Liberty Institute’s Kelly Shackelford appeared on Today’s Issues yesterday with Tony Perkins and Tim Wildmon to discuss Missouri’s Amendment 2, the so-called “right to pray” amendment which may allow students to refuse to study any topic they deem to conflict with their religious beliefs, like evolution. Schakelford said the amendment was needed “to really bring their state back to full religious freedom like we had in this country until a decision about twenty to thirty years ago that came down from the Supreme Court.”
While Shackelford did not say which Supreme Court case apparently curtailed the freedom of religion, saying that we had “full religious freedom” only until two decades ago ignores periods in American history when the people of minority faiths and even certain Christian denominations sometimes faced hostility from the state. Ironically, Shackelford was speaking to the leader of the American Family Association, whose own Director of Issues Analysis wants to ban mosques, bar Muslims from the military, deport Muslim-Americans and convert all immigrants to Christianity. He went on to say that the health care reform law is creating a “totalitarian” government that undermines the freedom of religion.
What we did is we came up with the idea that states need to go and pass religious freedom amendments to really bring their state back to full religious freedom like we had in this country until a decision about twenty to thirty years ago that came down from the Supreme Court. And a number of states have started to present those and pass those. It’s like the atomic bomb to the left because we noticed anything they’re after, the thing they can’t handle is religious freedom. I mean whether it’s Obamacare or anything else, when the government wants to take over everything they can’t handle religious freedom because that means people are actually going to be able to stick with their own religious conscience, express their own religious beliefs and that kind of lack of unanimity for the state is something they can’t allow.
You know a government that is totalitarian, the one thing it will never allow is citizens who have allegiance to one higher than the government. So you will see as soon as the government takes over something the first thing that will have to go is religious freedom. Obamacare is a great example; as soon as we have it what do we have right after that, the HHS regulations. When the government is trying to touch its citizens directly and it has what it thinks is a good and noble cause it will not allow anyone to get in the way, including intermediary institutions like the church.
Janet Mefferd hosted Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality yesterday to discuss the deplorable and unconscionable shooting at the Family Research Council’s headquarters. Mefferd criticized the Human Rights Campaign for posting an article the day before the shooting “that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff,” and wished there would be “public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down”:
Mefferd: I was reading through for example what the Human Rights Campaign had posted the day before the shooting and they had a whole list there that was very inflammatory about the Family Research Council, ‘they want to export homosexuals from the US’ and ‘they equate homosexuals with pedophiles’ and all this stuff. I thought: if you were somewhat of an unstable person and you read this sort of stuff and you were in line with what they believe I think it could drive somebody to violence. So we’re back to the question of, to what degree should there be public pressure on some of these gay rights organizations to tone it down?
LaBarbera: Well I think it has to come from people holding them accountable and we know that the left-wing, the liberal media is basically now a cheerleader for the gay cause so it comes down to I guess alternative media, the internet. Certainly in the Chick-fil-A situation the gay activists were beaten back a bit and they know it in the sense that they overreached. But in this case, this idea of this hate proposition, where the SPLC just went for it and started ticking off every pro-family group out there. Except they keep Focus on the Family off the list, I think intentionally to say ‘hey those are the good Christians,’ of course Focus on the Family has deemphasized politics in the last few years so maybe that’s why they’re not on the SPLC’s list because the SPLC is trying to marginalize the FRC’s and the Americans for Truth’s out there, they want them out of the picture, they want them to have less power so that their pet cause, which happens to be homosexuality, will grow in power. That’s what this is all about; it’s all about helping gay activists win their goal, one of which is same-sex so-called marriage.
First to LaBarbera’s point: Kyle noted yesterday that FRC received the designation “because of its dissemination of false and demonizing propaganda about gays and lesbians,” not due to their opposition to marriage equality.
As for Mefferd, it is absurd to claim that HRC or any other organization is wrong to point out exactly what the FRC has said about homosexuals. Here’s FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg explicitly stating that he prefers to “export homosexuals from the United States”:
And here is Sprigg and FRC president Tony Perkins linking homosexuality to pedophilia (0:52):
To say that it is “inflammatory” to report on exactly what the FRC says and believes is patently absurd. If the FRC is proud of its anti-gay rhetoric, then they and their allies should stand by it and not criticize others for simply pointing out their attacks on the LGBT community.
