Just after John Oliver’s pointed take on “prosperity” televangelists, Bishop T.D. Jakes, a Dallas-based megachurch pastor, best-selling author and media personality once described by TIME magazine as possibly “the next Billy Graham,” launches a four-week test run of a new daily talk show today. But Jakes has spent much of the last two weeks responding to a backlash from conservative evangelical Christians over comments he made about gay rights and church-state separation.
During an August 3 Huffington Post Live interview with journalist and scholar Marc Lamont Hill, Jakes said his thinking on homosexuality is “evolved and evolving” and that it is “absolutely” possible for the gay community and the black church to coexist. "I think that it's going to be diverse from church to church. Every church has a different opinion on the issue and every gay person is different."
LGBTs of different types and sorts have to find a place of worship that reflects what your views are and what you believe like anyone else. And the church should have the right to have its own convictions and values. If you don’t like those convictions and values, you totally disagree with it, don’t try to change my house, move into your own. And establish that sort of thing, and find somebody who gets what you get about faith, and, trust me, I’ve talked to enough LGBT and they’re not all the same.
Jakes said that members of the LGBT community, like all American citizens, deserve equal protection under the law.
We bought, the church bought into the myth that this was a Christian nation. And once you get past that, which a lot of people are going to criticize me because they’re still gonna think it’s a Christian nation, which is a whole different show, but once you begin to understand that democracy, that a republic actually, is designed to be an overarching system to protect our unique nuances then we no longer look for public policy to reflect biblical ethics…
If we can divide, or what you would call separation of church and state, then we can dwell together more effectively. Because atheists, agnostics, Jews, all types of people, Muslims, pay into the government, the government then cannot reflect one particular view over another, just because we are the dominant group of religious people in the country, because those numbers are changing every day. We need a neutralized government that protects our right to disagree with one another and agree with one another.
Jakes suggested a posture of spiritual humility: “Once you understand that you’re not God, you leave yourself an out clause to grow.”
How did the Religious Right hate this interview? Let us count the ways: Jakes spoke of his thinking on homosexuality “evolving,” a term used by President Obama to describe his move toward support for marriage equality; he encouraged LGBT people to find affirming churches; he spoke positively about church-state separation and described the idea that America is a Christian nation as “a myth.”
The Huffington Post interview was not the first time Jakes has said such things. On the Sunday after the Supreme Court's marriage equality ruling, Jakes told his congregation, “I’m not really as concerned about this as a lot of people are. I’m really not as concerned about it. I think that we should not lose our mind about the world being the world and the Church being the Church. This is not a news flash.” He also said, “The Supreme Court is there to make a decision based on constitutional rights and legalities that fit all Americans. They are not debating Scripture," which led to applause from the congregation.
There doesn’t seem to have been a huge reaction to those initial comments on the Court ruling. But after the Huffingon Post interview, Heather Clark at Christian News published an August 7 story – tagged “Apostasy” – with a headline blaring that Jakes had come out for gay marriage and LGBT churches and was evolving on homosexuality. The article fumed, “Megachurch leader and author T.D. Jakes says that homosexuals should attend congregations that affirm their lifestyle and that politics do not need to reflect biblical ethics, adding that his position on homosexuality is both “evolved and evolving.”
Earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states must legalize same-sex “marriage,” igniting a battle between the Church and State over the issue. In his comments on Monday, Jakes advocated for the separation of Church and State, which would allow for “all types of people” to have whatever rights they desire despite biblical prohibitions. He said that politics don’t need to be based on Christianity.
That seems to have set off enough outrage that Jakes posted a statement to his Facebook page on August 9 responding to the criticism. Without naming Clark or Christian News by name, Jakes slammed his critics:
Just because a so-called Christian publication chooses to misconstrue my words using lazy journalistic tactics to further their own agenda and draw attention to their site does not make their statements an accurate depiction of what I said or meant.
In that August 9 statement, Jakes affirmed his religious opposition to same-sex marriage while also reiterating his stance separating his religious beliefs from public policy positions, saying, “For the record, I do not endorse same sex marriage but I respect the rights that this country affords those that disagree with me.” His statement, which attracted hundreds of comments, also said, “I have come to respect that I can't force my beliefs on others by controlling public policy for tax payers and other U.S. citizens. Jesus never sought to change the world through public policy but rather through personal transformation.”
For the Religious Right, them’s fightin’ words. On August 10, Jennifer LeClaire at Charisma wrote, “Leaders from across the body of Christ were contacting me all weekend” about Jakes’ interview. The Washington Times also reported on the controversy. LeClaire took note of Jakes’ clarification on Facebook, but seemed unsure whether it was enough, noting that anti-gay activist Michael Brown was asking for more.
Brown’s column, which circulated on right-wing media, said Jakes’ HuffPo comments “appeared to be intentionally ambiguous.”
At best, your comments left your hearers in the dark; at worst, they gave the impression that you now support same-sex “marriage.”
Surely this is not a minor issue, and surely a shepherd has a responsibility to the sheep. What, dear sir, do you believe?
Brown seemed particularly offended that Jakes had encouraged LGBT Christians to find a church that they were comfortable with.
I thought the church was called to bring people to Jesus, to stand for righteousness, to care for the needy, to shine like light in the darkness, to declare God’s will and to live it out. And don’t you have a responsibility as a leader to warn people about deception?
He also took umbrage with the idea that the U.S. as Christian nation is a myth, and the suggestion that Christians shouldn't expect public policy to reflect biblical ethics, asking whether Jakes would have said the same about slavery or rape.
But is it a myth that America was founded on Christian principles and that our founders presupposed that Christian religion would be the foundation of democracy and morality? Is it a myth that, throughout our history, we have overwhelmingly professed to be Christian in large majority?
