In our advance reporting on last week’s World Congress of Families conference — the first time this annual global gathering of social conservative activists was held in the U.S. — we contrasted the organizers’ public disavowal of homophobia with their well-documented anti-gay record, such as their decision to honor Theresa Okafor of Nigeria with the “Woman of the Year Award.”
Throughout last week’s conference, Okafor, who serves as WCF’s regional director in Africa, defended harsh anti-gay laws in her own country and others, including Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act. And she drew cheers for noting that in most African countries, doctors and nurses would go to jail for performing an abortion. “We in Africa see the family, as well as marriage, as something divine, and ordained towards life and love, and so we’re very protective over anything that seeks to undermine the family, religion, and culture,” she said. Okafor said repeatedly that family was so important to Africa that it justified “drastic measures” against threats to it from the “Trojan Horse” of the sexual revolution.
At a session devoted to Africa, Okafor was joined by Nigerian Bishop Emmanuel Adetoyese Badejo, who is a spokesman for Africa’s Catholic bishops, and Ann Mbugua, director of the Kenya Christian Professionals Forum (KCPF).
Okafor slammed efforts by the Obama administration and other western countries to promote LGBT rights internationally.
“My interest in all of this started when I got fed up with this phenomenon known as paternalism. And paternalism is that phenomenon whereby people in authority feel that they should limit the freedom and responsibility of people they consider to be subordinates in the interest of the subordinates…
“…some people in the West felt that Africa needed to legalize abortion, Africa needed to suppress its population, Africa needed to yield to sexual orientation and gender identity and what-have-you, and the interests of Africans weren’t being served by these things.”
Bishop Badejo has been a strident critic of the Obama administration’s promotion of LGBT human rights. This summer he panned the appointment of Randy Berry as the State Department’s special envoy on LGBT issues, saying it “just shows how little the current U.S. administration respects the democratic values it seems to preach, especially when they preach them abroad.”
At the World Congress of Families, Badejo made a surprisingly direct call for American Christians to reject the presidential candidacy of Hillary Clinton. In response to a question about what people in the West can do to support social conservatives in Africa, Badejo said, “choose the right kind of government.” He recalled an interview in which he had said “there are only three types of people that I know — those who believe in God, those who don’t believe in God, and those who think they are gods.” He said he thinks Hillary Clinton is one of the latter. “I called on the people of the United States to pay good attention to the kind of people they are trying to elect to be their president and the kind of values they will be pushing in the whole world.” Okafor seconded that idea, saying, “America is more powerful than you actually can imagine. This is why we are following American politics.” She told Americans that who they elect “changes everything.”
Of course, for all her talk about paternalism, Okafor and her allies have no problem limiting the freedom and responsibility of women and LGBT people. Okafor criticized the “anti-family” influence of western media as “almost like an infiltration.” And she bragged about getting the Nigerian government to ban the movie “Fifty Shades of Grey” from being shown in the country.
Speaking of freedom, Mbugua spoke about resisting the “gay agenda,” which sat atop her list of threats to the family. Mbugua said that thanks to a strong anti-gay caucus in Kenya’s parliament, she’s not worried about legislation advancing LGBT rights. But she is concerned that the country’s 2010 constitution grants the constitutional court the power to declare new rights. In doing so, the court is to be guided by the values that underline an open and democratic society based on human dignity, equality and freedom. She fears the court might use those values as a rationale for recognizing LGBT rights, especially since the constitution, while not mentioning sexual orientation, forbids discrimination on all grounds.
Mbugua’s group is not only supporting the sodomy law in a legal challenge, it is also defending the government’s refusal to allow a gay organization to even register as a lobbying group. A judge ruled earlier this year that it is not proper to limit minorities’ rights to free association based on public opinion or religious dogma, but the judge allowed KCPF to file an appeal. The Christian professionals’ group complained about the ruling, saying “this is one case that called for limitation to the exercise of certain freedoms.” A lawyer for the group said the ruling showed contempt for the constitution and people of Kenya and was a back-door way to legalize homosexuality.
American religious right leaders have, of course, expressed support for other laws that restrict LGBT advocacy, including Nigeria’s 2014 law, which includes a 10-year sentence for anyone who supports the sustenance of “gay societies,” and Russia’s anti-gay “propaganda” law.
The WCF was a love-fest between African activists and their American allies. Okafor said she had invited Sharon Slater of Family Watch International to Nigeria four times and taken her to meet some of the country’s senators. Mbugua said her group’s member had their eyes opened by a visit from Slater and now they are strongly opposing comprehensive sex education.
