Election 2012

Another Rick Perry Endorser tells Voters to Reject Romney over Mormonism

We frequently hear from conservative commentators that Religious Right voters have no problem with supporting a Mormon politician and any anti-Mormon sentiments actually come from the left and the media. But today on American Family Radio’s The Matt Friedman Show, Rick Scarborough of Vision America said he refuses to support Mitt Romney in the primary because he is a Mormon. Scarborough is a prominent endorser and ally of Texas Gov. Rick Perry, whose campaign earlier this year promoted the fiercely anti-Mormon pastor Robert Jeffress, and is best known for organizing “patriot pastors.” Scarborough previously signed a letter with other Religious Right activists opposing Romney, and told Friedeman that he disagreed with Chuck Colson and Franklin Graham for saying that voters should not reject Romney outright because of his faith.

Like Jeffress, Scarborough said he would ultimately vote for a Mormon over Barack Obama but would certainly not support Romney “as long as there is another candidate” because Mormonism is “so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries.”

Watch:

Friedeman: I’m asking you here, with Franklin Graham and Chuck Colson coming out and saying Mormonism isn’t that big of a deal in this presidential election, do you agree?

Scarborough: I do not agree. I respect profoundly both of those men for a myriad of reasons, but I do not agree with that statement. Right now, the most prominent spokesperson for our values in the radio field is Glenn Beck, who is an avowed Mormon, and now the leading presidential candidate is an avowed Mormon. Because of the state of the spiritual life of our country right now, I just think that’s a place I don’t want to go. And the other side of that is, what is not spoken are some of the details of Mormonism, which will be aired completely in a presidential race and I think it will make it difficult if this man secures the nomination for him to be elected just because there are some aspects of the doctrines of Mormonism that are so outside the realm of normal, theological boundaries, that I think it will be a real issue if he got the nomination. Now if the choice comes down for me between a Mormon and Barack Obama, I’d vote for the Mormon every time, but I’m certainly not going to support him as long as there is another candidate.

Dobson Salutes Santorum for 'Standing up for Righteousness'

On December 16, Rick Santorum and his wife Karen joined James Dobson on his radio show Family Talk in a program, broadcasted today, where the Focus on the Family founder gushed that Santorum and his wife “epitomize what a Christian family is all about.” Today’s show comes a day after Santorum received the endorsement of leading Iowa Religious Right figures, and weeks following Michele Bachmann’s appearance on Family Talk, where Dobson hailed her and her husband as “role models.”

The conversation stayed clear of over political rhetoric and mostly focused on their family life, but the Focus on the Family founder lauded Santorum has the “guts” for “not being afraid” to speak “about the family, about marriage about childrearing, about the principles that we find in Scripture”:

Dobson: LuAnne, I’m looking forward to this program too because we’re honored to have the former US Senator Rick Santorum with us in the studio and also with us by phone is his lovely wife Karen, I have worked with both of these folks before and I love them like members of my own family and it’s just great to have them with us. These folks have been good friends for many years and they epitomize what a Christian family is all about.



Let me just express appreciation to you for standing up for righteousness, not being afraid to do so, speaking often about the family, about marriage about childrearing, about the principles that we find in Scripture. You have had the guts to do that, and with Karen more than that, to live it out, and that is very, very impressive to all of us.

Bachmann Pledges to Separate Marital Duties from Public Office

Conservatives erupted in anger after Byron York of the Washington Examiner asked Michele Bachmann about her 2006 comments, where she explained that she decided to study tax law and later to run for Congress at the urging of her husband, saying that the Bible tells wives “to be submissive to your husbands.” As Sarah Posner explained, the “submission theology” establishes strict gender roles:

Submission theology is built around the notion that God has a “design” for men and for women; that they are unique from each other and have their designated, God-given roles. The husband is the spiritual head of the household, the wife his obedient “helpmeet,” the vessel for their children, devoted mother, and warrior for the faith. By committing themselves to those gender roles, evangelicals believe they are obeying God’s commands. They see the wife’s obligation to obey her husband’s authority as actually owed to God, not her husband.

When she appeared on Stave Deace’s radio show yesterday, Bachmann was asked to respond to “Christian women struggling with the idea of a woman president.” She seemed to dodge the question by attempting to differentiate the responsibilities she has to her husband in the home and her obligations as a public official:

Deace: I’ve heard from plenty of Christian women struggling with the idea of a woman president, how would you respond to their struggling with that dilemma?

Bachmann: Well I have a husband of thirty-three years and I am his wife. I respond to him as a wife. But when it comes to being a leader, whether I’m running a business or being a member of Congress, I am acting in that position responsibly and faithfully to the people that I serve. This is not a spiritual position, it is a position of authority in our government, it is very different from that of a wife to her husband.

SC Baptist Convention President Says Christians Will Have an Easier Time Voting for a Serial Adulterer Than a Mormon

Richard Land, president of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, has been busy spinning bizarre theories about how the media will have to try to make voters uncomfortable with Mitt Romney's faith in order to help President Obama because Evangelical Christian voters would have no qualms about voting for a Mormon.