As we noted yesterday, Glenn Beck is doing his best to address the current controversy over David Barton's shoddy scholarship by pretending to be searching for the truth while simultaneously doing all he can defend his close friend's reputation.
Thus, Beck' The Blazeran a long piece that purported to independently examine the claims made by Barton along with the criticism of those claims and which found that, in every instance, the claims made by Barton were inaccurate, at best. But The Blaze simply could not bring itself to actually acknowledge Barton's untruths and instead bent over backwards to avoid reaching any conclusions.
Last night, Beck dedicated his entire program to "clearing the air" on the controversy ... by letting Barton make his case, unchallenged, for an entire hour.
Just how hard-hitting was this interview that Beck conducted with Barton? Why don't you take a look at these excepts we grabbed from Beck's ten minute opening monologue where he positively gushed about Barton while casting aspersions on this "campaign against one of America's most respected people" and just take a guess:
Beck says that he has never seen Barton "insist that he is right when the facts demonstrate otherwise," but we are assuming that that is because Beck never actually asks Barton to show him where the Constitution directlyquotes the Bible "verbatim":
Religious Right groups have publicly seethed at the Southern Poverty Law Center's decision a couple of years ago to designate several of them as hate groups for consistently spreading false, inflammatory, and defamatory propaganda about LGBT people. It is now clear that Religious Right leaders are hoping to exploit this week's shooting at the Family Research Council to try to damage the SPLC.
FRC's Tony Perkins said this week that the SPLC gave the shooter "license" to attack the organization by calling it a hate group. Liberty Counsel's Matt Barber accused the SPLC of having blood on its hands. The American Family Association and Traditional Values Coalition were among others who blamed SPLC for the attack. Religious Right groups have long equated any criticism of their positions or tactics as attacks on their freedom of speech and religion; now they are taking it a step further to say that critics must stop calling out their hateful rhetoric and naming it as such.
It is important not to let Religious Right groups exploit this violence - which was quickly and unequivocally condemned by progressive movement leaders, including People For the American Way President Michael Keegan - to divert attention from the Religious Right's anti-gay extremism. As Right Wing Watch has noted, FRC was not labeled a hate group because of a simple policy disagreement, as FRC's backers would have you believe; the SPLC cited very specific examples of FRC's wildly inflammatory anti-gay language.
You don't have to look far. Last year Perkins called gay-rights activists vile, hateful, pawns of Satan. In 2010, Perkins responded to President Obama's call for civility on the issue of homosexuality by slamming the president for criticizing Uganda's kill-the-gays bill. Perkins described the infamous law as "enhanced penalties for crimes related to homosexuality" and an effort to "uphold moral conduct." FRC spokespeople have supported laws criminalizing homosexuality overseas and here in the U.S.
Perkins, of course, has lots of company in the anti-gay right who are now joining in the attack on SPLC.
One of them is Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage, who went on CNN on Thursday to say it is "totally irresponsible and unacceptable" to call FRC a hate group. But Brown was flummoxed when CNN anchor Zoraida Sambolin confronted him with an actual example of FRC rhetoric claiming that "one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement is to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the 'prophets' of a new sexual order." Brown repeatedly refused to acknowledge that such rhetoric is hateful, exposing his call for "civility" as nothing but empty political posturing.
Speaking of civility, Brown has presided over at least one anti-gay rally at which a fellow speaker said gays were worthy of death. And NOM welcomed onto its board author Orson Scott Card, who had written that the advance of marriage equality was tyranny worthy of revolution:
How long before married people answer the dictators thus: Regardless of law, marriage has only one definition, and any government that attempts to change it is my mortal enemy. I will act to destroy that government and bring it down, so it can be replaced with a government that will respect and support marriage, and help me raise my children in a society where they will expect to marry in their turn. [...] American government cannot fight against marriage and hope to endure. If the Constitution is defined in such a way as to destroy the privileged position of marriage, it is that insane Constitution, not marriage, that will die.
