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.”
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 hasrepeatedlyexcluded 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.
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”:
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.”
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 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.”
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."
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.
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.
In an interview with the Iowa Republican yesterday, Bob Vander Plaats of the Religious Right group The Family Leader said that all of his dire warnings about the consequences of marriage equality are “starting to come true.”
“A lot of the things that we said early on that people said were red herrings, that we’re just trying to scare people, they’re starting to come true,” he said. “A woman wants to marry herself, a dad wants to marry a daughter, three people out on the East Coast want to get married, polygamy laws are getting labeled as unconstitutional. So it’s not about redefining marriage, it’s about un-defining marriage.”
Steve McConkey of the 4 Winds sports ministry, a group that resists moves toward LGBT rights in sports, issued a press release this weekend criticizing Bruce Jenner for “promoting sin” and sending a “very bad message to the kids of America.”
"Kids will have another sports hero who is confused and the saga will be broadcast throughout the world,” McConkey said. “Pray for Bruce Jenner and against television networks for promoting sin."
4 WINDS sports minister Steve McConkey believes this is another indication of where sports is headed after the International Olympic Committee allowed transgenders in the Olympics in 2003. The IOC decision has directly or indirectly emboldened former and current athletes to proudly defy biblical standards.
Thirty-three state high school organizations have already approved transgenders on sports teams. A boy now can compete as a girl and a girl as a boy. Jenner's decision will only increase the confusion as kids look up to athletes as examples. Steve believes Christians will face discrimination if they believe homosexuality is a sin.
Jenner won his decathlon gold medal at the 1976 Olympics with a world-record 8,616 points. He received the James E. Sullivan Award as the top amateur athlete in the United States. Jenner was also the Associated Press Male Athlete of the Year in 1976.
"An athlete of Bruce Jenner's stature becoming a transgender will send a very bad message to the kids of America," says Steve McConkey. "Kids will have another sports hero who is confused and the saga will be broadcast throughout the world. Pray for Bruce Jenner and against television networks for promoting sin."
NOM President Brian Brown, whose international petition site CitizenGo was already on record supporting Moore, wrote to NOM supporters on Friday that the many federal court rulings in favor of marriage equality in the wake of the Windsor decision represent not just “bullying” but “tyranny.”
“[T]his is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too,” he wrote.
We need to stand up to this kind of bullying whenever we encounter it, but especially when it comes dressed up in the robes of the state authority. Indeed, then we shouldn't call it merely bullying at all, but assign it the true name it deserves: tyranny.
Tyranny is precisely the word, for example, to describe the rash of judicial rulings that has swept across the country since the Windsor decision in summer of 2013 that overturned part of the Defense of Marriage Act. And that's not just my opinion: it's also the opinion of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, the Honorable Roy Moore.
Justice Moore sent a letter to Alabama's Governor, Robert Bentley, this week urging him to "continue to uphold and support the Alabama Constitution with respect to marriage, both for the welfare of [the state of Alabama] and for our posterity."
Moore's letter came in the wake of a ruling by a federal judge in Alabama that claimed the state's "Sanctity of Marriage Amendment" is supposedly unconstitutional. The amendment was approved by 81% of voters in just 2006, winning every county in the State. The judge's decision is currently stayed pending review by higher courts.
Moore encouraged Governor Bentley: "Be advised that I stand with you to stop judicial tyranny and any unlawful opinions issued without constitutional authority" [emphasis added].
Marriage Supporter, this is the kind of principled stand we need more of our public officials to take—and we need to take such a stand ourselves, too.
In the same email, Brown touted his work pushing anti-LGBT laws overseas, lamenting that “the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West” and accusing Obama and LGBT rights activists of attempting “to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world.”
And as we work, let's remember that we're not alone in this fight! Lately, I have had a few opportunities to meet with marriage leaders throughout the globe, such as at the recent Vatican Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman. The experiences of these countries make it clear that we have a global fight to preserve marriage, and that the biggest threats to marriage are unfortunately coming from the West — led by the United States (and the lawless actions of President Obama) but also including some countries in western Europe.
