Fighting the Right

Zmirak: Obama Isn’t Muslim, Just Has 'A Sense Of Loyalty To The Muslim World'

John Zmirak, the conservative commentator who edits James Robison’s The Stream website, told Alaska talk radio host Joe Miller last week that he doesn’t think that President Obama is a Muslim, but rather “feels a sense of origin, a sense of loyalty to the Muslim world.”

“I think he is pro-Muslim in the same sense that John F. Kennedy was pro-Irish,” he said. “He feels a sense of origin, a sense of loyalty to the Muslim world because he grew up in the Muslim world and he went to Muslim school.”

“I think he believes that Arab people and Persian people and other third-world countries deserve an advantage,” he added, “and that countries like America and the rest of the West have had undue advantages over the centuries and that it’s time to even the score.”

When Miller, a former GOP Senate candidate, asked Zmirak how he reconciles Obama’s supposed “pro-Muslim” worldview with his “radically pro-homosexual” policies, Zmirak explained that it’s all about being “anti-Western.”

“I don’t think he’s a Muslim in any religious sense,” he said. “I think he has a nationalistic loyalty to the countries in the third world, including Muslim countries. He has an anti-Western view. … I think anti-Westernism trumps everything with these people, that’s what multiculturalism dictates.”

Rick Santorum: Martin Luther King Jr. Would Tell Kim Davis To Break Law Over Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Rick Santorum appeared on the Daystar program “Marcus and Joni” to promote his presidential bid and defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been trying to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Santorum defended Davis, claiming that she should be “applauded” for her “courageous” actions and asserting that the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is illegitimate since it violates biblical precepts.

“Clearly, the laws on marriage don’t follow the natural law, they don’t follow God’s law, so in Martin Luther King’s viewpoint, he would have said that this is a law that you have an obligation to resist and that’s what Kim Davis is doing,” he said. “She is standing up and saying, ‘I am not going to follow an unjust law.’”

Previously, Santorum likened Davis to a girl who was murdered during the Columbine massacre, who according to a popular but debunked myth was killed for believing in God.

Santorum also invoked the Nuremberg trials, suggesting that people who are demanding that Davis comply with the court’s order are using the same argument employed by Nazis at Nuremberg following World War II, that “we were just following the law.”

He said that people must defy court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, which he said is even more far-reaching than Roe because it is “forcing people to be complicit with something they find immoral,” and that Congress and the presidency must also “push back and change the law.”

PFAW Calls on Republican Presidential Candidates to Renounce Frank Gaffney

Yesterday, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney had on his radio show well-known white nationalist Jared Taylor, who has called African-Americans “crime-prone” and “deviant” and said that his goal is to ensure the “ biological and cultural continuity” of white people in America. On the show, Gaffney said that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work. While that’s all heinous on its own, seven of the Republican presidential candidates have appeared on Gaffney’s program or spoken at his events, including recent campaign events in early primary states.

People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan responded with the following:

“This is a new low, even considering how hard all the leading Republican candidates have been courting the xenophobic Republican base enthralled with Trump.

“All of the Republican candidates should cut ties with Gaffney immediately and refuse to go on his show or speak at future events he sponsors. The Republican Party should not give any space to white nationalism.”

Additional background on Gaffney, Taylor, and the connections that Trump, Carson, Huckabee, Santorum, Paul, Jindal, and Cruz have to Gaffney can be found here, from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

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Michael Savage: Bernie Sanders Is A 'Liberal Weasel Jew' Who 'Hates America'

Michael Savage is not a fan of Bernie Sanders. Last week on “Savage Nation,” Savage again attacked Sanders, whom Savage said “sets off comedic shockwaves” but also makes him “sick.”

Savage said that he knows Bernie Sanders’ “type,” which is apparently a “liberal weasel Jew” who hates Christians and America.

Savage went on to say that Sanders may as well be working for Hillary Clinton “because by espousing the stupidity that he espouses, it makes her look like a centrist even though she’s a leftist. So he may as well be just a front man for her, a warm up act.”

GOP Candidates' Favorite Anti-Muslim Activist Interviews Prominent White Nationalist

The Center for Security Policy, the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim organization run by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney has a comfortable place in Republican politics.

Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz, have all spoken at at least one CSP event, as have a number of prominent conservative activists. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has accepted an award from the group. Just this month, Gaffney cosponsored a rally against the Iran nuclear deal that was headlined by Trump, Cruz, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Carson appeared on his radio program this month; Cruz, Jindal and Rand Paul have joined the program in the past.

This is all despite Gaffney’s long track record of pushing outrageous conspiracy theories , including birther and “secret Muslim” theories about President Obama, panic about Sharia law coming to the United States, and embarrassing campaigns against people he thinks are infiltrating the American government or the GOP or the NRA or CPAC on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And then there’s this: As the Southern Poverty Law Center spotted, Gaffney invited Jared Taylor, one of the most well-known white nationalists in the country, to speak on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program yesterday and took trouble to tell Taylor that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work at his racist publication American Renaissance, which Gaffney called “wonderful.”

The two discussed their aversion to the Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe. Gaffney asked Taylor, according to SPLC’s transcript:

At some point there will be a very vigorous resistance to the infusion into these countries of large numbers of people who don’t assimilate, many of them Muslim who bring with them a Sharia ideological program that is antithetical to the culture and civilization and polities of European nations. Do you anticipate, as we’re seeing now evidence of increasing violence, notably against women, on the part of these refugees, not all of them by any means but some, rapes now becoming a serious problem in some of the refugee holding areas, and demonstrations and in some cases worse that are breaking out in various parts of Europe when they’re not accommodated to their satisfaction, that you may see in fact Europe devolving once again into the types of cataclysms that it has from time immemorial with, you know, blood letting taking place. Is that overreaching at this point or perhaps just a distant possibility?

Taylor responded:

We have unleashed now what would not be an exaggeration to call almost demonic forces. We have close to a million now of these so-called refugees, most of whom are young men. They are young, single men. Most of whom have never seen a woman in a bikini in their lives. Most of them are part of, as you say, this Sharia culture that despises any woman who walks around with her face uncovered, with her legs bare. These people are going to be all sorts of trouble for Europe for many, many years to come.

Taylor is an unapologetically racist activist. He has written that "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears"; he has urged white people to “rekindle” their “instinctive preference for their own people and culture.” Taylor has been active in the effort to build alliances between American white nationalists and the European far-right, participating in a meeting in Budapest last year, where he told his “European brothers” that “the genetic and cultural effect of alien immigration is no different from armed invasion.”

While Taylor is largely shunned by mainstream right-wing circles, he has expressed an affinity for Donald Trump, telling the New Yorker that “I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”

When Media Matters asked Gaffney to explain his interview with Taylor, CSP sent them a statement claiming that Gaffney invited Taylor exclusively to discuss refugee policy and “was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.” The group did not explain how Gaffney was able to lavish praise on American Renaissance without being familiar with its contents. 

While Gaffney’s already lengthy record of extremism hasn’t yet caused major GOP figures to distance themselves from him, Gaffney’s decision to elevate Taylor and his work should cause him to lose all credibility among candidates and officials who wish to be taken seriously in the future.

UPDATE: In a statement on the Center for Security Policy's website, the group says that Gaffney's compliments to Taylor were "routine" and that if he had done his "due diligence" before the interview, he would not have invited Taylor as a guest:

Yesterday’s program included a conversation with Jared Taylor concerning a recent article by him addressing the dire implications for Europe, its people and civilization of large numbers of migrants from nations in which shariah-adherence is the norm.  The host was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.

Subsequently, Mr. Gaffney had a chance to examine those views and the American Renaissance website on which they appear. There is much there with which he strongly disagrees.  Had due diligence been done beforehand, such disagreements would have resulted in Mr. Taylor not being invited on the show, routine compliments to such guests not made and an offer to appear again not extended.

UPDATE II: CSP has removed the interview with Taylor from its website.

