Fighting the Right

Sandy Rios: Latino Advocacy Group 'Destroying The Country' With Criminal Justice Reform

American Family Association official Sandy Rios took on the issue of criminal justice reform on her radio program on Thursday, saying that the Latino advocacy group National Council of La Raza is supporting reform as part of its goal of “destroying the country.”

Rios played a clip of Hillary Clinton’s recent verbal stumble while endorsing “ban the box” measures , when she said that such measures mean “former presidents won’t have to declare their criminal history at the very start of the hiring process.”

This led Rios to speculate on which former presidents have criminal records, which she said might include Bill Clinton, a future President Hillary Clinton, and President Obama.

“I’ve heard many people say that if President Obama had had to go through an FBI background check, he would have never been president,” she declared.

Rios then returned to serious issues, saying that efforts to reform the criminal justice system are being supported by groups that want to destroy America.

“Well, guess who’s all about this criminal justice reform?” she asked. “It’s shocking, I know. But La Raza — you know what that is, right? It’s a leftist slash communist organization in America. ‘La Raza’ means ‘the race.’ And its goals for this country are pretty frightening. You know, they hate America, they think America, the land itself, should be turned back to … I think Mexico or people of Mexican descent. So, they are about the business of destroying the country, so they are all in favor of this.”

Maddow Calls Out GOPers For 'Kill-The-Gays Rally' Appearance

As the three Democratic presidential candidates were attending a South Carolina candidate forum hosted by Rachel Maddow on Friday, three Republicans running for president were at a conference organized by a radical right-wing pastor who has defended the death penalty for homosexuality.

On her program last night, Maddow filled her viewers in on Friday’s Republican campaign event, showing videos of Ted Cruz, Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee engaging in question-and-answer sessions with extremist pastor Kevin Swanson, who then went on to say that he would smear cow dung over his body to protest a gay couple’s wedding and urged the government to execute gays in the future if they don’t repent.

As Maddow also pointed out, Swanson’s views on homosexuality were well-known even before he hosted the weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference, and he wasn’t the only speaker at the conference who had called for homosexuality to be treated as a capital crime.

One conference speaker distributed literature at the event laying out how and why gay people should be put to death, discussing stoning and throwing people off cliffs as possible punishments. In fact, Swanson’s views are so extreme and so easy to find that one presidential candidate reportedly pulled out of the event once their campaign was tipped off to his radicalism.

“A pretty major theme of the event both in terms of the literature that was available at the event and the way the host of the conference spoke from the stage, a significant theme was the practical challenges and the timing of how exactly and when exactly the United States of America should start rounding up gay people in this country in order to execute them,” she said.

“It really was a ‘kill-the-gays’ call to arms,” Maddow continued. “This was a conference about the necessity of the death penalty as a punishment for homosexuality.”

Seeing that the Republicans who appeared at this event will be at the Fox Business debates tonight, Maddow said it might be worth asking them why they would attend “a kill-the-gays rally.”

“I don’t know if that is considered to be a scandal anymore in Republican politics,” she said.

Her remarks on the right-wing conference start at the 5:55 mark:

Tony Perkins: America About To Hit The Gay Iceberg

Last week on “Washington Watch,” Family Research Council President Tony Perkins spoke with a caller who said that “people are tired of the ultra-liberal agenda being shoved down their throat,” saying that the Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision on marriage equality “woke a lot of people up” to the need to get involved in politics.

Perkins heartily agreed, claiming that Obergefell and the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance exposed that the gay rights fight isn’t about love and civil rights but about destroying freedom.

“I think what we’ve seen in the wake of that June 26 decision,” he said, “is that while people said this is all about two people who love each other being able to visit each other in the hospital and all that kind of stuff, which was baloney, they could have done that before without redefining marriage for the rest of the nation, what we’re actually seeing and what Houston has shown people is this is about forcing this on the entire nation at the risk of losing religious freedom, the freedom of speech, of facing onerous government fines and intervention. In Houston, Texas, if you would stop someone from going into a bathroom or somehow prohibit someone in a public facility, you could face a $5,00 fine.”

“There’s a lot more to this agenda,” he said. “It’s like an iceberg, like that iceberg that the Titanic hit, he only saw the tip of it.”

