Fighting the Right

The Problem with 'School Choice' Week: What's Behind the Bright Yellow Banner

“School choice” will be celebrated this week at thousands of events across the country, with speakers talking about empowered parents and educational excellence.  It will probably be a public relations bonanza for the “school choice” movement.  But here’s the problem: the bright yellow banner of National School Choice Week is designed to distract attention from the least appealing and most dangerous aspects of that movement -- anti-government ideologues, privatization profiteers, and religious fundamentalists eager to get their hands on public education dollars.

Let’s back up a bit.

Education policy is a vast, complicated, and hotly contested arena. Terms like “education reform” and “school choice” sound good, but they are so broad as to be almost meaningless. They can be applied to genuine efforts to strengthen teaching and educational opportunity as well as cynical schemes to destroy public employee unions and dismantle public education altogether.

In particular, “school choice” encompasses a huge array of education policies, from public school charter and magnet schools to taxpayer-funded for-profit cyberschools and homeschooling.  Even a seemingly specific term like “charter schools” cloaks a more complex reality that ranges from innovation labs co-located in public schools to for-profit chain operations.  

If you believe that public education is an important democratic institution, and you think education policy should be aimed at giving every child the opportunity to attend a quality public school, these policies don’t all look alike. They don’t all have the same impact on public schools, or the same levels of public accountability.

But the folks at National School Choice Week would like you not to think about that.  Here’s Andrew Campanella, president of National School Choice Week, in a January 2 column:

To individual parents – “school choice” is not just about charter schools, or private schools, or traditional public or magnet schools, or online learning and homeschooling. It’s about having a choice of all of these options, being able to make a choice, and selecting the learning environments that are right for their individual children. When school choice organizations work together, the collective messaging of these partnerships and this broad, familiar definition of school choice resonates with families.

He acknowledges that people have different ideas about what school choice means: “It goes without saying that a charter school association and a private school choice group might not agree on every policy issue, or that a homeschooling organization and a magnet school consortium will not always find common ground,” he says, but we can all come together on “the basics.”

The problem with this “collective messaging” approach is that it hides the anti-public-education agenda of some “reformers.” Celebrating “school choice” across the board lends credibility to organizations pushing for destructive policies that are not at all popular with the American public. In spite of decades of right-wing-funded attacks on public education, for example, Americans oppose privatization plans  like vouchers that transfer public education funds to private schools.

Self-proclaimed reformers often dismiss concerns about privatization as a “red herring.” But you can’t embrace the Milton Friedman Foundation as a partner and then pretend that privatization is only an imaginary threat dreamed up by teachers unions.  Friedman has an explicit goal of getting rid of public schools altogether; they see programs like vouchers for poor kids as a tactical stepping stone toward that ultimate goal.

Others view the huge amount of money we collectively spend on educating children as a source of cash. One of the sponsors of National School Choice Week is K12, a member of the right-wing American Legislative Exchange Council and a company the New York Times has described as “the biggest player in the online-school business,” one “that tries to squeeze profits from public school dollars by raising enrollment, increasing teacher workload, and lowering standards.”  In September 2013, a hedge fund manager betting that the company’s model was unsustainable said that “K 12’s aggressive student recruitment has led to dismal academic results by students and sky-high dropout rates, in some cases more than 50% annually.” And yet Executive Chairman Nathaniel Davis was paid more than $9.5 million last year; Morningstar reports that K12’s compensation to top executives went from 8.89 million in 2011 to 10.89 million in 2012 to 21.37 million in 2013. According to Sourcewatch, $730.0 million of the $848.2 million K12 earned last year came from its “managed public schools” – in other words, taxpayers.

For-profit schools that are doing a lousy job can be protected by the huge amounts of money they spend lobbying in state legislatures. A November 2011 investigation by Lee Fang for The Nation reported that White Hat Management, which runs both traditional and virtual charter schools, had become Ohio’s second-largest GOP donor; the company’s success rate under No Child Left Behind was 2 percent, compared to 54.9% for traditional schools and 30 percent for “virtual schools” run by nonprofits.

