religious persecution rhetoric

Trump Offers No Apologies For Rhetoric, But Some Conservative Latinos Warming To Him

As we reported last week, National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) president Samuel Rodriguez gave Donald Trump a chance to “redeem the narrative” with Latino voters by showing a videotaped message from the candidate to attendees at an NHCLC gathering last Friday; a video from Hillary Clinton was also played. Rodriguez has criticized Trump’s harsh anti-immigration rhetoric and mass deportation plan, but has also given him political cover, telling the Christian Broadcasting Network last month that Trump is not a racist and blaming such a characterization on “liberal media.”

Rodriguez has said he hopes Trump will apologize for his “hurtful, erroneous, and dangerous statements” about Latino immigrants. And he said earlier last week that he would only show Trump’s video if he deemed it sufficiently conciliatory and respectful.

Conciliatory and respectful are clearly in the eyes of the beholder. Trump’s two-and-a-half minute video, apparently shot on a cell phone while he sat in his private jet reading from a piece of paper, included no apologies for any of the harsh rhetoric that Rodriguez has complained about.

Instead, Trump made the kind of broad promises that have characterized his campaign — creating good schools, safe communities and providing “massive tax cuts” for the middle class — without many details about how he would do so, other than controlling immigration and making “great trade deals.” Hillary Clinton’s video did address Trump’s rhetoric without mentioning him by name, saying, “That is not who we are as a people.”

Trump told Hispanics that poor people would pay nothing under his tax plan: “You’re going to start paying taxes after you’re making a lot of money, and hopefully that is going to be soon.” Other tidbits from his video:

  • “The world is taking our jobs and we’ve got to stop it. We’re going to take care of minority unemployment. It’s a huge problem, it’s really unfair to minorities, and we are going to solve that problem.”
  • “National. Hispanic. Christian. Three great words. We’re gonna to take care of you, we’re gonna work with you, you’re gonna be very happy, you’re gonna like president Trump.”
  • “I’m going to win and we’re going to take care of everybody. Our country is going to be unified for the first time in a long time”

Before the NHCLC conference last week, Trump met privately with some evangelical leaders, in a meeting arranged by Frank Amedia, Trump’s “liaison for Christian policy.” Representing NHCLC at the meeting was Mario Bramnick, who praised Trump’s “genuineness.”

“Donald Trump showed a tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants,” he said. “We all came out really sensing his genuineness.”

He added: “We didn’t get into specifics other than that he wants to work with us, work with the Hispanic community, Hispanic leadership on substantive policy regarding immigration.”

Bramnick also said Trump embraced the Religious Right’s “Christian persecution” narrative, telling Charisma:

"He told us in the meeting that he's very, very concerned that Christians are losing their rights in America, that we no longer can even speak or express what we believe," Bramnick said. "And he did say that if he becomes president, he's going to change things to make sure that we as Christians have our religious liberties restored. He said he's concerned about Christians, he's concerned about Jews, and he wants to help."

In March, Bramnick spoke at Liberty Counsel’s “Awakening” conference, quoting Cindy Jacobs’ prophecy that Florida had determined that George W. Bush would be president and that God would use Florida to shift the nation again. “God by his Holy Spirit can appoint the president that God has ordained,” said Bramnick.

At the Awakening conference, Bramnick prayed:

Father, awaken the sleeping the church. Unite us. We come against the diabolic spirit of division in the body of Christ, that spirit that would put us to sleep, spirits of anti-Christ and witchcraft, and we declare out of Orlando, the church of Jesus Christ is arising, not by power, not by might, but by your spirit. And father we declare out of Orlando, shift for Florida, shift for the United States, and the man you have selected to be our next president, shall be elected president of the United States, and shall usher in the Third Great Awakening…

It’s not just the NHCLC giving Trump another look. Some other Latino conservatives are showing some willingness to rally around him. The Hill’s Ben Kamisar noted over the weekend that last October, Alfonso Aguilar, a former Bush White House official who now heads the Latino Partnership for Conservative Principles, said Trump was “done” in the eyes of the Latino community. Aguilar declared, “If Donald Trump is the GOP candidate, we won’t work to support him and we are sure he will lose the general election because there’s no way a GOP candidate can win the White House if they don’t get more support from Latino voters.” But now that Trump is the nominee, Aguilar is singing a different tune, saying that if Trump were to “seek my support and show he’s willing to change his tone and be open to some form of legalization, I would be willing to reconsider my position.”

BuzzFeed’s Adrian Carrasquillo recently noted that there are a lot of major conferences coming up. The National Association of Latino Elected Officials (NALEO) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) have both sent formal invitations but “have had difficulties getting responses from the Trump campaign.” The National Council of La Raza has not yet decided whether to invite Trump to its July conference.

 

 

Here We Go Again: Roy Moore Suspended For Defying Gay Marriage Rulings

On Friday, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended from his position after being charged with violating judicial ethics in his response to federal court rulings on same-sex marriage.

