Marriage Equality

PFAW Members Join Thousands to Make Minnesota the 12th State with Marriage Equality

Photo credit: City of Minneapolis Facebook

Thousands of Minnesotans streamed into St. Paul Tuesday afternoon to witness history in the making.  Governor Mark Dayton welcomed an estimated crowd of 7,000 equality supporters to watch him sign marriage equality legislation into law, making Minnesota the twelfth state to legalize marriage for same-sex couples.

People For members helped make this historic event happen.  In 2012 PFAW activists joined the fight to vote down an anti-gay ‘one-man, one-woman’ measure on the November ballot.  Following that first step, they continued working hard, joining PFAW ally organizations Minnesotans United and OutFront Minnesota in organizing their neighbors, making phone calls, sending emails, and writing letters to their newspapers, demanding full marriage equality for same-sex couples.

In late April, even a massive Midwestern blizzard didn’t stop hundreds from waving rainbow flags while rallying for same-sex marriage on the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol before heading inside to lobby their legislators.  Last week the big moment finally arrived, as activists from across Minnesota trekked to St. Paul to witness the historic debate of HF 1054 in the MN House.  After a contentious three-hour debate, the bill passed easily on a vote of 75-59, evidence of the measure’s broad bi-partisan support.

On Monday the action moved to the Minnesota Senate chamber.  Once again, PFAW members in their bright red PFAW ‘Equality Now!’ t-shirts joined thousands of marriage equality supporters at noon in the capitol as the MN Senate took up the measure.  A massive crowd packing the rotunda and hallways chanted ‘Vote Yes!’ and sang protest songs, letting Senators know where they stood.  By a vote of 42-45, the Senate voted down a divisive amendment that would have allowed business owners to refuse goods and services to same-sex couples based on religious objections.  The hours-long but respectful debate on the intact same-sex marriage bill resulted in another bipartisan vote; the measure passing 37-30, sending the bill to Gov. Mark Dayton for his signature.

At 5:00 pm yesterday Gov. Dayton and supportive members of the Minnesota Legislature gathered in the 90-degree heat on the front steps to celebrate the historic bill signing.  A deafening roar rose from the crowd as Dayton signed the bill into law.  Following the ceremony, the thousands of equality revelers paraded to downtown St. Paul for a free party thrown by St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman. The celebration lasted late into the warm spring night. 

PFAW congratulates all Minnesotans and our People For members in celebrating the state’s newly-minted status as the twelfth marriage equality state!
 

 

 

PFAW

Rallying for Marriage Equality in Minnesota

Yesterday, as the Minnesota Senate voted 37-30 to allow same-sex marriages in the state, PFAW and friends expressed their support for marriage equality through signs, chants, and songs:

 

PFAW

Ted Cruz, Archbishop Lori Will Address FRC's 'Watchmen' Pastors

The Family Research Council’s Watchmen on the Wall conference is an annual gathering for pastors and other church leaders to hear from a panoply of right-wing speakers and get motivated to “transform America.” Our coverage of last year’s event highlights speakers’ attacks on evolution, secularism, Islam, LGBT people, and other tools of Satan.

This year’s conference, which takes place in Washington DC May 22-24, has been promoted by FRC for months.  In April, FRC sent an excited alert that Sen. Ted Cruz, a Tea Party and Religious Right favorite who is reportedly mulling a 2016 presidential bid, had confirmed.

Based on other confirmed speakers, it seems likely that there will be two major themes to this year’s gathering: 1) religious liberty in America is under attack by Obama and his gay allies; and 2) only the church – led by uncompromising fired up pastors – can save freedom and America.

A notable addition to the cast of conservative evangelicals is William Lori, Archbishop of the Diocese of Baltimore and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for Religious Liberty. Lori has led the bishops’ attack on the Obama administration’s proposed regulations requiring insurance coverage of contraception.  Lori, who believes that “aggressive secularity” is “becoming the established ‘religion’ in our country today,” will be right at home with his friends at the Family Research Council. A typical FRC Action mailing from Tony Perkins earlier this year said President Obama is out to “crush freedom.” The same letter warns about “death panels” under Obamacare, which Perkins calls “the tip of the tyranny-iceberg.”

Also entertaining the Watchmen will be Rep. James Lankford, who earlier this year blamed gun violence on “welfare moms” overmedicating their kids with psychiatric drugs because they “want to get additional benefits.”  At FRC’s Values Voter Summit in September, Lankford said of the dispute over contraception coverage, “this is not a war on women, this is a war on people of faith.” 

Also confirmed is Ergun Caner, who lost his position at Liberty University after Muslim and Christian bloggers, and then journalists, began to expose the falsehoods in the Jihadi-to-Jesus life story that Caner had used to make a name for himself in the post-9/11 evangelical universe. Caner will probably echo his remarks at the 2009 Values Voter Summit, where his message to Christians who were not being outspoken enough on the issues of the day: “You need to preach, teach, and reach, or just shut up and get out of our way.”

Anti-gay activist Harry Jackson is quick to invoke Satan and other demonic powers as the forces behind the gay rights movement, which he portrays as an enemy of religious freedom. He has charged that a “radical” gay element is trying to “close down every church in America.” In fact, one of his columns was titled,” Why do Gays Hate Religious Freedom?”  Jackson’s apocalyptic anti-Obama rhetoric did not convince many Black Christians to vote against Obama, but Jackson thinks they’ll be sorry. God, he says, will “take out” those who chose “race over grace.” Jackson is a long-time FRC ally; he and Perkins co-authored Personal Faith, Public Policy, which calls Supreme Court rulings on church-state issues “assaults” on Christianity.