Publicly funded vouchers to pay for private schools have been rejected each time they have come before voters, and there is scant evidence that the voucher programs that are operational produce better academic outcomes.  But they are still a cherished goal of anti-government ideologues and operators of for-profit and religious schools.  One of the biggest “school choice” advocates among the country’s governors is Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal, who has embarked on a grand privatization plan grounded in school vouchers, many of which have been used to send students to religious schools with questionable curricula and substandard academic achievement.  Data released by the state in November indicated that almost half of the vouchers were being used at schools that scored a D or F on the state’s rating scale.

There are unquestionably well-intentioned people in the education reform movement, some of whom will be participating in National School Choice Week activities. There are people of all political persuasions eager to find ways to give students a better education, and that includes teachers, administrators, and school board members – people who are collectively dismissed as “the blob” by some “reformers.”

People of good faith can and do disagree about the best way to strengthen teaching, hold schools accountable, reduce the devastating impact of poverty, and more.  But people who are genuinely seeking ways to strengthen public education and make schools better for all children should think twice about making common cause with organizations who see public education as something to be dismantled, and with companies whose bottom line is measured not in student achievement but in the profit margins demanded by their investors.

Conservatives Lash Out At 'Sick,' 'Despicable' & 'Disgusting' Grammy Awards

Anti-gay commentators were none too pleased with last night’s performance of Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” at the Grammy Awards, which included a ceremony where thirty-four couples — including same-sex couples — were married. Unsurprisingly, many claimed that the show was evil and mean to anti-gay activists.

Here are five of the angriest anti-gay reactions to last night’s show:

5. Grammys Make Me Want To Vomit, Send Us To Hell

Conservative commentator Erik Rush admitted he didn’t actually watch the Grammy Awards last night, but still observed that the “Same Love” performance “makes you want to vomit.”

Rush said the performance was led by “a disgusting pack of subverts” who want America “shepherded down the path to Hell.”

4. Boycott Grammy Sponsors

Serial hoaxer/right-wing activist Jim Garrow insisted the people involved with the Grammys must repent for turning the event into “an excuse for some to dress up and celebrate their own perversity.”

Garrow also called on his Facebook followers to boycott companies that sponsored the Grammy’s, but didn’t name names: “Pick your sponsor and boycott them. It is the only language that they understand and will bow to. Profit.”

3. Grammys Are ‘Sick’

Fox News pundit Todd Starnes lashed out at the “sick” Grammy Awards on Twitter, accusing the event of “mocking marriage” and “cramming a social agenda down our throats.” “This was not about marriage,” he wrote. “This was about bashing god and the church.”

A very-non-self-aware Starnes said he found the performance “bigoted,” of course.

2. Rush Limbaugh Sad

Rush Limbaugh insists that no one watches the “horrible” and “despicable” Grammy Awards anyway…but he is still really, really upset about it: “Nobody watches, but because they have not strayed from the liberal path, they are still loved and adored and praised.”

1. Gays Run The World

Texas-based radio host Lynn Woolley reacted to the awards show in a post titled Gay Agenda takes over Grammys, writing that the “celebration of perversity” proves that “homosexuals have taken over the country.” Woolley added that he thinks being gay is just a fad: “I’ll bet it fades out with time as more and more men realize that women are pretty dang special.”

I don’t know these people, but — Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love” gay anthem became the theme song for 33 newlyweds with Queen Latifah officiating the marriages. As the network, CBS was complicit in this celebration of perversity. WOULD SOMEBODY PLEASE TELL ME WHERE THIS COUNTY GOES FROM HERE? Homosexuals have taken over the country and I’m just curious to see what they do next. I guess they want a gay president. Maybe a gay Pope. (!)

I dunno. I didn’t see the gay stuff, but I got bored quickly by the crap that now passes as music and I decided to pop in a disk and watch an episode of THE MENTALIST. I love The Mentalist as it is all about logic. The Grammy Awards were all about perversion. So what can we do?

I suppose that a few years from now, same sex “marriage” will be as common as divorce is now. I’ll bet it fades out with time as more and more men realize that women are pretty dang special. I guess we’ll see. I wonder what Patrick Jane would say?

It's Not Just Dave Agema: 5 RNC Committee Members Who Have Pushed Anti-Gay Bigotry

With GOP leaders calling for Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema to resign over his latest anti-gay outbursts, we were surprised that Agema’s views would really be that shocking in a party that, as former GOProud leader Jimmy LaSalvia puts it, has a wide “tolerance for bigotry.”