On August 11, Jakes posted another, somewhat exasperated comment to Facebook, noting that his answer to Marc Lamont Hill had spurred “a virulent diatribe in cyber-Christian land.” He said “the vast majority of people” seemed to understand his first clarification, but that for those who didn’t, he would try again, “rather than play ‘whack-a-mole’ with the online Christian media.” And, he predicted, “there are those that will never be satisfied.” From his second clarification:
I firmly believe that marriage is ordained by God as a union between a man and a woman… My stance on the topic has never wavered. It is fixed, steadfast and well documented...I believe that all sex outside of that sacred union is sin and that would include but is not limited to, homosexuality…
I also believe in balancing that truth with grace, so that the word becomes the personification of Jesus Christ, his love, mercy and compassion…Because truth absent of grace fails to exemplify my heart or the heart of the Father, I draw the line at the extra-biblical exercise of calling people names, ostracizing or humiliating them because our beliefs fall on opposite sides of the spiritual chasm.
That attitude hasn’t shifted the tide in the battle for men’s souls in the last 30 years…
My hope is that the church will always be “evolving” in how we address and minister to the LGBT community in ways that are in line with our biblically-based beliefs without losing sight of Christ like compassion.
On Wednesday, Jennifer LeClaire at Charisma said that the second “crystal clear” statement from Jakes “should put an end to the questioning.” But as Jakes had predicted, some people are still not satisfied.
“He’s trying to back pedal by lying about what he said and what his intent was behind what he said,” Peterson told Christian News Network. “For this man to speak out of both sides of his mouth indicates that he is a hypocrite.”
He said that he doesn’t believe Jakes’ comments to the Huffington Post were misconstrued, but rather that Jakes’ was telling the outlet—as reported—that while he has personal beliefs about homosexuality, he simultaneously believes that homosexuals should have their “rights” as the nation operates outside of biblical values—and in that sense, Jakes does support same-sex “marriage.”
…Peterson also expressed concern about Jakes’ remarks asserting that homosexuals should attend churches that affirm their beliefs instead of seeking to change Bible-based churches… “A real man of God would not suggest that a homosexual go to a church that agrees with their lifestyle,” Peterson added. “He would suggest that they repent and turn to God.”
The fact is, the USA is no longer a Christian nation. But that is different from saying it should not be a Christianized nation and/or that it was never originally founded upon Christian principles.
The writings demonstrating America's Christian history are so numerous I will not attempt to debate that in this article. Suffice it to say that the wording of the Declaration of Independence showed a Christian worldview, the U.S. Constitution was replete with principles from Scripture, and all the original state constitutions based their civic laws as well as their public school education on the teaching of Scripture.
…Jakes believes it is possible to have "neutrality" in regards to the ethos of a nation and its government. However, neutrality is impossible because every human government is based on some religious, ideological and philosophical foundation. Either it is man centered or God centered.
…Throughout human and biblical history, God's kingdom has been set against the kingdom and pride of men… God's Word never separates faith from policy and politics. There is no neutrality!
Political leaders who do not represent God's law/Word are illegitimate in the eyes of God and will ultimately be judged for their rebellious autonomy.
And on Friday, the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer entered the fray. Fischer said Jakes’ comments were “enormously troublesome” and complained that he “couldn’t make sense” of Jakes’ clarification. Fischer was offended by Jakes’ “enormously problematic” description of the “myth” of the U.S. as a Christian Nation. He said he didn’t even know where to begin to describe how troubling it is that Jakes said policy shouldn’t be counted on to reflect biblical views. And he denounced Jakes’ description of homosexuality as a complicated issue.
“No it’s not, T.D. Jakes. Homosexuality is not a complex issue. It is an abomination. I mean, how simple and unambiguous is that? There’s nothing complex about that. It is contrary to the will of God. It is sexual perversity. What’s complicated about that?”
This isn’t the first time Jakes has found himself targeted by fellow Christians. He has previously faced criticism for preaching a prosperity gospel and teaching a Oneness Pentecostal theology that differs from traditional Christian understanding of the Trinity. Jakes publicly committed himself to a more orthodox understanding of the Trinity in 2012 under questioning from Mark Driscoll, then-head of Seattle’s Mars Hill Church – though it did not satisfy all his critics.
Mission America’s Linda Harvey stopped by the radio program hosted by Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith last week, where the two warned that God’s judgment is already beginning to befall America thanks to gay pride parades and Planned Parenthood.
Smith told Harvey about a recent promotional video put out by the Cuyahoga County GOP that features some vaguely rainbow colors in the background, which she found “very upsetting,” along with the failure of Republican leaders in Congress to defund Planned Parenthood.
“Well, you know, and many people would say that the signs are all here that we are reaping some of God’s judgment,” Harvey agreed. “I believe that the fact that we are being shown in no uncertain terms what abortion is all about, what homosexuality is all about — they’re parading down our streets, we have hundreds of thousands of people that come to the Columbus gay pride parade, and you can see what they’re parading, it’s horrendous. And the Boy Scouts are now on board with this and they’re in these parades.”
“People should open their eyes,” she warned, “and if they’re not willing to, God is just going to give us what the majority of America, what we want, and it’s a very dark and black place that we’re heading for.”
Later in the interview, Harvey warned that opponents of gay rights might soon be forced to go to jail.
After Smith declared that “we will be persecuted and we are being persecuted,” Harvey advised listeners to “start thinking about where you will draw the line, at the workplace and schools, because you will be asked and God will be watching all of us.”
“It is going to cost,” she said. “Not simply reputation, but it may cost you a job or money. Down the road, it may cost people their freedom, there may be jail involved.”
Smith compared the future jailing of gay rights opponents to the arrests of anti-abortion protesters: “the same thing that happened in the pro-life movement, many people went to jail because they refused to accept what was going on.”
