RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, we learned from the Right that gay people and immigrants are out to destroy our freedoms, with the help of President Obama, who is secretly preparing to stay in office for a third term.
5) Gay Marriage Threatens Freedom
Speaking with an Iowa talk show host this week, Sen. Ted Cruz once again appealed to the anti-gay Right when he railed against judges, like the members of the Iowa Supreme Court, who strike down bans on same-sex marriage. Cruz alleged that such rulings pose “ a real danger to our liberty” and are in defiance of the Constitution:
Ken Blackwell of the Family Research Council also described marriage equality as a threat to freedom this week, writing that the Supreme Court is “headed for another Dred Scott opinion” if it finds same-sex marriage bans to be unconstitutional, referring to the ruling which said that African Americans could not be U.S. citizens.
“If the Court overturns marriage, it will not only further delegitimize itself as an institution, it will gravely damage American society,” he said. “And it will undermine the ‘consent of the governed’ — the only basis for just laws.”
Blackwell, notorious for his efforts as Ohio’s secretary of state to stifle voting in the 2004 election, went on to compare judges who rule in favor of marriage equality to officials in the Jim Crow South who restricted the voting rights of African Americans: “We should remember Selma and the ‘Bloody Sunday’ that was necessary to achieve the too-long-denied equal voting rights for all our citizens. Today, rogue federal judges are engaged in the most massive case of voter suppression we have seen since the days of Jim Crow! Across the country, but especially in the South, black Americans joined other citizens in voting to affirm true marriage.”
But neither Blackwell nor Cruz can claim the prize for the most distraught outburst against gay marriage of the week, as that honor belongs to Indiana politician John Price, who suggested that Americans should “flee” the U.S. before the Supreme Court rules on marriage rights.
4) Gay Twilight Zone
So how exactly does LGBT equality threaten freedom?
Well, according to Texas GOP Chairman Tom Mechler, writing in an op-ed titled “ Free speech, rights are under attack,” the LGBT rights movement is threatening his freedom not to see photos of gay people:
I’ve watched with dismay the controversy surrounding Amarillo Town Club’s family membership policy, which was placed prominently before our community by the Amarillo Globe-News on March 2 with its front-page article showing a picture of two angry-looking homosexual women.
The story was also mentioned by a reader in a letter to the editor (Letter: Shame on Amarillo Town Club, March 6, amarillo.com) who believed the business’ conduct was “shameful.”
Shameful? Sometimes I feel like we are living in the twilight zone.
Mechler went on to write that people who criticize his view that same-sex marriage shouldn’t be legalized are actually attacking the freedom of speech: “What I find troubling is the incredible attack that has been launched on free speech. I love this country, and as an American the Bill of Rights gives me the right to say what I please.”
3) Immigrants Will Take Your Guns
Gun Owners of America executive director Larry Pratt is a staunch opponent of immigration reform since he believes that new citizens will vote Democratic and “take away our guns.”
Pratt expanded on this theory in an interview with Armed America Radio recently, explaining that immigrants have a “dependent mentality” and thus don’t understand what it’s like to want to protect yourself from bodily harm.
“A dependent class that depends on the government for their income, for all kinds of financial and other assistance, is not generally of a mind to be able to protect itself, which is after all the most important part about living, is staying alive from one moment to the next in case some dirtbag wants to try to terminate you,” he said. “And if you don’t think enough of your own freedom to take charge of that aspect of your existence, then of course you’re likely to expect handouts and ‘more, more, more’ because you have a dependent mentality.”
2) Another Petraeus Conspiracy Theory
When David Petraeus resigned as CIA director in response to allegations, to which he has since pled guilty, that he leaked classified information to a woman with whom he was having an affair, several conservative pundits rallied to his defense. According to these commentators, along with at least one GOP congressman, Petraeus was actually the victim of an Obama administration plot to stop him from exposing the truth about the 2012 Benghazi attack. In reality, since leaving the CIA, Petraeus has dismissed conspiracy theories surrounding the Benghazi attack and praised then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s response.
