Equality For All

Discrimination Masked as Religious Freedom? Not in My Name.

This op-ed by Rev. Timothy McDonald III, co-chair of People For the American Way's African American Ministers in Action, was originally published at The Huffington Post.

Last week, a bill disguised as a "religious liberty" measure that would give a green light to discrimination was passed by the Georgia Senate and will now go to the House.

As a Baptist pastor, I feel called to weigh in on a proposal that is supposedly designed to protect religious rights in my state. I fully support every person's constitutionally-protected right of the free exercise of religion. The right to pray to whatever God you believe in and freely practice your religion is a fundamental one, and one that must be protected.

But I do not support this bill, which is not a true effort to protect First Amendment rights. And the fact that supporters in the state Senate quickly and unexpectedly brought it up in committee when no Democrats were present makes me wonder if even proponents aren't so sure of its merit.

The proposed bill is modeled on a national religious freedom bill that passed in 1993, and supporters claim that it would shield people of all religions from government intrusion. In reality, this is a bill that threatens to allow businesses and individuals to simply flout the laws they don't like. It threatens to turn "religious liberty" law from a shield to guard individual liberties into a sword to bring harm to others.

For example, what happens if medical workers, citing religious beliefs, decide that they won't treat gay or transgender people? If business owners decide that they won't serve Muslims or interracial couples? If landlords decide they won't rent to single women? Beyond anti-discrimination protections, what happens if individuals or business owners claim they are exempt from any number of laws they disagree with? What happens, for example, if employers decide that paying their workers a minimum wage goes against their religious beliefs? Do we want to live in a society where your legal rights depend on the religious beliefs of others in the community?

Basic rights and equality should never yield to discrimination.

Other religious leaders here in Georgia aren't fooled, either. Working with a group of more than 160 clergy across the state, we have been asking our elected officials to abandon this misguided project, urging them not to pass any so-called "religious freedom" legislation that could lead to widespread discrimination. Handing people the "right" to use the mantle of religious liberty to harm others? Not in our name.

It's clear that rather than fixing a problem, as good public policy should, this bill would create problems, and often for those most vulnerable among us.

Even former state attorney general Michael Bowers, who once fought in favor of anti-gay "sodomy" laws, has called the bill "nothing but an excuse to discriminate," saying it is "ill-conceived, unnecessary, mean-spirited, and deserving of a swift death in the General Assembly."

I agree. My faith tells me that I should stand up for the marginalized. That I should speak out against proposals that could deny basic rights to others -- especially when it's being done in the name of religion.

PFAW

Rafael Cruz: Nondiscrimination Measures Let Football Teams 'Decide That They Want To Shower With The Girls'

Rafael Cruz, the Religious Right activist and father of Sen. Ted Cruz, told an Oklahoma church last week that LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances allow entire high school boys football teams to decide “that they want to shower with the girls.”

Cruz told the Fairview Baptist Church in Edmond, Oklahoma, that the Supreme Court’s striking down of part of the Defense of Marriage Act has wreaked havoc in municipalities, including Houston, which “has a lesbian for a mayor”:

In Houston, Texas, in the heart of the Bible Belt, that city has a lesbian for a mayor. Well, a few months ago that mayor and that city council passed an ordinance that if a man, today, feels like a woman, he has the right to walk into a women’s bathroom. And if a woman is in there and she complains, she can be sued for that man because she is violating his civil rights.

As a matter of fact, according to that ordinance, if the football team in the high school decides that they want to shower with the girls and the girls complain, they can be sued. This is an abomination!

Cruz made a similar claim last month , telling fellow anti-LGBT activists that “God will hold you accountable” for failing to stop such ordinances.

Craig James: Satan Pushing Gay Rights In Pro Sports

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins broadcast his “Washington Watch” radio program live from FRC’s “Faith and Family Summit” on Friday where the major topic was, predictably, the supposed persecution of conservative Christians at the hands of the LGBT rights movement.