Despite a ruling by a federal judge in Mobile making same-sex marriage legal in Alabama last year, and in the face of a United States Supreme Court ruling last year making its legality the law of the land, Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples.

Moore's actions led the Southern Poverty Law Center to file complaints with the commission, which acts much in the same way as a grand jury. When it receives a complaint, the commission investigates and decides whether to forward charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.

This isn’t the first time Moore has been in this situation.

Back in 2003, he was removed from the office of chief justice for flouting a federal court ruling ordering the removal of a Ten Commandments monument he had installed in the courthouse rotunda.

The episode turned Moore into a martyr in the eyes of right-wing activists, although his newfound celebrity wasn’t enough to help his two unsuccessful campaigns for governor.

But in 2012 Moore returned to the Alabama Supreme Court, where he was once again lauded by the Religious Right when he tried to block same-sex marriages from taking place in the state in defiance of the federal courts.

Moore himself has likened the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling to Nazi oppression and has tapped Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver, the Religious Right activist who used bizarre legal arguments to defend Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her unsuccessful attempt to flout the Supreme Court on marriage equality, to represent him in the case.

Just as Staver likened Davis to victims of the Holocaust, expect him to turn Moore, once again, into a symbol of the supposed persecution of Christians in America.

Indeed, far-right pastor Dave Daubenmire is already planning to hold a rally in Montgomery, Alabama, to support Moore and challenge the “uncircumcised philistine of the federal court system.”

Moore’s wife, Kayla Moore, who succeeded him in leading the Religious Right legal group Foundation for Moral Law, posted a song on her Facebook page yesterday comparing her husband to actual Christian martyrs.

FRC Spokesman: 'Un-American' LGBT Movement Just Wants To 'Punish People'

Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow with the Family Research Council, said last week that LGBT rights activist are “un-American” in their opposition to laws that permit anti-LGBT discrimination, claiming that these activists want to “punish people for holding traditional moral views.”

Sprigg joined the Alabama Christian radio station Faith Radio on April 8 to discuss a new law in Mississippi that allows businesses to refuse service to LGBT people if they do so because of their “sincerely held religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

“The irony here,” he said, “is that for all the howling about discrimination against LGBT people, since this bill is about preventing government discrimination against religious believers and people of faith and people with traditional moral values, anybody who opposes this bill is essentially saying: ‘We think it’s okay for government to discriminate against those people. We think it’s okay for government to punish people for holding traditional moral views. In fact, we think that government should punish people in order to do everything it can to wipe those views out of existence.’”

“That’s basically the point of view of the LGBT movement at this point in history,” he claimed. “It’s shocking and it’s un-American, it’s contrary to our traditions, which are to protect the views of all people, including the people who agree with you and the people who disagree with you.”

Sprigg so cares about protecting the liberty of all people that he has said he wants to outlaw “homosexual behavior” and once opposed a bill that would allow gay people to be united with their foreign partners by saying that he “would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States.”

Donald Trump's Lawyers Debunk Donald Trump

Back in February, Donald Trump took the right-wing conspiracy theories that Christians in America are enduring severe persecution and that the Obama administration is using the IRS to target conservatives, and placed himself in the center of both, humbly declaring that he was facing an IRS audit “because of the fact I’m a strong Christian.”

Trump has said that he will not make his tax returns public because of the ongoing audit, a claim that tax experts have questioned.

Trump’s campaign shed some light on the issue yesterday when it released a letter from his lawyers confirming that the candidate is being audited.  But, at the same time, it undermined Trump’s claim that he is facing specific targeting for his well-known Christian beliefs:

As the political press focused on Donald Trump’s contradictory statements about abortion Wednesday, his campaign quietly released an unusual letter from his tax lawyers claiming the businessman has been under “continuous examination” by the IRS since 2002.



Trump’s tax returns have been under “continuous examination” by the IRS since 2002, “consistent with the IRS’ practice for large and complex businesses,” the lawyers wrote.

Seeing that the lawyers called the audits “consistent with the IRS’ practice for large and complex businesses,” we are not sure how Trump can continue to say with a straight face that the audit is actually an act of anti-Christian persecution.

Not that that will stop him continuing to repeat a claim that his own campaign has debunked.

Jim Bakker: Government Will 'Mow Down' Christians For Praying

Televangelist Jim Bakker yesterday equated the supposed persecution of Christians in America to the violent persecution of Mideast Christians by ISIS terrorists, telling his audience that the U.S. government may soon “mow down” Christians who pray in public spaces.

Bakker said that he himself is a victim of anti-Christian oppression and that people should prepare for massive starvation and beheadings.

“We can’t preach the Bible anymore,” Bakker said, warning that violence against Christians is imminent due to “political correctness.”

