The Supreme Court issued a 4-4 tied ruling yesterday that by default upheld a lower court decision that had halted President Obama’s effort to provide temporary deportation relief to about five million undocumented immigrants whose children are U.S. citizens or greencard holders.
“Seldom have the hopes of so many been crushed by so few words,” attorney Walter Dellinger told The New York Times, referring to the nine-word decision upholding the lower court’s ruling.
The tie — which, while devastating for millions, does not set a national precedent, but does leave in place a nationwide injunction against the executive actions — was the result of a court that has been operating with only eight justices since the death of Justice Antonin Scalia in February. This is thanks to an unprecedented campaign of obstruction by Senate Republicans, who have refused to so much as hold a hearing on Judge Merrick Garland, President Obama’s nominee to fill the seat.
Yesterday’s ruling was exactly what those pushing for Republicans to hold a Supreme Court seat open for the next president — who they hope will be the fiercely anti-immigrant Donald Trump — were hoping for. In a blog post for the National Review today, Carrie Severino, whose Judicial Crisis Network has been the primary outside group pressuring Republicans to block Garland’s nomination, writes that it is thanks to Senate Majority Mitch McConnell, Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley and their allies in obstruction that millions of immigrants are now faced with more legal uncertainty:
Leader McConnell, Senator Grassley, and all the GOP Senators who have stood firm on this nomination should get much of the credit for today’s decision. They have upheld their own oaths to support and defend the Constitution, and deserve our thanks.
Keep in mind that just a few months ago Severino’s group was arguing that their effort to keep the Supreme Court seat open had nothing to do with politics but was instead a high-minded effort to let “the people decide” who the next justice would be in the next presidential election. (Never mind that the people had already decided to reelect President Obama.)
Trump hit on a similar message in his response to the ruling, saying, “The election, and the Supreme Court appointments that come with it will decide whether or not we have a border and, hence, a country.”
Yesterday, Rick Wiles appeared on “The Jim Bakker Show” to discuss the threat of ISIS in America after the attack at the gay nightclub Pulse in Orlando.
Wiles, who hosts the conspiracy theory radio program “Trunews,” said that he also thought that Christina Grimmie, a singer who was murdered in Orlando by an obsessed fan, was targeted by ISIS. “The very first thought I had when I heard about it was, ‘Was it an Islamic attack?’ Now, there’s been no reports about it. That story disappeared because it was overshadowed by the Orlando massacre. But a guy just walked up at the end of a concert and shot her for no reason. The reason I instantly considered the possibility it was a hit because just days before that killing ISIS had published a kill list.”
Later, Bakker and Wiles agreed that martial law is coming to America, which Bakker cited as a reason for viewers to purchase his ministry’s survival food buckets.
“We are one crisis from martial law,” Wiles said, warning that U.S. officials will use martial law to stay in office indefinitely and that the upcoming election “possibly could be postponed.”
Wiles went on to mention a discredited story about the supposed arrest of “a Middle Eastern woman who had in her possession the drawings and plans of natural gas pipelines.”
“We’re headed this summer, I am convinced, this summer and fall, unless God intervenes, this is going to be the bloodiest, goriest time in America since the Civil War, this summer and fall,” he said. “If God does not intervene, Jim, this summer and fall will be the bloodiest since the Civil War.”
James Dobson dedicated his radio program today to railing against the guidelines released by the Obama administration advising public schools on the rights of transgender students, asserting that it was part of an effort by President Obama to sow chaos so that he can impose tyranny upon the country.
"It seems like everything he's tried to do has been to move us toward chaos," Dobson said. "Chaos in the military. Chaos in medicine, certainly. Chaos in the family, in marriage. Chaos in the judiciary and in the courts. Chaos in the economy. Chaos in every branch of government. Chaos in education, from kindergarten through the largest and most influential of the universities. It's been chaos and now he's trying to tell parents how to raise their children and that will be the most chaotic of all because that leads towards the next generation. He gets control of the next generation, then his predecessors will have an easier time of controlling us and that is what it comes down to. It comes down to tyranny."
"If the people have to take a choice between chaos and tyranny, they will always choose tyranny because chaos is unpredictable and tyranny is generally not, even when you're under an oppressive regime," Dobson continued. "I think control is what it comes down to."