The only problem with Land's conspiracy theory is that it is constantly being undermined by others, like the new president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention, Brad Atkins, who says that Christians would have a much easier time voting for a thrice-married serial adulterer like Newt Gingrich before ever voting for a Mormon like Romney: 

The Rev. Brad Atkins, tabbed in November to lead the group for the coming year, told Patch on Friday that while Gingrich's infidelities may represent a major obstacle for some Christian voters, it isn't an issue that necessarily excludes the former speaker from consideration. Rather, it's an issue that calls for prayerful consideration of Gingrich's numerous public confessions to his wrongdoings.

The issue presented by Romney's faith may be more deeply rooted to South Carolinians.

"In South Carolina, Romney's Mormonism will be more of a cause of concern than Gingrich's infidelity," said Atkins, the pastor at Powdersville First Baptist Church in the Upstate.

"Conservatives can process and pray their way through the issue of forgiveness toward a Christian that has had infidelity in their life, but will struggle to understand how anyone could be a Mormon and call themselves 'Christian.'"

Bob Vander Plaats Endorses Rick Santorum, 'The Huckabee in this Race'

Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader, who led Mike Huckabee’s victorious Iowa campaign in 2008, endorsed Rick Santorum for president today. Chuck Hurley of the Iowa Family Policy Center also endorsed Santorum. Speaking as an individual and not on behalf of his organization, Vander Plaats lauded Santorum as the “Huckabee in this race” and a “champion of the family.” Echoing Huckabee, who frequently reminded Religious Right voters, “I come from you,” Vander Plaats concluded, “I believe Rick Santorum comes from us, he’s not to us, he comes from us, he’s one of us.”

Watch:

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Answers God: "Here Am I; Send Me!"

Rick Perry, Quoting Isaiah, Asks God: “Here I am! Send Me!” Last night, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who has been working vigorously to court Religious Right activists, appeared on a conference call with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition where he spent most of the time discussing his accomplishments in Texas and his committed opposition to abortion rights and gay rights. He quoted Ezekiel 22:30 to call on Americans to “stand in the gap” by fighting “for the unborn and for the traditional values” and against “the secular left.” Perry also claimed that God is commissioning leaders to “get our country back,” and cited Isaiah 6:8: ““Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Perry: I just want to challenge you tonight that the values that are going to be decided in Washington DC and in our state capitals, somebody’s values are going to be what are used to put legislation in place. I think the question is: whose values? And are people of faith going to stand in the gap for the unborn and for the traditional values that America was founded upon? Or are we going to continue to cede more ground to the secular left because of their threatening to sue us or the ACLU or the various, sundry groups. I think we don’t have a choice. If we’re going to get our country back, we have to stand in the gap; we have to be the ones that will stand up. As it says in Isaiah, in chapter 6:8, “Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I; send me!’”

Don Wildmon, Founder of American Family Association, Endorses Gingrich

Newt Gingrich today nabbed the endorsement of Don Wildmon, the founder of the American Family Association, which is now under the leadership of his son, Tim. Wildmon praised Gingrich’s aggressive attacks on the judiciary, saying, “Newt Gingrich recognizes the threat to our country posed by judges and lawyers imposing values upon the country inconsistent with our religious heritage, and has proposed constitutional steps to bring the courts back in balance under the constitution,” and Gingrich welcomed the endorsement by calling Wildmon “one of the most important leaders in the country in the battle to uphold our founding principles.”

Wildmon endorsed Gingrich, who has admitted that extramarital affairs were reasons that ended his first two marriages, despite previously arguing that “adultery is destructive to relationships, to families, and to society.”

Wildmon’s endorsement will undoubtedly come as a disappointment to Rick Perry, who teamed-up with Wildmon to launch The Response and embraced him at the prayer rally, and Michele Bachmann, who has courted Religious Right figures like Phyllis Schlafly and Tamara Scott.

After founding the National Federation for Decency, which later became the AFA, Wildmon led censorship campaigns against shows like Seinfeld and Murphy Brown, along with other movies, television programs and music he found objectionable.

Wildmon also has claimed that “liberals” and those who support the “homosexual agenda” all “hate Christians,” and in his recent book Speechless, he claimed that “homosecularists” are trying to “persecute Christians” and “insert homosexual propaganda into the schools.” He warned that the “homosecularist elite” is using “the schools to indoctrinate children” through “pro-homosexual and anti-Christian” programs to combat school bullying. Wildmon also praised the Boy Scouts for not wanting to “expose its young members to lonely sodomites.”

But Wildmon’s endorsement doesn’t mean others in the AFA have had less than kind words for Gingrich.

Matt Freideman said that Gingrich’s extramarital affairs could disgrace the GOP:

Recently in a phone interview I challenged former Speaker Newt Gingrich with the query If the men of the Republican Revolution and their Speaker couldn't keep their marriage vows why should we now entrust, say, that Speaker who looks to be making a run for the presidency?

It wasn't much of an answer he gave. Evangelicals in power must do better in the future, and cultural conservatives in particular must surely know that the public will hold them to higher standards.

And Gingrich has faced tough criticism from AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer, who called his extramarital affairs a “show-stopper” and charged that “social conservatives and all those in the pro-family movement must have grave reservations about his candidacy”:

John the Baptist famously rebuked a politician of his day for his problematic marital history, and Mr. Gingrich rightly comes in for similar censure.