Republicans like RNC chairman Reince Priebus may think by denouncing Agema’s rhetoric they are putting distance between the GOP and extremists. But at the end of the day, the party’s platform embraces the extreme anti-LGBT agenda that Agema represents, opposing not just marriage equality but also civil unions, fair employment practices, non-discrimination policies, hate crimes laws and LGBT-inclusive foreign policy.

And Agema isn’t the only RNC member who has been quite open about his anti-gay bigotry. In fact, it wasn’t very hard at all to put together a short, and by no means an exhaustive, compilation of RNC members who have made anti-gay claims similar to Agema’s.

5. Tamara Scott (Iowa)

Scott, a Concerned Women for America leader and National Republican Committee member, has alleged that the legalization of gay marriage hurt her state’s economy. She also worried that marriage equality will pave the way man-Eiffel Tower marriage.

4. Steve Scheffler (Iowa)

Scheffler got his start as the head of the Christian Coalition’s Iowa chapter (which is now the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition chapter). Under his leadership, the group falsely linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claimed that gay men typically don’t live past the age of 47.

After he became a GOP committeeman, Schleffler blocked openly gay candidate Fred Karger from joining a presidential debate, saying that Karger belonged to the “radical homosexual community” which seeks “to harass supporters of REAL marriage.” He warned against a movement in Republican circles to push the party to support gay rights, arguing that such a move would “literally destroy the Republican Party.”

When Iowa legalized same-sex marriage, Schleffler tried to repeal marriage equality and warned that his state would become “the homosexual capital of the Midwest” and dangerous for kids. “We Iowans want this state to be a good, safe environment for our kids. You ask the average person in the street whether they support gay marriage, and they’ll say no,” he wrote.

3. Bill Armistead (Alabama)

Armistead, the Alabama GOP chairman, tried last year to purge a young Republican activist from the state GOP steering committee after she criticized the party’s hardline stance again marriage equality.

When the Supreme Court struck down a key part of the Defense of Marriage Act, Armistead accused the government of “hijacking marriage.” “Whether by a constitutional amendment or other means, US taxpayers should not be forced by their government to reward those who choose to engage in activity that had been banned in 35 states,” he said. “Alabama’s state law banning gay marriage will prevent these benefits from being extended in Alabama, but our tax dollars will still go to support a lifestyle that we fundamentally disagree with.”

Armistead also claimed same-sex marriage would lead to polygamy and charged that acceptance of gay people is a “sad testament to where we are as a nation,” warning that tolerance of LGBT people puts “America on a slippery slope.”

2. Debbie Joslin (Alaska)

Alaska Republican committeewoman Debbie Joslin led her state’s campaign to bar same-sex marriage and benefits as the state’s Eagle Forum leader.

Joslin also fought a proposal to require schools to adopt LGBT-inclusive policies, warning that increased tolerance would “foster confusion in the minds of our children.” In addition, she denounced openly gay members of the Boy Scouts, whom she claimed were not “healthy role models.”

1. Ada Fisher (North Carolina)

Fisher, a National Republican Committee member from North Carolina, expressed outrage when President Obama and former President Clinton endorsed marriage equality, suggesting that it showed a lack of respect for…straight people: “OK, now I’m confessing to a poorly kept secret — I am a heterosexual black female who loves men and has achieved some modicum of success. So, now will President Obama, Bill Clinton and others give me a call for coming out and openly expressing my sexual preference?”

Fisher also suggested that gay marriage harms the black community by destabilizing the relationships closeted gay men have with women. “The psychological side of my brain is disturbed by the further negative impact of changing gender roles in undermining already fragile black families…black men in the closet are coming out or remaining on the down-low, which may be perceived as another blow to viable relationships with these men at the expense of black women.”

 

West: 'The Left Tries To Win The Women's Vote By Talking From The Waist Down'

On Friday, Allen West spoke with Steve Malzberg where he defended Mike Huckabee's recent comment by declaring that "the Left tries to win the women's vote by talking from the waist down" while Republicans seek to reach the hearts and minds of female voters.

