Equality For All

Noebel: Teaching Gay Tolerance In Schools Is 'Child Molestation'

Iowa Religious Right activist and state Republican Party committeewoman Tamara Scott invited Summit Ministries founder David Noebel onto her “Truth for Our Time” radio program last week, where the two agreed that the ultimate goal of the “homosexual revolution” is to “destroy Christianity.”

Gay marriage, Noebel warned, is going to “affect everything,” pointing out that even before the Supreme Court ruled on marriage equality, children in public schools were learning about the existence of gay people, which he said amounts to “child molestation.”

“They were already down in kindergarten, first, second and third grades teaching the younger innocents,” he said, “And you talk about child molestation. This, to me, was child molestation. When you start teaching first-, second- and third-graders about the glories and wonders of the homosexual lifestyle, you know you’ve got a problem.”

Lamenting that “the Obama administration put a flaming homosexual in charge of a good portion of our public education,” he warned that “this is very serious stuff.”

“The game plan is to destroy Christianity,” he concluded, to Scott’s agreement. “That’s the game plan. Because they contend that Christianity has been very tough on the homosexuals for 2,000 years and now it’s time to get back at the whole thing and show them who’s really boss. So we’re in a very explosive cultural revolution.”

He added that he wasn’t sure if Western civilization could “survive another generation.”

Cruz: 'Liberal Fascism' Seeks 'To Persecute, To Punish, To Fine' Any Christian Who Opposes Gay Marriage

On Friday, Ted Cruz held a "Rally for Religious Liberty" in Iowa where the Republican presidential hopeful showcased a handful of Christians who have supposedly been persecuted for their religious beliefs and opposition to gay marriage.

Prior to the event, Cruz sat down with Ed Berliner on Newsmax to discuss the issue, which Cruz blamed on "liberal fascism" which has a "hatred and intolerance for Christians."

Berliner asked Cruz how he planned to bring both sides together when the Republican Party has a reputation that it "does not like homosexuals, that you are anti-gay" and that it supports anti-gay discrimination. Cruz, predictably, refused to address that issue, insisting simply that "I'm a Christian and Scripture commands Christians to love everybody" before declaring that the real issue is the supposed government persecution of people of faith.

After absurdly asserting that Christian business owners should not have to provide services to a gay couple any more than a Muslim imam should be forced to conduct a Jewish wedding, Cruz blamed it all on "liberal fascists" who hate freedom and American values.

"What we're seeing now," he said, "is this liberal fascism and intolerance where their object is to persecute, to punish, to fine any Bible-following Christian or believer that believes in the biblical definition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman. And that is profoundly inconsistent with who we are as Americans."

Berliner then again attempted to get Cruz to explain how, while holding such a position, he could ever hope to convince gay activists that he doesn't hate them, and again Cruz wasn't interested in answering that question.

"There are some activists who, frankly, manifest a hatred and intolerance for Christians, who are persecuting Christians," Cruz said. "That is unfortunate. As I said, I think we should love everybody."

Cruz then went on to declare that religious liberty was "the foundational right upon which this nation was built and, for I, am proud to stand with these heroes gathered tonight to defend religious liberty."

Over Half Of NOM's Anti-Gay Campaign In Maine Came From Megadonor Sean Fieler

The National Organization for Marriage today released a list of donors to its successful 2009 campaign to overturn Maine’s marriage equality law, revealing that one activist, New York hedge fund manager and social conservative megadonor, almost single-handedly funded the effort.

NOM revealed the source of the $2 million that it funneled to Stand for Marriage Maine to fight the marriage equality law after a court found that NOM had attempted to “shield its donors and skirt Maine’s donor disclosure law.” According to the Portland Press Herald, NOM’s $2 million in contributions made up approximately two-thirds of Stand for Marriage Maine’s budget for the campaign.

According to NOM’s filing, only one major donor to its Maine campaign lived in the state, and $1.25 million of its funding — nearly half of the total ultimately spent by Stand for Marriage Maine — came from Fieler.

We have written in the past about the quiet influence that Fieler is exerting over social conservative causes. His Chiaroscuro Foundation dispenses millions of dollars each year to anti-gay and anti-abortion groups. Fieler is also the chairman of the board of the American Principles Project, a group founded by former NOM chairman Robert George and employing former NOM president Maggie Gallagher that seeks to move Republicans to the right on social issues. In addition to being the major financial backer of APP’s affiliated PAC, Fieler has personally contributed to 77 candidates in 19 states since 2008, according to an RH Reality Check analysis.

Through the Chiaroscuro Foundation, Fieler has also funded the research of Mark Regnerus , author of a discredited study on gay and lesbian parents that continues to be cited by anti-gay activists around the world.

Although NOM’s 2009 campaign was successful, just three years later the statevoted to institute marriage equality. As NOM’s mission has been faltering, so has its fundraising, making Fieler’s one-man social conservative funding shop ever more important for the group and its allies.

Ted Cruz to Jan Mickelson: 'Atheist Taliban' Attacking Religious Liberty

This morning, just two days after Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson caused a national controversy when he suggested that states enslave undocumented immigrants who refuse to leave, asking, “What’s wrong with slavery?,” Sen. Ted Cruz joined Mickelson’s program to discuss his upcoming rally in Iowa which will bring together various supposed victims of anti-Christian persecution.