Jim Garlow, a California pastor who led church backing for Prop 8 in California and was then tapped by Newt Gingrich to run one of his political groups, had warned before the election that an Obama reelection would destroy the country.  During an FRC post-election special Garlow said that Christians should expect massive persecution from the government.  At last year’s Watchmen on the Wall conference, Garlow spoke at a press conference attacking President Obama’s use of religious language to describe his support for marriage equality. Evoking the words of a colonial preacher, Garlow said, “if necessary, here we die.” In an FRC DVD promoting Watchmen on the Wall, Garlow says an FRC-produced video was crucial to the Prop 8 win.

Richard Land is retiring in October after 25 years as head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty commission; he was dogged by controversy during the past year over plagiarism charges and racially inflammatory remarks he made regarding the Trayvon Martin killing.  Land has charged that the only reason the Obama administration proposed regulations on contraception coverage was to "set the precedent of ramming this down our throats and forcing us to surrender our First amendment freedom of religion." Land says God will unleash judgment on America for the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.

Watchmen will also hear from Jacob Aranza, whose 1983 book Backward Masking Unmasked warned that rock music was encoded with satanic messages that would entice teens into drug use and abnormal sexual behavior. Aranza says he burned “hundreds of thousands” of albums in those days. More recently, Aranza was an endorser of Rick Perry’s “Awakening” and participated in Religious Right strategy sessions convened by James Robison to try to prevent Obama’s re-election. In 2011, Aranza and Perkins appeared together on Robison’s television show, and Aranza gushed about Perkin’s work to mobilize pastors:

Tony Perkins is one of the great heroes in America today. He is a hero because it is unseen. He is uniting and equipping the most important people in America, and that's the pastors in America. If the local church is the hope of the world then pastors are the hope of the local church. Tony Perkins exists to encourage them and to equip them and to empower them. He's taking regular pastors -- the average church in America, James, as you know is less than 200 people; 80% of the churches in America are 200 or less -- and he is taking men like that and he is turning them into absolute heroes, just like pastors in Maine who are literally changing the moral fiber of an entire state because he has equipped them and empowered them and told them they're the people that are supposed to be the hedge of builders, and he is encouraging them to do just that.…I believe that as you speak you are literally trumpeting a sound that is encouraging pastors across America and families across America that are Christians to unite together to see God once again bring spiritual awakening to our nation.

JC Church is one of FRC’s pastor leaders “networking churches in Ohio to answer the call on moral issues.”  His 3 Cord Alliance, which is affiliated with FRC, teaches pastors “how to bring sound scripturally based influence and change to your community.” Church has been praised by Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values: “I believe that if all the pastors in Ohio were like Pastor Church, we would have an army that Satan could not stop. He understands that America is led by the pulpit and we count on him to unite fellow pastors and their congregations to be the salt and light we so desperately need in the world today.”

Jack Hibbs is a California-based preacher who also pushed Prop 8; in 2011 he helped lead an unsuccessful effort to overturn the state’s SB 48, which he charged would lead to public schools indoctrinating students.  In a video urging pastors to get involved, he said it is not enough to teach and preach the word of God, pastors needed to be “culture changers for Christ.” Leading into the 2012 election Hibbs was outspoken about the fact that Christians should vote for Romney over Obama. In a radio show the day after the 2012 elections, He says he was on the phone with Tony Perkins on election night and they had both believed that the outcome was up to the church: “The answer wouldn’t be determined in the White House or the statehouse….the answer for righteousness or unrighteousness, for light or for darkness, for liberty or tyranny, would be decided by the pastors.” Given the way things turned out, Hibbs says “I believe the responsibility, the outcome, and the fallout falls into the hands of the pulpits of America’s pastors who did not speak up….” Hibbs also echoes Mitt Romney’s infamous “47 percent” remarks: “those who are looking for handouts, they don’t want to work, they want the government to give things to them, overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama.” Hibbs said he was disappointed but not discouraged, because “God’s on the throne” and therefore “God has appointed him to be our president for God’s purposes – OK that means God has got some pretty gnarly purposes coming for America.”

There’s a special role at the conference for FRC’s executive vice president, retired Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin.  Boykin retired from the military after being reprimanded by then-President Bush for making speeches depicting the war on terrorism as a Christian holy war against Islam. FRC hired Boykin last year after he was disinvited from speaking at West Point after faculty and cadets objected.  Boykin and his Religious Right allies portrayed his mythical martyrdom as an attack on freedom of speech and religion. At last year’s Values Voter Summit, Boykin invoked Marx, Lenin, Stalin, and Hitler in denouncing what he said is an effort to move Americans away from belief in a sovereign God.  He says everything President Obama is doing is right out of the” Communist Manifesto.”

Perkins seems to be counting on Boykin to strong-arm pastors at the conference into making a concrete commitment to political activism. In an insert in a packet mailed to pastors, Perkins says Boykin will offer the “concluding challenge” – and he insists that pastors book their flights home no earlier than 4pm so that they can stay.  “During the Briefing, we will share details of the strategic plan the Lord is using to bring revival and renewal in communities around the nation through the engagement of pastors. At the end, we have a ‘call to decision’ or ‘invitation’ sort of like many of you do in a worship service. Just as you want those attending your worship service to stay and respond, we would respectfully ask the same of you.” Perkins has some leverage – FRC picks up most of the tab for one pastor from each church.

FRC launched Watchmen on the Wall in 2004. A 2010 promotional DVD said the group was up to 14,000 pastors; it said Perkins’ goal was to have 40,000 Watchmen pastors by 2015. Pastors who sign up get access to regular briefings, model sermons, and other toolkits for mobilizing their congregations and communities.  The same promotional video contains a clip of “historian” David Barton quoting 19th Century preacher Charles Finney saying, in effect, that if the country is going to hell, it’s pastors’ fault.  The notion that America can only be saved by more aggressive preachers is a recurring theme at Religious Right gatherings, including Liberty Counsel’s recent Awakening conference.

