Tim Wildmon of the American Family Association (AFA) called the ruling a “spiritual 9/11”:
"We're not surprised but extremely disappointed by the Supreme Court's decision. I fear for our country, quite frankly, because this is a spiritual 9/11, I believe. We have said to God Almighty, We don't care what you say about marriage and your definition of what's natural and normal.
AFA’s J.J. Jasper warned of human-pet marriage, while Wildmon blamed the ruling on the 1987 defeat of Robert Bork’s Supreme Court nomination, which paved the way for Justice Kennedy’s appointment. “It feels like the beginning of the end,” Jasper said.
Former Rep. Allen West, who now heads the National Center for Policy Analysis, posted a column entitled, “Why the Supreme Court ruling on gay marriage could lead to civil war.”
With this ruling, the Supreme Court is essentially saying individuals have civil rights based on their sexual behavior, and setting up a monumental battle with the free exercise of religion. This could well be the straw that breaks the camel’s back – that camel being the up till now silent, passive Americans who have been cowed into “tolerating” societal changes that go counter to their fundamental beliefs.
The SCOTUS decision on same-sex marriage is not about the issue itself — it is about individual religious freedom and the imposition of the State’s will against faith. After all, it is the original reason why the Pilgrims fled England. And since there is no place for men and women of faith to retreat — they will make a stand. This ain’t first century Rome.
Bill Muehlenberg of BarbWire said that we are now officially in the End Times due to “this homo-fascist decision”:
If ever a time the phrase “Now the end begins” meant something, it is now.
In a decision just as sinister, far-reaching and abominable as the 1973 Roe v Wade decision on abortion, the Supreme Court of the United States has just declared that reality and biology no longer exist, and we can now declare marriage to be whatever we want it to be.
Judicial activism at its worst has once again struck America. Instead of allowing the American people to decide, five judges have decided for them, and have declared war on marriage, on God, on morality, on family, and on our children.
This is a declaration of war by five judges who have spat in the face of their Creator, of marriage, of biology, and freedom. Now a major proper response for Christians and others is massive civil disobedience and defiance of this homo-fascist decision.
In a 5-4 decision today, the Supreme Court recognized the Constitutional right of same-sex couples to be legally married.
“Today’s decision is a landmark for Justice,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan. “It’s a proud moment for our country and a testament to the decades of work done by millions of people to guarantee gay and lesbian people aren’t excluded from our Constitution’s promise of fairness and equal justice for all people.”
“This decision should be celebrated by everyone who cares about equality for LGBT people,” said Keegan. “But it shouldn’t obscure the fact that we have a long way to go before we’ve truly achieved that goal. Gay and lesbian couples will be able to get married in all fifty states thanks to this decision, but in 29 of those states those same couples can be fired from their jobs the moment they step out of the closet. Members of the LGBT community, especially transgender people, still face violence and intimidation simply because of who they are. Perhaps most notably, anti-gay activists are already at work trying to expand the ability of corporations and individuals to discriminate against gay couples in the name of ‘religious liberty.’
“Make no mistake: today’s decision is one for the history books. We have a lot to celebrate today. But we also have plenty of work left to do.”
Despite numerous media reports that the Republican Party is ready to drop its strong opposition to marriage equality, GOP presidential candidates are continuing to cater to the party’s extreme anti-gay base rather than side with the majority of Americans who believe the Supreme Court should strike down state marriage bans. Several presidential candidates have even vowed to defy any ruling from the court in favor of gay marriage.
While their rhetoric may be different, their policy goals are the same. Even more concerning is the fact that the Republican leaders have all pledged to reshape the judiciary — where many of the most critical gay rights milestones occurred — by appointing judges who will rule similarly to Supreme Court Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.
We compiled a short highlight reel of the GOP candidates making clear their opposition to marriage equality:
During a recent appearance on Daystar TV’s “Joni Table Talk,” televangelist Rick Joyner warned that a Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage will “start an unraveling where our country fractures like it hasn’t since the Civil War.”
Joyner also repeated his claim that gay marriage is a “trial run” for the Mark of the Beast, warning that people will soon have to choose whether they “bow to the Beast” by respecting non-discrimination laws or practice civil disobedience.
Homosexuality is “worse than a sin because of its corrupting influences,” Joyner said, explaining that gay rights measures are destroying the military and the country as a whole and bringing about God’s judgments: “We’re under them right now.”
On yesterday’s “Washington Watch,” California pastor and influential anti-LGBT activist Jim Garlow spoke to Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council about the upcoming decision from the Supreme Court on marriage equality.
As Garlow explained, any plumber or electrician can explain why homosexuality is wrong.
“I live in a home and most or all of your listeners live in a home or an apartment or a condo, and when the plumber and the electrician built the home, they knew the difference between the male and female ends of a pipe and the male and female ends of an electrical current, and if they had simply said, ‘I’m going to put the male and male ends of the pipes together,’ nobody would want to live in that home, it doesn’t work,” Garlow said.
Garlow told Perkins that opponents of gay marriage should know that they are fighting a “winnable war” against marriage equality.
While it may take a long time, he said, it also took “over one hundred years” to abolish slavery. He added it is “not a time” for anti-LGBT pastors to “capitulate” to the “bullying and the badgering and the clubs that come at them from the radical homosexual agenda.”
In an interview with an Alabama Christian radio station on the day of the arguments in the Supreme Court marriage cases in April, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver warned that although “we have faced in Judeo-Christian history more dire times than this,” marriage equality opponents should be prepared to face martyrdom at the hands of an unjust government just like Daniel and Esther were in the Old Testament.
In anticipation of a decision striking down gay marriage bans, Staver said, “we must ask for God’s intervention, God’s grace, God’s forgiveness and God’s miraculous turn of events.”
If not, he said, marriage equality opponents should be prepared to emulate Daniel, who was thrown into a lion’s den, and Esther, who risked her life to save the Jews of Persia from execution.
“We may have to stand like that,” he said. “We may have to stand like people of old, like Martin Luther King, Jr., did when he faced unjust laws. And we have to be prepared to face the consequences. But one thing we cannot do, one thing we will not do because we cannot do it, we cannot betray our Lord, we cannot deny reality, we cannot disobey the scripture and the teachings of the church, that’s a line we cannot cross.”
GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee told Iowa-based talk radio host Simon Conway yesterday that if the Supreme Court strikes down bans on same-sex marriage, “religious liberty in this country will radically change and it will never be the same again” and consequently all other liberties will fall away.
“The issue, for example, in marriage is really an issue about religious liberty,” he said. “That’s what the fundamental underlying issue, when the government can tell me how much I can believe, if it can restrict my faith and restrict my belief by putting a boot on religious liberty. Religious liberty is the heart of all freedoms, so if the government tells me what I can believe, they can tell me what I can say, what I can do, where I can go, with whom I can associate, they can restrict how much privacy I have. Everything falls away when the government takes away religious liberty.”
Laughably claiming that marriage equality isn’t “an issue that I’ve put front and center” but that the Supreme Court has forced him to talk about it, Huckabee insisted that the marriage case isn’t “about just having people who want to love each other.”
“No, this is not an expansion of marriage, this is a redefinition,” he said. “And when it changes, religious liberty in this country will radically change and it will never be the same again.”
Huckabee, who has vowed to block a pro-marriage-equality decision from the court if he becomes president, added, “By the way, I don’t think the Supreme Court can make a decision about same-sex marriage because they can no more suspend the law of nature than they can the law of gravity.” Such a decision, he said, would not be “the law of the land.”
“Judicial supremacy leads to judicial tyranny, and that’s where we’re headed,” he said.
Back in April, right-wing activist Star Parker joined Alaska GOP politician Joe Miller on his radio program to discuss the riots in Baltimore and the Supreme Court marriage equality arguments, which had happened on the day of the interview.
Parker naturally found a way to tie the two together, saying that the violence in Baltimore was happening “because we declared a war on poverty during the same time that we were declaring a war on marriage through the feminist movement and declaring a war on religion through scrubbing our schools of God, taking the Bible from the schools.”