It's nothing short of a new western imperialism for the Obama administration and his allies among gay and lesbian activists to attempt to export a radical view of marriage to the rest of the world. (Indeed, Pope Francis, on his recent trip to the Philippines, called it a kind of "ideological colonization.") There's something ironic in all this, seeing how President Obama's foreign policy strategy (to the extent he has one) is supposedly predicated on the idea that America must work in concert with the international community. You'd think that advice would apply to Obama's attempt to redefine marriage, as well, since the overwhelming majority of countries around the globe have rejected same-sex ‘marriage'...
And that leads me to a positive bit of news to share in closing this week: if you haven't already heard, the national parliament of Macedonia recently voted overwhelmingly (72-4) to create constitutional provisions limiting marriage to the union of one man and one woman. And the people of Slovakia are very likely to do the same in a national referendum in little over a week's time!
In an interview Friday with the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore defended a letter he sent to Gov. Robert Bentley urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, saying that he was just like abolitionists and desegregationists standing up against the “rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary.”
Moore told Rios that the case is similar to his famous defiance of a federal court order to remove a monument of the 10 Commandments from a court building because the 10 Commandments spat “symbolized the rejection of God’s law by the federal judiciary” and “now we see the institution of marriage that God ordained under sustained attack from federal judges":
Later in the interview, Rios asked Moore what he would say to Christians who are upset that he’s breaking the law by defying the federal courts.
“This is not against the law, this is for the law,” he said.
Moore, who in 2004 helped lead a campaign to preserve segregationist language in Alabama’s constitution, compared his stand against marriage equality to a defiance of federal courts on slavery or segregation. He added that he also puts abortion rights in that category, because “everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution”:
I think we’ve got to look back. Courts are not always perfect, Sandy. The United States Supreme Court is not always perfect. What would you have done in 1857 when they came out and said slaves were property. If you were a judge, would you have followed that opinion? Or in 1896, I think it is, in Plessy v. Ferguson, when they said that separate but equal was the policy that we had to adhere to, would you have followed it?
We’ve got to realize that courts, whether they’re federal, state, Supreme Court are not always perfect. And sometimes their rulings will contradict the Constitution, as did the United States Supreme Court opinion in Dred Scott, as it did in Plessy v. Ferguson, as it did in Roe v. Wade. Everybody recognizes Roe v. Wade is not in accordance with the Constitution, but you know, there it is as law. So I submit to you that we’ve got to look at these things very carefully.
One of those rejoicing is Janet Mefferd, who on her radio program today called Judge Moore’s stand against the federal court a “wonderful thing to see” and invited Wisconsin pastor Matt Trewhella on to her program to discuss it.
Trewhella has written a book on what he calls the "doctrine of the lesser magistrates," the idea that lower courts and elected officials can defy civil laws that they think defy divine law, and Mefferd told him that she “cracked up” at progressives calling Moore’s position “lawless” because “who has exhibited more lawlessness on the issue of marriage than the left and the pro-homosexual crowd?”
Trewhella agreed: “Absolutely, they’re the ones who are the anarchists here. What Roy Moore is trying to do, and hopefully Gov. Bentley here, is to restore order.”
“This whole idea of judicial supremecy, this whole idea that everyone has to listen to the federal judiciary is absurd, and they’re the ones who don’t have history or law behind them,” he said.
Later in the program, Mefferd falsely claimed that President Obama had refused to enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, prompting Trewhella to repeat that supporters of LGBT rights “are the anarchists” while “people like Judge Moore and Gov. Bentley, they’re the ones that are doing right, they’re the ones actually trying to restore order from the disorder that lawless men have created.”
He went on to explain that marriage equality is “an attack upon Christ” and the next step in a government plot to destroy the family “by imposing licentiousness through law,” starting with the decriminalization of adultery and no-fault divorce laws.
“This isn’t just happening by chance, this is by design,” he said. “We have a federal government that is giving the most base men amongst us the force of law behind their filthy practices.”
As it happens, just this month, Trewhella was invited to share his views in a sermon to the Montana state legislature, which the Christian News Network reports was well received by many in his audience:
“The cold-blooded murder of the preborn, the imposition of homosexual marriage upon our states, no-fault divorce, the decriminalization of adultery, the phalanx of laws created by the State to invade our domestic affairs, disarm the people, seize our property, and harass our persons—all point to the growing tyranny in America,” he declared.
Trewhella then pointed to numerous biblical examples of interposition where the people of God refused to commit evil and chose to obey God rather than men—from the midwives who refused to kill the firstborn male children in Egypt contrary to Pharaoh’s command to Daniel’s refusal to obey a decree issued by King Darius that prohibited him from praying to God.