Perkins invited Craig James, the former pro football player who joined FRC after being fired as a Fox Sports commentator, to discuss the decision of several professional sports teams to join a brief on behalf of gay marriage at the Supreme Court.

James worried that the decision by the New England Patriots, the Tampa Bay Rays and the San Francisco Giants to join the marriage brief could cause an “implosion” in team locker rooms and intimidate players who oppose marriage equality from speaking their minds.

“If I were a current player in that locker room and my livelihood depended on me being quiet or losing it because of my belief system, I worry, I wonder,” he said. “So, that’s Satan working on us.”

Later in the interview, Perkins warned of a coming clash between LGBT rights and religious liberty, saying, “There’s no avoiding this conflict, it’s coming, as we redefine marriage and with it everything else in society. “

“It’s not so much about the marriage altar, this redefinition of marriage, it’s about altering all of society,” he added.

James agreed, adding that he had recently been studying the book of Genesis and found that the story of Adam and Eve proves that if you support gay marriage, you “have a problem with God.”

Paranoia-Rama: Muslim Infiltration, Gay End Times And Liberal Killers

Now that gay people and the Muslim Brotherhood have taken over the government, conservative pundits have a lot of thoughts that they want to share — scary thoughts about anti-Christian persecution and a (non-existent) Egyptian court case that may throw two American leaders behind bars.

YP4 Leads Trainings at “Take Root” Reproductive Justice Conference in Oklahoma

Last week, Young People For (YP4) Director Joy Lawson, YP4 Fellowship Associate Vidushani Jayalal, and current YP4 Fellow Alyssah Roth of El Paso, TX, served as trainers during the pre-conference of the fifth annual “Take Root” reproductive justice conference in Norman, OK.

“Take Root” focuses on sharing the unique perspectives, experiences, and lessons learned from organizing around reproductive justice in conservative states. This year, YP4 developed and led the pre-conference to engage “Take Root” participants on guiding principles for social justice organizing. Participants took part in workshops and conversations on values-centered organizing, navigating ideologies in the reproductive justice movement, and more.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additionally, several YP4 Fellows and alumni participated in the conference and led workshops and panels related to building access to the reproductive justice movement in under-resourced areas.  After the workshops, many of the participants reflected that the trainings gave them “a vision of what they wanted to accomplish and what the process might look like.”

YP4 is a year-long leadership development program that helps a diverse set of young leaders turn their ideals into actions and create lasting change on their campuses and in their communities. YP4 develops Fellows’ leadership capacity and strategic thinking through a capstone project — the Blueprint for Social Justice — and offers opportunities to connect with others creating change across the country.

 

PFAW Foundation

Matt Barber's BarbWire: Gays, Unitarians, and Satan, Oh My!

BarbWire, the website created by anti-gay activist Matt Barber, has become home to some of the most out-there right-wing anti-gay punditry imaginable. But the site is not resting on its laurels. The latest installment comes from Linda Wall, who calls herself a “former lesbian” and founder and CEO of Virginia Mass Resistance.

Wall is a friend of Lisa Miller, another “former lesbian” who fled the country illegally rather than comply with courts’ custody rulings regarding the daughter she had with her former partner. In 2012, Wall argued that Hurricane Sandy was part of God’s vengeance against America for Lisa Miller’s plight.

In her latest post, Wall gets right to the point. Who is behind the LGBT movement? “It is none other than Satan himself.” It’s hard to do justice to Wall’s description of the “world of darkness” she experienced when working for an art gallery owner and managing his rental properties, so we’ll let her words speak for themselves, though they sound more like an overwrought movie treatment than an op-ed column. Wall describes a vision she had the night before she was scheduled to clean out the basement of her boss's house to get rid of a "homeless squatter's belongings."

The night before I was due to accomplish this dreaded assignment, I did something I had not done in fifteen years or more; I got on my knees to pray. Somehow I knew I was about to face the rulers of the darkness of this world.