On Wednesday, as Media Matters notes, Rush Limbaugh made a similar claim, alleging that administration officials knew Petraeus was leaking sensitive material but “kept it in reserve” and acted on it only “when Petraeus refused to go out and spout the company line on Benghazi.” Limbaugh said that Clinton knew that this cover-up of the cover-up occurred, and that is why she used a personal email account at the State Department: “And so Mrs. Clinton knew that they knew, because she was secretary of state when they sent Petraeus out there to spout the company line and refused to do it. Plus she knew Obama — so that server is to keep things from Obama.”
1) Obama’s Third Term!
WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wants his readers to know that he takes very seriously concerns “out there across the fruited plain” that President Obama will defy the U.S. Constitution and remain in office after the end of his second term. In fact, WND is so worried about this conspiracy theory that it even asked potential GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson how the American people can stop Obama’s (non-existent) plot.
Since “Obama himself may not even be constitutionally eligible for office,” according to Farah, there is reason to believe that “he and his family might remain in Washington after leaving office” since he has no respect for the Constitution anyway. After all, Farah believes that the Obama family enjoys lavish vacations and is “living it up” on the taxpayers’ dime so much that they may refuse to leave the White House.
Farah even suggested that groups like People For the American Way are paving the way for the third Obama term since there is “simply no organized opposition to Obama’s illegal, criminal actions and behavior.” The only one who can stop Obama, Farah writes, may be Hillary Clinton.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, after teaming up with Christian nationalist extremists to host his “The Response” prayer rally in Baton Rouge earlier this year, is now continuing his project of endearing himself to the far fringes of the Religious Right by addressing an annual conference hosted by Liberty Counsel this weekend.
Liberty Counsel’s “The Awakening” event will bring Jindal, along with fellow likely GOP presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, together with some of the most unapologetically extreme Religious Right leaders, including Sen. Ted Cruz’s dad Rafael.
With speakers from John Eidsmoe, a founding father of the Religious Right’s current Christian nationalist thought, to Kamal Saleem, the phony ex-terrorist and prolific anti-Obama conspiracy theorist, the candidates are sure to be treated to an exciting array of far-right ideas.
The Awakening is organized by Liberty Counsel, a legal arm of Liberty University founded and chaired by Mat Staver. Staver is particularly invested in anti-LGBT activism both in the U.S. and abroad, where he has spoken out in favor of laws criminalizing homosexuality. Here at home, he has warned that marriage equality will help bring about God’s destruction of America and will be “the beginning of the end of Western Civilization.”
Staver’s extremism is not limited to LGBT rights. For instance, at the 2010 Awakening conference, Staver agreed with an audience member who asked if the Affordable Care Act created a private army of Brownshirts for President Obama.
Kamal Saleem claims to be an ex-terrorist who worked for a number of Islamist groups before coming to America to build sleeper cells and ultimately converting to Christianity. The fact that Saleem’s story doesn’t add up — and that he’s suspiciously reluctant to talk about the details — hasn’t stopped him from being a popular speaker on the Religious Right conference circuit, where he impresses audiences with his insider knowledge that President Obama is a secret Muslim out to destroy America.
Saleem uses his literally unbelievable personal story to sell a wide range of conspiracy theories, including claims that President Obama attends a mosque in Washington, DC, on Christmas (while he is simultaneously in Hawaii) and that Islamists are working through Sasha and Malia Obama’s babysitters to establish a shadow government.
In 2012, he told The Awakening that when President Obama appeared to be pledging allegiance to the flag, he was actually taking part in an Islamic prayer. The same year, he warned the Values Voter Summit that then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would be shutting down churches in America within the year:
John Eidsmoe is one of the leading voices behind the Religious Right’s effort to rewrite American history and law to reflect a specific “biblical worldview.” Former Rep. Michele Bachmann, who was a research assistant on Eidsmoe’s influential 1987 book “Christianity and the Constitution,” cites him as an in influence and his work has permeated the segment of the Religious Right that seeks to take “dominion” over America to avoid God’s judgment.