CitizenGo, the international citizen activism group for which the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown serves as a trustee, is joining the Right’s pile-on of Target for phasing out gender-specific signage in some of its kids’ departments, warning that the new policy will “promote transgenderism among children.”
In a petition circulated by CitizenGo’s US campaigns director, Josh Craddock, the group warns that Target, by removing signs like those distinguishing between “building sets” and “girls’ building sets,” has caved to pressure by “radical gender theorists” and “sexual radicals” who “want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children”:
But now, under pressure from radical gender theorists, Target decided to go "gender neutral" by removing "gender and signs and using gender indicators, especially as it relates to kids" from its stores. The sexual radicals who encouraged Target to reverse its policy ultimately want to erase distinctions between male and female, and promote transgenderism among children.
Faith2Action’s Janet Porter made a similar connection in promoting a boycott of the retail chain, claiming that the new policy is the result of “Bruce Jenner’s surgery… where he now pretends to be a woman full time.”
Franklin Graham led the Religious Right charge against Target earlier this week when he posted on Facebook that it is “not the gender-neutral people out there” who “made their stores strong”:
I think Target may be forgetting who has made their stores strong. It’s not gender-neutral people out there—it’s working American families, fathers and mothers with boys and girls they love. What’s next? Are they going to try to make people believe that pink or blue baby showers are politically incorrect? I have news for them and for everyone else—God created two different genders. Jesus said, “Have you not read that He who created them from the beginning made them male and female (Matthew 19:4). You can’t get any clearer than that. If you agree, share in the comments below—and let Target know what you think. Let them know that you are perfectly willing to shop where the genders God created are appreciated.
In an appearance on Fox News, Graham declared that “this whole gender-neutral business has gone too far,” accusing Target of “ignoring the millions of customers you have that are just hard-working families with children, and they’re not gender-neutral children, these are boys and girls, the way God made us.”
Fox News’ Brian Kilmeade, for his part, worried that the new Target policy would promote confusing among shoppers: “If you go to buy a gift for a boy who's nine or six or a girl who's nine or six, you want to be able to go to that section and pick out a toy they might want. Now you have to sit there and look at a blended area and wonder is this for a boy or is this for a girl?”
One of the most memorable moments of last night’s GOP presidential debate was when Ohio Gov. John Kasich said that despite his “traditional” view on marriage he had recently attended the wedding of gay friends. This earned Kasich applause from the debate’s audience, just four years after a similar audience had booed a gay service member.
But some people did not appreciate Kasich’s answer, including American Family Radio’s Bryan Fischer, who explained on his radio program today that attending a gay friend’s wedding is like attending the “grand opening celebration” of a friend’s “new crack house” because you are simply “enabling” that friend’s behavior.
“Really, the issue comes down to what do you think of this kind of behavior,” Fischer said. “Is this good behavior, is this healthy behavior, is this moral behavior, is this the kind of behavior that we ought to celebrate, that we ought to promote?”
“If you have somebody you love and they were dealing crack and they were opening up a new crack house and they were having a grand opening celebration and they invited you to come and be a part of the grand opening celebration of this crack house, would you go?” he asked. “Of course not!”
Fischer made a similar comparison in a column earlier this year.
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
There is a lot to be scared about this week: Obama demons, Obama killing white people, Obama nuking Texas. Perhaps there is a phrase to describe this phenomenon.
5) Obama’s Demon…Exposed!
While WorldNetDaily has so far failed in its quest to find President Obama’s Kenyan birth certificate, it has stumbled upon something even more sinister: Obama’s Kenyan demon.
In an article titled, “Is this a demon racing in front of Obama?,” WND executive news editor Joe Kovacs reports that he observed a demonic spirit complete with “a head and shoulders” running past Obama as he exited Air Force One upon arriving in Kenya last month. Kovacs even spoke to a “concerned woman” who confirmed that she too “saw a demon run by” the president.
Watch 7:50 in and decide for yourself:
4) Michael Savage’s Mayan Prophecy
Michael Savage isn’t one of those crazy people who believed that the world would end in 2012, since, Savage explained this week, he read in an email once that an elderly Mayan woman prophesied about a future without white people, and Obama hadn’t murdered all the white people yet.
Savage made his case to listeners on Monday:
3) Mike Huckabee’s Gay Marriage Prophecy
Maybe Mike Huckabee has been reading WorldNetDaily, as he is very concerned that gay marriage and legal abortion are provoking God to punish America.
“I would suggest that if man believes that he can redefine marriage, it’s apparent that man believes he has become his own god,” Huckabee told a conservative summit, “and this is a dangerous place for America to be.”
2) Jade Helm 15 Violence
Shockingly, none of the right-wing warnings about the Jade Helm 15 military exercise leading to a federal takeover of Texas and the imposition of martial law have turned out to be accurate.
But some people have taken the Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theories very seriously, including at least three men in North Carolina who, Catherine Thompson of TPM writes, “were charged with conspiring to arm themselves with illegal explosive devices to combat what they saw as a potential military takeover.” In Mississippi, gunmen fired at a military training site for two consecutive days.
Fortunately, Jade Helm 15 conspiracy theorist Rick Wiles has learned his lesson. After warning his listeners that the training wouldlead to Obama’s seizure of power and “a round-up of patriotic men,” he is now telling “Trunews” fans: “ Don’t fear Jade Helm 15 but beware Jade Helm 16.”
Wiles also previewed what will happen next year: a nuclear EMP attack on Texas.
1) Rand Paul Aide Being Persecuted Just For Bribing Some Guy
During the 2012 presidential campaign, a number of aides to then-candidate Ron Paul were allegedly involved in a plot to bribe Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign chairman to jump ship to Paul’s campaign days before the state’s caucuses.
