by Brian Tashman and Miranda Blue
Republicans and Religious Right activists are set to come together this weekend at the Values Voter Summit, the Family Research Council conference where politicians will push the right-wing line regarding the government shutdown, Obamacare, gay rights and the supposed end of freedom.
As Peter noted, “Religious Right’s leaders are working to merge their activists’ anti-abortion and anti-gay zeal with the anti-government extremism of the Tea Party” and even “give the Tea Party’s agenda a biblical foundation.”
Ted Cruz and Rand Paul will be the event’s biggest speakers, along with Republican congressmen Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Louie Gohmert, Jim Bridenstine, Scott Turner, Steve Scalise and Jim Jordan.
These GOP officials will speak alongside some of the most radical figures in the conservative movement:
Tony Perkins is president of the Family Research Council, the main organizer of this weekend’s summit. Perkins leads the group’s efforts against gay rights, abortion rights and church/state separation. The FRC has one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization, including expressions of support for the criminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and abroad in countries law Malawi and Uganda. Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He:
Compared homosexuality to alcoholism and called gay rights advocates “pawns” of Satan.
Attacked Islam as an “evil” religion.
Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the War on Terror as a holy war against Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He:
The Virginia Republican nominee for Lt. Governor, E.W. Jackson is a longtime activist who has likened the Democratic Party to the Antichrist, said Planned Parenthood is worse than the Ku Klux Klan , suggested Obama is a Muslim and demonic, and fought desegregation efforts. Jackson’s most pernicious rhetoric has focused on LGBT people. He has:
Referred to gays and lesbians as “perverted,” “degenerate,” “spiritually darkened” and “frankly very sick people psychologically, mentally and emotionally.”
Said homosexuality is connected to pedophilia and that homosexuality also “poisons culture, it destroys families, it destroys societies; it brings the judgment of God unlike very few things that we can think of.”
Brian Brown is the president of the National Organization for Marriage, the funding machine behind anti-marriage-equality measures throughout the country. Fighting an increasingly losing battle at home, Brown has set his sights abroad, supporting French anti-gay activists and testifying before the Russian Duma in favor of a law banning adoption by gay couples and single people in countries that allow marriage equality. He is also a vocal supporter of the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based group that supports anti-gay measures throughout the world. Back at home, Brown has:
Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has been implicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:
Joseph Farah is the editor-in-chief of the conspiracy theory clearinghouse WorldNetDaily and a friend of Sen. Rand Paul. He most recently worked with Michele Bachmann on a 9/11 prayer event which he claimed was “our last chance” to save America from God’s judgment, which includes homosexuality, terrorism and President Obama. Farah:
Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:
The former Concerned Women for America president is now a radio talk show host on American Family Radio, the network led by the American Family Association. Like other AFA hosts, she promotes right-wing conspiracy theories, including claims that Obama was not born in America and is actually from Kenya, resettled thousands of Palestinian refugees in the US and exempted Muslim-Americans from Obamacare. Rios will be a good fit for the anti-gay conference as she:
Compared same-sex couples to the relationships kidnapper Ariel Castro had with his captives.
Warned the “homosexual takeover” of the military will jeopardize the effectiveness of the military.
A leading Religious Right organizer based in Texas, Rick Scarborough of Vision America claims he is fighting the country’s supposed decline. Scarborough has said that it is “sad” to see “more non-white families” in America, claimed that the growing Latino population will destroy America and blamed societal ills on shows such as The Simpsons and The Big Bang Theory. He even said that the Benghazi attack occurred as a result of the country being “mired in sin.” But that’s not all. Scarborough:
Demanded that people only refer to gays and lesbians as “sodomites.”
Ohio-based activist Janet Porter opposes abortion rights, gay equality and now Obamacare, which she says will be used tomurderconservatives. She asked God to stop Obama from being sworn in as president and prayed for right-wing Christians to take control over the media and the government, because she:
Anti-Muslim activist and birther Frank Gaffney believes that Islamic extremists have infiltrated the conservative movement, the FBI, the CIA, the State Department, and the White House. He most recently has:
Pushed the conspiracy theory that the US knew beforehand about the chemical weapons attack in Syria as a pretext to intervene .
Where do we even begin?