right wing extremism

Spanish-Language Radio Ad Challenges Tillis in North Carolina

People For the American Way is launching a Spanish-language radio ad today challenging North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis and his extreme stances on education, healthcare, and tax breaks for the rich. The ad will air starting today in Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh.

“Thom Tillis has pushed an extreme agenda throughout his career,” said Randy Borntrager of People For the American Way. “He’s given tax breaks to the most privileged of our society while raising taxes on middle class families, and wants to roll back critical health care protections for families. Thom Tillis’ dangerous agenda is too extreme and Latino voters deserve to know what is at stake this election.”

The ad is the latest in PFAW’s campaign to connect with Latino voters in key states, exposing the extreme views of GOP candidates. (An English translation of the ad is available below. You can hear an English version of the ad here.)

ROSA: Como mamá, como mujer, como Hispana,
yo no apoyo al republicano Thom Tillis.
Y no lo haré ¡nunca!
Porque jamás apoyaré a una persona que recorta los fondos públicos a la educación y reduce el gasto social en salud.
¡¿Pues quién se cree este señor?!
Es obvio que no entiende, ni valora, la importancia de la educación, y no apoya el futuro de nuestros hijos.
¡Pero eso sí! Apoya los recortes en impuestos para yates y aviones de los ricos. 
Thom Tillis, ¡por favor!
Hay que ordenar sus prioridades.
Además, quiere quitarle el seguro médico a quienes lo tienen.
El seguro médico que yo ¡y SIETE MILLONES de norteamericanos! por fin tenemos, y que nos protege a nosotras y a nuestra familia.
Carolina del Norte es nuestro hogar.
Y el republicano Thom Tillis está en contra de todo lo que es importante para las familias Hispanas. Empezando por un mejor futuro para nuestros hijos.
Y si él está en contra de eso, yo estoy en contra  de él.
¡Así de fácil!
VO DISCLAIMER:
Este mensaje es pagado por People For the American Way, (www.pfaw.org) y no está autorizado por ningún candidato o comité de candidato. People For the American Way es responsable por el contenido de este anuncio.

In English:

ROSA: As a mom, a woman, a Hispanic, I do not support Republican Thom Tillis.
And I never will.
Because I will never support a person that cuts public education funds and reduces social spending on health.
Who does this gentleman think he is?
It's obvious that he does not understand nor value the importance of education and doesn't support our kids future.
But what does he do? He supports tax breaks for the rich with yachts and airplanes.
Thom Tillis, please!
Set your priorities straight!
Plus, he wants to take away health insurance from those who have it.
The health insurance that I, and seven million Americans, finally have, and that protects us and our families.
Look, North Carolina is our home.
And Republican Thom Tillis is against everything that's important for Hispanic families. Starting with a better future for our kids.
And if he's against that, I'm against him.
As easy as that!
VO DISCLAIMER:
Paid for by People For the American Way (www.pfaw.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee. People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising.

PFAW, a national group protecting civil rights and civil liberties, has worked in multiple local, state, and federal campaigns to engage Latino voters.

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Video: PFAW’s Drew Courtney Discusses Right Wing Extremism on Politics Nation with Al Sharpton

Last Monday, Right Wing Watch reported on an upcoming far-right rally, “Operation American Spring,” calling for the ousting of President Obama. Rally organizer Harry Riley predicts that “millions of Americans will participate” in this mission to “bring down the existing leadership.”

On Friday, PFAW Director of Communications Drew Courtney joined Rev. Al Sharpton on Politics Nation to discuss these fringe plans to overthrow President Obama and what it means when the rhetoric of far right activists creeps into the language of GOP elected officials:
 

 

PFAW

PFAW Foundation Condemns U.S. Right-Wing Leaders’ Connection to Ugandan Anti-Gay Bill

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way Foundation is deeply saddened to learn of the reported passage of the infamous anti-gay bill in Uganda. The draconian bill would make so-called “aggravated homosexuality” punishable by life in prison.