Will Trump Boycott His Own Hotels After Starbucks 'War On Christmas' Rant?

Donald Trump has jumped on the latest “War on Christmas” bandwagon, telling supporters yesterday that he may boycott Starbucks and kick the company out of the Trump Tower because its new red holiday-themed promotional cups aren’t festive enough.

“If I become president, we're all going to be saying ‘Merry Christmas’ again, that I can tell you,” he said.

We will wait to see if Trump will boycott his own hotel chain for similarly declaring war on Christmas:

Irony Alert: Mat Staver Says Annise Parker Ought To Resign If She Can't Fulfil Her Elected Duties

Ever since the Supreme Court struck down state gay marriage bans back in June, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel has been leading the legal fight on behalf of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who ultimately went to jail for repeatedly refusing to allow her office to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. 

Saying that Davis has been raised up by God to take a stand against gay marriage, Staver has repeatedly dismissed arguments that Davis should resign from her elected position if she cannot or will not carry out its basic duties, so we were rather surprised to hear Staver declare that Houston mayor Annise Parker ought to resign from her position if she is unhappy that voters recently repealed the city's non-discrimination ordinance.

On today's "Faith and Freedom" radio program, Staver's cohost Matt Barber asserted that Parker was so upset by the election results that she is now essentially urging companies to boycott her own city, prompting Staver to, without irony, declare that Parker ought to simply resign and "let somebody else do" the job if she feels that she cannot represent the "taxpayers and citizens" that she was elected to serve. 

"That is like a CEO of a company who says you need to boycott our company," Staver said, "stop buying products from our company because we have a policy that I, the CEO, don't agree with even though the board of directors has ultimately voted for this policy, so stop patronizing our company. Well, you know what, if that's what your feeling is, resign from the company. Mayor, if you want people to boycott Houston, why don't you just resign and let somebody else who wants to run the mayor's office and represent the city of Houston and all of the taxpayers and citizens of Houston? Why don't you just let someone else do it because, frankly, you haven't been doing a very good job."

Newt Gingrich: Congress Must Block Protections For Transgender Students

Last week, Newt Gingrich appeared on the Houston-area program “The Sam Malone Show” to promote his new novel, “Duplicity.”

The former House speaker kicked things off by praising Houston voters for repealing the city’s LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination law, the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance, which he said should inspire Congress to reject a Department of Education finding that Title IX prohibits discrimination against transgender students.

“I was delighted to see that the people of Houston voted for common sense,” he said. “In fact, I hope the Congress is going to pick up on Houston and do the same thing to a new Department of Education regulation that says that boys who want to can declare themselves transgender and use girls’ bathrooms in high school, which I think is just one of those things where you shake your head and you wonder how really lacking in understanding of human nature the bureaucrats are who write this stuff.”

He called the growth in transgender rights a “strange” cultural development, which he then used as a way to criticize President Obama’s policy in Syria: “They are as far out of touch with reality in foreign policy as they are in these cultural values they keep trying to impose on the rest of us.”

Right-Wing Summit: God To Punish Fans Of Frozen's 'Let It Go' As It's 'Satan's Rebellion Anthem'

Given that the chief organizer of last week’s “Freedom 2015: National Religious Liberties Conference” — which was attended by three Republican presidential candidates — has said that the movie “Frozen” turns young girls into lesbians, it was not much of a surprise to learn that Queen Elsa would be a focal point of the summit.

It turns out that the spirit of the Disney movie’s hit song “Let It Go,” in which Queen Elsa sings about freedom after leaving her home, was not one of the freedoms valued at the “Freedom 2015.”

At a session titled “The Decline of Freedom: From the Bill of Rights to the Ten Planks of Communism, America’s Domestic Enemies and Where They Came From,” Geoff Botkin of the Western Conservatory of the Arts and Sciences said that “Let It Go” is furthering America’s rebellion against God, warning that the country is already under 50 divine judgments that will only subside once the government and the wider culture begin to abide by biblical law.

He likened “Let It Go” to Eve’s temptation by the serpent in the Garden of Eden, deriding the song as “Satan’s rebellion anthem” that corrupts children.