After asking God to be with me and protect me, I jumped into bed. What happened next must have been a vision because not enough time had passed for me to be asleep and dreaming. I saw the pile of junk I was to remove from the basement and watched a snake crawl out from beneath it. In my ignorance of the dark side of the supernatural I thought God was telling me to watch out for the snake, but He was warning me about a much bigger serpent!

The next day I gathered some 50 gallon trash bags, a spotlight and an iron pipe and headed into the cellar. Entry to the earthen floor basement was an exterior entrance much like a tornado shelter. As I swung the heavy wooden cellar doors open my heart raced with fear. While I climbed down the steps I began banging the pipe on anything that would make a noise in hopes of scaring off any snake. Once my feet were on the ground I began shining the spotlight all around.

I felt like I had stepped into a live horror story. Enormous spider webs were hanging everywhere. The place was damp and cold. What was this place of darkness I had entered? All through the basement were wooden stalls with doors that one might keep animals behind. My imagination went wild as I could only imagine what was going to take place in this basement behind these “cages.”

Humanly, I was alone in the basement, but I could sense there were many eyes watching me. I began to sing hymns I use to sing as a kid in church. I couldn’t remember all of the words, but what came to mind I sang out loudly. I knew my only line of defense was God’s Word from those “old –timey” hymns.

As in fast forwarding a movie, I began to stuff the unwanted items into the plastic bags and in a flash the task was completed. What a relief when I exited the cellar and slammed the door. I had been expecting to be captured and locked up any moment the entire time I was down there.

I caught my breath and immediately entered the house to retrieve my car keys and sunglasses. Before leaving, I noticed all of the eyes in the pictures glaring at me. Often I had studied the art work, but for the first time I understood what they all had in common. It was the eyes. It was Satan himself glaring at me.

All of a sudden my brain put little incidences together to paint a bigger picture. Many times I had been invited to attend the “calling of the dead” that occurred weekly in the room of this house where the windows were painted black. It seemed that every time I turned around my employer was trying to get me to drink something or eat something that was described as “good for you.” There had also been an ongoing campaign at the gay bar I frequented to convince me to be hypnotized. I had a feeling I had truly encountered the occult.

On Sunday, I visited the Unitarian church where my employer was also a preacher. He had supposedly been away all week at a seminar for pastors to be alone with God. Even though the dots were connecting to indicate satanic activity, I was still curious enough to attend the service. It ended up being my last.

When he began to preach he went into a “trance” speaking with a different accent and under the name of St. Benedict. As I watched this unexplainable happening, I saw the devil’s head on his body and knew God Almighty was intervening and saying, “get out!”

Stay tuned for Wall’s “Satan and the GLBT Demons – Part 2.”

 

AL Gov's Pastor Urged Him To Defy Federal Courts On Marriage To Prevent America's Collapse

In a sermon earlier this month, Gil McKee, the pastor of the Tuscaloosa church attended by Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, recalled how he pleaded with the governor to stand with the state’s Chief Justice Roy Moore and refuse to follow a federal court ruling legalizing marriage equality in the state.

Bentley provoked the ire of some of his fellow conservatives when he said he wouldn't stop state probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, putting him in direct conflict with Moore.

McKee told his congregation that he had had a long talk with Bentley urging him to defy the courts on marriage, implying that same-sex marriage could lead to the collapse of the United States.

“Here’s what I said to our governor yesterday,” McKee said. “'Governor, I don’t care if all 49 other states go for this same-sex marriage business, let’s be different in the state of Alabama. Let’s do what we know is the right thing to do … The reality is, we’re still living in a very conservative state. The people who are conservative and who are Christian, if you’ll just step up and lead out on this thing, if you’ll give the word to our chief justice to call all our probate judges…and say, "listen, don’t you issue one single license until the federal government does its thing and we decide whether we’re going to follow it or not, don’t you issue one of those." I’m telling you, the people of this state would rally behind that.'”