Mickelson asked Cruz to discuss his fight against the “brazenness of the atheist Taliban” and the fact that “anytime they furrow their brow at anyone [people] fold up and go home and give them what they want.”

Cruz, who has previously railed against what he called a gay “jihad" against Christians, apparently liked Mickelson’s phrase, and took it up while describing his work fighting against church-state separation efforts.

“There is an assault on faith and an assault on religious liberty that we see across this country and it has never been as bad as it is right now,” he said, claiming that “radical atheists and liberals” are “driving any acknowledgment of God out of the public square.”

“There are these zealots — as you put it, the atheist Taliban — that seek to tear down any acknowledgment of God in the public square, and it’s contrary to our Constitution, it’s contrary to who we are as a people.”

Sandy Rios: Liberals Bringing Soviet 'Sexual Chaos' To America

The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios invited anti-marriage-equality activist Ryan Anderson onto her radio program last week to promote his new book “Truth Overruled,” written in reaction to the Obergefell decision.

Anderson repeated his lament that marriage equality is a “symptom” of the “disintegration of marriage and family” that began with “the hookup culture, the rise of premarital sex, the rise of non-marital childbearing, the rise in the divorce rate, the redefinition of divorce laws with no-fault divorce laws.”

Rios agreed, saying she had been distraught in the decades since the 1960s watching the “fabric of our morality” tear, with “everyone acting out on their own sexual whims in any way they chose, and not wanting boundaries for themselves or anybody else.”

“It’s sexual chaos," she said, "which is what the left has been proposing since a long time ago, in fact back in communist Russia, and then the Weather Underground in the ‘60s wanted to practice, smash monogamy. It was the destruction of the family. I don’t understand that, but it is absolutely their goal and they’ve really done a good job of it.”

EW Jackson: Obama Turning Military Into A 'Sexual Experiment' Because He Doesn’t Believe In America

E.W. Jackson, the Virginia pastor and GOP politician, joined Frank Gaffney on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program earlier this month, where the two discussed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and efforts to allow transgender people to serve openly in the military.

“The lesbian, transgender, bisexual military is what the president is creating for us, and it’s sad,” Jackson declared, alleging that President Obama “is much more interested in turning the military into some sort of sexual experiment than he is in making it the finest fighting force in the world.”

Gaffney asked Jackson, who now works as a Fox News contributor and Family Research Council senior fellow, if allowing LGBT people to serve openly is not just a “wrecking operation against the military” but also an effort to “do over the United States itself as a society.”

Jackson responded that Obama wants to allow LGBT people to serve in the military because he doesn’t believe in America or want the military to be effective: “I don’t think he wants the military to be militarily effective, because I don’t think he believes in it, I don’t think he believes in its mission, because, frankly, and I know this sounds extreme but it’s what I believe in my heart, I don’t think he fundamentally believes in the nature of this country or its mission.”

'What's Wrong With Slavery?' And Jan Mickelson's Other Worst Pro-Confederacy, Anti-Immigrant, Anti-Gay Moments

If you are a presidential candidate, you spend a lot of time talking to people in Iowa. And if you’re a Republican, that means a lot of time on Iowa conservative radio, including popular programs hosted by right-wing activists Steve Deace and Jan Mickelson.

The fact that Deace and Mickelson have long histories of extreme rhetoric has not dissuaded Republican candidates from joining their shows. But Mickelson just upped the ante with comments he made on his program today.

Media Matters caught Mickelson proposing that undocumented immigrants in Iowa become “property of the state” and pressed into hard labor. When a listener called in to point out that Mickelson’s proposal “sounds like slavery,” Mickelson asked, “Well, what’s wrong with slavery?” Undocumented immigrants, he went on to say, are the ones who are enslaving American citizens:

It will be interesting to see if any of the GOP candidates who have been on Mickelson’s radio program recently — which, according to Media Matters’ count, includes Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham, Ben Carson, Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal — repudiate his remarks.

But the fact is that if these candidates were concerned about Mickelson’s rhetoric, they should have stopped going on his show long ago.

When Graham appeared on his program in June, Mickelson declared his allegiance to the Confederacy, as Graham scrambled to distance himself:

Mickelson has also backed Jim Crow-type voting laws.

Today’s comments are hardly Mickelson’s first foray into anti-immigrant extremism either. He has proposed barring undocumented children from public schools and said that if someone has a Hispanic name and is involved with the police, “I assume you’re not here legally.” After an interview with anti-immigrant activist Ann Corcoran, Mickelson promised to press every candidate he had on his show to oppose the U.S. resettlement of refugees from war-torn Muslim countries, which he said was an “act of jihad.” When he asked Rand Paul about it, Paul said the U.S. shouldn’t resettle Iraqi refugees because “we won the war.”

Mickelson’s anti-gay activism includes calling AIDS an “invention” of God to punish homosexuality and agreeing with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad on the issue of homosexuality.

The Iowa talk radio host also enjoys promoting fringe right-wing conspiracy theories. Mickelson helped to bring the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theory into the GOP mainstream, asking Paul on his program about the supposed federal plan to take over Texas .

And just last week, Mickelson was getting Rep. Steve King to entertain the conspiracy theory that a botched EPA mine cleanup in Colorado was a deliberate plan to pollute a river to create a Superfund site:

Republican candidates may try to avoid Mickelson’s show after today. But given their track record, we somehow doubt that they will.

