Censorship

Arizona School Board Votes To Remove Pages Of Biology Textbook That Aren't Anti-Abortion Enough

In response to a complaint from the Religious Right group Alliance Defending Freedom, a school board in Arizona has voted to remove pages of an honors high school biology book that ADF contends don’t show “an affirmative preference to childbirth and adoption as options to abortion” in describing various forms of contraception.

ADF based its complaint to the Gilbert, Arizona, school board on a 2012 state law that bans schools from providing instruction “that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion.” Although the school board’s lawyers and the state department of education both argued that the pages in question — one of which you can view here — didn’t violate the law, conservatives on the board went ahead with the page removal.

The textbook states that “Complete abstinence (avoiding intercourse) is the only totally effective method of birth control,” before launching into a straight-forward explanation of the workings of several methods of birth control, including emergency contraception.

One board member told Phoenix's 12 News that “by redacting, we are not censoring”:

Board member Julie Smith said the school district was breaking state law by using the book " Campbell Biology: Concepts and Connections ."

The 2-year-old state law, signed by Gov. Jan Brewer, bars school districts and charter schools from making presentations or providing instructional materials to pupils "that does not give preference, encouragement and support to childbirth and adoption as preferred options to elective abortion."

Smith said she raised questions about the text in January after a comment from a constituent. The Alliance Defending Freedom, a faith-based legal organization that recently defended Arizona's ban on same-sex marriage, raised the issue in a letter to Gilbert Superintendent Christina Kishimoto in August.

The focus is two pages in the book, titled "Contraception can prevent unwanted pregnancy."

The text says, "Complete abstinence (avoiding intercourse) is the only totally effective method of birth control." It also describes how the "morning after pill" works as a contraception method.

Board member Lily Tram said the board's decision to remove pages from the book, which has been used by the district since 2006, amounted to censorship.

Smith disagreed. "By redacting, we are not censoring," she said. "This school district does offer sexual education classes. If we were censoring we would not offer anything on this topic whatsoever."

Board President Stacy Burk said some parents had said they were ready to help remove or redact the pages in the textbook.

AFA Wants Libraries To Dump 'Sexually Perverse' Gay Children's Book

Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association was, unsurprisingly, upset to learn that some public libraries have been stocking “The Princes and the Treasure,” a children’s book that, in the words of its author Jeffrey Miles, "tells the story of two handsome princes who go on a quest to save a princess, but fall in love with each other, get married, and live happily ever after."

Fischer tells the Christian Post that “this book is a particularly pernicious form of sexually perverse propaganda” that “no responsible library should ever include” in its collection.

He adds that parents have the right not just to prevent their own kids from reading the book but to keep it from other children who might talk to their kids about it: "Christian parents don't want to be concerned only about their own children, they want to keep this kind of warped literature out of the hands of other children as well.”

Bryan Fischer, the director of issue analysis for the American Family Association, a nonprofit Christian organization that supports traditional marriage, told CP on Thursday that "because of the power fairy tales, this book is a particularly pernicious form of sexually perverse propaganda."

"The stories and the images that children store up in their minds from fairy tales have a very powerful imprinting effect on their tender young souls," Fischer said. "And the bottom line is that no responsible library should ever include a book like this on its shelves, and no responsible school should ever use this book as a part of its curriculum."

He continued, "The reality is that no library can stock every book that's ever been published. So libraries choose all the time not to stock certain books. There's nothing wrong with parents asking the library not to stock a book of this nature."

Fischer noted that Christian parents aren't only concerned about what their children are reading, but they're also concerned about the literature that's influencing other children in their communities.

"Christian parents don't want to be concerned only about their own children, they want to keep this kind of warped literature out of the hands of other children as well," he asserted. "And if parents want this book for their children, there's nothing to stop them from going to Amazon and buying it with their own money. But taxpayer dollars should not be spent on tripe like this."

We discussed similar book censorship efforts in our recent report, “Book Wars.”

Via Book Patrol.

Religious Right Activists Protest Play Over LGBT Themes

Anti-LGBT activists in Dallas and Oklahoma City are trying to shut down performances Paul Rudnick’s “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told,” a play that includes gay characters and takes a humorous look at Bible stories.

America Needs Fatima, a project of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property, is organizing a “public Rosary of Reparation against the blasphemous play” in Dallas this weekend.

Join our public Rosary of Reparation against the blasphemous play 'The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told' scheduled to show as “holiday fare” at the Kalita Humphreys Theater in Dallas, TX, on December 8...

…because “The Most Fabulous Story Ever Told” refers to Our Lady as a lesbian!



This is blasphemy.

I ask -- will God bless those who allow His Holy Mother to be dragged into the dirt of lesbian insults? Will He allow the Immaculate Conception to be turned into a homosexual party game?