Gaffney: Cliff Kincaid, one of the things that jumps out at you as you look at this material in the course and Grover’s friends in the Islamist Brotherhood infrastructure in the United States is how closely it seems to track, almost maps perfectly really, to the kind of subversive, clandestine operations that the Communists ran in their heyday in this country. You’ve developed a tremendous expertise on that subject and I wonder what particularly in your own program about Lenin and Sharia, did you find much evidence of the connection being more than coincidental there?
Kincaid: We did, Frank. This is where Grover’s conduct leaves me almost speechless. I mean here’s a guy who did recognize during the Reagan years the Communist threat and who now seemingly can’t see that we’re up against a global Islamic terrorist threat operating through front groups. That’s exactly what the Communists did.
Later, Gaffney claimed that John McCain and John Boehner, who along with many other Republicans denounced Bachmann’s witch hunt, were “sort of parroting the Muslim Brotherhood line” by defending Huma Abedin from Bachmann’s attacks. Kincaid recommended the House restore the Internal Security Committee, which was originally called the House Un-American Activities Committee, and said that neither Abedin nor President Obama could pass a background check:
Gaffney: They’re not simply imitating what the Communists did, the Communists trained them in how to run what the Brotherhood calls civilization jihad. As you know this is not necessarily terrorism, at least at the moment it’s a pre-violent form of creating the conditions of the battlefield that will enable the violent kind of jihad ultimately to be very successful. Cliff, one other thing that I’m struck by that seems to be an important parallel and it brings us back to the Grover Norquist element here; we’ve also been hearing of course from John McCain and Speaker of the House John Boehner lately, among others, sort of parroting the Muslim Brotherhood line on a number of issues, notably the revelations that the deputy chief of staff to the Secretary of State, Huma Abedin, has extensive personal as well as family ties to the Muslim Brotherhood. Give us a sense of how this is a throwback to the earlier revelations, among others, by J. Edgar Hoover of what the Communists have done on the other side.
Kincaid: You would think that somebody like a McCain who is of course a war hero who came out of the Hanoi Hilton would understand the similarities between what the Communists have tried to do to us and now what the global Islamists are effectively doing to us. Yet we noticed, Frank, a couple years ago that he seemed to go haywire on this whole thing, after warning about the Muslim Brotherhood he suddenly shows in Washington at an event honoring Al Jazeera and then he shows up making these comments on the Senate Floor in criticism of the conservative members of the House who have raised concerns about security problems at the State Department and other agencies.
This is something that requires frankly the Congress to take a harder look; I wish we could go beyond just asking the inspectors general to look at this problem. We have long at America’s Survival advocated the return of the House and the Senate, but they can do it in the House, of the House Internal Security Committee to issue subpoenas, to bring in and require testimony from these people, to get to the bottom of it in public hearings as to the security problems in the State Department. Who gave Huma Abedin a security clearance? Does she in fact have one? We don’t even know that. I do know that I’ve taken a look at the standard form 86, 127 pages long that she was supposed to fill out and if she had filled it out, and let’s face it even the President couldn’t pass a basic background check, but if she had filled it out truthfully she wouldn’t be in that position today.
Gaffney: Amen, Cliff Kincaid, you are as always a great, great authority on these issues.
David Barton and Rick Green continued their crusade to salvage Barton's tattered reputation by quickly putting together a two-part program on "WallBuilders Live" dedicated mostly to once again attacking Warren Throckmorton has unchristian and untrustworthy - which they know because, among other things, he uses information from Right Wing Watch.
But mostly they just wanted everyone to know that the mounting criticism of Barton's shoddy scholarship is really an effort to "disenfranchise Christians":
Barton: So this really is an attack, not at us per se; this is an attack on religious involvement in general from religious conservatives who have gotten into the process in the last twenty-five years.
