Michael Farris, the homeschooling activist and founder of Patrick Henry College, joined South Carolina pastor Kevin Boling on his “Knowing the Truth” radio program yesterday, where he claimed that Christians have entered a new “dark ages” of religious intolerance and “heresy trials” thanks to gay marriage.
Recalling the ideologically diverse coalition that worked to pass the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993 (which included us at People for the American Way), Farris claimed that the “political left” has since abandoned religious freedom and freedom of speech, causing the coalition to fall apart. In fact, it was the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case that drastically reshaped the federal RFRA, turning it from a shield to protect religious liberty into a sword allowing people to impose their beliefs on others. Subsequent state-level versions of the bill, such as a law in Indiana that was quickly amended, have sought to even further expand the power of individuals and corporations to cite religious liberty in discriminating against others, especially LGBT people.
Farris claimed, however, that gay rights have brought American Christians back to a time “no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act” of 1688.
“In the intervening 20 years [since the passage of RFRA], because of increased secularization and especially because of the advance of the homosexual rights movement, particularly in the homosexual marriage arena, that coalition of across-the-board, left-right coalition that gave us the Religious Freedom Restoration Act has completely disintegrated,” he said. “The political left today no longer believes not only in religious freedom, but they don’t believe in freedom of speech, they don’t believe in freedom of association. They want to crush people that dissent.”
“And so we’ve really gone frankly to … no better than the era of William and Mary’s Toleration Act,” he said, “where if you didn’t differ too much from the Church of England, you could get away with some stuff but not too much. So that’s really the era that we’re living in.”
“We’re back to that,” he later added. “If ... Christian people differ on same-sex marriage there are what amount to heresy prosecutions. And so we have gone full circle, we’ve gone away from liberty and gone toward toleration, and with toleration comes persecution and heresy trials and we’re back to the dark ages before liberty in the United States. It’s very distressing.”
Later in the interview, Farris blasted the Obama administration for denying asylum to a family of German homeschoolers he was representing when “they’re willing to have the Muslims come here from Syria, they’re willing to have homosexuals who were persecuted in other countries come here.” (The German family was eventually allowed to stay in the country indefinitely.)
This led Farris to bring up contentions that President Obama is secretly a Muslim, which, he said, he wasn’t sure about either way.
“I don’t really know what his personal faith is, one way or the other, and it really almost doesn’t matter in this sense,” he said. “What I can see and what I can tell, and I’m not judging his heart, is that his political actions give favoritism to Muslims and his political actions punish Christians on a systematic basis, so that bias is very obvious.”
“We are at war on a religious freedom basis,” he added, “and the question is, are Christians going to stand up or are we just going to roll over on this one.”
Last weekend’s Response rally in Charlotte, North Carolina was another in a series of supposedly nonpolitical gatherings organized by political strategist David Lane. Like other Response gatherings, the event served as a platform for culture warriors associated with Christian-nation dominionism to promote anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-church state ideology all while proclaiming that they are simply bringing Christians together to pray for the state and nation.
David and his brother have a long record of anti-gay rhetoric and activism. They once urged Charlotte officials to deny permits for the city’s pride celebration. David has repeatedly linked gays with Satan, so it is not terribly surprising that he portrayed the LGBT equality movement as a force of darkness in a spiritual battle for the soul of America:
As we shift into individual repentance I want to provide a little context for where we’re meeting right now. Eight years ago, I came to the Charlotte convention center, and sat in a meeting with 1500 individuals in the room directly above this room. It was a meeting with the Human Rights Campaign. The president stood on the stage and said that we are going to take the key to Charlotte, we are going to take North Carolina, and we will force our agenda on this nation. And all of you bigots that think that you can stand against us, you can do nothing about it because you sit in your living rooms laughing at our humor on television.
And I listened to that from the Human Rights Campaign and I found it very interesting that just a few months ago I sat at a city council meeting with the transgender bill that sat and was about to be voted upon. And the city attorney was asked, who was in the meeting helping you craft this ordinance, and he said, the Human Rights Campaign.
At the time the nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte was being debated, Benham called it “depraved” and “craziness.”
Benham argued, as is customary among Religious Right leaders, that America’s biggest problem is that “the church” hasn’t been aggressive enough in the culture wars.
The problem today is not the presence of darkness. The problem is the absence of light. This is nothing new in America. The spirit of the age is the spirit of Babylon, the same spirit that Daniel spoke about in his book, and this Babylonian spirit that seeks to remove Christian influence, that seeks to demonize and come against those who hold the commandments of God and keep the testimony of Jesus Christ.
This is the spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free. And it’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to get off the sidelines and to step into the game. We don’t have a second Chronicles 7:14 moment – if my people who are called by my name, and the healing of the land – we don’t have that moment if it does not first begin with 1 Peter 4:17.
