I don’t give my life, but I’m going to tell you this is a very serious matter.”
“There’s today another threat, not only in Texas and Alabama, but across our country where state and federal court judges have overruled constitutional amendments passed by the people of those states, and people have just sat by and watched it out of fear of the federal government,” Moore said. “But nothing in the Constitution of the United States, nothing in the laws or precedents of the federal courts give federal courts any authority over domestic policy of family and marriage in the state of Texas, in the state of Alabama, or anywhere else.”
Pat Robertson was quite perturbed by a “700 Club” viewer who asked him why some Christians believe that they should have a right to “refuse service to others because they don’t agree with their lifestyle,” telling the televangelist that such actions won’t “bring them closer to Jesus.”
“You’re really mixed up,” Robertson said. “We are not supposed to endorse people’s sin.”
He explained that while restaurants should not discriminate against customers looking for a meal whether they’re “gay or blue or pink or whatever they are,” Christians must draw the line when the customers ask: “will you please participate in my ungodly lifestyle?”
Robertson insisted that Jesus would also refuse service to such people, adding that Paul the Apostle said “if somebody gives you meat and doesn’t say anything about it, then you eat the meat; but if he says ‘this is meat offered to idols,’ then you don’t eat it because you don’t want to participate in idol worship.”
Ironically, Paul said in his letter to the Corinthians that Christians actually are permitted to eat “food sacrificed to idols” as long as they are strong in their faith that “there is but one God”: “food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.”
Texas pastor Rick Scarborough took to WorldNetDaily today to expound on his call for anti-gay civil disobedience if the Supreme Court strikes down bans on same-sex marriage, warning that such a ruling will usher in attacks on Christianity and “a brave new world with tyrannical laws and regulations.”
Insisting that the Supreme Court will “silence” Christians and the “thousands of ‘former homosexuals,’” Scarborough compared a potential marriage equality ruling to Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell.
“Now the high court is threatening to unleash the spirit of hell on the nation, if they deny what nature clearly teaches on this subject of gender and marriage,” Scarborough said. “The time has come for pastors and leaders to stand up and declare what innately we all know to be true – that this idea is morally unacceptable and we will not allow it proceed without our objection. There can be no compromise on this issue.”
With all due respect, I must refuse to honor any ordinance or judicial ruling that makes restricting marriage to a union between one man and one woman, which God ordained and our nation throughout our history protected, invalid. Regardless of the consequences.
It is the duty of all Christ’s followers to lovingly uphold a standard of righteousness and be true to God’s Word, which never changes. God’s Word provides an offer of hope and forgiveness through Jesus to anyone who is caught up in sin, but if we compromise His Word, on what authority can we offer His hope?
Homosexuality is a sin – but it is not an unforgivable sin nor worse than any other sin. Though some who have chosen homosexuality may choose to reject me for saying this, I am willing to suffer such if that is the cost of being true to God’s Word. If Christians quietly allow marriage to be redefined, we will find ourselves being forced to be quiet as judges impose the acceptance of more and more aberrant behaviors.
We will soon find ourselves in a brave new world with tyrannical laws and regulations forcing us not only to accommodate same-sex marriage but to keep our message of love and forgiveness to ourselves, lest our message cause some to be offended. Paul spoke clearly about such a time as this: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
Those who are advancing this agenda want Christians to be silenced, thinking that to be a good thing. But if they succeed, they will cut off the very Gospel that can change their lives and provide hope and forgiveness, not only for sexual sin, but for all sin.
There are thousands of “former homosexuals” who can testify that Jesus has the power to set us free from any sin. Traditional marriage doesn’t discriminate. There are many former homosexuals now rearing their children in such marriages, and they are living proof of God’s forgiveness and matchless love.
That alone is reason enough for Christians to defend marriage as God designed it.
We must be reminded that the courts are not the final word on this subject. The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong more than they want to admit. More than 200 previous decisions of the Supreme Court have either been rescinded or overturned. Some of those past rulings have been infamous for wrongheadedness, like Dred Scott v. Sandford or Buck v. Bell.