Ken Starr Not Rushing To Join Religious Right's Kim Davis Fan Club

Lawyers for Kim Davis are trying to piggyback on the popularity of Pope Francis by revealing that Davis was “sneaked into the Vatican embassy by car” to meet the pope when he visited Washington, D.C., recently. Not exactly a red-carpet welcome, but Davis and Liberty Counsel can use all the P.R. help they can get these days.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says the visit, grudgingly confirmed by the Vatican, wasn’t arranged through the American bishops. But it would not have been terribly surprising if it were enabled by Archbishop William Lori, point man for the U.S. bishops’ strategy of using religious liberty claims to resist LGBT equality and the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

On the Friday before the pope’s arrival in Washington, D.C., Lori gave the keynote to a day-long “Religious Freedom Summit” at the Catholic University of America’s law school. Much of the day was devoted to discussion of horrific religious persecution in other parts of the world, including anti-Christian persecution in Syria and China. Those harrowing first-person accounts made it hard to consider claims of “religious persecution” by people like Kim Davis as even remotely in the same category.

Even among the conservative lawyers who filled the room, support for Davis wasn’t unanimous. The closing address at the conference was given by Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — who is now president of Baylor University, a Texas-based Christian college with Baptist heritage.

Starr talked about how courts have wrestled with the words of the First Amendment for some 80 years, and proposed some key principles that he said should guide the law: non-coercion in matters of conscience; nondiscrimination against religion; government’s ability, within limits, to provide affirmative protections for religious belief; and government noninterference with the mission and governance of religious organizations.

Starr acknowledged that in implementing many of these principles there are lines that must be drawn. For example, he explained, the majority and dissenters in the Hobby Lobby case gave different weight to the religious liberty claims of the company’s owners and the potential for demonstrable harm to the company’s employees. How we identify and measure recognizable harm to third parties, and weigh it against free exercise, will continue to be wrestled with in the courts, he said, suggesting that there were probably differing opinions even among the people in the room.

Which brings us to Kim Davis, and other Religious Right martyrs-in-the-making such as bakers and florists who refuse service to same sex couples.

First, Davis:

I don’t think that this question is easy. Others may, and the freedom of conscience simply trumps all. But the reason I think it’s not easy is because she is a public official who has taken an oath to uphold the law. I know, I heard the panel saying, look at all the exceptions to individuals who’ve been sworn to uphold the law and who have chosen not to do it. I personally find that a little uncomfortable. Oh, you’re going to pick and choose which laws to enforce.

He asked whether people in the room would be okay with a sheriff or chief of police deciding which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.

Starr then addressed conversations about accommodations for bakers and florists who refuse to serve gay customers:

Not a public official like Kim Davis, a private citizen. But at the same time I’m going to suggest that we really think hard on this. She is one who has opened her bakery or catering service or floral shop to business. She has a license from the state to do business. And in carrying out a commercial business, the general rule is one akin to principle two of nondiscrimination. That rule is deeply anchored in the common law. You’ve got to serve people who come in to you. And also the public accommodation provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when folks were excluded from service on grounds of race. The very idea and ideal of the common law rule is equality — you take care of every customer who comes to you unless you have a very substantial — they’re trying to tear up my shop.

Starr noted that there’s plenty of litigation in these areas, and that some “creative” arguments are being mounted by those suggesting that wedding services such as cakes and flowers are protected as a freedom of speech issue. (That kind of claim was made unsuccessfully by a photographer in New Mexico, discussed in PFAW’s “Religious Liberty: Shield or Sword?”)

Starr also noted that “we are an increasingly diverse community of men, women and children who come from so many cultures and traditions …The world we inhabit is a pluralistic one.” He acknowledged that his four principles won’t magically resolve differences on these issues, suggesting that those involved should adhere to another organizing principle, the Golden Rule, and treat those with whom they disagree with kindness, dignity, and respect.

Starr isn’t the only conservative lawyer taking issue with the claims of Kim Davis and her supporters. Ken Klukowski said earlier this month that Davis was on “very shaky legal ground” and that her refusal to allow deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses was an indefensible effort to force other civil servants to act in conformity with her religious beliefs.

 

Glenn Beck Contemplates Opening His Own Church So He Can Host A GOP Presidential Debate

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck revealed that he is trying to organize a Republican presidential primary debate that will feature only the candidates that he and his audience could support, thereby excluding the "progressives" like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump.