Asserting that Democrats want the government to be "the sugar daddy" and replace men, West said Democrats have been "caught guilty as always" and are responding by attacking Huckabee. He then went on to claim that the Left remains utterly silent when women like Malala Yousafzai are abused and attacked by the Taliban before declaring that "I'm going to be very blunt: the Left tries to win the women's vote by talking from the waist down":

FAIR: Immigration Reform Leads To 'Tyranny'

Panicking about possible immigration legislation in the House, the communications director of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is warning that any steps towards reforming the immigration system will lead to “tyranny.”

Bob Dane, the chief spokesman for the Nativist group, told Sandy Rios of the American Family Association last week that immigration reform will “split” the GOP, and as a result collapse the multi-party system of government and the system of checks and balances.

“If they split over this GOP bill you’ve got a one-party system in America and that’s one step closer to tyranny,” Dane said.

Of course, you could argue that it is groups like FAIR that are “splitting the GOP” by pressuring lawmakers to embrace unpopular positions on immigration reform.

If the Republicans in fact endorse this amnesty bill and I expect they will and we’re going to fight hard against it, they’re going to face another type of retreat, the one they’re coming out of with their amnesty principles, they’re going to be facing the retreat of disillusioned conservative voters starting to look for other options. We don’t want that. If the GOP splits — if the GOP needs party unity, at any point, it’s right now, but if they split over this GOP bill you’ve got a one-party system in America and that’s one step closer to tyranny. You always need checks and balances, not only within the framework for the government itself but a two-party system is vitally important for democracy.

Barber & Staver: Obama 'Doesn't Like America' And Is Working To Weaken It

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver asserted that President Obama was siding with terrorist Muslim nations against Israel and intentionally weakening the United States because he hates America.

Bizarrely, Barber criticized Obama for cozying up to nations that "attack ... homosexuals," which is a bid odd given that Barber openly advocates for the passage of anti-gay laws here in America while Staver, who is part of a new effort to increase civility, has no qualms about declaring that Obama simply doesn't like America:

Barber: Time and time again, he has show through his actions that Barack Hussein Obama, that his sympathies lie with these Muslim nations, many of them terrorist nations. It boggles the mind when it is clearly not in the best interest of the United States, not in the best interest of Israel or the national security of either of these two western countries, the democratic hubs of the world, frankly, in terms of freedom. Yet this president seems to consistently align himself with these nations that attack, for instance, homosexuals, women, that repress women, that keep little girls from having education, these Islamic nations that seek to destroy America and Israel. I can't figure it out.

Staver: Well, I think he doesn't like America and he doesn't like the Judeo-Christian values that founded America and are the foundation of America. So, with his foreign policy, he is really pulling back America and weakening America.

Paul Vallely Will Be Happy To Lead An Anti-Obama Revolution

Speaking to a Tea Party group late last year, retired Army general and Fox News pundit Paul Vallely insisted that he doesn’t want to see a revolution take place…but if a revolution does happen then he will be happy to lead it.

Vallely reminisced about how he once discussed plans to “surround the White House and surround the Capitol building” with 250,000 marines, adding that “it’s going to take physical presence” to make elected officials heed their demands.

“I’m not inciting a revolution but we’ve got to get more physical and stand up and protest,” Vallely insisted. “I don’t want to be criticized for starting a revolution, but I’d certainly head it if we had to. We all love a good fight if it’s worth it, right?”

Vallely has previously called for mass demonstrations to oust and arrest President Obama.

Fischer: Contraception Has Left Women Abused And Misused

On his broadcast on Friday, Bryan Fischer took calls from female listeners in an effort to get their perspective on Mike Huckabee's comment that Democrats are insulting women by requiring contraception coverage because they think women "can't control their libido."

Fischer, not surprisingly, defended Huckabee's point, adding that the invention of contraception has been nothing but a disaster for women because it "removed procreation from the sex act," thus freeing up men to have sex with women without having to worry about consequences and ultimately meaning that "he has no reason to commit himself to her."

As such, Fischer declared, "the guy is the one that gets most of the benefits out of this and the woman is the one who is left abused and misused, her body surgically invaded to remove a life in her, so it hasn't work out to be sexually liberating for women at all, as far as I can see":

Fischer: Dave Agema Is Being Attacked For Telling The Truth ... Just Like Jesus

Pressure is growing on Republican National Committee member Dave Agema to resign because of his long history of making outrageous anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements, with both RNC Chairman Reince Priebus and Michigan GOP Chairman Bobby Schostak calling for him to step down.

