Values Voter Summit

Bennett: The Press Attacked Romney on Libya and Tried to 'Kill This Truth in the Womb'

During his astonishingly smug introduction of Paul Ryan at the Values Voter Summit, self-styled "values czar" Bill Bennett blasted the Obama administration's response to the attacks in Libya and Egypt while hailing Mitt Romney's crass attempt to exploit them for political gain as a bold stand for truth.

After falsely claiming that the administration responded to the attacks "by shuddering and shaking and wondering at the consequences of our First Amendment," Bennett then declared that the fact that Romney's response was so widely pilloried as tactless and inappropriate by the media was itself proof that what he sad was true because the press sought to "kill this truth in the womb; something it is well-practiced at":

Cameron: America Was Modeled on the 'Hebrew Republic Under Moses'

History has never been Kirk Cameron's strong suit, which can probably be partly attributed to the fact that he relies on "experts" like David Barton for his information.

So it didn't come as much of a surprise when Cameron delivered another rather strange history lesson today while speaking at the Values Voter Summit when he proclaimed that America has been so successful because our Founding Fathers relied "on the very eternal principles that had not been tested and tried from the ground up for three thousand years since the ancient Hebrew republic under Moses":

Speaking at Values Voter Summit, Paul Ryan Gives Stamp of Approval to Bigotry

Washington, DC – People For the American Way today challenged the Romney campaign for its decision to send vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan to speak today at the Values Voter Summit, an event organized by groups that regularly push false and demeaning smears about gays and lesbians, Muslim-Americans and others. These groups also push extreme anti-woman policies, including defending Rep. Todd Akin after his "legitimate rape" comments.

Earlier this week, a coalition of human rights groups, including People For the American Way Foundation, urged Ryan and other elected officials not to lend legitimacy to these groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Family Association, by speaking at the Summit.

More information on the FRC, AFA and other groups participating in the Summit can be found at RightWingWatch.org.

“By speaking at the Values Voter Summit, Paul Ryan sends a clear message: a Romney-Ryan administration has decided to embrace the entrenched bigotry advocated by the farthest of the far right,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way.

“The Family Research Council and the American Family Association are not mainstream groups,” continued Keegan. “The FRC frequently and falsely links homosexuality to pedophilia. The AFA has claimed that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust. Both have defended laws at home and abroad that criminalize homosexuality. These are not innocent differences of opinion; they are full-scale efforts to smear and denigrate LGBT Americans.

“What’s more, these groups back extreme anti-woman policies, and were among the first to jump to the defense of Rep. Todd Akin’s outrageous 'legitimate rape' comments. They also promote hostility toward Muslim-Americans, Mormons and other religious minorities. They advocate for an America that discriminates and excludes, and are trying their best to stop the tolerance and open-mindedness that Americans of both parties support. That’s a troubling message for a presidential campaign to embrace.”

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Bachmann: Obama has 'Enforced Islamic Speech Codes Here in the United States'

Speaking this morning at the Values Voter Summit, Rep. Michele Bachmann dedicated her remarks to attacking the Obama administration for supposedly catering to radical Islam and that Muslim Brotherhood, citing a decision by the FBI to purge hundreds of anti-Muslim documents from its training materials as proof that the administration was enforcing "Islamic speech codes here in the United States":

Is Tony Perkins the Most Disingenuous Person on the Planet?

Well, in a world that includes Paul Ryan, maybe not.  But Perkins ensured his standing near the top of the list with his performance at the National Press Club on Wednesday.  Perkins heads an organization that excels in the kind of incendiary rhetoric he denounced from the podium.   I kept thinking about Bill Clinton’s recent characterization of Ryan: “It takes some brass to attack a guy for doing what you did.”
 
Perkins heads the Family Research Council, one of the Religious Right organizations that has been designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center for a long record of smearing LGBT people with false and denigrating rhetoric.  Perkins used his press club appearance to repeat his charge that it was irresponsible for SPLC and other groups to describe his organization that way.  He suggested that FRC’s critics had created a climate that contributed to the recent violence at FRC headquarters in downtown D.C.
 
Let me say that it was genuinely sobering and moving to hear Perkins describe the incident, in which a security guard who may have saved the lives of many FRC employees was shot while disarming a gunman.  No one should be put in the position of being hunkered down in their office in fear for their life.  No one should be subjected to violence for participating in the public arena.  At the time of the shooting, progressive and gay rights leaders immediately and unequivocally denounced the attack on FRC.
 
It is true that irresponsible and hateful speech can poison our public discourse. But in today’s political climate, that speech is most likely to come from right-wing groups and their allies.  I remember feeling nervous as well as outraged when Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, two days after the 9-11 attacks, blamed People For the American Way by name, as well as feminists, liberals, and others.  And the right’s rhetorical extremism has become supercharged since the election of President Obama.
 