Unfortunately for him, Reince Priebus and the RNC will not give Beck's network permission to host that type of a limited debate but Beck thinks he has found a loophole that will allow him to do so nonetheless ... though it may require him to start a church that will exist for all of one night.

As Beck explained, a loophole exists that allows churches to invite specific candidates to participate in a discussion forum or debate and so he intends to reach out to some of the megachurches in the Dallas area about hosting just such an event as a front so that Beck's network could then organize, conduct and broadcast it.

But if he can't find a church in which to host his debate, Beck might just have to start his own one-day church.

"I'm thinking about starting the Church of the Glenn," he said. "Now, I'm just going to try it out for a little while. I may not be interested in doing it for very long; it might be just like, one night, on a Thursday when we try it ... The Spirit moves me and sometimes the Spirit will say, 'Open a church' and the very next day, after we do a big event, it might say, 'Close down your church.'"

Jesus has told him, Beck continued, facetiously, "that I should open my church maybe in like a giant movie sound stage.  Oh my gosh, I just realized, this is a giant movie sound stage! Who would have thunk? The first miracle of the Church of Glenn!"

Multi-Millionaire Carly Fiorina: 'All The Rest Of Us Are Getting Crushed' By A System That Benefits The Wealthy

Last night, Glenn Beck dedicated his entire television program to a one-on-one interview that he recently conducted with Carly Fiorina. Unsurprisingly, the interview was not particularly hard-hitting as Beck didn't really bother to challenge the Republican presidential hopeful on anything that she said, choosing instead to focus on important issues like the "the state of her soul."

During the discussion, Fiorina attacked Donald Trump for using eminent domain to take private property for the benefit of his businesses, laughably asserting that she has a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters attending her rallies because they know that she will fight against the "crony capitalism" which benefits only the rich and the powerful.

"Crony capitalism is alive and well," she told Beck. "When you have big, powerful, complicated, costly government, only the wealthy, the powerful, the big and the well-connected can handle it and all the rest of us are getting crushed. And people see that, they feel it in the bones. In their bones, people know if something is so complicated I don't understand it, I'm getting screwed."

Fiorina, for the record, walked away with $40 million when she was fired from Hewlett-Packard back in 2005 and currently has a net worth of $59 million, so we'd love to know exactly how she qualifies as one of "the rest of us [who] are getting crushed" by a system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy.

GOP Congressman Confused Why Planned Parenthood Gets More Money Than Boys And Girls Clubs

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards spent much of her time at yesterday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on her organization’s federal funding explaining how Medicaid reimbursements work. Planned Parenthood, just like other health care providers that accept Medicaid, receives reimbursements for its health care services for low-income people, excluding abortion services.

Many Republican members of the committee, however, were unable or unwilling to grasp this, including Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee, who demanded that Richards explain why Planned Parenthood gets more federal funding than the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Richards noted that the Boys and Girls Club, which receives some grants from the Justice Department for its youth programs, is not a health care provider.

“Well, I think the cost of providing health care to 2.7 million people, and I very much respect the Boys and Girls Club, but we work like hospitals and other health care providers in being reimbursed directly for services that we provide,” Richards explained. “Again, I think the comparison is a little apples and oranges.”

After Richards explained again how Medicaid reimbursements work, Duncan changed strategies and asked Richards to clarify that she does not “defend the sale of baby body parts.”

Linda Harvey: Fighting Anti-LGBT Bullying Is Sexual Abuse

Mission America’s Linda Harvey criticized the anti-bullying efforts championed by GLSEN and the It Gets Better Campaign yesterday, claiming that their popularity is a sign that “America has become desensitized to sexual abuse of the children we have a duty to protect.”

Harvey wrote in WorldNetDaily that “GLSEN will not only poison the minds and injure the bodies of those children who can be tragically persuaded to identify as ‘LGBTQ,’ but they want to sweep the larger population of children into this cesspool as well,” while rainbow-colored Doritos chips raising funds for It Gets Better will “send vulnerable American youth down self-destructive roads.”

