Fighting the Right

Trump: Christians' 'Power Is Being Taken Away' In America

On Saturday, Donald Trump spoke with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, the extremist Religious Right leader who has been rallying conservative activists around Ted Cruz, on Perkins’ radio program “Washington Watch.”

The GOP presidential frontrunner went on his usual rants about the so-called “War on Christmas” and how this anti-Christmas spirit is undermining religious liberty. Trump, who has made attacks on Muslims a central part of his campaign, said that Christians in America are losing their religious freedoms, unlike Muslim-Americans, whom he said have been able to “band together better or something.”

Well, Tony, I can, tell you this, that religious liberty is very important to me, and I see more and more, especially, in particular, Christianity, Christians, their power is being taken away. I just watch it and I get angry at it. You look at what is going on with other religions, you look at, as an example, what’s happening with respect to Muslims and others where perhaps they just band together better or something. But, you know, the Christian, every year, you just see it more and more.

You know, you go from one thing to the next to the point where it’s not politically correct to say ‘Merry Christmas’ to anybody or you go to stores and you don’t ever see the word ‘Christmas’ anymore. You don’t see that term anymore, Tony.

One of the things I always say, and I say it lightheartedly but I mean it, it’s actually not supposed to be so lighthearted, and I get standing ovations, especially in Iowa and certain places, is we are going to start saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again. Because you go into these stores and you don’t see anything having to do with Christmas and it’s disgraceful, frankly, as far as I’m concerned, and that’s the way it should be and I feel strongly about it.

Perkins went on to praise Trump’s brave stand in favor of Christmas, which led Trump to discuss the case of a Washington state high school coach who was placed on paid leave after coercing students into religious activity. Trump said it was “incredible” that this coach was disciplined while he, Trump, has been “lambasted” for trying “to see what’s going on with” the “whole thing with the Muslims.”

You know, when I see coaches being fired or suspended because they’re having a prayer for football players, the players are grabbing each other’s hand and praying before or after a game and they suspend the coach or fire the coach in some cases, I say, that’s not happening, if I get in, that’s not happening, Tony, I’ll tell you right now and I’ll make a big deal out of it.

I mean, we have some very important problems, when you look at ISIS and the disaster of Obamacare and our military and our vets not being taken care of properly, but you know that’s still something that is very important to me. How do you suspend a coach because he is practicing his faith?

Then, when I want to see what’s going on with, as an example, you know, it’s been a very big subject, the whole thing with the Muslims, and you get lambasted for doing something and yet they’ll fire a coach who’s a Christian coach because he’s saying a prayer on a football field with his players. It’s an incredible situation that’s taking place and not a good one!

Trump: 'I've Always Had A Good Feeling About' Putin

Donald Trump has appalled even many fellow Republicans with his recent embrace of Vladimir Putin , defending the Russian president’s human rights record and lauding him as a “strong leader.”

The Republican presidential frontrunner doubled down on his praise of Putin in a radio interview with Iowa’s Simon Conway on Friday, saying that he was confident that he could work well with Putin because he’s “always had a good feeling about him.”

“So, I’m a deal-maker,” Trump said. “So what happens with a deal-maker is you have an instinct, because deals are not deals, they’re people. It’s all about people. And I’ve always had a good instinct about Putin, for me, I just feel that that’s a guy — and I can analyze people. And you’re not always right and it could be that I won’t like him, but I always had a good feeling about him from the standpoint.”

Trump contrasted his potential friendship with Putin with Obama, whom he lamented has “never gotten along” with the Russian leader.

“I really believe that Russia and the United States can be a positive force together as opposed to really working negatively with each other all the time,” he said.

Trump also derided the “people that aren’t very smart that are in politics” who have been unhappy with Russia’s actions in Syria, which have often been at odds with U.S. military strategy.

Scott Lively Removes Theodore Shoebat From His List Of 'Pro-Family Heroes'

Last week, we noted that rabidly anti-gay activist Scott Lively had released a list of "Top Ten Pro-Family Heroes" of the year which included an "honorable mention" for Theodore Shoebat, an anti-gay activist so extreme that he openly calls for the implementation of a global "inquisition" aimed at forcing gays to submit to Christianity or be put to death.

Here is a screen cap of Lively's original list. You can see Shoebat listed in between Julio Severo and Mission America's Linda Harvey, who helped Lively draft the list:

At some point after we pointed out Shoebat's inclusion on Lively's list of "pro-family heroes," the list was quietly updated and Shoebat's name was removed. Here is a screen cap of the list as it currently appears on Lively's website:

Focus On The Family Spox: Maybe Planned Parenthood Shooter Was High On Edibles

Ever since Robert Dear opened fire on a Planned Parenthood in Colorado Springs last month, many anti-abortion activists have been trying to claim that Dear was not motivated by opposition to abortion rights, something that has become increasingly difficult as information about him emerges.

But one diehard skeptic, it seems, is Stuart Shepard of CitizenLink, the political arm of the Colorado Springs-based Focus on the Family.

In an interview on “The Meeting House,” an Alabama Christian radio program that was posted on the program’s website last Friday, Stuart speculated that Dear just “ended up at Planned Parenthood” and that he could have been having a “psychotic episode” caused by marijuana edibles.

“If you trace his path backwards from where he ended up at Planned Parenthood to that grocery store where the first person was shot and go back another half mile, you know what they sell there?” he asked. “It’s a couple of marijuana shops.”