But Agema does have one stalwart defender: Bryan Fischer, which is no surprise since Fischer likewise has a long history of making outrageously bigoted anti-gay and anti-Muslim statements. Today, Fischer dedicated a segment of his radio program to declaring that Agema is one of his heroes who, just like Jesus, is being targeted simply for telling the truth.

"There is only one test now to determine whether someone is a genuine conservative or not," Fischer said, "and that test is whether they support, embrace the homosexual agenda or whether they will criticize the normalization of homosexuality":

Allen West Will 'Definitely' Run For Office Again In 2016

Allen West appeared on Jesse Lee Peterson's radio program yesterday where he vowed that he will "definitely" make another run for public office.

Claiming that he lost his re-election bid in 2012 because Democrats and Republicans conspired to remove him from office because they knew he was "a threat to us and our business as usual way of ruining this great country," West took pride in being a target and declared that he was not going away.

When Peterson asked West if he had any plans to run for office again in the future, West responded that "oh yeah, I will definitely come back ... In the 2016 cycle, we'll look to getting back in and running myself. Whatever God would have me do":

Paranoia-Rama: Girls Ruin The World, MLK's Real Legacy, And The Origin Of Autism

RWW's Paranoia-Rama takes a look at five of the week’s most absurd conspiracy theories from the Right.

This week, we learn that women are to blame for sexual assaults and sex trafficking, take a new look at the Civil Rights Movement, and announce some new medical discoveries.

5. TSA Electric Shock Bracelets, Brain Microchips & High-Speed Rail Leading to Government Control

Buzzfeed this week dug up the website for Founder’s Truth, a group formerly led by Greg Brannon, who is now a Republican candidate for Senate from North Carolina.

It turns out that Brannon’s group’s website was chock full of conspiracy theories, most revolving around various sorts of technology leading to government control. Blog posts on the site alleged that the Aurora movie theater massacre was an inside job orchestrated by “psyop pros” in order to tighten the government’s grasp on the population; that the TSA might force people to wear bracelets that would “deliver an electric shock if they got out of line”; that corporations are scheming to plant microchips in our brains; that light rail systems in American cities are part of a nefarious United Nations plot; that the fluoridation of water is “unethical and criminal” and something about a “secret police murder and cover-up.”

We are looking forward to Senate hearings on these issues once Brannon is elected.

4. Martin Luther King, Jr, Didn’t Actually Favor Civil Rights

In a Martin Luther King, Jr Day interview with Steve Deace, the Institute on the Constitution’s Michael Peroutka presented the novel theory that the renowned civil rights leader never actually supported civil rights . Instead, Peroutka argued, King’s modern-day followers have “perverted” his legacy to suggest that King was fighting for rights from the government. He also asserted that King – who famously supported robust federal aid to low-income people – would definitely not have supported federal aid to low-income people.

Peroutka’s shaky understanding of the Civil Rights Movement shouldn’t exactly come as a surprise – after all, he is a proud member of the neo-confederate group League of the South.

Peroutka’s MLK Day revisionism is part of a larger trend among the Right to pretend that the Civil Rights Movement’s goals have been achieved and that it is now white people who are facing discrimination. This week, the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios, claimed that, “for the most part, the American Anglo-Saxon crew really has moved past racism, they did it quite a long time ago…But it seems to be raging, racism seems to be raging in the black community.” For his part, columnist Erik Rush claimed that President Obama is actually “enslaving and oppressing” white people.

3. President Obama and Sandra Fluke To Blame For Sexual Assaults on Campus

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins smelled a rat in President Obama’s push to combat sexual assaults on college campuses. In an email to FRC’s members yesterday, Perkins contended that it was President Obama himself who had led to an epidemic of sexual assaults on campuses…by requiring insurance companies to cover contraception, admitting to smoking pot as a kid, and once mentioning a happy hour.

In a radio commentary later in the day, Perkins extended the blame to Sandra Fluke, the former Georgetown law student who faced vicious attacks from the Right for her advocacy in favor of contraception coverage.

2. Gay People Cause Autism

Susanne Atanus, a Republican candidate for U.S. House in Illinois, told the Chicago Daily Herald that autism and dementia, along with extreme weather like tornadoes, are God’s punishments for marriage equality and abortion .