It is time for judgment to begin in the House of God.
Benham went on to talk about the sins “manifest in Israel” before the captivity in Babylon:
“…the worship of the goddess of Ashera, sexual perversion of all kind, and the worship of the god of Moloch, child sacrifice. That is what we are finding in America, and we see it in North Carolina, that the shedding of innocent blood – 60 million unborn babies – have been slaughtered while we grow church. C’mon!
And we are now watching, as God is allowing our sexual perversion, not just the homosexual agenda, but adultery and divorce and pornography that are rooted in the church and it is time for us to fall on our faces before God and to repent of our sins.
Benham said God had a purpose in placing The Response directly below the room where that HRC meeting had been held:
It is no coincidence that we are in a basement underneath the room where the Human Rights Campaign issued their secular declaration that they would take this nation. Now it’s time for us to issue our declaration, that God we are sorry, forgive us of our sins, heal our land, O God.
In Daniel chapter 9 in Babylon he says this, I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed my sins and said alas, Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant in loving kindness for those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned. We have committed iniquity. We have acted wickedly and rebelled. We have turned aside from your ordinances and commandments.
It’s time for us, as God has positioned us in this room, to get on our faces and to humble ourselves. We can point at our elected leaders. We can point at the secular media. We can point at Hollywood, and DC and New York City, but the finger points right to the church of Jesus Christ.
And we know that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds, those strongholds that come to rob, to kill, and to destroy. So let’s enter in now, this is not something that you can just sit there and watch. We must get on our faces before God for the sake of this nation, for the sake of our children and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…
God we have sinned. God we have concerned ourselves with our rights but have forsaken our responsibility to be salt and light. God we have turned our backs Lord and gotten comfortable with American Christianity. Bring us back to biblical Christianity, oh God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for the perversion that is in our own ranks, God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for turning a blind eye to the shedding of innocent blood. God we ask you Lord forgive us. We intercede on behalf of our land knowing that we are the ones responsible. So Lord Jesus forgive us now as we enter individual repentance knowing that the only ones that ascend the hill of the Lord is he who has clean hands and a pure heart.
Last Saturday, while the Values Voter Summit drew Religious Right activists and pandering politicians together in Washington, D.C., a group of Christian dominionists was holding an all-day political prayer rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory had objected to the way Response organizers used his name to recruit participants, but it didn’t keep him away.
This was the fourth “Response” rally headlined by a state governor. The first, in 2011, served as the unofficial launch to Rick Perry’s disastrous 2012 presidential bid. Since then, Response rallies have been hosted by Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to host the next “Response” on October 24. The North Carolina Response was the smallest to date; one speaker referred to “hundreds” of participants, while the Charlotte Observer reported that it attracted “more than 1,000” people.
The rallies are in effect a series of bait-and-switch events. They are disingenuously promoted as non-political gatherings to create Christian unity by bringing people together across denominational and racial lines to pray for the state and the country. And while that promise of ecumenical prayer and worship is undoubtedly what brought many people to the event in Charlotte, the “non-political” veneer was discarded almost immediately.
The organizers are a group of Christian-nation zealots who believe every sphere of influence in society – including business, government, education, media, and entertainment – is meant to be controlled by the right kind of Christians. And they’re intent on electing politicians – and a president – who share that vision. The events are sponsored by Christian-nation extremist David Lane, a favorite of GOP presidential hopefuls whose American Renewal Project organizes and funds The Response rallies as well as other efforts to get conservative evangelicals more involved in politics. The American Renewal Project operates under the umbrella of the American Family Association, home to the notorious font of bigotry, radio host Bryan Fischer.
Here’s how Lane opened his prayer at the unifying, non-political Response rally:
The problem is us, a Christian nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith that has left God. So Lord, we start here. We’re so sorry what we’ve allowed to happen to a once-Christian nation, Lord. We deserve judgment. We pray for mercy, the mercy of God. A nation founded on the Bible; fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And Lord, they removed prayer and Bible from the public schools in 1963 after 350 years as a principal component, as the fixed point in order to judge society. We did this, we allowed this to happen. We pray for mercy. Fifty-five million babies dead, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, red ink as far as the eye can see -- judgment is on us. We need mercy Lord. We deserve judgment.
Like other Response events, it was emceed by “apostle” Doug Stringer, who announced that the day would follow the five-theme Response formula: repentance, reconciliation, revival, reformation, and refreshing. As the Response moved through its five segments, Religious Right speakers took turns at the microphone, interspersed with praise music and prayers from locals. Some prayed for the church to be filled with God’s love, and some shouted out culture war rhetoric about abortion, homosexuality, and separation of church and state:
Lord, you’ve called us to be salt and light, and Lord, salt is flavoring, salt is an irritant, and salt is a preservative. Lord, it is sin for us to not study your word, and know it, and obey it. Oh, God, it is sin for us to not know our Constitution, our liberties, and it is sin for us to not know how to be good citizens, preserving our liberties and our freedoms. Change us, oh God, and help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals. In Jesus’ name.