Bakker said that such anti-Christian brutality is seen in the War on Christmas, praising Donald Trump for his pledge to save Christmas as president. “It’s almost illegal to say ‘Merry Christmas,’” he said.

After guest Rick Wiles, the host of the End Times radio program “Trunews,” urged people to commit civil disobedience in cases where the courts block school-organized prayer, Bakker predicted that Christians will soon be gunned down for praying.

“So what happens if in that graduation most of the parents stand up and recite the Lord’s Prayer?” Wiles asked. “What are they going to do? Is the judge going to come over and arrest you? Let’s get an uprising going.”

Bakker replied: “They would threaten to arrest you, they would threaten to mow you down with a machine gun.”

“So what if they did? They’re going to come in and shoot 500 parents at a high school graduation for saying the Lord’s Prayer?” Wiles responded.

“Not right now,” Bakker said. “But eventually they will if we don’t stop it.”

Tony Perkins Wrongly Blames Shooting On LGBT Rights Ordinance

Before any facts of the case were known, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins quickly linked the recent shooting of an Idaho pastor to a nondiscrimination ordinance in the city of Coeur d’Alene that prohibits anti-LGBT discrimination. Perkins wrote yesterday:

Like the rest of the country, we were stunned and saddened to hear about the shooting of Pastor Tim Remington in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. The beloved church leader, who was known throughout the community for his outreach to the addicted and incarcerated, was gunned down at church a day after opening a Ted Cruz rally with prayer.



While his family and congregation celebrate the good prognosis, disturbing questions still linger. Coeur d’Alene had already grown increasingly hostile toward Christians, as we know from Donald and Evelyn Knapp, a husband-and-wife pastor team that ran a wedding chapel called The Hitching Post. After declining to marry a same-sex couple, Idaho city officials had warned that the decision could send them straight to jail and/or bury them in debilitating fines.

Obviously, the environment toward Christians and pastors preaching the Gospel has made a turn for the worst in the small northern town. How can it not when you have the government ordering believers to participate in things that violate their faith? Whatever the shooter’s motivations, until the policies change, tensions like these will not. In the meantime, we continue to pray for the Remingtons, Tim’s full and complete healing, and for the man responsible to be brought to justice.

First of all, the nondiscrimination ordinance Perkins mentioned did not force Donald Knapp’s for-profit chapel to host same-sex couples’ weddings, as it was exempt under the ordinance.

But even more egregiously, Perkins went out of his way to blame the ordinance for the shooting on the grounds that it was creating an environment of anti-Christian hostility, even though the suspected shooter claimed that he shot the pastor because he thought he was from Mars.

In a Facebook post, the alleged shooter, who “has a history of mental illness,” wrote that he believed Remington was a Martian:

Things are not what they appear to be. The world is ruled by ancient civilization from Mars. Pastor Tim was one of them, and he was the reason my life was ruined. I will be sharing my story with as many people as possible. I don't have time right now, they are chasing me. I shot Pastor Tim 12 times, there is no way any human could have survived that event. Anyway, I have sent my story to all the major news organizations. I have no time, I have to go.”

He was later apprehended at the White House:

He admitted to plotting to shoot Remington. He also claimed that the pastor was part of a vast alien conspiracy to enslave the human race — a conspiracy that Odom believed extended to Congress.

“My last resort was to take actions to bring this to the public’s attention,” Odom wrote in the manifesto. “I hope that something good comes of it. Just realize that I’m a good person, and I’m completely innocent. Also realize that the ‘people’ I killed are not what you think.”

You can read his manifesto about the Martian overlords here.

Nonetheless, Perkins claims this was a case of left-wing anti-Christian bigotry.

Ben Carson Vows To End Nonexistent 'Ban On Christianity' In Public Schools

While speaking today with Pat Robertson at Regent University, Ben Carson said that he would work “very hard on eliminating the ban on Christianity in our public schools” if elected president.

Carson, who has repeatedly claimed that he would direct the government to monitor the speech of professors and withhold federal funding from schools that demonstrate “bias,” revived the myth that Christianity and religious expression are banned at public schools. (Students are allowed to pray in school, but government-sponsored and compulsory prayers are prohibited.)

The GOP presidential candidate also explained what he meant by his mystifying “fruit salad” remark regarding judicial nominees at the last presidential debate.

'Christianity Is Under Siege': Donald Trump Vows To Stop Christianity From Becoming 'Weaker, Weaker And Weaker'

After vowing to go after journalists who write critical stories about him at a rally in Texas today, Donald Trump bragged about the support his presidential campaign has received from conservative evangelical voters, touting endorsements from televangelist Paula White, Liberty University President Jerry Falwell, Jr., and Sarah Palin.

Trump even brought Robert Jeffress, the conservative televangelist notorious for his anti-gay, anti-Catholic and anti-Mormon preaching, onto the stage to sing his praises. Jeffress called Trump a patriot “who is truly pro-life,” unlike Hillary Clinton, whom he warned would be “the most pro-abortion president in history.”