Now the high court is threatening to unleash the spirit of hell on the nation, if they deny what nature clearly teaches on this subject of gender and marriage. The time has come for pastors and leaders to stand up and declare what innately we all know to be true – that this idea is morally unacceptable and we will not allow it proceed without our objection. There can be no compromise on this issue.
We are witnessing a culture March toward Madness!
Family Research Council Tony Perkins let loose with a rant about how President Obama isn’t a real Christian on his “Washington Watch” radio show Friday to once again claim that a Supreme Court decision on gay marriage could lead to a full-blown revolution and “literally split this nation in two.”
It all started when a caller, John, told Perkins about a discredited conspiracy theory that Egyptian investigators had uncovered evidence that proves President Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that Obama “is a pure Muslim” who “doesn’t want any Christianity [sic] to be uprising here like the Muslims are,” adding that Obama was trained by his father “how to be a devil and a Muslim and how to hate the white people and how to hate Christianity and how to hate others.”
Perkins responded by claiming that while he can’t say for sure whether Obama is “a follower of Allah,” he knows that Obama is “deferential toward Islam and has been hostile to orthodox Christianity.” He also cited bizarre comments by Franklin Graham about Obama’s family.
He eventually focused on the caller’s comments about the need for a Christian “uprising,” which he said could be triggered by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality: “I think, John, your point about Christians rising up, I think we are getting close to that in this country as we see increasingly this growing hostility at the hands of our own government toward Christianity and I think especially if the court imposes upon the nation a redefinition of marriage. I don’t think the nation is going to accept it, I absolutely don’t, and the conflict that is going to come as a result of it.”
Interestingly, one poll taken last year found barely any support for Perkins’s call for a revolution.
Later in the program, Perkins said that the FRC will be leading an effort, starting on “the Monday after Easter, [of] twenty-one days of prayer and fasting for our nation, that leads right up to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the marriage cases, and we need to first be praying, we need to repent as a nation, but then we’ve got to get up out of our prayer closet and put feet to our prayers and be involved.”
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality appeared on the Monday edition of Voice of Christian Youth America’s show “In Focus,” where he spoke to host Jim Schneider about “the ingraining of homosexuality in society.”
Outraged by a Canadian writer’s tongue-in-check column about teaching LGBTQ acceptance in schools, LaBarbera decided that this one person’s column confirms that the entire gay rights movement seeks to “penetrate the minds of the youth.”
“Homosexual activists know that they have to change the minds of young people, like all radical movements. We saw this under the Communists, under Hitler,” LaBarbera said. “This is a movement that directly threatens kids.”
After blasting parents and teachers who accept LGBT children, LaBarbera lamented that schools “will never bring in an ‘ex-gay’” to address students “because then kids can see that homosexuality is not about who you are, it’s about what you do, and if you can practice homosexuality you can leave homosexuality, you can leave it behind with the help of Jesus Christ.”
When a caller told LaBarbera that Satan is using the government, the schools and “Hell-ywood” to push gay rights, LaBarbera blasted “The Fosters” for showing a kiss between two teenage boys, holding it up as proof of gay child recruitment and the media’s attempt to push “evil” on kids.
“This is the sort of perversion that is being foisted upon the American people,” LaBarbera said. “It’s deep evil and it’s being done in the name of all these good sounding things, ‘tolerance and diversity.’ But what they’re really doing is changing kids’ minds. They’re propagandizing these kids, they are victimizing our children with this evil propaganda. It’s a form of recruitment when you sell immorality as romance.”
LaBarbera also repeated his criticisms of CNN anchor Don Lemon, claiming that since Lemon is a survivor of child sexual abuse, he should know that homosexuality is not an innate characteristic: “Somebody needs to ask Don Lemon, did you choose to be gay? It seems that since Don Lemon was the victim of a homosexual predator, somebody chose homosexuality for him.”