The First Amendment does protect hateful and irresponsible speech.  But being free to participate in the public arena does not meaning being exempt from criticism.  And calling hateful speech hateful is not the same as actually promoting hatred toward a particular group of Americans.  We have noted before how quickly Perkins moved to exploit the shooting in an effort to discredit his opponents and deflect attention from his own group’s extreme record and rhetoric:
 
You don't have to look far.  Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan.  In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct."  FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.  
 
What does it even mean for Perkins to make a public commitment to advocate with civility and compassion when his guests at the head table include rhetorical bomb-throwers like Bishop Harry Jackson, who has said that gay rights advocates are trying to recruit young people “just like during the times of Hitler” and that gay marriage is part of a “satanic plot” to destroy the family, and Rep. Louie Gohmert, who participated in the McCarthyite smear of Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and who says that President Obama “wants a dictatorship?” Or when he recently hired as his executive vice president retired Gen. Jerry Boykin, who has called for limits on American Muslims’ religious liberty and accuses Obama of using the health care reform law as cover to create a private army of Brownshirts?
 
Perkins also used his speech to promote this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, which is co-sponsored by organizations whose leaders regularly spout rhetoric that is often even more extreme than FRC’s -- about LGBT Americans, Muslims and other non-Christians, supporters of church-state separation and more.  Among the worst are the American Family Association, whose spokesman Bryan Fischer is such a torrent of bigotry that it cannot be easily condensed, and Liberty Counsel, whose Matt Barber purveys loathsome attacks on his political opponents, charging that satanic gay rights activists are “running interference for pedophiles” and charging that groups supporting church-state separation, like People For the American Way, are enemies of religious freedom.
 
Calling for civil discourse on the eve of the Values Voter Summit sounds like nothing more than a bad joke.  If Tony Perkins is at all sincere about his call for civility, this weekend would be a good time to start.
 

Who's Who at the Values Voter Summit 2012

This weekend Republican and conservative leaders, including GOP vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan, are set to address the Religious Right's Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C.

Jews Must Be Converted: FRC Vice President

Bad news for Eric Cantor. He’s speaking tomorrow at the Values Voter Summit, but he’s apparently still going to hell. Let me explain.

Jerry Boykin is the Executive Vice President of the Family Research Council and Tony Perkins’ right-hand man. FRC is hosting the far right conference that the House Majority Leader, who is Jewish, plans to address tomorrow.

Boykin, much like Bryan Fischer, has a penchant for saying exactly what’s on his mind – things which others know not to say, even when they’re thinking the same thing. While you may know Boykin from his prolific Muslim-bashing, he also has some interesting things to say about Jews.

In a 2009 speech on “Why We Must Stand with Israel,” Boykin spoke out against pastors who say that “the Jews don’t have to come to know Jesus,” complaining that those pastors were “destroying the efforts” to lead Jews to Christ:

Last year, Boykin said that “one of the most disgusting things I hear is for people to call Hitler the extreme Right” because he was “an extraordinarily off the scale leftist.” He then lamented that “many Jews in America, for example, can't identify with the Republican Party because they're called the party of the Right, when in fact nothing could be further from the truth."

Boykin also said that President Obama is creating a Hitler-sytle Brownshirt army to force Marxism on America. And in 2003, then-Lt. Gen. Boykin said that the U.S. was fighting a war “in the name of Jesus,” prompting a rebuke from the ADL and President Bush.

To be sure, the Religious Right hasn’t always had the best relations with American Jews. Jerry Falwell sparked a controversy in 1980 when he said that God “does not hear the prayers of unredeemed Gentiles or Jews.” He was speaking at a press conference in defense of the president of the Southern Baptist Convention, who had proclaimed that “God Almighty does not hear the prayer of a Jew.”

More recently, however, Religious Right leaders have been careful to stress Judeo-Christian values and avoid explicit attacks. Boykin, however, doesn’t have any use for such niceties.

Yet Boykin was able to meet recently with Mitt Romney, and he has three speaking slots during the conference. He’s even leading a panel on Israel with his good friend Kamal Saleem. Saleem, who is considered to be a fraud, describes himself as a former terrorist who “completed his first bloody terror mission into Israel for the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) at the age of seven.”

All of this makes me wonder if Cantor’s folks did their homework before agreeing to speak tomorrow. Perhaps something will come up, and he’ll have to decline FRC’s invitation, much like Ann Romney and Cardinal Dolan have done. We’ll find out tomorrow.