“I don’t know the facts of this case,” he acknowledged, “but I’m sure law enforcement is looking into this, we’ve had multiple instances of people consuming what are called marijuana edibles … I’d just be curious to know if he stopped by one of those. We’ve had a number of folks who have eaten these things and then had psychotic episodes.”

“It’s the kind of thing that happens when you make marijuana legal in a state,” he argued, “but it doesn’t get reported widely because it doesn’t fit the narrative of the mainstream news media that’s very, you know. Well, the same thing’s happening here, you wonder, you know, what exactly happened.”

We’ll give Shepard the benefit of the doubt and assume that the interview was recorded before Dear announced in court that he was a “warrior for babies,” but by last week he would have still had plenty of time to have read up on the shooter’s admiration for the violent anti-abortion group Army of God and would have certainly heard the early reports that Dear muttered something to law enforcement officers about “no more baby parts,” a reference to the Center for Medical Progress’ videos smearing Planned Parenthood.

Maybe Shepard got his theory from Bryan Fischer.

Alex Jones: Obama Making Black People 'Total Slaves'

In one of his hourly meltdowns today, InfoWars’ Alex Jones called on viewers to fight back against President Obama’s “idiot followers” who want to ban guns, warning that Obama is turning black people into his “total slaves” who will join his sinister campaign to “destroy and enslave the ‘bitter clingers.’”

“Spread, the word, get aggressive, fire these people in the war,” he said. “Spray them with truth.”

Naturally, this led Jones to talk about the “globalists” who are using things like “Heather Has Two Mommies” and fluoridated water to dumb people down, while boasting that “freedom is exploding” thanks to fellow freedom fighters like Matt Drudge and James O’Keefe.

“I’m just ranting here today,” he said while describing his newfound celebrity status. “It brings tears to my eyes when I go out in public, when I go out in Barnes & Noble — not bragging, just showing how people are awake — and almost everyone I walk by, black, white, Hispanic, old, young, male, female, I can’t go to the mall to Christmas shop, I have to buy everything online, I can’t even go out in public because I can’t get down the street now.”

Anti-Choice Group Working To 'Unleash A Whole Army Of David Daleidens'

The anti-choice activist in Texas who inspired David Daleiden’s sham “baby parts” investigation of Planned Parenthood is launching a project to “unleash a whole army of David Daleidens” to spy on abortion providers “in every part of the country.”

Mark Crutcher, the president of Life Dynamics, announced in a local radio interview with Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith earlier this month that he is in the process of building a facility and developing a curriculum to conduct “professional training to help pro-lifers understand how to go inside the very cloistered and very closed abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets.”

Daleiden’s futile effort to catch Planned Parenthood breaking federal laws on handing fetal tissue was modeled on a similar project Crutcher conducted in 2000. When he was initially planning his anti-Planned Parenthood project, Daleiden took his “6-foot, 30-pound black-throated monitor lizard” on a cross-country road trip to meet with Crutcher and with Operation Rescue’s Troy Newman, who eventually became one of three board members of his Center for Medical Progress.

Crutcher, who pioneered the strategy of recruiting what he called “spies for life” to find information about abortion providers in order to harass them out of business, told Smith that the fight over abortion rights “is a war, and one aspect of war is intelligence gathering and undercover work — spying, if you will.”

“We’re going to try to create an army of people who are trained in every part of the country, they will be operating any place there’s an abortion clinic, to go into the abortion industry and bring out their dirty little secrets," he said. "And I think that this is going to change the pro-life movement permanently, and I think it’s going to change it in a pretty dramatic way.”

Crutcher reminded listeners that as well as inspiring Daleiden, he trained Live Action’s Lila Rose, who worked with Daleiden on another fruitless “sting” operation against Planned Parenthood in 2011, which was also modeled on Crutcher’s work at Life Dynamics.

“Now what we want to do is unleash a whole army of David Daleidens and Lila Roses and James O’Keefes and people like that around the country,” Crutcher said.

Crutcher also discussed his new book, “Siege: A Pro-Life Field Manual,” in which he argues that the anti-choice movement needs to “start applying basic military strategy” to its efforts.

“The book is called ‘Siege,’ which, of course, is a military term, because I look at this as a war,” he told Smith. "There is a war being waged right now and people need to understand, the war is not between the pro-life side and the pro-abortion side or the pro-choice side, whatever you want to call it. The war is between the abortion lobby and the unborn child. We are simply, basically a volunteer army that signed up to defend those who can’t defend themselves, in other words the unborn child. But that’s where the war is. It’s not between us and our enemies, it’s between our enemies and the babies.”

He said that part of the military mindset that the anti-abortion movement must adopt is to “be aware that there are dangers out there that we haven’t thought about.”

As an example, he presented his theory that Planned Parenthood is secretly “positioning itself to become an agency of the U.S. government.”

“I think that we could very easily look up here one day in the not-too-distant future,” he said, “and see a press conference being called with Barack Obama and beside him would be Cecile Richards from Planned Parenthood and them announcing that a new agency has been formed under the Department of Health and Human Services, it would probably be called something like the U.S. Department of Women and Reproductive Health or something like that, and that the name ‘Planned Parenthood’ is going away and that Planned Parenthood is now an agency of the government.”