King David of the ancient kingdom of Israel kept his throne after his adulterous liaison with the beautiful Bathsheba, but a consequence of his unfaithfulness was that the sword never left his house, never left the dynasty he left behind nor the nation his descendants ruled. There were lasting consequences to the body politic for his moral failures, no matter how repentant he was and no matter how forgiven by God.

Fischer even warned that a Gingrich presidency could undermine American families:

A candidate or president with such a troubled past would have little or no credibility in talking about the sanctity of marriage and the sanctity and importance of the intact family unit. “Who are you,” folks would say, “to be lecturing us about the importance of family?”

And there certainly would be fallout for the American family and the institution of marriage if such a flawed individual served as our nation’s leader.

UPDATE: Wildmon today appeared on Focal Point with Bryan Fischer where he explained that while he was initially “ecstatic” about Rick Perry’s candidacy, he decided that because of the Texas governor's disastrous debate appearances his candidacy “cannot recover.” Wildmon said that electability matters because “we are facing the most critical election this nation has ever seen, the stake in this election is Western civilization.”

When discussing Gingrich’s extramarital affairs, he said that Gingrich “seemed genuinely repentant,” telling Fischer, “we are voting for a president, not a pope, and there is a difference.” He added that his endorsement was personal and does not reflect an endorsement by the American Family Association.

Later in the show, Wildmon and Fischer praised Gingrich’s fight against “judicial tyranny” and Wildmon cited Gingrich’s attacks on judges as one of the major reasons he endorsed him: Wildmon said “the whole of Western Civilization” is in jeopardy because “when you destroy the family, which the homosexuals and the liberals now are trying to do, then you've destroyed the foundation here. All of this business about homosexual marriage, well let’s go to Massachusetts where it started, did the people vote on it? No they didn’t. What happened? Judges, judges, liberal judges passed the law, made the legalization of homosexual marriage in Massachusetts.”

Bachmann Hopes to Reshape the Judiciary According to her 'Biblical View of Law'

Michele Bachmann has made so-called “activist judges” a consistent target of her presidential campaign, dubbing them “black-robed masters” and in last night’s debate she called for Americans to “take the Constitution back” from the courts. Railing against the judiciary is a safe bet for Republicans trying to pander to social conservative voters, but Bachmann’s view of the legal system has come out of her experience as a Religious Right activist and student at Oral Roberts University Law School.

At Oral Roberts, Bachmann worked for Professor John Eidsmoe, and as reported by Ryan Lizza, Eidsmoe taught that when “Biblical law conflicted with American law, Eidsmoe said, O.R.U. students were generally taught that ‘the first thing you should try to do is work through legal means and political means to get it changed.’” Bachmann has consistently trumpeted her work with Eidsmoe, whose legal philosophy has been greatly influenced by Christian Reconstructionist RJ Rushdoony and has urged Christians to promote Biblical law in government.

Today on The Jan Mickelson Show, Bachmann said that her “biblical view of law” molded her view that America needs to disempower the judiciary:

Bachmann: I hold a biblical view of law. If you look at the original constitution and the founding documents of our country, it was clear that the founders wanted to separate power, they wanted to separate the presidency from the Supreme Court and from the Congress, because they thought that the Congress should be the most powerful of all the people’s voices because the people would have the ability to change out the members of the House every two years, originally the state legislatures would chose the Senators and they would have the state’s interest in mind, and the President was meant to execute the laws that Congress would put into place. The courts had a relatively minor function, it was to take current facts and apply it to the law that Congress had passed. So it was really a beautiful system that set up but it’s been distorted since then, and that’s what we need to do, get back to the original view of the Founders because it worked beautifully.

Religious Right activists hit Romney for Trying to Have it Both Ways on Gay Military Service

Mitt Romney has attempted to thread the needle on whether gays and lesbians have a right to serve openly in the military, saying he staunchly opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell but is not willing to reinstate the policy. In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, Romney called Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military,” but then in 2007 Romney claimed he originally found the policy “silly” but effective, and has since criticized attempts to repeal it. In a June debate Romney dodged a question on whether he would reverse the repeal, until he finally told the Des Moines Register editorial board this week that he would oppose the restoration of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

While his halfhearted and milquetoast stand may not surprise the vast majority of Americans who supported the policy’s repeal, it has not played well with Religious Right activists who want to see Don’t Ask Don’t Tell reinstated.

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness recently started the Military Culture Coalition along with other conservative leaders to oppose repeal efforts, denounced Romney for his position of supporting Don’t Ask Don’t Tell in principle but not its reinstatement:

Donnelly questioned Governor Romney's comments to the Des Moines Register, noting that "The military does not work that way. Flawed policies that impose heavy 'complicating features' on the backs of military men and women cannot and should not be switched on and off, depending on the direction of political winds or promises made to LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) activists of either political party."

She added, "Sound policies that reinforce morale and readiness should be maintained at all times. A long list of what Governor Romney calls 'complicating features' were caused when the 2010 lame-duck Congress voted for Obama's LGBT Law and related policies. Current problems and those yet to come are no more acceptable now than in the midst of a shooting war."