Later in the interview, Parker got into the details of the marriage equality case, saying that a ruling striking down gay marriage bans would mean that “as a nation, we have to change every law.”
Gay rights activists, she said, don’t realize this and instead are acting like “two-year-olds” at a toy store who want to “get their way on absolutely everything” even if it “will send this nation into social chaos.”
Miller opined that a ruling in favor of marriage equality would be “terribly upsetting to the social fabric of this nation,” with which Parker agreed, adding that she hoped that the justices would listen to the testimony of the “children raised in [gay and lesbian] households that are basket cases.”>
She then compared a potential marriage equality ruling to the Dred Scott case, which was also “legal but not lawful in God’s eyes.”
“If this Supreme Court rules against marriage, all hell is going to break loose,” or so warned Tom DeLay, the former House GOP leader. DeLay has said that “if they rule against marriage,” then “we will all defy” the “ten [sic] unelected, unaccountable people” on the court, joining a host of Religious Right leaders, including presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, in signing a vow to resist a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality.
In anticipation of the upcoming Supreme Court ruling, we’ve compiled a video of the Right’s most dire warnings about a potential decision striking down gay marriage bans, including self-proclaimed “prophet” Cindy Jacobs' fear that gay marriage will lead to natural disasters; preacher Scott Lively predicting a devastating “calamity”; Glenn Beck turning into the anti-gay version of Martin Luther King, Jr.; Tony Perkins calling for a revolution against gay marriage; and Pat Robertson, well, being Pat Robertson.
And those are just the highlights. Conservatives have made a whole host of insane predictions about what will befall America if gay marriage becomes legal nationwide (think Eiffel tower marriage). Never mind that none of these things have happened in any of the 37 states where gay and lesbian couples can already get married. Just you wait!
1) Prepare for Jail!
Much like when conservatives claimed that the 2009 Hate Crimes Act would ban all expressions of anti-gay political opinions and criminalize religious beliefs (it didn’t), Religious Right activists are now predicting that a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality will bring about the end of free speech.
“When you elevate a lifestyle to the status of a civil right, I don’t think a lot of believers fully understand or comprehend that once it’s risen to that level and our government accepts it, then anyone who disagrees with it could be at least civilly liable, but more than likely would be criminally liable,” Huckabee warned.
Huckabee also stated that the gay rights movement “won’t stop until there are no more churches, until there are no more people who are spreading the Gospel.” According to Huckabee, gay marriage will lead to “the criminalization of Christianity” and “criminal charges” against pastors who preach against it or refuse to officiate the wedding of a gay couple. Another GOP presidential candidate, Ted Cruz, also predicted that “Christian pastors who decline to perform gay marriages” or “speak out and preach biblical truths on marriage” will be punished for committing “hate speech.”
Of course, no such thing has ever happened in any of the 37 states that already have marriage equality, but Religious Right activists are insistent that gay marriage will lead to pastors being hauled off to jail en masse for breaking non-existent hate speech laws.
Religious Right leaders like Sandy Rios of the American Family Association and David Lane of the American Renewal Project have warned of impending “martyrdom,” while Rick Scarborough, a Religious Right activist and leading proponent of the “hate speech” myth, has insisted that gay marriage will make it “illegal” to “share the Gospel” and predicted that jails will soon fill up with pastors. He has even told conservatives that they should be prepared to “burn” if the court backs marriage equality.
2) Civil Disobedience
Following the Hate Crimes Act debate, Religious Right leaders unveiled a manifesto called the Manhattan Declaration, vowing to commit civil disobedience in the face of what they said was growing anti-Christian persecution as a result of gay rights.
Now, while preparing for the court’s ruling on marriage, conservatives are jumping over each other to frame themselves as the next Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks or Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a dissident Lutheran theologian who was executed by the Nazi regime.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, a hero of the anti-gay movement, said a pro-gay-marriage decision should be treated just like Plessy v. Ferguson and widely ignored; pastor Jim Garlow, who was instrumental in the passage of Proposition 8 in California, said that anti-gay activists will soon “become an underground resistance movement”; Lane warned of the imposition of “homosexual fascism”; and Pat Buchanan wondered about the possibility of “massive civil disobedience” similar to what “there was against segregation.” Alan Keyes said that the church must defy gay marriage in the same way a Nazi-era German citizen had to resist orders to work in the death camps.
Cruz called on anti-gay pastors to “disregard unjust edicts from government ” and Huckabee pledged to carry out civil disobedience against a ruling in favor of gay marriage, claiming it would be no different than acting “in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857.”
3) Revolution & Civil War
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins has consistently warned of an anti-gay “revolution” if the Supreme Court strikes down state bans on same-sex marriage, a feeling shared by his right-wing allies Mat Staver and Matt Barber, both of the conservative legal group Liberty Counsel.
“This is the thing that revolutions literally are made of,” Staver said. “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, then anything that the revolutionaries during the American Revolution even dreamed of facing. This would be the thing that revolutions are made of. This could split the country right in two. This could cause another civil war.”
Similar predictions of civil war have also come from James Dobson, the founder of Focus on the Family, and conservative televangelist Rick Joyner. One right-wing columnist said that “this case could well be the fuse that ignites the powder keg of outrage that leads the nation into the first battle of a new war,” one which pits “homo-fascists” against “those of us who oppose their dangerous and deadly desires.
Keyes, writing in WorldNetDaily, called a gay marriage ruling a “ just cause for war.” Such a decision would be no different from “the Dred Scott decision that heralded the onset of the fist Civil War,” Keyes wrote, as it would “bring the nation to the brink” and represent “a high crime and misdemeanor that effectively dissolves the just bonds of government between and among the states, and among the individuals who compose the people of the United States.” Such a ruling, he warned, “is likely to produce the separation and dissolution of the United States.”
The stakes are high, according to Justice Moore, since a Supreme Court decision backing marriage equality will “literally cause the destruction of our country.”
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah thinks conservatives should have “an Exodus strategy” in case the court legalizes same-sex marriage nationwide.
“Will a U.S. Supreme Court decision declaring ‘same-sex marriage’ a ‘right’ warrant secession by some state willing and eager to reclaim America’s Judeo-Christian heritage and foundation?” Farah asked. “Is there one state in 50 that would not only defy the coming abomination, but secede in response? The rewards could be great. I would certainly consider relocating. How about you?”
He added: “If not a state, are there any nations in the world interested in a pilgrimage by millions of Americans?”
One conservative author, former Reagan aide Douglas MacKinnon, has even suggested that Southern states form a separate nation that will ban same-sex marriage , proposing that the secessionists call the new anti-gay nation “Reagan.”
Seeing that Religious Right activists regularly call gay rights activists terrorists, Al Qaeda and ISIS members, fascists, Nazis, and the ones who are to blame for the Holocaust, it comes as no surprise that several activists have warned of an impending holocaust of American Christians if gays and lesbians can get married nationwide.
For example, Staver and Bradlee Dean, a Religious Right activist and talk show host, have both appropriated Martin Niemöller’s famous Nazi-era “First They Came for the Socialists…” poem to warn of anti-Christian persecution in America. Staver even claims that America is already worse than Nazi Germany. While discussing non-discrimination laws that protect LGBT people, Perkins, the FRC president, wondered when the government is “going to start rolling out the boxcars to start hauling off Christians.” Former Bush administration official Robert Reilly said gay rights advocates are creating conditions in the U.S. similar to the ones which “led to the Holocaust, World War II and the death of 60 million people.”
One article that became popular among right-wing groups even stated that the gay rights movement will do to American Christians what the Turks did to the Armenians and what the Hutus did to the Tutsis. The author even warned that American Christians will soon be facing persecution as Christians do in Syria.
Not to be outdone, Keyes has claimed that gay marriage is part of a communist plot that paves the way for “the murder of the masses.”
