Ted Cruz’s father and adviser Rafael Cruz, a prominent right-wing activist in his own right, appeared on “Eagle Forum Live” this weekend with Phyllis Schlalfy, where he called on state leaders to follow Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s lead in flouting federal court decisions which strike down bans on same-sex marriage.
“Something very exciting that has happened is what happened in Alabama with Justice Roy Moore,” Cruz said, hailing a state supreme court ruling which found that “the courts of Alabama do not have to obey the opinion of a federal judge and as a matter of fact, Justice Roy Moore, ordered the civil courts in Alabama not to issue marriage licenses for homosexual couples. And so what they are doing is asserting that the state has supremacy and basically all of these laws were for the state to make those decisions, not the federal court, the federal court is overreaching and it is actually legislating from the bench, contrary to the opinion of the majority of the American people.”
Cruz added that states with marriage equality will begin forcing pastors to marry same-sex couples under penalty of prison, something that has never taken place in any of the dozens of states where same-sex marriage is legal.
“We need to realize that the attack on marriage is more than just an attack on marriage, it actually goes to the heart of religious freedom,” Cruz said. “What is going to come next and this is part of the danger of what may happen out of the Supreme Court in June, is that if marriage of anybody-with-anybody becomes a civil rights issue, then they are going to come to churches and force pastors to violate their religious convictions. And so it is going to come to America to where a pastor is going to be faced with a decision: do you obey a law that is not only unjust but violates your core principles, or do you obey God and face prison?”
“This is the dilemma that America’s pastors are going to be facing if this issue is labeled a civil rights issue. It goes way beyond marriage to actually violate the religious freedom of people of faith,” he continued.
Later in the program, Cruz warned that “we are on the brink of the destruction of this country” and said that President Obama is acting “like an emperor more than a president,” adding: “If we have eight more years of this type of government, this country will be destroyed.”
When a caller, Dan, called in to say that the American people should begin “killing judges” over the fear that “judges will order pastors to marry homosexuals,” Schlafly said that she is “not ready to kill anybody.”
Instead, Schlafly said that people should instead “use all the ways that are available to us in this free system.” Cruz agreed with Schlafly, arguing that elected officials are selected by “a small minority of Americans” and that people who believe in “biblical values” must turn out en masse to the polls.
The arbiters of Christianity over at BarbWire today published a column by Timothy Buchanan about the move by the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) to allow churches in the denomination to perform same-sex weddings.
Buchanan asserted that by having “thrown in the towel and surrendered to the loud and obnoxious voices of militant lesbians and ‘gays,’” the church has embraced “utter lunacy” and inserted “the last nail in its coffin.”
“The moral high ground in this conflict has been surrendered to Satan,” he said, warning that other denominations will now be “pressured into defiling themselves, as well, or suffer persecution for their ‘stubbornness.’”
The Presbyterian Church U.S.A. (PCUSA) is now dead. After a long, tedious struggle to remain faithful to the scriptures and great Christian reformers like John Knox, the leadership of the PCUSA denomination (the liberal branch of Presbyterian churches) has thrown in the towel and surrendered to the loud and obnoxious voices of militant lesbians and “gays”. A PCUSA church near you will soon be conducting same-sex “marriages.” The moral high ground in this conflict has been surrendered to Satan.
How did this happen? It occurred as church deaths always do, with a membership that is ignorant of the scriptures. Bring in some spiritually dead anti-Christian heretics. Add a few New Age ideologies that sound “Christianese,” like ending discrimination and embracing the future, sprinkle with the words: love, community, and equality, and shake until blended. There you have it. A deadly cocktail of pharisaic poison. Each ingredient by itself is harmless, but together, they create a deadly toxin that is fatal to dignity, honor, faithfulness and righteousness.
In real numbers, the defection of the PCUSA doesn’t make much of an impact on Christendom. Its membership is at an all-time low with only about 1.8 million members. But the real impact will be felt when other denominations like the United Methodist Church, the Catholic Church, and the Southern Baptist Church are pressured into defiling themselves, as well, or suffer persecution for their “stubbornness.”
PCUSA members have ignorantly rejected Paul’s admonishing question, “What fellowship has light with darkness?” Homosexuality is “very grave sin.” That’s what God calls it, and that’s what it is. For Presbyterians to think that God will applaud them or anyone else who shakes his fist at Him by embracing same-sex marriage, is utter lunacy. This latest action by PCUSA leaders is simply the last nail in its coffin. The death has been a long time coming, and it began when leaders misappropriated for themselves, the authority to supplant the truth of God’s word with the policies of sinful and unredeemed men.