Eidsmoe has specifically warned that gay rights will bring about divine judgment on the U.S. and wrote a whole book, “Gays & Guns,” arguing against allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military, warning that they might molest children.
Eidsmoe, who has gotten in trouble in the past for speaking to white supremacist groups, is currently the “senior counsel and resident scholar” at the Foundation for Moral Law, the Christian nationalist group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, a longtime ally.
Rick Scarborough, a Baptist pastor and the head of the Religious Right group Vision America, is one of the most extreme voices in the anti-LGBT movement. Although he insists that he is neither a Democrat or Republican, but a “Christ-ocrat,” he frequently allies with likeminded Republican politicians including Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee to get his followers to the polls.
Scarborough maintains that AIDS is God’s “judgment” for “an immoral act,” warns that the appointment of gay ambassadors would be perfect justification for God to nuke America, and once suggested filing a class action lawsuit against homosexuality.
Scarborough has also dabbled in anti-immigrant nativism, warning that “more non-white families” in the U.S. would lead to fewer Christians and that “if this country becomes 30 percent Hispanic we will no longer be America.”
Franklin Graham, a son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, couples his international humanitarian work with an apocalyptic approach to American politics. He predicted that President Obama’sreelectionwould bring about God’s destruction of America and railed that Americans “turned our back on God” by reelecting the president.
Graham’s opinion of the Obama administration was only reinforced when he was disinvited from speaking at an event at the Pentagon because of hishistory of anti-Muslim rhetoric. He has since claimed that the White House has been “infiltrated by Muslims” and is being run by Muslims who “hate Israel and hate Christians.” Just this week, he speculated that Obama’s mother “must have been a Muslim,” which he said explains why the president supposedly won’t fight ISIS.
While he may worry that God is getting ready to judge America for President Obama, Graham has implied that the Almighty is smiling on Russian President Vladimir Putin because of his crackdown on LGBT rights in his country. Graham, who has long claimed that Christianity is on the road to being criminalized in the U.S., said last year that pastors must be prepared to get their “heads chopped off” in the fight against gay rights.
Matt Barber, a former Liberty Counsel official who still hosts a daily radio program with Staver, is best known for his over-the-top bigoted anti-gay rhetoric.
Barber often frames his battle against LGBT equality and reproductive rights as a “spiritual war” in which he is on the side of God. He has called marriage equality the “bidding of the Devil” and warned that by legalizing same-sex marriage, America is “ tempting the wrath of God.” He claims that HIV/AIDS is divine punishment for homosexuality.
Barber is fond of comparing his opponents to Nazis, calling supporters of reproductive rights “modern day Nazis” and LGBT rights advocates “Rainbowshirts” who have “broken out the long knives” to go after Christians. At the same time, he has supported repressive anti-LGBT regimes around the world, praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay crackdown and saying he’d like to see a ban on “gay propaganda” in the U.S., and defending Uganda’s harsh criminal penalties for LGBT people.
In a discussion yesterday about how marriage equality is destroying Massachusetts, anti-LGBT activists Brian Camenker and Sandy Rios suggested that more kids in Massachusetts are gay and bisexual because of the “brainwashing” and “peer pressure” taking place in public schools.
“It’s a huge percentage,” Rios said. “It’s just amazing, they’re experimenting and being exposed to this stuff, things they would have never thought of, so they are trying it.”
Camenker said that he is familiar with kids “who have gone into this lifestyle because of the peer pressure in the schools, and I also know kids that got into it and because of the proper intervention by their parents got out of it and are leading normal lives now.” He added that “often just bringing a kid to a normal environment for a while will help straighten the boy or girl out, just not being subjugated to the brainwash.”