“God bless Donald Trump,” Jeffress declared. Trump had a much bleaker message: “Christianity is under siege. Every year it gets weaker and weaker and weaker.”

He said he would restore Christianity to greatness by scrapping IRS regulations pertaining to church engagement in partisan political activity on behalf of candidates or campaigns.

It makes you less powerful than a man or woman walking up the street. You actually have less power, and yet if you look at it, I was talking to someone, we probably have 250 million, maybe even more, in terms of people, so we have more Christians than we have men or women in our country and we don’t have a lobby because they’re afraid to have a lobby because they don’t want to lose their tax status.

So I am going to work like hell to get rid of that prohibition and we’re going to have the strongest Christian lobby and it’s going to happen. This took place during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson and it has had a terrible chilling effect.

When I said that there has to be a temporary ban on certain people coming into this country, we have no choice, there’s something wrong, there’s something really wrong. And when I said ‘Muslim,’ I was met with furor. If I would’ve said ‘Christian,’ people would’ve said, ‘oh we can’t do anything about it.’ That’s going to end folks.

We’re going to say ‘Merry Christmas’ now on Christmas. We’re going to start going to department stores and stores and you’re going to see big beautiful signs that say, ‘Merry Christmas and Happy Holiday.’ And we’re going to have a big, big, big lotta fun.

There is a lot to unpack here.

First, it is difficult to know what Trump means when he says that “we have more Christians than we have men or women in our country.”

Second, the part of the tax code Trump is speaking of was put into effect in 1954, not “during the presidency of Lyndon Johnson,” although as a senator he was behind the amendment instituting the policy.

Third, there are hundreds of interest groups who claim to represent Christians and even specific Christian denominations in America, proving that the IRS regulations did not have “a terrible chilling effect.”

Fourth, it is hard to square Trump’s claim that he is a defender of religious freedom when also boasting that he wants to ban all of the world’s Muslims — over 1.6 billion people — from entering the U.S.

Fifth, it seems unlikely that people would have shrugged if Trump said he wanted to ban Christians from the country.

Sixth, people still say “Merry Christmas” on Christmas.

Lastly, what?

Georgia 'Religious Freedom' Bill Could Protect KKK, Sponsor Admits

Georgia’s state senate is considering a “religious liberty” bill that would make it easier to discriminate against LGBT people by, as Americans United explains, allowing “any individual or ‘faith-based’ business, non-profit entity, or taxpayer-funded organization to ignore any law that conflicts with their religious beliefs about marriage.”

This means, according to AU, that “any person, business, or taxpayer-funded organization could refuse anyone else rights, services, and benefits because they are part of an interracial couple; are part of an interfaith couple; are a single mother; are part of a same-sex couple; are divorced; are remarried; live or have lived with a partner without being married; or have had sex outside of marriage at any time in their life.”

The broad scope of the bill, which combines a House-passed measure with an even broader Senate bill, has alarmed many observers, including state Sen. Emanuel Jones.

In a debate over the bill today, Jones asked its sponsor, Sen. Greg Kirk, if the Ku Klux Klan would count as a faith-based organization protected under the law.

“I guess they could,” Kirk answered, adding, “I don’t know what would stop them.”

When Jones asked Kirk if that seemed like a problem to him, Kirk responded that it did not because the bill “certainly isn’t directed” at the KKK.

Kirk then compared the KKK to Beyoncé’s “tribute to the Black Panthers” at the Super Bowl, saying that the Black Panthers would also be protected under the legislation.

Georgia Equality captured the video:

Meanwhile, another Georgia GOP lawmaker, state Rep. Tommy Benton, has been under fire for claiming that the KKK “was not so much a racist thing but a vigilante thing to keep law and order.”

h/t reader Erik

Benham Brothers Back Cruz

It’s nearly impossible to keep up with the string of endorsements for Ted Cruz from Religious Right political activists, including some of the most extreme activists in the movement. It started in the summer, when we asked, “Is Ted Cruz Winning the Christian-Nation Primary?” but it really got going after dozens of Religious Right leaders anointed Cruz as their candidate at a secret endorsement meeting in Texas in December.

Now that we’re just days from the Iowa caucus, the Cruz campaign is picking up the pace. Today it announced endorsements from Jason and David Benham. According to the Cruz campaign statement, the Benhams declared that “Ted Cruz is the convictional leader we desperately need in America today.”

The Benham brothers have been regular speakers on the Religious Right circuit ever since their planned real-estate reality show was cancelled amid controversy about their far-right political activism. The Benhams emceed Cruz’s religious liberty-themed event at Bob Jones University last fall.