The popularity of the song and its “spirit of licentiousness” shows that people don’t want to follow the totality of the Bible, he said, warning that God “will chasten our nation” as a result of the movie’s popularity.

Botkin also lamented that “Let It Go” fans are “rejecting God’s law” and therefore become “enemies of God” and God “does go to war against you.”

Botkin delivered most of his presentation beside a photo of the “Frozen” characters Elsa and Olaf:

Kevin Swanson Warns Criticism Of His Anti-Gay Comments Is Part Of Attempt To Shut Down Christian Media

When three Republican presidential candidates decided to address a conference in Iowa this weekend organized by Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson — a radical activist who thinks that Girl Scout cookies and the movie “Frozen” are turning girls into lesbians and has defended the death penalty for homosexuality — it showed once again that the Republican primary seems to be a competition of who can move farther to the right.

Swanson cleverly focused his Iowa conference on the theme of “religious liberties,” warning that “persecution against Christians is on the rise in Iran, Iraq, Pakistan, Sudan, China, Oregon, and Kentucky.” It was apparently an invitation that Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — who are constantly harping on the theme that American Christians are on the road to facing persecution on par with Christians living under oppressive regimes — couldn’t pass up.

Swanson made clear what he meant by anti-Christian persecution in interview at the conference with Seattle-based radio host Michelle Mendoza, when he complained that media reports on his anti-gay comments, including his recent remarks that AIDS is “God’s retribution” for homosexuality, is part of a larger attempt to “shut down Christian media.”

Saying that the “liberal media” had taken his AIDS remarks out of context, Swanson proceeded to repeat the very same point to Mendoza.

“Any kind of disease,” he said, “this is the point I made in one of my broadcasts, any kind of disease is God’s wakeup call to us and it points us to the basic problem — Hey, there wasn’t disease, there wasn’t death in the world until sin came into the world with Adam and Eve. So, it’s a basic theological concept, every Christian in America would agree with me. Obviously, non-Christians may disagree but the fact of the matter is God has given us a warning. He gives us something of a warning with disease and death, and we ought to turn to Jesus Christ because he is the overall solution to this.”

Swanson said that in a conversation with Cruz at the conference, the Texas senator “agreed that it’s very possible that the FCC may shut down Christian media in the future if they continue to hold to the position that homosexuality is a sin.”

“Christian colleges may go away very soon, Christian media may go away very soon, conservative media may not survive, so this is going to affect every single part of life since the Obergefell ruling,” he said.

In an interview promoting the conference on the Kentucky radio program “Just Ask Joyce” last month, Swanson made a similar argument, warning that “you can kiss your liberties goodbye” if the right person isn’t elected president in 2016.

Christians must “prepare to see our radio programs and our ministries, and our churches, our schools, completely wiped out by … the homosexual forces” as a result of the Obergefell decision, he said. “This is a decision of seismic proportions for the entire socioeconomic system, for entire social systems, for entire civilizations, for our religions in our country.”

Rick Scarborough: AIDS Is God's Judgment, But We'd Find A Cure If America Would Repent

Vision America's Rick Scarborough spoke at a "Prayer For Our Warriors Conference" at Harvest Christian Fellowship in Arizona recently, where he reiterated his view that AIDS is God's judgment for sin and declared that we'd probably be able to find a cure for the disease if this nation would simply repent for tolerating homosexuality.

Earlier in his remarks, Scarborough complained that we at People For the American Way regularly monitor his speeches and blasted our founder, Normal Lear, for having established an organization that has supposedly "subverted the truth" by regularly attacking "those of us who stand for God and country without apology."

Apparently, in Scarborough's world, standing for God and country takes the form of declaring that AIDS "was God's judgment on a sinful generation."

"I believe that God would probably give us the cure for AIDS today," he stated, "if we put our foot down and said, 'We not longer tolerate this, we're not going to fund it with healthcare, we're going to hold you accountable.' I believe if we started repenting across this country, some sharp probably Christian or Jewish researcher would find the AIDS cure."

Scarborough also noted that since his comments were probably being monitored by PFAW, this statement would most likely be the only thing that we would report on from his speech.

And guess what? 