He added that he would be willing to go to jail in protest of same-sex marriage, because “there’s nothing gray about this issue. Not if you’re going to go by what God says, and God has made it very clear that marriage is between one man and one women, period. That settles it. That’s it.”

Later in the service, McKee prayed for elected officials to defy laws that go against God’s law:

“Lord we want to pray for those who are in places of leadership in our county, Lord, in our city, Lord, in our state. Lord, for those who are Christians, if it comes to the point of defying a law or an order that goes against your law and order, then God give them the courage to do it.”

Iowa Radio Host: Jeb Bush Gave Conservatives 'A Middle Finger' By Hiring Gay Spokesman

Every week, Iowa-based radio host Steve Deace gets together with Bob Vander Plaats, head of the influential Iowa social conservative group The Family Leader and leader of Mike Huckabee’s 2008 campaign in the state, to discuss potential GOP presidential candidates. This week, they spent a good part of their segment discussing Jeb Bush’s decision to hire openly gay GOP operative Tim Miller as his spokesman. Unsurprisingly, neither was impressed.

Deace read Vander Plaats a series of “red flags” from Miller’s social media accounts, including a tweet critical of the Iowa Family Policy Center , a group affiliated with Vander Plaats, and notices on Facebook that he had attended events such events as “Sugar Tit: A Dirty Polaroid-Style New Year’s Eve” and “By Gays: All City Happy Hour.”

As Deace read the litany of posts, cohost Robert Rees said, “I feel very uncomfortable” and Vander Plaats agreed, accusing Miller of “lampooning the base of the very party he claims to serve.”

“It’s one thing to say, you know what, I really don’t want the base of the party,” Vander Plaats said of Bush. “It’s another thing to actively employ people who are going after the base of the party, intentionally going after the base of the party. This would be a sure way to tell your establishment friends, this is how you lose a general election against Hillary, is you make the base go home.”

Deace agreed that Bush’s hiring of Miller was “a middle finger” to social conservative activists. “That’s not even substantive disagreement, that’s just someone giving you the finger,” he said.

CWA Spox: SCOTUS Marriage Ruling Could Lead To ‘Criminalization Of Religious Beliefs’

Concerned Women for America’s legal counsel, Mario Diaz, stopped by Iowa CWA director Tamara Scott’s radio program last week to discuss the Supreme Court’s upcoming consideration of a number of marriage equality cases.

Scott, who is also a Republican National Committee member, told Diaz that LGBT rights advocates, “the group that exploits the term ‘tolerant’ as their poster,” are actually “so incredibly intolerant to anyone with an opposing view.”

Diaz agreed that a collision between LGBT rights and religious liberty is “inevitable,” and that a Supreme Court marriage equality victory would lead to the “criminalization of religious beliefs.”

“And it is one of the great tragedies that I think I put now at the feet of the Supreme Court, if they are considering finding a constitutional right to same-sex marriage in the Constitution, they must consider, and I hope they are, that they will be effectively opening the door for the criminalization of religious beliefs, especially Christian beliefs.”

Later in the interview, Scott and Diaz agreed that LGBT rights victories in the courts amount to, in Diaz’s words, a “transformation of the form of government we have.”

Pointing to Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s comment that it wouldn’t take “a large adjustment” for Americans to adapt to same-sex marriage, Diaz said she is planning to wave a “magic wand and declare that the country’s ready now to move to same-sex marriage.”

“And in a few years, when the country’s ready for polygamy, then the country’s ready for that also, and we continue down that track to anything that the majority of us agree about. It’s just preposterous,” he added.

Brian Brown: Marriage Equality, Like Slavery And Segregation, 'Cannot Stand'

National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown joined Iowa Republican National Committee member Tamara Scott on her radio program last week, where the two discussed the upcoming Supreme Court decision on marriage equality.

Brown told Scott that a pro-equality decision would be “illegitimate” and anti-LGBT groups would have to emulate the anti-choice movement after Roe and “build a movement that continues to stand and proclaim the truth.”