Bachmann Urges 'Spiritual Warfare' to Enforce Right-Wing Policies

Last week, RWW posted video of Michele Bachmann calling the 9-11 and Benghazi attacks God’s judgment on America.  A few weeks earlier, at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference, Bachmann insisted that public policy should reflect what she thinks God says – and she urged American Christians to focus on “spiritual warfare” in order to promote right-wing policies.

Watch:

You see if we retreat from our values and fail to make the case on issues like marriage – because it is one man, one woman – because God said it is. Not because it’s poll tested – because God said it is. And life – not because it’s poll tested, because God stands for life. He made us in his image and likeness. And if we tread too softly on issues, like taking on Islamic jihad, and if we fight too timidly, and if we strive too meekly, then I think we all understand we very easily could come face to face with defeat, and then our nation would in fact pay a great and a lasting price, one that none of us wants to face.

...

Because we need to recognize the desperate situation of our condition, not only in the natural but also in the supernatural. Because as the scripture was read from the pulpit at Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, we fight not against this world, we fight against the powers and principalities and 'Prince of the Air,' that’s where we need to focus as well, is on spiritual warfare…

Minnesota House Passes Marriage Equality Bill

This afternoon the Minnesota House passed a bill allowing same-sex couples in Minnesota to marry. It is expected to be taken up by the Senate on Monday, and Gov. Mark Dayton has pledged to sign the legislation if it reaches him.   If successful, Minnesota would be the twelfth state – and the third in one month – to pass marriage equality legislation.

“I personally want this to pass, but I also think it’s the right direction for Minnesota and where the future is headed,” said Minnesota House Speaker Paul Thissen on Tuesday, according to the Star Tribune.

Jake Loesch, communications director for Minnesotans United, shared a similar sentiment:

“Marriage is a simple freedom, it’s something that all Minnesotans deserve and it’s about the love, the commitment, the responsibility that two people share.”
 

PFAW

Polygamy, Mass Murder, and the End of Capitalism: The Top Ten Religious Right Claims on the Consequences of Marriage Equality

As the Supreme Court considers cases that could lead to sweeping changes for same-sex couples and as state after state passes marriage equality legislation, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent claims from the Religious Right on marriage equality. Relying on wild predications and outright lies, right-wing opponents contend that marriage for same-sex couples will lead to everything from “the murder of the masses” to Christians being forced underground. 

Here are highlights of Right Wing Watch’s recent reporting on right-wing opposition to marriage equality:

10. Glenn Stanton: Same-Sex Marriage is a ‘Pernicious Lie of Satan’ that Imperils Society and Humanity (February 2013)

Glenn Stanton of Focus on the Family asserted that homosexuality “is a really pernicious lie of Satan” because it denies “the distinct God imaging in each of us as males and females.” He went on to warn that gay equality leads to the “persecution” of Christians and will “redefine not only marriage but the family itself if not humanity completely.”

Read the full article here.

9. Harry Jackson: ‘Polygamy and Many Other Forms of Marriage’ Will ‘Automatically Sweep the Land’ if Same-Sex Marriage Is Legal (March 2013)

Pastor Harry Jackson said conservatives can win their fight against marriage equality if they succeed in convincing Americans about gay marriage’s dire consequences, such as the “automatic” legalization of polygamy.  “If same-sex marriage is allowed to be mandated by fiat,” Jackson warned, “then right behind it, polygamy and many other forms of marriage will automatically sweep the land within just a matter of a few years.”

Read the full article here.

8. Erik Rush: Same-Sex Marriage Is an ‘Anti-Theistic, Christophobic Design of the Radical Left’ (March 2013)

WorldNetDaily columnist Erik Rush argued that gay rights advocates have a “venomous hatred for everything smacking of Christianity” and that same-sex marriage is part of “the anti-theistic, Christophobic design of the radical left,” which Rush claims will bring about “societal dissolution.”

Read the full article here.

7. Sandy Rios: Gay Marriage Brings about the ‘Rape of Our Children's Innocence’ (November 2012)

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association argued that marriage equality will lead to “explicit instruction in public schools” and the “rape of our children’s innocence.”

Read the full article here.

6. Matthew Hagee: Gay Marriage Will Be ‘The Death of Capitalism’ (March 2013)

On “Hagee Hotline,” Pastor Matthew Hagee warned that legalizing gay marriage would spell “the death of capitalism.”

“The only relationship in natural law that can produce consumers,” Hagee declared, “is the relationship between a man and a woman.”

Read the full article here.

5. Jim Garlow: Christians Will be ‘Forced Underground’ if Court Affirms Marriage Equality (March 2013)

Pastor Jim Garlow warned that if the Supreme Court affirms marriage equality, Christians will be “forced underground. Their buildings will be taken away from them, many of their rights will be taken away from them.”

Read the full article here.

4. Tony Perkins: If SCOTUS Legalizes Gay Marriage, it Could Lead to ‘Revolution’ (November 2012)

Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council declared that if the Supreme Court legalizes same-sex marriage, Christian conservatives will never accept it because they know that “it’s unnatural for two men to be married.”   If the Court strikes down the anti-gay marriage amendments passed by various states, Perkins warned that it could lead to “revolution” and “just break this nation apart.”

Read the full article here.

3. Southern Baptist Leader Fred Luter Links North Korean Threats to Gay Marriage, Boy Scouts (March 2013)

Fred Luter, the president of the Southern Baptist Convention: “I would not be surprised that at the time when we are debating same-sex marriage, at a time when we are debating whether or not we should have gays leading the Boy Scout movement, I don’t think it’s just a coincidence that we have a mad man in Asia who is saying some of the things that he’s saying.”