Green: They recognize that you are kind of the voice of that for so long. I mean, you've been tireless over the last twenty-five years speaking across the nation and educating us on these things and putting those original documents on-line, putting out there in front of us. So, like you said, they know if they can go after you and somehow taint your image and create this image of you that isn't true that it helps to bring down the whole movement, it helps to kind of disenfranchise Christians, really, from being involved.
Once again, let us state unequivocally that people are not criticizing Barton's scholarship because he is a Christian; they are criticizing it because it is full of falsehoods; falsehoods that Barton's knowingly propagates in order to promote his political agenda.
When we point out that it is not true that "many of the clauses we find in the Constitution are literal, direct quotations out of the Bible," as Barton soregularlyclaims, it is not just a difference of opinion or a matter of interpretation, but rather undeniable proof that Barton has a documented history of intentionally making false claims.
So why wouldn't Throckmorton cite Right Wing Watch in making the case that Barton's history cannot be trusted? Especially when one considers that we have dozens and dozens of documented examples of Barton saying false and absurd things?
Over the last year or so, we have been noting how the Family Research Council was slowly becoming more and more intertwined with various leaders within the New Apostolic Reformation movement, the collection of modern-day "prophets" and "apostles" who believe they posses the same miracle working abilities as Jesus.
NAR's public political activism has cooled since leaders had their coming-out at Rick Perry's massive prayer rally last summer, but obviously efforts to work its way into the larger Religious Right political movement continue.
Case in point, today we received an email from the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, the organization run by John Benefiel, who thinks that Statue of Liberty is a demonic idol, revealing that leaders from the organization. along with "50 other intercessors," had been gathered at FRC's headquarters earlier this week, just the day before the recent shooting:
HAPN was represented at this meeting, according to the email, by Jon Hamill, who runs an organization called Lamplighter Ministries and which has deep ties to wide variety of NAR leaders, including Cindy Jacobs and Mike Bickel:
Ordained by James Goll, they are aligned apostolically with Global Spheres International ... In addition to work with Lamplighter, Jon and Jolene serve as MD coordinators and Mid-Atlantic coordinators of the Reformation Prayer Network, founded by Dr. Cindy Jacobs, and the Heartland Apostolic Prayer Network, founded by Dr. John Benefiel.
Jon and Jolene are also honored to be among the “emerging leaders” of the Apostolic Council of Prophetic Elders. For more than a decade, the ACPE has been convened by Dr. C. Peter Wagner and Cindy Jacobs to seek the Lord and share corporate insights for times ahead.
Jon and Jolene reside in metro Washington DC. Jon was formerly on staff with Generals International, founded by Cindy Jacobs, and the International House of Prayer, founded by Mike Bickle. Jolene served for many years in the mortgage industry.
It amazes us that viewers continue to write in to "The 700 Club" seeking Pat Robertson's advice on how to deal with their problems, especially since he's lately been staking out some rather questionable positions, like telling a man to divorce his wife who is suffering from Alzheimer's.
Today a woman wrote in wanting to know why the men she dated always broke up with her when they found out that she had three children that had been adopted from foreign countries, which prompted Pat to declare that it was "because a man doesn't want to take on the United Nations" and that, in general, people should be careful about adopting children because "you just never know what's been done to a child before you get that child; what kind of sexual abuse there has been, what kind of cruelty, what kind of food deprivation" that might cause them to grow up "weird."
Robertson went on to explain that people should be willing to help orphans, as he does, "but that doesn't necessarily mean that I want to take all the orphans around the world into my home" before finally seeming to realize that he was just digging a deeper hole for himself and attempting to change the subject, declaring "I'm in trouble":
Mefferd: I wonder if he had really considered what the reaction would be because he has taken the African American community so much for granted, the support of your community so much for granted, do you think he had any inkling that he would get the reaction of a lot of the black pastors that we’ve seen?
Owens: I don’t think he did. I think he felt that he could continue to do as he’s been doing. He’ll take up the cause of the Latinos, he’ll take up the cause of the homosexuals, but it’s like the African Americans don’t exist. And he said I’m not the president of the African Americans, I’m the president of America. What if the white leaders who were in office when the civil rights bill had passed, what if they had said that, ‘We’re the politicians for the white community’? We wouldn’t have gotten a right to vote, we wouldn’t have gotten the rights we enjoy today. So we’re going to take him on even more, as a matter of fact this is one of my last interviews until we come out with a new news conference next week, we’re coming out fighting.