The Cruz campaign announcement plays up the Religious Right’s narrative portraying the Benhams as religious liberty martyrs who have been persecuted for their faith. But it’s worth recalling that the Benhams, like many of their Religious Right colleagues, are quite selective in whose freedom they champion. The brothers and their Religious Right activist father, Flip, were all part of a group of people who went to a Charlotte, North Carolina, city council meeting in 2004 to complain about a gay pride event that had taken place in a city park:

“This is filth, this is vile and should not be allowed in our city,” said David. Jason urged city council members to reject future permits for Pride celebrations – and seemingly for any LGBT-themed event.

They have a right to apply for this permit, but you have a right and responsibility to deny it. I [implore] you not to be governed by the fear in which you feel. If you deny them this permit you will open a can of worms but you in your leadership position have to take that responsibility and you have to not allow the fear of making this homosexual community mad. You have to accept that responsibility and deny them every permit that they ask for.

In the words of Charlotte Pride organizers, “The Benham brothers once tried to silence us. They failed.”

The Benham twins have repeatedly attacked gay people as pawns of Satan while comparing themselves to people murdered by ISIS.

Also today, former Concerned Women for America official Janice Shaw Crouse, who was the executive director of the World Congress of Families summit in Salt Lake City last fall, released a gushing endorsement of Cruz, comparing him to Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher and crediting him for “the shift to faith-based campaigning” in the GOP presidential campaign. 

Louie Gohmert: Conservative Christians Back Trump Because They're Being Persecuted

Yesterday, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, spoke with Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council about Donald Trump’s appeal to evangelical voters.

While both Gohmert and Perkins have endorsed Ted Cruz and were campaigning for the Texas senator in Iowa before the “Washington Watch” interview, the two said that Trump is winning over some conservative evangelicals because they are fed up with anti-Christian “persecution” and “sick of the nation being fundamentally transformed away from being a Christian nation.”

How a sitting member of Congress can possibly believe that he is facing persecution for being a member of the country’s largest religious group shows just how absurd Religious Right’s persecution narrative has become. And, ironically enough, these conservative leaders are now worrying that their manufactured paranoia of religious persecution may end up sinking their preferred candidate and help Trump.

Gohmert: I understand where so many believers, so many Christians have been in the past seven years, we now are experiencing something I never thought I would experience in my life, I never experienced it growing up and it’s what Jesus promised us would happen, and that is, ‘You will be persecuted for my sake.’ I never got persecuted growing up in Texas and I bet you didn’t in Louisiana, but we’re being persecuted now, Christians are being persecuted here for our religious beliefs and I think people are so sick of the nation being fundamentally transformed away from being a Christian nation.

You know, it reminds me maybe of the children of Israel. They had not been as faithful to God as they should have and things weren’t going like they wanted so they said, ‘God, give us a king and he can fix all this,’ and God said, ‘That’s not what’s going to fix it and it’s not a good idea.’ But I get the feeling people are thinking, if we can just have somebody that is as narcissistic and self-centered and will stand up to anybody as Obama is, then that person can go back and fix it. That’s a problem.

Perkins: What I see as I travel the country is there’s a fear, a fear that the country has changed, that we’re losing the country, just a fear of the loss of religious freedom. But we have to operate in faith, not fear. Fear causes us to make the wrong choices and go the wrong direction.

Kim Davis: SOTU Ignored The Christians Being 'Mashed Down, Literally' By Obama

Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, a hero of the Religious Right because of her attempt to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses following the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, got a spot at the State of the Union address on Tuesday, thanks to the Family Research Council and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio.

Davis was initially unresponsive about her reaction to President Obama’s address, telling a reporter simply that “it was a speech,” but went into a little more detail in an interview with EWTN’s Jason Calvi after the event.

Davis did have some words of praise for the president, telling Calvi, “I did agree with one remark that he made about how we have to stand strong, help those that are less fortunate, and I think that is the basis of the Christian faith is the brotherly love, you know?”

But she was less impressed with Obama’s reference to marriage equality. “He had made the statement that everybody was free to marry who they love, and, of course, that’s the stand that I stood again,” she said. “And it’s not, for me, it never was a gay or a lesbian issue. It’s about standing up for the word of the God and as God had defined marriage from the very beginning as between one man and one woman, and that’s what I stood for.”

When Calvi asked Davis about the president’s caution against anti-Muslim bigotry and prejudice, Davis responded that he should have instead talked about Christians like her who “are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally” by his policies.

“One of the things that he focused on was that we should not discriminate against Muslims or persecute them, but he never once said anything about the people of the Christian faith who are being so tried and tested and being mashed down, literally, with his agenda,” she said.

Sen. Lankford SOTU Guest Everett Piper Denounces Opponents As Haters Of God

Marriage-refusing county clerk Kim Davis and her lawyer Mat Staver aren’t the only Religious Right figures who will be attending tonight’s State of the Union address. Everett Piper, the president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University, will be attending as a guest of Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford, according to the Alliance Defense Fund, which represents the university’s legal challenge to the Obama administration’s accommodation for religiously affiliated nonprofit organizations that object to the contraception coverage mandate under the Affordable Care Act.