Linda Harvey: 'The Meanest And Most Hateful Thing You Can Do' Is Support Gay Rights

Mission America’s Linda Harvey is on a mission to stop the Equality Act in Congress, telling Cleveland Right to Life’s Molly Smith on her radio program last week that endorsing such LGBT equality measures is “the least compassionate, the meanest and most hateful thing you can do” because it will cause more people to think it’s okay to be LGBT.

Harvey urged listeners to call their members of Congress and urge them to oppose the legislation and said that she’s trying to get GOP presidential candidates to promise to veto it. (She’s already extracted a veto promise from Marco Rubio.)

She told Smith that the Equality Act would “affect our entire country,” which has already been damaged enough by “the people that want to endorse open homosexual behavior and take us all into this sewer of younger and younger children declaring themselves homosexual or transgender.”

She added that the “tragedies in personal lives that are directly attributable to this is just amazing.”

When Smith interjected a reminder that Christians should “love” gay people even while being “completely, completely opposed to the behavior of a homosexual,” Harvey agreed.

“They’ve been told that this is compassion,” Harvey said. “And we all feel compassion for these people, and some of them are struggling. Some of them are not struggling, some of them are very happy with where they’re at and then they want the whole world to change around them and the desires they have adopted.

“That can’t happen. We want truth. We want truth to be maintained for those people who are struggling and who want to escape it, we don’t want more children to be drawn into this and so, on a public policy level, the least compassionate, the meanest and most hateful thing you can do is to endorse things that will accelerate and confirm this behavior in more and more people in our country.”

Harvey also worried that the Equality Act would accelerate a trend in schools toward students thinking that being gay is “wonderful and you should just embrace it.”

“We should not be implying that to kids anywhere,” she said, “but it’s throughout the curriculum. It’s not just in sex education, it’s in social studies, it’s in English literature. They read these books that have openly homosexual and always attractive homosexual characters. There’s never one that’s presented as if there’s a problem with that.”

Trump And The Right's Crush On Putin

No one was surprised yesterday when Donald Trump boasted about the kind words he recently received from Vladimir Putin, even playing down Russian president’s record of persecuting journalists and dissidents.

“He’s running his country and at least he’s a leader,” Trump told Joe Scarborough. “You know, unlike we have in this country.” Trump did eventually get around to condemning Putin’s more repressive actions and his invasion of Ukraine with the bold declaration: “Oh sure, absolutely.”

Trump has been heaping praise on Putin throughout his presidential campaign, even insisting that he met the Russian president when they appeared in the same 60 Minutes segment despite the fact their interviews took place on separate continents.

He specifically has hailed Putin’s “amazing” intervention in Syria, thanking him for “bombing the hell out of ISIS,” even though Russian planes rarely target the terrorist group and much more frequently attack the rebels fighting against ISIS.

Putin, of course, has led a widespread crackdown on political and religious freedom in his own country. Earlier this year, a former top government official and opposition leader was assassinated next to the Kremlin in a mysterious case that was likely the work of a government-tied death squad.

Beyond just propping up the brutal Syrian dictatorship, Putin oversaw Chechnya’s transformation into a mini despotic state governed by Sharia law, which may surprise Trump since he has made anti-Muslim bigotry a central part of his campaign platform.

And, of course, Putin has backed an all-out assault on the LGBT community, even criminalizing speech in favor of gay rights if it’s deemed to be “propaganda” aimed at children.

This anti-LGBT crusade may explain why so many U.S. conservatives conveniently ignore the attack on Protestants by the Russian government and Russian-backed forces in Ukraine while railing against the phony persecution of Christians in America. As we’ve mentioned before, Putinphilia has taken a hold over the Religious Right:

Evangelist Franklin Graham hailed Putin as a hero for taking “a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda” even as “America’s own morality has fallen so far on this issue”; Bryan Fischer called Putin a “lion of Christianity” and called upon U.S. lawmakers to adopt similar speech prohibitions; Matt Barber marveled that Putin was able to “out-Christian our once-Christian nation”; Sam Rohrer called Putin “the moral leader of the world”; Scott Lively lavished praise on Putin for “championing traditional marriage and Christian values”; and Rush Limbaugh applauded Putin for stopping “a full-frontal assault on what has always been considered normalcy.”

Officials with the World Congress of Families have lauded Putin as a savior of the entire world. The group organized a meeting for conservative activists at the Kremlin, which also played host to Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who traveled to Russia to defend the country’s anti-LGBT crackdown in face of a Western “attempts to silence those of us who stand for the truth of marriage.”

Several activists have called for the U.S. to adopt the same speech codes as Russia.

Putin also has support from Fox News pundits, Trump’s pal Alex Jones and conservative talk radio hosts, including one who is contemplating a move to Russia because “it seems to be the best country left on the planet, run by a decent leader.”

The Russian leader is also trying to fund neo-fascist parties in Europe like France’s National Front, the far-right party whose leader says that Trump’s bigotry goes too far.

Seeing that Russia is propping up hard right parties, it’s no surprise that Putin and Trump are fawning over each other.

The 2015 Right Wing Watch War On Christmas Gift Guide

When it gets to the holiday season here at Right Wing Watch, our inboxes are flooded with warnings about the “War on Christmas,” often accompanied by year-end fundraising pitches or, better yet, Christmas gift ideas.

As a public service, we’ve compiled some of the best of these into our annual Right Wing Watch War on Christmas gift guide, where you can find something for everyone on your list.