Austin Ruse, who like Slater works to keep reproductive choice and LGBT rights out of international agreements through his leadership at C-Fam, gushed about Okafor and her colleagues. “We like to say that with regard to family, Africa is the First World, and we are the Third World,” he said. Recounting the ways African countries had withstood pro-choice and pro-LGBT pressure at the United Nations, and the way African bishops presented a conservative front at the recent Catholic bishops’ synod on the family, Ruse said, “I think the Africans are going to save the world.”
Last week, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles lashed out at Chick-fil-A for yielding to the “Obamanista homosexual communists” that “went after Chick-fil-A with a vengeance” several years ago over the company’s ties to anti-LGBT groups, calling events like “Chick Fil-A Appreciation Day” a mistake.
Wiles was especially angry that the restaurant sponsored a Pride Parade and LGBT film festival (the two events were sponsored by franchise owners, not the company itself), and that CEO and president Dan Cathy expressed regret about how the company became involved in the marriage debate.
“He said, ‘Every leader goes through different phases of maturity, growth and development and it helps by recognizing the mistakes that you make, and you learn from those mistakes. If not, you’re just a fool. I’m thankful that I lived through it and I learned a lot from it.’ Well, we learned a lot about you too, Mr. Cathy,” Wiles said. “Personally, I think Chick-fil-A should add another meat to the menu: Yellow-bellied weasel.” AUDIO
David Clarke, the sheriff of Milwaukee County and a rising media star on the Right, claimed yesterday that President Obama is a “heartless, soulless bastard” because he has spoken out about “goons” and “criminal creep[s]” who have been killed by law enforcement officers, falsely claiming that the president had not spoken out about the recent shooting death of a New York City police officer.
Clarke launched into the rant on his weekly program on Glenn Beck’s The Blaze radio network, declaring that “black-on-black crime is a human rights abuse and should be investigated as such by the United Nations” and that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States,” not police brutality.
He lit into a New York judge who had sentenced the police officer’s killer to rehab rather than prison time for a recent drug crime, calling her a “criminal-coddling, criminal-advocating, empathy-for-the-criminal, despicable human being.”
“By the way, we still have not heard from President Obama, that heartless, soulless bastard who wastes no time taking to the microphone to stick up for a criminal creep like Mike Brown, like Eric Garner, like Freddie Gray, like Trayvon Martin and communicating empathy for those goons and yet he has to be prodded, he has to be prodded to say something when a law enforcement officer is killed in the line of duty,” Clarke continued. In fact, Obama spoke about the slain officer, Randolph Holder, to a gathering of police chiefs last week.
“Generations Radio” host Kevin Swanson recently announced that Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are slated to address his National Religious Liberty Conference this weekend in Des Moines, Iowa.
Swanson is one of the most virulently anti-LGBT activists out there: He has defended Uganda’s kill-the-gays bill, warned that the Girl Scouts, women’s soccer and movies like “Frozen” turn girls into lesbians, and accused gay people of causing devastating floods and hurricanes.
Therefore, we were less than surprised to hear him say in a radio broadcast last month that HIV/AIDS is God’s punishment for gay people and a good thing!
While discussing a World magazine article on treatments for people with HIV/AIDS, Swanson said that gay people are receiving too much help from the government, saying they are “especially favored by the government and given a fair amount of support for their homosexual activity and the disease that seems to accommodate their activity.” He went on to say that HIV/AIDS is “God’s retribution to their sexual habit,” citing Paul’s Letter to the Romans and dismissing other interpretations of Paul’s writing as erroneous.
Swanson added that gay people should be glad that God punished them with HIV/AIDS, explaining that it is a sign of “God’s kindness” as it gives them time to think things over and renounce homosexuality, thus saving them from Hell.
“It’s also a wakeup call,” he said. “Be thankful that God doesn’t kill you all at once. He slows you down for a moment, he makes you sick, he gives you a heads-up.”
He urged gay people to learn from Kelly Gissendaner and Karla Faye Tucker, two women on death row who converted to Christianity before being executed for murder.
Tomorrow, the city of Houston will vote on the future of its nondiscrimination measure, also known as the Houston Equal Rights Ordinance (HERO).