A group of Oklahoma City pastors are going one step further and asking for a performance of the play in their area to be cancelled. The group, led by Paul Blair and Steve Kern , whose wife State Rep. Sally Kern claimed that homosexuality is “more dangerous” than terrorism, sent a letter [PDF] to state officials demanding that they stop the performance because “it is quite possible that this production meets the definition of obscenity and might be in violation of Federal and State obscenity laws.”

The pastors said that the government should “cease funding the Arts Council” until the play — which is produced by a nonprofit theater company — is pulled. The theater company producing the show says it already lost a $5,000 state arts council grant after Religious Right activists started complaining about the play.

A First Amendment law professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law told The Oklahoman that he
didn't see enough data in the ministers' letter to conclude that an obscenity prosecution was possible or plausible.”

AFA Wants Toni Morrison's 'Pornography' Censored From Common Core

Last month, PFAW Foundation reported on a school board in Colorado that was considering removing Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye from its high school curriculum after parents objected to the book’s frank depiction of racism and sexual violence in the Depression-era Midwest.

In a board meeting last week, the school board decided to continue allowing English teachers to teach the book but to require that students submit a parental permission slip before reading it.

Now, the book’s appearance in the Common Core curriculum’s list of possible high school English texts has drawn the wrath of One Million Moms, an arm of the American Family Association, which is issuing an “ultimatum” for the book to be removed from Common Core's materials.

In an interview with the Christian Post this week, One Million Moms director Monica Cole said Morrison’s work is “no different than pornography” and found the need to condemn a pedophile character’s “use of the Lord's name to justify his actions,” claiming that this character is actually "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."

"This book is no different than pornography," Monica Cole, director of One Million Moms, an online advocacy arm of the American Family Association, told The Christian Post in a Monday interview. She then linked pornography to human trafficking, rape, sexual violence, and even sexual slavery.

The author reportedly said "she wanted the reader to feel as though they are a 'co-conspirator' with the rapist," so "she took pains to make sure she never portrayed the actions as wrong in order to show how everyone has their own problems." The book narrates cases of pedophilia, rape, and incest which the author described as "friendly," "innocent," and "tender."

Cole said she was "speechless," that this book would be on the recommended reading list, and she set an ultimatum. "The material that is sexually graphic, we don't agree with it and it needs to be pulled from the curriculum immediately," she stated firmly.

Cole also condemned the pedophile's use of the Lord's name to justify his actions – "I work only through the Lord. He sometimes uses me to help people," the character claims. The director of One Million Moms called this "an extremely sneaky way to involve violence in the school system."

The director asked why books like this one, as opposed to the classics, are recommended to children. She mentioned "millions of books to recommend" as opposed to this one.

Cole stressed that neither One Million Moms nor the American Family Association has yet taken a stand against Common Core in general, but when it comes to The Bluest Eye, she proved more definitive. "Nothing good will come of this," she proclaimed.

The Christian Post also asked Family Research Council senior fellow Peter Sprigg about the book. Sprigg agreed that The Bluest Eye should be censored from Common Core’s recommended reading list and fretted about what Common Core means for "community moral standards," but betrayed a slightly more nuanced understanding of the purpose of fiction:

Cases like this, Sprigg explained, inflame the debate over national education standards. While he emphasized that the Family Research Council has not yet taken a stand on the issue, he defended as legitimate the fear that Common Core "will not leave room for community standards to be applied – especially moral community standards."

While Cole argued that Morrison, the book's author, likely used the book to argue for moral relativism, Sprigg gave her the benefit of the doubt. He argued that Morrison might have just wanted the reader to feel empathy for a wrongdoer – not to condone actions like rape and pedophilia.

Morrison’s book has also come under criticism from Glenn Beck’s The Blaze, which warned, “The book — a past selection of Oprah’s Book Club — has graphic sex scenes and descriptions that are likely to make you blush.”

FRC Promotes Pro-Censorship Group, Slams American Library Association’s Library Privacy Work

In his Washington Update radio address today, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins slams the American Library Association for a curriculum that educates students about their library privacy rights. Perkins quotes the concerns of Parents Against Bad Books in Schools, a group that encourages parents to challenge “sensitive, controversial and inappropriate material” in school libraries, including such books as Beloved, One Hundred Years of Solitude, and The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants.

“School libraries,” Perkins says, “are one place where liberalism has a long shelf life”:

In the library, what kids are really checking out is a new ideology. Hello, I'm Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council in Washington, D.C. School libraries are one place where liberalism has a long shelf life. For years, the American Library Association's been funneling inappropriate material to kids. And stopping them just got a whole lot harder. The Left wing's favorite billionaire, George Soros, is giving the ALA a half-million dollars a year to develop a "privacy curriculum" that teaches kids how to "bust through censor walls," "encrypt their communication," and "override filters." Even worse, librarians are told "to inform students that their book circulation data will never be shared with anyone, including their parents." Groups like Parents Against Bad Books in Schools are fighting back, but they need your help. "If enough parents become aware of how many objectionable books there are in [circulation] and work together in constantly challenging them, things can improve considerably," said a spokesman. Otherwise, what libraries will be lending isn't books--but a helping hand to the Left.