Contrary to the hopes and promises of proponents of same-sex marriage, PCUSA will not expand as a result of this movement, nor should it. (As if church expansion could ever be a compelling reason for faithlessness.) On the contrary, its demise is now locked in.
On yesterday’s edition of “Focal Point,” Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly told host Bryan Fischer that state governors should simply “refuse to enforce” a Supreme Court decision striking down bans on same-sex marriage.
She also urged President Obama or whoever replaces him to direct the Attorney General to defy the court, just as the federal government should have ignored the Dred Scot ruling before the Civil War.
“We just cannot live in a country where one judge or even five judges are able to change the law of our land that goes against the laws of most of our states and we’ve had for several thousands of years about the definition of marriage, that is simply not our form of government,” Schlafly said. “We believe in ‘We The People.’”
Schlafly said that people need to “speak up and say we’re not going to put up with it” and defy judges who “think they’re God or something.” She also encouraged governors to order officials who issue marriage licenses to disobey the court’s decision.
Today on “The 700 Club,” Pat Robertson fielded a question from a viewer who asked what he should do about his son who plans to have a child with his husband.
The dejected televangelist said that while it would be “wrong” for his gay son to raise a child, he conceded that there wasn’t much the viewer can do — besides praying and speaking out about it — because the courts have largely sided with gay rights advocates.
“This so-called lifestyle — I just can’t believe it, they have tried to destroy marriage,” Robertson said. “Marriage is between a man and a woman and they’ve now brought cases to the Supreme Court saying, well, the Defense of Marriage Act is unconstitutional and so forth. So what should you do? You better get on your knees and pray and let the Lord take care of it because there isn’t a whole lot else you can do.”
The American Family Association placed a full-page advertisement in today’s edition of the Washington Post, in which the group warns the Supreme Court not to “bend what God designed merely to suit the desires of man, knowing that you do so at the expense of children, perhaps even civilization itself.”
The AFA’s Fred Jackson, who was guest-hosting “Sandy Rios In The Morning,” hailed the ad’s “forceful message” to the court and claimed that gay marriage undermines what God established in the Garden of Eden about 6,000 years ago.
“So for at least 6,000 years, people have understood marriage as between a man and a woman and it is only fairly recent history and certainly in this country have the forces of evil attempted to change all of that,” Jackson said. “It is absolutely amazing — one of the saddest facts is how many denominations, church denominations in this country, have succumbed to this pressure.”
At yesterday’s “Defense of Texas Marriage Amendment Rally,” Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore joined Texas politicians, including the state’s lieutenant governor and attorney general, in denouncing the gay rights movement and federal judges who rule in favor of marriage equality.
Moore said he was motivated to speak at the anti-gay rally even though “normally judges don’t speak in public about issues like this,” he felt that “if I should hold back my opinions at such a time as this, I would consider myself guilty of treason toward my country and an act of disloyalty to the majesty of heaven which I revere above all earthly kings.”
While discussing an Alabaman, William Barret Travis, who died fighting with the Texas Army in the Battle of the Alamo, Moore wondered if he too will have to give his life in his fight against gay rights: “He took a stand in the face of an enemy that was far more numerous, but he knew that he had to make a statement for the people of Texas and that he would give his life. I hope I don’t give my life, but I’m going to tell you this is a very serious matter.”
“There’s today another threat, not only in Texas and Alabama, but across our country where state and federal court judges have overruled constitutional amendments passed by the people of those states, and people have just sat by and watched it out of fear of the federal government,” Moore said. “But nothing in the Constitution of the United States, nothing in the laws or precedents of the federal courts give federal courts any authority over domestic policy of family and marriage in the state of Texas, in the state of Alabama, or anywhere else.”
Insisting that the Supreme Court will “silence” Christians and the “thousands of ‘former homosexuals,’” Scarborough compared a potential marriage equality ruling to Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell.
“Now the high court is threatening to unleash the spirit of hell on the nation, if they deny what nature clearly teaches on this subject of gender and marriage,” Scarborough said. “The time has come for pastors and leaders to stand up and declare what innately we all know to be true – that this idea is morally unacceptable and we will not allow it proceed without our objection. There can be no compromise on this issue.”