The way anti-LGBT activists see it, the law will destroy religious freedom and jeopardize the safety of women and children, dramatic events that haven’t occurred in the hundreds of cities and counties with similar nondiscrimination measures. Of course, regularly telling outright falsehoods about the supposed threats of the LGBT community has never held back the Religious Right.
We’ve compiled a list of just a few of the most absurd attacks used by right-wing activists who hope to lie their way to victory tomorrow.
5) Josh Duggar Weighs In
Before resigning from his post at the Family Research Council following revelations about child sexual abuse and, later, extramarital affairs, Josh Duggar was an outspoken opponent of nondiscrimination ordinances, which he said would harm women and children. Duggar told one FRC event that the HERO ordinance represents “injustice and evil” as it reveals an effort to “put us behind bars.”
4) ‘The Country’s Gone’
Televangelist Pat Robertson has also promoted baseless claims that Houstonians will no longer have religious freedom if HERO survives tomorrow’s referendum, railing against its supporters as “terrorists” and warning that nondiscrimination measures could bring about God’s wrath.
On today’s edition of “The 700 Club,” Robertson used the upcoming vote as an excuse to attack the transgender community.
“If people are having all these sex changes, what do you do with them?” he asked. “You’ve got Bruce Jenner, he was the guy on the Wheaties box, and he gets ‘Woman of the Year’ after a sex change operation?”
A “700 Club” reporter then spoke with Houston pastor Ed Young, who said that if Christians do not defeat the ordinance, “we are gone in the 21st century.”
“We are being discriminated against, not the other way around,” he said.
Steven Hotze of Conservative Republicans of Texas added: “If Houston falls and Texas falls to the homosexual political movement on this issue, the country’s gone.”
3) HERO Activists Like ISIS
Another televangelist targeting the measure, Donnie Swaggart, said that Houstonians need to rise up before they find out that the Bible has been banned in the city.
“The war on the church and Christianity and our beliefs and the war on God, all of this is to shut the Bible up, they want the Bible gone,” he said. “These people that are trying to do this in Houston, the only difference between them and ISIS, those thugs in Iraq, is those here cannot chop our heads off. That’s the only difference. The heart is the same. The heart is the same. If they could silence us that way to intimidate others, that’s exactly what they would do.”
2) Don’t Vote For Satan
Colorado state legislator and televangelist Gordon Klingenschmitt believes that HERO will be defeated, in part because people will stand up to the transgender women who he says seek to “expose themselves to little girls” in restrooms and are possessed by “a demonic spirit.”
“Father, save the children from the perverts in Houston,” he prayed.
1) ‘Appalling’ That ‘We Have A Homosexual Mayor’
Rafael Cruz, Texas senator Ted Cruz’s father and campaign surrogate, has traveled around the country warning about the supposed dangers of the HERO ordinance, which he called “absolutely crazy.” His son’s own denouncement of the equal rights measure, he said, was proof that “the hand of God” is working in the anti-HERO campaign.
He also revealed that much of the Religious Right’s work is driven by contempt for Houston Mayor Annise Parker, a lesbian. “It is appalling that in a city like Houston, right in the middle of the Bible Belt, we have a homosexual mayor,” he said.
One Houston pastor, Dave Welch, similarly declared that Mayor Parker is a sinister figure who is waging a spiritual war against Christians.
“We allowed a lesbian mayor to be elected because most of the churches were asleep and just didn’t care.” he said. “They didn’t understand the consequences of putting somebody in political power, with the authority of the sword, who has literally rejected every element of the created order of God and his word and his moral truths. Why would we expect somebody to act lawfully when they are living lawlessly?”
Televangelist Pat Robertson repeated today his prediction that LGBT rights will provoke God to destroy America’s financial markets, warning “The 700 Club” viewers that God’s wrath is on its way.
He claimed that the U.S. is turning into Sodom now that it has “enshrined sodomy into the United States Constitution” and cities like Houston are trying to “force women to go into men’s bathrooms and men to go into women’s bathrooms.”
“Now it’s a constitutional right for sodomites to marry each other,” he lamented, warning that “the wrath of God is revealed against this stuff.” 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.”
On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program recently, Colorado Republican state Rep. Gordon Kilngenschmitt offered up a scientific test that can prove the existence of God once and for all.
Responding to a recent interview in which atheist Richard Dawkins said that he would change his mind about the existence of God as soon as someone shows him some evidence, Klingenschmitt eagerly took up the challenge.