One of those aides, Jesse Benton, was working on Sen. Mitch McConnell’s reelection campaign in Kentucky in 2014 when the scandal came to light, causing him to resign from his post. But Benton wasn’t unemployed for long, as just a few months later, Sen. Rand Paul picked Benton, who also happens to be a member of the Paul family, to run a Super PAC aiding the younger Paul’s presidential bid.
It now seems that Rand Paul’s selection of Benton has come back to haunt him, as Benton and other Paul aides have just been indicted in connection to the bribery scandal.
Like the good conservative conspiracy theorists that they are, Ron and Rand Paul are now alleging that Benton was the victim of a liberal attempt to discredited the Kentucky senator’s presidential campaign.
“I think the timing of this indictment is highly suspicious given the fact that the first primary debate is tomorrow,” Ron Paul said, while Rand Paul’s campaign attacked “the Obama Justice Department” for its “suspiciously timed” indictments, adding that Benton’s indictment “certainly appears suspiciously timed and possibly, politically motivated.”
Benton’s lawyer similarly claimed that Benton is a victim of a Democratic conspiracy, blasting the indictments as “character assassination for political gain” and “a politically motivated prosecution designed to serve a political agenda, not to achieve justice.”
The Detroit News published audio recordings today that expose an effort by two married Michigan Republican lawmakers to try to suppress news of their affair with each other. As part of the cover-up, state Reps. Todd Courser and Cindy Gamrat, among the most vocal opponents of gay rights and defenders of "traditional marriage" in the state legislature, planned to start a rumor that Courser was actually having an affair with a man.
"Courser, a Lapeer Republican, said on one recording the email was designed to create 'a complete smear campaign' of exaggerated, false claims about him and Gamrat so a public revelation about the legislators’ relationship would seem 'mild by comparison,'" Chad Livengood reported. "Interviews with former House employees and the recordings show freshman lawmakers Courser and Gamrat, R-Plainwell, used their taxpayer-funded offices to maintain and cover up their relationship."
Fearing that news of the affair would come out, Courser demanded that an aide send out a mass email to state Republicans claiming that Courser, had "male on male paid sex behind a prominent Lansing night club," describing him as a "bi-sexual porn addicted sex deviant" and a "Godless Addicted Monster." Courser, explained to the aide, who refused to send the email, that it was part of a "controlled burn" strategy.
As Livengood pointed out, Courser and Gamrat “are socially conservative legislators who often invoke their Christian faith in pursuit of new legislation governing gun rights, abortion and marriage," and are closely aligned with the Tea Party.
Gamrat and Courser made waves earlier this year when they tried to circumvent the Supreme Court's marriage decision by introducing a bill declaring that only members of the clergy could perform marriages in Michigan. Gamrat denounced the marriage ruling as a "sad day in our nation" and blasted the court for trying to "redefine for our entire nation, marriage, the bedrock of families and society since the beginning of time." She also warned that people who "do not embrace the homosexual lifestyle will need protections" to fend off impending persecution.
Courser has similarly alleged that LGBT rights advocates are trying to do away with freedom, maintaining that "this decision by the Supreme Court was and is an absolute tragedy for our nation and its future." He responded to the Supreme Court ruling by announcing that we "are living in the last days" and that it "was a crushing day for those who believe in traditional marriage and traditional morality."
Days before the decision, Courser told his supporters: "I will say that I grieve for our nation as we take one step after another to deny the diety of God and who He is. As we step further and further away from Him and His Holy word we lose His protection for ourselves, our families, our communities, our states and of course our Nation!"
Last December, we reported on Courser's efforts to block an LGBT nondiscrimination measure, accusing its supporters of "promoting evil" and attempting to "destroy freedoms of religion and speech for our children and their children" and "institutionalize discrimination against Christians and other faiths."
He also said that gay marriage is leading to the End Times and "persecution":
It is a decision that will embolden and expand the tyrannical hammer of the secular progressive left....
This decision will be a toe hold and from this decision we will see many more decisions that curtail our first amendment rights of free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of association, and of course freedom of conscience. This decision will unleash the power and scope of government to further society by its power of persuasion and its hammer of threat of governmental persecution. Every regulatory apparatus of government will be focused henceforth on indoctrinating children and the greater society that same sex marriage is moral and every bit accepted, preferred to traditional marriage. Anyone who disagrees with this new paradigm will be vilified as a homophobic bigot. Some of these activists are the most intolerant viscous hate mongers who will demonize anyone who opposes their tyrannical agenda. It works and virtually none are left in elected leadership who will now stand and oppose them publicly as they destroy our rights to freedom of religion and freedom of speech.
If we do not act now we will see public officials, pastors, and private citizens alike being limited in what they can say or do. The effects of this decision, many unforeseen, on our nation and the world will echo through the end of time. It will destroy and tear down families and with it our social fabric of our society.
We are indeed living in the last days....
May God discipline and correct the hearts of our countrymen and in so doing may He once again bless the United States of America!
Conservative media and Religious Right leaders and activists are touting a new poll that supposedly shows Americans “overwhelmingly” side with “religious liberty” over gay rights. The new poll, conducted by Fox News contributor Patrick Caddell, adopts right-wing framing that pits religious freedom and LGBT equality in conflict with each other. Even in that context, a majority agrees that both religious liberties and the rights of gays and lesbians are important, and that “there can be a common sense solution that both protects religious freedom and protects gay and lesbian couples from discrimination.”
Of course, religious liberty and LGBT equality can happily coexist, despite claims to the contrary from the Right, but anti-equality advocates touting the Caddell poll suggest that the “common sense solution” is a “truce” that would allow business owners to discriminate against gay people based on their religious beliefs. Anti-gay extremist Peter LaBarbera is arguing that the poll shows that people see a war on Christians coming out of the “homosexual activist movement” and he is urging Americans to push for repeal of existing “sexual orientation laws and gender identity laws.”