With all due respect, I must refuse to honor any ordinance or judicial ruling that makes restricting marriage to a union between one man and one woman, which God ordained and our nation throughout our history protected, invalid. Regardless of the consequences.
It is the duty of all Christ’s followers to lovingly uphold a standard of righteousness and be true to God’s Word, which never changes. God’s Word provides an offer of hope and forgiveness through Jesus to anyone who is caught up in sin, but if we compromise His Word, on what authority can we offer His hope?
Homosexuality is a sin – but it is not an unforgivable sin nor worse than any other sin. Though some who have chosen homosexuality may choose to reject me for saying this, I am willing to suffer such if that is the cost of being true to God’s Word. If Christians quietly allow marriage to be redefined, we will find ourselves being forced to be quiet as judges impose the acceptance of more and more aberrant behaviors.
We will soon find ourselves in a brave new world with tyrannical laws and regulations forcing us not only to accommodate same-sex marriage but to keep our message of love and forgiveness to ourselves, lest our message cause some to be offended. Paul spoke clearly about such a time as this: “Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.”
Those who are advancing this agenda want Christians to be silenced, thinking that to be a good thing. But if they succeed, they will cut off the very Gospel that can change their lives and provide hope and forgiveness, not only for sexual sin, but for all sin.
There are thousands of “former homosexuals” who can testify that Jesus has the power to set us free from any sin. Traditional marriage doesn’t discriminate. There are many former homosexuals now rearing their children in such marriages, and they are living proof of God’s forgiveness and matchless love.
That alone is reason enough for Christians to defend marriage as God designed it.
We must be reminded that the courts are not the final word on this subject. The Supreme Court has gotten it wrong more than they want to admit. More than 200 previous decisions of the Supreme Court have either been rescinded or overturned. Some of those past rulings have been infamous for wrongheadedness, like Dred Scott v. Sandford or Buck v. Bell.
Now the high court is threatening to unleash the spirit of hell on the nation, if they deny what nature clearly teaches on this subject of gender and marriage. The time has come for pastors and leaders to stand up and declare what innately we all know to be true – that this idea is morally unacceptable and we will not allow it proceed without our objection. There can be no compromise on this issue.
It all started when a caller, John, told Perkins about a discreditedconspiracytheory that Egyptian investigators had uncovered evidence that proves President Obama is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood. He said that Obama “is a pure Muslim” who “doesn’t want any Christianity [sic] to be uprising here like the Muslims are,” adding that Obama was trained by his father “how to be a devil and a Muslim and how to hate the white people and how to hate Christianity and how to hate others.”
He eventually focused on the caller’s comments about the need for a Christian “uprising,” which he said could be triggered by a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality: “I think, John, your point about Christians rising up, I think we are getting close to that in this country as we see increasingly this growing hostility at the hands of our own government toward Christianity and I think especially if the court imposes upon the nation a redefinition of marriage. I don’t think the nation is going to accept it, I absolutely don’t, and the conflict that is going to come as a result of it.”
Later in the program, Perkins said that the FRC will be leading an effort, starting on “the Monday after Easter, [of] twenty-one days of prayer and fasting for our nation, that leads right up to the Supreme Court’s oral arguments on the marriage cases, and we need to first be praying, we need to repent as a nation, but then we’ve got to get up out of our prayer closet and put feet to our prayers and be involved.”
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver has made anti-gaycivil disobedience a recurring theme in his speeches and activism, and the pending marriage cases at the Supreme Court seem to have him on edge.
In a BarbWire column today, “Why A Bad Supreme Court Decision May Require Civil Disobedience,” Staver outlined his goal of bringing together “many thousands of individuals, agencies, charities, churches and schools” to “peacefully refuse to countenance a Supreme Court decision that violates not only our highest legal document, but the laws of Nature and Nature’s God.”
Staver claimed that such anti-gay activists would be following in the footsteps of Martin Luther King Jr. and Europeans who shielded Jews from the Nazi regime, adding that “perhaps we would see our culture step back from the brink of insanity, or perhaps we would suffer in the face of injustice.”
Civil disobedience has a long and noble history in Western culture, and we will need a primer on it if, as seems likely, the Supreme Court rules against natural marriage in June.
Of course, civil disobedience is not justified just because we disagree with a human law, but only when that law conflicts with a higher revealed or Natural Law. When he was jailed for violating a law used to stop him from protesting injustice, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., wrote his famous Letter from Birmingham Jail. “A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law or the law of God,” he argued. “An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law.”