“Understand, God is the ultimate authority. The Bible says plainly, ‘The Most High rules over the realm of mankind,'” Trewhella preached to the more than 30 lawmakers gathered. “He created us, and thus knows best how we are to be governed. God is the ultimate Law-Giver and Ruler.”
“As God’s minister’s you are to govern according to His rule,” he continued. “You are—as it says in [Romans 13]—to reward those who do good and punish those who do evil. You are not to make law or policy which contradicts His moral law or His word.”
Trewhella said that the majority of the problems in America today stem from moral relativism out of its abandonment of God.
“God’s moral law as the ‘higher law’ provides an objective standard whereby one is able to discern right from wrong, or good from evil. The ‘higher law’ exists independent of the authority of any government, and all governments of men are accountable to it,” he explained. “It is the tyrant state that abhors an objective standard. It does not want to be accountable. It flourishes in a subjective environment. And that is why you are watching Western Civilization crumble before your eyes.”
“May God help you do right by Him,” the pastor and author exhorted.
“I had many [legislators] come up to me and tell me, ‘This is something we need to look into more and learn more about,'” he explained. “When people are taught for the word of God regarding civil government, they are able to see the purpose, functions and limits of civil government,” he said, adding that when citizens remain ignorant of these matters “it makes it much easier for the state to do things beyond its biblical or constitutional limits or restraints.”
Following the presentation of the sermon on Sunday, Trewhella also taught at meetings throughout the week in various cities, including in Plains, Missoula, Butte and Bozeman. In addition to the attendance of local residents, several government officials were present at the meetings as well.
“It’s been really good what’s happened here,” Trewhella said.
RWW’s Paranoia-Ramatakes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
According to the right-wing media, Sharia law is gaining a foothold in Michigan, President Obama is blocking the sale of miracle drugs and Satan is commanding the gay rights movement. But Sarah Palin has uncovered the most menacing threat to America of them all: criticism of Sarah Palin.
According to Media Matters, one email to Erickson’s list claimed that the federal government is suppressing a miracle cancer cure that healed Ronald Reagan. Another warned that President Obama and the FDA could kill “over 45 million Americans…including you” because they are refusing to release a “secret” cure to cancer, heart disease and Alzheimer’s.
But 45 million deaths is low compared to the potential toll of another “Obama scandal” that a RedState sponsored email warned could “wipe out 281 million Americans.”
4) Fox News Helping … Hillary?
At least according to Sarah Palin. Upset that Fox News host Bill O’Reilly mocked the prospect of Palin and fellow reality television star Donald Trump running for president as a “reality show,” Palin charged that O’Reilly is trying to undermine the conservative movement just as it prepares to take on Hillary Clinton.
Palin fumed that “quasi-right” media outlets like Fox News should wake up to the fact that “this is a war” against Clinton and should help the GOP unify and “surface the competitor who can take on Hillary or whomever it may be and win for this country.”
Perkins recently spoke with Frank Gaffney, a fellow anti-Muslimconspiracytheorist, about the supposed rise of Sharia law in the U.S., and unsurprisingly, Gaffney joined in on the frenzy and referred to the city as “Dearbornistan.” He said the “Muslim-only” city of Dearborn has become a “ghetto” that is “too dangerous” to enter.
This might be news to the city’s residents, including one Army veteran who was able to find no shortage of stores selling haram goods like ham and liquor, along with a gentleman’s club, despite the claims of right-wing activists that the city is now imposing Sharia law.
2) Marriage Equality Turns Kids Into Government Property
A group of Catholic and Protestant leaders signed a statement this week warning that the legalization of same-sex marriage will lead “to the coercion and persecution of those who refuse to acknowledge the state’s redefinition of marriage, which is beyond the state’s competence.”
Signatories, including National Organization for Marriage founder Maggie Gallagher and prominent Proposition 8 supporter Rick Warren, warned that marriage equality for same-sex couples represents an even “graver threat” to society than divorce “because what is now given the name of marriage in law is a parody of marriage.”
By legalizing same-sex marriage, the statement reads, “a kind of alchemy is performed, not merely on the institution, but on human nature itself,” since same-sex marriage apparently “disregards the created order, threatens the common good and distorts the Gospel.” The statement even claims that marriage equality will turn children “in important legal respects, the property of the state.”