"The history of America has been a people who had a passion for freedom," he concluded. "They were not willing to be tyrannized, they fought a revolutionary war because they were being oppressed and tyrannized and we're moving in that direction. I'm not calling for a revolution, but I am saying we better stand up and fight because we're losing something precious to us; it's called liberty."
Earlier today, a deadlocked Supreme Court left in place a lower court decision blocking an Obama administration effort to grant temporary deportation relief to millions of immigrants. One group cheering on the decision was the Immigration Reform Law Institute, the legal arm of the anti-immigrant hate group Federation for American Immigration Reform, which declared, “IRLI will continue to work with patriotic state governments and grassroots activists to beat back the Administration’s drive to dissolve national sovereignty, the rule of law, and economic justice for America’s most vulnerable citizens.”
In fact, IRLI, which is a key player in a network of immigration groups that grew out of the vision of a single white nationalist activist, has done much to shape the legal battle that led to today’s decision. The group noted today that it had “advised the Texas Attorney-General’s office on key facets of the case” that the state had brought against the federal government “and filed a total of six friend-of-the-court briefs.” In fact, documents show that IRLI had an influential role in shaping the direction of Texas’ challenge, as well as the legal movement that it sprang out of.
The Center for New Community wrote in an April report:
Leaders within an organized movement of anti-immigrant activists have not only publicly advocated against President Obama’s executive action to grant Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA), they have also been closely involved in crafting and mobilizing a legal challenge to the initiative ever since it was announced. This is not a new strategy for the antiimmigrant movement, which has long used the legal system to fight for its twin goals of dramatically reduced immigration levels and policies that support attrition through enforcement or outright deportation—all in support of the long-term goal of preserving the United States’ white majority.
CNC outlined the work that IRLI did to advise Texas on the case through Kris Kobach, a former IRLI staffer who is now the secretary of state of Kansas but who remains “of counsel” to the organization:
Neither Kobach nor IRLI are formally representing any of the plaintiff states in the case, but evidence, as described below, suggests Kobach has been involved since the case’s beginning.
On November 22, 2014, two days after President Obama’s announcement, The Washington Post reported that Kobach has already begun drafting a lawsuit. The Post’s Eli Saslow reported that Kobach had been speaking at a community forum in Tonganoxie, Kansas, the night of the President’s announcement. Saslow described the situation as “the most pivotal moment of [Kobach’s] career.”
As news of the president’s announcement circulated, Kobach discussed it with the Tonganoxie group. “He tells the group he has already begun drafting a suit as the lead attorney, with plans to file it in early December,” The Post reported. “Texas is interested in being a plaintiff. So are a few other states.” The Post added that Kobach’s lawsuit had “40 or 50 pages already written.”
The morning of December 3, Kobach appeared on Wichita radio host Joseph Ashby’s program. During the interview, Kobach reiterated his involvement in the lawsuit. “I am playing a role,” Kobach said. “I don't know if I'm taking the lead or not, but as many people know, instead of spending my spare time golfing I do litigate.” Kobach added, “litigation is beginning and I am involved in assembling plaintiffs and attorneys around the country to get this done.”
Hours later, The Texas Attorney General’s Office announced the legal action.
We wrote about the record of IRLI and FAIR in a recent report:
FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), has helped craft anti-immigrant legislation around the country, including Arizona’s infamous “self-deportation” measure SB 1070 and efforts to end the 14th Amendment’s guarantee of birthright citizenship . In 2010, Think Progress wrote that “IRLI has been behind most, if not every, local legislative immigration crackdown over the past few years.” Much of this work wasdriven by IRLI lawyer Kris Kobach, who joined the group in 2003. Kobach is now secretary of state of Kansas, but remains “of counsel” to IRLI. He served as an advisor to Mitt Romney during his 2012 presidential campaign, when Romney espoused the doctrine of “self-deportation.”
FAIR’s current president is Dan Stein, who has worked for the organization since 1982. Stein has framed the immigration debate in racial terms, calling the 1965 Immigration and Nationality Act, which eliminated a quota system that favored Northern Europeans and shut out Asians and Africans, an attempt to “retaliate against Anglo-Saxon dominance“ in the country. He has warned that President Obama’s immigration policies will cause the U.S. to “ fall apart” like Iraq and once speculated that the U.S. has seen so few terrorist attacks under President Obama because terrorists see him as an “ally” and “don’t want to embarrass” him.