He went on to say: “I would be the first to advocate obeying just laws. One has not only a legal but a moral responsibility to obey just laws. Conversely, one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that ‘an unjust law is no law at all.’”
Merely because a legislature or a judge passes a law or issues an opinion does not make a law just. “To consider the judges as the ultimate arbiters of all constitutional questions [is] a dangerous doctrine indeed,” wrote Thomas Jefferson, “and one which would place us under the despotism of an oligarchy.” To cite an extreme example, if you lived under the Nazi regime and the law required you to not hide or aid a Jew in any way, would you comply with Hitler or obey God? To obey Hitler, you would have to disobey God.
The U.S. Supreme Court could still come off the rails in their June decision and invent a newfound right to “same-sex marriage,” striking down state laws that recognize the reality of marriage. If the Court takes that disastrous step, we should view it the same way history views the Dred Scott and Buck v. Bell decisions. Such a decision would fly in the face, not just of the Constitution itself, but of the natural created order.
The temptation for many will be to cave or compromise. The temptation even for the faithful will be to retreat into our churches and cloisters. In 2004, same-sex “marriage” came to Massachusetts. Contrary to the claim that such laws would usher in an age of “tolerance,” the law immediately became a legal club to beat unwilling participants. Catholic charities bravely refused to place orphans in same-sex homes, because it was contrary to their mission.
Unfortunately, they stopped doing adoptions in the state. This cannot be our precedent. What they should have done is to say, “We are called to place orphans in homes with moms and dads. We will not voluntarily surrender our calling.” Massachusetts might have used force to stop Catholic charities anyway, just as lone florists and bakers are being driven to bankruptcy in other states. But what would happen if, instead of quiet retreat, many thousands of individuals, agencies, charities, churches and schools all came together, prepared, prayed and peacefully refused to countenance a Supreme Court decision that violates not only our highest legal document, but the laws of Nature and Nature’s God?
Perhaps we would see our culture step back from the brink of insanity, or perhaps we would suffer in the face of injustice. Whatever the outcome, the hour is late. It’s past time for us to get ready.
On Wednesday, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council blasted the New England Patriots for signing a Supreme Court amicus brief in favor of marriage equality, alleging that “the Patriots didn’t exactly live up to their name” with the team’s endorsement of equal marriage rights.
“The New England Patriots didn't just deflate footballs — they’ve deflated Americans’ respect in professional sports,” Perkins said in his radio commentary this week.
Perkins’ assistant Craig James, a former Fox Sports football analyst, has said previously that the Patriots’ decision to join the amicus brief represents “Satan working on us.”
The New England Patriots didn't just deflate footballs — they've deflated Americans' respect in professional sports. Hi, I'm Tony Perkins with the Family Research Council in Washington. A month after winning the Super Bowl, the New England Patriots are stepping onto another turf: the marriage debate. This month, the Patriots didn't exactly live up to their name when they joined baseball's Tampa Bay Rays and San Francisco Giants in asking the Supreme Court to overturn the votes of millions of Americans who voted to uphold natural marriage. They argue that state laws protecting marriage "hamper employer efforts to recruit and retain the most talented workforce possible in these states." But if the latest polling is any indication, Americans aren't exactly fans of these teams' agenda. Now that people are starting to see the fallout of same-sex marriage, Rasmussen is finding that more people actually oppose same-sex marriage than support — 44% to 42%. So if the Patriots are trying to move the goal post on marriage, they might want to change their game plan.
Anti-gay Presbyterian theologian Robert Gagnon stopped by the American Family Association radio program “Today’s Issues” today to discuss the decision of the largest Presbyterian denomination in the country, the Presbyterian Church (USA), to approve of same-sex marriage.
When the AFA’s Ed Vitagliano asked Gagnon “how in the world our culture has moved so rapidly” on acceptance of homosexuality, Gagnon responded that there were “lots of factors,” including a “full-court press” from elites and “natural concerns” about gay people wanting to form life-long unions.
Another factor, he asserted, is “heterosexual guilt.”
“A lot of heterosexuals have, you know, we’ve not done all that well in some areas of sexual ethics,” he said. “That includes issues of divorce, remarriage, that includes premarital sex, includes abortion. And if you can give a pass on the issue of homosexual practice, in effect it’s a way of exempting our own guilt, and it’s accommodating in a way that’s self-serving.”
Later in the interview, Gagnon cited a passage from Corinthians in which the Apostle Paul disciplines a man who has had sex with his father’s wife as evidence that gay people are “at high risk” of being left behind when the Kingdom of God is established.