In an interview on Newsmax TV last night, Rev. Franklin Graham blamed the Syrian refugee crisis on President Obama’s support for LGBT rights, claiming that “the Middle East is burning” because the Obama administration has been “more focused” on LGBT rights “than anything else.”
Host J.D. Hayworth, a former GOP congressman, asked Graham: “Why do you think President Obama has taken so little interest in helping to protect Christians in the Middle East?”
“Well, he’s more interested in policies that are against Christians,” Graham responded, “in this country, and going around the world promoting same-sex marriage and the agenda of the gay and lesbian community. And I’m not here to bash the gays and lesbians and they certainly have rights, I understand all that, but this administration has been more focused on that agenda than anything else and as a result the Middle East is burning and you have more refugees moving today since World War II, and it could have been prevented.”
Graham then praised Pope Francis for reportedly meeting privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has attempted to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that Davis is a victim of discrimination simply for standing up for her view that “homosexuality is a sin against God.”
“Christians need to be protected from these new laws that are coming out and discriminating against Christians and forcing Christians to do things that go against their conscience and go against the teaching of the Bible,” he said. “Again, homosexuality is a sin against God. Now, if a gay or lesbian person is watching, I’m not here to bash you or anything like that, I’m just here to tell you the truth, that this is what the Bible teaches.”
As a number of commentators have pointed out recently, Carly Fiorina’s swift rise in Republican presidential polls has given her an opportunity to display what Mother Jones called her “adventurous relationship to the truth,” which includes deliberately misleading statements on everything from the contents of the Planned Parenthood smear videos to her record as CEO of Hewlett-Packard.
Fiorina displayed her signature truthiness once again in an interview Friday with Iowa conservative radio host Jan Mickelson, who asked her to defend her statement that Supreme Court decisions like Obergefell v. Hodges are “the law of the land,” which he said would turn off voters in Iowa.
Fiorina insisted that she had never said that, speculating, “I think that is a quote from someone else, not from me,” and suggesting that Mickelson might be thinking of her Republican rival John Kasich.
In fact, Fiorina said those very words in an interview with the Iowa conservative blog Caffeinated Thoughts in May when asked about the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in the marriage equality case.
“I think the Supreme Court decision will become the law of the land, and however much I may agree or disagree with it, I wouldn’t support an amendment to reverse it,” she said. “And I very much hope that we will come to a place now in this nation where we can support their decision and at the same time support people’s right to hold religious views and to protect their right to exercise those views.”
Fiorina told Mickelson that “there is an argument to be made for judicial engagement to rectify when the law begins to impinge on the personal immunities and privileges of citizens,” but seemed to imply that the denial of marriage rights was not such a case. Grasping onto the Right’s argument that LGBT equality undermines religious freedom, she called for the passage of state Religious Freedom Restoration Act laws similar to a controversial one passed and later amended in Indiana, which would have opened the door for anti-LGBT discrimination. She also called for the passage of such a law at “the federal level” — there is already a federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act, so presumably Fiorina supports one that would expand the ability of people to discriminate against LGBT people.
Fiorina also promised that if she were to become president, she would “appoint the right justices” and “spend a lot of time” with potential nominees “to see how well they hold up to pressure, because people look like they’re one thing and then become another thing when they can’t take pressure.”
When Mickelson suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz might fit the bill for a Fiorina Supreme Court, Fiorina laughed: “Well, wouldn’t that be an interesting selection. He clearly can stand up to pressure.”
UPDATE: Fiorina appeared again on Mickelson’s program on Monday, where he confronted her a clip of her “law of the land” comments. Fiorina evaded the question, telling Mickelson that she had “no idea what reference that snippet was from,” but that if it was “about gay marriage” she was saying that “we profoundly disagree with this” and will focus on finding Supreme Court nominees who will overturn it.
What I said, for example, was we need to be, if that was about gay marriage, we profoundly disagree with this, we need to invest our political capital and our leadership now in protecting religious liberty all across this nation, which means every state needs to enact a religious freedom protection act, as we have a national act. And it also reminds us how important it is who’s on the Supreme Court. So, let’s focus our energies on making sure we have the right nominees and the right protections and liberties.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, who will be hosting a number of GOP presidential candidates at this week’s Values Voter Summit, sent out a rather alarmist fundraising email today demanding donations to help his group fight the “Hollywood and radical forces” intent on “indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.”
Referring to Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who was found in contempt of court when she tried to stop her entire county office from issuing licenses to gay couples, Perkins warns: “If ‘politically correct’ government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?”