While Stein has hinted at immigration restriction as a tool of white nationalism, FAIR has openly associated with people who explicitly advocate for the U.S. to remain a white-dominated nation.
A short-lived television program produced by FAIR in 1996 featured interviews with well-known white nationalists Sam Francis, Jared Taylor and Peter Brimelow, and a common area of discussion was that the immigrant “invasion” would destroy America. Stein, interviewing one guest, wondered, “How can we preserve America if it becomes 50 percent Latin American?” In a 1991 interview for an article on the higher birth rates among Asian and Latino immigrants than among native-born Americans, Stein said, "It's almost like they're getting into competitive breeding. You have to take into account the various fertility rates in designing limits on immigration.” Six years later, he told the Wall Street Journal, “Certainly we would encourage people in other countries to have small families. Otherwise they'll all be coming here, because there's no room at the Vatican.”
Over a period of 10 years in the 1980s and 1990s, FAIR took in more than $1 million from the Pioneer Fund, which SPLC describes as “a eugenicist organization that was started in 1937 by men close to the Nazi regime who wanted to pursue ‘race betterment’ by promoting the genetic lines of American whites,” and for several years afterward continued to receive support from individual leaders of the fund.
Glenn Beck was predictably unimpressed by Democratic lawmakers who launched a sit-in on the floor of the House of Representatives yesterday, demanding a vote on gun control legislation. On his radio show today, Beck blasted Rep. John Lewis, a civil rights icon who was one of the leaders of the effort, as a "clown" and declared that it is people such as himself who are the true civil rights leaders of today.
While Lewis was once a civil rights hero, Beck said, "he has become a clown. This has made these people, these civil rights leaders, into absolute clowns."
Whereas activists like Lewis once fought to secure rights for people, Beck declared, they are now "sitting in to take people's rights away" and that is why conservatives like himself are the modern day civil rights leaders.
"Who are the civil rights leaders?" Beck asked. "I've said this for a long time and people make fun of us: We're the civil rights leaders, we're the civil rights leaders of today. They have discredited themselves and they are dismissed."
Last week, in response to the deadly terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, gay right-wing commentator Milo Yiannopoulos organized an anti-Islam press conference, during which he kissed fellow anti-Islam activist and self-proclaimed "homophobe" Gavin McInnes as their way of saying "f**k you, Islam."
Needless to say, this display did not sit well with viciously anti-gay activist Theodore Shoebat, who released a video today calling for both men to be put to death.
"The only thing I can do is conclude that [McInnes] is a sodomite," Shoebat said, "Gavin McInnes is a sodomite plant, he is a deviant and he is worthy of death ... You are lower than the lowest bacteria. Pigs have more decency than you, Gavin McInnis. Swine has more decency, there are dogs that have more decency. What a sick, perverted individual you are! You are on the road straight to hell, Gavin McInnes. You are fooling them. You are full of demons. Your soul has been utterly possessed by the diabolical. You are worthy of execution! You are worthy of death. Bottom line."
"And that faggot that he kissed, Milo Yiannopoulos, is also worthy of death," Shoebat later declared. "If I had the power, I would string him up, put a noose around his neck, put him before a firing squad, any means necessary to annihilate these bastards. It's just so disgusting."
In response to the Supreme Court’s 4-4 tie in DACA+/DAPA, which leaves in place a nationwide injunction against the President’s programs, People For the American Way (PFAW) released the following statements:
Lizet Ocampo, Director of Latinos Vote! and Manager of Political Campaigns:
“The Court’s decision today is devastating. Millions of families across the country were counting on President Obama’s actions to temporarily protect their families from deportation. It leaves in place the nationwide injunction from the overreach of a single anti-immigrant, Republican-appointed judge from Texas.
“The decision serves as a deeply upsetting yet critically important reminder of the importance of the November elections. Donald Trump has pledged mass deportation of the millions of undocumented people in our country – children who know no country other than the United States, mothers and fathers whose children are U.S. citizens. Hillary Clinton has pledged during her campaign to take every available action to keep families together. And while Democrats in Congress have supported DACA, DACA+, and DAPA, Congressional Republicans have done all they could to block the program every step of the way.