“Deviant Doritos are just more moral junk food being offered to brainwashed kids and the adults guiding them,” Harvey wrote. “We should be exposing this phony-baloney ‘outreach’ to kids, not enabling it. If Satan had literally been recruited as a consultant on this project, it could not get any worse. In his eyes, it only gets better.”

America has become desensitized to sexual abuse of the children we have a duty to protect. Many Americans are now comfortable with – or indifferent to – the normalization and whitewashing of child corruption. Here are some recent examples I hope stir some minds and hearts.

Example No. 1: A full-page ad appeared in USA Today on Sept. 23 from a group that has grown in power even as its message, at its core, has become more radical and child-endangering.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, ran the ad to encourage support for its “Ally Week” ( Sept. 28- Oct. 2) with the headline, “Respect My Pronouns.”



By cleaning up sodomy to seem child-friendly, GLSEN will not only poison the minds and injure the bodies of those children who can be tragically persuaded to identify as “LGBTQ,” but they want to sweep the larger population of children into this cesspool as well – and call it “being an ally.”

You are a compassionate hipster teen, not an ignorant bigot, if you come alongside this movement, even if what you think you are seeing is ugly and degrading. Look over there! Nothing to see here, except an unimpeachable “anti-bullying” campaign.

Same with parents who desperately want to intervene, but are dissuaded by the leftist regimes controlling most schools. Children are indoctrinated with one viewpoint: Never listen to ex-homosexuals (“They’re all fakes!”) or to Christians, or even to the brave teacher or coach who may want to provide sound guidance and warnings.

Online “LGBT” networks bypass parents and schools to reach even 11- and 12-year-olds, so there are now thousands of American adolescents who join the school “gay-straight alliances” without parental knowledge, hang out at “gay pride” parades, or frequent the homosexual community youth clubs with older homosexual volunteers.



By donating Dorito profits to support the Savage-inspired “It Gets Better” project, they help to send vulnerable American youth down self-destructive roads, all in the name of – wait for it – preventing self-destruction.

Deviant Doritos are just more moral junk food being offered to brainwashed kids and the adults guiding them. We should be exposing this phony-baloney “outreach” to kids, not enabling it. If Satan had literally been recruited as a consultant on this project, it could not get any worse. In his eyes, it only gets better.

Savage: 'Dumbest Man On Earth' Pope Francis Will Take Away All The Salami

Michael Savage has dedicated a substantial amount of time on his show “Savage Nation” in the last weeks to denouncing Pope Francis and warning his listeners of the nefarious consequences of the pope’s actions. Savage is strongly critical of the pope’s stances on poverty and climate change, going so far as to claim that following the pope’s encyclicals will lead to the destruction of society as we know it.

Savage surmised on his program last Monday that “the pope is a moron” who doesn’t understand anything about the economy or global warming. He went on to say that Pope Francis “is one of the stupidest people I have ever encountered in the history of the intellectual world. He is perhaps the dumbest man on Earth.”

Savage is also not shy when it comes to warning that both Obama and the pope will cause mass death, so it was only a matter of time before he linked the two leaders. Savage explained the supposedly dubious nature of the pope’s origins: He started as a club “bouncer” and rose through the political ranks of the Catholic Church, “very much like Obama.”

On his program the next day, Savage warned that if Catholics don’t wake up to the truth of the pope’s plan to help the poor and stop global warming, they could one day find “the ex-Soviet Union in [their] town” with “only one salami hanging in the butcher store.” This claim is similar to how Savage characterizes Obama’s intentions, which, according to him, are to subvert “Western, white, European, Judeo-Christian-based democracy” with “Stalinist political correctness.”

Dave Brat: GOP's Planned Parenthood Criticism Just A Ruse To Hide Budget Increases

Rep. Dave Brat, the Tea Party-aligned Republican who unseated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia last year, attacked congressional leadership of both parties last week, claiming that they were encouraging the “little drama” about Planned Parenthood defunding in order to create a “shiny object” to distract from their attempt to jettison the budget caps put in place by sequestration.