The Caddell poll, an online survey of 800 voters, asserts that more than two-thirds of Americans – 68% -- believe the government should not be able “to require by law a private citizen to provide a service or provide their private property for an event that is contrary to their religious beliefs.” More specifically, the poll claims that 82 percent of Americans supports the right of a photographer with religious objections to same-sex couples getting married to refuse to photograph a gay couple’s wedding.
Conservatives are complaining that the Caddell poll is being “ignored by the establishment media.” But there are some good reasons for that.
First, Caddell’s numbers are far out of line with other surveys that show Americans are uncomfortable with the can of worms that would be opened by allowing business owners to cite religion as a reason to opt out of laws that apply to everyone else. In an article in the Atlantic in June, Robert Jones of Public Religion Research Institute writes:
By a margin of nearly two to one, Americans oppose allowing a small business owner to refuse products or services to gay and lesbian people, even if doing so violates their religious beliefs (60 percent oppose, 34 percent favor). Most religious groups oppose these exemptions; white evangelical Protestants are the only religious group with majority support for these exemptions, and even among this group, support is only a bare majority (51 percent).
PRRI has also reported that white evangelical Protestants were the only religious group that gives majority support – and then only 51 percent – to so called “religious freedom” laws designed to protect business owners and others who do not want to serve LGBT people or couples.
By contrast, 59% of white mainline Protestants, 63% of non-white Protestants, and 64% of Catholics oppose allowing small business owners to refuse service to gay and lesbian people on religious grounds, as do nearly three-quarters (73%) of religiously unaffiliated Americans.
A Washington Post-ABC News poll published in March of last year found that “nearly seven in 10 respondents say business should not be allowed to refuse service to gays,” even if that refusal if based on the owner’s religious beliefs.” And an earlier poll, a 2013 survey by Human Rights Campaign and Third Way, reported that when asked specifically about wedding-related services being provided by small businesses, “64% of voters were still opposed to new laws that would allow small businesses to deny wedding-related services based on their religious beliefs, compared to 31% in favor.”
Other polls show more of a split among Americans on the issue, but they too are far from the results Caddell reports. A Pew Research Center survey from last year found Americans about equally divided about whether businesses that provide wedding services should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples on religious grounds or whether they should be required to provide services. And an Associated Press-GfK poll from earlier this year found that while a slim majority of Americans said wedding-related businesses should be allowed to refuse service to same-sex couples, only 40 percent said businesses in general should be allowed to.
Another reason journalists might view the poll with skepticism may be Caddell himself. Caddell is a Fox News regular who is useful to right-wingers by virtue of the fact that he describes himself as a Democratic strategist who helped get Jimmy Carter elected. But he has long since acted as an advocate for the Right by trashing the Democratic Party as the “tool” of special interests and saying “the left doesn’t care about ordinary people.”
Last year, on Sean Hannity’s show, Caddell denounced President Barack Obama as “a raging narcissist who has no grip on reality” and accused Republicans of not opposing him strongly enough. Caddell reportedly helped identify people to appear in an anti-Obama “documentary” distributed by the right-wing group Citizens United.
New York Magazine recently reported that Caddell has been speaking to Donald Trump “almost every day” about his campaign.
In an interview with Newsmax TV that was posted online yesterday, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said that he “wouldn’t change” the military’s prohibition on transgender people serving openly, as the Pentagon is preparing to do.
J.D. Hayworth, the former Republican congressman from Arizona who is now a Newsmax host, asked Walker about Jeb Bush’s comment that he would be “fine” with transgender people serving openly in the military as long as it wouldn’t negatively affect morale. “As commander in chief, what would be your position on transgender and gays and lesbians serving in our armed forces?” he asked.
“I wouldn’t change the policy,” he said. “And I think at a time when we just came off the week when four Marines and a petty officer in the Navy were ambushed and killed at a recruiting center, where we see the current administration under the Obama-Clinton doctrine not lifting the political restrictions on our men and women in uniform in Iraq, when we see the challenges we face around the world, I think those of us who are talking about running for president need to focus on what we need to do to rebuild the military.”
“Our goal is to be peace, but there will be times when America must fight, and I think it needs to be clear that Americans fight to win, and our men and women in the military need to have the resources to do that,” he said, “so as president I’m going to spend my time focused on those issues, not those others.”
Hayworth asked the same question of Mike Huckabee last week, to which the former Arkansas governor replied that lifting the military’s ban on transgender people would undermine morale.
Religious Right leaders have long argued that legal equality for LGBT people cannot coexist with religious freedom. Now that the Supreme Court has made marriage equality the law of the land, and the LGBT movementis seeking protections against discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations, these claims are getting more shrill.
The Right is worked up about the introduction in Congress last month of the Equality Act, which would provide legal protection against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity in employment, housing, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. The Equality Act, says Lambda Legal, “does not change the religious exemptions already in federal law.”
Miranda reported last week that Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage said the Equality Act should be called “The Persecution of Americans Act.” Now, in a new fundraising email, NOM calls the “Beyond Marriage Equality” agenda “an outrageous attempt to persecute Americans who believe in God” and suggests that extending civil rights protections to protect LGBT people would be “catastrophic.”
The agenda being advanced by the left will have a catastrophic impact on every single American as it covers housing, employment, access to public places, federal funding, credit, education and jury service. Gays and lesbians get special legal rights and can beckon the government to target people of faith for investigations and punishment, while Americans who believe in God get the shaft.