“The next president will likely appoint more than one new justice to the Supreme Court. We have a clear choice this November between the Republican presidential candidate and Republicans nationwide who seek to rip families apart, and the Democratic presidential candidate and Democrats nationwide who understand that immigrants make America the country that it is and that families should be protected from deportation.”
Marge Baker, Executive Vice President:
“Today’s decision is a shattering blow to millions of families and a painfully clear illustration of why we need a fully staffed Supreme Court in order to address the most important issues we face as a country. Without issuing a real opinion or providing any reasoning, our hobbled Supreme Court has allowed a single district court judge to implement a twisted ruling that will have a profound impact on the lives of families all across the country. The Court has provided no guidance to lower courts while simultaneously impacting millions of people’s lives.
“This isn’t how our system of justice is supposed to work. Yet Republicans, who are eager to force their ideology into law by any means necessary, have refused to perform their most basic responsibilities and give fair consideration to a pending Supreme Court nominee. This is the result of a broken system of government, and make no mistake, Republicans have broken it on purpose.”
PFAW spokespeople will be at the Supreme Court and will be available throughout the day for interviews in English or Spanish. To schedule an interview or find us at the Court, please call 301-325-4538.
Among the Religious Right leaders meeting with Donald Trump on Tuesday was Rick Wiles, the far-right radio host who uses his daily “Trunews” program to push bizarre conspiracy theories and extremist screeds.
Wiles said he was blown away by Trump’s appearance, hailing him as “a very humble man” and “very presidential.”
“He talked and acted like a president,” he said. “Very respectful, very thoughtful. I, quite frankly, was very impressed by him as a person, as a man.
Wiles added that Trump came across as a “calm, respectful, very professional CEO.”
“I believe that I saw the next president of the United States,” he said. “I think Donald Trump is going to be very, very friendly to the evangelical Christian community of the United States of America. I’m coming back with a different perspective about Donald Trump. I didn’t have a negative perspective to start with but I’m seeing him today in a much better light.”
On Tuesday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins chatted with Sandy Rios, who was guest-hosting his radio program, about the recent meeting between Donald Trump and Religious Right leaders.
Perkins said that he is voting for Trump even though he isn’t very excited about it, arguing that “evangelicals have been under constant attack and marginalization by the policies of Barack Obama” and Trump will at least put an end to this anti-Christian persecution.
Rios, the American Family Association official who, like Perkins, was a vocal supporter of Ted Cruz, added that many conservatives feel like they are making a decision similar to “Sophie’s Choice” where “she had to choose between her two children, both were going to be killed or she chose that one will live, and I mean that’s pretty dramatic, but really for some Christians, voting for Donald Trump is something like that.”
“This is not something that I relish, that I am excited about,” Perkins said. “But from a pragmatic standpoint, I think there’s an opportunity.”
If Trump “walks in that grace that is available,” Perkins said, then he could surround himself with people who could “help him cast a vision that moves America back to the country that honors God and therefore would be a recipient of His blessing.”
Fischer said that Democrats are lying when they claim that they are trying to protect Americans because what they really want to do is allow government bureaucrats to take away constitutional rights and destroy the Second Amendment.
"That's exactly how Satan works," Fischer said. "That's how he deceives us. He never tells us, 'Look, if you do this thing I'm dangling in front of you, it'll destroy you.' He never says that because he knows we wouldn't go for it."
"And that's what the left is trying to do with this 'no fly, no buy' thing," he said. "It's just Satan — I'm not accusing them of being Satan, but this is how Satan works; [he] tries to get us to take a bite out of the apple without realizing the consequences of what we're doing."
Eric Metaxas, a Christian Right radio host who has backed Donald Trump, spoke with radio host Mike Gallagher today about the meeting yesterday between Trump and hundreds of evangelical leaders, which he attended. Metaxas defended himself against criticism for supporting Trump, saying that if Hillary Clinton wins the presidency, she will nominate judges who “legislate from the bench” and America as we know it will disappear. This election, he said, represents as critical a turning point as the Civil War or the American Revolution.
“If you have Supreme Court justices legislating from the bench, not four of them or four and a half, but if you have six or seven of them, that’s what you’re going to get under Hillary, and if that happens, the democratic republican government is over in America, in the greatest nation in the history of the world,” he said. “The freest nation in the history of the world will, under a new Democratic administration, we will no longer have the freedom where the people’s voice counts.”