"You want evidence of God?," he asked. "I can give you evidence of God. In fact, I'll show you God; all you've got to do is repent and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior and invite him to come into your heart. Now this is a scientific method. I'm giving you step A: you repent; step B: you believe; step C: you invite Jesus Christ to come into your heart as Lord and Savior. Follow that scientific method and I guarantee you will see Jesus Christ."
Those who refuse to follow this "scientific method," Klingenschmitt explained, will never discover the proof of God's existence because they have have not "followed the method that works."
"You want evidence? I'll give you evidence," he said, "but you've got to do what Christ commands."
In a trip to Russia last week, U.S. Religious Right leader Franklin Graham praised President Vladimir Putin’s protection of “traditional Christianity,” including the passage of the 2013 “gay propaganda” law that effectively criminalizes pro-gay-rights speech and advocacy.
In an interview with the Moskoviskij Komsomolets newspaper, Graham criticized President Obama for supporting “policies that contradict the teachings of God” and repeated his praise of Putin for “protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda,” adding that “homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children,” according to a transcript the newspaper provided of the interview:
I heard that you called Barack Obama ‘the leader of the antichrist movement.’ Is that true? What do you think about the current president of the United States?
I have met the president on several occasions. He’s a very nice person. But he supports and promotes policies that contradict the teachings of God. As a Christian I believe that abortion is murder, he supports it. Homosexuality and same-sex marriage — those are sins against God, and the president is promoting them. I’m not against homosexuals as people. But God commanded that marriage should be between a man and a woman. And I very much appreciate that President Putin is protecting Russian young people against homosexual propaganda. If only to give them the opportunity to grow up and make a decision for themselves. Again, homosexuals cannot have children, they can take other people’s children. I believe that President Obama (and I’ll repeat, he’s a very nice person) is leading America down the wrong road. He’s taking a stand against God.
In the same interview, Graham reportedly hailed Putin for his actions in Syria, where Russia has been targeting rebels supported by the U.S. and largely ignoring ISIS, saying, "I think that Russia’s involvement in this situation will bring about a political solution to the crisis."
Graham echoed the messaging of Putin, who as the Washington Post notes, “has anchored his political brand in religious nationalism, centered on the Russian Orthodox Church,” telling the paper that as Americans have been “losing many religious freedoms,” there have been “positive changes” in that area in Russia.
[T]he situation in the US regarding religion is in decline. Secularism, which is almost no different from communism, is an atheistic movement. Our country is becoming more and more secular, more atheist, taking God out of government, taking God out of schools. We are witnessing America losing many religious freedoms. In your country over the past 30 years, we have seen positive changes. But over this same period of time in the US, the changes have been negative.
In a meeting with Patriarch Kirill, the leader of the Russian Orthodox Church, which was widely reported in the Russian news media, Graham reportedly told the Orthodox primate: “When I was a young man, we worried that the world would become atheist under the influence of communism, but while communism fell, atheism didn’t go anywhere. Unfortunately my own president promotes atheism … I spoke about this with President Obama, but he did not understand. Unfortunately he does not have a Christian worldview.”
According to another report, Graham told Patriarch Kirill, “Many churches in America have started to support homosexuality. This is terrible, it’s a sin and it’s against God.”
“I call for prayers for the president of Russia, who is protecting traditional Christianity,” Graham reportedly said.
Graham took part in a forum on “religion and peace” with a number of religious leaders, and Graham and Patriarch Kirill announced their plans to organize an international conference on Christian persecution in the Middle East.
On Friday, Rep. Louie Gohmert guest hosted the Family Research Council radio show “Washington Watch,” where he fielded a question from a caller who wanted to know why Congress hasn’t attempted to impeach President Obama since “we have enough proof” that Obama “has committed treasonous acts.”
The Texas Republican praised the caller, saying that he was “so grateful that there are people like you that understand just how detrimental this president has been to the ongoing of this country, we’re really at risk, like, now,” but cautioned that impeachment isn’t likely to happen until Republicans win popular support for such a move.
Gohmert added that Congress would be right to impeach Obama but won’t do so because “there are not enough in the people in the country, across America, that want him removed from office before his office is over,” at least, not yet. As he explained, the GOP attempt to impeach IRS Commissioner John Koskinen may pave the way for Obama’s impeachment.