In a BarbWire column today, “Why A Bad Supreme Court Decision May Require Civil Disobedience,” Staver outlined his goal of bringing together “many thousands of individuals, agencies, charities, churches and schools” to “peacefully refuse to countenance a Supreme Court decision that violates not only our highest legal document, but the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Staver claimed that such anti-gay activists would be following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and Europeans who shielded Jews from the Nazi regime, adding that “perhaps we would see our culture step back from the brink of insanity, or perhaps we would suffer in the face of injustice.”
Civil disobedience has a long and noble history in Western culture, and we will need a primer on it if, as seems likely, the Supreme Court rules against natural marriage in June.
Of course, civil disobedience is not justified just because we disagree with a human law, but only when that law conflicts with a higher revealed or Natural Law. When he was jailed for violating a law used to stop him from protesting injustice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail. “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God,” he argued. “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
He went on to say: “I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
Merely because a legislature or a judge passes a law or issues an opinion does not make a law just. “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a dangerous doctrine indeed,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” To cite an extreme example, if you lived under the Nazi regime and the law required you to not hide or aid a Jew in any way, would you comply with Hitler or obey God? To obey Hitler, you would have to disobey God.
The U.S. Supreme Court could still come off the rails in their June decision and invent a newfound right to “same-sex marriage,” striking down state laws that recognize the reality of marriage. If the Court takes that disastrous step, we should view it the same way history views the Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell decisions. Such a decision would fly in the face, not just of the Constitution itself, but of the natural created order.
The temptation for many will be to cave or compromise. The temptation even for the faithful will be to retreat into our churches and cloisters. In 2004, same-sex “marriage” came to Massachusetts. Contrary to the claim that such laws would usher in an age of “tolerance,” the law immediately became a legal club to beat unwilling participants. Catholic charities bravely refused to place orphans in same-sex homes, because it was contrary to their mission.
Unfortunately, they stopped doing adoptions in the state. This cannot be our precedent. What they should have done is to say, “We are called to place orphans in homes with moms and dads. We will not voluntarily surrender our calling.” Massachusetts might have used force to stop Catholic charities anyway, just as lone florists and bakers are being driven to bankruptcy in other states. But what would happen if, instead of quiet retreat, many thousands of individuals, agencies, charities, churches and schools all came together, prepared, prayed and peacefully refused to countenance a Supreme Court decision that violates not only our highest legal document, but the laws of Nature and Nature’s God?
Perhaps we would see our culture step back from the brink of insanity, or perhaps we would suffer in the face of injustice. Whatever the outcome, the hour is late. It’s past time for us to get ready.
On Wednesday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council blasted the New England Patriots for signing a Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of marriage equality, alleging that “the Patriots didn’t exactly live up to their name” with the team’s endorsement of equal marriage rights.
“The New England Patriots didn't just deflate footballs — they’ve deflated Americans’ respect in professional sports,” Perkins said in his radio commentary this week.
The New England Patriots didn't just deflate footballs — they've deflated Americans' respect in professional sports. Hi, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. A month after winning the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are stepping onto another turf: the marriage debate. This month, the Patriots didn't exactly live up to their name when they joined baseball's Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants in asking the Supreme Court to overturn the votes of millions of Americans who voted to uphold natural marriage. They argue that state laws protecting marriage "hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in these states." But if the latest polling is any indication, Americans aren't exactly fans of these teams' agenda. Now that people are starting to see the fallout of same-sex marriage, Rasmussen is finding that more people actually oppose same-sex marriage than support — 44% to 42%. So if the Patriots are trying to move the goal post on marriage, they might want to change their game plan.
Anti-gay Presbyterian theologian Robert Gagnon stopped by the American Family Association radio program “Today’s Issues” today to discuss the decision of the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, the Presbyterian Church (USA), to approve of same-sex marriage.
When the AFA’s Ed Vitagliano asked Gagnon “how in the world our culture has moved so rapidly” on acceptance of homosexuality, Gagnon responded that there were “lots of factors,” including a “full-court press” from elites and “natural concerns” about gay people wanting to form life-long unions.