The WRONG people have plans for you
September 23, 2015
Their attacks are only beginning
$500,000 Matching Grant doubles your gift to help us
stand for you against the plans of anti-family forces
They have big plans for you. Who? The White House. Judges. Radical Left organizations.
Ask Kim Davis. She's a Christian like you, and she went to JAIL for her faith -- a faith you and she share.
Consider that carefully. If "politically correct" government officials will put a Christian like Kim in jail for the faith we all SHARE -- well, what plans do they have in store for YOU?
Depending on the circumstances, they'll do whatever is necessary to drive Christianity from influence in America by indoctrinating your children or grandchildren . . . ruining your job or career . . . getting you to compromise your faith . . . go silent . . . shut up . . . affirm sexual immorality . . . or deny key parts of the Bible.
As you know, Kim is the head clerk for Rowan County, Kentucky. When the U.S. Supreme Court ignored the Constitution by inventing a "right" to same-sex marriage, Kim requested a simple religious accommodation so that a marriage license that violated her conscience would go out in some other way than under her authority. It was a reasonable request.
But a judge threw Kim in jail for six days as Hollywood and radical forces cheered. These forces aren't interested in "fairness" or "equality." They want to drive people of faith from public life. THAT IS THEIR PLAN.
And that is why I pray you will give now in response to the Matching Grant . . . help FRC achieve and even exceed our September 30 goal . . . and continue to expose and oppose their plans in the most influential sectors of society.
The White House, ACLU, LGBT organizations, liberal Hollywood stars, and "politically correct" corporations plan to:
- Threaten your job or career if you try to live your faith openly at work.
- Destroy your family business if you don't affirm sexual immorality.
- Attack your favorite Christian ministries if they don't hire homosexuals, cross-dressers, or help provide for abortions.
FRC is working every day to stop them. Our team of dedicated staff members includes top policy experts, researchers, and communication specialists stationed strategically near the Capitol Building in Washington, D.C. But our most important team members are supporters like you.
Right-wing activist Jesse Lee Peterson joined “The Steve Malzberg Show” on Newsmax yesterday to discuss his recent column comparing Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who is refusing marriage licenses to gay couples, to Rosa Parks.
When guest host Amy Holmes asked Peterson if a clerk should be able to cite his or her religious beliefs to deny marriage a license to a person like Davis who has been married multiple times, Peterson explained that it’s an entirely different issue because unlike such marriages, “homosexuality is not about values” and “it’s not about love,” but instead is “based on sex.”
While homosexuality is all about sex, he explained, anti-gay discrimination has nothing to do with sex.
“A marriage is between a man and a woman, not between two men and two women,” he said. “That has been the rule forever, ever since mankind has been on earth, so what homosexuals are trying to do is to get you to change the rules based on sex. And Kim Davis is not concerned about who they have sex with, but when it comes to comparing it to a man and woman being married, then it’s a different story.”
Roy Moore, the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, was a guest on Eagle Forum Live over the weekend, where he discussed the recent developments in marriage equality with Anne Cori, Phyllis Schlafly’s niece.
Moore seemed to be thrown a little off guard when a listener called in and asked angrily why “people use the 14th Amendment to protect interracial marriage when the authors of the 14th Amendment were against interracial marriage.” (The Supreme Court has found bans on both same-sex and interracial marriages to be violations of the 14th Amendment.)
Cori interrupted the caller and asked Moore to instead address people who say “you have to agree with same-sex marriage because interracial marriage is okay.”
The difference, Moore said, is that the right to the “pursuit of happiness” found in the Declaration of Independence came from God and God supports interracial marriage but not same-sex marriage.
“I think people today would say that same-sex marriage is a pursuit of happiness,” Cori interjected.
“Well, they would say that, but that’s not the way the laws of God define the pursuit of happiness,” Moore responded. “And pursuit of happiness was given by God and recognized by the United States Supreme Court in 1967 in Loving v. Virginia.”
Of course, interracial marriage opponents at the time were quite certain that God opposed interracial marriage, which had lower levels of public support at the time Loving was decided than same-sex marriage does today.
Iowa talk radio host Steve Deace invited influential state conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats on his program last week to discuss Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who had just been released from jail after refusing to allow her office to follow the law and issue marriage licenses to gay couples.
Vander Plaats was very proud of himself that all of his warnings about gay marriage destroying religious liberty had come true, telling Deace, “Our team said to me today, they said, ‘Bob, you ought to feel like you’re prophetic in some of this stuff.’”
Deace, meanwhile, had nothing but contempt for Republican politicians and conservative activists who failed to defend Davis’ lawbreaking.
“Beware of those in a culture war who write, you know, really principled and highly intellectual thought pieces for conservative or Christian outlets, and then in a time of crisis and confrontation like this, they say, oh this is not the right hill to die on,” he fumed. “What they really mean, Bob, is there’s never a right time to stand for anything nor is there ever any hill to die on. And these are the people, they’re going to hold the jail cell open for us when the Marxists throw us inside too.”