Read the full article here.

2. Mat Staver: Supreme Court Could Spark Second Revolution and Civil War over Marriage Equality (December 2012)

According to Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver, if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, America may head toward outright revolt and a second civil war.

“This would be more devastating to our freedom, to our religious freedom, to the rights of pastors and their duty to be able to speak and to Christians around the country, than anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing,” Staver said. “This could cause another civil war.”

Read the full article here.

1. Alan Keyes: Gay Marriage Will Lead to Communism and ‘The Murder of the Masses’ (April 2013)

Former ambassador and perennial presidential candidate Alan Keyes maintained that if the government goes against divine law and legalizes same-sex marriage then the state will have limitless power, ultimately becoming a Communist regime that will authorize “the expropriation of all property” and “the murder of the masses.”

Read the full article here.

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Christian Action League Warns 'Rapid Decline into Paganism' Leads to Gay Marriage

In a column yesterday, Rev. Mark Creech of the North Carolina-based Christian Action League warned that marriage equality will lead to “a flood of religious persecutions” and can only be stopped by reversing America’s “rapid decline into paganism.”

Writing for Alan Keyes’ Renew America, Creech argues that Christians will face “serious bouts with persecution” and be forced to “bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's image” if same-sex marriage is legalized.

These events of late prove, without question, that the normalization of homosexual behavior in the culture and the legalization of same-sex marriage will inevitably usher in a flood of religious persecutions for Christians who dare say homosexuality is a sin. Touting as they have that gay rights are about civil rights, the LGBT community deceives the public into believing every born-again, God fearing, Bible-believing, follower of Jesus Christ is worse than an prejudiced Archie Bunker type idiot.



Unfortunately, very few people understand why such persecution is inevitable for those who would reject same-sex marriage. The reason is because the legalization of gay marriage doesn't simply facilitate the ability of homosexuals to marry along-side of heterosexuals; instead it legally redefines the institution of marriage for everyone. No longer is marriage between a man and a woman, but between two adults – regardless of gender. Therefore, this presents a radically different paradigm resulting in a myriad of societal conflicts that government uses its broad enforcement authority to resolve. In other words, if citizen Christians with small businesses or Christian organizations and ministries are unwilling to comply with this new legal orthodoxy on marriage, then such are outside of the law and vulnerable to the government's coercive powers to bring them into compliance.

For many years, Christians in this country – one largely based on Christian values – have had it relatively easy and not experienced serious bouts with persecution. But that may soon change if America continues its rapid decline into paganism.

Don't be fooled. True Christianity is in no way compatible with homosexuality. And same-sex marriage is in no way compatible with religious liberty.

This writer is not conceding to the so-called inevitability of gay marriage. But his point is that regardless of what happens on that front, every genuine believer must always like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, purpose in his heart that he will not bow down to Nebuchadnezzar's image.

NOM: Portman and Kirk Will Lose Re-Election for Endorsing Marriage Equality

National Organization for Marriage president Brian Brown is convinced that marriage equality advocates, who just helped pass laws legalizing same-sex marriage in Delaware and Rhode Island, will go down in defeat since they are opposed to “the will of the majority of Americans” and solely rely on the support of “our cultural elite.”

Speaking with Janet Mefferd yesterday, Brown argued that Sens. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), who both support marriage equality, will lose their re-election races in 2016 over the marriage issue…if they even opt to run again.

Brown: If the Republican Party were to change its platform, that would be the death knell for the Republican Party. Right now the Democratic Party has changed its platform, has wholeheartedly embraced the redefinition of marriage. The Republican Party right now gives voters — and again, the majority of voters who have been able to vote on this issue have voted to protect marriage in this country — it gives those voters a party that at this point stands up for traditional marriage. We need to be encouraging Republican lawmakers to be speaking out more on the importance of marriage, not attempting to imitate the Democratic Party in embracing the redefinition of marriage.

Mefferd: Very, very well said. You’re seeing people like Rob Portman and Mark Kirk come out as Republicans backing now homosexual so-called marriage. What do you think the response needs to be from the voters, working very hard to get them out of office? Brown: They need to be primaried, period. I think that folks in Ohio, if Rob Portman decides to run again, he will be primaried, he may not run again because there’s been such a backlash in his state, and I think the same is true of Mark Kirk.

Delaware Set to Become Eleventh State With Marriage Equality

Following closely on the heels of Rhode Island, Delaware is poised to become the eleventh state to allow same-sex couples to marry.  Because the Delaware House passed a marriage equality bill last month and Governor Jack Markell has pledged to sign it, the only remaining step was passage in the state Senate – which happened this afternoon.

Recent polling data found that a clear majority of Delaware voters, like the majority of Americans in general, support marriage equality.  In April Gov. Markell told the Huffington Post:

“…when the advocates came to me earlier this year, and said we think it's time…I said, you know what, it is time, and I'm happy to stand right there with you.”

We agree: it is time for loving, committed couples to be treated equally under the law – in Delaware and throughout the country.

PFAW

The Myth of American Christians as Persecuted Minority, part 256

The claim that American Christians are facing horrible persecution for their religious beliefs – and are on the verge of being rounded up and thrown into jail by tyrannical secularists – has been a staple of Religious Right groups’ rhetoric for decades. And as conservative evangelicals’ anti-gay views have lost popular support, they’ve doubled down on their claims that gay rights are incompatible with religious liberty. In recent years, conservative Catholics have joined in crying “religious persecution” in response to the advance of marriage equality for same-sex couples and the Obama administration’s requirement for insurance coverage of contraception.