“Everyone’s trying to act like it’s this shiny object at budget time with Planned Parenthood or something,” Brat told Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks last Thursday, the day before House Speaker John Boehner announced his retirement. “That’s got very little to do with it.”

“The key question for the press right now is who is in charge of the United States budget?” he said.

He offered one possibility: “[Maryland Democratic Sen.] Barbara Mikulski is in that room, we know that, she is encouraging all this Planned Parenthood drama and all this kind of thing. But those issues are not front and central in the budget process, and we should have debated them in regular order as we were promised. And so I just encourage folks, don’t get lost in this Planned Parenthood shiny object thing, look at what’s really going on, both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, want to break the budget caps. That’s what this is all about.”

“Is this whole Planned Parenthood thing just like a ruse to get everybody’s eye off the ball?” Fredericks asked.

“Yeah, yes, yes!” Brat answered. “The budget is $3.5 trillion, that is the main game in town, that’s where the power is, that’s where the money is. Think ‘House of Cards.’ What’s it about? Is it about Planned Parenthood or is it about massive power in a $3.5 trillion budget? I mean, anyone knows the answer to that.

“So at the end of the day, the press all unites, blames a few conservatives for this that or the other thing. It has nothing to do with it. This thing has been orchestrated for over a year, over three or four months ago, Hal Rogers, the head of Approps, in quotes said ‘we need more flexibility up here,’ that means we need more spending. There was no videos back then, there was no Planned Parenthood debate back then, the entire budget set-up has been put in play by leadership, and so they need to get us out of it, they don’t get to blame somebody at the end of the day over some little drama.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/29/15

  • Timothy B. Lee @ Vox: Whatever you think of Planned Parenthood, this is a terrible and dishonest chart. 
  • Media Matters: After NASA Announces It Found Water On Mars, Rush Limbaugh Says It's Part Of A Climate Change Conspiracy. 
  • Warren Throckmorton: Challenge to David Barton: Where Are the 1500 Bible Verses in Locke’s Two Treatises?

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/29/15

  • Ben Carson knows what’s to blame for the fall of the Roman Empire: gay marriage.
  • Bobby Jindal wants to make sure everyone knows that Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” did not switch his endorsement to Donald Trump.
  • Bill Muehlenberg of BarbWire says God sanctioned the death penalty so if opponents think it’s wrong then “they really need to deal with God about it”: “It is time we let God be God in these areas, and not insist that we can somehow do a better job of governing the universe than he does.”

Janet Porter: Christians In America Are Just Like Jews In Nazi Germany

Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter is joining other Religious Right leaders in claiming that conservative Christians in the U.S. are now facing the same attacks as Jews who lived under Nazi rule, which comes as no surprise as she issued a litany of absurd warnings in her recent “documentary” film featuring Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Today in BarbWire, Porter suggests that the recent controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is signaling an upcoming holocaust of American Christians:

Religious Right's Persecution Complex On Full Display At The Values Voter Summit

We understand how difficult it might be for Religious Right activists to find cases of “anti-Christian persecution” in the U.S., especially for people like Todd Starnes and Bryan Fischer, who have done their best to rile up Christian conservatives in an effort to depict themselves as the truly marginalized and victimized class in America.

Kelly Shackelford of Liberty Institute tried his best at the Values Voter Summit last week — just as he did at last year’s summit — to portray America as a country that is no different than the former Soviet Union in how it treats Christians.

Shackelford whipped out a mix of new and old “persecution” cases. He told the crowd, for instance, that his organization had defended “senior citizens who were told that their federally funded meals were being taken away because they were praying over their meals and that would violate the separation of church and state.” Unsurprisingly, that’s just not true. As Chris Rodda pointed out after Shackelford told this story at an event last year, what actually happened was that back in 2003 three senior citizens in a Texas town complained that a city-owned senior center was hosting pastors and gospel bands during meal hours. The city council tried, in a move that was ultimately rejected in court, to restrict such activity — it did not take away anyone’s meals.