He added that his only comfort was that those conservatives are on their way to Hell: “It reminds me of the famous quote from Dante, that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for these kind of cowardly quislings. And I’ll just flat-out say it on the radio, the mere thought of that comforts me. The mere thought of that statement being true comforts me, because it confirms that God is just and they have received their award in full.”
“And judgment is mine, declares the Lord,” Vander Plaats added. “And so therefore we’re glad we serve a just God.”
Gun Owners of America’s Larry Pratt called last week for the arrest of Judge David Bunning, the Bush-nominated federal judge who held Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in contempt after she repeatedly defied court orders to let her office issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Pratt told Sam Bushman of the far-right “Liberty Roundtable” radio program on Wednesday, “This district court judge merely withdrew his horns, they haven’t been cut off. And we’re not finished until we can cut that district judge Bunning’s horns off.”
“In fact, he’s the one who should be put in jail for violating his oath of office,” Bushman said.
“Thank you!” Pratt responded.
“It’s an assault on the Constitution,” Pratt added of Bunning’s decision to detain Davis for five days, “it’s something that Joseph Stalin could only have dreamed about, and here we’re doing it to ourselves. It’s really incredible. We have lawyers like this Judge Bunning that are so ignorant of this American republican system that they don’t seem to know their left hand from their right.”
"Either they’re so ignorant and they don’t know," Bushman replied, "or they have hatred and contempt to where they think they are superior, judge, jury and execution is what it turns out to be, they just didn’t get to execute Kim because we all came to her defense."
On the same program, former sheriff and Oath Keepers member Denny Peyman echoed Pratt’s call for Bunning’s arrest.
UPDATE: In a phone call, Bushman told us that he didn't mean to imply that Judge Bunning wanted to execute Kim Davis, but was merely playing off the phrase "judge, jury and executioner" in describing a judiciary that he told us is trying to "concentrate all power." Bushman also objected to the use of the term "far-right" to describe his program, telling us he'd prefer the description, “American that believes in and wants to promote God, family and country and wants to protect life, liberty and property and believes and advocates that this nation shall endure.”
Yesterday, we reported that the Oath Keepers, a "Patriot" movement group best known for the standoff at the Bundy Ranch and for showing up heavily armed to the protests in Ferguson, Missouri, was converging on Kentucky to offer a "security detail" to anti-gay clerk Kim Davis to protect her from further arrest for refusing to do her job and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Now, almost as soon as they arrived, the Oath Keepers are packing up and going home. Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes writes in an email to members today that Davis, through her attorneys at the Religious Right legal group Liberty Counsel, has (probably wisely) declined their offer of assistance. He encourages members to save their gas money for another mission, such as "our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion":
Upon request by Kim Davis' legal team, Oath Keepers is canceling the planned security detail for Mrs. Davis in Morehead, Kentucky.
Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis' legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning. We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday.
Oath Keepers will NOT be conducting a security detail for Mrs. Davis. We always seek the full consent and cooperation of anyone we protect, and we must respect their wishes if they decline that protection. Anyone who was planning on going to Morehead, KY to serve on the security detail are now asked to not do so. We do thank you most sincerely for your willingness to step up, as unpaid volunteers, in defense of due process. That was a very honorable intent, and we commend you.
This is a free country, and of course you are free to still go there on Monday and peaceably assemble to express your support for her due process rights and your opposition to arbitrary arrest if you want to, but Oath Keepers will not be conducting a security detail, and she apparently does not want anyone else to do so. Therefore, we encourage you to save your gas money and time off work for another security detail, at another time (such as for our planned upcoming operation to guard Texas border ranches against drug cartel violence and invasion).
We have not talked to Mrs. Davis directly, and therefore we don't know her reasoning or ultimate intent, but we do note that civil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David Thoreau. We must respect that if it turns out to be her chosen strategy. There is more than one way to skin a cat, and such non-resistant civil-disobedience can be a powerful tool in resisting tyranny. Or it may be that she is confident of making an accommodation. We don't know, but regardless we will respect her wishes and stay out of it.