“God is angry,” she said. “We are provoking him with abortions and same-sex marriage and civil unions. Same-sex activity is going to increase AIDS. If it’s in our military it will weaken our military. We need to respect God.”

Atanus previously claimed that the stock market crash of 1929 didn’t actually happen.

1. Beyoncé Leading Women Into Sex Trafficking

Christian Post columnist Larry Tomczak took issue this week with First Lady Michelle Obama’s description of Beyoncé as “a true role model for children.”

The pop star, Tomczak contends, has squandered her “gifts from almighty God in song and dance” and “chose to develop her persona as a sexy, seductive singer.” Tomczak warns that Beyonce’s example could “lead naive young girls on a dangerous path that could lead some even into sex trafficking”…and from there, to “abuse, abortions and abasement-sometimes death.”

Beck: The New York Times Ripped Me Off

Last year, Glenn Beck promised to put on a show that was going to save the 4th of July and change the way it was celebrated forever. What we ended up getting was some maudlin stage show in which Beck talked to himself made up as the Man In The Moon:

Months later, The New York Times Magazine wrote an entirely unrelated article about Hillary Clinton's probable run for the presidency entitled "Planet Hillary" and featuring this cover:

So now, of course, Beck is accusing the Times of having ripped him off.

"I'm telling you," he said, "it is a direct rip-off of the Man In The Moon. I mean, it's incredible":

Do you know who else ripped Beck off? Georges Méliès ... a hundred and eleven years before Beck's own extravaganza.

The Solution To Uganda's Anti-Gay Crackdown Is More Right Wing Christianity?

Alex Seitz-Wald has a lengthy article in the current issue of National Journal Magazine all about the role that anti-gay American Religious Right activists have played in influencing and promoting anti-gay laws in various nations around the world, especially in places like Africa:

For years, evangelical missionaries have been deeply invested in Uganda—even more so since President Yoweri Museveni declared the country to be in the service of God and the first lady started worshiping at the evangelical church run by Robert Kayanja, who compares homosexuality to murder. "Whatever you see here is the fruit of American labor," Kayanja tells Roger Ross Williams in the filmmaker's new documentary, God Loves Uganda, as they sit in a well-appointed church built with American money. (Kayanja is one of the richest men in Uganda.)

Kapya Kaoma is an Anglican priest from Zambia, and when he started attending evangelical conferences and visiting Christian bookstores across Africa as part of his Ph.D. dissertation research, he found something surprising. "Their language sounded more like they were American, not like African Christianity," Kaoma says. "You go to Zambia, you go to Zimbabwe, you go to Uganda, Nigeria.… Wherever you go, where conservatives are winning, they're using the same talking points that are used in America."

David Bahati, the parliamentarian who authored Uganda's infamous anti-homosexuality law, told The New York Times he got the idea for the bill from conversations with members of the Fellowship—a powerful Arlington, Va.-based group that puts on the National Prayer Breakfast and owns the C Street house where several members of Congress live (the organization has since distanced itself from Bahati).

[Scott] Lively has been deeply involved in Uganda as well, and an LGBT-rights group there is suing him under the U.S. Alien Tort Statute, which allows foreign victims of human-rights abuses to seek compensation in U.S. courts. During the debate over the bill, a Ugandan tabloid outed 100 gay Ugandans, with a banner that read "HANG THEM." A few weeks after David Kato, known as "Uganda's first openly gay man," won a defamation lawsuit against the paper, he was killed in his home. Kayanja's rival, pastor Martin Ssempa, once gave the editor of a local magazine a copy of Lively's book about gay Nazis, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

That seems to be in contradiction to Marvin Olasky's assessment, as he writes in World Magazine that he does not support the Uganda law but does understand the inspiration behind it, saying that the solution is more access to Western Christian conservatives who can set them straight:

Chris Howles, a missionary in Uganda who in his blog, Namugongo Life, called the national opposition to homosexuality historical rather than religious. Howles wrote online (“Homophobia in Uganda: Is Christianity the problem or the solution?”), “The vast majority of Christians in this country have never met or spoken with a Western missionary. Nor have their leaders. Many of these attitudes about homosexuality come direct from traditional Ugandan culture.”  

...