A number of far-right leaders in the United States are connected to this bill. Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, called an older version of the bill an effort to “uphold moral conduct.” The anti-gay activism of Abiding Truth Ministries’ Scott Lively in Uganda has helped foment anti-gay sentiment there, and a lawsuit brought by gay rights group Sexual Minorities Uganda alleges that Lively’s activities in Uganda led to the torture and deaths of gay and lesbian Ugandans. Lively has explicitly come out in favor of a version of the bill that included life in prison as a punishment for homosexuality.

“American far-right groups have long embraced bigotry and discrimination when it comes to LGBT communities in this country. In recent years, they’ve also worked hard to export their hatred,” said People For the American Way Foundation President Michael Keegan. “Their help in facilitating a clear violation of human rights is abhorrent. These far-right U.S. leaders must take responsibility for the human suffering caused by their role in its development.”

The far-right’s work in Uganda is part of an ongoing effort by American anti-gay activists to spread their bigotry abroad, including support for suppressive anti-gay laws in Russia, Jamaica, and Peru. Right Wing Watch will continue to monitor and expose these efforts to export homophobia.

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GOP-Led House Continues to Block Immigration Reform

It has been 140 days of inaction since the Senate passed a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration reform bill that moves us closer to addressing our broken immigration system. But all of this progress has stalled in the GOP-led House, where they have chosen to align with extremists in their party rather than with business, civic and faith groups across the political spectrum that support reform.

This was made clear earlier this week, when Speaker Boehner confirmed that he has “no intentions of every going to conference” with the Senate on its bipartisan immigration legislation, once again showing where House leadership takes its cues. In a report released earlier this summer, PFAW laid out the clear choices facing Republicans as the pressing need for serious immigration fixes looms over families and our economy. While there is a lack of will to act on the part of House GOP leadership, immigration reform activists around the country are not sitting passively by. We are speaking up, planning actions, and calling out those who continue to stand in the way of common-sense reform.

PFAW

PFAW Applauds Senate Cloture Vote on ENDA

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today applauded the Senate’s vote to end a Republican filibuster on proceeding to consider the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. People For the American Way President Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Today’s Senate vote is a huge victory in the ongoing fight to end discrimination in all its forms. Passing ENDA is simply common sense – no one should be fired because of who they are or who they love. These basic workplace protections are so in line with American values that most of the country believes that these protections are already the law of the land.

“Sadly, anti-gay extremists on the right have resorted to dangerous fear mongering and flat-out lies in their push against this important legislation. From American Family Association spokesperson Bryan Fischer’s declaration that ENDA would ‘represent the return of Jim Crow laws’ to Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver’s warning that ENDA would result in the ‘death of some individuals,’ their outrageous claims make clear just how far away their views are from those of everyday Americans.

“I trust that the Senate will soon pass ENDA. The question then becomes whether House Republican leadership will stand on the side of anti-gay extremists or on the side of common sense and decency by allowing the bill to be taken up and passed.” 

For more information on the far right and ENDA, see People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch round-up of the top ten Religious Right claims about the legislation: http://www.rightwingwatch.org/content/enda-near-top-ten-religious-right-claims-about-employment-non-discrimination-act-updated

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The ENDA is Near: The Top Ten Religious Right Claims About the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (UPDATED)

With the Senate expected to vote on the Employment Non-Discrimination Act before Thanksgiving, here’s a look at Right Wing Watch’s collection of recent – and classic – claims from the Religious Right about ENDA.  Because ENDA is common sense legislation that would make it illegal to fire, refuse to hire, or refuse to promote employees because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, the Right cannot gain much traction by opposing ENDA on its merits.  Instead, resorting to fear-mongering and lies, they contend that ENDA will lead to everything from the end of religious freedom to sexual assault and death. As the vote approaches, senators will have to choose whether they will cast their lot with anti-gay extremists or with common sense.