For The Party-Loving Prepper

Televangelist Jim Bakker may have served time in prison for fraud charges related to a previous television ministry, but that hasn’t deterred him from his mission to make sure that his followers are prepared for the End Times with expensive buckets of survival food.

Bakker recommends waiting out the nuclear winter with his 55-gallon milk buckets or sipping on $160 buckets of creamy potato soup, but the really generous gift would be Bakker’s $3,500 seven-year supply of food, including festive desserts that will allow you to “have parties when the world is coming apart.”

Don’t be deterred by the elitist critics who describe the “odd, lingering aftertastes” of Bakker’s food buckets or pan them as “one of the worst things I’ve ever eaten in my life.”

For The Public Official Who Just Really Doesn’t Want To Do Her Job

The War on Christmas began early this year, when Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis became a Religious Right hero after her ill-fated attempts to exempt her county from the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling landed her briefly in jail.

What better way to show your support for Davis’ nonsensical legal arguments than by ordering this nonsensical t-shirt?

For The Ted Cruz Fan With A Strong Stomach

Sen. Ted Cruz liked conservative street artist Sabo’s depiction of him as a tattooed tough guy so much that his presidential campaign is selling it in poster form. Or, it was until the $55 prints sold out.

(Apparently the campaign has opted not to sell Sabo’s other most famous work, Texas state Sen. Wendy Davis as “ Abortion Barbie.”)

For The Ted Cruz Fan With A Festive Spirit

For the Cruz supporter with a more wholesome sensibility, consider this sweater, which Cruz’s campaign instructs supporters to wear while setting “an example for the ‘tolerant left’” by saying “Merry Christmas every chance you get!”

For The Downcast Jeb Bush Supporter

Why should Ted Cruz supporters get all the cool merch? For just $20, you can get a deserving friend or relative this stylish Jeb Bush Christmas ornament, guaranteed to cheer up anyone who’s been looking at his poll numbers.

For The Relative With ‘A Case Of The Bah-Humbugs’

Kirk Cameron’s movie “Saving Christmas” came out last year, but the DVD was released last month, just in time to stuff the stockings of loved ones who need a reminder of the true spirit of the season.

In the movie, Cameron plays a pro-Christmas warrior who must cure his brother-in-law of “a bad case of the bah-humbugs.” Film critic Peter Sobczynski writes that the movie is “little more than a screed delivered by Kirk Cameron scorning everyone who doesn't celebrate the season as ostentatiously as he does, justifying his attitude with bits and pieces gleaned from the Bible, delivered in the most self-righteous manner imaginable. The result is perhaps the only Christmas movie I can think of, especially of the religious-themed variety, that seems to flat-out endorse materialism, greed and outright gluttony.”

The Wrap’s Alonso Duralde, however, was pleasantly surprised: “I had assumed it would be a 90-minute jeremiad aimed at atheists, Jews, Muslims, and other people who don’t celebrate Christmas exactly the way Kirk Cameron does. Instead, it’s an 80-minute jeremiad aimed at other Christians who don’t celebrate Christmas exactly the way Kirk Cameron does.”

For The State Legislator Who Knows Too Much

Back in January, the influential Iowa conservative group The Family Leader (whose president, Bob Vander Plaats, just recently endorsed Cruz) raised money to distribute $100 leather-bound copies of David Barton’s “The Founders Bible” to every Iowa state legislator.

In Barton’s commentary, we wrote at the time, legislators would find “a retelling of Exodus that portrays Moses as the inventor of republican government; a made-up story about the early American government printing Bibles; an endorsement of the 'Christian nation' concept from a notorious defender of slavery; information on the 'many areas in which the Constitution specifically incorporated Biblical principles'; and an argument for the biblical origin of DNA evidence.”

Why settle for a Bible when you could have a Bible supplemented by misleading American history?

For The Birther Who Will Never Give Up

President Obama may be entering his last year in office, but the conservative news source WorldNetDaily will never give up on its quest to prove that Obama was ineligible for the presidency all along. What better gift for a similarly persistent loved one than these bumper stickers from the WND store, which a recent email from WND points out would make great stocking stuffers.

Happy holidays!

Six GOP Hopefuls Vow To Enshrine Anti-Gay Discrimination Into Law

In the wake of the Supreme Court's gay marriage ruling, anti-gay Religious Right groups rallied around a piece of legislation known as the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prohibit the federal government from "taking discriminatory action against a person on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that: (1) marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman, or (2) sexual relations are properly reserved to such a marriage."

In essence, the law would give individuals and businesses a license to openly discriminate against gay people and others in the name of "religious liberty," so naturally anti-gay groups have lined up in support of the legislation.

Today, several of these groups — the American Principles Project, Heritage Action for America, Family Research Council Action — announced that six GOP presidential hopefuls have all signed a pledge to, if elected to the White House, push for the passage of the FADA within their first 100 days in office:

American Principles Project has joined together with Heritage Action for America, the action arm of the Heritage Foundation, and FRC Action, the legislative affiliate of the Family Research Council, to invite each of the candidates running for President to sign the following pledge:

“If elected, I pledge to push for the passage of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) and sign it into law during the first 100 days of my term as President.”