“The repercussions for somebody living out of same-sex attractions such that they are actively entertaining those thought desires in their thought life without repentance at any point…or, even worse, engaging in it in the behavior, according to Paul, according to the united witness of scripture, they’re putting themselves at high risk of not inheriting the Kingdom of God,” he said.
Noting that homosexuality might be even more of a grievous sin than incest, Gagnon paraphrased the story: “Paul is very clear at the incestuous man, ‘Okay, if you engage in this behavior, you’re putting yourself at high risk of being excluded from the Kingdom of God. So the only last recourse we have as a church to wake you up, and also not to send a signal to the rest of the church that sexual purity doesn’t matter, is to put you on church discipline, not as a punitive measure, but as a remedial measure so that you will wake up, come to your senses and return to the church, the place of shelter and protection away from the wilds of the Enemy, the Satan, the Adversary.’”
“And that’s not Paul not loving the incestuous man,” he concluded. “It’s Paul showing he really loves the incestuous man. He cares enough for the offender to try to reclaim him to the Kingdom of God, which is what Jesus did in his ministry to sexual sinners and to exploitative tax collectors.”
Anti-gay pastor Rick Scarborough, notorious for insisting that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for homosexuality, is working with Religious Right leader James Dobson, televangelist James Robison and conservative legal activist Mat Staver to recruit leading Religious Right activists and politicians to sign a pledge to commit civil disobedience in protest of a potential Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage.
Scarborough told WorldNetDaily in an interview yesterday that once gay marriage becomes the law of the land, there will be mass arrests of Christians, even though such an event has never taken place in the dozens of states where gay marriage is legal. The government “better have a lot of prisons and jails,” Scarborough said, if they dare to legalize same-sex marriage.
He added that members of Congress “are lining up to sign the document” pledging to go to jail rather than recognize a Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage.
A team of prominent Christian leaders is preparing a statement that will inform the public – including justices on the U.S. Supreme Court – that they will engage in civil disobedience rather than follow a ruling that establishes homosexual “marriage” in the United States.
Among those leading the charge is James Dobson of Family Talk Radio, Rick Scarborough of Vision America Action, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel and James Robison of Life Today, whose brand new publication called The Stream reported on a recent telephone conference call discussing the issue.
Stream Executive Editor Jay Richards told WND there were about 20 other Christian leaders on the call. He said members of Congress have expressed an interest in the plan, which will be disclosed in the next few days in a statement regarding marriage and the U.S. Supreme Court.
However, Scarborough wasted no time in an interview with WND explaining what is, and is not, going to happen.
“We’re taking a very adamant stand,” he said. “If the court declares same-sex ‘marriage’ to be on the same par as a civil right, that’s a bridge too far. We won’t obey. We’ll go to jail.”
Scarborough confirmed congressmen “are lining up to sign the document.”
“The undeniable case is that when same-sex “marriage’ becomes, declared by the Supreme Court, as the law of the land, they will begin to enforce it, like all civil rights laws.”
That is where the civil disobedience will loom large.
“We’re saying, before that, we will never obey that tyrannical law. It’s counter to natural law, and God’s higher law.
“We will simply refuse to comply with recognizing same-sex ‘marriage’ as legitimate,” he said. “The Supreme Court does not have the inherent right [to make that change]. We’ll going to continue doing what we’ve always done.”
He said the hope is that thousands of churches and millions of Americans will join.
Those who plan to use the power of federal law enforcement to enforce same-sex marriage, he said, “better have a lot of prisons and jails.”
Operation Save America, the radical anti-choice group that grew out of the original Operation Rescue, will be holding a multi-day event in Montgomery, Alabama, in June to express its support for Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s activism against marriage equality and abortion rights.
OSA head Rusty Lee Thomas writes in a press release today that the event will bring together “hundreds of gentle Christians from across the nation” for a march drawing on “the historical lessons of Birmingham, Montgomery, and Selma.”
A description of the event on the group’s website boasts that “[f]or years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen [sic].” It specifically praises Moore’s work to develop a legal framework to support radical anti-choice “personhood” laws and his ongoing standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality.
We are praying for God to record His name in Montgomery and by His Spirit bid His people come to bring the Gospel of the Kingdom to the gates of hell (Abortion mills in Alabama). They will not prevail against the Church of the living God (Matthew 16:18). They never have and they never will. Jesus is Lord!