“I would have hoped that once we start removing people from office because of the lies, misrepresentation and treason, if that comes out, or just so detrimental to the country, then we would have a case that could be made involving the president,” he said. “But the will of the American people is just not there, that’s my problem. He has done grave damage and this Iran deal, it’s really a treaty, he’s lied about it up and down, and now we’re finding out Iran is violating the treaty, yet this administration is defending Iran and betraying Israel right and left.” He went on to claim that the administration accused Israel of “war crimes” and “terrorism.”
After telling the caller that he appreciated his “concern because it tells me that you are a red-blooded American” and that “obviously you care about America,” he said that “we’ll keep pushing to see if there’s something to be done.”
Last month, Republican Rep. Randy Forbes preached at his home church in Chesapeake, Virginia, where he warned that there is a massive and terrifying conspiracy at work to completely eliminate religion from public life.
Forbes was preaching as part of an effort known as Pray USA, which is an initiative of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation that seeks to encourage government officials to lead congregations in prayer and then urge churchgoers to add their names to its "Prayer for America Proclamation."
During his sermon, Forbes told the congregation that the government has grown increasingly hostile to religion in America in an effort to systematically expunge it from the "marketplace of ideas" and that this development has not come about by accident or naturally; rather, it has all been orchestrated by a vast, well-funded conspiracy.
"Let me just tell you one of the myths that's out there," he said. "It's easy for us to somehow just think that all of this just evolved because people on the internet, they're reading more and they're getting more intellectual and somehow or the other, it's like they've discovered the world isn't flat anymore and therefore we don't believe in God and we don't believe in faith."
"If I had the time, which I don't have," he continued, "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. 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."
"Most people don't even realize it," Forbes said, "and let me tell you, the dollars going into that organization is nine times the dollars going into the organizations trying to defend and protect faith in America."
Joe Scheidler, the influential anti-choice activist who helped pioneer “direct action” techniques meant to stop women from obtaining abortions, joined Catholic broadcaster Al Kresta on Wednesday to discuss the recent closing of a Chicago-area abortion clinic that hadfailed a safety inspection, which Scheidler attributed to the 27 years he spent targeting the clinic.
But Scheidler told Kresta that he had been going after this particular clinic for even longer because “they had a clinic on Irving Park Road in Chicago back in the ‘70s and we actually picketed there and we would have a priest come out and try to help us stop the girls,” until the clinic was ultimately shut down for operating without a license.
He then shared this anecdote of his “pro-life” purity:
And a strange thing happened, and this is just a quick little thing, but the woman running that clinic was a Catholic, Suzanna, and while she had nothing to do she went skydiving and her parachute didn’t open. And we had a scandal there because she was getting a Catholic funeral and, you know, abortion is an excommunicable sin, so we had to talk to the pastor and they had to cancel her funeral. That didn’t make me very popular with the family, but it had to be done. Otherwise people would think, ‘Well, you know, an abortion’s not that bad.’
Two leading opponents of immigration, Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach and Rep. Brian Babin of Texas, spoke this week at an annual “writers’ workshop” event held by the Social Contract Press, an anti-immigrant publication that frequently publishes the work of white nationalists, according to the Center for New Community.
Kobach is the brains behind a wide range of anti-immigrant and voter suppression legislation around the country. Babin, a freshman Republican, is the loudest champion in Congress of efforts to restrict refugee resettlement in the U.S., which CNC reports was a central topic at the event.
The annual Writers’ Workshop is the brainchild of white nationalist and founder of the organized anti-immigrant movement, John Tanton. The meetings began as a venue for Tanton and colleagues to exchange ideas and strategies as they worked to build the then-nascent anti-immigrant movement that exists today. The invitation-only meetings have been attended by prominent white nationalists over the years including Peter Brimelow, Sam Francis, and Jared Taylor.
Tanton is no longer a regular at these meetings, but under the stewardship of KC McAlpin and Wayne Lutton, the white nationalist editor of TSCP’s quarterly journal, the bigotry sparking these meetings remains 39 years later.
SPLC summarizes the Social Contract Press’ racist and anti-immigrant content:
The Social Contract Press (TSCP) routinely publishes race-baiting articles penned by white nationalists. The press is a program of U.S. Inc, the foundation created by John Tanton, the racist founder and principal ideologue of the modern nativist movement. TSCP puts an academic veneer of legitimacy over what are essentially racist arguments about the inferiority of today's immigrants. Recent articles in its main product, The Social Contract, have propagated the myth that Latino activists want to occupy and 'reclaim' the American Southwest, argued that no Muslim immigrants should be allowed into the U.S., and claimed that multiculturalists are trying to replace "successful Euro-American culture" with "dysfunctional Third World cultures."