6) Child endangerment
The civil disobedience pledge signed by Huckabee, Santorum and dozens of Religious Right leaders includes a stern warning that “authorizing the legal equivalency of marriage to same-sex couples undermines the fundamental rights of children and threatens their security, stability, and future,” a theme frequently repeated by anti-gay conservatives.
Santorum said that if he is elected president, he will flout the court’s ruling in order to “protect children.” Garlow, the California pastor, said that gay marriage will “be profoundly destructive, profoundly harming” to children, who he says will bear the brunt of “the catastrophic consequences, the pain, the suffering inflicted on the human race by this redefinition of marriage.” David Barton, a right-wing pseudo-historian, claimed that gay marriage will legalize pedophilia .
To get a snapshot of such views, just check out what the insane anti-gay film “Light Wins” says about the gay plan to “groom” children.
7) God’s wrath
Mike Huckabee has warned that gay marriage will unleash divine punishment on America. While he didn’t get into specifics, others on the Right have been happy to describe in detail the divine ramifications of gay marriage.
Bryan Fischer, the American Family Radio host, said that God will use groups such as ISIS — or as he calls them, “the pagan armies of Allah” — to punish the U.S. for gay rights. Others claim that America is already being punished for gay marriage in the form of the California drought.
Another conservative radio host, Rick Wiles, has repeatedly predicted that America will be hit with a nuclear strike if not a “fireball from space,” while Lane, the right-wing political organizer, has been a bit more modest, claiming gay rights will only lead to divine punishment in the form of car bombings.
Others have claimed that planet Earth won’t survive gay marriage, as several right-wing pundits have fretted that gay marriage will bring about the Last Days. So let Pat Robertson explain how gay marriage will lead to our destruction:
Last week the Washington Times published a glowing profile of David Lane, a GOP political operative and Christian-nation extremist. The article reported on Lane’s efforts to mobilize “an army” to lead the charge for his battle with “secularists.” Just days later, the Washington Times officially became part of David Lane’s recruitment effort, launching a petition campaign co-sponsored and co-branded with Lane’s American Renewal Project.
According to the campaign’s website, “The Washington Times has agreed to deliver the petition to the Supreme Court.” It’s ridiculous to imagine that the decision in the marriage case has not already been made, even if it has not yet been made public, or to think that petitions to the Supreme Court would have any impact at this late date, which is, as the website recognizes, “just days away from deciding whether homosexual couples are entitled to marry.” So the only real purpose for the petition seems to be for the Washington Times and Lane’s American Renewal Project to build their email lists and recruit participants for a campaign of massive resistance to a pro-equality ruling.
They didn’t even bother to put much effort into the writing. Here’s the utterly non-compelling petition:
Tell the Supreme Court to Leave Traditional Marriage Alone
To: The Supreme Court
I want the Supreme Court to know I believe that marriage should remain the sanctified union of a man and women.
I want the Supreme Court to know that I believe, as Thomas Jefferson did, that judges should stick to the Constitution and not create new law when it comes to the issue of marriage in America.
I want the Supreme Court to know that I believe opening marriage to same-sex couples invalidates the institution of marriage that hundreds of millions of American men and women agreed to over the last two centuries when they said their vows.
I'm signing this petition because I want the nine Supreme Court justices to leave traditional marriage alone.
As we reported just last week, the Washington Times “has long been a right-wing propaganda vehicle in the guise of a newspaper,” and has partnered with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition, the National Organization for Marriage, and the Conservative Political Action Conference.
Yesterday, Mike Huckabee chatted with Iowa radio host Steve Deace and Religious Right organizer Bob Vander Plaats, who led Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, about the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on gay marriage.
He said that if elected president, he would simply ignore any Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality until Congress passed legislation legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide…which he would then veto.
“Until the Congress of the United States puts on my desk a bill that basically defies the laws of Nature and Nature’s God and defies the longstanding tradition of marriage, the federal government will not recognize same-sex marriage because there is no law that requires it and that would be true for the military and it would be true for all federal institutions,” Huckabee said. “If the Congress decides that they want to pass enabling legislation, they could put it on my desk and I would veto it, and they can attempt to override it. That’s the process.”
Huckabee said that even his detractors should sympathize with his anti-gay-marriage stance: “If liberals were subjected to a conservative court that forced them to tithe their income to scripture or forced them to go to church or forced them to believe something that they don’t want to believe, they would say, ‘We can’t do that, that would go against our conscience.’ And I would say, ‘You are exactly right and we can’t have such a ruling. This is why I find this very unsettling is because liberals will rue the day when the sword they use to enact their agenda is the sword of the court rather than to do it by way of the people’s elected representatives.”
Of course, legalizing gay marriage won’t force opponents like Huckabee to marry someone of the same sex or officiate a same-sex couple’s wedding.
“There can be no surrender on the point of the Supreme Court decision on same-sex marriage,” Huckabee said, claiming that the ruling “goes to the heart of who we are as Americans and whether or not religious liberty lives or dies.”
He vowed not to “surrender to a tyranny that frankly would defy everything we are as a country,” lamenting that even people who went to law school have decided to “acquiesce to this judicial supremacy.”
Twentieth century, let’s see, we left the secularists in charge…We had Hitler, we had Joseph Stalin and we had Mao. 120 million people [killed]. It gets worse. In the second half of the 20th century, we’ve murdered 400 [million] babies through abortion in China and 50 million in the United States. Let’s see, there are 500 million people we have killed in the 20th century. It’s one-tenth of the number of people who are living today, almost one-tenth.
How did we do that? We let the secularists in charge. You can’t let the secularists in charge! You have to get involved.
-Chuck Stetson, CEO of Essentials in Education, speaking at Skyline Church's Future Conference, June 2015
First they came for the adoption ministry, but I did not speak out, because I did not do adoptions.
Then they came for the wedding photographer, but I did not speak out, because I did not do photographic weddings.
Then they came for the baker, and I did not speak out because I was not a baker. Then they came for the florist, but I said nothing, because I was not a florist.
Then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak for me.
-Mat Staver, founder and chairman of Liberty Counsel, paraphrasing Martin Niemöller at the Future Conference
Last week, a few hundred pastors, parishioners and activists gathered at Jim Garlow’s Skyline Wesleyan Church outside of San Diego for what Garlow called the “Future Conference.” The name of the conference appeared to have two meanings. First, in the words of its marketing materials, that “what you thought was coming…is here now” — in other words, that a great spiritual clash in which Christians are called to be martyrs has arrived. And second, that ultimately, the future will belong to conservative Christians as they wrest control from secular authority and take “dominion” over the country and the world.
The themes of imminent martyrdom and eventual dominion dominated the four-day conference, in which 56 speakers gave what added up to more than 24 hours of TED-style speeches.
The event was heavily tinged with “seven mountains” dominionism, the idea that Christians are called by God to be leaders of or to wield dominant influence over the seven main areas, or “mountains,” of culture — not only religion and family, but also government, business, education, media and entertainment.
Garlow himself has been very active in politics, as one of the organizing forces behind the effort to pass the Proposition 8 gay-marriage ban in California and a proponent of Pulpit Freedom Sunday, the movement that encourages pastors to break the rarely-enforced IRS rule that prohibits tax-exempt churches from endorsing or opposing candidates for office. Garlow has especially close ties with former Republican House Speaker Newt Gingrich, to whom he gave partial credit for inspiring the conference. Gingrich submitted a video address to the conference, as did two current Republican members of Congress, Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia and Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma.
Speaker after speaker lamented the failure of the church to engage in the “culture” — through media, through education, and most importantly through politics. As Garlow wrote in an introductory letter to attendees:
Allow me to be direct: our nation is in trouble. Deep trouble. But you already knew that. That is one of the reasons you are at the FUTURE Conference. But why is our nation in trouble? Because of (how do I say this nicely?) the church. What is lacking? A clear proclamation of biblical answers to the messiness of our culture. Does the Bible actually speak to civic and national issues. Yes, it does!