Another factor, he asserted, is “heterosexual guilt.”
“A lot of heterosexuals have, you know, we’ve not done all that well in some areas of sexual ethics,” he said. “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion. And if you can give a pass on the issue of homosexual practice, in effect it’s a way of exempting our own guilt, and it’s accommodating in a way that’s self-serving.”
Later in the interview, Gagnon cited a passage from Corinthians in which the Apostle Paul disciplines a man who has had sex with his father’s wife as evidence that gay people are “at high risk” of being left behind when the Kingdom of God is established.
“The repercussions for somebody living out of same-sex attractions such that they are actively entertaining those thought desires in their thought life without repentance at any point…or, even worse, engaging in it in the behavior, according to Paul, according to the united witness of scripture, they’re putting themselves at high risk of not inheriting the Kingdom of God,” he said.
Noting that homosexuality might be even more of a grievous sin than incest, Gagnon paraphrased the story: “Paul is very clear at the incestuous man, ‘Okay, if you engage in this behavior, you’re putting yourself at high risk of being excluded from the Kingdom of God. So the only last recourse we have as a church to wake you up, and also not to send a signal to the rest of the church that sexual purity doesn’t matter, is to put you on church discipline, not as a punitive measure, but as a remedial measure so that you will wake up, come to your senses and return to the church, the place of shelter and protection away from the wilds of the Enemy, the Satan, the Adversary.’”
“And that’s not Paul not loving the incestuous man,” he concluded. “It’s Paul showing he really loves the incestuous man. He cares enough for the offender to try to reclaim him to the Kingdom of God, which is what Jesus did in his ministry to sexual sinners and to exploitative tax collectors.”
End Times broadcaster Rick Wiles knows what is to blame for the record California drought: gay people and legal abortion.
While discussing the drought on his “Trunews” radio show yesterday, Wiles said that measures to conserve water are not going to help the state since it is currently experiencing divine punishment.
“Rain will follow repentance,” Wiles said. “The state is in the forefront of spiritual rebellion against God: abortion; homosexuality; pornography; Hollywood’s movies that promote sexual immorality, violence, bloodshed, witchcraft, occult practices; the television industry; the crime and street violence in California cities. All of it has combined to reach a level of depravity that has reached Heaven and God has no other choice but to cut off the rain. So let’s see how long Californians will suffer without water before they humble themselves, repent of their sins and call upon God to save them.”
Anti-gay pastor Rick Scarborough, notorious for insisting that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality, is working with Religious Right leader James Dobson, televangelist James Robison and conservative legal activist Mat Staver to recruit leading Religious Right activists and politicians to sign a pledge to commit civil disobedience in protest of a potential Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Scarborough told WorldNetDaily in an interview yesterday that once gay marriage becomes the law of the land, there will be mass arrests of Christians, even though such an event has never taken place in the dozens of states where gay marriage is legal. The government “better have a lot of prisons and jails,” Scarborough said, if they dare to legalize same-sex marriage.
He added that members of Congress “are lining up to sign the document” pledging to go to jail rather than recognize a Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.
Back in 2009, Scarborough similarly warned that Christians would be hauled off to jail after a gay-inclusive federal hate crimes law was signed into law, which obviously didn’t happen.
A team of prominent Christian leaders is preparing a statement that will inform the public – including justices on the U.S. Supreme Court – that they will engage in civil disobedience rather than follow a ruling that establishes homosexual “marriage” in the United States.
Among those leading the charge is James Dobson of Family Talk Radio, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and James Robison of Life Today, whose brand new publication called The Stream reported on a recent telephone conference call discussing the issue.
Stream Executive Editor Jay Richards told WND there were about 20 other Christian leaders on the call. He said members of Congress have expressed an interest in the plan, which will be disclosed in the next few days in a statement regarding marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, Scarborough wasted no time in an interview with WND explaining what is, and is not, going to happen.