He was absolutely right:

Kevin Swanson Defends Linking Gay Kiss To Colorado Wildfires

At this weekend’s National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which featured GOP presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, conservative radio host Steve Deace revealed that a Republican presidential candidate had dropped out of the summit after learning of the extremism of the conference’s organizer, Kevin Swanson. (Although Deace didn’t name the candidate, Ben Carson was at one point named as a confirmed speaker but later disappeared from the event’s schedule.)

Deace said that the candidate’s campaign manager had called him up and asked him about Right Wing Watch’s reporting on Swanson, including Swanson’s support for the death penalty for gay people and his blaming of natural disasters in his home state of Colorado on such affronts to God as gay people marrying and feminist women who wear pants. Deace said that he laughed and assured the campaign manager that these were all lies made up by Right Wing Watch, but that the candidate dropped out anyway.

It might be more difficult for Deace to pretend that we fabricated all of these statements after this weekend’s conference, where Swanson repeated both views with great enthusiasm. After yelling quite a bit about Leviticus, Swanson clarified on Saturday that he does not actually want the U.S. to implement the death penalty for gay people at the moment, but instead to wait and give them time to repent first.

Then, in the same speech, Swanson declared that anyone who believes in God must see that there “might be a connection” between wildfires and flooding in Colorado and the state’s government refusing to enforce biblical law, and specifically a picture that ran on the front page of the Denver Post showing Colorado’s House speaker kissing his husband after a vote on civil unions.

“You see, when this happens, it is the most egregious, the most abominable, the most arrogant insult to Almighty God,” Swanson said of the Denver Post photo. “And then, the very same year, we had the very worst fires, the most devastating fires we ever did in the state and the worst floods. In the very same year, we had the most devastating floods and the most devastating fires and the worst possible legislature in terms of well, any standard of God’s laws as conveyed in [the Bible].”

“You’ve got to believe that God is the judge of the earth and indeed there might be a connection between the worst flood, the worst fires, and the worst government in the history of the state of Colorado,” he said.

He then defended his statement that thanks to gay rights and pro-choice laws, Colorado might be becoming worse than North Korea, saying, “Well, they murder. We put homosexuals on the front page of newspapers.”

America is held to a higher standard, he said, because of its “godly heritage” stemming from “white guys” like Irish immigrants.

“We’ve got a heritage, we’ve got a great heritage, goes back 2,000 years,” he said.
“Seems to me there’s a lot of white guys in America with a lot of heritage that goes all the way back to the 500s and 600s with Patrick and others. Friends, is America a more evil nation than North Korea in the eyes of God? And I say maybe. Maybe not, I don’t know. But I’d say we’re getting pretty close.”

Kevin Swanson: God Will Judge America For Harry Potter's 'Homosexual Mentor'

Colorado pastor Kevin Swanson closed out his National Religious Liberties Conference today — following speeches yesterday by Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal — with an extended rant about the many reasons why America needs to repent in order to avoid God’s judgment, including legal abortion, birth control, immoral themes in country music and gay characters in “Harry Potter” and “How to Train Your Dragon.”

Warning that “we are on the very cusp of judgment as I see it and we need to call America to repent,” Swanson listed off the various sins of which Americans need to repent.

“America, repent of your rebellion against God!” he yelled. “America, repent of stumbling the little ones! America, repent of ‘Harry Potter’! America, repent of ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!

“America, repent that Dumbledore emerged as a homosexual mentor for Harry Potter, that Hiccup’s mentor in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ emerged as a homosexual himself in order that history might repeat itself one more time, in order that little six- and seven- and eight-year-olds might stumble, in order that tens of millions of parents, it would be better that a millstone be hanged around their neck and they be drowned at the bottom of the sea than that there would be so many people stumbling so many children in public schools, in movie theaters, in homes in which children are raised to be stumbled by the Dumbledores and by the mentors of Hiccup in ‘How to Train Your Dragon’!”

Earlier in the same speech, Swanson explained that although the biblical punishment for homosexuality is death, he doesn’t want to implement it yet in the U.S. because he wants to give gay people time to repent as well .