Religious Right Freaks Out About TD Jakes Comments on Gay Rights, Church-State Separation

Just after John Oliver’s pointed take on “prosperity” televangelists, Bishop T.D. Jakes, a Dallas-based megachurch pastor, best-selling author and media personality once described by TIME magazine as possibly “the next Billy Graham,” launches a four-week test run of a new daily talk show today. But Jakes has spent much of the last two weeks responding to a backlash from conservative evangelical Christians over comments he made about gay rights and church-state separation.

During an August 3 Huffington Post Live interview with journalist and scholar Marc Lamont Hill, Jakes said his thinking on homosexuality is “evolved and evolving” and that it is “absolutely” possible for the gay community and the black church to coexist. "I think that it's going to be diverse from church to church. Every church has a different opinion on the issue and every gay person is different." 

LGBTs of different types and sorts have to find a place of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anyone else. And the church should have the right to have its own convictions and values. If you don’t like those convictions and values, you totally disagree with it, don’t try to change my house, move into your own. And establish that sort of thing, and find somebody who gets what you get about faith, and, trust me, I’ve talked to enough LGBT and they’re not all the same.

Jakes said that members of the LGBT community, like all American citizens, deserve equal protection under the law.

We bought, the church bought into the myth that this was a Christian nation. And once you get past that, which a lot of people are going to criticize me because they’re still gonna think it’s a Christian nation, which is a whole different show, but once you begin to understand that democracy, that a republic actually, is designed to be an overarching system to protect our unique nuances then we no longer look for public policy to reflect biblical ethics…

If we can divide, or what you would call separation of church and state, then we can dwell together more effectively. Because atheists, agnostics, Jews, all types of people, Muslims, pay into the government, the government then cannot reflect one particular view over another, just because we are the dominant group of religious people in the country, because those numbers are changing every day. We need a neutralized government that protects our right to disagree with one another and agree with one another.

Jakes suggested a posture of spiritual humility: “Once you understand that you’re not God, you leave yourself an out clause to grow.”

How did the Religious Right hate this interview? Let us count the ways: Jakes spoke of his thinking on homosexuality “evolving,” a term used by President Obama to describe his move toward support for marriage equality; he encouraged LGBT people to find affirming churches; he spoke positively about church-state separation and described the idea that America is a Christian nation as “a myth.”

The Huffington Post interview was not the first time Jakes has said such things. On the Sunday after the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling, Jakes told his congregation, “I’m not really as concerned about this as a lot of people are. I’m really not as concerned about it. I think that we should not lose our mind about the world being the world and the Church being the Church. This is not a news flash.” He also said, “The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture," which led to applause from the congregation.

There doesn’t seem to have been a huge reaction to those initial comments on the Court ruling. But after the Huffingon Post interview, Heather Clark at Christian News published  an August 7 story – tagged “Apostasy” – with a headline blaring that Jakes had come out for gay marriage and LGBT churches and was evolving on homosexuality. The article fumed, “Megachurch leader and author T.D. Jakes says that homosexuals should attend congregations that affirm their lifestyle and that politics do not need to reflect biblical ethics, adding that his position on homosexuality is both “evolved and evolving.”

Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must legalize same-sex “marriage,” igniting a battle between the Church and State over the issue. In his comments on Monday, Jakes advocated for the separation of Church and State, which would allow for “all types of people” to have whatever rights they desire despite biblical prohibitions. He said that politics don’t need to be based on Christianity.

That seems to have set off enough outrage that Jakes posted a statement to his Facebook page on August 9 responding to the criticism. Without naming Clark or Christian News by name, Jakes slammed his critics:

Just because a so-called Christian publication chooses to misconstrue my words using lazy journalistic tactics to further their own agenda and draw attention to their site does not make their statements an accurate depiction of what I said or meant.

In that August 9 statement, Jakes affirmed his religious opposition to same-sex marriage while also reiterating his stance separating his religious beliefs from public policy positions, saying, “For the record, I do not endorse same sex marriage but I respect the rights that this country affords those that disagree with me.” His statement, which attracted hundreds of comments, also said, “I have come to respect that I can't force my beliefs on others by controlling public policy for tax payers and other U.S. citizens. Jesus never sought to change the world through public policy but rather through personal transformation.”

For the Religious Right, them’s fightin’ words. On August 10, Jennifer LeClaire at Charisma wrote, “Leaders from across the body of Christ were contacting me all weekend” about Jakes’ interview. The Washington Times also reported on the controversy. LeClaire took note of Jakes’ clarification on Facebook, but seemed unsure whether it was enough, noting that anti-gay activist Michael Brown was asking for more.

Brown’s column, which circulated on right-wing media, said Jakes’ HuffPo comments “appeared to be intentionally ambiguous.”

At best, your comments left your hearers in the dark; at worst, they gave the impression that you now support same-sex “marriage.”

Surely this is not a minor issue, and surely a shepherd has a responsibility to the sheep. What, dear sir, do you believe?

Brown seemed particularly offended that Jakes had encouraged LGBT Christians to find a church that they were comfortable with.

I thought the church was called to bring people to Jesus, to stand for righteousness, to care for the needy, to shine like light in the darkness, to declare God’s will and to live it out. And don’t you have a responsibility as a leader to warn people about deception?