“We’re taking a very adamant stand,” he said. “If the court declares same-sex ‘marriage’ to be on the same par as a civil right, that’s a bridge too far. We won’t obey. We’ll go to jail.”
Scarborough confirmed congressmen “are lining up to sign the document.”
“The undeniable case is that when same-sex “marriage’ becomes, declared by the Supreme Court, as the law of the land, they will begin to enforce it, like all civil rights laws.”
That is where the civil disobedience will loom large.
“We’re saying, before that, we will never obey that tyrannical law. It’s counter to natural law, and God’s higher law.
“We will simply refuse to comply with recognizing same-sex ‘marriage’ as legitimate,” he said. “The Supreme Court does not have the inherent right [to make that change]. We’ll going to continue doing what we’ve always done.”
He said the hope is that thousands of churches and millions of Americans will join.
Those who plan to use the power of federal law enforcement to enforce same-sex marriage, he said, “better have a lot of prisons and jails.”
Operation Save America, the radical anti-choice group that grew out of the original Operation Rescue, will be holding a multi-day event in Montgomery, Alabama, in June to express its support for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s activism against marriage equality and abortion rights.
OSA head Rusty Lee Thomas writes in a press release today that the event will bring together “hundreds of gentle Christians from across the nation” for a march drawing on “the historical lessons of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.”
A description of the event on the group’s website boasts that “[f]or years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen [sic].” It specifically praises Moore’s work to develop a legal framework to support radical anti-choice “personhood” laws and his ongoing standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality.
(In case you weren’t familiar with Moore’s poetry, here’s a representative example.)
We are praying for God to record His name in Montgomery and by His Spirit bid His people come to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to the gates of hell (Abortion mills in Alabama). They will not prevail against the Church of the living God (Matthew 16:18). They never have and they never will. Jesus is Lord!
For years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen. Through his many battles, we supported his righteous stands in the face of persecution and tyranny. Today, the Alabama Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Moore continues to stand against injustice and once again we are going to come alongside to help.
Moore, along with Justice Tom Parker, have rendered Decisions from the court that directly or indirectly have taken on Roe vs. Wade. Currently, Moore is acting faithfully as a Lower Magistrate to resist “Gay Marriage” in his state. He is taking another just stand and once again, we will stand with him.
Alabama is also working on establishing “Personhood” for the preborn child who is made in the image of God. Alabamians are willing to stand upon the self-evident truth established by God’s Word and we our coming to stand with them.
There are at least four death camps in Alabama still applying their grisly trade to murder babies made in the image of God. This evil defiles the land and invokes God’s judgments upon us. We are coming to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. We want to give God a reason to show mercy in the midst of the American holocaust.
It’s not surprising that Operation Save America, one of the most radical anti-choice groups in the country, would find ideological kinship with Justice Moore.
Thomas has claimed that the September 11, 2001 attacks were divine punishment for legal abortion. OSA’s former director, Flip Benham (father of the new Religious Right martyrs David and Jason Benham), also used the organization to promote a fringe right agenda:
As leader of OSA, Benham has condemned the interfaith Sandy Hook memorial, protested in front of mosques while shouting “Jesus Hates Muslims” and blamed the Aurora shooting on the Democratic Party, which he said promotes a “culture of death.”
He has also protested LGBT pride events, interrupted church services during a sermon by “ sodomite Episcopalian bishop” Gene Robinson and was found “guilty of stalking a Charlotte abortion doctor after passing out hundreds of ‘wanted’ posters with the physician's name and photo on it.”
On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.
At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality.
Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.
1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail
While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.
The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”
Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.
Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”
Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.
2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues
Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.
Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:
Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:
This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”
3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism
Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.
Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.
What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.
Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:
4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It
Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.
Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”
“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”
The RNC’s Connelly also made a plug for conservative churches to engage in partisan politics , urging pastors to buck IRS rules preventing politicking from the pulpit and declaring that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual.”
5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other
One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.
Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.
Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":
It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.
Note: This article first appeared at Huffington Post.