Rhodes ends with a "special message to our critics":
As for the many harsh critics of our offer to protect Mrs. Davis, it is frankly sad that so many Americans cannot understand taking a stand in defense of someone's due process rights regardless of who that person is, what they stand for, or what they are accused of doing or have done. That should not matter, and all that should matter is our common ground of the Bill of Rights and the hard-won rights of due process and in particular jury trial. As I told one person who wrote in:
You can't see past your opposition to what she did long enough to see our point about due process and the dangers of having judges use their contempt power like a magic wand to put people into indefinite detention till they submit. Please try to focus on the due process rights of the accused, not on the particular crime. I would, and have, stood up for the due process rights or anyone, regardless of the accusations made against them. I did so during the Bush Admin, when I stood up for the due process rights of Yasir Hamdi and Jose Padila, both of whom are Muslim Americans who were held in indefinite detention by Bush. I also stood up for the due process rights of the detainees at Guantanamo Bay. And the paper I wrote at Yale Law about that won Yale's top prize for best paper on the Bill of Rights. But that was during the Bush years, and was a harsh criticism of what a Republican was doing to Muslims. so the leftist professors at Yale ate it up.
Now, with the shoe on the other foot, leftists are apparently as blind to the bedrock issues of due process for someone they despise - Davis - as the Bush supporters were when it came to someone they despised - Jose Padilla and Yasir Hamdi.
Clearly, in America, what matters most is whether the accused is seen as a "good guy" or a "bad guy" and if seen as being bad, then there is zero concern for due process and people will clamor for expedited punishment. I suppose that is just a reflection of human nature. But sad nonetheless.
Now, after a cycle of the Republicans in power, and then the Democrats, with both exponentially growing the military industrial complex, national security surveillance state over us, I see that Orwell was right when he said "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face - forever." It doesn't matter to me whether it is a right boot or a left boot. Or whether you think the person being smashed deserves it. I oppose it. - Stewart
The Religious Right activists who frequently claim that they are simply seeking to “live and let live” in a country that increasingly favors LGBT rights and other social progress sometimes compare themselves to the Pilgrims, citing the historical myth that the American concept of religious liberty originated with early Puritan governments.
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, made this argument on his “Washington Watch” radio program today in response to a caller who claimed that the arrest of Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who attempted to bar her entire office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, portends laws making it “illegal to pray in the military” and is reminiscent of Nazi “legislation trying to annihilate the Jews.”
“It’s just kind of sad that if you have religious beliefs you can’t be an elected official,” the caller said.
Perkins agreed, attacking the “intentional” “misconception” that “religious liberty is simply the freedom to pick the church of your choice” rather than the freedom of people like Kim Davis to impose their religious views on everyone else.
“Do you really think that William Bradford and the Pilgrims came to America, to this land, seeking just to move their church membership because they couldn’t find a church that they really liked there in England or Holland, where they were before they came back to England?” he asked. “I don’t think so. And, in fact, they had religious freedom in Holland but they didn’t have the ability to build community and a framework to live under based on their religious freedom. That’s why they risked it all to come to what we now know as the United States of America.”
“They came here for the same thing that Kim Davis is asking for,” he said, “religious freedom. Not freedom of worship, but the freedom of religion.”
Perkins may have accidentally made the perfect Kim Davis analogy. The Puritans traveled to Plymouth Colony after a stint in Holland where, as historian Robert Tracy McKenzie notes, they “encountered a religious tolerance almost unheard of in that day and age.” In America, he writes, “they hoped to live by themselves, enjoy the same degree of religious liberty and earn a ‘better and easier’ living.” In doing so, they set up a theocracy, where, as PBS writes, they sought “religious freedom—but only for themselves.”
Perkins is absolutely right that Kim Davis and her supporters are seeking something similar to what the Pilgrims sought in the 17th century : not the freedom of religion, but a religious state, governed by them.
Pat Fagan, the director of the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute, suggested yesterday that marriage equality opponents start referring to gay men’s marriages as “garriage” and lesbians’ marriages as “larriage,” with the overarching term for “homosexual marriage” being “harriage.”
Fagan made his proposal in a question to Ryan T. Anderson, the marriage equality opponent who was presenting on his new book “Truth Overruled” at FRC’s office.
"A proposal," Fagan said, "something along this line, that we in the pro-family movement start using related terms, but keep ‘marriage’ for what it always was. So we might call — and this is to be worked out — but something like, if you're talking about gay marriage you call it ‘garriage.’ If it’s lesbian, you call it 'larriage.' If you want a generic homosexual marriage it’s ‘harriage.’ But getting these words into use I think is key. And that will take time, but whomever holds the language ultimately holds the whole game.”
Anderson, who has been doing his best to soften the public face of opposition to marriage equality, politely told Fagan that while his “broader point” was “exactly right,” his “only concern with the three terms that you suggest is how will that be heard by other people?”
H/T reader Erik
The Oath Keepers, the anti-government “Patriot” group that mounted an armed standoff with the Bureau of Land Management at the Bundy Ranch, stationed armed guards outside of military recruitment centers after the Chattanooga shooting, and unsettled Ferguson protestors when they showed up carrying assault weapons, is now offering anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis a “security detail” to protect her from further arrest if she continues to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.
Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes announced yesterday that he had reached out to Davis’ lawyers at Liberty Counsel to offer the protection of his group, which he says is already forming a presence in Rowan County, Kentucky, where Davis was recently released from jail after prohibiting her office from issuing marriage licenses. Rhodes said in a statement that his position has nothing to do with gay marriage, but rather his conviction that Davis had been illegally detained by the federal judge who held her in contempt for violating multiple court orders.
In a phone call with former Jackson County, Kentucky, Sheriff Denny Peyman and other local Oath Keepers activists, Rhodes said that he was on his way to Kentucky to help with the Davis operation. Although the group had originally intended to picket outside the home of the judge who held Davis in contempt, he said, they had changed their plan when she was released on Tuesday.
Rhodes said that the Rowan County sheriff should have blocked U.S. Marshals from detaining Davis, but since neither the sheriff nor the state’s governor will do their “job” and “intercede” on behalf of Davis, the Oath Keepers will have to do it instead. “As far as we’re concerned, this is not over,” he said, “and this judge needs to be put on notice that his behavior is not going to be accepted and we’ll be there to stop it and intercede ourselves if we have to. If the sheriff, who should be interceding, is not going to do his job and the governor is not going to do the governor’s job of interceding, then we’ll do it.”
Peyman suggested that he meet with the Rowan County sheriff to “educate him” on his responsibility to block the actions of the federal courts, but in the meantime, Rhodes said, “our guys are already there and more coming” and they are ready to “lead by example” by preventing Davis from being arrested again.
When Rhodes asked Peyman what he would have done if he were sheriff of Rowan County when Davis was detained, Peyman said he would have stopped the arrest.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that our Founding Fathers dealt with when dealing with the magistrates and the officers of the crown who wanted to run roughshod over the rights of the colonists without a jury indictment, without any of that,” Rhodes declared. “Same thing. They’re going to show their power and show you who’s boss.”
Although Rhodes's anti-government extremism doesn't always align with the Religious Right, his rhetoric on Davis not far from that of the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins, who said that U.S. Marshals and county prison officials should have refused to participate in Davis' detention because they have no obligation to follow “laws that have no moral foundation that are actually in contradiction to moral law and truth.”
UPDATE: Rhodes reports that Davis, through her Liberty Counsel attorneys, has declined Oath Keepers' offer and he has ordered members of his group to "stand down."
This post has been corrected to note that Peyman is the former sheriff of Jackson County.
Mat Staver, the head of Liberty Counsel and the attorney representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her effort to bar her office from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, claimed yesterday that if Davis doesn’t get her way then Christians will be effectively barred from holding all public offices.
Interviewing Staver on his “Washington Watch” program, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said that he was “very disappointed” in Republicans who have suggested that Davis resign from her position if she is unwilling to perform a major part of her job.
“That would establish a reverse religious test where if you hold an orthodox religious view of marriage, you would be barred from holding public office,” Perkins said.
Staver agreed with Perkins, noting that Davis “believes God called her” to run for clerk in Rowan County, Kentucky.
“But if what we do is follow the advice of some of these Republican candidates that say she needs to resign, well what does that mean?” he asked. “That means that Kim Davis and anyone else who is an elected official … that means you have to check your faith at the ballot box. And once you’re elected, you have to change your faith, put it aside, transgress it, you cannot have your conscience accommodated. ‘No more Christians need to run for office,’ that’s essentially the message, and if you’re in office you need to resign your post immediately. Now what kind of America is that? It’s certainly not the America that the Founders envisioned and I don’t think it’s the kind of America that most people want.”
“It won’t stop with this issue, Mat,” Perkins warned. “It will be something else next. This is the time to stand and exercise our religious freedom lest we lose that religious freedom.”
Staver claimed that Davis was merely seeking the “simple accommodation” that her name be removed from marriage licenses in the county — a new line from the attorney who has been urging public officials to defy the marriage equality decision lest they run afoul of God’s law .
Davis, he said, is the first of many Christians who will be jailed “for their religious beliefs” thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision.
“This is a tragedy, it’s the first Christian jailed since the decision of the Supreme Court on June 26 on marriage,” he said. “But unfortunately, Tony, as you and I fear, I don't think this is going to be the last Christian jailed for their religious beliefs and conscience that collide with this issue of same-sex marriage.”
“No, not as long as there are Christians who are willing to live their lives according to their faith,” Perkins agreed, “and there are a lot of them out there.”
Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana claimed yesterday that people are being put in jail in the U.S. because they “disagree with gay marriage,” even as Hillary Clinton remains “one email away from going to jail.”
When Iowa talk radio host Simon Conway asked Jindal about Clinton’s apology for use of a private email server while at the State Department, the Republican presidential candidate replied, “I thought she was apologizing for this failed foreign policy, I thought she was apologizing for Benghazi, for failing to stand with Israel, for allowing Iran to become a nuclear power. She’s got a lot to apologize for.”