He compared a potential marriage equality decision to infamous Supreme Court rulings upholding the Fugitive Slave Act, the prohibition on citizenship for African Americans, and school desegregation.

“It may be a generation or two down the line, but this lie about what it means to be a human being cannot stand. It cannot stand,” he said. “And just because the Supreme Court says it’s so, it doesn’t make it so. The Supreme Court has had horrible decisions in the past, horrible decisions like the Dred Scott decision, Plessy v. Ferguson, the Fugitive Slave Act, Roe v. Wade. Just because the Supreme Court said it was so didn’t make it so, and there was an obligation for people living in those times to stand up and say ‘no this is wrong’ and to fight with every ounce of their being for the truth.”

He added that the movement would have to contend with “some weakness from Republican leaders on the marriage issue.”

Earlier in the interview, Scott asked Brown about the decision to approve hormone therapy for Chelsea Manning, which Scott joked was part of a “witness protection program.”

“Well, I don’t know about that, but I do know that once you redefine what it means, or attempt to redefine what it means to be a man and a woman, then this clearly is the next step,” Brown responded. “And I don’t think people, at times we may not think deeply about what we’re being asked to accept, especially on the issue of same-sex marriage, but what we’re essentially being asked to accept is the very deconstruction of what it means to be a mother and father, husband and wife, and what it means to be a human being.”

“And once you go down this road of acting as if the biological reality of mothers and fathers, husbands and wives doesn’t matter, it doesn’t exist, then the next step is to say that gender itself is a construct. And we’re seeing that across the country, the next step on quote-unquote ‘transgender rights,’” he said.

He added that transgender rights measures would have "profound consequences" that are being seen "across the country."

Roy Moore: Ban Gay Marriage To Keep Bisexuals And 'Transgendered' From Marrying Multiple People

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore doesn’t seem to quite understand the LGBT community that he is so set against, telling the Associated Press this weekend that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, bisexual and “transgendered” people will then demand to marry two people each. “Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?" he asked:

Moore argues that no federal court, even the U.S. Supreme Court, has the right to define marriage.

"You're taking any definition of a family away. When two bisexuals or two transgendered marry, how large is that family? Can they marry two persons, one of the same sex and one of the opposite sex? Then, you've got a family of four or how many?"

Moore also resisted comparisons of his standoff with the federal courts over marriage equality to former Gov. George Wallace’s stand against desegregation, saying that one major difference is that Wallace eventually backed down, and he won’t:

Moore's actions have drawn inevitable comparisons to former Gov. George Wallace's 1963 largely symbolic "stand in the schoolhouse door" aimed at preventing desegregation at the University of Alabama, nine years after education segregation was ruled illegal.

Moore said there is another difference.

"George Wallace moved," he said, noting how the former governor eventually stepped aside.

"I can't move from my position because I'm bound to uphold the Constitution," Moore said.

Matt Barber: States Should Defy Roe And Jail Abortion Providers

Matt Barber joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the actions of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who’s urging judges in his state to defy a federal judge and refuse to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.

Barber told Deace that whether or not the United States Supreme Court has “the authority to redefine the institution of marriage, which cannot be done, it’s contrary to reality to say that it’s anything other than the male and female,” Moore is on “solid legal ground” in claiming that the Alabama Supreme Court takes precedence over the federal district court that issued the marriage ruling.

Deace asked Barber why the conservative movement was less willing to defy the federal courts during Judge Moore’s 2003 standoff over placing a Ten Commandments monument in his courthouse or after Roe v. Wade, “when the court said, ‘We’re going to start just massacring, dismembering little innocent babies.’”

Barber agreed that states should have simply ignored the court’s ruling in Roe: “Why, back when the courts issued their ridiculous, non-scientific ruling in Roe v. Wade, why didn’t states like Texas and other states say, ‘Okay, well thank you for your opinion, but nope, here in the state of Texas, you kill an unborn child, you’ve committed murder, we’re going to throw you in jail for it’?”