1) Gay Demonic Energy
American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer thinks that Satan makes people gay, so of course Fischer believes that Satan is also in command of the gay rights movement.
“I don’t think you will ever find a more directly demonic energy than when you deal with the homosexual agenda,” Fischer said this week. “They’re vicious. They are mean. You literally are staring into virtually the unvarnished energy of Satan himself when you come up against the forces that are pushing the homosexual agenda forward.”
Upset with the coverage of his comments, Fischer said that he feels bad for gay people, since they are “captives, prisoners of war” of Satan.
Sprigg — who travelled to Idaho earlier this week to testify against the measure — celebrated the decision, saying that banning employment and housing discrimination against LGBT people “would increase the power of government to interfere with the operation of private businesses and private organizations” and would place the government in the position of “taking sides” on a “controversial issue.” (We weren’t aware that the FRC opposed the government taking sides on controversial issues!)
Sprigg said that what the Idaho legislature should really do is remain “morally neutral” in order for “the marketplace of ideas” to sort out whether or not it’s okay to discriminate against LGBT people, rather than making “a legal statement that it is morally wrong to disapprove of homosexual conduct and morally wrong to disapprove of people presenting themselves as the opposite of their biological sex.”
Later in the program, Perkins took a call from a listener who complained that he had seen a picture on Facebook of “two naked guys sitting on each other” and that when he complained about it to Facebook “in a nice, respectful, Christian way,” he was treated like “the biggest bigot out there.”
“I think we need to pray for them, maybe they’ll turn their lives around,” the caller said.
Perkins agreed that “Jesus said that we are to pray for our enemies, for those who persecute us, that would be those who mock and ridicule us, absolutely we should pray for them.”
Citing a mentally disturbed man who tried to stage an attack on FRC headquarters, Perkins contended that LGBT rights proponents are the real intolerant “haters” because they’re “projecting.”
“We’ve had them come into our building with guns, shooting, to try to kill us,” he said. “We harbor no bitterness in our hearts toward them, which is something they can’t understand. They want to project and that’s why they like to call us haters and so on and so forth, but they’re projecting.”
He added that he is very tolerant of gay people and doesn’t mind if they “live together, do whatever they want to do” as long as they don’t “redefine all of society for the rest of us.”
“I think more and more Americans are waking up because they’re seeing it,” he said. “This is being shoved into people’s faces, and if, like you, they say, 'I don’t want this on my Facebook page, I don’t want this, I don’t want to see this, look, do whatever you want to do but don’t involve me in that' — that’s not good enough, there’s this effort of forced acceptance and affirmation. And we just can’t do that.”
Today People For the American Way President Michael Keegan sent a letter to Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Committee (RNC), urging him to cancel a planned trip to Israel for roughly 60 RNC members that is organized by Christian-nation extremist David Lane and funded by the anti-LGBT hate group the American Family Association (AFA).
Although we have no objection to RNC members travelling to Israel, we urge you not to collaborate with those who are funding and coordinating this trip. The American Family Association and Mr. Lane have made it clear that they view the Republican Party as a vehicle for ensuring that the U.S. government is operated by and for conservative Christians, at the expense of those of other faiths and no faith, and those Christians who do not share their particular beliefs.
Mr. Lane insists that the separation of church and state is a “fabricated whopper” meant to stop “Christian America — the moral majority — from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media” and has said that his “long-term strategy” is to place the Bible as “the principle [sic] textbook” in American public schools. Mr. Lane has also warned that an openly gay speaker at President Obama’s inauguration would provoke God to allow car bombings in major American cities.
The American Family Association also holds troubling views about the role of religion in American government and regularly promotes false smears against LGBT people. Although the AFA recently sought to distance itself from its own inflammatory spokesman, Bryan Fischer, it continues to offer him a prominent platform on its radio network, American Family Radio. And AFA still employs as its governmental affairs director Sandy Rios, who along with other radical statements, has warned that “powerful Jewish forces” are using groups like the American Civil Liberties Union to destroy America and just this week mocked the notion that “God is fond of atheist Jews who occupy the land in Israel.”
The American Family Association and David Lane have every right to promote these extreme views. However, it is troubling that a major political party is lending them legitimacy.