New Zealand activist Ray Comfort joined Jerry Newcombe this week to discuss his new movie, “Audacity,” which “delivers an unexpected, eye-opening look at the controversial topic of homosexuality” by focusing on a young character who struggles to “defend his convictions about homosexuality and gay marriage.”
Comfort explained to Newcombe that he was initially reluctant to make a movie about homosexuality, but decided he had to do so after he sat next to a gay man on an airplane and didn’t know how to handle the situation.
“I was flying from Germany to London, sat next to a middle-aged gentleman,” he recalled. “I said, ‘How’re you doing,’ he says, ‘Good,’ I says, ‘You got a family?,’ he says, ‘I have a husband.’ It was like, ‘Oh. Where do I go from here?’ Do I say, ‘Oh that’s nice, tell me about him’ or what? And it was awkward.”
“Imagine what it would be like for the average Christian who isn’t kind of confrontational,” he said. “And I realized there’s a real need to show Christians how to relate to homosexuality.”
Comfort predicted that “it won’t be long until pedophilia is embraced by this world, we live in such moral relativism,” so conservative Christians will have to continue to stand strong and tell people what is right and wrong.
“The time will come when people who are so angry about pedophilia now will be vilified and looked on as hateful if they say, ‘No, this is not right,’” he said. “And what we’ve got to remember is that, as Christians, we’re like police officers right in the middle of a crime area. And criminals hate the police, they’ll kill a police officer, they don’t even know who he is, because of the badge he wears, because he stands for righteousness. And we’re going to be hated if we stand up and say, ‘Look, pedophilia is wrong, homosexuality is wrong, fornication, blasphemy is wrong.’”
The trick for gay rights opponents, he said, is “not to vilify homosexuals but to say , ‘Hey, we care about you and we want to see you in Heaven, not Hell.’”
Among the speakers at the World Congress of Families on Thursday was Mark Tooley of the Institute on Religion and Democracy (IRD), who declared that too many Christians are being influenced by secular ideology and are clueless that God himself has ordered government to fight same-sex marriage and access to abortion.
Tooley’s group supports conservatives within mainline Protestant churches (he is a United Methodist) by attacking liberal elements within those denominations that promote progressive theology and public policy. For example, IRD has criticized the U.S. State Department for promoting the human rights of LGBT people and spoken out against evangelicals backing immigration reform.
At the World Congress of Families, Tooley decried the embrace of LGBT equality and reproductive choice among “once great” mainline denominations, and warned that the “errors” of mainline Protestantism have spread to evangelical and Catholic communities.
The problems that had originated in America’s mainline Protestant world unfortunately have spread and metastasized throughout American religion, and even once great and strongly orthodox religious institutions in America are now affected by these issues and are compromised on core topics related to marriage and family and the sanctity of all human life.
He blamed the shift on the institutions’ “elites and bureaucracies,” which he said no longer believe in ancient Christian teachings but have “actively joined secularism to advocate deconstruction of marriage and family.” Those ideas have spread to other Christian institutions, he complained, including the “evangelical left” and Christian colleges, whose leaders don’t want to engage on these issues because they believe it would interfere with evangelization.
Tooley complained that there weren’t enough Christian leaders defending Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for six days after she refused to abide by a federal court order to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling. Tooley predicted that more people will be intimidated into “virtual silence” as the government punishes other marriage resisters, but he hoped the opposite might also be true, and that the accumulating impact of those cases might inspire others to take a more public stand.
Tooley said that organized Christian political social justice advocacy aimed at young people has focused more on admirable but less controversial issues like fighting sex trafficking or carrying out humanitarian work. He complained that too many young Christians see marriage as passé as a public policy issue and religious liberty work as self-serving— and even think that work on abortion is too focused on therapeutic ministry rather than political advocacy to put abortion bans into law.
Tooley connected this to Christians’ lack of understanding that God himself has given the government a divine mandate to oppose marriage equality and abortion.
Indeed, all of the punitive aspects of the civil state, which are central to God’s vocation for government, have become unfashionable or at least uninteresting to much of Christian political witness in America today — except for possibly punishing perpetrators of discrimination against same-sex couples.
Yet historic Christian teaching says the state has a divinely ordained, ongoing permanent duty to uphold marriage, family, and to protect all human life, irrespective of fashion and fad.