For years, Operation Save America has stood faithfully with Chief Justice Roy Moore, a poet, warrior, statesmen. Through his many battles, we supported his righteous stands in the face of persecution and tyranny. Today, the Alabama Supreme Court led by Chief Justice Moore continues to stand against injustice and once again we are going to come alongside to help.
Moore, along with Justice Tom Parker, have rendered Decisions from the court that directly or indirectly have taken on Roe vs. Wade. Currently, Moore is acting faithfully as a Lower Magistrate to resist “Gay Marriage” in his state. He is taking another just stand and once again, we will stand with him.
Alabama is also working on establishing “Personhood” for the preborn child who is made in the image of God. Alabamians are willing to stand upon the self-evident truth established by God’s Word and we our coming to stand with them.
There are at least four death camps in Alabama still applying their grisly trade to murder babies made in the image of God. This evil defiles the land and invokes God’s judgments upon us. We are coming to stand in the gap and make up the hedge. We want to give God a reason to show mercy in the midst of the American holocaust.
It’s not surprising that Operation Save America, one of the most radical anti-choice groups in the country, would find ideological kinship with Justice Moore.
On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.
At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality.
Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.
1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail
While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.
The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”
Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.
Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”
Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.
2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues
Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.
Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:
Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:
This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”
3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism
Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.
Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.
Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.
What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.
Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:
4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It
Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.
Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.
Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”
“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”
5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other
One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.
Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.
Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":
It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.
As we mentioned earlier, the mood at Saturday’s Awakening conference in Florida around the issue of gay marriage was utter panic, and nowhere was that expressed more clearly than in a panel titled “Same-Sex Marriage and Sexual Rebellion: Freedom Under Fire,” moderated by off-the-rails anti-gay pundit Matt Barber and featuring a pastor, two “ex-gay” activists, and Rena Lindevaldsen, the Liberty University dean who has murky ties with the case of an “ex-lesbian” who fled the country with her daughter to defy a court order giving the child's other mother custody.
Lindevaldsen set the tone for the discussion when she lamented that too many conservative Christians aren’t committed to fighting gay rights and instead ask her “why is this such a big deal and why does it matter?”
"It's a big deal because it's a big deal to God," she declared.
Quoting the late Chuck Colson , she told the audience, “In every action we take, we are either helping to create a hell on Earth, or bringing down a foretaste of heaven…We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.”
“There’s no middle ground, there’s no neutrality, there is no compromise,” she added, telling Christians who are on the fence about gay rights that “it’s not loving” to let gay people “go on not knowing that God has a better plan for their lives, this is not the way that God designed them to be.”
“This is the heart of where Satan’s attacking,” she said. “He is seeking to destroy human sexuality and marriage. Why? Because we are the reflection, marriage is the reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. And so if you’re going to destroy the only human reflection we have of that, we’re going to destroy marriage.”
Later in the panel, “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan similarly warned Christians not to be taken in by LGBT rights, saying that the Human Rights Campaign’s famous equals sign bumper stickers are “not about equality” but “about dominance” and hide an effort to destroy the Constitution.
(Audio again via American Bridge):
When you see that blue bumper sticker with that bright yellow sign, it’s not about equality, it’s about dominance. It’s about silencing any voice that’s against what they want to do. And the real issue is this — I want you to understand this. The Constitution of the United States is a Calvinist document — I’m not a Calvinist — it’s a Christian document, it was written by reformers, based on the word of God. The problem that the secular left has, secular progressives, whatever label you want to put on them, the anti-God folks, our Constitution. And their goal is to undo it, if that means by reinterpreting it rewriting it, but it is to undo it.
So know this, especially the homosexual agenda, if I go down the list, I got a thing called “the big pink plan for a lavender culture,” another talk I do, which goes to what the agenda is. I was there when they were talking about what they want to do. It’s not about equality, it’s about dominance.
At Saturday’s Awakening conference, an annual Religious Right confab organized by Liberty Counsel, the mood surrounding LGBT rights had reached full-blown panic.
Nearly two years after the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision let loose a cascade of federal court decisions legalizing marriage between same-sex couples in dozens of states, the Religious Right activists gathered in a megachurch in Orlando were bracing for a Supreme Court decision that could establish marriage equality nationwide.
At a panel titled “Activism in the Age of Lawlessness,” four Religious Right leaders — John Eidsmoe, Rick Scarborough, William Murray and Harry Mihet — gathered to suss out what the movement’s response should be to pro-LGBT court rulings that they find to be “lawless.”
John Eidsmoe, the influential Christian nationalist thinker who served as a mentor to Michele Bachmann, outlined the issue, explaining to the audience that “‘rule of law’ ultimately means ‘rule of the highest law,’” or God’s law.
Eidsmoe, who now works for the Religious Right group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is urging judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling on marriage equality, argued that you are only disobeying the law if you disobey “the law of God.”
“You disobey a law only when those who have that law are breaking a higher law, the law of God,” he said. “And in fact, if you follow the decree of a tyrant when he is defying the law, you are complicit in his defiance. Disobedience then becomes not only a right, it becomes a duty.”
Eidsmoe explained that the idea of civil disobedience had been perverted since biblical times, since the idea of not violating your conscience should only apply if “your conscience is in accord with the word of God.”
Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, warned that a Supreme Court decision for marriage equality would be worse for the Religious Right than Roe v. Wade because “with abortion, you can opt out, you don’t have to participate in that.”
He claimed that, in contrast, a marriage equality decision would outlaw anti-gay speech, the exact same erroneous prediction he made following the passage of the 2009 Hate Crimes Law.
“We’ll get up the day after that ruling, and in fact a few hours after that ruling when it’s widely disseminated, and you’ll find yourself, those of us who believe that homosexuality is a sexual sin — perversion if you will — those of us who believe that homosexual marriage is unnatural and forbidden by God and who have taught that our entire lives…when that law is passed you are then going to breaking the law when you preach or teach what you’ve always taught or what you’ve always preached,” he claimed.
“Fundamentally, it undermines the whole nature of America,” Scarborough concluded.
Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet, who was moderating the panel, echoed Scarborough’s dire warnings when he declared that there would be “no way to escape this issue” and that it might “in the near future” land anti-LGBT pastors in jail… just like Martin Luther King, Jr.
“We have to draw the line in the sand and stand firm on the truth of the Word, and not to shy away from a fight, not to quit, not to be silent, but to actually speak truth and love to a society that has a desperate need to hear it,” he said. “And there may come a time when you will have to lose your job because that’s what you’ve done. There may come a time in the near future when you have to lose your liberty and go to jail like Martin Luther King did.”
When an audience member in a session about abortion rights asked what to do about a pastor who refuses to participate in politics, Connelly responded that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual” and urged pastors to violate rarely-enforced regulations that prevent churches from being involved in partisan politics in order to keep their tax-exempt status.
Referring to cases where businesses have run afoul of nondiscrimination laws by refusing service to gay and lesbian couples, Connelly said, “Who would have thought that a florist or a baker or a photographer or, for goodness sakes, a wedding chapel would be sued when there were competitors that they could have gone to? They’re coming for the church.”
Listen, voter registration is not political, it’s spiritual. Voting is not political, it’s spiritual. So witness and testimony to the community what you believe in. No wonder we get legislation we don’t agree with, no wonder we get candidates and elected officials we don’t agree with, because our people aren’t engaged.
So if your pastor’s saying, ‘It’s a legal issue, I can’t do this,’ ask them how many churches have lost their tax-exempt status. It’s a finite number: zero. By definition, you’re tax exempt. If there’s no freedom of speech in the pulpit, there’s no freedom of speech, brothers and sisters. And if we can’t say the truth from the pulpit, guess what, we can’t say the truth anywhere.
Who would have thought that a florist or a baker or a photographer or, for goodness sakes, a wedding chapel would be sued when there were competitors that they could have gone to. They’re coming for the church.
He ended by asking the audience to “please help us pressure your pastors” to get involved in elections, but adding that “it’s not a party or political issue.”
Later in the same discussion, far-right pastor Rick Scarborough warned that “every pastor is going to be directly assaulted” by the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on marriage equality, claiming that a pro-equality ruling would force churches to “participate in same-sex marriage” or face fines or imprisonment.
Religious Right political strategist David Lane, who urges greater political engagement by conservative evangelical pastors and promotes right-wing candidates, has managed a pretty neat trick: he trashes “establishment” Republicans while taking RNC members on junkets to Israel and being embraced by top RNC officials, including GOP Chairman Reince Priebus and Director of Faith Engagement Chad Connelly. Lane is out today with another slam at Republicans who support legal equality for LGBT Americans – a category that does not, to be clear, include Priebus and Connelly.