For what it’s worth, here are the American Library Association’s guidelines on privacy in school libraries:

Students as Library Users: Students who use school libraries need to learn about the concepts of privacy and confidentiality. They may not know the dangers of sharing personally identifiable information with others. School library media specialists may face the situation of an adult asking for information pertaining to students' library use. These situations must be handled in accordance with all school and library policies. In an ideal situation, that information would not be released. Teachers should not be able to "check" on students to see if they have borrowed assigned readings or used specific resources. School library media specialists are best served when they assist teachers in developing classroom procedures and policies that preserve user privacy and meet educational goals.

CNSNews Discovers More Yuletide Gays at the Smithsonian

CNSNews’ Penny Starr caused an uproar in 2010 when she published a story titled, “Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts.” Starr’s story, a breathless review of a groundbreaking National Portrait Gallery exhibit on the gay and lesbian experience in American art, started a textbook case of the right-wing controversy machine, ultimately resulting in the Smithsonian’s removal of a work from the exhibit.

Apparently encouraged by last Christmas’s triumph, Starr is at it again. Her new target: a National Portrait Gallery exhibit on Gertrude Stein and Alice B. Toklas. That the Smithsonian would twice in a row acknowledge the existence of gay people during the winter months is too much for Starr:

For the second year in a row, the federally funded National Portrait Gallery (NPG), a part of the Smithsonian Institution, held an exposition during the Christmas season focused on the homosexual lifestyle.


“Seeing Gertrude Stein: Five Stories,” an exhibition appearing at the NPG from Oct. 14, 2011 through Jan. 22, 2012, focuses on lesbian activist and writer Gertrude Stein.


The exhibit, set up in five rooms at the taxpayer-funded museum, highlights Stein’s lesbian relationship with Alice B. Toklas and Stein’s “second family” of homosexual men, some of whom collaborated with Stein on various projects.


On the wall at the entrance to the exhibit, Stein is described as “one of America’s most famous writers.” It gives brief descriptions of each of the five stories, including “Domestic Stein,” which “looks at the lesbian partnership of Stein and Alice B. Toklas, focusing on their distinctive dress, home décor, hospitality, food and pets.” The “Art of Friendship,” the introduction says, “explores Stein's relationships and collaborations after World War I with the neoromantics, a circle of international artists who were young, male, and gay.”
 

Catholic League’s Bill Donohue Cries out for Attention

Last Friday, PFAW Foundation president Michael Keegan invited Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn to a public debate on arts censorship and religious liberty in light of the controversy over a new exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum. The invitation still stands, and we look forward to a productive and substantive conversation with Bishop DiMarzio.

In the meantime though, the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue – who fancies himself a spokesperson for the church and, for that matter, all Catholic Americans – has issued us a self-serving challenge to debate him instead. In another century, a guy like Donohue might have challenged us to a duel. With his typical arrogance, Donohue writes (PDF):
Please be advised that I am in a win-win situation and you are in a lose-lose. If you say yes, you will lose the debate. If you say no, I will tell the entire world. I expect an answer by December 9, three weeks from today.
In fact, debating Donohue would be the lose-lose. Donohue is a press hound of the worst sort who feeds off contrived controversies. He has also demonstrated an utter inability to carry on a civil conversation with those who don’t agree with his distorted world view. Instead he engages in personal attacks and intellectually dishonest diatribes. It would be a mistake to provide any more oxygen to Donohue’s one-man outrage machine. So we won’t.
 
If anyone needs a reminder of Bill Donohue’s views, here are just a few of his “greatest hits”:
  • “Hollywood is controlled by secular Jews who hate Christianity in general and Catholicism in particular. It‘s not a secret, OK? And I‘m not afraid to say it… Hollywood likes anal sex... I like families. I like children. They like abortions.” – link
  • “It’s unfortunate that we have [progressive Catholics], I regard them as termites.” – link
  • “Why did this young man not object earlier? Why did he allow the ‘abuse’ to continue until he was 18? The use of the quotes is deliberate: the charge against the former priest is not rape, but rubbing. While still objectionable, there is a glacial difference between being rubbed and raped.” – link
  • “There is a huge difference between being groped and being raped, so which was it Mr. Foley? Second, why didn’t you just smack the clergyman in the face? After all, most 15-year-old teenage boys wouldn’t allow themselves to be molested. So why did you?” – link
  • “Gays were all of a sudden worrying if people would start aborting kids when they found out the DNA suggested the kid might be gay or God forbid, we'd run out of little gay kids, so all of a sudden, they became pro-life.” – link
  • “Name for me a book publishing company in this country, particularly in New York, which would allow you to publish a book which would tell the truth about the gay death style.” – link
  • “What about the gook jokes? I want to know, why don't you have a sense of humor about gook jokes?” – link