Secular government and culture, the message was, are creating chaos at home and around the world. And pastors and believers who fail to engage in the wider world are letting it happen.
Just as important was the idea that, as Garlow put it, “you and I were made for this moment.” The going has gotten tough, the message was, not just for Christians facing violent persecution in places like Syria and Iraq, but also for conservative American Christians who claim to feel marginalized by advances in gay rights and who fear a potential Supreme Court decision striking down gay marriage bans. Glenn Beck, promoting the conference with Garlow, said that he knew of 10,000 pastors who were willing to die fighting this supposed anti-Christian persecution in America.
Most speakers were careful to point out that these threats are on very different orders of magnitude, although some hinted that American Christians were on the path to much more difficult times.
This was a spiritual battle that a disengaged church was letting the forces of darkness — radical Islam, the “redefinition of marriage,” abortion rights, pornography — win. Territory would have to be regained.
A ‘Spiritual Battle’ Against Gay Marriage
As is patently obvious, this is a spiritual battle. We need the intercession of every prayer warrior, every angel, and certainly the Holy Spirit. We must bombard the gates of Heaven ceaselessly for God Almighty to reverse our tragic cultural course and restore marriage to the venerable and beautiful institution that He did create.
-Frank Schubert, National Organization for Marriage political director, speaking at the Future Conference
While Garlow gathered speakers to talk about a host of imminent threats to American Christians including terrorism, abortion rights, an economic collapse, pornography, welfare and unbiblical movies, at the top of nearly everybody’s minds was the upcoming Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.
Garlow took hope in a presentation from Troy Newman, head of the anti-choice group Operation Rescue, who boasted of a decline in abortion providers in recent years. “If America can survive long enough,” Garlow said, maybe, like in the anti-abortion struggle, a new generation will rise up and see “the casualties from same-sex marriage are so horrific, this has got to be stopped in our nation.”
He elaborated on the “horrific” consequences of marriage equality in an address to the audience the next day, referring to the thoroughly debunked study by sociologist Mark Regnerus that purported to show all manner of negative outcomes for children raised by same-sex couples.
“I’ve been concerned with how many Christians, how many pastors, cannot make the theological case or the sociological case for marriage,” he said. “The redefinition of marriage, sociologically, will be profoundly destructive, profoundly harming. The Regnerus report out of the University of Texas is going to be only one of many examples of many that will follow that are going to show the catastrophic consequences, the pain, the suffering inflicted on the human race by this redefinition of marriage.”
Schubert, a political strategist who works with the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), similarly cited Regnerus’ questionable conclusions as he urged audience members to give money to NOM and to prod their pastors to speak out against marriage equality because “being silent on the most important issue of our day turns it over to the forces of darkness.” If your pastor refuses to speak out against gay marriage, he advised, “I would look for a different church.”
Schubert said that while anti-gay advocates “could very well win” the marriage case before the Supreme Court, Christians must be prepared to use “any and all efforts to encourage resistance” to a ruling they disagree with, “short of violence.” Christians, he said, should “renounce as illegitimate” any Supreme Court decision that attempts to “redefine” marriage.
NOM’s president, Brian Brown, delivered a similar message, telling attendees that the success of the LGBT equality movement means “the days of comfortable Christianity are over.”
“Things have been good for a long time for us,” he said. “We don’t experience the sort of persecution we’re witnessing in the Middle East. We don’t fear for our lives in coming together and worshipping. We’ve felt for a long time that we’re a part of dominant culture. Now in the course of the last decade or so, maybe a little longer, we’ve realized that’s not the case. Things are starting to change. And that, to put it bluntly, the days of comfortable Christianity are over.”
A Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality, he said, would “put a lie into law” and “that law will be used to marginalize, repress and punish those of us who stand for the truth of marriage.”
Claiming that Obama administration policies opposing the violent repression of gay people overseas are actually persecuting people who oppose marriage equality, Brown said that what’s happening to Americans is nothing in comparison and so U.S. Christians should be “cheerful” about “being persecuted.” “What we see and we go and work with folks from around the world is a whole other level of hatred,” he said. “Be cheerful, be happy, you’re being persecuted! Quit being so weak! Okay? What I’m trying to say is, if that’s happening we must be doing something right!”
Anti-gay activist Michael Brown had a similar message, saying that previously bullied LGBT people have now become the “bullies” and that the LGBT rights movement “will not be satisfied until the church bows down.”
Garlow told the crowd that they were “moving into a time of testing” where evangelicals would have to stand up to the predominant culture. He recalled a “vision” he had all the way back in 1990 in which he spoke with God about a future in which there would be “churches being closed by government” on the basis of “the civil rights of homosexuals.”
But no speaker took the gay-marriage panic as far as Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who spoke to the conference via video. Marriage equality, Staver warned, will cause “a cataclysmic social upheaval in every conceivable area.”
Touting a pledge to disobey any marriage equality ruling that he has recruited hundreds of prominent anti-gay activists to sign, Staver said that gay-marriage opponents must be prepared to resist such a ruling just like the leaders of the Civil Rights Movement resisted segregation and Jim Crow: “I think we’re back in the days of Martin Luther King, Jr. If they tell you to get off the bus, you don’t get off the bus. If they tell you to go to the back of the bus, you don’t go to the back of the bus.”
“This could be the best, most magnificent time for the church,” he said. “It is moments like this, where there is an unprecedented clash, where there’s impossible odds, that God will intervene for his people.”
Staver closed his speech with a rewritten version of anti-Nazi dissident Martin Niemöller’s famous “First they came for the socialists” lines, appropriating them to warn that the supposed persecution of bakers, florists and wedding photographers who deny service to gay people will open the door to a much wider persecution of Christians in America.
Beware Muslims! (Unless They Agree With You On Gay Rights)
Christians are being enslaved and beheaded and burned alive across the Middle East and he’s silent. Christians are being threatened and intimidated and sued and sequestered in Middle America and mum’s the word.
-Dr. Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, speaking of President Obama at the Future Conference
Although most speakers were careful to say that the supposed persecution of American Christian conservatives at the hands of the LGBT rights movement is on an entirely different order of magnitude than that being faced by Christians at the hands of ISIS and oppressive Islamist governments, there was a sense of joint martyrdom, that both are fighting for spiritual ground against forces allied with Satan.
As Steven Khoury, an Arab Israeli pastor, put it, “persecution is coming to America,” and he was there to help Americans learn how to stand up to it.
Garlow invited a few of the top anti-Islam activists in America to warn that the country, if it lets its guard down, risks facing subjugation at the hands of American Muslims. Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy warned that since 9/11, millions of Muslim immigrants have staged a “colonization” of America. He warned pastors in the crowd against any sort of interfaith dialogue with Muslims or letting Muslim groups use their church facilities, which he said “is really about providing political cover to Muslims who don’t deserve it.” Anti-Muslim activist Stephen Coughlin similarly warned pastors against falling for the “interfaith delusion.”
But nobody had a more dire warning than right-wing activist Avi Lipkin, who told pastors that “all” churches in America have been infiltrated by Muslim spies pretending to be Christian converts. These moles, he warned, are cataloguing Christians and Jews in order to kill them all when Muslim jihadists take over.
All of the talk of "religious liberty" and threats to the First Amendment seemed to be conveniently forgotten when Lipkin endorsed laws such as Switzerland’s ban on minarets, declaring: “Until Islam is banned and suppressed and erased, the Jews will not have any chance to survive in this country.”
However, he had some good news: Muslim immigration to America, he predicted, would drive U.S. Jews to the Middle East, setting up a conflict in which Islam will be “finished.” “I predict Islam will be terminated very soon,” he said to enthusiastic applause.
It was jarring, then, to later in the very same day, hear a speech from Austin Ruse, the head of the conservative Catholic United Nations advocacy group C-FAM, in which he said that some of his greatest allies in the fight to stop “radically secular countries” from inserting LGBT rights and reproductive health language into UN documents were representatives of Muslim countries.