“Now, Mike, think what I’m saying,” he continued. “In all of our years we faced all kinds of struggles. The only time we faced an existential struggle like this was in the Civil War and in the revolution when the nation began. In other words, we’re not supposed to be here. We are an amazing, fragile treasure in the world, the freedoms that we have had. We are on the verge of losing it as we could have lost it in the Civil War. Now, the thing is, there are no guns involved, all you have is termites from within.”
The Supreme Court, he said, has already undermined freedom with the Obergefell marriage equality decision.
“This is as serious as anything can be,” he said. “I hate to be a Cassandra, a Chicken Little, I’m not. This is just where we are and unless we face it, we’re dead.”
One legacy of the 2016 presidential campaign may well be a divide between religious and political conservatives who took a principled stance against the racist campaign of the apparently amoral Donald Trump, and those who jumped on board the Trump train in spite of his long record of lies, abusive and divisive rhetoric, and his shameless, transparently cynical use of religion to promote his candidacy.
Those divides may be clarifying in the wake of Trump’s meeting with hundreds of religious conservative leaders on Tuesday in what organizers had laughably described as a nonpolitical conversation. At least it seems to becoming clearer where Samuel Rodriguez and his National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference (NHCLC) are going to stand. And it’s not with the immigrants who Trump bashes as a core of his campaign strategy.
As we’ve noted before, Rodriguez loves positioning himself as someone who is above partisan politics even while acting as a Religious Right culture warrior whose main political goal is to get more Hispanics to vote for conservative candidates. Rodriguez has spent years telling conservative white evangelicals that they’re wrong to want to deport millions of Hispanic Christian immigrants, telling them that Jesus-loving Hispanic immigrants can help save Christian culture in America. Conservatives are hurting themselves, he has argued, by pushing Hispanics away with harsh anti-immigrant rhetoric.
Along those lines, Rodriguez has publicly criticized Trump’s bigoted language about Mexicans, Latino immigrants, and Judge Gonzalo Curiel, whom Trump has accused of being biased because of his Mexican-American heritage. Last November, NHCLC’s Executive Vice President Tony Suarez said, “The only thing more embarrassing than his campaign is watching preachers support Trump and even manipulate scripture to invent false prophecies regarding Trump.”
In April, Suarez met with House Speaker Paul Ryan and other House leaders to discuss “the political and spiritual direction of the Republican Party.” According to an NHCLC press conference at the time, Suarez “addressed the importance of the Hispanic electorate in the upcoming election and the spiritual implications surrounding the immigration issue.”
"The members of Congress, specifically those that profess Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, must prayerfully consider the spiritual implications of mass deportation, as well as the current strategies espoused by both Republican candidates," said Suarez. "If a mass deportation of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in our country were to take place, it would virtually close most Hispanic churches in our country."
After Trump’s perfunctory video message to an NHCLC conference in May included no mea culpa for his anti-immigrant demagoguery, Rodriguez said, “I have no plans on endorsing Donald Trump whatsoever.”
Since then there have been no signs that Donald Trump is willing to reconsider, prayerfully or otherwise, his plans for a “deportation force” or his insistence that he will build a border wall and make Mexico pay for it – a centerpiece of his campaign. And he has not apologized for his despicable smear of Judge Curiel, and by extension all Americans of Mexican heritage.
But politics is politics, and now Suarez, despite his past criticism of Trump, is on Trump’s new “Evangelical Executive Advisory Board” while officially remaining uncommitted to him. And even Rodriguez is telling the Christian Broadcasting Network that yesterday’s meeting could be “a tipping point” for evangelicals and Trump, praising the candidate’s “very well-defined, articulated commitment to religious liberty and life, the Supreme Court especially….”
If you were paying attention, you could see this coming. Rodriguez has given Trump political cover before, saying that Trump is not a racist and blaming liberal media for promoting the idea that he is. And last month Rodriguez declared that it is every Christian’s duty to vote and that getting conservative justices on the Supreme Court is more important than immigration reform.