Later in the interview, Deace repeated his prediction that a sweeping marriage ruling would ignite an even greater culture war battle than Roe did.

Barber agreed, saying the “goal all along” of the “sin-based, sodomy-based marriage” movement has been to persecute Christians.

“Religious liberty and so-called gay marriage cannot coexist in harmony,” he said. “If the Supreme Court goes Roe v. Wade on this decision and divines a new-fangled right to sin-based, sodomy-based marriage, Christians will be being persecuted across the country. They will be told, ‘You either put your stamp of approval on sin or you will be pushed to the fringes and marginalized and you will not be able to carry a job or function in society.’ That’s been their goal all along anyway.”

CPAC Once Again Welcomes Group Led By White Nationalist

This post has been updated

In what is becoming an annual tradition, the American Conservative Union has accepted the sponsorship of an organization led by a white nationalist.

Metro Weekly reported yesterday that the Log Cabin Republicans attempted to sponsor the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference, but were rejected. Although the ACU disputes the story, in the past it has repeatedly excluded the now defunct gay conservative group GOProud. [UPDATE: Log Cabin Republicans report that they have been offered a speaking slot at CPAC, while they will "continue working toward full sponsorship of future CPACs."]

At the same time, the ACU has repeatedly allowed white nationalists to present at and sponsor CPAC. In 2010, CPAC welcomed the sponsorship of the John Birch Society. In 2012, it hosted a panel on the “failure of multiculturalism” featuring John Derbyshire, Peter Brimelow and Robert Vandervoort, three of the most unabashedly racist voices on the Right, who were joined by Republican Rep. Steve King of Iowa. Vandervoort shared the stage on another panel with Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, one of the GOP’s most influential anti-immigrant strategists. Then, in 2013 and 2014, Vandervoort’s group ProEnglish was a sponsor of the conference.

This year, it appears that ProEnglish is once again sponsoring CPAC. Although the group is not listed on the event’s website, it is included on a longer list of sponsors on the event’s mobile phone app.

UPDATE: Here is a screenshot showing that ProEnglish will be sponsoring a booth at CPAC's exhibit hall, at a cost of $4,000:

Along with leading ProEnglish — a nativist group founded by John Tanton that seeks to establish English as the official language of the U.S. ­ — Vandervoort has a background as a white nationalist leader. The Institute for Research and Education on Human Rights reported in 2012 that Vandervoort was “the organizer of the white nationalist group, Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance, while he lived in Illinois”:

During that period Vandervoort was at the center of much of the white nationalist activity in the region. While he was in charge, Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance often held joint meetings with the local chapter of the Council of Conservative Citizens. He also made appearances at white nationalist events outside Illinois, for instance participating in the 2009 Preserving Western Civilization Conference.

Vandervoort's position at ProEnglish is not surprising, given his familiarity with the Nativist Establishment. He and several Chicagoland Friends of American Renaissance members attended a March 22, 2005 Federation for American Immigration Reform meeting at the Lincoln Restaurant in Chicago. At a November 13, 2004 FAIR "Midwest Immigration Reform Summit" in Rosemont, Illinois, Vandervoort attended and passed out leaflets to the crowd announcing a local American Renaissance event.

IREHR has more on Vandervoort here.

Although ProEnglish stays away from the outright white nationalism of Vandervoort’s past, it thrives on nativist fear-mongering. In 2013, ProEnglish ran a nasty anti-immigrant ad against South Carolina Sen. Lindsay Graham, which featured the voice of a woman “translating” a message from an “illegal immigrant”:

In addition to ProEnglish, CPAC has welcomed the sponsorship of anti-gay groups including the Family Research Council, theNational Organization for MarriageEagle Forum and Tradition, Family and Property, which at last year’s CPAC distributed a pamphlet depicting GOProud as a rainbow-colored beaver gnawing through the social issues leg of the conservative movement.