On CNN’s Belief Blog, correspondent John Blake has given voice to these claims in a post titled “When Christians become a ‘hated minority.’” That headline hinted that this piece would be problematic. And that was confirmed with the opening sentence, which cites the Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who goes on to say that anti-gay Christians are victims who are being forced into the “closet.”

Where to begin?

We could start with the problem of Peter Sprigg being a spokesperson for tolerance. In Blake’s story, Sprigg is quoted saying “Maybe we need to do a better job of showing that we are motivated by Christian love” and “Love is wanting the best for someone, and acting to bring that about.” It’s hard to square Sprigg’s assertion that he is motivated by the best interests of gay people, given that he:

  • has called for the criminalization of homosexual conduct both in the U.S. and abroad;
  • said he would like to “export” gays from the U.S. rather than support legislation to give same-sex couples equal treatment under immigration law;
  • dislikes the idea of a gay judge, because he says gays don’t make good role models;
  • opposes making children raised by a same-sex couple eligible for social security benefits if a parent’s spouse dies;
  • dismisses anti-bullying and safe-school programs as attempts to indoctrinate impressionable children
  • has suggested that schools should be allowed to fire openly gay teachers and coaches;
  • has cheered the kidnapping of a child by a mother who refused to abide by a court’s order to share custody with her former partner.

Sprigg says the “real goal of homosexual activists” is not protection from discrimination or marriage equality, but is “to create a society in which it is unacceptable for anyone, ever, anywhere to say that homosexual conduct is wrong, or that homosexual relationships are anything other than fully equal to heterosexual ones.” The CNN piece also cites Bryan Liften, a professor at Moody Bible Institute, saying Christians should be able to publicly say that God designed sex to take place within a marriage between a man and a woman.

Should be? If you haven’t noticed, plenty of Christians have been saying that loudly and proudly and with millions of dollars they have used to enshrine that belief into a majority of state constitutions. People like Sprigg and his boss Tony Perkins, Brian Brown from the National Organization for Marriage, and any number of conservative evangelicals and Roman Catholic bishops have pretty much an open invitation to say so on national television and before state legislative and congressional committees. Not to mention through their own radio and television networks and vast church networks. Or from the platform of the Republican convention.  Freedom of expression, including anti-equality expression, is alive and well.

The CNN post does include Christians with differing views on gay rights, and who acknowledge that simply claiming religious backing for one’s beliefs does not insulate those views from criticism in the public arena. Neither does disagreement equate to discrimination or persecution. Conservative Christians did not see it as a form of religious discrimination to enshrine their view of marriage into laws and state constitutions; but as public opinion shifts and more states make equality the law, they warn of dire threats to their freedom.

Among the Religious Right horror stories linked to in the CNN piece are complaints about pastor Louie Giglio’s withdrawal from President Obama’s second inaugural ceremony in the face of criticism about anti-gay remarks that surfaced online. Criticism of those remarks – even anger and disappointment among pro-equality Obama supporters over Giglio being given a place of honor at the inaugural – does not mean, as some pundits claimed, that people of faith are no longer welcome in the public square. Anyone who heard the prayers, music, and speeches at the inaugural would see that such claims are ludicrous.

It should be noted that Religious Right groups made similarly shrill claims that the addition of sexual orientation to federal hate crimes laws would result in preachers being thrown into jail for quoting scripture on homosexuality. And they claimed that allowing gay members of the armed forces to serve openly would destroy the military. Those claims have been proven to be not just wrong but ridiculous.

Baker quotes evangelical blogger Joe Carter (who used to work at Family Research Council), warning that young people will abandon anti-gay churches “for fear of being called haters.” What is far more likely is that many young Christians will leave anti-gay churches because they have gay friends and disagree with both the anti-gay theology and anti-equality policy positions of the Religious Right. And some may continue to hold traditional theological views on homosexuality while supporting legal equality as a civil matter. Polling shows that the generation gap on LGBT issues is huge within as well as outside the evangelical community – and that many young Christians are disillusioned with the anti-gay fixation of many church leaders.

The CNN piece finishes blogger Carter saying “he foresees a day when any church that preaches against homosexuality will be marginalized. Just as many churches now accept divorce, they will accept sexual practices once considered sinful.”

So let’s end with a consideration of divorce. The Catholic Church denies its religious blessing to divorced couples who get remarried without obtaining a religious annulment of their previous marriage. Many evangelical churches also frown on divorce. But all marriages – first, second, third, or fourth – are treated equally under civil law (good news for Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh!).  Yet no one is arguing that the status quo on divorce amounts to an attack on religious freedom – or that Christians who oppose divorce have been marginalized or hounded out of the public square. Their religious beliefs about divorce coexist with public policy that reflects societal reality and the opinions of a religiously diverse America. 

Top North Carolina Anti-Gay Activist Mulls Senate Run

The pastor who helped organize and finance the campaign to pass North Carolina’s constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, Rev. Mark Harris of Charlotte’s First Baptist Church, is pondering a run for US Senate against Democratic Senator Kay Hagan, a marriage equality supporter.

As reported by Jeremy Hooper, Harris, who leads North Carolina’s Baptist convention, emphasized that the Amendment One campaign wasn’t just about marriage but attacking the gay community:

Harris also preached that God would mourn the anti-gay amendment’s defeat:

His church also promoted a column by his wife that put marriage equality advocates in the same category as Nazis and eugenicists, argued that people are gay as a result of sexual abuse, warned that the supporters of the “gay agenda” like Oprah Winfrey and Katy Perry are warping the minds of children and contended that gay youth are simply deluded.