In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of state laws that ban same-sex couples from getting married. The historic case has attracted a wide array of amicus briefs; People For the American Way Foundation joined religious and civil rights groups on a brief urging the Court to reject discriminatory marriage bans and challenging “religious liberty” arguments opposing marriage equality.
One fascinating brief was filed by the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. The original group by that name was led by Frank Kameny, an astronomer who was fired from his federal job for being gay and led some of the earliest gay-rights protests in the nation’s capital in the 1960s. The name and legacy have been revived by local activists Charles Francis and Pate Felts for the purpose of documenting decades of systematic anti-gay discrimination by the federal government. In partnership with pro bono attorneys from the firm of McDermott Will & Emery, the new Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. is engaged in strategic “archive activism.” They are using the Freedom of Information Act to unearth a “culture of animus” that permeated the U.S. Civil Service Commission – now known as the Office of Personnel Management – and to bring to public light previously closed records about investigations challenging workers’ “loyalty” and “suitability.”
“The investigation and firing of gay and lesbian federal employees was like shooting fish in a barrel for the General Counsels and legal staff of the Civil Service Commission,” says Francis. “The animus, almost sports-like in their writings, is documented in decades of legal advisory files we discovered this year at the National Archives.”
Among the historical tidbits unearthed by the project: Nancy Reagan turning down a plea from a dying Rock Hudson for help getting into another hospital; and anti-gay activist Gary Bauer’s no-holds-barred, but ultimately unsuccessful, effort to keep the White House from including a gay person on the nation’s first AIDS commission.
The Mattachine Society’s project is about preserving the historical record, but it also has an important legal purpose, which is demonstrating that anti-equality laws and regulations have long been grounded in hostility, or animus, that is not a permissible justification for discrimination. Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent from the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, demonstrates the importance of this archival work. Roberts suggested there is insufficient evidence – he waved it away as “snippets of legislative history” – to demonstrate that DOMA’s purpose was to “codify malice.” Added Roberts, “I would not tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry.”
There’s no escaping the brush of bigotry, the reeking stench of bigotry, exposed by the Mattachine Society’s brief, which links to more than 35 historical documents that demonstrate the ways that the Civil Service Commission, often in partnership with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other law enforcement agencies, investigated people suspected of sexual “perversion” and robbed them of their federal jobs and careers.
From the amicus:
For decades, this animus was one of the basic assumptions of American life. It was so persistent, so prevalent, and so instrumental to the way that we structured our institutions, treated our fellow citizens, and organized our lives that, in retrospect, it is often overlooked….
For decades, both federal and state governments targeted and persecuted homosexuals, individuals suspected of being homosexual, and even those believed to have engaged in homosexual acts, regardless of actual sexual orientation. The stated rationale shifted over time—from concerns about national security to code words, such as “suitability”—but the point was always the same: government officials, federal and state, high and low, felt a complete revulsion toward homosexuals and wanted to purge the country of even the hint of homosexuality.
Animus, therefore, was a culture. And with that culture came a language. For decades, government officials referred to homosexuality in official, often highly confidential or privileged communications, as “unnatural,” “uniquely nasty,” “immoral,” “deviant,” “pervert[ed],” and an “abomination.” Even the FBI had a term for the program that it designed to rid the government of homosexuals—the “Sex Deviate Program.” Once it attached, whether based in fact or mere speculation, the label of homosexuality remained forever fixed. As one senior executive official wrote, “once a homo, always a homo.” And, as one state legislature put it, what homosexuals wanted was “recognition.” And “recognition” was something to fear….
The effort to purge “sex deviates” began well before President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 Executive Order 10450, but that action explicitly made “sexual perversion” a disqualification from federal employment. Congress was in on the act as well. The Mattachine amicus quotes from a 1950 document from the US Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department:
There is no place in the United States Government for persons who violate the laws or the accepted standards of morality, or who otherwise bring disrepute to the Federal service by infamous or scandalous personal conduct . . . . It is the opinion of this subcommittee that those who engage in acts of homosexuality and other perverted sex activities are unsuitable for employment in the Federal Government.