“The pro-life, pro-family coalition in the United Nations is strange bedfellows,” he said. “It includes Muslims. And without a bloc of Muslim countries supporting life and family at the UN, we would have had a right to abortion a long time ago, and redefinition of family.”
Garlow took it upon himself to clarify this, taking the stage after Ruse's remarks to reassure the audience that “co-belligerency” with “people who are hostile to much of our values” is sometimes necessary when “they actually have an interest in some portion of our Kingdom values.” He compared Ruse’s work with Muslim countries at the UN to his alliance with Mormon leaders to pass Proposition 8 in California.
Throughout the conference, Israel was portrayed as a spiritual bulwark of the West against surrounding Satanic Islam — something exemplified by its relatively secular values. No one, however, mentioned, that Israel is one of what Ruse called the “radical secular countries” advocating for LGBT rights at the UN. Also ignored were policies such as Israel's public funding of abortion services or the fact that just days prior to the event, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu sent his "blessings" to LGBT Pride marchers.
Dr. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, tied together this idea that “secularists” are working in cahoots with radical Islam, aided by President Obama.
“For 67 years, we’ve disparaged dead, white, European males in our college classrooms,” he said. “Are we surprised that we now have a president whose first action was to remove the bust of Winston Churchill from the White House and send it back to the British ambassador’s home? For 67 years, we’ve sent our kids off to sit under faculty who have panned a Judeo-Christian ethic and praised its antithesis. Are we surprised that we now have a White House that is seemingly more aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood and the PLO than it is Benjamin Netanyahu and Franklin Graham?”
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich — whom Garlow partially credited with inspiring the conference — put it a different way in a video address to the event, saying that Christians are facing simultaneous attacks from “secular totalitarianism” and “Islamic supremacism,” with the two factions allied in a “war on Christianity.” Gingrich, who has spent years warning that the U.S. will soon become a "secular atheist country" that is "dominated by radical Islamists,” has been working to court pastors like Garlow who have ties to the dominionist movement.
Christians are dual citizens. We are citizens of the Kingdom of God by faith in Jesus Christ … We are also citizens of an earthly “kingdom” … In the absence of Christians taking their dual citizenship seriously, obeying the dual commissions faithfully, and attempting to follow the dual commandments devotedly, the devil’s crowd has taken over key places of influence in our culture largely by default, even in a nation where professing Christians are still in the majority.
- Family Research Council manual for establishing a church “culture impact team,” distributed to pastors at the Future Conference
The sense of the inadequacy of secular leadership that pervaded the Future Conference was summarized by Republican Rep. Jody Hice of Georgia, who told the Future Conference via video that secular government leads to rampant divorce, teen pregnancy, crime and gang violence, all of which invite a greater presence from Big Government:
Garlow painted a similarly bleak message, saying that the struggles of the city of Detroit are the result of a lack of “bold, biblical preaching and the application of scriptural truth to all components of contemporary life.”
“The absence of biblical truth being applied to a metropolitan area literally destroyed it,” he said.
Garlow didn’t specify which exact “biblical truths” Detroit is in violation of, but conservative activist Star Parker, who declared her intention to “destroy the welfare state,” might have provided some hints.
Parker told the gathering that the U.S. is “in a similar place right now in our country to where we were in the 1850s” when we were “half free and half slave.”
“And we’re at a crossroads again,” she said, “because we’re at the place where we’re half free and half slave. We’re in the battle of our lifetime, we’re in the battle for the very heart and soul of our great country, to go into a future, if we can, even as the Scriptures told us that God actually planned for us a future and a hope, and yet that future and hope is under attack.”
“We’re either going to come up out of this biblical and free,” she said, “or we gotta come up here secular and statist.”
Chuck Stetson, who runs a program that develops “biblical literacy” courses that clear the First-Amendment bar for being taught in public schools, had a similar message, claiming that the great genocides of the 20th century (in which he included abortion) were the result of leaving the “secularists in charge.”
Lamenting that “three percent of the population” (LGBT people) are defeating "70 percent of the population” (Christians), Stetson urged conservative Christians to develop a “broader concept of missions” and to get involved in politics as well as “literature, art [and] music.”
He used the metaphor of a cruise ship: Christians, he said, were gathering around the lifeboats in an effort to save souls, even while throughout the boat, “they’re breaking out the booze, bringing out the gaming tables. They need the Christians down there.”
In fact, the Future Conference, Garlow reported, started out as a sort of founding conference for the United States Coalition of Apostolic Leaders, a new group led by Joe Mattera, a New York minister who is a leader in the New Apostolic Reformation (NAR). NAR is a controversial movement within evangelical Christianity which is led by self-declared prophets and apostles. Many of NAR’s leaders promote “seven mountains” dominionism, the idea that conservative Christians must take “dominion” over all seven “mountains” of culture in order to pave the way for Christ’s return.
(NAR and dominionism began to attract press attention back in 2011 when then-Texas Gov. Rick Perry hosted a rally featuring many NAR leaders. Its adherents then began to downplay its core themes, saying they were seeking more “influence” than “dominion.”)
Along with a number of members of Mattera's new group, who held a meeting during one break in the conference, Garlow invited NAR adherents including Mattera, Lou Engle (with whom he had worked to raise support for Prop 8), Dennis Peacocke and Lance Wallnau to speak to the event.
Wallnau gave a Glenn Beck-style whiteboard presentation outlining the "seven mountains" theology for the audience, explaining that if the church doesn’t occupy each of the seven spheres of culture, “the Enemy will.”
“The reason why we’re having a problem in the United States is because, honestly, we have not been pursuing the discipling of the nation, we’ve been pursuing the evangelizing of the people and the building of ministries,” he said. “And so we’ve neglected entire territory that the Enemy was all too quick to go in and take possession of.”
Peacocke — the founder of a group that works with business and community leaders to bring “God’s kingdom to earth” — put the message succinctly when the told the enthusiastic crowd that Christians have been called to be leaders in every area: “We should be leading. Virtually every place there’s a Christian, they should be a manager, they should be management. We should have the relational skillset to manage wherever we go, because that is what Christians are called to be, responsible empowerers of other people.”
In his talk, Mattera clarified that he and his allies were calling on Christians to become “leaders of culture” not through force but through simply being the best in all fields. “We’re not called to take cities, we’re called to love them and serve them,” he said, “and once we produce the greatest problem-solvers the world has ever seen, the leaders of culture will come and beg us to lead, because they’re going to see that we’re the only ones who have the answer.”
He added that a key component of this would be to follow the scriptural commandment to “multiply” and “replenish” the Earth, which he specified means having more than two children per couple.
“In general, God has called His children to have more children than any other people,” he said, “so this way we will have the people to fill every aspect of culture, not just bodies, but trained in the covenant, because the word ‘replenish’ implies that they go and they fill the earth with God’s law, with the result being subdue the earth and have dominion.”
A practical guide to the political portion of this mission was provided by Kenyn Cureton, the head of ministerial outreach at the Family Research Council, who presented pastors and churchgoers with guides for establishing “culture impact teams” — basically political committees — within churches. Politically involved churches, he said, are “fighting a spiritual battle,” not against gay rights advocates or pro-choice groups, but against Satan, who has caught cultural liberals in his “snare.”
“Who’s behind the effort to snuff out human life through embryo-destructive research and abortion?” he asked. “Who’s behind the effort to indoctrinate our children with these alternative lifestyles, redefine marriage, and even ruin our military? Who’s behind the effort to drive God out government, Christ out of culture and faith out of public life? Who’s behind that? I mean, it’s pretty easy for us to understand as believers, it’s the Devil.”
Where Politics and Religion Collide
Although the focus of Garlow’s conference was largely on the twin evils of secularism and Islam, he also invited Black and Latino pastors with whom he had worked on resisting Prop 8 to discuss criminal justice reform, on which conservatives are increasingly engaging in bipartisan coalition work, and immigration, on which some evangelical leaders have been trying to get Republicans to adopt positions, or at least rhetoric, that is less offensive to Latino voters.