Brian Camenker of the anti-LGBT group MassResistance appeared on “Sandy Rios In The Morning” yesterday to discuss how marriage equality is ruining Massachusetts, a problem that Camenker previously described in great detail to “The Daily Show.” Rios, the American Family Association’s governmental affairs director, said that people need to know the facts about gay marriage’s supposedly disastrous consequences since people “watch HGTV and they see gay couples happily cohabitating and they don’t understand what’s behind all of this.”
“This is kind of like trying to talk about the Holocaust without showing pictures,” Rios said. “They killed Jews. So that’s bad, but if you don't understand what they actually did — you need to know, ladies and gentlemen, what is actually being taught to the kids because really, some of it Brian can’t even say, most of it you can’t even say.”
Rios was especially upset about a pamphlet on sexual health designed for the gay community, known as “The Little Black Book.” While the pamphlet is geared towards adults, Camenker said that it was pushed on children.
“This book is focused on teenagers and it tells them very graphically how to perform the most ridiculous, horrible homosexual sex acts,” Camenker said. “There’s no way I can tell you this because they are so disgusting…. You’ll get sick just reading them.”
On his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer responded to reports of ocular syphilis cases among gay men in California by declaring that homosexuality is now turning people blind. This led Fischer to promote the myth that immigrants are bringing measles and polio-like illnesses into the U.S and to claim that immigrants and gay people are bringing back diseases once thought to be eradicated.
Fischer eventually connected the health story back to a popular slogan used to protest racial discrimination: “All we’ve heard over the last number of months is ‘black lives matter,’ ‘black lives matter,’ ‘black lives matter.’ I agree, black lives matter. If you’ve got a behavior, you’ve got a conduct, you’ve got a lifestyle that is resulting in potentially blinding health risks for black males and their risk is five times higher than white males, I would say if black lives matter, it is time we started doing something about that.”
Fischer, who supports criminalizing homosexuality, said that by “warning homosexuals of the consequences of homosexual behavior,” he is showing them far more love “than those who are urging them to engage in conduct, celebrating conduct, promoting conduct, providing special privileges on the basis of conduct that can leave its practitioners both blind and dead.”
A coalition of anti-gay groups is once again urging parents to keep their children out of school on the annual anti-bullying “Day of Silence.” The Illinois Family Institute published the call to action on its website today, signed by activists including Matt Barber, Concerned Women for America’s Penny Nance, Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera, Scott Lively, Linda Harvey, Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, and MassResistance’s Brian Camenker.
Calling the GLSEN-sponsored event “the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools,” the activists allege that it is meant to “indoctrinate 16-year-olds.”
“We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality,” they exhort.
The Day of Silence has long been a target of anti-gay group’ efforts to crack down on anti-bullying efforts in schools.
The Day of Silence is the queen of all the numerous homosexuality-affirming activities that take place in public schools. It started in one university and then like a cancer metastasized to thousands of high schools, and then into middle schools. Before long it will take place in elementary schools. Leftists know that it’s easier to indoctrinate 16-year-olds than 36-year-olds and easier still to indoctrinate 6-year-olds.
GLSEN promotes the Day of Silence as an “anti-bullying” effort. If it were solely about eradicating bullying, everyone—liberals and conservatives alike—would support it. But it’s not.
The Day of Silence exploits government schools, captive audiences, and anti-bullying sentiment to advance the Left’s social, moral, and political beliefs and goals. GLSEN seeks to advance the belief that all public expressions of moral disapproval of homosexual activity are bullying.
A coalition of pro-family organizations is once again urging parents to keep their children home from school on the Day of Silence if their school administrations will be allowing students to politicize instructional time by refusing to speak. This is the only organized national effort to oppose any pro-homosexual activity or event in public schools.
The absence of conservative influence within the culture on issues related to homosexuality is to some extent the fault of conservatives. Ignorance, fear, and an astounding lack of perseverance on the parts of conservatives have turned our cultural institutions—including public education—into the playground of “progressives.” Our passivity has enabled homosexual activists and their ideological allies to become social, political, and pedagogical bullies. Evidence of that is everywhere, including in schools on the GLSEN’s annual April school event, the Day of Silence.