But Brown doesn’t speak for “Americans who believe in God.” Most Americans, including religious Americans, support nondiscrimination laws that protect LGBT people. A Public Religion Research Institute survey from June found that 60 percent of white evangelical Protestants support nondiscrimination laws. As PRRI’s Robert Jones recently wrote in the Atlantic:
Today, nearly seven in ten (69 percent) Americans favor laws that would protect LGBT individuals against discrimination in jobs, public accommodations, and housing, compared to 25 percent who oppose such policies. And there is majority support for these protections across partisan and religious lines. In fact, most Americans actually already believe that workplace nondiscrimination is the law of the land: Three-quarters (75 percent) of Americans incorrectly believe it is currently illegal under federal law to fire or refuse to hire someone because they are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender.
A poll conducted for HRC earlier this year found overwhelming public support for a nondiscrimination law.
The right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel has been encouraging public officials from county clerks to governors to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision striking down gay-marriage bans nationwide, and as part of this work is representing Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples.
Liberty Counsel’s main argument in the Kentucky case is that Davis’ religious liberty is being violated because she is being forced to do her job and issue licenses for legal marriages between people of the same sex.
In fact, LC argues in a recent court filing, marriage equality actually imposes an unconstitutional “religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office” because people like Davis who don’t want to issue marriage licenses to gay couples aren’t allowed to refuse to do so.
WorldNetDaily summarizes LC’s argument:
They want, the court filing explains, “to induce irreversible and substantial harm to the religious conscience of Davis.”
“If Davis’ religious objection cannot be accommodated under the circumstances of this case, then elected officials have no real religious freedom when they take public office,” Staver warned.
The brief argues, “There is no constitutional right to have a particular person authorize a SSM license and affix their imprimatur to that permanent public record, especially if that person holds deep religious convictions prohibiting her from participating in and approving of SSM.”
It continued, “Contrary to plaintiffs’ insatiable demands, such individual rights and freedoms so fundamental to liberty are neither surrendered at the entry door of public service nor waived upon taking an oath of office. To suggest otherwise creates a religious (or anti-religious) test for holding office – which the United States and Kentucky Constitutions expressly forbid.”
In an interview with The Dove TV on Friday, anti-gay activist Scott Lively insisted that Christians are being denied their First Amendment rights because of gay rights, while simultaneously asserting that the First Amendment’s guarantee of religious freedom applies only to Christians.
In fact, Lively explained, it is because the United States has grown to accept “religious pluralism” that God is now punishing us with abortion rights and LGBT equality.
“Well, I don’t actually believe in ‘religious freedom,’ the way that the term is used,” Lively explained. “I know that when you use it and when most people use it, you’re talking about Christianity. We’re not talking about freedom for Islam and freedom for Buddhism and Hinduism as if they’re equal with God.
“The number-one Commandment is ‘You shall have no other gods before me.’ And when we forget that and we start accepting this concept of religious pluralism and we say that Jesus Christ is really no higher an authority in America than Buddha or Mohammed or even Satan, that’s when we have really dropped the ball and we have brought disfavor from God on us.”
Legal abortion (or, as he put it, the “pro-abort juggernaut of death”) and gay rights, he insisted, could have been stopped if America had earned “the favor of God.”
“If even one man, just one man, had the favor of God,” he said, “with the flimsiest of plans, he could have stopped that, he could have stopped the gay agenda in very short order.”
He went on to mourn for the soldiers in the Revolutionary War who “died with the cry ‘no king but Jesus’ on their lips” and for “all the patriots since them who have died on the battlefield believing that American values meant godliness and morality, not sexual perversion and killing.”
Lively then, with great self-awareness, lamented that the First Amendment is “being chipped away very rapidly” leading to the “persecution” of people like himself.
Later in the interview, Lively claimed that thanks to abortion rights and LGBT equality, “we really are now under occupation.. by cultural Marxists” just as France was occupied by the Nazis in World War II.
The “cultural Marxists,” he said, have now ensured that everyone in America is “forced to participate in gay culture,” and are working toward the next step, which is “punishment of all dissenters.”
“The folks that are pushing this, they want to come after every Christian,” he warned, “they hate Christianity, they want to punish, they are going to aggressively pursue every person.”
But he had some good news: “I’m more blessed than I’ve ever been, and yet I’m being persecuted more than anybody else in America.”
Liberty Counsel activists Mat Staver and Matt Barber are jubilant over a court ruling that a Houston nondiscrimination ordinance must be put up for a popular vote, even after the city found that opponents had not gathered enough valid signatures to put it on the ballot.
Barber declared on a recent episode of LC’s “Faith and Freedom” program that not only was the Texas Supreme Court decision a “victory for the rule of law,” but it was a victory for women and children who will no longer be in danger of being attacked by “perverts” in “miniskirts.”
“This is a victory for those of us who are standing firm for the rights of children and women not to have their privacy violated by men in miniskirts who are pretending to be women,” he said. “Who knows what sort of perverts and potential predators we’re talking about here, placing women and young girls at risk, primarily.”
Staver added that Houston’s Mayor Annise Parker, “this pro-open-lesbian” pursued the nondiscrimination policy because, like President Obama, she has no “moral compass.”
“You get these kinds of people in power,” he said, “and it’s dangerous because they don’t have any parameters of moral compass that will direct them to do what’s right, even though it goes against heir personal opinion. They just want to achieve an objective.”
Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver joined VCY America’s “Crosstalk” program on Thursday to discuss his work urging government officials to defy the Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality.
Staver urged governors and other elected officials to “stand up and resist” the Supreme Court’s ruling, praising officials in Alabama and Texas who are pushing back against it.
Such officials, he said, could create “sanctuary cities” free from gay marriage and abortion rights, just as some cities have become sanctuary cities for undocumented immigrants.
“You know what, if some cities can create sanctuary cities for illegal aliens, why can’t a city or a state create a sanctuary city or state to protect the preborn?” he asked.