Sandy Rios of Family-Pac and the former head of Concerned Women for America mocked Romney for the “audacity” to say he is more conservative than other candidates while revealing a complete lack of conviction regarding his views on open service in the military:

As the issue of allowing gays to openly serve in the military raged last year, Mitt Romney let it be known he roundly opposed the idea. He was outraged ... incensed. Many conservatives were certain this was the real Mitt revealing himself after years of having to pretend to embrace gay rights as governor of Massachusetts. With this messy business of his position on gay rights out of the way, they could at last breathe a sigh of relief and support the man they thought looked and sounded presidential and had the credentials to turn the economy around.

But now that has all changed. In an interview with the Des Moines Register editorial board last Friday, the former Massachusetts governor explained that it wasn't the concept of having gays openly serve in the military that had troubled him ... only the fact that the change was being made in a time of war. Now that the conflict is over, he would not, as Commander in Chief, do anything to change it.



As if to drive his point further, Romney added that Gingrich's "unreliability" hadn't just been 14-15 years ago, but in the last 2-3 years. Yet Mitt Romney's latest leap from conservatism had only taken place a few days prior. What kind of audacity does it take to stand before a news agency editorial board and brag in the face of the evidence that you are the most conservative candidate?



One could go further back with Romney's liberal/conservative iterations, but these are current examples which, in the case of gays in the military, goes back not a few years but a few days. Surely it is a quantum leap to assign him the mantle of conservatism in the current race.

Truth and honesty are inconvenient at times, but they are as much a part of conservative values as any position on the economy or national defense. Dishonesty and deceit are basic disqualifiers -- and bend as we may to excuse the inexcusable, in Romney's case, they are very hard to ignore.

Not to be outdone, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association went after Romney and Ron Paul, who voted in favor of repeal last year, calling them “non-starters as candidates”:

If evangelical Christians simply vote their values, there is simply no way they can cast a vote for someone who is in favor of legitimizing homosexual behavior in the military.

In the GOP field, there are just two candidates who support the presence of sexual deviancy in our armed forces: Mitt Romney and Ron Paul.

Romney told the editorial board of the Des Moines Register last Friday that he is just fine with sexually aberrant behavior in the military.



Bottom line: for values-driven voters who claim to be conservative and to draw their values from the Judeo-Christian tradition, Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are both likely to be - and should be - non-starters as candidates. If a voter only claims to be a social conservative but isn’t one in fact, then a vote for Romney or Paul is not likely to be a problem.

Conservative Iowa Radio Host Attacks Rick Perry for Hiring Openly Gay Staffer

Following a series of debate gaffes and blunders that have pushed him out of his spot as a frontrunner in the presidential race, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has tried to win back support by stressing his social conservative credentials. He is kicking off a bus campaign around Iowa focusing on “faith, family and freedom” and has framed himself as a victim of the media, claiming he is being “criticized for standing up for the values Jesus Christ talked about.” In one ad he discusses alleged liberal attacks against his faith and in another attacks openly gay soldiers while lamenting President Obama’s supposed “war on religion.” While Perry has won praise from Religious Right leaders for his ads that vilify gays while stoking fears about President Obama’s handling of religious freedom, at least one right-wing talk show host is angry at the candidate—because he hired a gay pollster.

After the governor’s gay-baiting ad was released, the two leaders of the gay conservative group GOProud tweeted that a high-level pollster on the Perry campaign, Tony Fabrizio, is himself fact gay. Fabrizio has previously worked for pro-gay rights causes, including the campaign to stop Florida’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage.

Steve Deace, an influential Iowa radio host, condemned Perry on his radio show yesterday for hiring an openly gay staffer, who  to work on his campaign for president, likening it to hiring a pedophile or a rapist: “When you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist, or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers.”

Deace argued that Perry cannot claim to stand opposed to gay rights while working with people who are trying to “redefine” marriage and that Perry’s decision to hire Fabrizio “repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on.” He went on to say that Perry either “didn’t know” or “didn’t care” about Fabrizio’s sexual orientation, which shows why “despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do”:

Deace: So what happens is here is the homosexual deviation from the script, from a public policy standpoint presents challenges to a culture that the rest of the deviations do not. It demands by its very nature, or its violations of nature, it demands that you change the definition of what nature is on everything, across the entire board. So therefore—what is the legal system in America? Well, let’s again go back to our founding document; our founding document says we are governed by ‘the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God,’ the natural law. Like, gravity is the natural law, it just is, whether you accept it or not, this is the natural law. So if this natural law is one man and one woman procreating and perpetuating the next generation, and so we’ve set up an entire standard in our system based off of this defined law, if we attempt to redefine that law, we are going to have to redefine everything else.

And so when you put someone in place in your organization, regardless of whether they’re a practicing homosexual, a polygamist, a pedophile, a thief, a rapist or any other form of behavior that violates the natural law, you are empowering people within your organization that are lawbreakers. We are all lawbreakers to some extent, but there’s a difference between recognizing that and going to God for grace and mercy, as opposed to saying you have to change the law and your tradition because of who I am right now, I don’t have to change, you must all change for me.