Kevin Swanson: No Death Penalty For Gays … Until They Have Time To Repent

Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal all spoke this weekend at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, an event hosted by Kevin Swanson, a Colorado-based pastor and activist who frequently informs his followers that the biblical penalty for homosexuality is death and defended a proposed law in Uganda that would have imposed life imprisonment or capital punishment for homosexuality.

Two other speakers invited to the conference have similarly backed capital punishment for gay people, and one came prepared with a pamphlet he wrote explaining that view

In a closing keynote address to the conference this evening, Swanson clarified that he is not encouraging American officials to implement the death penalty for homosexuality … yet.

Instead, he said, gay people first need time to repent of their sins, as do people who have committed adultery, gotten divorced or looked at porn, all of which he said are inviting God’s judgment on America.

Freedom 2015 Speaker: LGBT 'Abominations' Worse Than 'Tyranny Of King George'

In a speech today to the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa, which also featured Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal, Nebraska pastor Phillip Kayser warned that America risks “God’s intense wrath” for engaging in “sexual sins” such as the “abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement.”

Kayser, who distributed at the conference a pamphlet arguing for the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy and witchcraft, was discussing “interposition,” the idea that “lesser magistrates” have the duty to stand against higher authorities when those higher authorities are disobeying God.

Kayser advised his audience that they must pick their battles in this area because “not every act of tyranny is equally heinous.”

For instance, he said, it isn’t necessary to defy certain unbiblical tax proposals, but it is absolutely necessary to defy same-sex marriage because it is “destructive to the family”; abortion because it is “murder” and will “inevitably lead to God’s judgment” on the land; and the “sexual sins” found in Leviticus 18 — which includes homosexuality, adultery and having sex with a woman who is menstruating — because “some sexual sins are so heinous that even pagan nations are eventually vomited out of the land for engaging in those sins.”

“And if we love our country and we don’t want to see God’s intense wrath falling upon it, we cannot ignore the abominations found in the radical LGBTQ movement,” he warned.

“Our Founding Fathers pledged their lives, fortunes and their sacred honor to resist the tyranny of King George and Parliament,” he said. “And I think what we are facing today is a whole lot worse.”

Cruz: 'Any President Who Doesn't Begin Every Day On His Knees Isn't Fit To Be Commander-In-Chief Of This Nation'

Ted Cruz was the third Republican presidential candidate to appear at the "National Religious Liberties Conference" in Iowa yesterday, an event organized by extremist right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson, who earlier in the program proclaimed that, according to the Bible, "the sin of homosexuality ... is worthy of death."

Swanson introduced Cruz by stating that Jesus Christ "is king of the President of the United States whether he will admit it or not and that president should submit to His rule and to His law" before asking Cruz to share his opinion on how important it is for "the President of the United States to fear God."

Cruz, predictably, asserted that fear of God is absolutely vital, declaring that "any president who doesn't begin every day on his knees isn't fit to be commander-in-chief of this nation."

'Death Penalty For Gays' Literature At Right-Wing Conference

Phillip Kayser is among the several speakers joining Mike Huckabee, Ted Cruz and Bobby Jindal at the National Religious Liberties Conference in Iowa this weekend, and as we've reported, he, along with the conference's chief organizer, Kevin Swanson, has called on the government to execute gay people. Kayser's views are so extreme that back in the 2012 election, Ron Paul's campaign tried to cover up his endorsement.

However, it seems that in today's GOP, calling for the execution of gay people isn't beyond the pale.

At the conference, where he is giving two speeches on how local officials and others can defy the Supreme Court's marriage equality decision, Kayser distributed the very pamphlet calling for the death penalty for gay people that caused a stir back when he endorsed Paul.

In the pamphlet, “Is The Death Penalty Just?,” Kayser unsurprisingly concludes that the death penalty is in fact just, and lists homosexuality among the offenses deserving of capital punishment. Ironically for a "religious liberties" summit, he also claims that the government should treat "breaking the Sabbath," "blasphemy and cursing God publicly," "publicly sacrificing to other gods" and "apostasy" as death penalty crimes as well.

He writes that government officials are "subject to Biblical statutes and judgments," claiming that "Christians should advocate the full implementation of all God's civil penalties in every age.... Every Old Testament statue continues on the books, and without those statutes, we could not have a consistent ethnical standard." Even "pagan" nations are obliged to follow biblical law, he writes, as "God held gentile kings accountable to these civil laws."