He also took umbrage with the idea that the U.S. as Christian nation is a myth, and the suggestion that Christians shouldn't expect public policy to reflect biblical ethics, asking whether Jakes would have said the same about slavery or rape.

But is it a myth that America was founded on Christian principles and that our founders presupposed that Christian religion would be the foundation of democracy and morality? Is it a myth that, throughout our history, we have overwhelmingly professed to be Christian in large majority?

On August 11, Jakes posted another, somewhat exasperated comment to Facebook, noting that his answer to Marc Lamont Hill had spurred “a virulent diatribe in cyber-Christian land.” He said “the vast majority of people” seemed to understand his first clarification, but that for those who didn’t, he would try again, “rather than play ‘whack-a-mole’ with the online Christian media.” And, he predicted, “there are those that will never be satisfied.” From his second clarification:

I firmly believe that marriage is ordained by God as a union between a man and a woman… My stance on the topic has never wavered. It is fixed, steadfast and well documented...I believe that all sex outside of that sacred union is sin and that would include but is not limited to, homosexuality…

I also believe in balancing that truth with grace, so that the word becomes the personification of Jesus Christ, his love, mercy and compassion…Because truth absent of grace fails to exemplify my heart or the heart of the Father, I draw the line at the extra-biblical exercise of calling people names, ostracizing or humiliating them because our beliefs fall on opposite sides of the spiritual chasm.

That attitude hasn’t shifted the tide in the battle for men’s souls in the last 30 years…

My hope is that the church will always be “evolving” in how we address and minister to the LGBT community in ways that are in line with our biblically-based beliefs without losing sight of Christ like compassion.

On Wednesday, Jennifer LeClaire at Charisma said that the second “crystal clear” statement from Jakes “should put an end to the questioning.” But as Jakes had predicted, some people are still not satisfied.

Back at Christian News, far-right activist Jesse Lee Peterson slammed Jakes for trying to “ride two horses at the same time” in an attempt to “appease” both the “homosexual” and Christian community.

“He’s trying to back pedal by lying about what he said and what his intent was behind what he said,” Peterson told Christian News Network. “For this man to speak out of both sides of his mouth indicates that he is a hypocrite.”

He said that he doesn’t believe Jakes’ comments to the Huffington Post were misconstrued, but rather that Jakes’ was telling the outlet—as reported—that while he has personal beliefs about homosexuality, he simultaneously believes that homosexuals should have their “rights” as the nation operates outside of biblical values—and in that sense, Jakes does support same-sex “marriage.”

…Peterson also expressed concern about Jakes’ remarks asserting that homosexuals should attend churches that affirm their beliefs instead of seeking to change Bible-based churches… “A real man of God would not suggest that a homosexual go to a church that agrees with their lifestyle,” Peterson added. “He would suggest that they repent and turn to God.”

On Thursday, Joseph Mattera, who heads the U.S. Coalition of Apostolic Elders, weighed in via Charisma specifically to challenge Jakes’ comments “related to biblical ethics and society.”

The fact is, the USA is no longer a Christian nation. But that is different from saying it should not be a Christianized nation and/or that it was never originally founded upon Christian principles. 

The writings demonstrating America's Christian history are so numerous I will not attempt to debate that in this article. Suffice it to say that the wording of the Declaration of Independence showed a Christian worldview, the U.S. Constitution was replete with principles from Scripture, and all the original state constitutions based their civic laws as well as their public school education on the teaching of Scripture. 

Furthermore there was at least one Supreme Court justice who declared that America is a Christian nation.

…Jakes believes it is possible to have "neutrality" in regards to the ethos of a nation and its government. However, neutrality is impossible because every human government is based on some religious, ideological and philosophical foundation. Either it is man centered or God centered.

…Throughout human and biblical history, God's kingdom has been set against the kingdom and pride of men… God's Word never separates faith from policy and politics. There is no neutrality!

Political leaders who do not represent God's law/Word are illegitimate in the eyes of God and will ultimately be judged for their rebellious autonomy.

And on Friday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer entered the fray. Fischer said Jakes’ comments were “enormously troublesome” and complained that he “couldn’t make sense” of Jakes’ clarification. Fischer was offended by Jakes’ “enormously problematic” description of the “myth” of the U.S. as a Christian Nation. He said he didn’t even know where to begin to describe how troubling it is that Jakes said policy shouldn’t be counted on to reflect biblical views. And he denounced Jakes’ description of homosexuality as a complicated issue.

“No it’s not, T.D. Jakes. Homosexuality is not a complex issue. It is an abomination. I mean, how simple and unambiguous is that? There’s nothing complex about that. It is contrary to the will of God. It is sexual perversity. What’s complicated about that?”

This isn’t the first time Jakes has found himself targeted by fellow Christians. He has previously faced criticism for preaching a prosperity gospel and teaching a Oneness Pentecostal theology that differs from traditional Christian understanding of the Trinity. Jakes publicly committed himself to a more orthodox understanding of the Trinity in 2012 under questioning from Mark Driscoll, then-head of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church – though it did not satisfy all his critics.

PFAW Mourns Julian Bond, Civil Rights Icon and Longtime Board Member

Julian Bond, a towering figure of the civil rights movement and a longtime board member of People For the American Way, has passed away at the age of 75.