Another NHCLC leader, Mario Bramnick, was among evangelicals who met privately with Trump last month; Bramnick emerged gushing about Trump’s “genuineness” and “tremendous understanding and concern for the undocumented immigrants.” Two months earlier, Bramnick spoke at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference, where he declared in prayer that “the man you have selected to be our next president, shall be elected president of the United States and shall usher in the Third Great Awakening.”
Reports from and about the most recent meeting seem to show Trump in typical form, calling himself a “tremendous believer,” questioning the faith of Hillary Clinton, and telling people not to pray for political leaders who “are selling Christianity down the tubes.” Trump pandered to the conservative Christian activists by saying “You really don’t have religious freedom” and pledging to “get rid of” IRS restrictions on electoral politicking by churches. He said he’d make Macy’s put “Merry Christmas” signs in its store windows. And he promised them Supreme Court justices hand-picked by the right-wing Heritage Foundation and Federalist Society.
In putting together this event and building an advisory board without requiring its members to endorse him, Trump’s campaign seemed to be trying to recreate a critical moment in the marriage between the Religious Right and the Republican Party – a day in 1980 in which Ronald Reagan said to thousands of evangelical leaders, “I know you can’t endorse me … but I want you to know that I endorse you and what you’re doing.” In a press release about Trump’s new advisory committee, the campaign said:
The leaders on the executive board were not asked to endorse Mr. Trump as a prerequisite for participating on the board.
Rather, the formation of the board represents Donald J. Trump’s endorsement of those diverse issues important to Evangelicals and other Christians, and his desire to have access to the wise counsel of such leaders as needed. Mr. Trump has received widespread support from Evangelical leaders, communities and voters, winning the majority of the Evangelical vote throughout the primaries.
The meeting appears to have had its intended effect, and not only with Rodriguez. The conservative Townhall reported that Pastor Michael Anthony felt that God was speaking through Trump to encourage pastors to get more involved in politics to defend religious freedom. “I think that no matter what political party you’re a part of, if you were in this room today, you would have to admit there was a unity and a gentleness in this meeting that were remarkable,” said Anthony. “If we can do this in a room of 1,000, I think there’s hope for the nation.”
During his summit with Religious Right leaders yesterday, Donald Trump took time to meet with Troy Newman, the anti-abortion extremist in charge of Operation Rescue.
Newman, who was the co-chair of Ted Cruz’s Pro-Life Coalition, said that Trump is the only candidate left in the race who will challenge abortion rights. Newman’s deputy Cheryl Sullenger said in a statement that Trump pledged to:
1. Appoint pro-life Supreme Court justices, which have been pre-vetted by the conservative Federalist Society and Heritage Foundation.
2. Appoint strong pro-life judges to the Federal Courts.
3. Repeal and replace Obamacare and the abortion mandate that forces the insured to pay for abortions and abortifacient drugs.
4. Actively support and sign into law the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act.
5. Defund America’s largest supplier of abortion, Planned Parenthood.
None of these promises is new, as despite media stories about Trump’s supposedly “moderate” social views, the presumptive GOP nominee has been campaigning on his vow to put anti-choice judges on the court, cut access to reproductive services and defund Planned Parenthood as long as it offers abortion care. Trump has renounced his previous support for abortion rights and quickly backtracked after he recently told CBS that he didn’t want to change abortion laws.
Meeting with Newman would go a long way toward shoring up his anti-choice credentials.
Newman spearheaded the recent smear campaign against Planned Parenthood that falsely accused the organization of selling fetal tissue and has built an entire career around harassing abortion providers . Sullenger, his Operation Rescue colleague, even served “time in jail for conspiring to bomb a California abortion clinic in the 1980s.”
Newman’s views are so extreme that he said a man convicted of murdering an abortion provider was “little more than a political prisoner” who should have been allowed to argue that he was performing a “justifiable defensive action” and “present a defense that claimed that the killing of the abortionist was necessary to save the lives of the pre-born babies that were scheduled to be killed by abortion that day.”
He and Sullenger once wrote at length about why it is a government responsibility to execute abortion providers:
In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people.
Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.
In the same book, “Their Blood Cries Out,” the two also suggest that women who have had an abortion are “murderesses” who shouldn’t be treated any differently than abortion providers or “any other mother” who killed “any other family member,” and that God is now punishing America for abortion rights with terrorist attacks like 9/11, cancer and HIV/AIDS. The California drought,inclement weather and financial turmoil, according to Newman, are all results of the legalization of abortion.