Shackelford then went on to allege that a Florida college professor directed his students to step on a sheet of paper with “Jesus” written on it. The lesson in question was created by a professor from St. Norbert College, a Catholic institution in Wisconsin, and was not about religion at all, but rather the importance of symbols:

One of the "most distinguishing features" of humans (compared to other animals) is the way they view symbols, some of which are quite powerful, he said. That's the message of the exercise. When the students hesitate to step on the word "Jesus," they understand that a piece of paper has meaning to them because of the word, which helps them understand the force of symbols, he added.



At St. Norbert, [Jim] Neuliep said he has been doing the exercise for 30 years -- without any complaints. He said that the discussion that follows tends to involve students "talking about how important Jesus is to them, and they defend why they won't step on it. It reaffirms their faith." And at the same time, he said, they learn about symbols.

The most dishonest point of Shackelford’s speech, however, was when he described the case of Marco Perez, a Florida father who said his daughter was told by a cafeteria worker that it is “not good” to pray before she eats. At the time, Perez was working to promote Starnes’ book on supposed cases of anti-Christian persecution in America and Starnes was, coincidentally, the first one to report on the story. Starnes did not mention his connection to Perez in his original report, only adding the disclosure later after the connection was revealed.

Shackelford insisted that Perez’s daughter ultimately received an apology for the incident. What he conveniently left out was the fact that the culprit identified by Perez’s daughter wasn’t in or near the cafeteria at the time and the school found no evidence whatsoever of the incident taking place. A spokesman said the school “apologized for the incident she believes occurred, but there was nothing warranted or found” in the investigation. Liberty Institute senior counsel Jeremy Dys, who was representing Perez, at first accepted the school’s apology but then rejected it, saying it wasn’t a “real apology.”

That’s right: Liberty Institute’s senior counsel rejected an apology because the school’s investigation found that the student’s story was baseless, and now this is the same apology that Liberty Institute’s president is citing as proof that the school admitted fault.

Another tale that Shackelford told the Values Voter Summit was that a “girl was punished” for “saying ‘God bless’ and ‘bless you’ when somebody sneezed,” a charge that was denied by girl in question’s the school.

He then brought up the cases of Sgt. Phillip Monk, whose tall tale of “persecution” was roundly debunked when his story fell apart under an Air Force investigation, and Cpt. Wes Modder, whom Shackelford claimed was going to be kicked out of the military simply for opposing same-sex marriage, which, as you may have guessed, was not the case.

If Shackelford wants to find some more false examples of persecution that have been parroted by the Religious Right, we are happy to provide him with further cases, seeing that it seems that he doesn’t mind giving a speech riddled with dishonest claims.

Fischer: All Immigrants Are Welcome in America, Provided They Convert To Christianity

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer once again made his case that America's immigration policy ought to require all immigrants to convert to Christianity and adopt Christian morals, holidays, and heroes.

"Strangers are welcome here in the United States under one condition," he explained, "that they be willing to assimilate completely into American culture. That they be willing to adopt our God, that they be willing to adopt our Judeo-Christian heritage ... adopt our Christian holidays ... If you come to America, you understand that we are a Christian country and therefore we observe Christian holidays; don't expect us to make room for your holidays. We're expecting you to accommodate yourself to our standards, our traditions, and our holidays."

"We will expect you to adopt our Christian moral values," he continued. "No place, no room for Sharia law in the United States. You'll be welcome here, we'll open our arms to you, we'll open our hearts to you, we'll open our communities to you, but we will expect you to adopt our cultural and Christian moral standards. We will expect you to adopt our Christian heroes and we will expect you to adopt our Christian history."

GOP Congressman: Planned Parenthood Unnecessary Because 'As A Guy' I Have Plenty Of Options

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., perhaps best encapsulated today’s House hearing grilling Planned Parenthood CEO Cecile Richards when he told Richards that her organization’s services aren’t necessary because “as a guy” he has plenty of health care options in his home state.

Grothman, who presumably receives very good health insurance through his job as a member of Congress, told Richards that “when I look at cities around me that have a Planned Parenthood clinic … usually in those cities, as a guy, I could go to many clinics locally that have all the machines that one would need, all these clinics as far as I know take Medicaid dollars, so you could go to any of those clinics to get any medical service you could.”