10. Matt Barber: ENDA And Hate Crimes Laws Will Be Used To Protect Pedophiles (October 2013)

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel appeared on Sandy Rios In The Morning, where he told guest host Wendy Wright that hate crimes laws and the Employment Non-Discrimination Act will be used to protect pedophiles:

“When you have laws like ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, being pushed, hate crimes legislation, that are as you point out so well Wendy, that are very vague in their definition of what is sexual orientation, we will arrive at the point where you know these people who define their sexual orientation by a sexual attraction to children want to be lumped in among those who cannot be discriminated against based upon their sexual orientation.”

9. Steve Crampton: ENDA is Insanity (June 2012)

Speaking about a Senate hearing on ENDA, Liberty Counsel’s “Faith and Freedom” radio host Steve Crampton marveled that a transgender person was actually allowed to testify on behalf of the legislation and complained that ENDA is not about “equal rights” but rather “special rights” for gays and cross-dressers.

Crampton stated that if ENDA passed, he could come into work – “God forbid,” he said – wearing a dress and would be allowed to use the women’s restroom.  “In years past,” Crampton said, “we had another word for this: it’s called insanity.”

8. Rep. Louie Gohmert Misleads on ENDA, Criticizes Faith Groups that Affirm Gays and Lesbians 'Despite the Plumbing that God Created' (June 2012)

While speaking on Today’s Issues, the Texas congressman said the anti-discrimination legislation is “part of this administration’s ongoing war on religion, on particularly Judeo-Christian values,” and asserted that Muslims would also oppose the bill as well. However, Gohmert lamented the growth of Christian and Jewish denominations and organizations that affirm gays and lesbians and defend their rights, saying that they do so “despite the plumbing that God created.”

7. Mat Staver: ENDA ‘Will Harm Women and Children’ (July 2013)

Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver in a Freedom’s Call radio alert said that the ENDA bill is a “farce” that will “harm women and children.” How? Because employers “will be forced to hire cross-dressers,” whom Staver believes will go on to molest and assault kids.

6. Linda Harvey: Gays Deserve To Be Fired Because They ‘Insist On Displaying [Their] Lifestyles To Everyone’ (May 2013)

Mission America’s Linda Harvey stated her belief that schools, and employers in general, should have the right to fire LGBT personnel and urged them to exercise that right. She said that the only person to blame for getting fired is the LGBT employee who refuses to accept their employer’s “high moral standards” and “insist[s] on displaying these lifestyles to everyone and forcing their acceptance.” She said that “no one needs to be involved in homosexuality” and that the “homosexual lifestyle” is incompatible with being “an excellent employee” as it “shows a disrespect” to others.

5. Tony Perkins: ‘Totalitarian Homosexual Lobby’ Out to Destroy Religious Freedom with ENDA (March 2013)

“Like a B-grade 1950’s horror-movie, ENDA is coming back from the dead,” warned Family Research Council President Tony Perkins in a recent mailing. Perkins said President Obama is working with the “totalitarian homosexual lobby” to sneak ENDA into law, and if that happens, “Our freedom of religion will be destroyed.”

“In fact,” says Perkins in his letter, “under ENDA biblical morality becomes illegal.”

4. Andrea Lafferty Cites CT School Shooting to Rally Opposition to Non-Discrimination Policies (December 2012)

Andrea Lafferty of the Traditional Values Coalition used the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, in order to bolster her campaign against ENDA. While speaking to Janet Mefferd about the Orange County, Florida, school system’s new non-discrimination policy that is similar to ENDA, Lafferty said that just as parents are upset about the Sandy Hook elementary school shooting and are concerned about keeping their children safe, they should also be worried about ENDA’s “devastating effects” as schools will have “people with some real issues playing out their personal problems in the classroom.”

Lafferty maintained that ENDA is part of the left’s “open season” on Christians on behalf of “fringe minorities and people that are truly sick.”  She warned that Chick-fil-A restaurants may soon be “forced” to hire “weirdos” seeking to undermine Christian businesses, warning that transgender people are committing “the ultimate act of self-hatred” and need “special medical treatment” rather than job protections.