There is a pervasive lack of awareness in current Christian discourse, not limited to the very young, about historic Christian understandings about the core responsibilities of government. Instead of providing for public order — jailing criminals and deterring or defeating external aggressors — government is now portrayed in Christian political witness as the all-powerful and maternal provider, who feeds, clothes, heals, educates and reaffirms, callings that Christianity typically had assigned to parents, families, churches, private philanthropy, civil society and therapists.
Even traditional Christians, he complained, often appear clueless about religious responses to these trends, resorting to libertarian arguments against big government “without describing the state’s core mandate assigned by no less than God himself. Addressing this collapse in Christian understanding about God’s purpose for the state is a wonderful, and important, but almost overwhelming challenge for groups like mine, but also all of us in this room and beyond.”
Tooley closed with a prayer for victory in the culture war:
We can hope and pray, in the fullness of Providence, that the Almighty will look back on these days that we’re living through and say to us who have tried to follow him, this was one of our finest hours, in a great social and cultural storm when his truths were most under assault. May he guide us to perseverance and victories ahead for the common good of all people.
Allan Carlson, the founder of the World Congress of Families, spoke yesterday with the American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios, who was broadcasting live from the event, which is being held in Salt Lake City this year.
Carlson, who retired earlier this year from WCF’s parent organization, the Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society, was feeling reflective about his decades-long effort to fight the “sexual left” throughout the world.
“Family questions, family issues today, including same-sex marriage, abortion, the retreat from marriage more broadly, those have become international issues,” he told Rios. “It’s a situation, a set of problems found around the globe. And even in third-world countries, they’re facing an aggressive effort by the European Union and now the United States government to abandon their attachment to traditional marriage, to large families, and to embrace [what] we’ll call the Western sexual revolution.”
Rios recalled attending the United Nations Conference On Women in Beijing in 1996 and being shocked to find a “tent on lesbian love-making” and people who were saying that there are “five genders,” and being even more shocked that these things are now in “mainstream thought.”
“Well, you could see it coming,” Carlson said. “It plays on human weaknesses. It tells people that’ve made bad choices that they made good choices. It tells people that they may have hurt their children with bad choices but, no, it’s okay, you’re free, you’re open. So I always knew that there was some very diabolical message that preyed on the human heart here. So I’m not surprised it’s grown. What is an encouraging thing is that opposition has now risen up to it, to this false message of human liberation. And that’s what this event is about, and it’s just one example of hundreds, of thousands of events that are happening and I think are going to grow.”
Carlson also reflected with surprise that Russia — which under the leadership of President Vladimir Putin has been staging a crackdown on its LGBT citizens and has been a leader in opposing protection for LGBT people and reproductive rights at the UN — “has become a very strong pro-family voice at the United Nations.”
“That’s an astonishing development,” he said. “And one of the reasons the Obama administration is so hostile to Russia today, I’m quite sure, it’s not just the Crimea, it’s also the fact that Russia has become a proponent — at least at the official level — of pro-family sentiments.”
“It is amazing,” Rios agreed. “And one of the strongest supporters of Israel. The whole world, really, in our lifetime has turned upside down, don’t you think, Allan?”
Kevin Swanson, the Colorado pastor who is hosting fellow death-penalty-for-gays advocates and at least three Republican presidential candidates at his National Religious Liberties Conference in Des Moines, Iowa, next week, believes that everywhere he turns, someone is trying to turn his daughter into a lesbian: the Girl Scouts, Disney movies like “Frozen” and, of course, feminists.
On his “Generations Radio” program back in July, Swanson also pointed to another lesbian-recruiting culprit: the U.S. women’s national soccer team.
He was despondent about the number of lesbian players on the U.S. team and was even more despondent that Republican presidential candidates were congratulating the team for winning the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Canada. Their victory, Swanson lamented, “was celebrated, of course, by one of the lesbian players doing her lesbian thing with her lesbian whatever.” He said that “those of us who stand against lesbianism” may have to “take a stand against the team itself and what the team has accomplished.”
Declaring that the U.S. has transformed into Sodom, Swanson said that God was likely offended by the World Cup team’s celebration, which he said is paving the way for divine wrath against America. Swanson went on to once again praise nations like Uganda and Kenya for upholding laws criminalizing homosexuality, explaining that, in contrast, America is on the wrong side of God on the issue of homosexuality.
“It’s everywhere today,” he said. “Our Christian children are running into homosexuals right and left. They live in our neighborhoods.”