Howles has a better idea: Promote Christianity, not tradition. He argues that if Ugandans temper their desire to put homosexuals in prison, “it will most likely be because of Christianity, as churches preach a message of godly love and kindness towards active homosexuals.” Homosexuality is wrong and laws can be useful educators, but our hope is in “the gospel that shows us that all people are created in God’s image … the gospel that welcomes all people to confess that Jesus is Lord and unite together in a broken but re-built community of Christ,” as Ephesians 2:17-22 explains.

Anti-Christians shudder at that notion and desperately need to pretend that Ugandans would be positive about homosexuality if not brainwashed by missionaries—because if that’s not true, two liberal axioms crumble. One is that Africans are natural allies of the left in a war against “religious reactionaries.” The other is that “multiculturalism” is an ideological ally in the war against Christ. When Africans line up with Christian conservatives, the religious left can choose to change its thinking or fall into conspiracy theorizing. The latter is popular, even though the idea that African Christians are puppets demeans them as much as past racists ever did.  

Seeing as American conservative Christian Religious Right activists have been loudly voicing support for these very sorts of laws and calling for the criminalization of homosexuality here, we're not quite sure how giving anti-gay activists around the world more access to these sorts of voices is supposed to help "temper their desire to put homosexuals in prison."

The Glenn Beck Hypocrisy Hour Rolls On

With every passing day, it seems that Glenn Beck's radio and television programs are becoming nothing more than displays of Beck's own hypocrisy, as he mocks, attacks, and criticizes others for doing the exact things he does on a regular basis.

On last night's program, Beck played a clip Fox's Bob Beckel furiously ranting about Beck's statement comparing Gov. Andrew Cuomo to Alabama Governor George Wallace and, when the clip was over, Beck simply laughed and wondered why anyone would put someone like Beckel on television or even want to be around him.

"Bob," Beck said, "life does not have to be so angry all the time."

Good point, Glenn. After all, who wants to watch some madman screaming about nonsense day after day?

Stockman: GM Bailout Brought Fascism To America

Steve Stockman, the currently missing Republican congressman, gave a New Year’s Eve interview with “Let’s Talk Bitcoin” where he warned about growing fascism in America.

Stockman, who recently decided that his Senate campaign will accept Bitcoin contributions, said that “we do have some fascism” in America due to “government intervention” in the economy, such as the GM bailout. 

Cuccinelli: Liberals Are 'The Most Intolerant People In America'

Former Virginia attorney general and failed gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli, who spent four years trying to make life miserable for gay people and climate scientists, among others, is now lashing out at New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo for saying “extreme conservatives” have “no place in the state of New York.”

Speaking yesterday with Tony Perkins of Family Research Council, an organization that has called for the exportation of gay people, Cuccinelli alleged that “most of the left” shared Cuomo’s sentiments.

“They do not view us as worthy of respect because we hold traditional, thousands of years of principle-based views; their radical, society twisting and altering and destroying views are the only ones that they accept,” Cuccinelli said. “Nobody should make any mistake, the most intolerant people in America are leftists, bar none, it isn’t even close.”

Huckabee: Democrats Believe Women 'Can't Control Their Libido' Without 'Uncle Sugar'

Former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee claimed today that the GOP isn’t partaking in a “war on women,” and that it is actually Democrats who “insult the women of America” by making them believe they “can’t control their libido.”

Huckabee, who is considering a 2016 presidential bid, made the remarks at a Republican National Committee summit just as the party has been stressing greater “sensitivity” to women voters.

The Fox News pundit claimed, “Democrats think that women are nothing more than helpless and hopeless creatures whose only goal in life is to have the government provide for them birth control medication” and rely on “Uncle Sugar providing for them a prescription each month for birth control because they cannot control their libido.”

As Dave Weigel noted, Huckabee has used the line before and “it's a crowd-pleaser, if only to a select audience.” 

Barber and Staver Are Welcome To 'Get On The Winning Side Of History'

On yesterday's "Faith and Freedom" radio broadcast, Matt Barber and Mat Staver rejoiced that recent polls show that the majority of Americans now consider themselves to be "pro-life" and encouraged politicians to "get on the winning side of history" and start passing legislation to outlaw abortion.

What anti-abortion activists always fail to mention whenever they trumpet this claim is that polls consistently show that the vast majority of Americans believe abortion should remain legal and available, with generally no more than 20% of the population wanting it to be outlawed entirely.