One of the most revealing moments of the conference came after a speech by Mark Gonzales, a Texas pastor who through his Hispanic Prayer Network seems to be attempting to connect the NAR movement with Latino evangelicals. Gonzales told the mostly white audience that God is using Latino immigration to bring “revival to America,” but that Satan is trying to stop that revival from happening by dividing the church on the issue of immigration.
And it’s not just religious revival that Latino immigrants will bring, he said. They will also help conservatives win elections.
“When God allows this many people to come into a nation, he’s up to something,” Gonzales said. He then made a well-rehearsed pitch to the conservative audience for immigration reform that includes a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants who have long lived in the country if they first overcome a number of hurdles.
Immediately following Gonzales’s speech, Garlow came on stage to “clarify” for the crowd what Gonzales was saying. “What he’s talking about, so we’re all on the same page, is not amnesty,” he said.
Gonzales responded that anti-immigrant pundits do indeed call proposals like his “amnesty,” but using that word is the “biggest disservice we can do as the body of Christ.”
Parts of the audience clapped. Others did not seem sold.
Questions of biblical guidance and political expediency had, for a moment, become the same thing.
Political and religious leaders opposed to marriage equality have been ramping up the intensity of their rhetoric in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court’s imminent decision on the constitutionality of state laws banning same-sex couples from getting legally married. Some have warned of revolutionand civil war if the Supreme Court recognizes that there is no gay exception to the Constitution’s guarantee of fair and equal treatment under the law.
Political and religious leaders opposed to marriage equality have been ramping up the intensity of their rhetoric in the weeks leading up to the Supreme Court’s imminent decision on the constitutionality of state laws banning same-sex couples from getting legally married. Some have warned of revolution and civil war if the Supreme Court recognizes that there is no gay exception to the Constitution’s guarantee of fair and equal treatment under the law.
One recent salvo in this rhetorical campaign was a full page ad in the June 10 Washington Post in the form of an open letter to the Supreme Court. The headline read, “We ask you not to force us to choose between the state and the Laws of God.”
“We are Christians who love America and respect the rule of law,” the ad said, “However, we will not honor any decision by the Supreme Court which will force us to violate a clear biblical understanding of marriage as solely the union of one man and one woman.”
Similar statements can be found in the“Pledge in Solidarity to Defend Marriage”put together by the same people behind thePost ad. And it’s not much different from language in the Manhattan Declaration, a 2009 manifesto written by former National Organization for Marriage chairman Robert George (right) and signed by an array of conservative religious leaders. The Declaration declares that its signers will not “bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”
The Post ad suggested that a pro-equality ruling would “unleash religious persecution and discrimination against people of faith,” a statement that ignores the many people of faith who do support full equality for LGBT people. The ad was signed by a bunch of far-right anti-gay activists. Here’s just a sampling:
Let’s put aside all the preening about Religious Right leaders’ willingness to endure prison and martyrdom and consider what they’re really after.
First, we can dispense with the notion that they’re just looking for a “live and let live” world in which “Gays and lesbians have a right to live as they choose; they don’t have the right to redefine marriage for all of us.” In fact, religious conservatives have opposed every advance in cultural acceptance and legal recognition of the equal rights and dignity of LGBT people, including efforts to protect us in laws targeting violent hate crimes, allow us to serve openly in the military, and prevent us from being discriminated against in the workplace.
Robert George, co-author of the Manhattan Declaration and a founder of the National Organization for Marriage, wrote the legal brief filed by Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council in the Lawrence v Texas case, defending state laws that made gay people de facto criminals. NOM’s current chairman John Eastman said just this month that he hopes Uganda quickly puts its notorious anti-gay law back into force, a law that included penalties of life in prison for repeat offenders. Other right-wing religious leaders have traveled the globe, from South America to the Caribbean, from Uganda to Russia, Eastern Europe to Central Asia, to support laws that make gay people into criminals for living as they choose, sometimes even for advocating on behalf of LGBT people.
Back here in the U.S., conservative evangelical leaders and their allies at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops falsely portray LGBT equality and religious liberty as fundamentally incompatible, a zero-sum game. That’s their justification for opposing civil unions as well as marriage equality – even for opposing laws to protect people from being fired just for being gay.
The reality is that religious liberty has continued to flourish, and our religious landscape has grown more diverse, in the decades thatpublic attitudes toward gay people have shifted dramatically toward equality. There has been no effort to require clergy to marry mixed faith couples if their faith prohibits it, and nobody wants to force any church or priest to marry or give their religious blessing to same-sex couples.
Next, let’s consider whether all this line-in-the-sand drawing is really about the supposed need for clergy, organizations, and business owners to enforce their religious beliefs about marriage in the public arena. The Catholic Church does not give its religious blessing to marriages involving people who have previously been married and divorced, unless the previous marriage is religiously “annulled.” But Catholic organizations are not loudly advocating for the right of a Catholic business owner to treat opposite-sex couples differently based on whether or not their marriages have the church’s blessing.
Similarly, many evangelical leaders say marriage is meant to be between one man and one woman “for life.” Yet in spite of the biblical passage in which Jesus says that a man who divorces his wife, for any reason other than sexual immorality, and marries another woman is committing adultery, there is no clamor from Religious Right leaders celebrating discrimination against people in second and third marriages.
It is clear that a different standard is being applied to same-sex couples. But anti-gay prejudice — animus is the legal term – is not an acceptable basis for discrimination, even if it is grounded in religious belief.
Now, there’s a reason Religious Right leaders are trying to make the conversation around marriage be about the grandmotherly florist who was fined when she declined to provide flowers for a gay couple’s wedding, or the conversation about contraception about the Little Sisters of the Poor, who say they don’t want to facilitate abortion. It’s an effort associate the Right’s agenda with a “live and let live” ideal that is appealing to many Americans, regardless of religion or politics.
But here’s the problem: Once you establish the principle – as Supreme Court conservatives did in their Hobby Lobby decision last year – that business owners as well as individuals and organizations should be able to ignore laws that somehow offend their religious beliefs, you have to figure out how far people will be allowed to run with it. It is not yet clear where the justices will draw the line.
That kind of line-drawing is often challenging when dealing with questions about how the government can accommodate religion without government impermissibly favoring it. Religious denominations and houses of worship have the greatest level of protection against government interference; courts and legislatures wrestle with the status of religiously affiliated nonprofits. Until Hobby Lobby, the Court had never ruled that a for-profit corporation could “exercise religion” in a way that is protected by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, but now that door has been opened, it is not clear what kinds of anti-LGBT discrimination it could permit.
Anti-equality religious and political leaders have made it clear that they will continue to oppose marriage equality even in the face of a Supreme Court ruling striking down state marriage bans. Some are calling for massive resistance and urging state leaders to refuse to comply with a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling. Professors Douglas NeJaime and Reva B. Siegel have argued in the Yale Law Journal that in such a situation, in which there is a well-organized movement dedicated to pushing the religious exemption further and further, an accommodation may actually be more likely to extend the culture war conflict than resolve it.
It is worth addressing generally fair-minded people who don’t understand why the gay rights movement won’t just be happy with a marriage win and let a few people with religious objections “opt out.” Some people may think it’s no big deal for gay couples to find another florist or baker. For one thing, that approach discounts the humiliation of being turned away from a business, a violation of human dignity that was a motivating force behind laws banning racial discrimination in public accommodation. And it may not be such a small obstacle in smaller, conservative, religiously homogenous communities, where discrimination may flourish if it is invited by law and encouraged by local religious leaders.
Consider the anti-abortion movement as a cautionary tale.
Shortly after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Roe v Wade, laws were passed to allow doctors who had religious objections to performing abortions to refuse to do so without experiencing negative professional consequences. There has been little opposition to such laws. But over the past few decades, at the urging of anti-abortion activists, the scope of that kind of religious exemption has been expanded wildly to include people ever-further removed from the actual abortion procedure, and expanded to include even marginal participation in the provision of contraception. In emergency situations these accommodation could come at high cost, including the life of a patient.