Kayser believes that the government should execute murderers, among whom he includes abortion providers: "What could be more pro-life than having the state pass laws establishing a certain date after which all doctors who continue to perform abortions will be executed? Certainly, a handful of doctors might be killed [pro-death for killers], but think of the millions of little lives that would be saved!"

He writes that the death penalty should also apply to those who commit acts of blasphemy; apostasy; breaking the Sabbath; sorcery and witchcraft; kidnapping; rape; adultery; prostitution; bestiality; and of course, homosexuality.

But don't worry, Kayser has good news for the gays who rather not be stoned to death or get "thrown off a cliff," methods he mentions as biblically approved ways to execute someone.

While "these crimes are so heinous that they deserve death in God's eyes," he writes, with cases "of sexual sins, people who kept these things to themselves could not be prosecuted because it would require two or three witnesses (depending on judicial discretion), the pressing of charges by a victim-citizen, the exclusion of government from spying, sting operations, etc., and other checks and balances."

Essentially, Kayser says that the government should put gay people to death, but only if they get caught.

"Even after a society implemented Biblical law and made homosexuality a crime, execution would be rare," he explains, because "the civil government could not round them up." What a relief!

"Only those who were prosecuted by citizen-victims could be punished, and the punishment could take a number of forms, analogous to the flexibility in dealing with adultery — which ranged all the way from forgiveness, to divorce, to death," he continues. "Some people characterize this as a victimless crime since homosexuals cannot get married. But there are plenty of circumstances (homosexual rape, homosexual incest, homosexual death threats against politicians, etc.) where victims might be motivated to bring charges."

Kayser writes that "natural knowledge" endorses the view that homosexuality is "worthy of death."

"It is not just the sinfulness of homosexuality that is known, but also the justice of the death penalty for homosexuality," he said. "The reason men have an innate sense of justice is because God's law reflects not only His holiness but also His justice and goodness (Rom. 7:12). Romans 13 says that magistrates are subject to all three."

And remember, this is the kind of literature being promoted at a "religious liberty" conference.

SCOTUS Will Hear Latest Contraception Coverage Refusal Cases

The Supreme Court today announced that it will hear several cases involving the accommodation for religious nonprofits seeking to opt out of the Affordable Care Act’s contraception coverage requirement.  This is not a surprise; as People For the American Way Foundation wrote in its Supreme Court 2015-2016 Term Preview:

Under the accommodation, the employers simply tell the insurer or the federal government of their objection, at which point the insurer must offer the coverage separately to employees who want it. This way, the employees can get the coverage without their employers having to contract, arrange, or pay for it.  But some religious nonprofits assert that even the accommodation violates their religious liberty under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA).  Under RFRA, no federal law imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise can be sustained unless it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government purpose.

The list of circuit courts that have roundly rejected this argument is long:  The DC Circuit, the Second Circuit, Third Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, the Sixth Circuit, the Seventh Circuit, and the Tenth Circuit.  But in September 2015, the Eighth Circuit ruled in favor of the nonprofits and found the accommodation violated RFRA.  Now that there is a circuit split, it seems likely that the Supreme Court will take up the issue via the appeals from one or more of these circuit decisions.

The premise of those challenging the accommodation is a severe distortion of RFRA and of the very concept of religious liberty set forth by the Court’s hard-right conservatives in the 5-4 ruling in Hobby Lobby.  That law was passed with overwhelming bipartisan support in 1993 as a means to protect the free exercise of religion.  But conservative ideologues have sought to transform RFRA from a shield into a sword, one that they can use to violate the rights of third parties.  The right wing’s enthusiastic embrace of Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis shows just how far they want to extend the reasoning of Hobby Lobby.