Linda Harvey: 'It's A Very Dark And Black Place That We’re Heading For' As God Judges America For Gay Rights

Mission America’s Linda Harvey stopped by the radio program hosted by Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith last week, where the two warned that God’s judgment is already beginning to befall America thanks to gay pride parades and Planned Parenthood.

Smith told Harvey about a recent promotional video put out by the Cuyahoga County GOP that features some vaguely rainbow colors in the background, which she found “very upsetting,” along with the failure of Republican leaders in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.

“Well, you know, and many people would say that the signs are all here that we are reaping some of God’s judgment,” Harvey agreed. “I believe that the fact that we are being shown in no uncertain terms what abortion is all about, what homosexuality is all about — they’re parading down our streets, we have hundreds of thousands of people that come to the Columbus gay pride parade, and you can see what they’re parading, it’s horrendous. And the Boy Scouts are now on board with this and they’re in these parades.”

“People should open their eyes,” she warned, “and if they’re not willing to, God is just going to give us what the majority of America, what we want, and it’s a very dark and black place that we’re heading for.”

Later in the interview, Harvey warned that opponents of gay rights might soon be forced to go to jail.

After Smith declared that “we will be persecuted and we are being persecuted,” Harvey advised listeners to “start thinking about where you will draw the line, at the workplace and schools, because you will be asked and God will be watching all of us.”

“It is going to cost,” she said. “Not simply reputation, but it may cost you a job or money. Down the road, it may cost people their freedom, there may be jail involved.”

Smith compared the future jailing of gay rights opponents to the arrests of anti-abortion protesters: “the same thing that happened in the pro-life movement, many people went to jail because they refused to accept what was going on.”

Target's New Toy Policy Will 'Promote Transgenderism Among Children,' Warns Brian Brown Group

CitizenGo, the international citizen activism group for which the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown serves as a trustee, is joining the Right’s pile-on of Target for phasing out gender-specific signage in some of its kids’ departments, warning that the new policy will “promote transgenderism among children.”

In a petition circulated by CitizenGo’s US campaigns director, Josh Craddock, the group warns that Target, by removing signs like those distinguishing between “building sets” and “girls’ building sets,” has caved to pressure by “radical gender theorists” and “sexual radicals” who “want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children”:

But now, under pressure from radical gender theorists, Target decided to go "gender neutral" by removing "gender and signs and using gender indicators, especially as it relates to kids" from its stores. The sexual radicals who encouraged Target to reverse its policy ultimately want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children.

Faith2Action’s Janet Porter made a similar connection in promoting a boycott of the retail chain, claiming that the new policy is the result of “Bruce Jenner’s surgery… where he now pretends to be a woman full time.”

Franklin Graham led the Religious Right charge against Target earlier this week when he posted on Facebook that it is “not the gender-neutral people out there” who “made their stores strong”:

I think Target may be forgetting who has made their stores strong. It’s not gender-neutral people out there—it’s working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love. What’s next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else—God created two different genders. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4). You can’t get any clearer than that. If you agree, share in the comments below—and let Target know what you think. Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated.

In an appearance on Fox News, Graham declared that “this whole gender-neutral business has gone too far,” accusing Target of “ignoring the millions of customers you have that are just hard-working families with children, and they’re not gender-neutral children, these are boys and girls, the way God made us.”

Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, for his part, worried that the new Target policy would promote confusing among shoppers: “If you go to buy a gift for a boy who's nine or six or a girl who's nine or six, you want to be able to go to that section and pick out a toy they might want. Now you have to sit there and look at a blended area and wonder is this for a boy or is this for a girl?”

Bryan Fischer: Going To A Gay Friend's Wedding Is Like Attending The 'Grand Opening' Of Their 'New Crack House'

One of the most memorable moments of last night’s GOP presidential debate was when Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that despite his “traditional” view on marriage he had recently attended the wedding of gay friends. This earned Kasich applause from the debate’s audience, just four years after a similar audience had booed a gay service member.

But some people did not appreciate Kasich’s answer, including American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer, who explained on his radio program today that attending a gay friend’s wedding is like attending the “grand opening celebration” of a friend’s “new crack house” because you are simply “enabling” that friend’s behavior.

“Really, the issue comes down to what do you think of this kind of behavior,” Fischer said. “Is this good behavior, is this healthy behavior, is this moral behavior, is this the kind of behavior that we ought to celebrate, that we ought to promote?”

“If you have somebody you love and they were dealing crack and they were opening up a new crack house and they were having a grand opening celebration and they invited you to come and be a part of the grand opening celebration of this crack house, would you go?” he asked. “Of course not!”

Fischer made a similar comparison in a column earlier this year.

Paranoia-Rama: Obama’s Kenyan Demon, Race War Prophecy And EMP Attack On Texas

RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

There is a lot to be scared about this week: Obama demons, Obama killing white people, Obama nuking Texas. Perhaps there is a phrase to describe this phenomenon.

5) Obama’s Demon…Exposed!

While WorldNetDaily has so far failed in its quest to find President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, it has stumbled upon something even more sinister: Obama’s Kenyan demon.

In an article titled, “Is this a demon racing in front of Obama?,” WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs reports that he observed a demonic spirit complete with “a head and shoulders” running past Obama as he exited Air Force One upon arriving in Kenya last month. Kovacs even spoke to a “concerned woman” who confirmed that she too “saw a demon run by” the president.