For the life of me I can’t understand why anybody who’s espousing what Rick Perry espouses in that television ad would put somebody in a place of prominence in his campaign who repudiates everything that his campaign is supposedly based on. What sense does that make? Who would do such a thing? So that leaves two options, either they didn’t know and didn’t do their own homework or they didn’t care. I’m not sure either one of those is really a good answer. That might be signs of why despite the fact he’s got $50 million, he’s got six percent more of the popular vote in the polls than I do.

Randall Terry Warns that Obama 'Supports Slavery' for his 'Federal Plantation,' Might Target Romney

Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry appeared on The Steve Deace Show on Monday where he discussed his strategy of running for the Democratic nomination for president in order to use a legal loophole that allows him to run graphic ads against abortion rights. Terry told Deace that voters shouldn’t trust Obama on any issue because of his support for abortion rights, saying that Obama both “supports murder” and “supports slavery,” and will have you in his “slave labor force for his federal plantation.” He also informed Deace, a fierce critic of Mitt Romney, that he may include Romney, who was pro-choice and supportive of Roe v. Wade in the past, in his graphic ads in New Hampshire:

Deace: Couldn’t a case be made, if you can’t count on somebody to protect innocent life you can’t count on somebody to provide you a job?

Terry: Well one would make the case. I think that you could be someone who supports murder but also someone who supports slavery, and I think that’s Obama. He needs us as a slave labor force for his federal plantation, so if you escape the abortionist’s knife then he’s got a happy job for you at the federal plantation.



Terry: We are discussing our ads for New Hampshire and the discussion me and my team are having is to whether or not we will put images of Obama and Mitt Romney in the ad, because in my opinion, Mitt Romney is Obama with white skin. There’s not a dime’s worth of difference between them on most issues. So, if I can go after Obama in New Hampshire and also hurt Romney a little bit in the process, I’d be happy.

The Family Leader Wants a Winner, While Bachmann Pushes for Religious Right Support

After narrowing their decision to four candidates in the Republican field, The Family Leader is set to announce their endorsement on Monday…or their decision not to endorse at all. With the caucus less than a month away, Bob Vander Plaats claims that their desired candidate must not only be conservative but must also have the strength to defeat Mitt Romney for the Republican nomination and ultimately President Obama. While Michele Bachmann, Rick Santorum and Rick Perry have all signed The Family Leader’s pledge, Newt Gingrich recently penned a letter committing to their right-wing agenda and pledging faithfulness to his third wife. The conservative Iowa Republican reports:

Bob Vander Plaats and his Family Leader organization plan to make a decision on whether or not to make an endorsement, and whom they might endorse, by next Monday. The group’s backing is one of the most sought after in the GOP presidential race, especially in Iowa.



“That’s going be a great question, because if you read the pledge that he wrote and submitted, there’s a lot of our verbiage in there,” Vander Plaats said. “He takes some strong stances on life, marriage and religious freedom. As we read it, we wondered why he didn’t sign the pledge, but he did almost everything we talked about and used a similar language.”



Vander Plaats says he is looking for an “authentic conservative”, but adds that viability is one of the issues The Family Leader will consider when picking their candidate. “If you’re going to beat Obama, then you also have to beat Romney to get the nomination,” The Family Leader CEO said. “If we were to endorse on what we’re looking for, we’re looking for a very conservative principled, but we’re also looking for someone who can win.”

While Vander Plaats may be concerned about electability, the campaign of the very-unelectable Michele Bachmann organized a group of the state’s Religious Right leaders, including Danny Carroll of The Family Leader, to promote her struggling campaign:

A group of conservative Christian faith leaders are hitting the road to urge conservatives to caucus for Michele Bachmann – not the race’s frontrunner, Newt Gingrich.

 

“Frankly, we’re looking to shake things up a little bit,” former Iowa Rep. Danny Carroll, a conservative Republican from Grinnell, told reporters at a news conference at the Iowa Capitol this morning.

The pastors delicately made it clear that they don’t think Gingrich is the best choice for president. Nor is Rick Santorum, a religious conservative who has been courting the evangelical vote in Iowa.

“(Gingrich) is tremendous in debates,” said Brad Sherman, an evangelical Christian minister with Solid Rock Christian Church in Coralville. “Part of me wants to say I’d love to see him debate Obama because I think he would chew him up. But I have to live by principle – and Michele Bachmann has proved it.”



Carroll said during the news conference: “We have determined that Michele Bachmann is Biblically-qualified to be the president, to be a leader. She is capable. She is trustworthy. She fears God and she hates dishonest gain.”

Iowans should to go to the caucuses on Jan. 3 “unless you support someone other than Michele Bachmann. Then you should take the night off,” he said.

Carroll and various faith leaders are embarking on an eight-city tour of Iowa – Oskaloosa, Davenport, Cedar Rapids, Waterloo, Mason City, Council Bluffs and Sioux City – to call on Christians “to be informed.”