What President Obama said was, “I’m not the president of black America. I’m the president of the United States of America.” In fact, that is the exact opposite message employed by the white supremacist leaders that Owens compared Obama too, as Obama said he was the President of all Americans, including African Americans.
Later, Owens said that supporting gay rights is “like waving your thing in God’s face” and said that same-sex marriages are “destroying the foundation of the family” and are “not honorable to the child”:
Mefferd: There seems to be a lack of fear of God in a lot of these activists, a lot of these people who are moving forward as if this is no big deal but in fact this is really an affront to God, would you say that’s the case?
Owens: I would say that’s the case. It’s like waving your thing in God’s face and saying, ‘You don’t matter.’ That’s exactly what I think. They do not honor God’s word; they don’t honor Him; not God’s people.
Mefferd: Why do you think the marriage issue is so important from a civilization stand point?
Owens: The marriage issue is so important because the marriage is a family ordained by God. If you destroy that you’re destroying the foundation of the family. We have a little boy; I’ve raised six children already. How can a man and a man be a parent to a child? By their nature, they cannot. How can a woman and a woman? My little boy takes both of us, he takes the love and tenderness of a mother and he takes the love and whatever the dad gives he needs that too. So to do different is disloyal, it’s not honorable to the child. We cannot say a marriage is right between the same sex.
For the last several weeks, The Blaze has been one of the few media outlets dedicating in-depth coverage to the controversy surrounding David Barton's shoddy scholarship. Given that The Blaze was founded by Barton's BFF Glenn Beck, it is no surprise that most of the coverage of Barton and his work has been, shall we say, rather flattering and one-sided, like when The Blazeran a piece taking a look at the criticisms that Barton's work has received only to follow it up with a piece and a Skype interview where Barton was allowed to respond unchallenged.
In light of the recent developments regarding Barton's work, The Blaze has once again served as the prime outlet through which Barton has been making his case in the media, though this time The Blaze'sFaith Editor Billy Hallowell acknowledged many of the specific criticisms that Barton's work has received, primarily from Warren Throckmorton, and vowed to independently examine "some of the explicit issues" in contention.
Hallowell examined four specific issues where Barton and Throckmorton disagree on aspects related to Thomas Jefferson and his faith, and in every instance the documentary evidence supports the claims made by Throckmorton and refutes the claims made by Barton, yet the conclusions reached by The Blaze were consistently presented in a way that avoids labeling Barton's claims as false.
The first issue addressed was "The Jefferson Bible" and what is said about Jefferson's own religious view. Barton claims Jefferson created it as a tool for use in evangelizing the Native Americans whereas Throckmorton claims Jefferson created it for his personal use, cutting out all the things he didn't believe so as to find the "diamonds in a dunghill." Barton also claims that for most of his life, Jefferson was a rather orthodox Christian, but Throckmorton says that is not so, and even points out that Jefferson once refused to serve as godfather to a friend's child because he refused to affirm the trinity.
The Blaze's brave conclusion on this question was that "clearly, the two sides are in disagreement on a number of fronts when it comes to the so-called 'Jefferson Bible' and on Jefferson’s faith more generally."
The next issue was whether or not Thomas Jefferson could have freed his slaves, with Barton claiming there were dozens of laws in Virginia that prohibited him from doing so and imposing fines on those who did, whereas Throckmorton pointed out that there were multiple instances of owners freeing slaves and that the "fines" that Barton cites where really only clerk's fees. It seems pretty obvious that Barton is wrong on this question, but once again The Blaze passed it off as a matter of interpretation:
Part of the debate on this point may be centered upon semantics. While Barton purportedly said that there were essentially fines against releasing slaves, Throckmorton said there was no evidence of this. However, the clerk’s fee, in some peoples’ eyes would be a “fine” of sorts. Still, others would distinguish between a clerk’s fee and a fine.