Watch 7:50 in and decide for yourself:

4) Michael Savage’s Mayan Prophecy

Michael Savage isn’t one of those crazy people who believed that the world would end in 2012, since, Savage explained this week, he read in an email once that an elderly Mayan woman prophesied about a future without white people, and Obama hadn’t murdered all the white people yet.

Savage made his case to listeners on Monday:

3) Mike Huckabee’s Gay Marriage Prophecy

Maybe Mike Huckabee has been reading WorldNetDaily, as he is very concerned that gay marriage and legal abortion are provoking God to punish America.

“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told a conservative summit, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”

2) Jade Helm 15 Violence

Shockingly, none of the right-wing warnings about the Jade Helm 15 military exercise leading to a federal takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law have turned out to be accurate.

But some people have taken the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories very seriously, including at least three men in North Carolina who, Catherine Thompson of TPM writes, “were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover.” In Mississippi, gunmen fired at a military training site for two consecutive days.

Fortunately, Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles has learned his lesson. After warning his listeners that the training wouldlead to Obama’s seizure of power and “a round-up of patriotic men,” he is now telling “Trunews” fans: “ Don’t fear Jade Helm 15 but beware Jade Helm 16.”

Wiles also previewed what will happen next year: a nuclear EMP attack on Texas.

1) Rand Paul Aide Being Persecuted Just For Bribing Some Guy

During the 2012 presidential campaign, a number of aides to then-candidate Ron Paul were allegedly involved in a plot to bribe Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman to jump ship to Paul’s campaign days before the state’s caucuses.

One of those aides, Jesse Benton, was working on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign in Kentucky in 2014 when the scandal came to light, causing him to resign from his post. But Benton wasn’t unemployed for long, as just a few months later, Sen. Rand Paul picked Benton, who also happens to be a member of the Paul family, to run a Super PAC aiding the younger Paul’s presidential bid.

It now seems that Rand Paul’s selection of Benton has come back to haunt him, as Benton and other Paul aides have just been indicted in connection to the bribery scandal.

Like the good conservative conspiracy theorists that they are, Ron and Rand Paul are now alleging that Benton was the victim of a liberal attempt to discredited the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign.

“I think the timing of this indictment is highly suspicious given the fact that the first primary debate is tomorrow,” Ron Paul said, while Rand Paul’s campaign attacked “the Obama Justice Department” for its “suspiciously timed” indictments, adding that Benton’s indictment “certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated.”

Benton’s lawyer similarly claimed that Benton is a victim of a Democratic conspiracy, blasting the indictments as “character assassination for political gain” and “a politically motivated prosecution designed to serve a political agenda, not to achieve justice.”

Anti-Gay Lawmakers Caught In Affair, Bizarre Cover-up

The Detroit News published audio recordings today that expose an effort by two married Michigan Republican lawmakers to try to suppress news of their affair with each other. As part of the cover-up, state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of "traditional marriage" in the state legislature, planned to start a rumor that Courser was actually having an affair with a man.

"Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create 'a complete smear campaign' of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem 'mild by comparison,'" Chad Livengood reported. "Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship."

Fearing that news of the affair would come out, Courser demanded that an aide send out a mass email to state Republicans claiming that Courser, had "male on male paid sex behind a prominent Lansing night club," describing him as a "bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant" and a "Godless Addicted Monster." Courser, explained to the aide, who refused to send the email, that it was part of a "controlled burn" strategy.

As Livengood pointed out, Courser and Gamrat “are socially conservative legislators who often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage," and are closely aligned with the Tea Party.

Gamrat and Courser made waves earlier this year when they tried to circumvent the Supreme Court's marriage decision by introducing a bill declaring that only members of the clergy could perform marriages in Michigan. Gamrat denounced the marriage ruling as a "sad day in our nation" and blasted the court for trying to "redefine for our entire nation, marriage, the bedrock of families and society since the beginning of time." She also warned that people who "do not embrace the homosexual lifestyle will need protections" to fend off impending persecution. 

Courser has similarly alleged that LGBT rights advocates are trying to do away with freedom, maintaining that "this decision by the Supreme Court was and is an absolute tragedy for our nation and its future." He responded to the Supreme Court  ruling by announcing that we "are living in the last days" and that it "was a crushing day for those who believe in traditional marriage and traditional morality."

Days before the decision, Courser told his supporters: "I will say that I grieve for our nation as we take one step after another to deny the diety of God and who He is. As we step further and further away from Him and His Holy word we lose His protection for ourselves, our families, our communities, our states and of course our Nation!" 

Last December, we reported on Courser's efforts to block an LGBT nondiscrimination measure, accusing its supporters of "promoting evil" and attempting to "destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children" and "institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths."

He also said that gay marriage is leading to the End Times and "persecution":

It is a decision that will embolden and expand the tyrannical hammer of the secular progressive left....

This decision will be a toe hold and from this decision we will see many more decisions that curtail our first amendment rights of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and of course freedom of conscience. This decision will unleash the power and scope of government to further society by its power of persuasion and its hammer of threat of governmental persecution. Every regulatory apparatus of government will be focused henceforth on indoctrinating children and the greater society that same sex marriage is moral and every bit accepted, preferred to traditional marriage. Anyone who disagrees with this new paradigm will be vilified as a homophobic bigot. Some of these activists are the most intolerant viscous hate mongers who will demonize anyone who opposes their tyrannical agenda. It works and virtually none are left in elected leadership who will now stand and oppose them publicly as they destroy our rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.