Here, the conservatives argue that filling out a form so that insurance companies can know about their legal obligations to provide certain coverage is a substantial burden on the exercise of their religion.  That strained reasoning is a cynical use of religion to deprive women of needed healthcare, an effort to force women employees to live by their employers’ religious strictures rather than their own.  But what the Supreme Court said about the First Amendment in a 1985 case called Estate of Thornton v. Caldor is equally true of RFRA:

The First Amendment . . . gives no one the right to insist that in pursuit of their own interests others must conform their conduct to his own religious necessities. [quoting from a lower court opinion by Judge Learned Hand]

Justice Kennedy, who voted with the Hobby Lobby majority, is likely to be the deciding vote in this case.  His concurrence in Hobby Lobby hinted that he might not go as far as his fellow conservatives in granting people the latitude to use RFRA to deprive others of their rights:

Among the reasons the United States is so open, so tolerant, and so free is that no person may be restricted or demeaned by government in exercising his or her religion.  Yet neither may that same exercise unduly restrict other persons, such as employees, in protecting their own interests, interests the law deems compelling.  In these cases [involving for-profit employers] the means to reconcile those two priorities are at hand in the existing accommodation the Government has designed, identified, and used for circumstances closely parallel to those presented here [the accommodation for religious non-profits].

Given the circuit split on the accommodation for religious nonprofits, the Supreme Court had little choice but to take this issue on.  They do have a choice, however, in how they rule.  Hopefully, a majority of justices will take the first step in restoring RFRA to the law it was intended to be.

Bachmann: Convert As Many Jews As Possible Because Christ Is 'Coming Soon'

Family Research Council president Tony Perkins has been broadcasting his “Washington Watch” radio program from Israel this week, where he is helping to lead an FRC tour group. Also on the tour is former Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who joined Perkins on the program on Wednesday to share her view that biblical prophecy is being fulfilled all around her and that it is more urgent than ever to convert as many people as possible — including Jews — to Christianity to prepare for the imminent return of Christ.

“Almost every article in the paper” has to do with conflicts in Israel, Bachmann said, “and it ties with so much biblical prophecy. This week really was about biblical prophecy in many ways. And we’re seeing as events are speeding up, events are speeding up so quickly right now, and we see how relevant the Bible is, and we’re reading our newspaper, at the same time we’re learning about these biblical events, and it’s literally day by day by day, we’re seeing the fulfillment of scripture right in front of our eyes, even while we’re on the ground.”

“We recognize the shortness of the hour,” she said, “and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, He’s coming soon.”

If Kevin Swanson's Son Got Gay Married, 'I'd Sit In Cow Manure And I'd Spread It All Over My Body'

After interviewing both Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal at his "National Religious Liberties Conference" this morning, radical right-wing pastor Kevin Swanson returned to the stage to discuss the issue of how Christians are to live in an increasingly debased and secular society.

During his remarks, Swanson reiterated his view that both the Old and New Testament require the death penalty for the crime of homosexuality, as well as his position that any Christian who attends a gay wedding can only do so in order to hold up a sign informing the couple that they ought to be put to death.

He drove home his point with a passionate declaration that if he ever found out that his own son was gay and that son invited him to his wedding, he would show up covered in "sackcloth and ashes" and then smear himself in cow manure as he sat on the steps of the church and wailed lamentations.

"There are families, we're talking Christian families, pastors' families, elders' families from good, godly churches," Swanson said, "whose sons are rebelling, hanging out with homosexuals and getting married and the parents are invited. What would you do if that was the case? Here is what I would do: sackcloth and ashes at the entrance to the church and I'd sit in cow manure and I'd spread it all over my body. That is what I would do and I'm not kidding, I'm not laughing."

"I'm grieving, I'm mourning, I'm pointing out the problem," Swanson screamed as he went off about people trying to "carve happy faces on the sores" of a society that is utterly "messed up."

Here is Swanson stating his belief that the Bible, in both the Old and New Testaments, declares that the punishment for homosexuality is to be death:

Paranoia-Rama: Imprisonment Of Christians, The Destruction Of Financial Markets, And The Transgender Agenda

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

This week, all the classics top the list of things the Right Wing thinks are threats to America: gay people, undocumented immigrants, transgender people and, of course, the Obama administration.

1) God Will Destroy Financial Markets Over ‘Sodomy’ In America

Pat Robertson has frequently warned of the destruction of the financial markets by an angry God, and this week Robertson claimed that “sodomites” in the United States will be the thing to provoke God’s wrath.