 

Religious Right Abandons Brooklyn Museum Protests – Anti-Da Vinci Code Group and Pro-Censorship Artist Carry on the Fight

Last year, when the Smithsonian hosted “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture,” a groundbreaking exhibit exploring gay and lesbian themes in American art, the Religious Right unified in protest. Inspired by a CNSNews story titled “Smithsonian Christmas-Season Exhibit Features Ant-Covered Jesus, Naked Brothers Kissing, Genitalia, and Ellen DeGeneres Grabbing Her Breasts,” and egged on by the Catholic League’s Bill Donohue, the campaign against the exhibit quickly gained the support of soon-to-be House Speaker John Boehner and Majority Leader Eric Cantor. Within a day they succeeded in pressuring the Smithsonian to remove the most controversial work from the exhibit, David Wojnarowicz’s A Fire in My Belly.

Last week, the exhibit opened at the Brooklyn Museum, famously the site of the Giuliani-fueled controversy over the 1999 “Sensation” show. Within days, the Roman Catholic Bishop of Brooklyn sent a letter to the museum protesting the exhibit, and a small coalition of GOP elected officials followed up with a letter accusing the museum of “Christian-bashing.” New York Post columnist Andrea Peyser also weighed in, calling the Wojnarwicz work “a revolting piece of slime.”

However, the museum hasn’t budged in its support for the show, and the Right’s efforts to censor the work have mostly fizzled. Donohue himself has decided it’s not worth expending too much effort –instead simply issuing a statement reiterating his disgust with the exhibit and accusing Wojnarowicz of bringing about his own death from AIDS.

Left to fill the vacuum so far have been a far-right Catholic group inspired by a Brazilian fascist movement and an artist who was previously known for painting a heroic George W. Bush on horseback holding Osama bin Laden’s severed head.

On Sunday,America Needs Fatima, a campaign of the American Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family, and Property (TFP), held a protest in front of the museum. TFP is a spin-off of a Brazilian movement that has been called “neo-fascist.” TFP’s foundational text is a treatise by founder Plinio Correa de Oliveira, which argues that the Protestant Reformation, the Enlightenment, the French Revolution and Communism have in their turn undone a natural order that must be restored. While the main American branch of TFP mostly focuses on anti-gay propaganda [pdf], America Needs Fatima is dedicated to organizing “anti-blasphemy” campaigns against targets like The Da Vinci Code, editorial cartoons and Madonna’s planned performance at the 2012 Super Bowl.

The other notable protest against the Brooklyn Museum has been that of Staten Island artist Scott LoBaido, who was thrown out of the museum after showing up with a painting of the museum’s director sitting on a toilet filled with green muck. LoBaido has been protesting art that he sees as blasphemous since at least 1999, when he was arrested for throwing horse manure at the Brooklyn Museum to protest the “Sensation” exhibit. His own work is not always negative, though. Along with his year-long project painting flags on rooftops across America, LoBaido has created fawning, heroic portraits of Ronald Reagan and of George W. Bush brandishing the head of Osama bin Laden.

 

Republicans Advocate Censorship Of New York Exhibit

On Friday, the Brooklyn Museum will begin hosting “Hide/Seek,” an exhibit about the experience of gays and lesbians in American art that provoked a firestorm of criticism from the Religious Right when it opened at the National Portrait Gallery last year. The New York museum has decided to include in its show A Fire in My Belly, the compilation of video work by the late artist David Wojnarowicz that was ultimately removed from the National Portrait Gallery show. Now, in what feels like a replay of last year’s drama at the Smithsonian, Republican politicians in New York are attacking the Brooklyn Museum for hosting “Hide/Seek” and Wojnarowicz’s work and demanding that it censor the exhibit.

The film A Fire In My Belly, a compilation of surrealist film footage exploring the suffering of people with HIV/AIDS, which was pulled from the National Portrait Gallery following complaints from Republican and Religious Right figures. While the Brooklyn Museum is defending itself from censorship proponents, Republican politicians are beginning to make threats against the museum. Republican state senator Andrew Lanza introduced legislation to have the government withdraw “all public funding of the museum”:

“It is outrageous for an institution that accepts funding from city, state and federal governments to display content that is so blatantly disrespectful and offensive to Christians during the holiday season,” said Senator Andrew Lanza. “Taxpayers shouldn't have to pay for hatred and ignorance.”

Senator Lanza believes that the actions of the Museum are analogous to a hate crime. He is calling for all public funding of the museum to be withdrawn.