While Jefferson certainly could have freed his slaves based on the laws of that time, his finances may have been a problem preventing him from doing so. If Barton‘s contentions about Jefferson’s devotion to stopping the institution are accurate, one would assume that, if Jefferson had the means to free the slaves, he would have. On the flip side, if the president was immensely devoted to the cause, opponents like Throckmorton could argue that freeing these men and women should have taken precedence.
The next issue was Jefferson's role is supposedly financing the publication of a Bible. Barton claims that Jefferson “put up the financial backing” for the printing, while Throckmorton notes that Jefferson merely subscribed to its publication. But in Barton's view, they are one and the same because "subscribers really are investors." Obviously, the idea that someone who subscribes to a publication can be said to be a "funder" of that publication is nonsense ... but instead of calling Barton out on this, The Blaze once again hedged:
So, here we have a difference between the definitions surrounding “investor” versus “subscriber” (the primary definition of the former word is: “to put (money) to use, by purchase or expenditure, in something offering potential profitable returns, as interest, income, or appreciation in value”).
Finally, The Blaze took a look at Barton's claim that Jefferson founded the University of Virginia as a Christian university, a claim which Throckmorton disputes, pointing that there was no chapel on campus and Jefferson declared that "a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution." Throckmorton also noted that Barton, while quoting Jefferson to make this case in his book, intentionally omitted a line from Jefferson's letter that undemined the very point he was trying to make ... and once again, The Blaze merely shrugged:
But, an omission doesn’t necessarily mean that the meaning of the overall message is debunked, of course. The difference here is over whether the school was planning to formerly align itself with these denominations — or whether it was simply attempting to respect its student body by providing access to numerous faiths.
Then, after demonstrating on in all four cases that the claims put forth by Barton could not be substantiated, The Blaze ended the article by turning to several of Barton's Religious Right allies to defend him:
Mathew D. Staver, vice-president of Liberty University, an evangelical higher educational facility, defended Barton. Aside from saying that he doesn’t put any credibility into “Throckmorton’s self-published ebook” (the book is also available in print, as we’ve noted), he dismissed the professor as “a psychologist [and] not [a] historian.”
“I have never heard him speak or write on Jefferson until now,” he continued,” going on to share some interesting information about his recent interaction with Thomas Nelson:
“I have not had the opportunity to look at all the allegations, but I have looked at some of Throckmorton‘s claims and Barton’s responses. I would put my money on David Barton any day. Herein lies a serious issue for Thomas Nelson. I was asked to review Throckmorton’s arguments, but before I could respond, Thomas Nelson shocked everyone by its knee jerk reaction to criticism by non-experts only two weeks or so after ask[ing] for my response. I am very disappointed in the way Thomas Nelson handled this matter.”
Staver also noted that Dr. Roger Schultz, dean of Liberty’s colleges of arts and sciences and an expert on American history, and Rena Lindevaldsen, associate dean for academic affairs at the university, both back Barton. In speaking of critics, Staver warned that they should “be prepared to eat crow.”
The Rev. James Robison, too, weighed in on the scenario. While not directly placing blame or accusing Barton of inaccuracies, he told TheBlaze about the importance of upholding godly values — and embracing truth. On a grander scale, he discussed the attempt to ongoing attempt by liberals to “minimize the importance of Judeo-Christian principles.”
“We must stand together against the liberal, progressive mind-set that is seeking to destroy what made us great. The bottom line is: Truth matters,” he continued. “We must exalt the truth and always be willing to be corrected by it. It is truth that makes us free, and only truth can keep us free.”
Robison went on to stress the double standard that he believes any and all Americans — and in this case, conservatives and evangelicals — risk falling prey to.
“If we expect our nation’s leaders to respond to truth and correction, each one of us must also be anxious to respond to the standards our founders put in place,” Robison continued. “Those standards corrected many founders who had signed them. I, for one, am anxious to be corrected and directed by God’s truth, which is marching on.”