Harris has informed his congregation about his potential run for Senate, the Charlotte Observer reports:

Harris, 47, met in Charlotte last week with about 70 people from around 20 North Carolina counties who are trying to draft him to run.

“I’m certainly humbled and flattered by the confidence that these folks have expressed,” he said. “It’s a little bit overwhelming to be honest. Right now we’re doing two things. One … doing a lot of listening to people and the second and most importantly to me is just to pray and seek God’s leadership … and see if that’s his plan for me.”

Harris announced that to his congregation at the end of Sunday’s service, and walked off to a standing ovation.



Last year, Harris campaigned heavily for Amendment One, which recognizes marriage between a man and a woman as the only valid union recognized in the state.

He has hosted Republican precinct meetings at his church and last year brought in a number of prominent conservative speakers, including former presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee and Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.

A few weeks ago, Harris met with GOP consultant Tom Perdue of Atlanta, onetime chief strategist for former U.S. Rep. Robin Hayes, now the state’s Republican chairman. Among the many GOP candidates Perdue has helped were former U.S. Sens. Paul Coverdell of Georgia and Bill Frist of Tennessee.

Rhode Island Becomes Tenth State with Marriage Equality

Today the Rhode Island House passed and Governor Lincoln Chafee is expected to sign legislation allowing same-sex couples to marry, making it the tenth state in the country with full marriage equality.  The state House passed a similar version of the bill earlier this year but held another vote following minor changes to the Senate version.  Last week PFAW President Michael Keegan released a statement celebrating passage of the bill in the state Senate.

In The New York Times yesterday, Governor Lincoln Chafee called the nationwide push for marriage equality a “historic realignment”:

“A historic realignment is happening all around us, as Americans from all walks of life realize that this is the right thing to do. It is occurring both inside and outside of politics, through conversations at the office and over kitchen tables, and at different speeds in different parts of the country.”

Across dinner tables, in the pews, and in the halls of state legislatures, the momentum is indeed undeniable.  Today’s victory will not only give equal marriage rights to committed, loving couples in Rhode Island, it will also strengthen the nationwide momentum towards marriage equality. 
 

PFAW

Farah: Marriage Equality Will Put America in 'The Dustbin of History'

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah today promoted his 9/11 National Day of Prayer event by warning that a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality will mean that the high court is “legally destroying the very building block of our civilization.” Farah claims that such a ruling will make America fall “into oligarchy and tyranny” and eventually “the dustbin of history like so many empires before it.”

In a few weeks, the U.S. Supreme [sic] will make rulings in two cases that will determine whether America continues as a self-governing nation under the rule of law and will of the people or it goes the way of most other countries and descends into oligarchy and tyranny.

That is what the stakes are in rulings the justices will make on the definition of marriage.

There hasn’t been a more important Supreme Court ruling since Roe v. Wade. Not even Obamacare was this big. Both of those went very badly because of the rulings of justices named to the high court by Republicans. In this case, it will take a straight flush by justices named by Republicans to save America from legally destroying the very building block of our civilization.



I know I have been asking for prayer frequently during these trying days. I’m encouraged by the feedback I have received from thousands to my plea for a 9/11 National Day of Prayer and Fasting.

But I am convinced that without it, this country is headed for the dustbin of history like so many empires before it.

This is no idle request. It’s our only chance for survival. Government is broken. Politics is broken. The culture is broken. God is simply waiting to hear our fervent cries of repentance and deliverance.

PFAW Celebrates Passage of Marriage Equality Bill in Rhode Island Senate

WASHINGTON – Today the Rhode Island Senate passed a bill that would allow same-sex couples to marry, setting the stage for Rhode Island to become the tenth state in the nation with full marriage equality.  A similar bill has already passed the State House and Gov. Lincoln Chafee has expressed his support for marriage equality in the past.

“Today marks an important step forward and a powerful victory for all Rhode Island families,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “As Rhode Island moves toward becoming the tenth state to allow same-sex couples to marry, the growing momentum for marriage equality nationwide is undeniable. Lawmakers in Rhode Island have come to see what people all over the country understand – that preventing same-sex couples from getting married brings serious harm to women and men in loving, committed relationships.”


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Robertson: Gay Marriage Advocates, Following In Steps of Illuminati, Out to Destroy God and Family

Introducing a story on the 700 Club yesterday about the debate over legalizing same-sex marriage in France, Pat Robertson claimed that marriage equality supporters are following in the footsteps of the Illuminati.

Robertson told viewers that the French Revolution was “spurred by the writings of a group called the Illuminati,” which meant “to destroy the family, to destroy the state, to destroy capitalism and to destroy the church.” The gay community, he claimed, has similarly broad goals. “We have here a debate over same-sex marriage,” Robertson said.

“But is it really just about marriage or does it go far beyond that: to destroying the traditional family and building a country without God?”

Watch:

Klingenschmitt: Children of Gay Parents Are 'Abused Kids' Who Are 'Recruited Into' and 'Used as Pawns for the Homosexual Agenda'

In an email to members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project yesterday, Gordon Klingenschmitt said that Religious Right activists must become “the voice” of the “abused kids” raised by same-sex parents, who he says are “not only recruited into but used as pawns for the homosexual agenda.”

Klingenschmitt responded to Justice Kennedy’s statement about the need to remember the “voice of those children” who “live with same-sex parents” while hearing the Proposition 8 case by arguing that “those abused children really wanted one mom and one dad, they just didn't know better having been misled by California Judges who impose homosexual parents upon innocent kids, against their will, and against the will of California voters.”

He also claimed that Christians cannot support politicians who favor legalizing same-sex marriage and warned that gay rights advocates are bent on “taxing heterosexuals more to pay homosexuals to engage in immorality” and “reward their acts of sodomy.”