But, as we’ve said before, there appears to be no one who is too extreme to be embraced by Trump.
While speaking with a group of evangelical leaders in New York on Tuesday, Donald Trump appeared to question Hillary Clinton’s faith, according to a brief video clip released by conservative activist E.W. Jackson. “We don't know anything about Hillary in terms of religion,” the presumptive Republican nominee told the audience, according to a transcript by The Hill. “Now, she's been in the public eye for years and years, and yet there's no — there's nothing out there.”
This statement is just Trump’s latest lie — Clinton is a Methodist who has spoken about her faith and its impact on her politics. However, conservatives have for decades used similar falsehoods to attack Democratic presidential candidates.
President Obama has spent eight years facing accusations about his faith. Donald Trump, echoing other conservatives, has accused him of being a secret Muslim. At the same time, conservatives have made the contradictory attack that Obama attended a Chicago church that was racist.
During his presidential campaign in 2004, John Kerry’s Catholicism was called into question. The conservative Weekly Standard called Kerry “a curious kind of Catholic” while some conservative bishops decided to deny him communion.
Bill Clinton, a Baptist, spent his eight years in the White House facing accusations about his faith from the Christian Right. The New York Times reported in 1994, “Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition called Mr. Clinton's inauguration a ‘repudiation of our forefathers' covenant with God.’” This was just one of a litany of attacks, innuendo and unproven accusations hurled at the president by those purporting to represent Christianity.
Even Michael Dukakis faced ugly accusations about his commitment to the Greek Orthodox Church. During the 1988 election, James G. Jatras, who worked for the Senate Republican Policy Committee, called Dukakis a "renegade, an outcast" who "severed [his membership in the religion due to his] marriage outside the church" because his wife was Jewish.
Riling up adherents into believing the latest Democratic standard-bearer represents an antireligious force that must be opposed has long been part of the Christian Right playbook … one that often proves useful in organizing and fundraising efforts.
As the Times noted in their 1994 article, Jerry Falwell’s attacks on Clinton were part of an effort that “sold tens of thousands of the videotapes for ‘donations’ of at least $40 plus $3 for shipping.” The same piece cited other Christian conservatives using direct mail to fundraise off tawdry accusations against the president.
Trump might be rewriting the book on how conservatives campaign for the White House, but when it comes to attacks on Hillary Clinton’s religion, he is just rehashing an old tired pattern of attacks.
Following the meeting that Donald Trump held with hundreds of Religious Right activists yesterday, a handful of leaders sat down for a press conference where they took questions from reporters. At this press conference, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and the Susan B. Anthony List's Marjorie Dannenfelser perfectly displayed just how flimsy their supposed standards are when it comes to backing political candidates.
When it comes to Trump, whose history of unapologetic narcissism, pathological dishonesty and willingness to say whatever benefits him at the moment are undeniable, both Perkins and Dannenfelser made it clear that they simply do not care about any of those things because, right now, Trump is willing to tell them what they want to hear.
Admitting that Trump has a long history of doing things, saying things and taking positions that are in direct contradiction to the supposed values of the Religious Right, Perkins rationalized backing Trump by declaring that forgiveness is the core of the Christian faith.
"One of the things about the evangelical community that people have a hard time understanding," Perkins said, 'is we forgive. We're all sinners, we all have messed up ... When we ask people to say, 'I was wrong, forgive me, I want to do the right thing today going forward,' more than anybody else evangelicals in this country can accept that."
When a reporter pointed out that Trump does not ever actually asks for forgiveness — in fact, Trump once infamously said that he has never asked God for forgiveness — Perkins responded by declaring that "when you look at the leaders that were used throughout scripture in the Bible, almost to a 'T' each and every one of them were flawed in some form or fashion and made bad choices at some point in their life. That's the good thing about the Christian faith is it's going forward, it's not looking back."
Dannenfelser, who earlier this year signed on to a letter urging voters in Iowa "to support anyone but Donald Trump" because "Mr. Trump cannot be trusted" on the issue of abortion, also came to Trump's defense, declaring that the presumptive GOP nominee is working hard "to become the person that he says that he is."