If we do not act now we will see public officials, pastors, and private citizens alike being limited in what they can say or do. The effects of this decision, many unforeseen, on our nation and the world will echo through the end of time. It will destroy and tear down families and with it our social fabric of our society.

We are indeed living in the last days....

May God discipline and correct the hearts of our countrymen and in so doing may He once again bless the United States of America!

Right Wing Touts New Poll Pitting Religious Liberty Against LGBT Equality

Conservative media and Religious Right leaders and activists are touting a new poll that supposedly shows Americans “overwhelmingly” side with “religious liberty” over gay rights. The new poll, conducted by Fox News contributor Patrick Caddell, adopts right-wing framing that pits religious freedom and LGBT equality in conflict with each other. Even in that context, a majority agrees that both religious liberties and the rights of gays and lesbians are important, and that “there can be a common sense solution that both protects religious freedom and protects gay and lesbian couples from discrimination.”

Of course, religious liberty and LGBT equality can happily coexist, despite claims to the contrary from the Right, but anti-equality advocates touting the Caddell poll suggest that the “common sense solution” is a “truce” that would allow business owners to discriminate against gay people based on their religious beliefs. Anti-gay extremist Peter LaBarbera is arguing that the poll shows that people see a war on Christians coming out of the “homosexual activist movement” and he is urging Americans to push for repeal of existing “sexual orientation laws and gender identity laws.”

The Caddell poll, an online survey of 800 voters, asserts that more than two-thirds of Americans – 68% -- believe the government should not be able “to require by law a private citizen to provide a service or provide their private property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs.” More specifically, the poll claims that 82 percent of Americans supports the right of a photographer with religious objections to same-sex couples getting married to refuse to photograph a gay couple’s wedding.

Conservatives are complaining that the Caddell poll is being “ignored by the establishment media.” But there are some good reasons for that.

First, Caddell’s numbers are far out of line with other surveys that show Americans are uncomfortable with the can of worms that would be opened by allowing business owners to cite religion as a reason to opt out of laws that apply to everyone else.  In an article in the Atlantic in June, Robert Jones of Public Religion Research Institute writes:

By a margin of nearly two to one, Americans oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs (60 percent oppose, 34 percent favor). Most religious groups oppose these exemptions; white evangelical Protestants are the only religious group with majority support for these exemptions, and even among this group, support is only a bare majority (51 percent).

PRRI has also reported that white evangelical Protestants were the only religious group that gives majority support – and then only 51 percent – to so called “religious freedom” laws designed to protect business owners and others who do not want to serve LGBT people or couples.

By contrast, 59% of white mainline Protestants, 63% of non-white Protestants, and 64% of Catholics oppose allowing small business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds, as do nearly three-quarters (73%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans.

A Washington Post-ABC News poll published in March of last year found that “nearly seven in 10 respondents say business should not be allowed to refuse service to gays,” even if that refusal if based on the owner’s religious beliefs.” And an earlier poll, a 2013 survey by Human Rights Campaign and Third Way, reported that when asked specifically about wedding-related services being provided by small businesses, “64% of voters were still opposed to new laws that would allow small businesses to deny wedding-related services based on their religious beliefs, compared to 31% in favor.”

Other polls show more of a split among Americans on the issue, but they too are far from the results Caddell reports. A Pew Research Center survey from last year found Americans about equally divided about whether businesses that provide wedding services should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds or whether they should be required to provide services. And an Associated Press-GfK poll from earlier this year found that while a slim majority of Americans said wedding-related businesses should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples, only 40 percent said businesses in general should be allowed to. 

Another reason journalists might view the poll with skepticism may be Caddell himself. Caddell is a Fox News regular who is useful to right-wingers by virtue of the fact that he describes himself as a Democratic strategist who helped get Jimmy Carter elected. But he has long since acted as an advocate for the Right by trashing the Democratic Party as the “tool” of special interests and saying “the left doesn’t care about ordinary people.”

Last year, on Sean Hannity’s show, Caddell denounced President Barack Obama as “a raging narcissist who has no grip on reality” and accused Republicans of not opposing him strongly enough. Caddell reportedly helped identify people to appear in an anti-Obama “documentary” distributed by the right-wing group Citizens United.

New York Magazine recently reported that Caddell has been speaking to Donald Trump “almost every day” about his campaign

Scott Walker 'Wouldn't Change' Military's Transgender Ban

In an interview with Newsmax TV that was posted online yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that he “wouldn’t change” the military’s prohibition on transgender people serving openly, as the Pentagon is preparing to do.

J.D. Hayworth, the former Republican congressman from Arizona who is now a Newsmax host, asked Walker about Jeb Bush’s comment that he would be “fine” with transgender people serving openly in the military as long as it wouldn’t negatively affect morale. “As commander in chief, what would be your position on transgender and gays and lesbians serving in our armed forces?” he asked.

“I wouldn’t change the policy,” he said. “And I think at a time when we just came off the week when four Marines and a petty officer in the Navy were ambushed and killed at a recruiting center, where we see the current administration under the Obama-Clinton doctrine not lifting the political restrictions on our men and women in uniform in Iraq, when we see the challenges we face around the world, I think those of us who are talking about running for president need to focus on what we need to do to rebuild the military.”