“And to protect marriage,” VCY’s Jim Schneider chimed in.
“…and to protect marriage, absolutely.”
Staver is representing one Kentucky County clerk, Kim Davis, who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples, which he said she can’t do because she would be giving those couples a “license” to “engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship.”
“And understand what their dilemma is,” he said. “They provide a license to do something. They provide a license that gives you the legal authority to drive a car. They provide a license that gives you a legal authority to operate a business. So they’re providing a license that gives you a legal authority to do what? To engage in a sinful activity with a sinful relationship, a same-sex so-called marriage.”
Claiming that the Supreme Court’s decision put people like Davis in the “firing line,” he said that she was simply unwilling to “authorize someone to do something that itself is sinful, that is repugnant to her and the scriptures and to natural millennia of human history, natural law.”
On his American Family Radio program today, Bryan Fischer read from his most recent column, in which he argues that allowing that the Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow gay men to serve as troop leaders will collapse the organization because it will be hit by a wave of sexual abuse lawsuits.
“I don’t think there is any father who was thinking clearly who would put his son in proximity to an adult homosexual,” Fischer declared. “No right-thinking, clear-thinking father would do that.”
Fischer said that while not all gay scoutmasters will abuse children, “a father and his vulnerable son might not find out which homosexuals they should have been concerned about until it’s too late.”
“I would say to fathers in this listening audience, you don’t have a moment to lose,” he said. “Protecting the sexual integrity of your sons is just too important. Time to flee the Boy Scouts of America.”
Fischer previously said that lifting the ban on adult gay members of the Boy Scouts would turn the organization into “Gay Pedophiles Scouting For Boys.”
The National Organization for Marriage takes the persecution complex to a new level today, claiming in a fundraising email that a proposed federal law preventing discrimination against LGBT people in employment, housing and public accommodations “puts in the crosshairs anyone who believes God created people male and female.”
NOM’s president, Brian Brown, writes that The Equality Act should instead be called “The Persecution of Americans Act” because it will extend the supposed “persecution” of bakers, florists and other wedding vendors who refuse service to gay and lesbian couples to “impact Americans in virtually every area of life":
The legislation puts in the crosshairs anyone who believes God created people male and female. It would declare that a traditional view of human sexuality is hateful and bigoted and treat Christians, Jews and other people of faith just as the law treats racists. HR 3185 specifically denies someone who has been targeted the ability to rely on the provisions of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act as a defense against the complaint of discrimination.
Americans across the land are witnessing the persecution of wedding professionals who are being forced by homosexual activists to participate in same-sex ceremonies even though doing so violates their deeply held religious beliefs concerning marriage. Bakers, photographers, florists, inn keepers and others have been persecuted, sued and fined simply because they do not wish to personally participate in a gay 'wedding.' HR 3185 will extend this persecution far beyond the wedding industry and will impact Americans in virtually every area of life.
Under HR 3185, all that a gay, lesbian or transgendered person needs to do is allege that an individual or business has somehow discriminated based on sexual orientation or gender identity and the full force of the federal government can be brought down on the person accused.
Just imagine how this proposed law would be used. Virtually any time a LGBT person feels they have been discriminated against they would be able to pursue a special legal claim using the force of the federal government as a powerful stick to punish people.
What lies "beyond marriage equality" is persecution. And that's what HR 3185 should be called — The Persecution of Americans Act.
RWW’s Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.
This week, Americans marked the 50th anniversary of the death of freedom and the introduction of communism with the 1965 legislation creating Medicare and Medicaid. And as if things weren’t already bad enough for America, now we are witnessing a looming ban on dogs and the threat of gay-marriage-induced earthquakes.
5) Obama’s Islamist Dog Ban
Talk radio conspiracy theorist Michael Savage thinks that President Obama has a lot in store for the last year and a half of his presidency, such as murdering his critics,seeking a third term and “ destroying us entirely.”
However, no scheme is as serious as the one Savage exposed on his Monday show, when he suggested that Obama’s policies may lead to a ban on dogs.
Accusing the president of “bringing in 100,000” Muslims to the U.S. every month, Savage warned that the Islamists who will soon run the country may “ban dogs.”
Meanwhile, a fake conservative news site has already sparked outrage after publishing a story alleging that Dearborn, Michigan, banned alcohol as part of an effort “to turn Dearborn into an Islamic State.”
4) Confederate Flag Shielding Planned Parenthood Phony Scandal
Sarah Palin appeared on “The O’Reilly Factor” this week to promote the myths that Planned Parenthood isprofiting off organ harvesting and targeting minority women to have abortions, alleging that people who care about the Confederate flag on public land don’t care that the women’s health organization is using black leaders like President Obama to “deceive” women into believing that they should have abortions.
The former Republican vice presidential candidate offered up this characteristically lucid explanation: “This is kind of symbolic of our political correctness absurdity and the absurdity of some persons’ priorities when they are concerned more about a symbol that had representative the negative many years ago compared to today. Thousands and thousands of babies, obviously, we’ve seen in the news over and over with Planned Parenthood, being butchered and having their baby parts sold, people in some parts are paying a whole lot more attention to the flag controversy than they are about what Planned Parenthood their barbaric practices are.”
3) Gay Pride Marches Cause Earthquakes
Forget what you learned in science class! Thanks to John McTernan of USA Prophecy, we now know the true sources of earthquakes and hurricanes.
“There has been tremendous disasters hitting America at the very same time that America is turning from God,” McTernan explained. “On gay pride day, there have been huge earthquakes, I’m talking about on the very day; Supreme Court decisions, pro-abortion, and that hurricanes slamming in, droughts and things like that. And I believe it’s God warning America to stop the course, actually repent and it will be the church to do this.”