So far, six candidates have signed the pledge:

•   Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas)

•   Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida)

•   Dr. Ben Carson

•   Carly Fiorina

•   Former Senator Rick Santorum (R-Pennsylvania)

•   Former Governor Mike Huckabee (R-Arkansas)


Maggie Gallagher, Senior Fellow at American Principles Project, released the following statement:

“It has become clear that the First Amendment Defense Act is rapidly becoming a signature issue that unifies the GOP. Three out of the four top contenders for the nomination — Carson, Cruz, and Rubio — have pledged to prioritize passing FADA in their first 100 days of office. Additionally, Bush, Graham, Paul, and now for the first time, Donald Trump, have publicly expressed support for FADA. Real, concrete protections for gay marriage dissenters appear to be just one election victory away.”

'It's A Biblical Solution': Theodore Shoebat Says Trump's Plan To Kill ISIS Families Is 'Exactly What God Commands'

Extremist right-wing activist Theodore Shoebat posted an 80-minute video today offering his thoughts on this week's Republican presidential debate, which he conveniently summarized in the title: "All of the candidates except for Donald Trump hate Christianity and are enemies of the Faith."

As Shoebat explained, Russian president Vladimir Putin is the leading global champion of Christianity and therefore any politician who opposes Putin or Russia is actually opposing Christianity, meaning that all of the GOP presidential hopefuls, with the exception of Donald Trump, are enemies of Christianity. 

As evidence that Trump is the most Christian of the current crop of Republican candidates, Shoebat cited Trump's insistence that he would kill not only ISIS fighters, but also their entire families, in waging war against the terrorist organization.

That is exactly what God demands, Shoebat declared, and exactly what the United States should have done to the "Japs" during World War II.

"God himself is for that because when He commands His armies to invade the enemy nations, He makes it very clear you kill their families as well," Shoebat stated. "So Trump actually has the most biblical policy in killing the families. I mean, if you want to take out an evil nation, you've got to kill the families because if you don't kill the families, they're going to produce children and those children wind up being your enemies and you're just never going to get rid of the problem."

"Look at the Japanese," he continued. "America killed like, what, a half a million Japanese? Guess what? The Japs are still causing problems! They're still causing problems. Yeah, they were peaceful for a few decades here and there, but look, now they want weapons, now they want to become independent from U.S. military influence, now they want their own fighter jet, now they want to start causing problems with China, now they want to commence conflict, now they want to change the history books and make it like America was the bad guy and Japan was the holy nation. Japan is now causing us problems. Why? Because we didn't finish the job in World War II."

"When you want to get rid of a problem, you need to get rid of the families as well," Shoebat concluded. "It's a biblical solution."

Religious Right: Bible Dictates Laws & Economic Policy But Islam Not a Religion Because It Is A Political & Economic System

Donald Trump’s call to bar all Muslims from entering the country was widely recognized as an appeal for explicit religious discrimination and generated significant pushback.  But many of Trump’s right-wing defenders have turned to an argument that has long bounced around Religious Right circles: that Muslims are not entitled to the religious liberty protections of the First Amendment because Islam is somehow not a religion. A few years ago, for example, retired Lt. Gen Jerry Boykin called Islam “a totalitarian way of life” that “should not be protected under the First Amendment.”

At this week’s Republican presidential debate, Rick Santorum explained why he believes Islam is not protected under the First Amendment, an argument made repeatedly by the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer. Here’s Santorum:

The fact of the matter is, Islam is different. I know this is going to come as a shock to a lot of people, and I mean this sincerely. Islam is not just a religion. It is also a political governing structure. The fact of the matter is, Islam is a religion, but it is also Sharia law, it is also a civil government, it is also a form of government. And, so, the idea that that is protected under the First Amendment is wrong.

Conservative columnist and radio host Andrew McCarthy has similarly defended Trump’s comments, saying that Islam is not merely a religion because it “has ambitions to be more than a religion, that is to say that it is an ideological, sweeping system that does not recognize a division between spiritual life on the one hand and political and civic life on the other.”

Back in September, Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins defended similar comments by Ben Carson:

“Religious freedom and our liberty is ordered liberty under the Constitution,” Perkins said. “And as Dr. Caron pointed out, and I know this is driving the left crazy, that Islam is not just a religion, Islam is an economic system, it is a judicial system, it is a compressive system which is incompatible with the Constitution. That’s what Dr. Carson said and he happens to be correct.”

More recently, Perkins defended Trump with a dubiously specific statistic, saying that “only 16 percent of Islam is a religion — the rest is a combination of military, judicial, economic and political system.” Televangelist Pat Robertson also said this month that people should not view Islam as a religion but rather a “political system masquerading as a religion.”

Wait a minute. Aren’t these the same people who repeatedly insist that the Bible is the final authority on everything, from laws regulating personal relationships to economic and tax policy, and environmental protection? Anti-marriage-equality activists have insisted that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling was in violation of “God’s law” and therefore “illegitimate.” 

David Barton, an oft-discredited “historian” and Republican Party activist who is currently heading up a Ted Cruz super PAC, argues that the Bible opposes minimum wage laws, estate taxes, capital gains taxes, any progressive form of taxation and even net neutrality. He says the Constitution came right out of the Bible. If you applied Tony Perkins’ calculations to David Barton’s Bible, what percentage would come up as religion?