In January of last year, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore denounced the decriminalization of sodomy and the separation of church in state in a speech to Pro-Life Mississippi and Pastors for Life in Jackson, Mississippi. Moore, who first received national attention when he lost his post for refusing to obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument he erected in a courthouse rotunda, recently urged Alabama to flout a federal court’s decision finding that the state’s ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional.
Moore’s understanding of the Constitution is pretty well summed up by his belief that Christianity and the Bible should have privileged roles in U.S. government because “they didn’t bring a Quran over on the Pilgrim ship, the Mayflower.”
Upset that the military was allowing “two men getting married in a chapel,” Moore said that America is forgetting about God and only turning to public worship “when we get in trouble, when they bombed the Twin Towers.”
“They don’t acknowledge Buddha,” Moore said of elected officials. “Buddha didn’t create us, Mohammad didn’t create us.”
Moore, who once described homosexuality as a “criminal lifestyle,” also criticized the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down bans “sodomy” bans in Lawrence v. Texas.
He said that the “abominations” of gay rights and legal abortion are now putting America in direct confrontation with God.
Yesterday, the American Family Association announced that it was stripping Bryan Fischer of his position as a spokesman for the group. The AFA's move to distance itself from Fischer’s regular barrages of bigotry apparently came in response pressure from its allies in the Republican National Committee, who are preparing to go on a tour of Israel on AFA's dime. (Though the fact that the group is retaining Fischer as a radio personality on its American Family Radio network makes the whole thing somewhat less convincing.)
In what seems to be part of this effort, AFA has sent the Southern Poverty Law Center a letter explicitly denouncing a laundry list of Fischer’s statements, from his blaming the Holocaust on gay people to his insistence that the First Amendment applies only to Christians.
But one statement in the letter stands out:
AFA rejects the policy advocated by Bryan Fischer that homosexual conduct should be illegal.
Really? Is AFA renouncing its support for criminal sodomy laws?
If the AFA has indeed changed its positions on criminal prohibitions on “homosexual conduct,” that would certainly be news! But we somehow wonder if this is yet another example of the group saying one thing to its critics while it continues to say another to its base.
After all, in 2003, when the Supreme Court was preparing to hear arguments in Lawrence v. Texas, the case that struck down state-level prohibitions on sexual relationships between consenting adults of the same sex, the AFA submitted an amicus brief [PDF] passionately defending such laws.
AFA’s attorneys urged the court to consider the “injury caused to the public by same-sex sodomy,” which it implied was more harmful than rape:
In addition to the concrete physical harms that can be caused by private vices, morals laws may prevent moral harm, both to the potential wrongdoer and to the community at large. Just as “[a] physical environment marred by pollution jeopardizes people’s physical health; a social environment abounding in vice threatens their moral wellbeing and integrity.” The injury caused to the public by same-sex sodomy was well understood in the past. Blackstone, having spent several pages immediately prior on rape and abduction, introduces the section on sodomy as dealing with an offense “of a still deeper malignity,” “the very mention of which is a disgrace to human nature.” Plainly, this crime is of a different magnitude. [citations removed for clarity]
AFA also warned that sodomy laws protect “the well-being of those engaged in the immoral behavior,” and that though they “may seem severe to those struggling with strong sexual urges” they will be “beneficial in the end”:
Another interest often overlooked in analysis of the issue of public harms occasioned by private immorality is that of the well-being of those engaged in the immoral behavior. The enormous price in terms of illness, disease and death resulting from the conduct…is well documented.
But even aside from the health issue, it has been almost universally recognized that restraint is the sine qua non for social harmony. “Human society requires the direction and restraint of many impulses. Few of those impulses are more powerful or unpredictable than sexual desire.” Laws such as [these] may seem severe to those struggling with strong sexual urges, but the restraint they encourage is beneficial in the end. American jurisprudence long ago rejected Hume’s notion that “reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions.” [citations removed]
The same year, AFA’s Ed Vitigliano wrote in the American Family Association Journal that a victory in Lawrence would be necessary to preserve “the notion of law and morality inherent in the Judeo-Christian worldview” and praised sodomy laws as deriving “from an older recognition of an orderly natural world, reflecting an intelligent design and, thus, purpose within nature, called natural law.”
Interestingly, the nation’s highest court will be revisiting in Lawrence and Garner v. Texas the same general issues dealt with in a previous Supreme Court case. In Bowers v. Hardwick (1986), a 5-4 high court majority upheld Georgia’s sodomy statute.