Jindal contrasted Clinton with Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was briefly held by U.S. Marshals when she was found in contempt of court for barring her office from issuing marriage licenses, which he claimed shows that you can be put in jail if “you disagree with gay marriage.” (Back in 2009, Jindal took a very different tack with a justice of the peace who cited his personal beliefs in refusing to issue a marriage license to an interracial couple, demanding that the official lose his job.)
“Here’s where we are in our country today,” he said. “If you disagree with gay marriage, they put you in jail, as you see what happened in Kentucky, and yet if you mishandle national security information you’re allowed to run for president. It’s a crazy, crazy world we live in.”
Jerry Boykin, the retired Army general who got in trouble during the Bush administration for framing the wars in the Middle East as a Holy War between Christianity and Islam, is now the executive vice president of the Family Research Council, where he applies his fire-and-brimstone approach to theology to issues ranging from foreign policy to LGBT rights.
In a speech to FRC’s “Watchmen on the Wall” pastors’ event in Dallas last week, Boykin delivered a fiery appeal to conservative pastors to continue leading the fight against LGBT rights after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, in the form of “spiritual warfare” that he said would require bravery like those of his men on a failed mission to rescue American hostages in Iran in 1980.
Pastors who “compromise” on LGBT rights, he warned, will be judged by God “for what they’ve done to confuse the people in this country” and keep them in “an aberrant lifestyle.”
These gay-affirming pastors, he said, just want an “easy way out” because “they don’t want to fight, they’re not warriors, they don’t have the courage.”
Boykin, who has previously said that Jesus was a real “man’s man” who will return carrying an AR-15 assault rifle, told the Watchmen pastors that Christ will come back “riding a white horse, wearing a blood-stained white robe, leading a mighty army with a sword coming out of his mouth to destroy his enemies” and will be covered with “the blood of his enemies,” ready to "slay those who have stood against him and his kingdom."
Last week, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins convened an emergency meeting of his “Watchmen on the Wall” pastors’ group to address “the aftermath of the seismic Supreme Court ruling on marriage.” Perkins told the group gathered at a Dallas Baptist church that thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision, “we are at a moment of urgency unprecedented in the history of this country.”
Perkins told the story of King Uzziah, who according to the Book of Chronicles, ruled competently over Judah until he became proud and attempted to burn incense in the Temple, something only priests were allowed to do. Ultimately, the priests stopped Uzziah and God smote him with leprosy, he was ostracized and died.
Perkins, he said, was struck by the “parallel between Judah under King Uzziah and America under Barack Obama.”
“What struck me was that on the eve of this Supreme Court decision, on June the 26th, if you watched the news you saw that the president had bathed the White House in the colors of the so-called gay pride,” he said. “The parallel between the pride of Uzziah and the pride of our national leader shaking his fist in the face of God was stark and alarming.”
Like the priests in Chronicles, he said, American pastors today have the duty to stand up to such heresy, even if it means going to jail, which he said is possible.
“I know many have talked to me, saying, ‘As pastors are we going to face prison, are we going to face jail, Are we going to be forced to do same-sex marriages?’” he said. “That may come if we fail to act today, but the greater threat is to the men and women sitting in your pews every Sunday morning.”
He urged pastors to “encourage your people to stand firm in the faith” even when that means facing a “reverse religious test” in which they aren’t allowed to use their religious beliefs as a reason to discriminate against LGBT people in the public square.
Iowa Religious Right activist and state RNC committeewoman Tamara Scott invited Summit Ministries founder David Noebel onto her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week, where the two discussed how, in Noebel’s words, teaching tolerance for LGBT people in schools amounts to “child molestation" and the LGBT rights movement wants to "destroy Christianity."
Scott shared a number of thoughts of her own on the issue, telling Noebel she would “confront hypocrisy” on the left even though she risked a “social jihad” in response to her comments.
Making clear for “all those haters out there” that she was just “asking the question,” Scott asked listeners to ponder this during a commercial break: “If homosexuality is something to be celebrated by the left, by Hollywood, then why does it need all of these protections? And if it needs these protections, then why do we promote it as an everyday lifestyle and a regular choice for our youth?”
After the break, she rephrased the question: “If homosexuality is truly just something that happens, then why, one, do we have to recruit it in our kindergarten through college-level educational system and, if it’s just an everyday thing, why does it need all these special protections in the civil rights?”
Scott also complained to Noebel that “it’s the left and the progressives who are always throwing the cards, whether it’s the black card, the sex card, the female card, the war on women,” saying that liberals are hypocritical to want gender equality when they are also fighting for transgender rights.
“They want 50 percent male and female [in the House and Senate] by the year 2020,” she said. “Well, my thought is, how can you do that? You don’t even want to call somebody a sex, that's a changeable thing every day.”