Rick Perry's Gay-Baiting Ad Lauded by Anti-Gay Leaders

Rick Perry’s desperate ad attacking openly gay service members and criticizing President Obama’s purported “war on religion” has quickly become one of the most disliked videos on YouTube, but it has found a few unsurprising fans: anti-gay zealots in the Religious Right. The ad even divided Perry’s own campaign staff with one pollster calling it “nuts”:

But vilifying gay soldiers and stoking fears about the administration’s supposed hostility to religion is common currency in the Religious Right.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer said that the ad’s hostile reception on YouTube proves that Perry is a good candidate for Christian conservative voters: “Perry’s ad had triggered an astonishing 637,738 dislikes to just 19,792 likes by 10:53 Eastern time this morning, clearly stamping him as the candidate the vengeful, hate-filled, vitriolic homosexual lobby wants to destroy,” Fischer wrote today. “If you’re looking for your values candidate, conservatives, you may have just found him.” On his radio show last week, Fischer even said that AFA founder and chairman emeritus Don Wildmon, who led The Response prayer rally with Perry, called the ad “the best political ad he’s ever seen.”

Wildmon’s son Tim, the current head of the AFA, agreed with Todd Starnes of Fox News that the ad might help Perry consolidate support among conservative voters and propel Perry to the top of the polls. Starnes predicted “that we are going to see a bump in the poll numbers as the result of this ad, they may not give this ad credit but if you see a rise in the numbers I think it is because of this ad,” saying that it “articulated” how evangelical Christians in America feel:

The Family Research Council even promoted the ad to members and dismissed concerns that it would backfire on the Texas governor, whom they claim is in touch with “everyday Americans”:

Rick Perry's latest ad was intended for Iowa, but thanks to the national media, it's airing on every network in America. A number of pundits are panning the spot for its bold social conservative themes, which they insist will hurt the Texas Governor's chances. "I'm not ashamed to admit that I'm a Christian," Gov. Perry says, "but you don't need to be in the pew every Sunday to know there's something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military but our kids can't openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school." The ad is called "Strong," and that's the kind of message it sends on issues like religious freedom. "As President, I'll end Obama's war on religion. And I'll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage." True, Gov. Perry probably wouldn't win the media's vote with that kind of platform--but he does stand to benefit with everyday Americans who are tired of seeing their values in the line of fire under this administration.

As Gingrich Courts The Religious Right, Perkins Waves Red Flags

Today, Newt Gingrich sent a letter to Iowa Religious Right leader Bob Vander Plaats detailing his commitment to fight gay rights and reproductive rights, and also taking a vow to stay faithful to his wife Callista, his third wife and former mistress. After vowing to fight against gay and lesbian couples’ right to marry, Gingrich said he would “pledge to uphold the institution of marriage through personal fidelity to my spouse and respect for the marital bonds of others.” Vander Plaats has previously floated supporting Gingrich, who leads in the Iowa polls, and publicly announced that his organization has narrowed its choices to Gingrich, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and Rick Santorum.

But Gingrich’s problems winning over Religious Right activists despite his best efforts were exhibited in an interview Family Research Council president Tony Perkins gave on Friday with radio talk show host Janet Mefferd. Perkins told Mefferd that Religious Right voters may be viewed as hypocritical if they pick Gingrich over right-wing candidates who, unlike Gingrich, also have both “their personal lives and their professional lives in order” like Bachmann, Santorum and Perry in the Republican primary. However, Perkins said it would not at all problematic for Christian conservative voters to back Gingrich over President Obama if he is the party’s nominee.

Listen:

Mefferd: My question is, Tony do you buy this idea that if Newt Gingrich does end up being the nominee and Christian conservatives end up getting behind him because they want to vote out Barack Obama, which we all do, that that somehow will ruin the reputation of Christians? Are you buying that connection?

Perkins: No, I think the question that does have some legitimacy is in—right now, where it stands, you’re still four weeks away from the vote in Iowa, and there are still solid conservative candidates in this race. You have Michele Bachmann, a strong Christian woman who I know very well and is completely in line with us, Rick Santorum, another close friend again who is perfectly in line with us, as well as Rick Perry, who is in line with us on all the issues. So I think for Christian conservatives to come out now and say, ‘alright well we’re going to support Newt Gingrich,’ when you still have people that have their personal lives and their professional lives in order, I do think that then rings kind of like, ‘well we just want to be with a political winner,’ so I think that charge would stick now.

Mike Heath Resurfaces with Ron Paul in Iowa

Back in 2009, during the battle over marriage equality in Maine, Mike Heath of the Maine Family Policy Council was deeply involved in the fight, claiming that gay marriage was a warning sign "that our society is very sick indeed, and may be entering its final crisis" and was ever responsible for the state's bad weather:

Our crops are faring like our moods. The potato crop is blighted, and corn and fruit fields wither. In one historic building in Augusta, rain flooded the basement, as water from another source poured down through the ceiling and extinguished a century-old chandelier.

Few people would be bold enough to suggest the cause of the endless rain and gloom, that the moral climate in Maine has caused the sun to hide its face in shame.

Worse than the rain is the fact that Maine voted in homosexual “marriage.”

In May, our elected officials overturned a law of nature, and in its place paid honor to evil and unnatural practices. Our leaders allowed a cloud of error to hide the light of reason, and then the rain began. How fitting that this eclipse of human reason is mirrored by the disappearance of the sun!