Many Religious Right leaders have embraced Seven Mountains dominionism, which is grounded in the belief that the right kind of Bible-believing Christians are meant to control all the important spheres of culture, including government, business, education, and entertainment. For example, the American Pastors Network’s Sam Rohrer says this:

Government leaders are charged with wielding the Word of God as an instrument of Justice, promoting God’s moral law as the foundation of right and wrong, encouraging those who do well biblically, and executing judgment on those who break the law.

Along those lines, three Republican presidential candidates, including current Iowa frontrunner Ted Cruz, recently joined a “religious freedom” rally organized by a pastor who argues that the Bible requires the government to execute gay people.

And don’t forget David Lane, whose American Renewal Project is mobilizing conservative pastors to get more involved in politics — and who argues that America was founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith, and that the Bible should be a primary textbook in public schools.

So, a thought for Religious Right leaders: If you are going to argue for stripping Muslims of their First Amendment religious liberty protections based on your interpretation of Islam as an enterprise that is more political and ideological than religious, you may have to trim your own political sails quite a bit. Either that, or quit pretending you are proponents of religious freedom, and admit that you, like Bryan Fischer, believe the First Amendment applies only to Christians, or, like Tony Perkins, that gay-supporting Christians don’t deserve the same legal protections because a “true religious freedom” has to “come forth from religious orthodoxy.” Just don’t try to pretend your definition of “religious freedom” owes anything to Thomas Jefferson or the First Amendment. 

Ann Coulter: Only 'President Trump' Can Save Us From Turning Into 'Uganda'

Ann Coulter was not impressed by Tuesday night’s Republican presidential debate on CNN, telling Florida talk radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday that only Donald Trump isn’t “embarrassed about getting white votes” and recognizes that “the threat facing America right now is we’re about to become Uganda.”

Coulter told Kaufman that she’s fed up with Republicans comparing themselves to Ronald Reagan. “For Pete’s sake,” she said, “Reagan was elected 35 years ago. The world was a different place. The main problem facing America is no longer the threat of a nuke from the Soviet Union, it’s not encroaching communism, the threat facing America right now is we’re about to become Uganda.” She added they we may also soon be “living under Sharia law.”

Coulter then lit into RNC chairman Reince Priebus for attempting to strike an inclusive tone in remarks before the debate.

“‘We are the Republican party and that means we welcome Hispanics, Asians, women,’” she paraphrased Priebus saying.

“What on earth?” she demanded. “And, by the way, I noticed that white men weren’t included on the list of people that Republicans stand for. Why are Republicans embarrassed about getting white votes? What is that? Democrats can’t get them, I can see why Democrats are always going around dissing white people, but why does the Republican have to be embarrassed about getting white votes?”

This prompted Kaufman to lament that even Republicans are adopting the “bankrupt philosophy” that “inherent white privilege” exists. “It’s all like a bad movie, Ann,” she said, “and every day I wake up and I say, I don’t know how this story ends.”

“I know how it ends,” Coulter responded. “President Trump”

Pavone: Pro-Choicers More To Blame For Planned Parenthood Shooting Than Pro-Lifers

Frank Pavone, the president of Priests for Life, said this week that although he doesn’t support blaming anybody for an anti-abortion crusader’s murder spree at a Planned Parenthood in Colorado last month, if anybody were to blame for such “deranged acts of violence” it would be pro-choicers who are “poisoning the moral climate in our nation.”

“It’s a silly thing to be blaming responsibility on one another for these kinds of things,” Pavone said in an interview on the Ave Maria Radio network on Monday. “We don’t know who this man was, what’s going on inside his head. God knows if anyone will ever be able to figure it out.” (In fact, the alleged shooter was fairly clear about his motivation.)

“But if the other side, if the pro-aborts,” he continued, “are going to go down this road of saying — as they have done for decades, by the way, this is like the 500th time we’ve been through this with them — if they’re going to go down this road of blaming the violence on the rhetoric, well then you know what? If we’re going to take up that argument, which I don’t think we should take up anyway, but if we are and if we have to respond to it, then they’re the ones at fault. Because which side of this debate is saying that sometimes it’s okay to kill an innocent person? Which side is saying that, that sometimes it’s okay to choose to end a life to solve a problem?”

“This is the argument against them, so they better keep quiet and stop this nonsense of blaming Carly Fiorina or me or the whole pro-life movement for these deranged acts of violence,” he said. “If they’re going to start going down that road, they’re the ones that have to take responsibility for poisoning the moral climate in our nation by saying that sometimes you can kill a baby to solve a problem. You don’t think some kind of crazy people are going to pick up that logic and say, ‘Well then sometimes you can kill born people to solve a problem’?”

Zmirak: Obama Wants Refugees To Destroy 'Middle Class, White, Christian America'

John Zmirak, a conservative writer and an editor of James Robison’s The Stream website, said in an interview with former Alaska GOP Senate candidate Joe Miller this week that President Obama wants to accept refugees from the Syrian civil war because he sees Muslims as “tools” to “destroy the middle class, white, Christian America that he has hated since his youth.”

Miller, appalled that the U.S. will still accept refugees after the terrorist attacks in Paris, asked Zmirak, “What’s going on with the administration, why aren’t they recognizing the danger?”

“Because Obama identifies with the Islamic world,” Zmirak responded. “He went to Islamic school, his political sympathies have always been with the so-called victims of colonialism in the Third World, and every one of his policies in foreign policy, as Dinesh D’Souza pointed out, can be explained by an attempt to de-westernize America and to weaken the West and to strengthen the Third World. It’s all in support of his postcolonial, quasi-Marxist agenda.”