“Our goal is to be peace, but there will be times when America must fight, and I think it needs to be clear that Americans fight to win, and our men and women in the military need to have the resources to do that,” he said, “so as president I’m going to spend my time focused on those issues, not those others.”

Hayworth asked the same question of Mike Huckabee last week, to which the former Arkansas governor replied that lifting the military’s ban on transgender people would undermine morale.

NOM’s Brian Brown: Ending Anti-Gay Discrimination Means Giving 'Believers' the Shaft

Religious Right leaders have long argued that legal equality for LGBT people cannot coexist with religious freedom. Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, and the LGBT movementis seeking protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, these claims are getting more shrill.

The Right is worked up about the introduction in Congress last month of the Equality Act, which would provide legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. The Equality Act, says Lambda Legal, “does not change the religious exemptions already in federal law.”

Miranda reported last week that Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage said the Equality Act should be called “The Persecution of Americans Act.” Now, in a new fundraising email, NOM calls the “Beyond Marriage Equality” agenda “an outrageous attempt to persecute Americans who believe in God” and suggests that extending civil rights protections to protect LGBT people would be “catastrophic.”

The agenda being advanced by the left will have a catastrophic impact on every single American as it covers housing, employment, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. Gays and lesbians get special legal rights and can beckon the government to target people of faith for investigations and punishment, while Americans who believe in God get the shaft.

But Brown doesn’t speak for “Americans who believe in God.” Most Americans, including religious Americans, support nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people. A Public Religion Research Institute survey from June found that 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination laws.  As PRRI’s Robert Jones recently wrote in the Atlantic:

Today, nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT individuals against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing, compared to 25 percent who oppose such policies. And there is majority support for these protections across partisan and religious lines. In fact, most Americans actually already believe that workplace nondiscrimination is the law of the land: Three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans incorrectly believe it is currently illegal under federal law to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.

A poll conducted for HRC earlier this year found overwhelming public support for a nondiscrimination law.

Liberty Counsel: Marriage Equality Imposes Unconstitutional 'Religious Test' For Public Office

The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has been encouraging public officials from county clerks to governors to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision striking down gay-marriage bans nationwide, and as part of this work is representing Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Liberty Counsel’s main argument in the Kentucky case is that Davis’ religious liberty is being violated because she is being forced to do her job and issue licenses for legal marriages between people of the same sex.

In fact, LC argues in a recent court filing, marriage equality actually imposes an unconstitutional “religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office” because people like Davis who don’t want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples aren’t allowed to refuse to do so.

WorldNetDaily summarizes LC’s argument:

They want, the court filing explains, “to induce irreversible and substantial harm to the religious conscience of Davis.”

“If Davis’ religious objection cannot be accommodated under the circumstances of this case, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,” Staver warned.

The brief argues, “There is no constitutional right to have a particular person authorize a SSM license and affix their imprimatur to that permanent public record, especially if that person holds deep religious convictions prohibiting her from participating in and approving of SSM.”

It continued, “Contrary to plaintiffs’ insatiable demands, such individual rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty are neither surrendered at the entry door of public service nor waived upon taking an oath of office. To suggest otherwise creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office – which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.”

Scott Lively: 'Religious Freedom' Only Applies To Christians, And That's Why God’s Punishing Us With Gay Rights

In an interview with The Dove TV on Friday, anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that Christians are being denied their First Amendment rights because of gay rights, while simultaneously asserting that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom applies only to Christians.

In fact, Lively explained, it is because the United States has grown to accept “religious pluralism” that God is now punishing us with abortion rights and LGBT equality.

“Well, I don’t actually believe in ‘religious freedom,’ the way that the term is used,” Lively explained. “I know that when you use it and when most people use it, you’re talking about Christianity. We’re not talking about freedom for Islam and freedom for Buddhism and Hinduism as if they’re equal with God.

“The number-one Commandment is ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ And when we forget that and we start accepting this concept of religious pluralism and we say that Jesus Christ is really no higher an authority in America than Buddha or Mohammed or even Satan, that’s when we have really dropped the ball and we have brought disfavor from God on us.”

Legal abortion (or, as he put it, the “pro-abort juggernaut of death”) and gay rights, he insisted, could have been stopped if America had earned “the favor of God.”

“If even one man, just one man, had the favor of God,” he said, “with the flimsiest of plans, he could have stopped that, he could have stopped the gay agenda in very short order.”

He went on to mourn for the soldiers in the Revolutionary War who “died with the cry ‘no king but Jesus’ on their lips” and for “all the patriots since them who have died on the battlefield believing that American values meant godliness and morality, not sexual perversion and killing.”

Lively then, with great self-awareness, lamented that the First Amendment is “being chipped away very rapidly” leading to the “persecution” of people like himself.

Later in the interview, Lively claimed that thanks to abortion rights and LGBT equality, “we really are now under occupation.. by cultural Marxists” just as France was occupied by the Nazis in World War II.

The “cultural Marxists,” he said, have now ensured that everyone in America is “forced to participate in gay culture,” and are working toward the next step, which is “punishment of all dissenters.”

“The folks that are pushing this, they want to come after every Christian,” he warned, “they hate Christianity, they want to punish, they are going to aggressively pursue every person.”

But he had some good news: “I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been, and yet I’m being persecuted more than anybody else in America.”

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