Now 51 of 55 Democrat Senators are now openly pro-homosexual (all but Pryor, D-AR; Johnson, D-SD; Manchin, D-WV; and Landrieu, D-LA) compared to just 2 of 45 Republicans(Portman, R-OH; Kirk, R-IL). [Dr. Chaps' comment: Never again can any Bible-believing Christian support them, if Christ is still Lord of your heart.]

Shocker: Last week Senator Bill Nelson (D-FL) literally blamed Jesus Christ for creating homosexual "marriage." Really Senator? Jesus made you vote for sin?



If you saw how the left-wing major media (including Fox News) reported today's Supreme Court arguments, it appears all but a foregone conclusion that 5 of the 9 justices will vote to homosexualize "marriage" this week, and release their decision in June.

For example, here's a quote from Justice Kennedy, supposedly the 'conservative' but open-minded swing vote, who today voiced concern about the estimated 40,000 children in California with homosexual 'parents': "They want their parents to have full recognition and full status. The voice of those children is important in this case," Kennedy said.

No, Justice Kennedy, those abused children really wanted one mom and one dad, they just didn't know better having been misled by California Judges who impose homosexual parents upon innocent kids, against their will, and against the will of California voters.



But here's some good news. 15,000 Christians marched on the Supreme Court today, demanding we define marriage as only valid between one man and one woman, for the sake of the kids, because every child deserves a mom and a dad. Let's petition with them, and let's be the voice of those abused kids, not only recruited into but used as pawns for the homosexual agenda, as proven in today's court arguments by Justice Kennedy himself.



While the national media covers only the debt crisis, Democrats in the Senate are attacking traditional marriage between one man and one woman, by attempting to repeal the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Not satisfied with homosexualizing the military, or forcing gay "marriage" in states like New York, radical homosexuals testified on Capitol Hill today demanding homosexual "bonus pay" with more than 1,100 federal benefits that reward their acts of sodomy in all 50 states, taxing heterosexuals more to pay homosexuals to engage in immorality.

On Tuesday Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) introduced, and President Obama quickly endorsed a new bill S.598 to promote homosexual marriage, mislabeled the "Respect for Marriage Act" (RFMA) to end federal law that defines traditional marriage between one man and one woman. White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters Tuesday "President Obama is proud to support the Respect for Marriage Act," which disrespects traditional marriage by enforcing homosexual marriage upon all 50 states. His views are no longer "evolving" rather Obama is now fully out of the closet promoting gay marriage nationwide.

Michael Brown: Jim Wallis 'Brought Reproach to the Name of Jesus' by Backing Marriage Equality

Michael Brown is quite upset that Sojourners head Jim Wallis now supports marriage equality, and in a column for Charisma yesterday accused Wallis of “apostasy” and taking the “path to spiritual and moral suicide.” “Rev. Wallis, you have brought reproach to the name of Jesus, to the Word of God and to evangelical Christianity,” Brown writes, “you will need to humble yourself and repent.”

Rev. Wallis, you have brought reproach to the name of Jesus, to the Word of God and to evangelical Christianity.

You raised concerns for many of us when you argued in 2008 that justice requires Christians to support (and even bless) same-sex unions, but you also stated clearly in 2008, “I don’t think the sacrament of marriage should be changed. Some people say that Jesus didn’t talk about homosexuality, and that’s technically true. But marriage is all through the Bible, and it’s not gender-neutral.”

Now you have declared your support for the radical redefinition of marriage, explaining, “I think we have to talk about, now, how to include same-sex couples in that deeper understanding of marriage. I want a deeper commitment to marriage that is more and more inclusive, and that’s where I think the country is going.”

How can you say this as a student of the Word and a professing disciple of Jesus?



Rev. Wallis, you don’t strengthen marriage by removing its foundational components—as emphasized by Jesus Himself in Matthew 19—namely, one man and one woman coming together in sacred, lifelong union. Instead, by advocating for the radical redefinition of marriage, you align yourself with the many groups in America who want to marginalize, ostracize and even criminalize religious opposition to same-sex “marriage.” What has become of your Christian conscience?



What? Jim Wallis, the critic of the religious establishment; Jim Wallis, the counter-cultural revolutionary; Jim Wallis, the advocate of a Jesus who changes the world rather than conforms to it. You, sir, are now willing to redefine one of the most foundational and sacred human institutions, the institution of marriage, based on where the country is going? Isn’t that the path to spiritual and moral suicide?

You of all people should know that as followers of Jesus, we are called to swim against the conformist, worldly tide of the age, calling society back to the timeless ways of God, especially when society forsakes the Word of God and the God of the Word. Yet you have now joined in the apostasy, choosing to go with the populist flow—one that is becoming more anti-faith by the day—rather than having the courage and integrity to stand your ground.

Rev. Wallis, your best years of ministry could still be ahead, but you will need to humble yourself and repent. I am praying that you do.

Schlafly Cites 'Tradition' that Sodomy Is Worse than Rape

Phyllis Schlafly wants America to get “back to basics.” And when it comes to preventing “marriage mayhem,” that means talking about sodomy, which is “a central feature of same-sex marriage.”

Specifically, it means talking about sodomy in the “Anglo American legal tradition,” from its criminalization in English common law as early as 1533 through the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1986 decision in Bowers v Hardwick upholding state sodomy laws.  In Schlafly’s April 15 Eagle Forum missive she admiringly quotes from Chief Justice Warren Burger’s concurrence in Bowers, in which he quotes 18th Century commentator William Blackstone to the effect that sodomy is worse than rape:

English Common Law’s opposition to sodomy goes to the bottom of the tradition’s taproot. This progenitor of American law criminalized sodomy as early as 1533. And Sir William Blackstone, the late Eighteenth Century commentator foundational to American law, was quoted by Chief Justice Warren Burger in his concurrence in the Court’s Bowers decision: “[sodomy is] ‘the infamous crime against nature,’ an offense of ‘deeper malignity’ than rape, an heinous act ‘the very nature of which is a disgrace to human nature,’ and ‘a crime not fit to be named.’”