That narrowest of decisions, however, pitted two culturally distinct appraisals of morality and law against each other – and in fact provides a clear lesson about what has become known as the culture war.
Sadly, however, since 1986 the more traditional Judeo-Christian views which prevailed in Bowers have been steadily eroding in our culture, in favor of the more postmodern views of the minority in that case. Should the Supreme Court in Lawrence take an opposite view than it did in Bowers, that would mean – quite remarkably – that in the span of only 17 years, the notion of law and morality inherent in the Judeo-Christian worldview had been decreed, by unelected judges, obsolete.
Most sodomy laws have already disappeared anyway. In 1960, all 50 states had such laws on their books – now only 13 states do. However, the repeal of these laws – either by state legislatures or judges – indicates that the statutes represent a worldview that is rapidly being abandoned in favor of postmodern relativism. Sodomy laws derive from an older recognition of an orderly natural world, reflecting an intelligent design and, thus, purpose within nature, called natural law.
We look forward to seeing the AFA issue a full retraction of its previous support for criminalizing “homosexual conduct.” But we aren’t holding our breath.
Earlier this week, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore sent a letter to Alabama’s governor urging him to ignore a federal court ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage because, he wrote, “the laws of our state have always recognized the Biblical admonition” against homosexuality.
Moore’s arguments may be legally questionable, but his stand against the federal courts seems to be catapulting him back into right-wing hero status that he hasn’t seen since he defied a court order to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments from his court’s rotunda.
Family Research Council President Tony Perkins praised Moore for standing up against marriage equality, which he warned is a threat “not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival":
Federal judges may have the last word on marriage -- but they won’t have the final one. That’s becoming abundantly clear in Alabama, the latest state to feel the sting of a runaway court invalidating the will of the people on marriage. In a letter to Governor Robert Bentley (R-Ala.), Chief Justice Roy Moore made that quite clear -- explaining that this isn’t an issue that the federal courts will resolve. Rather, he said, it “raises serious, legitimate concerns about the propriety of federal court jurisdiction over the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment.”
Unelected judges and a handful of lawyers have been pushing state marriage amendments over like sleeping cows. Meanwhile, stunned Americans have struggled to make sense of a legal system that puts its own political agenda ahead of the expressed will of the people. Like most conservatives, FRC has watched in horror as the courts have robbed tens of millions of Americans of their voice on an issue of critical importance -- not just to our nation’s stability, but to its very survival.
State justices can, as Justice Moore has done, defy unconstitutional federal rulings which have overturned marriage amendments. Governors, such as Gov. Bentley, can defy unconstitutional federal rulings by forbidding county clerks to issue marriage licenses which would be in violation of the state constitution. (First Amendment law firms such as the Alliance Defending Freedom have pledged to defend pro bono any clerks who refuse to issue same-sex licenses on grounds of conscience.)
Such actions would most emphatically not represent civil disobedience, but rather the best in civil obedience. An elected official can hardly be charged with rebellion when he is simply fulfilling the oath he took before God to uphold both the federal constitution and the constitution of his own state.
Meanwhile, CitizenGo, a petition hub run in part by National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown, asked supporters to sign a petition commending Moore for "standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay ‘marriage’ on the state of Alabama":
Chief Justice Roy Moore,
Thank you for standing up against the federal tyranny that seeks to impose gay "marriage" upon the state of Alabama. Your bold stand against the redefinition of marriage and the erosion of our nation's moral foundations is an inspiration.
I want you to know that I stand with you as you resist the federal government's unconstitutional demands regarding homosexual "marriage."
I encourage you to fulfill your duty as a lesser magistrate to uphold the Constitution of the United States and the great state of Alabama by resisting these unjust demands.
Meanwhile, the Foundation for Moral Law, the group that Moore led before returning to the Alabama Supreme Court and which is now run by his wife, hasn't reacted to Moore's letter. But the group did respond to the judge’s ruling by acknowledging that “Jesus loves” gay people but “homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”
“Alabamians approved the 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% of the vote,” she said, “and the will of the people should not be lightly discarded in favor of an alleged right that is found nowhere in the Constitution.” She added that the Foundation bears no animus toward the plaintiffs in this case or in any other: “Jesus loves them, and He died for their sins as well as for mine. But homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”