 

Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation

After we reported yesterday evening that Ann Romney was being touted on the Values Voter Summit lineup alongside Paul Ryan, the Romney campaign moved quickly to distance her from the event. They first disputed our report, which was entirely accurate and based on the Values Voter Summit website, and then denied that Ann Romney was ever planning to speak there in the first place. 

It certainly seemed to strike a nerve. Apparently a gay-bashing conference is just fine for Paul Ryan but off-limits for Ann Romney.
 
That begs the question of why Ann Romney was listed in the first place. As I wrote yesterday, Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan were listed for weeks on the speakers page, as were many others. When Cardinal Dolan made it clear that he would not be attending, his photo was removed. Ann Romney, however, was never listed on that page.
 
With the conference less than a week out, the Family Research Council posted the schedule and pushed highlights to daybooks for press planning purposes. And suddenly there was Ann Romney closing out the kickoff session with Paul Ryan.
 
An FRC spokesman told Buzzfeed that Ann Romney had been invited but was not confirmed. I, for one, find it hard to believe that FRC pushed out Ann Romney’s name to the media without, at the very least, an understanding with the campaign, but we can’t know for sure.
 
What we do know is that Ann Romney declined the invitation, perhaps as recently as last night, and the Romney campaign went into overdrive to distance her from the event. Late last night, her name was removed from the conference website.
 
Meanwhile Paul Ryan and Eric Cantor are still speaking on Friday.

 

Ann Romney Booked for Gay-Bashing Conference?

[Update 9-12-12: Ann Romney Joins Cardinal Dolan In Declining Values Voter Summit Invitation]

Ann Romney, the person tasked with humanizing her husband Mitt, is apparently scheduled to address a conference that dehumanizes others. I’m talking about the Values Voter Summit, which is hosted and sponsored by two Southern Poverty Law Center-designated hate groups – the Family Research Council and American Family Association.

The National Journal Daybook and Values Voter Summit website both list Ann Romney on the schedule:
 
 
 
Notably absent from the list is Cardinal Timothy Dolan, whose spokesperson pointedly declined FRC’s invitation. Yet there Ann Romney is.
 
It’s an odd move by the Romney campaign. They’ve previously deployed her to show the softer side of Mitt. Now they’re sending her to stand on stage with a man who paid $83,000 to use David Duke’s mailing list and addressed a white supremacist group while in public office. The same person – Tony Perkins – also praised a law in Uganda to execute gays and warned senators they would have “the blood of innocent soldiers on their hands” if they repealed Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
 
The Romney campaign must have its reasons, but it sure seems like an odd way to deploy Ann Romney. They already have Paul Ryan scheduled to address the conference. Do they really need two headliners reaching out to the Bachmann-Akin wing of the party? Besides, just last week Ann Romney refused to answer questions about same-sex marriage and contraception, dismissing them as distractions "from what the real voting issue is going to be."
 
For weeks, the Values Voter Summit website listed Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan as invited speakers. When Ryan was added to the ticket in August, the Family Research Council blasted out an email confirming Ryan’s appearance. No one really expected Mitt Romney to show for the event – too radical, too close to the election. That’s why, when the conference schedule was recently posted, it was a shock to see not only “Romney” on the lineup, but Ann Romney.
 
Ryan and Ann Romney, if she appears, will be speaking on stage with Perkins in a lineup that includes Kirk Cameron and Michele Bachmann. They’ll be kicking off a conference that features a who’s who of Todd Akin backers (e.g. Mike Huckabee and Rep. Steve King) and anti-Muslim McCarthyites (e.g. Frank Gaffney and Jerry Boykin). And, of course, there will be gay-bashers – featured speakers like Perkins and Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, who recently defended Malawi’s law criminalizing homosexuality. They would push for the same thing here in America if they thought they could pull it off. In fact, FRC’s Peter Sprigg and the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer have already done so.
 
These aren’t conservative people pushing conservative values and policies – this is the radical right. America, and the Romney campaign in all likelihood, would be better served if Romney and Ryan followed Dolan’s example and skipped the conference. Or they can go cast their lot with the extremists with the national media looking on. We’ll see what their priorities are this Friday morning.

 

Paul Ryan Featured Alongside 'Former Terrorist’

This, in a nutshell, is your modern Religious Right:

The website for the upcoming Values Voter Summit in DC, hosted by the Family Research Council, features Mitt Romney’s running mate side-by-side with “former terrorist” Kamal Saleem, seen here:
 
 
I can’t imagine Ryan would appreciate being given equal billing with a “former terrorist,” but Saleem is a big deal to the Religious Right.
 
Saleem, whose real name is Khodor Shami, claims that he was Muslim Brotherhood operative who “came to the United States of America…to destroy this country,” saying that he crossed the Canadian border and “brought weapon caches right through cities.” Somewhere along the way he converted, got a job at Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, and became the favorite ex-Muslim of the Religious Right. As a result, he says his life is constantly in danger, and he is being pursued by foreign agents.
 