What darkness equals the error of saying a family should be headed by two mothers or two fathers? What error equals saying that two women can be married, or two men? I am not saying that homosexuals or the gay rights movement are to blame for the weather. Far from it!

The fault lies with a refractory governor and Legislature who imposed an immoral law on our people.

Heath's embarrassing antics caused others in the marriage fight to cast him aside and, seeing the writing on the wall, Heath eventually resigned his position and announced that he was going to get involved in the manufacture and distribution of solar cookers in Africa.

That effort did not last very long and a few months later Heath was back in Maine, running the American Family Association's state affiliate and contemplating a short-lived run for governor.

After that, Heath fell off our radar ... until we learned today from Chris Moody that he is currently in charge of church outreach for Ron Paul's presidential campaign in Iowa:

Paul has brought several Christian conservatives onto his campaign in an ambitious effort to reach believers for his cause. Michael Heath, the campaign's Iowa director, previously worked for a New England-based group called the Christian Civic League of Maine that fought against adding sexual orientation to the state's Human Rights Act.

The national campaign has tasked Heath with leading church outreach in Iowa, where for months he has met with pastors and Christian congregations. "That's the biggest part of what I'm doing as state director," Heath told Yahoo News after a day of knocking on church doors with campaign literature. "Going to churches with a message in support of Dr. Paul's campaign that is very much faith-based and is also rooted in his commitment to a constitutionally defined limited federal government."

Bachmann Lauds Schlafly, LaHaye for Inspiring Her Political Career

After exalting James Dobson on his show Family Talk yesterday, today Michele Bachmann credited antifeminist luminaries Phyllis Schlafly and Beverly LaHaye, along with Dobson and his wife Shirley, for motivating her to become a conservative activist. Bachmann has previously called Schlafly, who has endorsed her presidential campaign, her “hero” and “the person that I hope to be someday,” and said that LaHaye is “an extraordinary woman of God.” In fact, Bachmann said that LaHaye’s warnings “on the threats to the family” riled her enough to join LaHaye’s organization Concerned Women for America:

Bachmann: As a young woman I read a lot, I was a big reader my whole life, and I loved reading Phyllis Schlafly, she is just smart as a whip.

Ryan Dobson: Who started off as a homemaker and a mom, and then had a law career.

Bachmann: And who also taught her children how to read at home, she did that, she was self-taught in many ways and she was very interested in national security, as I am, and defense issues, but also very cognizant on financial issues.

And also Bev LaHaye, Marcus and I were brand new newlyweds and I got in our mailbox a cassette tape back in the cassette tape days from Bev LaHaye, talking about where our nation was at. I listened to it, and she was trying to pull the alarm on the threats to the family, like Dr. Dobson was doing, so I joined Concerned Women for America, that was the inception, and started getting materials from her, from Phyllis Schlafly, from Dr. Dobson. Over the course of the years, I’ve poured all of these great women and Dr. and Shirley Dobson into my life, and they’ve really been my teachers.

LaHaye, whose husband Tim is best known for writing the Left Behind series and for his attacks on gays, Roman Catholics and “the Illuminati,” still chairs CWA and has a long history of Religious Right activism. She started CWA because she “knew the feminists’ anti-God, anti-family rhetoric did not represent her beliefs, nor those of the vast majority of women,” and also outlined the “biblical worldview” in politics that Bachmann often talks about: “America is a nation based on biblical principles. Christian values dominate our government. The test of those values is the Bible. Politicians who do not use the Bible to guide their public and private lives do not belong in office.” According to LaHaye, conservative Christians need to enter politics in order to “stand up against the wiles of the devil.”

Not only does LaHaye have harsh words for feminists and people “who do not use the Bible to guide” their political lives, but also doesn’t take kindly to gays and lesbians, writing in a CWA mailer: “[Homosexuals] want their depraved ‘values’ to become our children’s values. Homosexuals expect society to embrace their immoral way of life. Worse yet, they are looking for new recruits!”

With her role models holding such extreme views, it is no wonder Bachmann turned out to be one of the most far-right figures in contemporary politics.

Gingrich Says Obama's "Ego" Will Force Him to Accept Lincoln-Douglas Debate Challenge

Yesterday, Newt Gingrich addressed some 60 conservative and Religious Right leaders suburban Washington, DC at a gathering organized by direct mail guru Richard Viguerie.

Yesterday afternoon, following the meeting, Viguerie's ConservativeHQ posted a report on the meeting, noting that Gingrich was "interrupted numerous times by applause" as he called upon those in the room to "be with me, not merely for me – because if you are merely for me that implies you can vote and go home and expect me to fix things, but for this level of change to occur I need you working with me every step of the way to make it happen."

Gingrich also talked about his plans for getting President Obama to agree to participate in several Lincoln-Douglas-style debates, predicting that Obama will eventually accept the challenge because of his ego

But if Obama won't accept his challenge, then Gingrich plans to just follow him around the country and "show-up within four hours to take apart whatever he said":

When asked about how he intended to win the general election Gingrich said he expected Obama to have $1 billion to spend, but that he would counter that by challenging Obama to a series of seven Lincoln – Douglas-style un-moderated debates, “…and he'll say yes. There are two reasons: The first is his ego. Can you imagine him looking in the mirror? Graduate from Columbia, Harvard Law, and editor of the Law Review. How is he going to say that he's afraid to be on the same podium as a West Georgia College teacher? Plus, if he says ‘no’ I’m going to say ‘the White House is now my scheduler’ and wherever he goes I will show-up within four hours to take apart whatever he said, that’s how Lincoln got Douglas to debate.”