Brushing aside the debacle a few months back when Trump said that if abortion is outlawed, women who receive them should face some sort of punishment, only to then repeatedly flip-flop on the issue, even claiming at one point that he wanted to leave abortion laws the way they are, as he scrambled to do damage control, Dannenfelser spun the episode as something for which Trump deserves a lot of credit.
"To give him a lot of credit, only a person with some humility, which he doesn't get credit for, would go back and correct his comments, which he did," Dannenfelser said. "I've actually found on the abortion issue that he's done that more on that particular issue than almost any other, a willingness to correct himself and move ahead. And I think that shows an ability to become the person that he says that he is."
Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver appeared on “Crosstalk” on Monday to reflect on the upcoming anniversary of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision, declaring that same-sex marriage will usher in pernicious consequences for America.
Staver, who gained notoriety for representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis during her attempt to defy the ruling, compared gay rights advocates to communist dictators who sought to suppress religious groups, predicting that Davis “is not going to be the last one jailed.”
Same-sex marriage, Staver said, “puts every household at risk because same-sex marriage, by its nature, says that, ‘boys and girls, you don’t need moms and dads,’ that they are completely irrelevant, that two men or two women are just as good as a mother and a father and that’s a complete lie from the pit of hell. It’s just simply not true. To deprive forever a boy of ever having the opportunity of a father or a mother or a girl of a father or a mother is damaging and we will see the damage that is ultimately reaped against these children as they grow up and become our future leaders.”
Later, Staver criticized LGBT rights supporters for using the massacre at a gay nightclub in Orlando “to promote the homosexual, LGBT agenda — as shameful as that is.”
After six years in the Senate, where his main achievement has been renouncing an immigration reform bill that he helped to write, Florida Republican Marco Rubio has decided to reverse his pledge to retire and run for re-election.
Rubio has gained a reputation for hating his job and seems to have all but given up on doing it, racking up the Senate’s “the worst attendance record, missing 35 percent, or 120 of the 339 roll votes” last year. He even skipped votes on bills that he talked about on the presidential campaign trail. One of his presidential campaign surrogates, ex-rival Rick Santorum, was unable to name a single accomplishment of Rubio’s since he joined the Senate:
Back in October, the Sun Sentinel editorial board called on Rubio to resign because of his absenteeism:
Rubio has missed more votes than any other senator this year. His seat is regularly empty for floor votes, committee meetings and intelligence briefings. He says he's MIA from his J-O-B because he finds it frustrating and wants to be president, instead.
"I'm not missing votes because I'm on vacation," he told CNN on Sunday. "I'm running for president so that the votes they take in the Senate are actually meaningful again."
Sorry, senator, but Floridians sent you to Washington to do a job. We've got serious problems with clogged highways, eroding beaches, flat Social Security checks and people who want to shut down the government.
If you hate your job, senator, follow the honorable lead of House Speaker John Boehner and resign it.
Amazingly, Rubio has cited the attack at a gay nightclub in Orlando as a reason he is seeking a second term in the Senate, where he would surely continue to push his anti-LGBT views, show fealty to the NRA and position himself for yet another presidential bid:
The senator has told colleagues and advisers that he would like to run for president again, either in 2020 or 2024. But he increasingly came to believe that doing so from the private sector would be difficult.
In the wake of the terrorist attack on a gay nightclub in Orlando, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump made the absurd claim that he was a better ally of the LGBT community than Hillary Clinton. And nothing better demonstrates just how absurd this claim is than the fact that Tony Perkins, head of the anti-gay hate group the Family Research Council, completely agrees with Trump on this point.
"What he was saying is no American, regardless of your political ideology or your life choices, should be living under the threat of a terrorist attack on the streets of the United States of America," Perkins said. "I agree 100 percent with that. No American, no American, which they are under Barack Obama, living in fear because of Islamic terrorists coming to this country; so yes, LGBT, Catholic, Protestant atheist — as one who wore the uniform as a United States Marine and was a police officer, no American, no American should live in fear and that is exactly what Donald Trump was saying and evangelicals believe the same thing."
"That's why our military is filled with evangelicals who are willing to lay down their lives for the rights of people to live in ways they might not agree with, but not to live in fear," he continued. "So, yes, I agree with what Donald Trump said and I think most evangelicals would as well."