As Swanson explained, lesbians in women’s sports seek to become role models for children in order to “indoctrinate” them into homosexuality.
“What do you do when there’s a fairly close association between lesbianism and sports?” Swanson asked listeners, reminding them that “the only way in which homosexuals reproduce is by way of the schools” and by ensuring that kids are “indoctrinated when they’re four, five, six, seven years of age, they need to be prepared to become those homosexuals that homosexuals want them to become.”
He continued: “The best way in which homosexuals reproduce is by way of the public schools and so there will be a full-court press towards bringing these lesbians into the coaching, into the schools, into the classrooms.”
After grieving that most young Christians are befriending gay people, Swanson told parents that they should “not give them role models, as in lesbian coaches, homosexual coaches, who would represent something of an abominable lifestyle and yet to try serve as a role model for our kids. Friends, I’m warning you, be very, very careful with this whole problem of homosexuality and lesbianism within the public schools today, and it’s only going to increase exponentially in the years to come.”
David Barton, one of the Religious Right's most relentless promoters of dishonest and misleading information, appeared on Glenn Beck's television program last night, where the two discussed the importance of teaching people not "what to think," but rather "how to think." Teaching people "how to think," Barton said, would pay huge dividends for America by giving conservatives confidence to speak up on the issues of the day.
"Self-identified conservatives outnumber self-identified liberals in nearly every state," Barton said, claiming that conservatives are reluctant to speak up on current events because they are afraid that they do not have enough knowledge or information, whereas liberals simply don't care that they are clueless and are just willing to lie.
"Why is it that conservatives are convinced that they are in the minority?" Barton asked. "In reality, we're not, but we think we are ... According to statistics, when you look at the groups of liberals, and moderates and conservatives, conservatives are by far the most silent of those three groups. They're least likely to speak up, and why is that? It's because conservatives don't want to speak until they feel like they've mastered the facts about whatever the subject is that is under discussion. Now, liberals or moderates, they're happy to give you their opinion and tell you what they think, regardless of whether they know the facts. But conservatives don't like doing that, they want to know the facts before they answer what are often wild and baseless claims made by liberals and moderates."
The defenders of Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who attempted to block her office from issuing marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, have retroactively been claiming that Davis was simply seeking a religious accommodation that would keep her name off such licenses. (This is despite the fact that Davis claimed that she was acting as an agent of God in keeping gay couples in her county from getting married.)
In an interview with Alaska conservative radio host Joe Miller this week, prominent Christian Reconstructionist John Eidsmoe, who now works for the foundation established by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, argued that if Davis were to resign from her position or seek a religious accommodation to avoid being involved in gay marriages, that wouldn’t be enough. Instead, Eidsmoe said, lower courts and elected officials like Davis must “interpose” to “nullify” the marriage equality decision, which was made by a Supreme Court that has “become disobedient against God.”
Miller, who was Alaska’s Republican nominee for the U.S. Senate in 2010, agreed, adding that if officials like Davis resign, they are “basically clearing the field” for “additional persecutorial-type behavior by government.”
Tellingly, both Eidsmoe and Miller will be attending next week’s “National Religious Liberties Conference” in Iowa, whose organizer’s idea of religious liberty is the liberty of conservative Christians to execute gay people. (Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee and Bobby Jindal are also scheduled to speak at the conference.)
Absolutely. In fact, there are many who say that what she should have done in those circumstances is simply resign her position in protest. I would say that if she had resigned, likewise, if Chief Justice Moore had resigned from the Supreme Court over the Ten Commandments issue, they would be betraying the people that elected them. Under the doctrine of lesser magistrates, or interposition, as you sometimes call it, when a higher magistrate, like the U.S. Supreme Court or a federal judge, begins to act in an extralegal and tyrannical manner, it is the duty of lesser magistrates like state courts and state judges, county clerks and the like to interpose, that is to stand between the people they represent against the tyranny of the higher magistrate.
You might say that if the higher magistrate has become disobedient against God, for the lower magistrate to simply follow what the higher magistrate says would make the lower magistrate complicit in this act of disobedience. I think she has a duty to stay on and a duty to resist. What they’re trying to do in that case right now, of course, is they’re trying to work out an accommodation where we could say that the law has a duty to accommodate those who have religious objections. That’s fine in so far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough. Rather, they need to recognize that this whole decision is illegitimate and it needs to be nullified.