“I don’t think Obama is a Muslim,” he clarified. “I don’t think he would be this brazen if he were a Muslim. He would be actually less brazenly pro-Muslim if he were really a Muslim, he’d be a little bit embarrassed. But because he’s an atheist Marxist, he can just see the Muslims as tools to be used to destroy the middle class, white, Christian America that he has hated since his youth.”

Radical Anti-Gay, Anti-Choice Conspiracy Theorist Janet Porter Running For The Ohio Legislature

Faith 2 Action's Janet Porter is a longtime anti-gay and anti-choice activist who has embraced a variety of wild conspiracy theories while constantly warning of the looming "criminalization of Christianity."

For years, Porter used her daily radio program and weekly column to promote a variety of conspiracy theories surrounding President Obama's birth, alleging that his election was the result of a massive communist conspiracy. After her prayers failed to prevent Obama from taking office and subsequently cursing America, Porter went to work warning her fellow conservatives that Obama would orchestrate food shortages in order to starve them to death, use a swine flu outbreak as an excuse to lock them up in concentration camps, and use Obamacare to deny them healthcare and eliminate them.

Porter has also long warned that increasing acceptance of gay rights will turn Christians into criminals who will eventually be rounded up and tossed in jail, going so far as to try and prevent the Supreme Court from ruling on the issue of gay marriage. Recently she produced an anti-gay documentary called "Light Wins" that featured a variety of Republican members of Congress, GOP presidential hopefuls and anti-gay activists warning that gay activists are "grooming" and endangering children, for which they should be held criminally liable.

Despite her radical views, Porter managed to host a "Values Voters Debate" back in 2007, which featured Mike Huckabee and other GOP presidential contenders making their pitches to a bevy of radical Religious Right activists. But Porter's star dimmed a bit when her radio program was cancelled in 2010 due to her growing ties to the Dominionist movement, as typified by her prayers that God would give conservative Christians control over the government and the media:

Porter eventually resurfaced in Ohio, where she has spent the last several years organizing a series of stunts and rallies aimed at pressuring the state legislature to pass her radical "Heartbeat Bill" legislation, which would outlaw abortion from the moment a fetal heartbeat can be detected. 

Despite years of intense lobbying, Porter's legislation has never even come close to passage, so now she intends to step up her efforts by running for a seat in the state legislature herself:

The president of a Christian activist organization will challenge incumbent state Sen. Larry Obhof of Montville Township for the 22nd district in the March Republican primary.

Obhof will face Janet Porter, of Hinckley Township, on March 15.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, no Democrats had filed to run for the seat, meaning the primary winner likely will run uncontested in November.

Porter is president and founder of Faith 2 Action, a Christian organization that says it opposes same-sex marriage. Before starting the organization in 2003, she was the national director for the Center for Reclaiming America for five years and a legislative director at Ohio Right to Life for nine years.

She told The Gazette on Wednesday that she recently finished filming a documentary, “Light Wins: How to Overcome the Criminalization of Christianity,” and she interviewed Kim Davis, a Kentucky court clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling last summer.

“I stand for life. I stand for liberty,” she said. “The family is the nucleus of the state. It’s the basis for business.”

In addition to a pro-life position on abortion and opposition to gay marriage, Porter said she supports tax incentives to small businesses and less government interference.

She said she is also an author of Ohio’s “heartbeat” bill, which prohibits abortion once a fetal heartbeat is detected. The bill has been in the Ohio Senate for consideration since last spring. She said she asked Obhof to sign a petition to bring the bill to a vote, but he declined. This encounter was one of the reasons she decided to become a candidate, she said.

“We’re running against the Republican obstructionist establishment,” she said. “There’s more they can do to represent life, liberty and the family.”

Religious Right Leaders Let Mike Huckabee Down -- Again

As we noted earlier this week, the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins recently helped lead an effort to get Religious Right leaders to rally around a single Republican presidential candidate in order to maximize the movement’s ability to get a nominee to their liking. Earlier this month, dozens of Religious Right leaders agreed to back Ted Cruz over Marco Rubio. Mike Huckabee, a favorite of many Religious Right activists in 2008, wasn’t even a finalist.

The National Review’s Tim Alberta reports that Mike Huckabee is disappointed by the development:

“For reasons I don’t fully understand, years and years of actually doing something and getting things done didn’t matter,” Huckabee said of the group’s deliberations. ”And I don’t understand that.”

…Huckabee, according to sources, has often reminded Perkins and his fellow influencers that a major reason he gave up his Fox News show and launched a 2016 campaign was because he expected to have their backing. Their decision to instead support Cruz, then, seemed to sting Huckabee personally as much as politically. “You know, everybody has a right to do what they want to do. But it was disappointing to me. These are guys I’ve worked with for years and years. Many of them I’ve helped with their projects and their various endeavors,” Huckabee says, shaking his head. A moment later, he adds, “But you know, that’s life.”

It’s not the first time evangelical leaders have disappointed Huckabee. In the 2008 Republican primary race, Huckabee surprised many when he won the Iowa caucus, eventually winning victories in eight states. But many Religious Right leaders at the time weren’t initially convinced he could win and were slow to rally around him. James Dobson didn’t endorse Huckabee until after McCain’s successes on Super Tuesday. Huckabee did not keep his frustrations to himself when he eventually dropped out of the 2008 race.