Exemptions have been extended to or claimed by nurses who don’t want to provide care to women after an abortion, pharmacists who don’t want to dispense a morning-after pill prescribed by a woman’s doctor, even a bus driver who refused to take a woman to a Planned Parenthood facility because he said he suspected she was going for an abortion.
NeJaime and Siegel describe these as “complicity-based conscience claims” – claims that are about refusing to do anything that might make one complicit in any way with another person’s behavior that one deems sinful. They note that the concept of complicity has been extended to allow health care providers not to even inform patients that some potential care or information has been withheld from them based on the religious beliefs of an individual or the policies of an institution.
The resistance to complying with the requirement under the Affordable Care Act that insurance plans cover contraception takes the notion of complicity to almost surreal lengths. Just days after theHobby Lobby decision, the Court’s conservatives sided provisionally with religious conservatives who are arguing that it is a burden on their religious freedom even to inform the government that they are refusing to provide contraceptive coverage, because that would trigger the process by which the coverage would be provided by others. Cases revolving around the simple act of informing the government of an objection are working their way back toward the Supreme Court.
Similarly, some advocates for broad religious exemptions argue that organizations taking taxpayer dollars to provide social services to victims of human trafficking or women who have been victims of rape as a weapon of war should be able to ignore government rules about providing those women with access to the full range of health care they may need. Some groups are saying it would violate their religious freedom even to notify the government when they refuse to provide information or care – such as emergency contraception for teens that have been sexually abused by their traffickers. But keep the public dollars flowing our way!
Given what we know about the intensity of the anti-gay movement’s opposition to marriage equality, it is not hard to imagine how far that movement could run with the principle that religious beliefs about “traditional” marriage are a legitimate basis for discriminating against same-sex couples. They themselves have claimed as a model the (dismayingly successful) 40-year campaign since Roe v Wade to restrict women’s access to reproductive health care. In the words of the Heritage Foundation’s Ryan Anderson, “Everything the pro-life movement did needs to happen again, but on this new frontier of marriage.”
Where will a similarly aggressive campaign against marriage equality lead? There is a new law in North Carolina allowing magistrates to refuse to marry same-sex couples. A new law in Michigan allows adoption agencies functioning with government money to refuse to place children with same-sex couples.
Will corporations be allowed to refuse to hire someone married to a same-sex spouse based on the beliefs of the people who run the company? Will Catholic hospitals, which play an increasingly significant role in our health care system, be able to refuse to recognize same-sex spouses in medical emergencies?
The progress that LGBT people have made toward full equality has been remarkable. In my lifetime, the federal government had a formal policy to fire “sex perverts” and prevent them from getting federal jobs. In my lifetime, state laws criminalizing same-sex relationships were used to fire people from government jobs and even take parents’ children away from them. Even today, in a majority of the states, gay and lesbian people have no protection against being fired for who they are – or who they marry, even if the Supreme Court makes it illegal to keep those weddings from taking place. In all too many places, a company could fire an employee who marries a same-sex partner, the way Catholic schools across the country have been doing.
The good news is that Americans are increasingly opposed to anti-gay discrimination. Most of the laws that were proposed this year tolegalize anti-gay discrimination on the basis of religious belief failed – often thanks to the pro-equality voices of business and religious leaders as well as the hard work of LGBT people and their friends and families and our advocacy organizations.
Most informed observers think the Supreme Court will rule in favor of marriage equality. If that’s what happens, it will be a historic victory and cause for celebration. But as the signers of the recent WashingtonPost ad have made clear, it will not be the end of the struggle.
In an interview last week with Fox News pundit Todd Starnes, GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee reiterated his call for civil disobedience if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality in the next few days.
Huckabee, who recently issued a letter pledging to fight gay marriage, told Starnes that conservatives should wage “civil disobedience” against a government that “acted outside of nature and nature’s God, outside of the bounds of the law, outside of the bounds of the Constitution,” warning that otherwise they will be forced to commit “biblical disobedience.”
“What if no one had acted in disobedience to the Dred Scott decision of 1857?” Huckabee continued. “What if the entire country had capitulated to judicial tyranny and we just said that because the Supreme Court said in 1857 said that a black person wasn’t fully human? Suppose we had accepted that, suppose Abraham Lincoln, our president, had accepted that, would that have been the right course of action?”
Calling a potential gay marriage ruling patently unconstitutional, Huckabee said that “if we’re not going to follow our Constitution, maybe we should loan it to some developing country so that they could try it out if we’re not going to use it anymore.”
In the same interview, Huckabee blamed the Charleston church shooting on a lack of guns.
Yesterday, Mike Huckabee sent a letter to Religious Right leaders [PDF] warning that a ruling in favor of marriage equality from the Supreme Court would be just as “backwards” and “broken” as rulings which “rationalized the destruction of human life, defined African Americans as property and justified Japanese-American internment camps.”
“I refuse to sit silently as politically driven interest groups threaten the foundation of religious liberty, criminalize Christianity, and demand that Americans abandon Biblical principles of natural marriage,” Huckabee continued. “I will fight to defend religious liberty at all costs.”
The GOP presidential candidate and former governor added that he will never worship the “false god” of the judiciary: “I also refuse to surrender to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected judges the power to make law and enforce it, which upends the separation of powers so very central to our Constitution. Too much power concentrated in the courts is a threat to our Republic. I will fight judicial tyranny and return power to the people.”
Dear conservative leaders and pro-family activists,
I share your concerns regarding the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in Obergefell v. Hodges. As you mentioned, any decision that redefines the institution of marriage, which has existed for thousands and thousands of years, would overturn the will of American citizens in more than 30 states who have passed constitutional amendments defining marriage as the union of one man and one woman.
Under the U.S. Constitution, we have three, co-equal branches of government. The Supreme Court is not the Supreme Branch, and it is certainly not the Supreme Being. Throughout our nation’s history, the court has delivered backwards, broken rulings. These nine, unelected Supreme Court justices have rationalized the destruction of human life, defined African Americans as property and justified Japanese-American internment camps.
The notion that the Supreme Court is an exclusive entity empowered to interpret the Constitution is a modern myth, which has flourished since the 1960s. I reject this idea as just another flawed, failed feature of big government, inconsistent with what our founders fought a revolution to establish.
As both an American and a candidate for president, I will never forget who I serve: my God, my country, and the U.S. Constitution.
I refuse to sit silently as politically driven interest groups threaten the foundation of religious liberty, criminalize Christianity, and demand that Americans abandon Biblical principles of natural marriage. I will fight to defend religious liberty at all costs.
I also refuse to surrender to the false god of judicial supremacy, which would allow black-robed and unelected judges the power to make law and enforce it, which upends the separation of powers so very central to our Constitution. Too much power concentrated in the courts is a threat to our Republic. I will fight judicial tyranny and return power to the people.
I call on all GOP candidates to join me in this fight to defend the Constitution. If you lack the backbone to reject judicial tyranny and fight for religious liberty, you have no business serving our nation as President of the United States.
Governor Mike Huckabee
cc: Cathy Adams - President, Eagle Forum
Kerby Anderson - Host, Point of View radio talk show
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Ted Baehr - Publisher, www.movieguide.org
David Barton - President, WallBuilders
Gary Bauer - President, American Values
Jeffrey K. Beene - Colonel, USAF (retired)
Hon. J. Kenneth Blackwell - Visiting Professor, Liberty School of Law
Floyd Brown - President Western Center for Journalism
Brian Burch - President, CatholicVote.org
Phil Burress - President, Citizens for Community Values Action
Joe R. Calvert - President, Rabon Calvert Interests, Inc.