But for Barber and Staver, these polls demonstrate that legal abortion will soon become a thing of the past:

Barber: Today, fifty percent of Americans identify themselves as pro-life and this is the first time in the forty years since Roe v Wade that a majority of Americans have joined in the defense of women and children. In the past twenty years, opinions have shifted; in 1995, 56% of Americans identified themselves as pro-choice but now that number is less than 42%. That's a 15% swing, Mat, in thirteen years. That's huge.

Staver: And for politicians who want to run from the issue of life - I don't think they ought to guide their decisions by polls, but if they did, this would be one that would say they need to stand on the side of life.

Barber: Yeah, get rid of that pro-choice albatross that you have around your neck. Get on the winning side of history and that is the pro-life side.

Since Barber and Staver are so impressed with shifts in poll numbers on this issue, we assume that they will both soon drop their opposition to gay marriage since, back in 1996, a whopping 65% of Americans opposed it while only 27% supported it. Today, recent polls show that 55% of Americans now support marriage equality, while opposition has dropped into the low 40s.

That is a twenty-five point swing and, as Barber said, "that's huge."

So simply based on the polling advice of Barber and Staver, if politicians want to "get on the winning side of history," they probably ought to make their public support for marriage equality loud and clear.

Presidential Commission Issues Report on Election Administration

The PCEA recommendations are indeed a welcome addition to the voting rights debate, helping us move closer to the day when every eligible voter can register to vote and cast a ballot that counts. We must keep in mind, though, that the PCEA isn't the last word on American electoral reform. Nor does the PCEA replace what the Voting Rights Act lost after the Supreme Court ruling in Shelby County v. Holder.
PFAW

Tom DeLay's Latest Plan To Save America

Tom DeLay has been back in the news today, as many people are noticing the similarity between Justin Bieber’s beaming mug shot after his drag-racing and DUI arrest and the picture taken of the former GOP majority leader in 2005 after he was picked up on money laundering charges.

But it turns out that DeLay is also in the middle of a media comeback tour, in which he is framing himself as a Religious Right leader.

In a recent set of unintentionally-ironic interviews, DeLay has criticized what he sees as a lack of morality in politics and alleged abuses of power in the Obama administration. He even has his own David Barton-inspired shtick of pushing Christian Nationalism and calling for a moral revolution.

Based on a vision he had several years ago, DeLay has announced that he will be launching a new group which he says is committed to praying for political leaders and fighting back against the supposed effort to “push God out of public life.”

While DeLay claims that the group will only be focused on prayer, we are curious to see how long “The Hammer” will keep partisan politics out of it.

A national network to pray for and with the nation’s elected leaders is emerging in hopes of sparking a national revival, reaching from Capitol Hill to state and local governments. An initiative of the National Prayer Center, it’s called the Josiah Project, named for King Josiah of Israel who after finding the Book of the Law when rebuilding the temple led the nation to repent and pray.

“He tore his clothes and was convicted before the Lord and he saw the condition of the nation, the culture of Israel was in the toilet. They had pushed God out of the public square. Does all this remind you of something?” Tom DeLay, the former Republican House majority leader who is helping the National Prayer Center head up the effort, told TheBlaze.

“Josiah tore down the idols and brought God back into the nation or brought the nation to God. He was probably the most devout king of all the kings, including David,” DeLay said. “So that’s why we named it the Josiah Project. In the presence of where our nation is today.” The Josiah Project will not be involved in lobbying, DeLay said, but rather prayer intercessors approaching members of Congress and state legislatures offering to pray with them and for them. It will seek citizens to reach out in groups to their elected representatives. Chapters will be organized by congressional districts, he said.

“The Constitution is based upon a higher authority. This government cannot exist in the future if we give that up and put man as the higher authority,” DeLay said. “We need that higher authority and the truth that comes from that higher authority in order for us to survive. Otherwise we’ll find ourselves where we are where man gets to define what truth is and everything crumbles.”



“They give me a call and at the last minute in September and said DeLay, you’ve got to get up here. We’ve got some ideas that we want you to be part of it,” DeLay recalled of the center. “So I dropped everything and came up here. Got here on a Monday night. We spent two days planning the Josiah Project. Then on the third morning I get a call on my phone and it’s my lawyer, Sept. 19, I get the ruling that I’ve been exonerated and acquitted.”
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