We must demonstrate the boldness and perseverance of the Left if we hope to stop the relentless appropriation of public education for the promotion of homosexuality.
Matt Barber , Founder and Editor-in-Chief, BarbWire
Dr. Michael Brown , Director, Coalition of Conscience
Brian Camenker , President, MassResistance
Linda Harvey , Founder and President, Mission America
Laurie Higgins , Cultural Analyst, Illinois Family Institute
Peter LaBarbera , President, Americans for Truth About Homosexuality
Diane Gramley , President, American Family Association of Pennsylvania
Matt Staver , President, Liberty Counsel
Debra Smith , Founder, Informing Christians
Tom Rasmussen , Executive Director, Montana Family Foundation
Pastor Scott Lively , President, Abiding Truth Ministries
Penny Nance , President, CWA
Debbie Leininger , State Director, CWA of Illinois
Beverly Uhlmer Roberts , State Director, CWA of Texas South
Linda Wall , VA Mass Resistance
Nolan Clayton , Faith and Freedom Family Ministries
Pastor Christopher Clegg , Operation Save America
Sen. Ted Cruz told Iowa talk radio host Jan Mickelson yesterday that he plans to introduce a constitutional amendment to allow states to ban gay and lesbian couples from marrying because court decisions in favor of marriage equality present “a real danger to our liberty.”
The Texas Republican deflected Mickelson’s questions on whether states could simply ignore a Supreme Court decision in favor of marriage equality, saying he preferred his constitutional amendment as a solution. “If the courts were following the Constitution, we shouldn’t need a new amendment, but they are, as you put it quite rightly, making it up right now and it’s a real danger to our liberty,” he said.
Cruz told a group of Iowa pastors yesterday that judges who have made decisions in favor of marriage equality are “ignoring their oaths, ignoring the Constitution and legislating from the bench.”
Americans For Truth About Homosexuality’s Peter LaBarbera joined Janet Mefferd on Friday to discuss the Supreme Court brief filed by a number of prominent conservatives in favor of marriage equality, along with a Buzzfeed article labeling Jeb Bush “2016’s gay-friendly Republican.”
Needless to say, LaBarbera and Mefferd were not pleased with these developments, and speculated that Christians will start to leave the Republican Party if support for gay rights begins to gain a foothold in the party.
LaBarbera warned that Republicans need to not only hold onto their opposition to marriage equality, but also start speaking out against things like a kiss between two teenage boys on a recent episode of the TV show “The Fosters.”
“In my mind, if the Republican Party can’t even talk about something as fundamental to morality and our nation’s future as whether it’s okay to push young people into homosexuality and to model that as a positive thing, if Republicans can’t even handle that issue, then I think there’s not a good prospect long term for the Republican Party,” he said.
Earlier in the interview, LaBarbera said it was impossible for “a real, faithful conservative” to support LGBT rights and blamed the GOP’s very slight feints toward LGBT rights on libertarians, whom he lamented “end up supporting a lot of the homosexual agenda, even though much of the homosexual agenda is against liberty”:
If you’re endorsing the idea of marriage between two people of the same sex, an act which God calls an abomination, which is decidedly against nature — our Declaration talks about “nature and nature’s God,” homosexuality is decidedly against both — I can’t see how a real, faithful conservative could support that.
In the case of homosexuality, you’re seeing pro-homosexual arguments, the idea of attaching the perversion of homosexuality to the noble institution of marriage, being advanced as a conservative idea. And I think we can take the libertarians for that. The libertarians, I believe, are going to end up causing a lot of trouble in the Republican Party, because they end up supporting a lot of the homosexual agenda, even though much of the homosexual agenda is against liberty.
This op-ed by Rev. Timothy McDonald III, , 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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.”
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.”
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.
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.
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."
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.