The Southern Baptist minister said leaders who stood behind pulpits and shared biblical stories of faith were far less likely to put faith in Huckabee’s candidacy. 

“Some people really worshipped at the altar of electability rather than to be faithful and loyal to the principles they were supposed to be committed to,” Huckabee said on a telephone conference call sponsored by Charisma magazine. 

“When it gets to their own political realm, they think more secularly than even the secular people. That was very troubling,” he said. 

Right-wing activist Paul Weyrich said at the time that he regretted not having backed Huckabee when it might have made a difference. It seems likely that Huckabee could have made a strong case for Religious Right backing in 2012; in fact he had strong poll numbers in 2011 and the New York Times suggested that if he had entered the race he would have become the “presumed candidate of evangelicals.” But he seems to have missed his chance when he decided, after sending lots of contradictory signals, to sit that one out.

Linda Harvey: Pro-LGBT Companies Are Like 'Concentration Camps'

On Saturday, Mission America’s Linda Harvey spoke with Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality about how she and other anti-gay activists are running out of places to shop because so many major businesses have announced their support for LGBT rights.

Harvey criticized the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which she called “a huge fascist scheme to reward homosexual, this immoral behavior, and I can’t imagine how many hundreds of thousands of stories there are out there that we never hear about of people in the workplace whose views are silenced and feel like they work in a concentration camp.”

“Well yes, that’s what political correctness does,” LaBarbera said. “It forces people to be victimized at work.”

In a recent radio commentary, Harvey similarly vented her outrage that she can’t find anywhere to go Christmas shopping because “the big retailers” are “doing everything the homosexual movement wants them to do.”

NOM Pads Its Résumé

The National Organization for Marriage has been facing some fundraising difficulties since its goal of stopping marriage equality in the U.S. has become increasingly futile. So perhaps that’s why NOM’s president, Brian Brown, had to struggle a bit to find accomplishments to boast of in a year-end fundraising message he sent to supporters today.

In the video message, Brown boasts that his group turned out “tens of thousands of people” to attend this year’s March for Marriage in Washington. At the time, the group estimated that it had attracted a crowd of 10,000; authorities declined to confirm the number and other observers placed it at closer to 6,000.

Brown also inexplicably asserts that one of NOM’s greatest triumphs in 2015 was “helping to free Kim Davis,” the Kentucky clerk who was briefly jailed after defying court orders to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. NOM did circulate a petition on Davis’ behalf and raise money for her, but her legal representation came from the right-wing legal group Liberty Counsel and she was only released from detention after her deputies agreed to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

In any case, Brown said that NOM has big plans for the future, repeating his goals to elect a president (preferably Ted Cruz) who will nominate Supreme Court justices to “reverse the same-sex marriage ruling,” pressure the GOP to continue standing against marriage equality, “stop the persecution of people who refuse to be involved in the lie of same-sex marriage” and work toward a constitutional amendment reversing Obergefell.

The Pilgrims Were Behind The Original War On Christmas

While Religious Right activists like Pat Robertson regularly rail against the terrible oppression Christians in America suffer due to the liberals’ supposed “War on Christmas,” his very own show, “The 700 Club,” reminded us today who led the original “War on Christmas” in America: the Pilgrims.

Reporter Paul Strand reported today on how the Pilgrims were “some of history's most fervent opponents of Christmas.”

In her Patheos blog yesterday, Beth Allison Barr reminded us of how the War on Christmas went down in England:

Here’s the story in brief–as related by Diane Purkiss in The English Civil War: While Charles I was fighting during the 1640s for his crown (which he would lose along with his life in 1649), an increasingly radical Parliament governed England. In the words of Purkiss, “that transhistorical killjoy a Parliamentary subcommittee” was created in 1643 to reform the Church of England. It regarded the liturgical calendar of medieval Christianity as both a symbol of Catholicism and a distraction from the Gospel. Sunday was the only holy day worth honoring. All other festivals, including Christmas, should be cancelled.

Of course, this was easier said than done. Christmas was a beloved holiday revered in Tudor England. Asking people to give up Wassailing and Twelfth Night cake, not to mention their days off work, proved nigh impossible. Many people simply ignored the parliamentary decree of the “Solemn League and Covenant” subcommittee in 1643 and refused to go to work on Christmas day. Parliament cracked down in 1644 with an ordinance enforcing the Sunday fast day instead of the usual Christmas feast; in 1645 Parliament again declared Sunday and occasional celebrations as the only recognized holidays; finally in 1647 Parliament issued an ordinance officially cancelling all Christmas and Lenten celebrations, even arresting clergy preaching Christmas day sermons.

Despite initial resistance, this “War on Christmas” almost succeeded. Purkiss argues that the death of Oliver Cromwell in 1658 is what really “saved” Christmas (my apologies to Kirk Cameron’s movie last year). Although the ordinances were never fully realized–mobs forced Christmas celebrations in some areas–and even though the popularity of Edward Fisher’s 1649 defense of Christmas–which sold 6000 copies–suggests continued support for the holiday season, Purkiss argues that most people were beginning to conform “sulkily” by the 1650s. As Purkiss writes, “if the republic had lasted ten years longer, the old festive calendar would have been dead beyond recall.”
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