Schlafly doesn’t say that sodomy was punishable by death in Blackstone’s time; Burger's concurrence did note that it was a capital offence under Roman law.  But all this grand history was upended, Schlafly complains, with the Supreme Court’s “anti-tradition” decision in Lawrence v Texas, which overturned state sodomy laws and upheld the privacy and sexual freedom of consenting adults.  And that, she says, has led to the marriage equality cases currently being considered by the Court. Not surprisingly, Schlafly has strong opinions on those cases:

If the pro-homosexual rights forces win, that which is natural to the human race —marriage — is destroyed, and our venerable Constitution and legal tradition are slammed by Humanistic forces wanting to reconstruct American law and society on an anti-Judeo-Christian foundation.

Of course, Schlafly has her own “traditional” views about rape.  She has repeatedly denounced the concept of marital rape, saying that “when you get married you have consented to sex. That's what marriage is all about.” Last year Schlafly helped rally Religious Right support for Todd Akin when his remarks about “legitimate rape” were dooming his Senate campaign. 

Keyes: Gay Marriage Will Lead to Communism and 'The Murder of the Masses'

Anti-gay activists like Brian Brown have been trying to claim that the case against marriage equality is actually a “libertarian argument” because if you “put a falsehood into the law” then “a state that can do that is a state that pretty much can do anything.”

Well, Alan Keyes took that argument one step further during an interview with Stan Solomon, where he maintained that if the government goes against divine law and legalizes same-sex marriage then the state will have limitless power, ultimately becoming a Communist regime that will authorize “the expropriation of all property” and “the murder of the masses.”

“The aim is not compassion for homosexuals, respect for homosexuals and all of this,” Keyes maintained, “the aim in the mind of these hardheaded, calculating, leftist, Communist, totalitarians is to destroy the family and to establish the notion that once you have seized power there is no limit whatsoever to what you can do.”

Keyes, who is shunning his gay daughter, called marriage equality the “archetype of all crimes against humanity” in a previous interview with Solomon.

Listen:

It returns us to the dark ages of human oppression, which America was founded to remove humanity from, and it is the whole point of the push for homosexual marriage and homosexual rights. The aim is not compassion for homosexuals, respect for homosexuals and all of this; the aim in the mind of these hardheaded, calculating, leftist, Communist, totalitarians is to destroy the family and to establish the notion that once you have seized power there is no limit whatsoever to what you can do. If you want to tolerate abuses then those abuses can be imposed upon the people. Once you establish that, the abuses are then not going to be confined to egregious outrages like this; those abuses are going to be committed against the whole society and they will in the end include the murder of the masses as has occurred in all Communist regimes that existed. That includes as well the expropriation of all property because if you don’t respect the primordial God-endowed belongings that are associated with family life then why on earth would you be constrained to respect any other form of human property claim.

Keyes: Gays Don't Have the Right to Marry Just As We Don't Have the Right to Pick Our Nose and Eat Boogers

As the Supreme Court debated the Prop 8 and DOMA cases, Alan Keyes argued that gay rights are incompatible with both the Constitution and even the Declaration of Independence, calling marriage equality the “archetype of all crimes against humanity.”

His core argument is that the government can only recognize rights that are compatible with God’s law. Since he believes homosexuality is an affront to divine law, it cannot be approved of in the US.

Paul Fidalgo today noticed a speech Keyes delivered at a college in Michigan, where he made the case that the government can’t recognize gay rights, reproductive rights and the separation of church and state, just as we shouldn’t recognize the right of a person to pick their nose and eat their boogers.

MLive.com reports:

Just because something “feels right” doesn’t mean it is a “fundamental right” in God’s eyes.

That’s what former presidential candidate Alan Keyes said while speaking to a group of 100 people Wednesday, April 10 at Spring Arbor University as part of the university’s Thomas H. Cobb President’s Leadership Speaker Series.

Keyes passionately spoke on the topic of basic fundamental rights that were first laid out in the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution of the United States, he said.

“The Republic is near death and it will die if we don’t wake up," he said. "But wake up to what?”

He answered his own question when talking about fundamental rights, where they came from and how the country needs to recognize that rights come from God.

Abortion, same-sex marriage and separation of church and state are not fundamental rights, Keyes said. If God does not recognize them, they do not exist.



Keyes said while abortion, same-sex marriage and separation of church and state are not basic human rights there are leaders who are trying to “fabricate” rights.

“People who sit on the U.S. Supreme Court take it among themselves to argue that somehow there should be separation of church and state,” he said. “Nothing in the Constitution requires separation, nor could it because we cannot separate the country from its finding premise without destroying it.”

When arguing what a fundamental right actually is, Keyes gave an offbeat example of a young child who had a habit of “picking in their nostrils and “eating what came out.”

As the child grew up they noticed others were disgusted and did not want to be near him. As an adult the individual argued if others have the right to eat what they want, the individual should be recognized as having the same right.

“How many think that is a fundamental right?” he asked the audience. No one raised their hand.

“Nobody in their right mind would suggest it was,” Keyes said. “What makes something a fundamental right that actually trumps the Constitution of the United States? It can’t just be because you feel like it, or want to do it. It can’t just be that you feel badly about what you do because of the opinions of others, these are not arguments of rights...rights come from God.”
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