Piper has appeared on Glenn Beck’s show and David Barton’s radio show. And at a conference organized by anti-gay activist James Garlow last summer, Piper suggested that secularists and radical Islamists are working together, aided by President Barack 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?”

Piper made similar remarks in October as the closing speaker for the World Congress of Families, a gathering of Religious Right activists from around the globe. In that speech, Piper also slammed gay rights activists and other liberals for “ideological fascism” and decried a “war against Christians” within the academy and the broader culture. He closed with an ideological prayer asking God to forgive America for a long list of sins, including “worshiping government more than God.” He asked, “Please rescue us from the ugly hell of our own making and give us liberty within the bounds of your law and free us from the bondage of our licentiousness.”

A week after the World Congress of Families wrapped up, Piper used his blog to slam WCF’s critics as haters of God.

The bold-faced duplicity of those condemning those who love the family is indeed hateful. Intolerance in the name of tolerance. Bullying while decrying bullying. Exclusion in the name of inclusion. Dumbing down the human being while arguing for human rights. Pretending to be pro-woman while using women as pawns and products. Hate under the banner of anti-hate… These ideas do not come from love, but rather from disdain: Disdain for children, disdain for family, and disdain for truth. Such ideas come from a hateful people who hate anyone who dares stand in their way of hating God.

 

Kim Davis Predicts She Is 'Just The First Of What's Going To Be Very Many'

In an interview with the Catholic TV network EWTN earlier this month, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, who spent a few nights in jail in September when she attempted to stop her office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, warned that she was “just the first of what’s going to be very many.”

“The stand I took affects every church, every person that lives and loves God, that holds the word of God precious and dear and intimate in their lives,” Davis told EWTN’s Catherine Szeltner in an interview broadcast on December 17. “I’m just the first of what’s going to be very many. You can rest assured of that. And it’s not if it happens, it’ll be when it happens. And maybe my stand will encourage others who will be in the same position.”

Szeltner reported that Davis told her that her time in jail was a “joyful and peaceful time” and that she “knows that it is a possibility” she’ll return.

Davis was imprisoned by U.S. Marshals after defying repeated court orders to allow her government office to start issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges struck down state same-sex marriage bans. She was released when her deputies began issuing licenses . Contrary to Davis’ statements to EWTN, Obergefell does not impede the ability of churches to choose whom they will and will not marry.

Davis also recounted to Szeltner her meeting with Pope Francis, the importance of which has been a matter of public dispute between Davis’ attorneys at Liberty Counsel and Vatican officials.

Déjà Vu, Global Radicalism Edition

Sometimes, covering the Religious Right every day, we feel like we’re hearing the exact same talking points repeated over and over again.

And then, sometimes, we actually are hearing the exact same talking points.

Earlier today, we wrote about a fundraising email that we got from the Family Research Council asking for money to fight the “sexual radicals” that are going to war with families throughout America. These were the first few paragraphs of FRC’s email:

I've never seen a year like 2015.

And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.

In 2015, radicals in Washington (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of America have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.

Family Research Council (FRC) met every test head-on to counter and overturn many of the attacks. But now our team of experts and activists needs your year-end gift to end the year ready to protect your values in 2016.

So imagine our surprise when, this afternoon, we got this email from Austin Ruse of the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-Fam), making a very similar argument:

I have never seen anything quite like this.

And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.

In 2015, radicals at the United Nations, Washington, DC (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of global radicalism have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.

C-Fam met every test head-on to counter and overturn many of the attacks. But now our team of experts needs your year-end-gift to end the year ready to protect your values in 2016.

Times are tough, we guess.

FRC: 'Sexual Radicals' Are Coming After 'Your Family'

An urgent fundraising appeal from the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins today:

I've never seen a year like 2015.

And 2016 may be worse—unless Christians like us get ready now.

In 2015, radicals in Washington (including the government), New York, Hollywood, big corporations, and every part of America have declared war on your values. Your family. Your religious beliefs and freedom.

 

LAST WINTER, a major city ordered pastors to surrender their sermons on transgenderism and homosexuality for challenging the mayor's push for a dangerous special rights ordinance.

EARLY IN THE YEAR, sexual radicals and huge corporations attacked states that attempted to pass laws protecting freedom to believe, and "politically correct" extremists tried to destroy the career of a Navy Chaplain because he counseled from the Bible.

IN THE SUMMER, sexual activists used the Supreme Court's arrogant decision imposing same-sex marriage on America to assail the fundamental rights of anyone who disagreed . . . even throwing a Christian county clerk in jail.

IN THE FALL, they pressed ahead with a campaign of policies and laws trying to erase the distinction of men's and women's restrooms and persecute people of faith who disagree.

Michigan Republicans Urge State To Ignore 'Illegitimate' Marriage Equality Ruling

A Michigan lawmaker is introducing a resolution urging state officials to ignore the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, calling the decision “illegitimate” and urging officials to “re-claim this state’s sovereignty by not recognizing or enforcing.”

MLive.com reports:

State Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, read his pending resolution out loud Wednesday during a "rally to protect religious people and stop persecution of religious people" outside the Michigan Capitol.

"The Supreme Court is not a Legislature," Hooker said. "Courts do not substitute their social and economic beliefs for the judgement of legislative bodies or elected and passed laws."
The rally, organized by a Christian non-profit called Salt & Light Global, drew a couple hundred people to Lansing.

Other speakers included Sen. Patrick Colbeck, R-Canton, who is expected to introduce a similar resolution in the upper chamber, and Rep. Lee Chatfield, R-Levering, who told the crowd that he will co-sponsor Hooker's version in the House.

Hooker’s resolution reads, in part:

Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That it is the sense of the Michigan Legislature that the United States Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges is illegitimate because the five justice majority, in reaching its decision, acted without constitutional authority and unconstitutionally usurped power expressly reserved by the United States Constitution to the states and the people; and be it further

Resolved, That under these circumstances, it is the duty of the politically accountable branches of the federal and state governments to preserve and protect constitutional governance under the rule of law; and be it further

Resolved, That we urge the Governor and all executive officers in the state of Michigan to uphold their oaths of office and re-claim this state’s sovereignty by not recognizing or enforcing the United States Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision as a rule of law …

Speaking at the “religious liberty” rally outside the state capitol, Colbeck, who plans to sponsor a Senate version of the bill, compared the position of Christians in America to that of people persecuted by ISIS.

Liberty Counsel: 'Oppression Of America's Churches' Reminiscent Of Nazi Germany

In an email to supporters yesterday, Liberty Counsel chairman Mathew Staver repeated his claim that the U.S. is turning into Nazi Germany, warning that the “oppressive” Obama administration is working with liberal groups to push “America’s Christians into a ‘spiral of silence.’” This same “spiral of silence had devastating results in Nazi Germany,” he added.

Staver, the anti-gay attorney who won national attention for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, urged members to “recapture our government, our culture, and our freedom from the clutches of tyrannical leadership, rampant socialism, and moral relativism.”

“We need to stop the ‘spiral of silence’ in America induced by the Obama administration to mute the voices of their adversaries,” he wrote.

We are living under an oppressive regime that is pushing America's Christians into a "spiral of silence." I am calling on every friend of Liberty Counsel to rise up and be heard!



German political scientist Elisabeth Noelle-Neumann coined the term "spiral of silence." Noelle-Neumann began her career working for a newspaper during Hitler's era. She found that people conceal their views when they think they are in the minority or may face reprisal for their beliefs. Of course, the spiral of silence had devastating results in Nazi Germany.

Silencing people of faith in the public square has always been the goal of those who realize the influence that pastors, churches, and people of faith have on elections and the culture. We have countless times seen and experienced the oppression of America's churches, ministries, and Christian believers by the Obama administration's use of the Department of Justice, the IRS, and even non-government organizations like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Canter [sic].

It's time to stand against this oppression! Pastors and Christian leaders must cast off fear, remove their muzzles, and replace them with a megaphone. We need to stop the "spiral of silence" in America induced by the Obama administration to mute the voices of their adversaries.



We MUST recapture our government, our culture, and our freedom from the clutches of tyrannical leadership, rampant socialism, and moral relativism.

Liberty Counsel believes God's answer for America is going to come through her committed Christian pastors and other church leaders in every community and state in our nation.

GOP Senator: People Of Faith The New Targets Of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

As we have continually noted over the last few years, the Religious Right is in the process of an attempt to radically redefine the term “religious liberty” to encompass not just the right to live out one’s own faith but also the right to cite one’s faith as justification for infringing on the rights of others, whether by denying service to gay people in public accommodations, kicking people out of housing because of their sexual orientation, or preventing your employees from accessing affordable birth control even if you don’t pay for it.

So it was startling last week to hear Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma, in an address on religious liberty to the Family Research Council, claim that it is in fact progressives who have redefined the term “religious liberty” in order to persecute people of faith, making believers, in Lankford’s words, the targets of a new “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy.

“We have an undercurrent of conversations happening in the country, where there’s become a redefinition of the term ‘religious liberty,’” Lankford said. “ Is this a term that has the same meaning as we use it out in the common vernacular? And I would tell you, across the country and multiple places that I’ve visited, no is the correct answer. This term is attempting to be redefined by our culture to say if you’re for religious liberty, then you’re hatred [sic] towards other people, you’re exclusive, you’re divisive, you’re a person who needs to be isolated because you’re for religious liberty.”

“I would say to you, people of faith in the workplace and in public settings have become the new individuals that are targeted towards ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’” he added. “If you have faith, don’t tell anyone and don’t ask anyone if you have faith, and if you have it don’t live it out publicly because people don’t want to see it.”

Lankford, for the record, has said that he would oppose workplace protections for LGBT people because “ homosexuality is a choice.”

World Congress of Families Closer Everett Piper: WCF Critics Hate God

The closing keynote address at the recent World Congress of Families conference in Salt Lake City was given by Everett Piper, president of Oklahoma Wesleyan University. As we noted in our overview of WCF, Piper did not abide by the standard suggested by the conference’s opening keynoter, Mormon Elder Russell Ballard, who said, “We demonstrate our discipleship when we refuse strident tones, when we refuse derisive labels, and when we enter the public square seeking fair outcomes through understanding and mutual respect.”

Piper, by contrast, enthusiastically embraced strident tones and derisive labels in his closing keynote. Piper may have been trying to interest conservative Christian parents in sending their kids to his school, which commits itself to honoring “the Primacy of Jesus Christ, the Priority of Scripture, the Pursuit of Truth, and the Practice of Wisdom.”

Piper spent much of his time denouncing a culture and approach to education that promote bad ideas and sexual promiscuity, and values clarification rather than moral absolutes. Early in his speech he set the tone:

Imagine that we live in a time and a place where the wise and learned in our courts, and in our classrooms, and, unfortunately, even in our churches, actually work to remove a man’s soul and expect him to stay out of hell.

Piper had harsh words for the educational establishment, which he said “is known not for pursuing truth, but rather for celebrating tolerance, and in the name of tolerance they then tell us that our intolerance is intolerable.” Citing a litany of examples of ideological intolerance against conservatives on campus, he declared it undeniable that there is a “war against Christians” in the academy and the broader culture.

Piper slammed gay rights advocates and other liberals for “ideological fascism,” declaring, “The result of this nonsense is that the rainbow banner of tolerance has become the dark flag of tyranny almost overnight.” And he went after President Obama harshly:

Where is our president in the midst of this? Where is the leader of the free world? Christians are losing their jobs, losing their businesses, losing their tenure, losing their education, and losing their freedom and he says nothing. He lectures us about the crusades rather than defend us in the courts. Christians are being enslaved and burned alive and beheaded across the Middle East and he is silent. Christians are being threatened and intimidated and sued and sequestered in the middle of America and mum’s the word.

For decades, Piper said, “we’ve sent our kids off to sit under the tutelage of faculty who have panned the Judeo-Christian ethic and praised its antithesis.”

“Why are we surprised now,” he asked, “that we have a White House that’s seemingly more aligned with the Muslim Brotherhood than Franklin Graham?”  The Muslim Brotherhood zinger was recycled from Piper’s appearance at the “Future Conference” organized by anti-gay activist Jim Garlow in June.

More from Piper’s WCF rant:

Our judges can’t find the word ‘marriage’ in the dictionary. Our State Department thinks the way to stop terrorists is to give them jobs. Our president says he appreciates the legitimate grievances of the terrorists who are crucifying children. Why are we surprised to see tens of millions of women buying the lie of ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ when colleges have been promoting Sex Weeks on their campuses across the land, teaching these same women the virtue of bondage and dominance for the past several decades.

Piper concluded with a prayer, in which he asked God to forgive America for a long list of the kind of things he spent his speech blaming the liberal establishment for, among them “the foolishness of expecting cultural sanity while removing a culture’s soul” and “worshiping government more than God.”

“Please,” he asked, “rescue us from the ugly hell of our own making and give us liberty within the bounds of your law and free us from the bondage of our licentiousness.”

Piper repeated some of his gripes about education on Glenn Beck’s show, which was recorded the day before his WCF speech and broadcast a few days later. One of Piper’s talking points is that “opinions are dangerous; truth sets us free.” Among the dangerous people who had opinions, he notes, were Pol Pot, Mao, Robespierre, Chavez, Hitler and Mussolini. Piper has also appeared on David Barton’s radio show.

The week after the World Congress of Families wrapped up, Piper took to his blog to decry WCF’s critics, especially those who labeled the WCF a hate group.

The bold-faced duplicity of those condemning those who love the family is indeed hateful. Intolerance in the name of tolerance. Bullying while decrying bullying. Exclusion in the name of inclusion. Dumbing down the human being while arguing for human rights. Pretending to be pro-woman while using women as pawns and products. Hate under the banner of anti-hate… These ideas do not come from love, but rather from disdain: Disdain for children, disdain for family, and disdain for truth. Such ideas come from a hateful people who hate anyone who dares stand in their way of hating God.

If you like what Everett Piper has to offer, you’ll probably get plenty of opportunities to hear more of it. In the program book for the WCF gathering, he is listed as chair of the “SWAT Team” in charge of “Strategic Planning for the Future.”

 

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