If The Blaze's handling of these questions was bad, Robison's remarks are even worse considering that it was Robison who was sitting directly across from Barton when Barton falsely declared on his television program that the Constitution directly quotes the Bible "verbatim":
If Robison really believes that "the bottom line is: truth matters," maybe he ought to stop promoting Barton and his falsehoods until Barton starts to demonstrate a willingness to "exalt the truth and ... be corrected by it."
Linda Harvey of Mission America is out with another attack against the National Education Association, which she earlier claimed is leading “gaystapo efforts” and creating “financial incentives” for students to become gay. On her radio program yesterday, Harvey said that the NEA is promoting “destructive beliefs” and an “anti-life, anti-morality agenda” by supporting the health care reform law and LGBT rights, and warned that their efforts to curb bullying and encourage safety for LGBT students and staff is part of “a Trojan Horse to bring pro-homosexual indoctrination into our schools.”
Harvey: The NEA is already on record as supporting Obamacare and apparently that includes the mandate to pay for abortions and abortion-causing drugs even if it violates ones conscience. At the convention, the union reaffirmed its intention to support this and incorporate government-run health care into teaching contracts. The NEA also passed new Business Item D with support for sweeping ‘social justice’ measures in schools. The language here implies that homosexuality and gender confusion are equivalent to race, which is simply not true. Another agenda item will urge the US Department of Education to spend money researching the causes of bullying and especially as it leads to, you guessed it, homophobia. So this just adds another supporting point on our list proving that the issue of bullying is being exploited as a Trojan Horse to bring pro-homosexual indoctrination into our schools. And the NEA passed a measure urging more safety programs for students and teachers who are LGBTQ, that is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgendered and questioning, and they cited as their support the invalid and discredited School Climate Surveys of GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, which is as you know is a group promoting homosexuality to kids…. So what can we do? We need to keep praying for our schools, support the teachers out there who don’t have these destructive beliefs, and work at the local level in all our communities to diminish the influence of the teachers’ unions as long as they would have such an anti-life, anti-morality agenda.
A recent film released by Truth in Action Ministries, entitled Why Christians left the Political Arena, implores evangelicals to remain politically engaged. Featuring activists Calvin Beisner, Wayne Grudem and Rick Scarborough along with an eminent montage of gay rights, pro-choice, and environmental activists, the film decries any separation between religion and public policy. It implies that if a truly observant Christian is to obey the commands of Jesus, they must advocate for laws that “protect” marriage, and warns that God will hold us accountable for “how we have acted in responsibility towards influencing government.”
Truth in Action Ministries has previously embraced anti-gay activists who have likened homosexuality to “slavery” and warned that “moral chaos” was inevitable due to “liberal secular people” marginalizing religious people in the public arena.
Beisner: Law plays a proper function in curtailing sin. So, we have a responsibility to seek to use laws to retrain the outward sinful conduct of people, even where we can’t use them, we never can use them, to change people’s hearts.
Grudem: If I truly love my neighbor I want laws that will protect my neighbor’s marriage, that will give good education to neighbor, that will protect my neighbor’s health and well-being, and economic well-being, so government doesn’t steal everything from us. I think it is a way of obeying Jesus’ command ‘you shall love your neighbor as yourself.’
Scarborough: If pastors don’t get involved in confronting the moral issues of our day, biblically, we will soon digress into becoming a lawless nation. And frankly, we’re on the very edge of that right as we speak. Our country is becoming an amoral country because so many preachers have withdrawn from the culture completely.
Beisner: There is no part of life that is neutral, to which Christ doesn’t say “it’s mine”. No part of life. And there is no neutrality on any moral issue whatsoever. And all of life is religious.
Grudem: The bible does tell us that God will hold us accountable for how we act. I think that includes all of life and certainly it includes how we have acted in responsibility towards influencing government.