“I guess what I’m getting at is if Planned Parenthood disappeared tomorrow in those towns, there would still be three or four or five clinics or hospitals providing all the … medical care you would want,” he said.

Grothman then claimed that Medicaid, which provides health care for low-income people, is “superior care” to private insurance because “without the deductibles and copays it’s usually better insurance than other people have.” Grothman has previously claimed that people who use the public safety net are fleecing taxpayers by living luxuriously.

Richards reminded Grothman that Planned Parenthood’s 22 health centers in Wisconsin serve 65,000 people a year. The claim that other health care providers could easily absorb Planned Parenthood’s patients if it was forced to stop providing care is simply false, especially since many of the supposed “replacement” clinics Planned Parenthood’s critics point to don’t have reproductive health care expertise.

How Abortion Restrictions Can Land Pregnant Women In Jail

In a new paper for the Guttmacher Policy Review, Andrea Rowan explores how the many new restrictions on abortion access, combined with laws criminalizing women who attempt to self-induce abortions, are leading to disturbing cases of women being prosecuted for attempting to self-induce or even for suffering miscarriages.

Rowan writes:

Since Roe v. Wade, a number of women have been prosecuted in the United States for self-inducing abortion under a variety of state statutes, ranging from fetal homicide to failure to report an abortion to the coroner. Recently, the issue has gained greater attention because of several well publicized cases in which women were prosecuted—and even imprisoned—for self-inducing an abortion or being suspected of doing so. Despite claims from antiabortion advocates and lawmakers that abortion restrictions are intended to only criminalize providers of abortion care, some prosecutors have exercised their discretion under current state laws to penalize women who end their pregnancies on their own. Moreover, these laws are even being used to pursue women who are merely suspected of having self-induced an abortion, but in fact had suffered miscarriages.

She notes that this pattern can be seen clearly in El Salvador, where abortion is criminalized and dozens of women have been charged with attempting to self-induce an abortion:

This phenomenon has been playing out for some time and most starkly in other countries where abortion is illegal altogether. For instance, El Salvador has been one of the most aggressive countries in terms of accusing, prosecuting and imprisoning women believed to have medically self-induced an abortion. An estimated 129 women in El Salvador were charged with self-inducing an abortion between 2000 and mid-2011, and at least 26 were convicted of homicide and imprisoned; however, some of these women emphatically assert that they did not know they were pregnant or that they miscarried without attempting to self-induce.

Laws criminalizing “fetal homicide” in a number of states have been an important part of the radical anti-choice movement’s attempt to establish fetal “personhood” with the goal of one day outlawing all abortion and even some forms of birth control. Sociologists Jeanne Flavin and Lynn Paltrow have documented hundreds of cases since Roe v. Wade in which pregnant women have been detained under these and other laws that can effectively criminalize pregnancy.

Todd Bentley Claims To Have Brought 35 People Back From The Dead

On Friday night, we spotted a tweet from Rick Joyner's MorningStar Ministries, alerting us to the fact that Todd Bentley was preaching at Joyner's church that evening on the raising of the dead:

Joyner has been key in "restoring" Bentley's reputation after he divorced his wife back in 2008 and, on Friday, the two men were preaching together at Joyner's "Harvest Fest 2015" event. Unfortunately, the footage from the event is only available to those with a subscription so we have been unable to watch it, though a short excerpt was released on the MorningStar YouTube page showing Bentley bragging about how he recently revived three people from the dead during an event in Pakistan:

It turns out that these are just the latest in a long string of resurrections of the dead in Bentley's career, as he explained earlier this month at a different event that he has been responsible for no fewer than 35 such miracles over the years.

Bentley recalled how he had recently cured a young girl of Down syndrome and had even brought back from the dead a man who, 48 hours earlier, had been electrocuted so badly that all of his internal organs were melted.

"I wish we had a dead body we could pray for, but we don't. That would have been a great illustration," Bentley stated, explaining that he travels with a "raising the dead tent" in which he places those who have recently died so that he can pray them back to life.

So far, he's managed to bring back 35 people, Bentley said, but for best results, they have to have died in the last couple of days.  Four days, it turns out, is generally the limit at which he is capable of bringing people back from the dead.

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