Rep. Michael Grimm, Councilman James Oddo, Councilman Vincent Ignizio, Assemblywoman Nicole Malliotakis, Assemblyman Lou Tobacco and Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro signed onto a letter condemning the exhibit:

In 1999, the Museum presented the shock art exhibit “Sensation,” which featured a painting of the Blessed Mother Mary surrounded by pornographic images and covered in elephant dung. This week, the Museum is opening another controversial exhibit, “Hide/Seek,” which will include a film featuring ants crawling over the image of Jesus on a crucifix – just in time for the Christmas season. This is not art, this is Christian-bashing. This is an outrageous use of taxpayer money by the nation’s second-largest art museum, and an obvious attempt to offend Christians on the eve of one of the holiest times of the Christian faith. … As I’m sure you’re aware, this sacrilegious film was pulled from an exhibit at the Smithsonian last year after House Speaker John Boehner and House Majority Leader Eric Cantor objected to the use of taxpayer dollars to show a film patently offensive to Christians. I respectfully request that you do the same.

Bill Donohue of the Catholic League, who led the charge to censor the Smithsonian exhibit, condemned the New York exhibit in a statement. “The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS,” Donohue writes. “The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed.”

For Arnold Lehman, there is no such thing as anti-Catholic art. Catholics who disagree are apparently too stupid to appreciate the complexities of these masterpieces. For example, in 1999 Lehman said it was not anti-Catholic for an artist to smear elephant dung and pornographic pictures on a portrait of Our Blessed Mother (he loved the “Sensation” exhibition). Now he says that a video featuring large ants crawling all over Jesus on the Cross is actually a statement about “human suffering and death.” Guess us stupid Catholics missed that one, too.



The fact is that the artist who made the vile video died of self-inflicted wounds: he died of AIDS. The homosexual, David Wojnarowicz, hated the Catholic Church (had he lived by its teachings, he would not have self-destructed). He once referred to Cardinal John O’Connor as a “fat cannibal,” and labeled the Catholic Church a “house of walking swastikas.” Sounds like the words of a bigot. But perhaps I’m too stupid not to understand that they were really meant to endear the artist to the Catholic community.

Rep. Ted Poe: Obama Administration Is "Anti-Religious"

Speaking with Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on Washington Watch last week, Texas Republican Rep. Ted Poe accused President Obama and his administration of promoting policies that are “anti-religious.” Poe and Perkins were discussing with the manufactured controversy over a Texas veteran’s cemetery that prohibits a volunteer group from holding religious services at a funeral if the family does not request it. The New York Times points out that this rule was created in 2007 by the Bush administration, but according to Poe, the policy is actually all Obama’s fault.

As Kyle noted, “To the Religious Right, preventing outside groups from attending funerals and offering prayers at services where they are not wanted or requested is a violation of the religious freedom of the volunteers.” Last month, Poe attacked the cemetery director as “anti-Christian, anti-religion and anti-veteran” and introduced legislation that he said would end the supposed “religious censorship.”

In his conversation with Poe last week, Perkins claimed that “this is symptomatic of a much larger problem that we’re seeing in this administration where this type of hostility, I would describe it as, toward traditional, orthodox religious views is being unleashed.” Poe said that he agreed with Perkins’ assessment and went on to blame the Obama administration for having an “anti-religious” bias.

Perkins: This is symptomatic of a much larger problem that we’re seeing in this administration where this type of hostility, I would describe it as, toward traditional, orthodox religious views is being unleashed. We won this battle but the war is far from over, so you’ve got legislation that will say, ‘hey, nowhere in this country will veterans be denied their rights nor their families to the right to these religious services in federal cemeteries,’ so where does that legislation stand?

Poe: The legislation has been filed and it is before the Veterans Affairs Committee in the House of Representatives. As soon as they get a hearing we’ll get it to the floor as soon as we can and get a vote on it, and I see no reason why it wouldn’t pass. What you say Tony is exactly correct. It is my opinion that the administration—this problem is systematic throughout the administration in areas that it’s just almost anti-religious, non-religious and anti-religious in areas such as this. We’re calling them out on this to stop this nonsense.

Bill Donohue Condemns Jeffress As A "Poster Boy For Hatred"

Last week we posted audio of Robert Jeffress, the prominent Rick Perry endorser who introduced the candidate at the Values Voter Summit, condemning the Roman Catholic faith as a “counterfeit religion” that represents “the genius of Satan” in a sermon last year. Jeffress linked the Catholic Church to a Satanic “Babylonian mystery religion” that worshiped a fish god and warned that Catholics will “miss eternal life” because of their religion’s supposed paganism:

Catholicism isn’t the only religion that has encountered hostility from Jeffress: he is best known for calling Mormonism a cult that is “from the pit of Hell.” He has argued that Hindus, Muslims and Jews are also destined for Hell.

Today, right-wing Catholic activist Bill Donohue of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights released a statement slamming Jeffress for having “demonized” the Catholic faith. In 2008, Donohue called on John McCain to renounce one of his endorsers, John Hagee, who has a history of anti-Catholic rhetoric and once said that God sent Hitler to be a “hunter” of Jews. While McCain ultimately rejected Hagee’s endorsement, Perry has so far refused to disavow Jeffress:

Last Friday, Rev. Robert Jeffress, the Dallas pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit, spoke derisively about the Mormon faith of Mitt Romney, making the case that “Mormonism is a cult.” Two days later, he chided Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as “false religions.”

Last year, Rev. Jeffress said the Roman Catholic Church was the outgrowth of a “corruption” called the “Babylonian mystery.” He continued, “Much of what you see in the Catholic Church today doesn’t come from God’s word. It comes from that cult-like pagan religion. Isn’t that the genius of Satan?”

Catholic League president Bill Donohue offered these remarks today:

Where did they find this guy? When theological differences are demonized by the faithful of any religion—never mind by a clergyman—it makes a mockery of their own religion. Rev. Jeffress is a poster boy for hatred, not Christianity.

Donohue Likens LGBT Rights Movement To Apartheid, Denies Ever Leading Pressure Campaigns

The Catholic League has rallied to the defense of their anti-gay allies the Family Research Council and Focus on the Family as a reaction to a campaign by LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates to have corporations drop out of the Charity Give Back Group, which sponsors the FRC and Focus. The Charity Give Back Group (formerly known as the Christian Values Network) allows customers to shop in a virtual mall and direct proceeds to CGBG affiliated groups, which led to complaints as a number of the CGBG’s charities are actually anti-choice and anti-gay political groups.

Yesterday, Bill Donohue joined Tony Perkins, the president of the Family Research Council, on his radio program Washington Watch. “Radical proponents of gay marriage have taken the culture war to the marketplace,” Donohue said in a statement on the CGBG controversy, charging them with declaring “economic war against any organization that embraces the Judeo-Christian understanding of marriage.” He told activists: “If these extremists get their way, they will silence the Christian voice. Which is why the bullies must be defeated.”

Of course, it is ironic for the Catholic League to accuse “extremists” of trying to “silence” the voices of their opponents, seeing as that Donohue led the successful push for the Smithsonian to censor their exhibit on LGBT-themed art.

But the irony doesn’t end there.

During his interview with Perkins, Donohue denied that Religious Right organizations like the Catholic League or the Family Research Council lead similar pressure campaigns, saying “our side doesn’t do likewise,” continuing, “I don’t want people to say, ‘oh well you know Catholics and Protestants and Christians in general when we don’t get our way we try to do the same thing through retaliation,’ we do not.” He asserted, “we’re not asking companies, corporations to take sides in the culture war…we’re not asking for reprisal against those people with whom we disagree, we just leave the marketplace to itself.”

Donohue also warned Perkins that just as South Africa’s white minority held power for decades under the racist Apartheid system, supporters of gay rights can do the same in America:

If people don’t realize what we’re up against here, they may be a minority but you know it was a minority of people in South Africa who took away the rights of Black people. You can be a well-organized minority in this country here such as those on the left, gay and straight alike, and have a tremendous amount of influence if you have this lust and appetite for power.

While we already know that the Family Research Council backed pressure campaigns against companies like Wal-Mart and McDonalds, the Catholic League under Donohue has led countless boycotts and pressure campaigns.

Here are some of the companies and programs that Donohue launched what he would call “retaliation” and “reprisal” campaigns against: Disney; 20th Century Fox; Wal-Mart; ‘The Golden Compass;’ Miller; Showtime, and CBS, which it promised to face the “biggest boycott in history” if CBS hired Howard Stern.

So remember, when LGBT rights and women’s rights advocates ask companies to drop out of a service that directs money to right-wing political organizations, it’s “economic war,” but when Religious Right groups lead boycotts and pressure campaigns against companies, they are simply standing up for their values.

Fact Sheet: Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

Updated 8/5/2011

On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.

In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."

Perry told James Dobson that the rally was necessary because Americans have “turned away from God.

The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.

The American Family Association

The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.

Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:

Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:

  • AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
  • AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
  • The head of the AFA’s women’s group led a boycott against Glee because she accused it of indoctrinating children in homosexuality and idolatry.The editor of AFA Journal Ed Vitagliano said that gay pride months are an affront to the Founding Fathers and will usher in “a return to pagan sexuality.”
  • A columnist for the AFA demanded Christians stop practicing yoga because it was inspired by the “evil” religions of Buddhism and Hinduism.

International House of Prayer

The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.

Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:

IHOP’s founder and executive director, Mike Bickle, who is an official endorser of The Response, like Engle pushes radical End Times prophesies. In one sermon, he declared that Oprah Winfrey is a precursor to the Antichrist.

The International House of Prayer, incidentally, remains locked in a copyright infringement lawsuit with the International House of Pancakes.

Tony Perkins

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:

Jim Garlow

One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.

Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.

Garlow has a long record of extreme rhetoric. He:

John Hagee

While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.

John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:

James Dobson


James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:

  • is no fan of the women’s movement, writing that women are just “waiting for their husbands to assume leadership” ;
  • claims that marriage equality will “destroy the Earth”;
  • insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
  • Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”

David Barton


David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.


Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:

  • Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
  • Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
  • Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.


Other Allies


Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:

  • Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
  • Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
  • Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
  • Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
  • C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
  • Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
  • John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
  • James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
  • Alice Smith, who advocates "spiritual housecleaning" because demons "sneak into" homes through everyday objects.
  • Willie Wooten, a self-proclaimed “apostle” who claims that God is punishing the African American community for supporting gay rights, reproductive freedom and the Democratic Party.
  • Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
  • Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
  • Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."

 

Right Wing Round-Up

Right Wing Leftovers

  • Why am I not surprised that the Religious Right claim that a Texas military cemetery banned religious expression is wildly off-base?
  • Fox News daringly exposes the left-wing plot to “eradicate the poor” through birth control.
  • Opponents of teaching evolution suffer a major defeat in Texas.
  • Quote of the day from Bryan Fischer: “Alas, the homosexual lobby is rapidly turning us into China and the former Soviet Union. Christians are now being treated officially as second-class citizens with far fewer human and civil rights than those who engage in aberrant sexual behavior.”

Van Impe Breaks With TBN Over "Censorship" Of Program Accusing Rick Warren of Promoting "Chrislam"

Back in April, we posted a video of Jerry Boykin warning of the dangers of so-called "Chrislam," claiming there could be no hope of creating dialogue between Christians and Muslims and warning Christian not to allows Muslims to use their facilities for worship. 

One of the leaders Boykin cited as falling into this "Chrislam" trap was Rick Warren ... and it appears that Boykin was not alone as Michigan televangelist Jack Van Impe has now broken with Trinity Broadcasting Network claiming TBN censored him by refusing to air a program accusing Warren and others of undermining Christianity:  

Michigan televangelist Jack Van Impe ended his decades-long relationship with Trinity Broadcast Network late last week after becoming embroiled in a controversy with pastors Rick Warren and Robert H. Schuller ... Officials for TBN, based in Tustin, Calif., said they had to censor a Van Impe show set to run June 6 because he accused Warren and Schuller of trying to combine Christian and Muslim beliefs into a new movement called "Chrislam."

...

The head of TBN said he was not going to allow Van Impe to use his station to attack other religious leaders.

"It has been my position for TBN's 38 years of ministry that TBN preach(es) Christ only and that it does not become a bully pulpit for endless debate and/or criticism on/of various doctrinal issues among denominations," said Paul Crouch, president and founder of churches, ministries or individuals.

"Specifically, it has been TBN's policy not to allow its broadcast air time to be utilized for personal attacks by one Christian brother against another or to call them out by name," added Crouch in a statement.

A spokesman for Van Impe said "after much time in prayer" the Van Impes decided to part ways with TBN.

"We would not be able to minister effectively if we had to look over our shoulder wondering if a program was going to be censored because of mentioning a name," said Ken Vancil, executive director of the Jack Van Impe Ministries.

Focus On The Family Pushes Back Against Criticism Of Their Anti-Anti-Bullying Campaign

On Monday, Focus on the Family kicked off their first Day of Dialogue, which replaced the Day of Truth that had been sponsored by the “ex-gay” group Exodus International. Brad Clark, the executive director of One Colorado, wrote an open letter to Focus on the Family calling for them to work towards building “a true dialogue about what it means to be LGBT—instead of encouraging young people to spread harmful rhetoric to vulnerable youth in our schools.”

Focus on the Family has consistently claimed that anti-bullying programs send students a “homosexual message” and are part of a “pro-homosexual curriculum” made by “gay activists” who are “infiltrating classrooms under the cover of ‘anti-bullying’ or ‘safe schools’ initiatives.” Candi Cushman is the point person in their campaign against bullying-prevention programs, and heads their True Tolerance program and Day of Dialogue, which heavily propagates the view that gay people can change their sexual orientation through “reparative therapy.”

Unsurprisingly, Cushman accused Clark of promoting censorship and attacked the anti-bullying Day of Silence, where students remain silent throughout the school day to show solidarity with bullied and closeted LGBT students:

However, Clark's suggestion that kids merely expressing their faith-based viewpoints in a loving and peaceful way in their own schools is the moral equivalent of practicing sexual violence and physical harm is a rather frightening stance. Carried out to its full and logical conclusion, such reasoning becomes a convenient tool for censorship, an idea not only contrary to the tenets of academia, but contrary to the principles of free speech and thought that have not only made this country great - but that have made this country possible.

Consider, as an example, what occurred Monday: Thousands of Christian students in public high schools and colleges across 42 states and some foreign countries participated in a new, Focus on the Family-sponsored event called the Day of Dialogue. This event was designed to create a safe space and equal access for different viewpoints, including faith-based ones, partially in response to the Day of Silence, which has been celebrated in thousands of public schools nationwide for the past 15 years.

Sponsored by one of the nation's largest homosexual advocacy groups, Day of Silence is a day when educators are encouraged to have materials in their classroom addressing homosexual, bisexual and transgender topics from the sole perspective of that sponsoring group. What Day of Dialogue is meant to help facilitate is a true, free exchange of ideas and open conversations, rather than the silencing of certain viewpoints.

As Cody J. Sanders, a Baptist minister, notes in Religion Dispatches, by constantly playing the victim and attacking gays, Focus on the Family does not promote genuine dialogue at all:

Supposed “threats to religious freedom” and the language of “all-out, full-scale attack” produce war-like images that serve only to demonize those with whom one is to dialogue. It becomes a bit clearer why the Day of Dialogue site offers no assistance to students who wish to listen to the views of their dialogue partners. When the (LGBT) dialogue partner is constructed as the “enemy” whose way of being in the world is fundamentally evil, corrupt, pathological or anti-Christian, there is really no need to dialogue.

Since the language of “threat to freedom in America,” the corrosion of “constitutionally protected rights,” and “full-scale attack” is the language typically used when trying to justify engaging in the violence of war, one wonders if “dialogue” is just a polite cover for a more insidious intention.



When one dialogue partner defines gay marriage as a “controversial sexual topic” contrary to “God’s truth” prior to engaging the views of the other, what possibilities exist for dialogue? An a priori assumption about what constitutes the “true view” of the Divine (which is, of course, the view one already holds) disallows the necessity of actually listening to and engaging the views of other dialogue partners.

Right Wing Round-Up

Donohue: Everyone in the History of the World has Hated Gay People

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady,” Donohue claims, “How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?”

Donohue, no stranger to consistently promoting anti-gay bigotry himself, said in a statement:

Some homosexual Polish soccer fans are demanding that a separate seating section be created at the 2012 European Soccer Championship in Poland; they claim that gays and lesbians might otherwise be subjected to harassment and violence. Their plea would be of no interest to the Catholic League save for a comment made by the AP reporter who wrote the story from Warsaw.

The following is a direct quote from the news story: "Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country."

Let's follow the logic. Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady. Not only that, we are to believe that the problem in this case is not delirious homosexuals taking up the cause of segregation, it's the Catholic Church's teachings on sexual ethics.

How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic? That such ideological nonsense can appear in a sports article in a prominent media outlet shows just how far standards have fallen in journalism. It also shows how gay-crazy and anti-Catholic many in the media have become.

Donohue: Everyone in the History of the World has Hated Gay People

On Wednesday, the Associated Press reported that a group of openly gay soccer fans requested that the European Championships soccer matches set up separate seating for gay and lesbian attendees out of fear of anti-gay violence in Poland. Catholic League president Bill Donohue unsurprisingly took offense to the way the reporter cited “the teachings” of the Catholic Church as a reason for anti-gay views that are commonplace in Poland, and derided the “gay-crazy and anti-Catholic” media for pointing out the church’s attitude towards gays. “If being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady,” Donohue claims, “How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic?”

Donohue, no stranger to consistently promoting anti-gay bigotry himself, said in a statement:

Some homosexual Polish soccer fans are demanding that a separate seating section be created at the 2012 European Soccer Championship in Poland; they claim that gays and lesbians might otherwise be subjected to harassment and violence. Their plea would be of no interest to the Catholic League save for a comment made by the AP reporter who wrote the story from Warsaw.

The following is a direct quote from the news story: "Homophobia also remains deeply embedded in Poland because of the legacy of communism which treated homosexuality as a taboo and the teachings of the church in the predominantly Roman Catholic country."

Let's follow the logic. Every world religion is either opposed to homosexuality or takes no position on it; not one finds it acceptable. So if being opposed to homosexuality makes one phobic, then almost the entire world (throughout all of history) suffers the same malady. Not only that, we are to believe that the problem in this case is not delirious homosexuals taking up the cause of segregation, it's the Catholic Church's teachings on sexual ethics.

How about adultery and incest—is opposition to them also phobic? That such ideological nonsense can appear in a sports article in a prominent media outlet shows just how far standards have fallen in journalism. It also shows how gay-crazy and anti-Catholic many in the media have become.
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