3. Gordon Klingenschmitt: Under ENDA, ‘Christians Will Be Bankrupted’ And ‘Starve To Death’ (September 2013)

Dr. “Chaps” Gordon Klingenschmitt emailed members of his Pray In Jesus Name Project warning that Christians may face unemployment and starvation if the Employment Non-Discrimination Act passes.

“The Government is now ordering you: Forsake God or starve to death,” Klingenschmitt writes. “I pray that I would choose bankruptcy, starvation, even death, before disobedience to God.”

2. Bryan Fischer: Businesses Threatened by ‘Flaming Homosexual’ Job Applicants and the ‘Return of Jim Crow Laws’ (January 2013)

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer warned in a blog post that “ENDA would represent the return of Jim Crow laws.” On his radio program Focal Point, Fischer warned that if ENDA is signed into law businesses will be faced with a barrage of “flaming homosexual” job applicants. “The homosexual lobby,” Fischer said, “will send a guy in there wearing stilettos, a dress and dangly earrings” in order to provoke Christian business-owners “not to hire him.”

1. Mat Staver: ENDA Will Result in the 'Death of Some Individuals' (June 2012)

Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver is ratcheting up the rhetoric in opposition to ENDA, even going so far as to say that if passed the legislation may lead to child molestation, sexual assault, and death. Staver told Jim Schneider of VCY America on Crosstalk that ENDA “will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals”:

Staver: “So you can go into these restrooms or changing rooms, if you’re a man, and want to go in and molest, or watch, or sexually assault young girls. So, I mean, the absurdity of this is just beyond understanding how someone could be in favor of it. This will ultimately, in addition to colliding with religious liberty, in addition to forcing a radical agenda on people, this also will put individuals at risk and ultimately result in significant damage and even death of some individuals.”

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PFAW Volunteers Take Fight Against Cuccinelli’s Extremism to the Streets

PFAW made the news this weekend with the debut of our new Spanish language ad in Virginia, part of our partnership with the McAuliffe campaign. But we’re also on the ground, taking the fight against Cuccinelli’s extreme views to the streets. This weekend, we went out to Herndon, Virginia, participating in a training for canvassing and get-out-the-vote activities—the kind of on-the-ground efforts that will make all the difference in this election.

More than 100 volunteers hit the streets to talk to Virginia voters and make sure they know just how extreme, reckless and wrong for Virginia Cuccinelli is. We were proud to be a part of the canvass — and the McAuliffe campaign told us that Herndon was the No. 1 canvassing location for the weekend!

The level of enthusiasm we saw in our activists was very encouraging, but we won’t let ourselves get complacent. We won’t stop until we’re sure that Cuccinelli won’t be bringing his right-wing agenda to the Governor’s office.

PFAW

Explaining the Tea Party

It has been a challenge for many Americans – and many people watching from overseas – to understand the Tea Party’s willingness to cause the country so much harm in its zeal to repeal a law designed to extend access to health care and comprehensive health insurance to all Americans.  No doubt many books will be written on the subject, but for now, Dr. Lawrence Rosenthal has offered a concise history and analysis in “The Tea Party, the government shutdown, and Obamacare,” a policy brief published by The Foundation for Law, Justice and Society at Oxford. Rosenthal is the executive director of the Center for Right Wing Studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the co-editor of Steep: The Precipitous Rise of the Tea Party, which was published by the University of California last year.  

In just half a dozen pages, Rosenthal puts into historical and legal perspective the Tea Partiers’ recent rampage.  “Tea Party politicians and activists speak openly of this as a ‘last chance to save America.’ This is the context in which bringing economic ruin to the country can be contemplated.”

He reminds us that the Tea Party first built a head of steam by sending people to disrupt congressional town hall meetings on health care reform “with aggressive tactics that left many Congresspeople intimidated and shaken.” That approach, he says, “was, in effect, extra-parliamentary: it was attempting to prevent a legislative outcome that national elections did not sustain.”

Rosenthal argues that Tea Partiers bring to a reading of the Constitution the same approach that Christian fundamentalists bring to reading the Bible, resisting any interpretation that clashes with what they believe is the inerrant word. And he writes that the Tea Party blends populism with the free-market absolutism of the Koch Brothers, ideological descendants of those who objected to the New Deal.

What makes the Tea Party unique in the march of modern American conservatism is that the passions of the populist right, the uncompromising, expressive side of American conservatism, were brought to bear in the name of the doctrines of the fiscal absolutists. Suddenly, the zeal and the vitriol usually reserved for opposing abortion or the ‘gay agenda’ were being directed against Keynesian stimulus legislation, cap and trade climate legislation, economic regulation, taxation, and, above all, expansion of health insurance coverage to tens of millions of uninsured Americans.

Rosenthal traces the Tea Party’s fierce hostility to Obamacare to zero-sum thinking in American conservatism, not only for benefits from government (e.g. Obamacare must hurt people now on Medicare) but for liberty itself. As an example of that thinking he cites Robert Bork’s position that the Civil Rights Act reflected “unsurpassed ugliness” because it treated the black person’s right to be served as superior to the restaurant owner’s right to deny service. (We certainly see this zero-sum approach to liberty reflected in the insistence of Religious Right leaders that LGBT equality and religious liberty are inherently incompatible.)  Rosenthal sees this zero-sum attitude – “the Tea Party’s feeling that Obamacare means that something of theirs is being taken away and given to others” as “the defining element of a Tea Party constitutionalism.”

And it is the principle that translates the virulence, the fierce resistance of the Tea Party, into a legal theory. It is a principle that rationalizes the Tea Party’s willingness to threaten national financial ruin in the form of a government shutdown and a potential debt default if Obamacare, now being implemented as the law of the land, is not stopped.

Note: The Center for Right Wing Studies at the University of California Berkeley is home to People For the American Way’s library of original source materials on the history of the Religious Right, where it is accessible to researchers and journalists.

PFAW

PFAW Releases Report on Extremism of VA Gubernatorial Candidate Ken Cuccinelli

WASHINGTON – The Virginia gubernatorial candidacy of far-right Republican Ken Cuccinelli may be a test of how far the GOP is willing and able to take its recent lurch to the right, argues a new report from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.  As a bellwether for the course of the Republican Party, Cuccinelli’s success or defeat in this race – as well as the party’s continued embrace or rejection of his extremism – will be telling for the future of our country’s political landscape.

The report, Ken Cuccinelli: The Attorney General of the Tea Party, provides an in-depth look at the extreme positions Cuccinelli has taken throughout his career. Cuccinelli’s record provides no dearth of examples of his extreme ring-wing politics and policies, including:

• Filing suit against the Affordable Care Act just five minutes after it was signed into law.
• Supporting radical “personhood” legislation which would criminalize all abortions.
• Suing the EPA for seeking to regulate greenhouse gases.
• Comparing the deportation of undocumented immigrants to pest control.

The report also outlines Cuccinelli’s positions on gay rights, voting rights, education, guns, and more.

“If the GOP is serious about their ‘rebranding,’ supporting a candidate who compares undocumented immigrants to rats, wants to radically turn back the clock on women’s rights, and thinks ‘homosexual acts’ are ‘intrinsically wrong’ is not the way to go,” said People For the American Way president Michael Keegan. “Virginians – and all Americans – deserve better than that.”

The report notes, “In the first test for a Republican Party that is still reeling from the disastrous 2012 election, Virginia’s gubernatorial race could have provided the GOP an opportunity to temper its ultraconservative platform or restrain its partnership with the Tea Party. But the choice of state attorney general Ken Cuccinelli to be the party’s presumptive nominee for governor indicates that the GOP is moving even further to the right and letting go of any pretense of moderation or bipartisanship.”

The full report is available at www.pfaw.org.

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PFAW Releases Report on GOP’s Choice On Immigration: Stand With Reformers or Cave to Extremists

WASHINGTON – Will Republicans in Congress stand with the majority of their party and country in supporting comprehensive immigration reform, or will they stand with extremists attempting to derail the bipartisan momentum for reform?  That’s the choice exposed in a new report from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

The report, Congressional Republicans’ Clear Choice on Immigration: Stand With Pro-Reform Majorities or Cave to Anti-Immigrant Extremists, details the strategies that have been used by the Right to block immigration reform and the defining choice Republicans face on immigration now as the national landscape shifts. PFAW Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery, the report’s author, documents the anti-immigration vitriol of far-right pundits and elected officials such as Ann Coulter, Rush Limbaugh, and Senator Ted Cruz. Recent comments from the GOP’s far-right fringe – such as Rep. Steve King’s characterization of most young undocumented immigrants as drug runners with “calves the size of cantaloupes” from “hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert” – suggest that this fringe is not relenting as the national debate continues.

“There is new bipartisan momentum for immigration reform, and some Republicans are working to reposition the party in the minds of Latino voters,” the report notes. “But in order to make that possible, Republican officials will have to demonstrate that they are willing to face down the divisive extremists that many of them once cheered on.”

The full report is available at www.pfaw.org.

Peter Montgomery, Senior Fellow at People For the American Way, oversees the organization’s research and writing on the Religious Right.  He is available for comment on this report.

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PFAW: Will House Republicans Stand With a Far-Right Fringe or Bipartisan Majorities on Immigration?

WASHINGTON – This afternoon a bill to move towards a common-sense immigration policy passed the U.S. Senate with strong bipartisan support.  People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“In the House, the GOP leadership now faces a choice: enact reasonable and sorely needed immigration policy, or give in to their most extreme fringe and ignore the country’s wellbeing.  While far-right Republican office holders are crowing that the bill will ‘destroy our country,’ the majority of self-identified Republicans – and the majority of the country – supports common-sense reforms. 

“GOP leaders claim that they are ready to put aside hateful anti-immigrant rhetoric and start creating real solutions for all Americans. All eyes are now on the House GOP.  Will they stand with the far-right fringe of their party or stand with bipartisan majorities calling for change?”

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Todd Akin Arrested on May 9, 1987 with Radical Anti-Abortion Group

In September we broke the news that Todd Akin was arrested for blocking access to a women's health clinic. We posted a video showing Akin speaking freely of his arrest but he refused to provide any details ... So we had to go find them ourselves.

Judge Cebull to Step Down from Full-Time Status

The U.S. Courts website posted an update this morning that Judge Richard Cebull, Chief U.S. District Judge for Montana, will take senior status in March of 2013. Cebull is currently the subject of a misconduct review by the Judicial Council of the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Senior status is a form of semi-retirement where a judge vacates his or her seat and continues to hear some cases, but typically not a full caseload. The status provides a full salary for part-time work.

People For the American Way president Michael Keegan released the following statement:

“Judge Cebull should resign or retire, not take senior status. He used his official email account to send an incredibly disgusting and racist email. When asked why, he said he sent it because he opposes the President.

“Americans expect the courts to be fair, impartial, and open to all. Cebull clearly demonstrated that he does not have the temperament to serve as a federal judge, period.

“Cebull may hope that taking senior status before the misconduct review concludes will help him avoid sanction. But he should be held accountable by the 9th Circuit regardless of his status.

“Taking senior status is a half-measure that allows Cebull to continue hearing cases. That’s not appropriate. He should resign or retire immediately.”

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PFAW: Romney Should Rebuke NRA Board Member Ted Nugent for Extreme and Violent Rhetoric

People For the American Way today urged presidential candidate Mitt Romney to rebuke longtime NRA board member Ted Nugent for remarks he made at the NRA annual convention on Saturday. Nugent, who endorsed Romney in early March, called on NRA members to vote for Romney and denounced the “vile, evil, America-hating” Obama administration. He finished his remarks with a call to cut off the heads of Democrats this fall: “We need to ride into that battlefield and chop their heads off in November.”

Nugent’s comments, which were first reported by People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch, came one day after Romney himself addressed the convention. Nugent’s endorsement was touted by Tagg Romney in early March.

“We don’t expect moderation from Ted Nugent,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “But we do expect a major presidential candidate like Mitt Romney to rebuke a prominent supporter for spewing hate-filled and violent rhetoric against the President of the United States.”

“This is far from the first time that Nugent has advocated violence against his political adversaries. Mitt Romney should clearly and loudly reject Nugent’s endorsement and rebuke his inflammatory comments.”

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PFAW Report: The Mythical Martyrdom of Jerry Boykin

A new People For the American Way Right Wing Watch: In Focus report identifies the techniques used by Religious Right leaders to portray themselves as victims of an assault on religious liberty. The report, The Mythical Martyrdom of Jerry Boykin, examines the anti-Muslim extremism of Retired Lt. Gen. Boykin that derailed an offer to speak at West Point Military Academy, as well as the tactics he employs to legitimize his own religious and political agenda.

“Lt. Gen. Boykin’s claim that Muslims have no First Amendment rights and that the United States is at war with Islam are contrary to basic American values,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way. “His attacks against Muslims are so extreme he was even publicly rebuked by President George W. Bush. It is ironic that a man who so fundamentally misunderstands our Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of worship to all Americans is playing the victim of religious oppression. In reality, Boykin is just a part of the far-right effort to use the banner of religious freedom as cover for spreading fear and intolerance.”

The report, available here, explores five propaganda techniques employed by the religious right to obfuscate issues and recast their objection to specific policies as an attack on the religious liberty of Christians, including:

  •  Distorting and reframing issues as a question of religious freedom and free speech;
  •  Mischaracterizing one’s opponents to marginalize their concerns;
  •  Whitewashing history by diverting attention from one’s past incendiary statements;
  •  Perpetuating lies in order to portray President Obama as hostile to Christianity; and
  •  Propagating myths and spreading fear about Sharia law.

“Right-wing activists and even some elected officials are using religious liberty as an excuse to denigrate others’ beliefs and hijack the policymaking process,” continued Keegan. “Calling out those who spread intolerance to further their own political agenda will help us all live up to the ideals enshrined in the First Amendment.”

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PFAW: Rick Perry's Prayer Rally, Sponsored by Intolerance

Texas Gov. Rick Perry today held The Response prayer rally, an event he organized with the the American Family Association, a group with a history of intolerance toward gays and lesbians, Muslims, Native Americans and progressives.

African American Ministers in Action Urge Gov. Perry to Denounce Divisive Rhetoric of ‘The Response’ Sponsors

People For the American Way’s African American Ministers in Action, a nationwide network of African American clergy, urge Texas Gov. Rick Perry to make sure his Response rally brings communities of faith together with prayer, rather than creating divisions based on fear and intolerance.

PFAW Edit Memo: The Response: Rick Perry Jockeys For The Fringe Vote

On August 6, Texas Governor Rick Perry will host The Response, a massive rally in Houston that's being billed as a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting." But one look at the event's sponsors, participants and promoters tells a different story: that Gov. Rick Perry has aligned himself with some of the most extreme figures on the Religious Right and embraced a troubling sectarian vision for the country.

Gov. Rick Perry’s Extremist Allies

On August 6, Texas Governor Rick Perry will host The Response, a massive rally in Houston that's being billed as a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting." But one look at the event's sponsors, participants and promoters tells a different story

PFAW Report: The Right Wing Playbook on Anti-Muslim Extremism

Right-Wing extremists are leading a sustained attack against American Muslims, attempting to prevent them from freely practicing their religion, curtail their political rights, and in some cases, compel their deportation, according to a new PFAW report.
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