The federal government also worked in concert with anti-gay activities being carried out at the state level. One of the documents uncovered by Mattachine’s Freedom of Information Act requests is a 1963 note from Civil Service Commission General Counsel L. V. Meloy to Charley Johns, chairman of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee on Homosexuality and Citizenship.
The infamous Johns Report wallowed in salacious descriptions of “the special world of homosexuality” and warned of “aggressive homosexuals” seeking recognition and legal equality. The report described teachers engaging in sex in public bathrooms and little league coaches seducing teenagers, asserting, “The plain fact of the matter is that a great many homosexuals have an insatiable appetite for sexual activities and find special gratification in the recruitment to their ranks of youth.” The report included a glossary of “sex offenses” that were illegal under Florida law and eight pages of homosexual slang and “deviate acts.”
Meloy’s letter asking for “several copies” of the report said that the “Federal Government has related problems in this area and … [the] investigation will shed additional light on a most difficult problem in suitability for government employment.” The Florida committee specifically targeted gay teachers but also resulted, according to the Mattachine amicus, in the removal of at least 37 federal employees.
The brief also documents that the Civil Service Commission shifted its strategies in response to court rulings challenging its policies. The brief goes into some depth documenting the case of William Dew, an African American Air Force veteran. Dew was married with a pregnant wife when he was fired from his job as an air traffic controller in 1958 for having admitted years earlier as part of a job application to the CIA that he had experimented with gay sex when he was in college. After a six-year legal battle, culminating in the Supreme Court agreeing to hear Dew’s appeal, the government settled with him. But rather than loosening the CSC’s anti-gay policies, the government strengthened its resolve in the wake of the Dew settlement and, in the words of the Mattachine amicus, “demonstrated its willingness to use all of its resources to crush homosexuals and those who engaged in homosexual acts with its suitability standards.”
Following a 1969 DC Circuit Court ruling that challenged the firing of federal workers for something that had nothing to do with the performance of their jobs, the CSC General Counsel at that time, Anthony Mondello, argued that federal agencies would have a hard time attracting quality workers if applicants knew they might have to work with “people who repeatedly engaged in serious misconduct offensive to community standards.”
The CSC and its successor, the Office of Personnel Management, continued to target gay federal employees throughout the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s.
The Mattachine Society brief ends with an appeal to the Court’s history of addressing anti-gay animus:
The Dew case is important for another reason as well—one that goes to the heart of the cases now before this Court. For decades, there was no limit to the animus meted out against LGBT Americans and no end to its reach. It poisoned every institution in the United States and seeped into the lives of all Americans, not merely those of gays and lesbians. So too, the language of animus became commonplace among those in the highest positions in government: “homo,” “sexual deviant,” “pervert,” “abomination,” “uniquely nasty,” and other derogatory terms and phrases were used with bureaucratic ease as a way to define, cabin, and limit the citizenship of LGBT Americans. As the Dew case perfectly illustrates, the animus even extended to those who were not gay.
It was the courts—and in the case of Dew, this Court—that ultimately stepped in to set the course right. This Court knows animus when it sees it, and it has a well-established line of cases overturning laws that by their text, background history, and effect, relegate a class of citizens to second-class status. See, e.g., Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996); Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); and United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013). Indeed, this Court has already recognized the long history of discrimination and animus against homosexuals. See, e.g., Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 571.
The newly revealed documents cited herein merely reinforce what this Court already knows. For decades, there was a culture of animus against LGBT Americans that permeated every aspect of American life and every American institution. In many places, that culture continues to this day. To say that the marriage bans now at issue are not somehow the product of this historical animus is to ignore reality. We may not see the air that feeds the flame. But, for decades, animus against LGBT Americans fed the flames of hatred, revulsion, and disgust from which the current marriage bans arose.