Bachmann Shares with Dobson Her Religious Right Credentials and "Biblical Worldview"

Today, Michele Bachmann and her husband Marcus joined James Dobson on Family Talk. The congresswoman described her career in politics, which started with her working against the public education system up to today as a presidential candidate. Bachmann told a familiar story where she took on two of the institutions most opposed by the Religious Right, public schools and the federal government. She said she entered politics when she became troubled about “what came home in the backpack” from her foster children who attended public schools, and diligently worked until she “overthrew” the “national standards” that public schools followed, which she called “politically correct, dumbed down standards, in many ways they were against the Christian values that a lot of parents hold.”

Bachmann also gushed over Dobson for helping her and Marcus lay “the foundation brick by brick in our life” and credited Francis Schaeffer with leading her to develop “the concept of biblical worldview, that God has something to say every aspect of life, because He’s the creator of life.” Schaeffer’s series, How Should We Then Live?, blames increasing secular humanism and moral relativism for social decay and calls on Christians to fight back and put biblical precepts into law in order to curb society’s unraveling. The film series, along with Schaeffer’s other works such as A Christian Manifesto and Whatever Happened to the Human Race?, had a tremendous role in shaping the modern Religious Right, a movement that Bachmann isn’t just courting but is also a part of.

Bachmann: To be with Jim and Shirley Dobson and your family is a thrill. Marcus and I have known about you since the very earliest days that you went on your show, there’s hardly a show that we ever missed and we almost committed to them to memory.

Dobson: Are you exaggerating?

Bachmann: Not at all, you and Shirley have been tremendous mentors for us. You’ve been a wonderful example, a teacher, a preacher for us in a lot of ways. And we knew of you before we got married and we’ve listened through our early married years as we had our children and you’ve really pricked our hearts on many different subjects and you laid the foundation brick by brick in our life growing up, maturing in our own family life, and we want to thank you for that.



Bachmann: You asked us before about ‘pro-life,’ when Marcus and I were nineteen in college we had gone to see the film series by Dr. Francis Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live, and when we saw that film series it changed our lives forever. We understood the concept of biblical worldview, that God has something to say every aspect of life, because He’s the creator of life. And Dr. Schaeffer said in that series that the abortion issue is the watershed issue of our time, that struck a chord of recognition with us. And we started reaching out to women in unplanned pregnancies, we got married right after college, and we started inviting women into our home, and informally we counseled them, we took them to pro-life centers, I went through childbirth classes with women, I held their hands as they gave birth to babies, because we didn’t want to just talk the talk, we wanted to walk the walk.

Franks Endorses Bachmann, Adding To Her List Of Far-Right Supporters

Today, Michele Bachmann’s foundering presidential campaign picked up the endorsement of Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ) and promptly appointed him “Congressional Co-Chair”:

The Bachmann for President campaign has announced the appointment of Arizona Congressman Trent Franks (AZ-02) as Congressional Co-Chair. Rep. Franks joins the growing list of endorsements and support for the Bachmann team, not only in Iowa, but also across the country.

“I know Michele is right on the issues that are important to conservatives across the country and I know she won’t back off,” Rep. Franks said. “I have seen her at work in Washington, standing firm on key issues like Obamacare, the debt ceiling, and TARP.”



“Congressman Franks and I have fought together in Washington for smaller government and responsible government spending, and I’m honored to have him on my team,” Bachmann said. “He’s a respected colleague, and will be invaluable in our work to gain support in Iowa and the early primary states, eventually securing the GOP nomination.”

Like previous Bachmann endorsers like Tamara Scott, George Grant and Peter Waldron, the Arizona congressman appears to be a great fit for the far-right and conspiratorial Bachmann, as Franks:

  • called President Obama an “enemy of humanity” at a right-wing conference, and later tried to explain that he meant to call Obama an “enemy of unborn humanity”;
  • believes that President Obama consistently “acts un-American” and “seems to go against American interests”;
  • demanded the impeachment of President Obama and the defunding of the Justice Department over their decision to stop defending the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA);
  • floated “birther” conspiracies and suggested that President Obama is not a natural-born citizen, even considered filing a lawsuit against Obama;
  • said the Obama Administration has an “ideological commitment” to “weaken America”;
  • claimed a Muslim civil rights group was using congressional interns to spy on Congress;

PFAW Calls on Romney to Apply Religious Bigotry Standard to his Own Endorsers

At a news conference, Mitt Romney urged Texas Gov. Rick Perry to disavow the remarks of his endorser Robert Jeffress, a Religious Right leader who has called Mormonism a "cult." People For the American Way today echoed Romney’s appeal to Perry, but also urged both candidates to disavow endorsers who have perpetuated misinformation about and fear of American Muslims.
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