America, according to Robertson, is turning into Sodom now that the United States has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution.” He explained: “I don’t want the wrath of God to hit this country, it’s a great country, I’d like to see America continue strong, but this is one way of weakening it. First of all, we’re going to have this financial collapse. We’re setting up for a massive financial collapse and I think if God is going to hurt this country that’s probably the way he’d do it.”

2) Undocumented Immigrants In Cities ‘Increases The Rate Of Disease’

Marc Siegel joined the hosts of Fox News’ “Outnumbered” to discuss the real danger of sanctuary cities: rampant disease. “When you let illegal immigrants into a sanctuary city, they don't come in with a card that says I don't have tuberculosis or I don't have the flu or I don't have this disease,” Siegel explained. “And these things spread around big cities like San Francisco. It increases the rate of disease, and it increases the pressure on the healthcare system.”

Host Harris Faulkner attempted to link undocumented immigrants in San Francisco to a global rise in tuberculosis deaths, adding that she “was reading just this week that tuberculosis is now leading most of the other diseases around the world in killing people.” Siegel assessed that this was a “really important” point.

3) Conspiracy To Eliminate Religion From America

Representative Randy Forbes gave a sermon warning of a government conspiracy to expunge religion from the “marketplace of ideas” last month at his home church in Chesapeake, Virginia, as part of the Pray USA effort, an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation.

"I could put up on this screen or on this screen or on both of them the proof that would show you this isn't some natural evolution, this is artificially driven,” Forbes explained. “I can show you organization after organization after organization to a network that would frighten you because it would be vast that you couldn't get it on that screen, of organizations that are funded and paid with a systematic approach to killing and destroying faith in America today."

4) Obama Wants To Imprison Christian Conservatives

Speaking of the plot to silence Christians, Bryan Fischer asserted on his radio program this week that President Obama would imprison all conservative Christians, if only he could get away with it.

Fischer responded to a caller who alleged that the Justice Department’s plan to release 6,000 nonviolent drug offenders from federal prisons was a plot to make room for Christians in prisons by agreeing, "I think that is where we would go if he had his way."

"I honestly do,” Fischer continued. “I believe that is where we would wind up, if he could do what he wanted to do without any kind of restriction, he would lock people up who disagree with him, and that's us. Conservative Christians are the ones who have the biggest problem.”

5) Transgender Women Are Predators

The Right Wing is outraged at the Obama administration this week after the Education Department found that “an Illinois school district violated anti-discrimination laws when it did not allow a transgender student who identifies as a girl and participates on a girls’ sports team to change and shower in the girls’ locker room without restrictions.”

Pat Robertson revealed this week that he is under the impression that transgender students only want access to locker rooms that match their gender in order to eyeball girls. “This transgender stuff, I mean, this was a boy and this boy, we don’t know what surgery was performed on him, if any, we don’t know what his parts are,” he said, “and yet he wants to go into the girls’ locker room and see all these disrobed little girls running around.”

Phyllis Schlafly has also been persuaded that the transgender movement is a threat. In an interview on Newsmax TV, Schlafly alleged that the Department of Education’s announcement is proof that transgender advocates are “trying to turn our boys into peeping Toms.” She added, “I can’t imagine why else they would want to go into their girls’ restrooms.”

Jindal: 'No Earthly Court Can Change The Definition Of Marriage'

Earlier today, Republican presidential candidates Bobby Jindal and Mike Huckabee spoke at a conference in Iowa organized by Colorado pastor and activist Kevin Swanson, who takes such hardline Christian Reconstructionist views as supporting the death penalty for gay people . (Ted Cruz is also expected to speak at the conference.)

Swanson introduced Jindal by declaring that whoever becomes president, Jesus Christ will rule over them “whether they recognize it or not.”

“Let’s acknowledge right now that Jesus Christ is king over the president of the United States, whether he recognizes it or not,” he said. “Jesus Christ is king over the Supreme Court of the United States, whether they recognize it or not.”

Jindal then gave a version of his “Christian persecution” stump speech, warning that the government is “coming after those of us who want to live our lives according to our Christian faith” and declaring, “No earthly court can change the definition of marriage; no federal government, no ACLU should be able to take away our religious liberty rights. We were given those by God almighty.”

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious