After enjoying Glenn Beck’s speech about supposed anti-Christian persecution by the Nazis, participants at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit attended breakout sessions focusing on how Christians in the U.S. are facing repression under President Obama.
In a breakout session entitled “Standing Up To the Assaults On Our Faith,” Joseph Farah of WorldNetDaily alleged that the Obama administration’s supposed persecution of Christians is so bad that it is proof we have entered the Tribulation, a key period in the End Times. Farah cited Pope Benedict’s remarks “seemingly embracing homosexuality [and] seemingly embracing universalism” as further evidence of imminent doom.
Political efforts to curb the arrival of the Last Days are so few and far between, Farah said, that Christians can only rely on prayer. He urged attendees to “harness spiritual weapons that give us the real power.” Specifically, Farah called on people to join his 9/11 prayer initiative, which he hopes will guide their spiritual struggle.
Janet Porter [née Folger] also warned that the End Times are upon us, for which she naturally blamed gay people. She repeated her claim that gay marriage was responsible for Noah’s flood and announced a new project with Liberty University’s Judith Reisman to sue schools that “corrupt minors” with LGBT-inclusive curricula.
Vision America’s Rick Scarborough agreed with their dire assessments, saying that “infidels” now pull the strings of government. According to Scarborough, the Obama administration is “hell-bent on silencing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” Christian unity, Scarborough feared, “is not going to happen until a bunch of us are thrown into concentration camps.”
He also concurred with Porter’s anti-gay rhetoric, telling the audience: “You are not born gay, you are recruited.”
The speakers on a later panel, “Where Do We Go From Here? Challenging Tyranny,” were just as pessimistic.
One person in attendance asked a question about the purported takeover of the legal system by “militant homosexual leftists” while another questioner, who said she was from Nigeria, claimed that the Obama administration is even worse than Nigeria’s former military dictatorship.
Kenneth Blackwell, the former Ohio secretary of state now with the Family Research Council, alleged that President Obama, through his supposed abuses of executive power, is giving cover to dictators who hope to undermine the rule of law. He described the President’s actions as a “disservice to humanity.”
Alabama attorney general Luther Strange charged the Obama administration with leading a “direct assault” on religious freedom and claimed that state anti-discrimination laws are inconsistent with the “fundamental fabric of the Constitution.”
Dean Clancy of Freedom Works lamented that the Supreme Court issued “tyrannical” decisions in Roe v. Wade, Lawrence v. Texas and US v. Windsor, accusing the Justices of “imposing [their] radical worldview” on America. To push back against the “tyrants” in “black robes,” he urged conservative activists to push for constitutional amendments to return power to the states.
Both Clancy and co-panelist Terry Jeffrey of CNSNews said that civil disobedience against the Obama administration is on its way.
Jeffrey predicted the imprisonment of Roman Catholic bishops, followed by the laity, under Obama, whom he called an “enemy of our freedom.”
He concluded: “We ought not surrender our souls to Barack Obama.”
Glenn Beck devoted his address at the Values Voter Summit this weekend to the Obama administration’s supposed war on the religious freedom of Christians, a concept he illustrated with a collection of Nazi concentration camp badges. Beck suggested that those attending the summit would have been forced to wear a purple triangle patch.
Conference attendees erupted in laughter after an audience member incorrectly claimed that the purple triangle, rather than the pink triangle, was used by the Nazis to mark gay people:
Seeing that Beck was making his remarks at an event sponsored by an organization — the American Family Association — that believes that gay people were behind the Holocaust, it is curious that summit participants found it so funny that the Nazis tried to exterminate gay people.
Beck’s main contention that the Nazis went after people who “knew anything about the Bible” is also incorrect.
The purple triangle Beck held up was actually used to mark Jehovah’s Witnesses.
Jehovah’s Witnesses at the time were known as Bible Students or Bibelforscher, a reference to the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ Bible Student movement. Detlef Garbe writes in Between Resistance and Martyrdom: Jehovah’s Witnesses in the Third Reich:
Just a few months after the National Socialist rise to power, Jehovah’s Witnesses—as this Christian denomination has called itself since 1931—were banned. The older designations, Bibelforscher (Bible Students) and Ernste Bibelforscher (Earnest Bible Students), which were abbreviated forms of their official name, Internationale Bibelforscher-Vereinigung (IBV) [International Bible Students Association (IBSA]), remained in use.
Garbe also points out that the purple patch was an “exclusive designation” of Jehovah’s Witnesses: “This exclusive designation denotes, in many ways, the special place Jehovah’s Witnesses occupied within the concentration camps.”
But Beck’s false claim played right into the Religious Right’s persecution narrative, as Sharona Coutts writes:
By allowing U.S. fundamentalist Christians to believe that the Nazis exterminated ‘Bible scholars,’ Beck played into the narrative of victimization and persecution, and allowed them to appropriate the Holocaust as their own tragedy…. It is false to say that Nazis targeted ‘Bible scholars’ in the way that Beck’s audience was led to understand that term.
Even more unbelievably, Beck said that the Religious Right would never try to impose their own religious views on others because if “you truly know the Scriptures, you know the Scriptures are not to dominate someone, that’s unrighteous dominion.”
Reality TV star Jim Bob Duggar spent most of his speech at the Values Voter Summit imploring attendees to run for office, just like he did, in order to advance social conservative causes like an “army.”
Duggar ended the address by retelling a story about a time when Mike Huckabee and his daughter visited a concentration camp, which he used to compare the current state of the US to Nazi Germany.
“As they were walking out of that concentration camp, he said little Sarah looked up at him and she said, ‘Daddy why didn’t somebody do something?’ You know what, that’s where we are at in our nation,” Duggar said. “Do we want our children, when we’re going to tell them about how great America was, they’re going to look at you and say, ‘Why didn’t somebody do something?’”
Duggar’s son Josh is the executive director of Family Research Council Action, which will be sponsoring a Duggar family tour of Virginia to campaign on behalf of Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, and one of the summit’s emcees.
Anti-choice activist Ryan Bomberger laced into the NAACP at the Values Voters Summit today, criticizing the group’s “radical pro-abortion actions.” Bomberger, who alleged that legal abortion is a plot to realize black genocide, said that NAACP should stand for the “National Association for the Abortion of Colored People.”
Later, Bomberger claimed that the gay rights movement is increasing “hostility towards Christianity in this country” while homophobia is nothing but a myth.
He explained his love for gay people by comparing them to kleptomaniacs: “The absurdity of terminology like homophobia; so for the people who cohabitate, if you don’t agree with that behavior are you a cohabiphobic? Or if you disagree with someone who has a habitual stealing problem, are you a kleptophobic? That’s the insanity of this; tolerance demands anything but tolerance, just complete formality to someone’s sense of poll-driven morality.”
Not only did American Family Association talk show host Sand Rios plug the ex-gay movement and warn that gay people are trapped in “a powerful web of deceit” during her Values Voter Summit speech yesterday, but she also cited Stephen Jimenez’s shoddy reporting on the Matthew Shepard case to call his murder a “complete fraud.” She lamented that schools host the play The Laramie Project to teach tolerance to students and said that Shepard’s murder was a result of a “drug deal gone bad.”
Today, we should note, marks the anniversary of Shepard’s death.
She also a read a letter from civil rights groups, including the Southern Poverty Law Center and People For the American Way, which urged Republican officials to skip the Values Voter Summit. Rios maintained that the letter proves that “it is a dangerous time to be a Christian conservative” in America.
Todd Starnes of Fox News continued his tradition of blatantly lying in order to support maintain his narrative that President Obama is persecuting Christians, this time telling the Values Voters Summit that President Obama refuses to address the case of Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American pastor in Iranian jail.
“Our President, who travels across the globe apologizing for the United States of America, yet he cannot utter the words ‘Saeed Abedini’ from his lips,” Starnes said. “What is our President doing about it? Why isn’t he picking up the phone, talking to his new BFF, the Iranian president? Yet at this very moment an American pastor sits in a Muslim country’s jail and we do nothing about it.”
Such a claim would be disturbing but Obama actually did talk about Abedini’s imprisonment when he spoke to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the phone.
And guess who reported on it?
Starnes’ very own Fox News:
A senior administration official tells Fox News that in addition to the issue of nuclear weapons and the broader relationship between the two nations, Obama expressed concern about the pastor—who was been incarcerated for a year at Evin Prison in Tehran —along with two other U.S. citizens.
“Obama also noted our concern about three American citizens who have been held within Iran: Robert Levinson [who is missing], Saeed Abedini, and Amir Hekmati, and noted our interest in seeing those Americans reunited with their families," the official told Fox News.
Abedini's wife, Naghmeh, immediately said the report of the call was "the most encouraging news I have heard since Saeed was imprisoned one year ago. I am very grateful to President Obama for standing up for Saeed and for the other Americans who are held captive in Iran. This development is truly an answer to prayer."
The discussion marked the first time that Obama has mentioned Abedini and his plight since he was jailed last fall. He has never spoken out about Abedini’s imprisonment but the State Department has repeatedly condemned Iran for holding him.
"We're very encouraged by President Obama raising the illegal imprisonment of American Saeed Abedini with Iranian President Rouhani," Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice, which represents Saeed's wife Naghmeh and their two children, said when told about the latest development by FoxNews.com.
"President Obama's call to President Rouhani to release Saeed so he can be reunited with his family is a significant step forward in this critical case. We're grateful to President Obama for raising Saeed's imprisonment and call on President Rouhani to put his promise of being 'moderate' into action by releasing Saeed without further delay."
The Christian Post, where Starnes is an op-ed contributor, adds:
Pastor Saeed Abedini has found out that President Barack Obama spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and pressed for his release last week, which is said to provide the American citizen a "glimmer of hope" that he might finally be released.
"For the first time, Pastor Saeed had a glimmer of hope that he would soon be released. Iranian news sources had reported on President Obama's phone call with President Rouhani."
Obama's historic conversation with Rouhani on Friday was the first time an American and Iranian president have spoken in 34 years, and has brought notable encouragement to the Abedini family, who have been petitioning for the pastor's release.
But Starnes will discount such reporting—even when it is from his own employer—because it doesn’t fit his narrative that Obama is leading a wave of anti-Christian discrimination.
There are few Religious Right activists who can match anti-abortion activist Lila Rose when it comes to displaying unabashed egomania and smug self-satisfaction and her remarks at the Values Voter Summit once again did not disappoint as she compared her guerrilla video campaign against Planned Parenthood to those of young human rights and education activist Malala Yousafzai.
Just as Yousafzai, who was shot in the head by the Taliban for standing up for the rights of women and girls to receive an education, is fighting for the rights of everyone, so too is Live Action, said Rose ... even President Obama and his unborn grandchildren:
Star Parker helped kick off today’s Values Voter Summit by telling liberals that even though they beseech conservatives to “smoke a little pot, take off your clothes in front of total strangers a little, give up your guns, give up your God and your disapproval of gays,” they will never do such things no matter how much they beg.
She argued that “enemies of God” (read: liberals) are using the issue of homosexuality to undercut marriage and “bring hostility into the public square.”
Parker had just one message for gay people: “keep it private.”
The marriage panel at today’s Values Voter Summit—which featured Tony Perkins, Brian Brown, Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation—spent most of the time equating support for same-sex marriage with a loss of free speech for marriage equality opponents.
They suggested that people in jurisdictions that legalized same-sex marriage are not allowed to express their opposition to marriage equality (of course, this conference where speaker after speaker has denounced gay marriage is taking place in a jurisdiction—Washington D.C.—where gay marriage is legal).
Brown even asserted that marriage equality is “an attempt to deconstruct the very nature of reality, the very nature of what it means to be a human being.”
Heritage president Jim DeMint, who while serving in Congress advocated for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, argued that “no one in government has the right” to legalize same-sex marriage, unless it is “the states, the people and the church.”
E.W. Jackson, the Republican candidate for Lt. Governor in Virginia, kicked off the evening session of the Values Voter Summit by declaring that he has not and will not ever apologize or repudiate any of the crazy or bigoted things he has said in the past, saying that the criticism he has received for his statements is rooted in "a growing hostility against Christianity, a growing hostility against those of us who believe in the Bible as truth."
Jackson later declared that he was running for office simply because he loves America, which "has been the greatest blessing given to mankind, other than Jesus himself":
Speaking at the Values Voter Summit today, Rick Santorum made some confusing argument about how the health care reform's contraception mandate is "a descendant of the French Revolution."
We're not even going to bother trying to explain how this works because, frankly, we don't understand. But there is a lot of yelling and angry finger pointing:
Not only did Sandy Rios plug the ex-gay movement at today’s Values Voter Summit, but she also railed against public schools for creating an “ocean of propaganda on the homosexual issue” to indoctrinate kids.
“We have all these projects that talk about hate, we have the Matthew Shepard story, our kids really are just the products of the propaganda of the public school system,” she lamented.
“Millions of gay men and lesbians are caught in a powerful web of deceit that is breaking hearts.”
But Rios brought her ex-gay activism to the Values Voters Summit, telling attendees today that “there are tons of ex-gays with fabulous stories” that the media won’t mention. She even asked the audience if anyone knew an ex-gay.
Do you remember Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown Law Student who testified on behalf of the contraception mandate last year and then became the focus of the Religious Right's anti-choice/anti-sex ire? Well, Gary Bauer certainly does, so much so that he actually spent part of his speech at the Values Voter Summit speech today attacking her yet again.
Bauer fumed over the fact that President Obama had called Fluke and congratulated her, ranting that when "a president praises a promiscuous co-ed," it is "the definition of civilization decline":
The American Family Association hosted a luncheon on Friday at the Values Voter Summit. The featured speaker, Rep. Randy Forbes, was a no-show, though the audience was assured his non-appearance had nothing to do with ads being run in his district urging him to stay away. Whatever was keeping Forbes so busy that he couldn’t break away didn’t prevent Rep. Robert Aderholt (R-AL) from making it to the VVS hotel to give some opening remarks. Aderholt praised the activists, saying that the only way for America to be saved is for the country not to forget its founding values. In Forbes’ absence we also heard from Jerry Boykin, the retired general who is now a VP at the Family Research Council, and Lea Carawan, the director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.
Boykin was his blunt self, asserting, “we are in a culture war today like America has never been” and complaining that the problem was with the church in general and with “Christians in name only” in particular. “The majority of the Christians in America today are dead, asleep,” he groused. “They are not involved in what’s going on in our culture. They’re not engaged in this culture war. They are not putting their faith into action.” He said it was the church that brought about the Revolutionary War and the abolition of slavery through the Civil War. When he looks at America today, he said, “There is no other solution to our ills than for the church to wake up, get off your dead behinds and get in this culture war that we’re involved in.”
Carawan picked up on Boykin’s message, saying that members of the Congressional Prayer Caucus and affiliated members in state legislatures are disappointed that they aren’t getting more backup from churches. For example, she said, members of the Maine legislature have had to do the organizing to get pastors involved in a push for a “religious liberty” bill. Carawan said the caucus was committed to an “offensive strategy” – one example she gave was Pennsylvania legislation requiring the display of “In God We Trust” in all the state’s public schools.
Carawan said the prayer caucus favors a neutral public square and religious liberty for all Americans, but in the next breath said “we are equally committed to advocate, aggressively engage the public for advocating that Judeo-Christian values be reflected in our laws and policy, because somebody’s values are going to be reflected in laws and policies.” The founding fathers, she said, fought “so that we could have Judeo-Christian values reflected in our government, laws, and policy.” The founders understood, she said, “that it is only Christianity, Judeo-Christian principles, that provides the only valid moral basis that will secure freedom for all Americans.”
Carawan warned that “the strategy of the secular progressive agenda is simple and dangerous: use the limitless financial resources at their disposal and the power of government to overwhelm and bury religious freedom in the ash heap of history. And that’s their plan. Not on our watch. Not on our watch. We’ve relied on defending our freedom in the courts. But this isn’t sufficient. We have to go on the offensive. We have to be aggressive. We have to stand up. We have to be intentional and strategic.”
Michele Bachmann tried to outdo Ben Carson at today’s Values Voter Summit in her attack on health care reform, calling Obamacare an “egregious system” that “will ultimately be known as DeathCare.” Such language comes as no surprise from the Minnesota congresswoman, who has repeatedly warned that Obamacare will establish death panels and “literally” kill people.
Bachmann ended the speech by calling on people to fight against “this oppressive president” over Obamacare, calling it “the battle of our time.”
Louie Gohmert is angry with John McCain for making the factual statement that Republican lawmakers caused the government shutdown. He’s so angry, in fact, that he told Values Voter Summit attendees today that McCain “supported Al Qaeda.”
We look forward to when Gohmert will accuse McCain of supporting terrorism to his face.
End Times fanatic Joel Rosenberg spoke at the Values Voter Summit today where he compared legal abortion in America to the Holocaust in Nazi Germany and warned the audience to consider just "what kind of judgment is in store" for a nation that allows legal abortion to continue.
"I don't know that [God] still has a plan and purpose for this country," Rosenberg fretted, saying that God might not save this nation even if it does experience a revival and the people finally turn their hearts back to him.
"Above all, we need to be pleading to our savior to have mercy on our country":
Speaking at the Values Voter Summit this morning, Ben Carson told the audience that Obamacare is "the worst thing that has happened in this nation since slavery."
In fact, Carson said, "it is slavery in a way because it is making all of us subservient to the government." Claiming that the passage of health care reform was all about control, Carson said the entire push for the legislation originated with Vladimir Lenin, who knew that "socialized medicine is the keystone to the establishment of a socialist state":