Right Wing Round-Up – 2/13/15

  • Kyler Geoffrey @ Towleroad: AL Pastor Rails Against ‘Comedic’ Gay Marriages, Claims You’ll Be Able To Marry Roaches In 2016

Robert Knight: Stop Gay Marriage By Impeaching Judges Who Rule For Equality

Washington Times columnist Robert Knight joined Steve Deace on his radio program yesterday to discuss the showdown in Alabama over a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Knight lamented that “judges have gotten out of control” because state and federal lawmakers have failed to bring them “to heel” by impeaching judges who rule in favor of marriage equality.

“The reason judges have gotten out of control is because legislators have not protected their turf, they have not used the constitutional means to bring these judges to heel,” he said. “One of them is impeachment. At the federal level and at the state level, there are many ways judges can be removed. In Massachusetts, it would have been easy to remove the Supreme Court judges who found a right to gay marriage in the Massachusetts Constitution in 2004, but that would have taken Gov. Mitt Romney to go ahead and get the process going and he refused.”

He also blamed the “pro-family movement” for failing to address why homosexuality is “bad for people” and neglecting to lift up the stories of people “who have recovered and become straight.”

Deace told Knight that Republicans who think a Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality would help them by putting aside a contentious issue are wrong, and that the ensuing national debate would
“make Roe v. Wade look like a picnic.”

“This is going to go DEFCON 1, DEFCON subterranean, because now we’re going to be in an issue where the other side of the argument now thinks they are empowered and emboldened to unleash the full coercive power of government to force believers nationwide all the way to the church door to change their belief system,” he said.

“This is going to escalate if the court goes Roe v. Wade on this in the summer,” he warned. “It won’t diminish it at all. It will take this from a largely provincial state-by-state issue into a national debate that I think’s going to make Roe v. Wade look like a picnic.”

Bryan Fischer: 'Sexual Immorality' And Abortion Will Cause God To Drive Americans From Our Land

A few months ago, Bryan Fischer justified the forcible removal of Native Americans from their land by citing the biblical story of the Amorites, who he said “lapsed into superstition and paganism and idolatry and sexual immorality and savagery” and were therefore justly removed by God.

On his American Family Radio program yesterday, Fischer cited the same story to warn that the United States is similarly in danger of “forfeiting our moral authority to maintain governance of this piece of land” because of legal abortion, a “turning away from Christianity” and, of course, “sexual immorality.”

“Again, the same principle of people can become morally disqualified to exercise sovereign authority over land by their savagery (think about the blood we’ve shed in abortion); by their superstition (think about our turning away from Christianity and from the God of the scriptures); and sexual immorality, I mean that’s an obvious problem in our culture,” he said.

“If that principle is true that God will displace a nation that lapses into unrepentant savagery, sexual immorality and superstition, then we are in danger, I believe, of forfeiting our moral authority to maintain governance of this piece of land, maintain sovereignty,” he warned. “Something that ought to be a concern to all of us, something that ought to take us to our knees in prayer and repentance for our land.”

Fischer didn’t specify who he believed God would empower to drive Americans from their land, although last year he cited some of the same scriptural passages to claim that God is using radical Islamic groups like ISIS to inflict his judgment on America for gay rights.

Bryan Fischer: 'Gay Gestapo' Forcing Alabama Judges Into 'Slavery'

Bryan Fischer is outraged that a federal judge may order the dozens of Alabama probate who are refusing to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples to back down. On his American Family Radio Program today, Fischer said that such an order would be tantamount to “tyranny” and “slavery” enforced by the “gay gestapo.”

“There’s a court hearing today before the federal judge, and she may order these probate judges to violate their own conscience and their own religious scruples,” he said. “She may order them to violate their conscience. You know what that is, ladies and gentlemen? You are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your conscience? That is tyranny.”

“When you are ordered by an agent of the government to violate your own conscience in something that you do, that is slavery. If you are forced to violate your conscience to do work, that is tyranny, that’s Tammy Bruce, that’s the gay gestapo. Tammy Bruce is the one that coined the term ‘gay gestapo.’ That’s the gay gestapo at work. You either do what we tell you or you’re going to get punished.”