Larry Cirignano - American Catholic Citizens
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Bill Dallas - CEO, United in Purpose
Steve Deace - USA Radio Network & Conservative Review
Tom DeLay - Former Congressman
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James C. Dobson, Ph.D. - Founder and President, Family Talk
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William J. Federer
Robert K. Fischer - Meeting Coordinator, Conservatives of Faith
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Richard Ford - President, Heritage Alliance
Dr. Jim Garlow - Pastor, Skyline Church
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Thomas A. Glessner - President, National Institute of Family and Life Advocates
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Donna Hearne - Constitutional Coalition
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Chuck Hurley, J.D. - Vice-president and Chief Counsel, The Family Leader
Harry R. Jackson Jr. - Hope Christian Church and The High Impact Leadership Coalition
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Finn Laursen - Executive Director, Christian Educators Association International
Dr. Richard Lee - There's Hope America
Dr. Richard Land - Southern Evangelical Seminary
Tim LeFever - Chairman, Capitol Resource Institute
Loren Leman - Former Legislator and Lieutenant Governor, Alaska
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Bradley Mattes - President, Life Issues Institute
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Joe Miller - President, Restoring Liberty
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Len Munsil, J.D. - President, Arizona Christian University
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Penny Nance - President and CEO, Concerned Women for America
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Troy Newman - President, Operation Rescue and ProLife Nation
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Paige Patterson, PhD - President, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Bob Pearle - Birchman Baptist Church
Tony Perkins - President, Family Research Council President, Council for National Policy
Judson Phillips - Tea Party Nation
Everett Piper - President, Oklahoma Wesleyan University
Bob Vander Plaats - President/CEO, The FAMiLY LEADER
Janet (Folger) Porter - Producer and Documentarian
Dr. Robert (Bob) Reccord - Former Executive Director, Council for National Policy
Elizabeth B. Rex, Ph.D., MBA - President, The Children First Foundation
Richard Rios - Christian Coalition, California Chairman
Rabbi Yaakov Rosenblatt - Congregation Ohr Ha Torah, Dallas, TX
Austin Ruse - President, Center for Family & Human Rights
Nancy Schulze - Founder, Republican Congressional Wives Speakers
Mat Staver - Founder and Chairman, Liberty Counsel
Steve Strang - CEO/Founder, Charisma Media
Frank & Sarah Teed - Arkansas Eye Surgery
Eric Teetsel - Executive Director, Manhattan Declaration
Mark Tooley - President, Institute on Religion and Democracy
Patrick A. Trueman - Attorney at Law, Washington, DC
Richard A Viguerie - Chairman, ConservativeHQ.com
Eric M. Wallace, PhD - President & Co-founder, Freedom's Journal Institute
Jennifer L. Wallace - Co-founder, Freedom's Journal Institute
C. Richard Wells - President, John Witherspoon College Rapid City, South Dakota
C. Frederick Wehba - Founder, Bentley Forbes
Dr. Donald E. Wildmon - Founder and Chairman Emeritus, American Family Association
Tim Wildmon - President, American Family Association
Walt Wilson - Founder & Chairman, Global Media Outreach
Texas pastor and conservative activist Rick Scarborough appeared this week on the National Emergency Coalition conference call hosted by E.W. Jackson, a Virginia preacher and Republican politician.
Scarborough, who repeatedly predicted that he and other pastors would be arrested and thrown in jail following the passage of the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Act back in 2009, told listeners to get ready to face death as a result of gay marriage: “We are not going to bow, we are not going to bend, and if necessary, we will burn.”
“The preachers need to get out front, the leaders need to get out front, out front of these ordinary citizens and say, ‘Shoot me first,’” Scarborough said, referring to the bakers and florists who are supposedly being persecuted as a result of gay rights laws.
Scarborough went on to say that gay marriage is a Satanic plot: “The end game is the complete destruction of the church of the Lord Jesus, the replacement of it with this liberal theology that’s not a theology, it’s a philosophy, human-made, it goes back to the Garden of Eden when Satan wanted to be God. We now have a race of humans that don’t want to acknowledge that there’s a God.”
“They’re after God,” he said of Supreme Court justices who may move to strike down state bans on same-sex marriage. “This country better be aware, we’ve suffered a lot of injustices, but I’m not sure God is going to tolerate this one very long.”
Jerry Kenney and Cliff Kincaid of America’s Survival interviewed Dr. Paul Kengor last week about his new book, and the conversation quickly turned to the issue of the mental health of the unborn future children of gay couples. Kincaid contended that “there’s gotta be a backlash to this kind of thing” from ordinary people who “are gonna feel and sense a revulsion to this; they’re gonna be disgusted by it. Because, let’s face it, they’re going after our kids.”
Kengor, who admitted he does not know with certainty what the future children of gay parents will think, is pretty sure in twenty or forty years they will say, “‘I love my mom and mom’ or ‘I love my dad and dad’ but, yeah, if you really ask me I would have preferred to have had a mom and a dad.’" However, Kengor reminds those who disagree with him that they are also not psychic, but yet they are the ones who are “so insistent on rushing right into it, with no data, no interviews, no nothing.”
“Well, you know, it’s interesting how the left uses the language,” Kennedy responded. Arguing the left “short circuits” common sense, Kennedy claimed that their language is “usually the opposite of what they’re saying.”
Kenney felt that as a straight person, he is being left out of the LGBT movement’s call for greater inclusion: “You know, what is it, the LGBT, and now they got the Q. Well where’s the H, for heterosexuals? I mean we have problems too! I’m tired of being called a bigot.”
Last week, Cliff Kincaid of the conservative groups Accuracy in Media and America’s Survival interviewed Paul Kengor about his new book, “Takedown: From Communists to Progressives, How the Left Has Sabotaged Family and Marriage.” Kincaid agreed with Kengor’s theory that gay marriage is an outgrowth of a Communist plot against America, while insisting that there is “a natural revulsion against where this whole thing is going. And [Americans] sense that our country is slipping away. And we can’t let that happen. It’s as simple as that.”
“We’ve got to fight to our deaths to save this great country,” Kincaid asserted.
Kengor hopes that his book will expose the truth about the gay rights movement, as he lamented that liberals are “unwittingly” backing a Communist agenda.
“This has been planned in advance,” Kincaid added. “This is the planned destruction of our country.”
Fox News pundit and war-on-Christians propagandist Todd Starnes is gushing over a speech by Ronnie Floyd, president of the Southern Baptist Convention. Floyd’s “fiery” and “powerful” and “provocative” comments were part of a diatribe against marriage equality delivered at an SBC gathering in Columbus, Ohio. Floyd called for defiance of a potential Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality with self-aggrandizing, chest-thumping remarks declaring his resistance to a non-existent threat:
“I declare to everyone today as a minister of the Gospel – I will not officiate over any same-sex unions or same-sex marriage ceremonies,” he said. “I completely refuse.”
Starnes praised Floyd for these “resolute” comments, which he says some will label hate speech. They’re more likely to be laughed off as ridiculous. No one in the gay-rights movement wants to force Floyd or any church or minister to marry a same-sex couple. It’s not part of the agenda. But standing up to this non-existent threat apparently got Floyd a standing ovation.
Floyd isn’t the only one using this strategy. Last week, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott made a public fuss over signing the “Pastor Protection Act.” Abbott pretended that its passage was a huge victory for religious liberty, declaring that “pastors now have the freedom to exercise their First Amendment rights.”
In reality, the Texas law was unnecessary, as is Floyd’s brave bluster. The First Amendment is alive and well. Even if the Supreme Court strikes down state laws that keep same-sex couples from getting legally married, Southern Baptist clergy in Texas and every other state will still be free to preach their anti-gay message and refuse to marry same-sex couples. Even Robert Jeffress, a top Southern Baptist pastor and a Fox News contributor, recently told Bill O’Reilly that “nobody” in the anti-marriage equality movement believes that the government will force pastors to officiate same-sex couple’s weddings.
Floyd and Starnes are trying to muddy the religious liberty waters by equating two very different things: one -- requiring a minister to marry a couple against the teachings of his faith – would be an impermissible violation of religious liberty. The other – requiring government officials and people who run businesses serving the public not to discriminate against gay people or same-sex couples – is not.