If you’re asking yourself why Saleem isn’t in jail as opposed to speaking at a conference with the likes of Paul Ryan, Michele Bachmann, Jerry Boykin, and Tony Perkins, it’s because Saleem is widely considered to be a fraud. But this begs a question.
 
Does FRC believe Saleem? Do they think he came to America as a Muslim Brotherhood member bent on destroying our nation? They have scheduled him to speak alongside Jerry Boykin in a breakout session on “the strategic nature of Israel, and its role in the Middle East, America, and in the future of Western Civilization.” That suggests they do.
 
FRC is either knowingly presenting a fraud or someone who plotted to destroy the nation. If it’s the latter, they must also believe that Saleem is being pursued by foreign agents who are threatening his life. Now I’m not an event planner, but I would lean against booking anyone like that at a high-profile conference with governors and members of Congress.
 
But no matter FRC’s real intentions, Saleem is clearly useful to their anti-Muslim efforts. He is willing to say pretty much anything to confirm the darkest, most paranoid suspicions of his audiences, e.g.:
I, for one, welcome an investigation by the proper authorities to ensure Paul Ryan’s safety and prevent Michele Bachmann from accidentally palling around with a terrorist. If Saleem is to be believed, that is.
 

 

Jeffress: Kentucky School Shooting God’s Retribution for Supreme Court Decision

Robert Jeffress, the prominent Dallas pastor who endorsed Rick Perry at the Values Voter Summit last year and immediately got the candidate in hot water when his less than friendly views on Mormonism, Catholicism, Judaism and Islam came to light, is out with some new sermons in his ongoing series about America’s imminent collapse.

In a sermon posted yesterday, Jeffress argued that three key Supreme Court decisions on the separation of church and state have “so weakened our nation’s spiritual and social structure that collapse is inevitable.” He singles out the Court’s 1980 decision in Stone v. Graham, which struck down Kentucky’s law requiring that the Ten Commandments be posted in all public school classrooms. This decision, Jeffress argues, led directly to a tragic 1997 shooting spree in a Kentucky high school by a 14-year-old student who was later diagnosed with schizophrenia.

“Is that just a coincidence?” Jeffress asks. “I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.”
 

The prohibition against prayer, the prohibition against voluntary reading of the Bible, were only preambles to the most outlandish Supreme Court decision to date. For years, the public schools in Kentucky had posted copies of the Ten Commandments in the hallway. Understand, there was no obligation for the students to read the Ten Commandments, there was no explanation, no teaching of it in the schools. The Ten Commandments were simply displayed in the hallways, commandments like, “Thou shalt not kill,” “Thou shalt not covet,” “Thou shalt not steal.” That was what was posted. However, in 1980, in the case of Stone v. Graham, the Supreme Court ruled that the posting of the Ten Commandments was unconstitutional.

In a tragic twist of irony, 17 years after the Stone decision in 1980, a group of students had assembled together at Heath High School in Paducah, Kentucky, as they did every morning for a time of prayer and Bible reading. As these students stood around a set of lockers and they were engaging in prayer, a 14-year-old student approached them, pulled out a handgun and opened fire, killing three of the students and seriously wounding five. All of that occurred in the hallway of a Kentucky school where the Supreme Court said, “You cannot post the words, ‘Thou shalt not kill.’” Is that just a coincidence? I don’t think so. God warned Israel repeatedly of the devastating consequences she would experience if she forsook God and forgot his commandments.
 

Will GOP leaders share a stage with one of the most anti-Muslim, anti-gay men in America?

GOP leaders like MN Rep. Michele Bachman, VA Gov. Bob McDonnell, and 2012 presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, Mike Huckabee, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Pence are joining the hatemonger Bryan Fischer at this weekend's so-called "Values Voter Summit."

Bishop Harry Jackson Worried That Right Wing Racism Hurts His Anti-Gay Crusade

Bishop Harry Jackson, who is leading a campaign to prevent same-sex couples in the District of Columbia from being able to legally marry, is employing increasingly divisive rhetoric designed to push a wedge between the District’s African Americans and supporters of gay rights in the city.

To Hell with Health Care Reform: Religious Right Leaders Attack Obama, Spout GOP Dogma about "Socialism" While Fanning Flames on Abortion

Much of the Religious Right's organizing energy has been devoted to incendiary and false claims about the administration's alleged stealth plan to force every health plan to cover - and force all doctors to provide - abortion services. None of these approaches are actually included in the plans working their way through Congress. In fact, anti-choice members of Congress are using health reform to institute a new nationwide abortion ban in private insurance plans taking away coverage women already have.
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