Alabama Marriage Mess Shows Dangers Of Distorted 'Religious Liberty' Claims

Across Alabama, local judges are openly defying a federal judicial order to grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The New York Times reported yesterday that 44 of the state's 67 counties were not granting licenses. The state is a checkerboard, where gay and lesbian Alabamans are locked out of full citizenship across vast swaths of the state based on the whims of local officials.

As many observers have pointed out, this week's events make Americans recall the state's historic resistance to federal court orders striking down segregation. But they show us an image of the future, as well ... or at least the future as the Far Right would have it.

Emboldened by the Supreme Court's distortion of religious liberty in the Hobby Lobby case, some state legislatures are considering bills that would allow government officials to decline to perform marriages that offend them religiously. A number of states are also considering legislation to let people exempt themselves from anti-discrimination and other laws if compliance would offend them religiously. While misleadingly framed as protecting religious liberty, these bills are really intended to allow discrimination and to let conservatives impose their religious beliefs on others.

So what would America look like if we allowed such massive holes to be poked in laws that are supposed to protect everyone? What if lesbian and gay couples were legally treated as outsiders in their home communities, had fewer legal rights than anyone else in those communities, and had to travel anywhere from another neighborhood to another county to find a bakery willing to make a cake for them, a hotel willing to rent them a room for the night, or an employer willing to grant them spousal employment benefits? What if a woman's ability to find adequate healthcare depended on finding an employer and a pharmacist with compatible religious beliefs? What if people's basic rights varied depending on where they were, and upon the prevailing religious beliefs of people in the area? What would such a religiously balkanized nation look like?

It would look a lot like Alabama does today. And it would be ugly.

For decades, the Far Right has fought tooth and nail to impose their religious beliefs through government fiat. They have fought to prevent gays from marrying, to prevent women from exercising reproductive choice, to have public schools indoctrinate other people's children with their own religious beliefs, ... the list goes on. And when they fail at changing the laws to match their religion, they seek exemptions from those laws in the name of "religious liberty."

As People For the American Way Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery has written in his most recent report, that isn't what religious liberty is about. And it isn't a vision of America that is true to our founding principles.

This piece originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Tony Perkins: Marriage Equality Rulings Will Throw 'Our Country Into A Tailspin'

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spent a good portion of his “Washington Watch” radio program on Monday praising Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and the state probate judges who are refusing to follow a federal court order legalizing same-sex marriage in the state.

Perkins said that he, too, is “not going to listen to these courts that are wrong” when they make a ruling that is “inconsistent with nature itself, certainly inconsistent with scripture.”

The federal courts, he added, “are setting themselves up to lose credibility and put, I believe, our country into a tailspin.”

What is the rule of law? In a free society, a democratic society, the rule of law is generated, over all, [by the] Constitution and general consensus. We agree. And when you go too far out, which this administration has and these courts are, it doesn’t work. An unjust law is no law at all.

And they are setting themselves up to lose credibility and put, I believe, our country into a tailspin. Because I’m not going to listen to these courts that are wrong, when they have taken away the rights of the people and just imposed upon this nation a viewpoint that is not shared by a majority of the people. Even if it was, it’s inconsistent with nature itself, certainly inconsistent with scripture.

In New Video, PFAW Calls Out RNC For Partnering With The American Family Association

People For the American Way released a new video today calling out the Republican National Committee for accepting an all-expenses-paid trip to Israel for several dozen of its members from the American Family Association, an organization with a long record of promoting bigotry against LGBT people and non-Christians.

The trip is being organized by David Lane, an influential Christian nationalist strategist.

Shortly before the RNC trip began, the AFA stripped its spokesman Bryan Fischer of his official title at the organization but retained him as a host on its radio network.

PFAW previously called on the RNC to cancel the trip, but it has moved forward.

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