What has Lane so agitated is the amicus brief that was signed by 300 Republicans urging the U.S. Supreme Court to rule in favor of marriage equality nationwide. Lane, to put it mildly, is not pleased. Lane quotes 18th Century English theologian William Berriman:
"It is the property of the Devil, not to mistake the nature of virtue, and esteem it criminal, but to hate it for this reason, because it is good, and therefore most opposite to his designs. The wicked, as his proper emissaries, resemble him in this, and grieve to have the foulness of their vices made conspicuous by being placed near the light of virtuous example."
And then, just so we don’t miss the point, Lane writes:
These GOP Chieftains and Lieutenants lack wisdom. They are neither "shrewd," "insightful," nor "wise"-but "weak-willed" and "easily seduced." They do not believe in the truth that "The true glory of a nation lies in its righteousness rather than its wealth or power."
…These leaders have served as key cogs of the Republican Party apparatus for a quarter of a century. Defining themselves as "conservative" camouflages their radical, secular ideology. They are responsible for frittering away the branding and legacy of limited government, lower taxes, deregulation of business and a philosophy of-"the-one-thing-government-can-do-for-me-is-leave-me-alone"-bequeathed to the Republican Party by Ronald Reagan in the 1980s.
Lane singles out former RNC Chair and White House Political Director Ken Mehlman for calling marriage equality “the conservative position.” Says Lane, “What Mehlman is trying to pull here is unconscionable-without principle.”
This trend of redefining words has only just begun. Phony Republican leaders will continue to use the word "conservative," but with two different meanings. Therefore, if we mean to appreciate conservative values, defend them, and even judge them any better than the Democrat Party's penchant for abortion, homosexual marriage, and anti-god values, then we must define the basic values of the Grand Old Party.
Evangelical and Pro-Life Catholic Christians will find little "community" with Republican secularists, as these agnostics attempt to impose a godless paganism on the nation. After all, what is a political party if not a group of individuals supporting certain beliefs?
Lane says “secular Republicans who impose so-called homosexual marriage on the nation in 2015 will have the exact same effect on the Republican Party that slavery had on the Whig Party in 1852-it will collapse.”
Lane is a Christian nationalist who says America was founded for “the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith” and demands that the Bible be made a primary textbook in public schools. He has blamed Supreme Court decisions upholding church-state separation for imposing a “pagan” secularism on the nation. He returns to that theme in today’s screed:
The Founders established the Bible as the fixed point in order to judge, therein establishing the unity, structure, and shape that welded a people together in a single terrain and fashioned American Exceptionalism. In 1963, the shortsighted Supreme Court eliminated the Bible from public schools causing lone dissenting Justice Potter Stewart to prophesy, "...[the decision] led not to true neutrality with respect to religion, but to the establishment of a religion of secularism." This atrocity has finally reached its denouement in America. One worldview is going to reign supreme between these two competing ideologies: godless secularism or biblical Christianity. One philosophy leads on to fortune, the other "over the falls of Niagara."
In a radio interview this weekend, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver called on states to defy a Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality if it goes “the wrong way.”
“What we could have is the Supreme Court issuing its decision on marriage the wrong way, and Alabama saying, ‘Goodbye, get out of my state, that’s not what’s going to happen to my state,’” Staver told anti-LGBT pundit Linda Harvey, adding that he hopes Texas will also flout such a decision.
The Religious Right legal activist went on to insist that California’s Proposition 8, the gay marriage ban that was struck down by the federal courts, “still is applicable” in most of the state. “They have no legal authority to issue those same-sex marriage licenses,” he claimed.
In a speech to this weekend’s Awakening conference in Florida, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver declared that a ruling in favor of marriage equality from the Supreme Court would deserve “no more respect than Dred Scott or Buck v. Bell,” court rulings that, respectively, denied citizenship to African Americans and allowed mandatory state sterilization of mentally disabled people.
“I say this: If the Supreme Court can’t get it right, or any judge get it right, on the fundamental, observable, natural created order of marriage as the union between a man and a woman, they can’t get it right on anything, that’s their own opinion, and it deserves no more respect than Dred Scott or Buck v. Bell,” he declared.
He warned the audience that a “clash is coming” between religious liberty and LGBT rights that is “unprecedented in American history.”
“Tax exemption, income tax exemption, property tax exemption, everything is going to be impacted,” he said. “You cannot navigate around this. This is a collision of two trains coming in opposite directions on the same track. We are on the precipice of a collision of unprecedented magnitude.”