The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. is optimistic about the impact of its brief. “The government attorneys who administered the federal ban on homosexuals have met their match in our pro bono counsel McDermott, Will & Emery’s powerful amicus brief," says Francis, "The McDermott brief is a lasting account of an unconstitutional ‘culture of animus’ embedded through seven Presidencies.”
As we mentioned earlier, the mood at Saturday’s Awakening conference in Florida around the issue of gay marriage was utter panic, and nowhere was that expressed more clearly than in a panel titled “Same-Sex Marriage and Sexual Rebellion: Freedom Under Fire,” moderated by off-the-rails anti-gay pundit Matt Barber and featuring a pastor, two “ex-gay” activists, and Rena Lindevaldsen, the Liberty University dean who has murky ties with the case of an “ex-lesbian” who fled the country with her daughter to defy a court order giving the child's other mother custody.
Lindevaldsen set the tone for the discussion when she lamented that too many conservative Christians aren’t committed to fighting gay rights and instead ask her “why is this such a big deal and why does it matter?”
"It's a big deal because it's a big deal to God," she declared.
Quoting the late Chuck Colson , she told the audience, “In every action we take, we are either helping to create a hell on Earth, or bringing down a foretaste of heaven…We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.”
“There’s no middle ground, there’s no neutrality, there is no compromise,” she added, telling Christians who are on the fence about gay rights that “it’s not loving” to let gay people “go on not knowing that God has a better plan for their lives, this is not the way that God designed them to be.”
“This is the heart of where Satan’s attacking,” she said. “He is seeking to destroy human sexuality and marriage. Why? Because we are the reflection, marriage is the reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. And so if you’re going to destroy the only human reflection we have of that, we’re going to destroy marriage.”
Our friends at American Bridge captured the audio:
Later in the panel, “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan similarly warned Christians not to be taken in by LGBT rights, saying that the Human Rights Campaign’s famous equals sign bumper stickers are “not about equality” but “about dominance” and hide an effort to destroy the Constitution.
(Audio again via American Bridge):
When you see that blue bumper sticker with that bright yellow sign, it’s not about equality, it’s about dominance. It’s about silencing any voice that’s against what they want to do. And the real issue is this — I want you to understand this. The Constitution of the United States is a Calvinist document — I’m not a Calvinist — it’s a Christian document, it was written by reformers, based on the word of God. The problem that the secular left has, secular progressives, whatever label you want to put on them, the anti-God folks, our Constitution. And their goal is to undo it, if that means by reinterpreting it rewriting it, but it is to undo it.
So know this, especially the homosexual agenda, if I go down the list, I got a thing called “the big pink plan for a lavender culture,” another talk I do, which goes to what the agenda is. I was there when they were talking about what they want to do. It’s not about equality, it’s about dominance.
At a panel discussion on abortion rights at this weekend’s Awakening conference, the topic at one point turned to how abortion rights advocates are supposedly nasty and mean while anti-choice activists are kind and compassionate to their adversaries.
This caused Vision America’s Rick Scarborough to recall the time God disrupted a protest of “radical homosexuals” from the gay rights group ACT UP when the late Jerry Falwell was speaking at his church in Texas.
Falwell, Scarborough recalled, asked him to send pitchers of ice water out to the protesters outside those church, “and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.”
Then, Scarborough recalled, “God got involved” and in an apparent act of solidarity with Falwell’s magnanimity drove away the “radical homosexuals” with a torrential downpour.
Falwell was speaking in our church back in the days of ACT UP. Radical homosexuals showed up, I mean the police literally stood between them and our congregation. Rev. Falwell said, ‘Rick, while I’m preaching, send your men out there with pitchers of ice water because it was a roaring July day in Texas. And so our men when out there and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.
And then God got involved. This is really humorous to think about and remember. But right about halfway through Dr. Falwell’s sermon, with these radical gays outside, we heard a clap of thunder and lightning…and a torrential rain fell. By the time he finished, the sun was shining, but the gays were wet and gone.
So, sometimes when we radically live the faith, God gets involved.