Sadly, McTernan told “Pray In Jesus Name” host Gordon Klingenschmitt that the U.S. has “ crossed the line of no return with legalizing homosexual marriage ,” something he said has not been done since “the time of Noah.”
“There’s not too much time left for America,” he said, adding that Christians will now face persecution by liberals who “hate us as much as the Nazis hated the Jews and they’re acting on it now” and “want to destroy us.”
2) Gays Cause Child Abuse
Klingenschmitt, who also serves as a Colorado Republican state representative, not only wants his viewers to know that gay pride demonstrations cause earthquakes, but also that gay people are bent on sexually abusing children.
Addressing the Boy Scouts of America’s recent decision to end its ban on gay members over the age of 18 (the group already lifted its prohibition on gay minors), Klingenschmitt claimed that parents must get their kids out of the BSA because openly gay scoutmasters will molest their children on camping trips .
Apparently, his remarks aren’t sitting well with fellow members of the Colorado state House, with even a Republican legislative leader denouncing his “hurtful” and “inflammatory rhetoric.”
1) Happy 50th Birthday, Medicare!
But it almost wasn’t so. Back in the 1960s, Medicare proposals came under fierce attacks from conservatives, including future President Ronald Reagan , who said that the program would lead to the end of freedom as a tyrannical, socialist government dominated the country. Sound familiar?
Just listen to Reagan’s 1961 remarks, complete with fake quotes and baseless speculation about “socialized medicine,” to see how the Right has stuck to a familiar playbook even after all these years:
American Religious Right groups are teaming up with anti-choice and anti-gay governments and organizations from around the world in order to prevent a new United Nations development proposal currently being negotiated from including language that might lead to some recognition of families headed by same-sex couples, a possibility the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) describes as “tragic.” (C-FAM was formerly known as the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute.)
Leftist governments, including the United States, are trying to convince the General Assembly to discard family language from the Universal Declaration [of Human Rights] and instead use phrases that critics consider to be ideologically freighted, specifically “all families” and “various forms of the family.” These types of phrases have been rejected in recent years but the Obama administration has made it a priority to have them used in this important development document.
C-FAM argues that language declaring that “the family is the natural and fundamental unit of society” must be kept in place to prevent Europeans and Americans from having any “wiggle room” to “promote same-sex relations as families through the UN system.”
C-FAM reports that a group of African and Arab nations are leading efforts to strip language about “all families” from the final draft of the “Post-2015 Summit outcome” by proposing language that “EXCLUDES any international recognition to relations between persons of the same-sex as a ‘family,’ as in the case of homosexual civil unions and so-called gay marriage.”
Among the Religious Right organizations fighting tooth and nail to prevent even a possibility that same-sex families might gain recognition at the UN are: C-FAM; National Organization for Marriage; Alliance Defending Freedom Global (ADF was formerly known as Alliance Defense Fund); Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society (sponsors of the World Congress of Families); Human Life International; Personhood USA; Christian Family Fellowship; Family Research Institute; and the American Center for Law & Justice’s European affiliate, ECLJ.
“Coach” Dave Daubenmire is out with a new column today titled “Christianity Needs To Man-Up,” in which he argues that conservative Christians must emulate Donald Trump and be more “violent and militant” in their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-secular activism.
Lamenting that “the kingdom of darkness” is winning the “culture war,” Daubenmire declares, “It is time to drop the sissified Gospel and reinvigorate the masculine side of our faith.”
This means, we writes, that conservative Christians must dropthe “hate the sin, love the sinner” line and openly declare that gay people are “worthy of death” and that “God hates” homosexuality, abortion and divorce.
“There is absolutely no institution in modern America that Christianity has controlling influence over,” Daubenmire writes, even as liberals “command you to bake homo-cakes and demand you violate your conscience.”
Christians are losing the culture war. Every institution in America is now under the control of those who hate God. Our public schools, government, universities, entertainment, legal, media, political parties, and churches are under the control of the kingdom of darkness.
How has this happened? The kingdom of darkness does its work in the dark. They have seized every one of our institutions without firing a shot. They have used their weapons of lies and deceit to violate and destroy all that is good. They have invaded every Godly institution, bombarded us with lies, and stolen the future of our children and grandchildren.
They have been militant. As a result we have been violated. They have taken from our children what was rightfully theirs. The Kingdom of God has suffered violence. It is time to drop the sissified Gospel and reinvigorate the masculine side of our faith.
Let’s face it. There is absolutely no institution in modern America that Christianity has controlling influence over.
They slaughter unborn babies and force us to pay for it. They sell their little body-parts for personal gain. The command you to bake homo-cakes and demand you violate your conscience.
American Christianity will lead you to Heaven while it let’s the world go to hell.
Christians must become more focused…more aggressive with our faith if we are to save Western Civilization. The idea that one can win by surrendering is a doctrine of demons that has infiltrated the American Christian mindset.
“Have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness but rather expose them.” Sadly, for the most part, we are taught to embrace, encourage, and love those who practice such fruitless acts. Abortion is the destruction of fruit. Divorce destroys fruit. Homosexuality is fruitless. God hates them all.
I know this will cause some of you to gasp, but Paul, in Romans 1, speaking on behalf of Jesus, warned us that those who practice such things “are worthy of death.” But he didn’t just point the proverbial finger at the one who engages in the act, but also to those who “take pleasure” in those who do it.
Evil is real and some people are evil. It is time we faced up to it. Loving the sinner and hating the sin hasn’t worked. That was Gandhi’s suggestion, not our Lord’s. Loving sinners more than we hate their sin validates our own shortcomings. Jesus called us to “be perfect”, not “love the sinner.”
People are flocking to Donald Trump because he is violent and militant in his language. The church needs some militant, violent, Christian Donald Trumps. It is time to man-up.