But Messiah College professor John Fea notes that Barton’s ability to paint his critics “as godless and liberal” isn’t working as an increasing number of evangelical pastors have denounced him:
Through it all, Barton continues to insist that his interpretation of Thomas Jefferson is accurate despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. When legitimate historians criticize his work he paints them as godless and liberal. But can all these historians and critics be wrong? Apparently David Barton is the only one out there who has correctly interpreted Thomas Jefferson. This kind of arrogance not only shows a deep disrespect for the work of historians, many of whom have devoted their lives to the study of Jefferson, but, perhaps more importantly, it is an embarrassment to the Christian church. Perhaps Barton needs to take a lesson from Rev. Dudley Rutherford, the evangelical pastor who misinterpreted the story of the Star-Spangled Banner. When Rutherford, the pastor of Shepherd of the Hills Church in Porter Ranch, California, learned that his YouTube presentation contained several inaccuracies, he quickly apologized and pledged to look deeper into the historical record.
But even if we allow Barton to dismiss non-Christian historians, he will have a hard time dismissing his fellow evangelicals. Many of his critics have very solid evangelical credentials. Throckmorton is a Romney supporter (or at least “likes” Romney on his Facebook page) and is a conservative evangelical Christian. When I spoke at Grove City College in January 2012, he apologized for having to miss one of my lectures. It turns out that Throckmorton is an elder at his local Evangelical Free Church and had to attend a meeting there on that particular night. Ray McMillian, one of the Cincinnati pastors who led the boycott of Thomas Nelson, runs an organization called “Race to Unity.” Speakers at Race to Unity events have included evangelical luminaries such as Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell, Ed Dobson, and Bill Hybels.
Gregg Frazer, one of the ten historians chosen by Jay Richards, teaches at The Masters College, a school founded by popular evangelical preacher John MacArthur. (Frazer has also written an excellent book on the religious beliefs of the founding fathers which I highly recommend). Glenn Sunshine is a graduate of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL—certainly not a bastion of godless liberalism. Charles Dunn, who has endorsed Getting Jefferson Right, is a Distinguished Professor in the School of Government at Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Even the folks at WorldView Weekend, an organization that used to partner with Barton, have turned their collective backs on him.
Robert Parham of the Baptist Center for Ethics mentions that a number of Baptist scholars have consistently criticized Barton’s “dubious” work:
One of the nation's premier historians, Martin Marty, wrote critically of Barton's new book in May.
"Barton is publishing 'The Jefferson Lies,' which most historians would title 'Barton's Lies about Jefferson,'" said Marty.
A year earlier, Marty said that Barton cherry-picked material.
Another preeminent historian and a Baptist, Richard Pierard, referred to Barton's work as "pseudo-history."
Bruce Prescott, another Baptist scholar and leading advocate for the separation of church and state, wrote in 2010: "For more than two decades, David Barton has been deceiving many honest but naïve Christians with a revisionist history about our system of government that promotes the mythology of Christian nationalism."
In addition to columns, EthicsDaily.com has had news stories about Barton's role in shaping the public education curriculum in Texas.
Now, conservatives are challenging Barton's use of history and distancing themselves from his misuse of history. When Thomas Nelson Publishers backs away from Barton, one knows Barton's work is dubious.
Another day, another Buster Wilson conspiracy, as the American Family Association talk show host yesterday on AFA Today said that National Weather Service (NWS) is purchasing ammunition as part of the grandconspiracy Wilson has put together about how the Obama administration is going to stage a coup:
NOAA says there was a “clerical error” in the FedBizOpps announcement stating the NWS required ammunition. The solicitation actually originated from the “NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement” not the National Weather Service.
Due to a clerical error in the federal business vendor process, a solicitation for ammunition and targets for the NOAA Fisheries Office of Law Enforcement mistakenly identified NOAA’s National Weather Service as the requesting office. The error is being fixed and will soon appear correctly in the electronic federal bidding system. The ammunition is standard issue for many law enforcement agencies and it will be used by 63 NOAA enforcement agents in their twice annual target qualifications and training.
Yesterday Kenneth Miller was convicted of aiding an international parental kidnapping for the role he played in helping Lisa Miller (no relation) flee the country with her daughter rather than abide by a court order transferring custody to her former partner, Janet Jenkins.
But that was not the only interesting development in the case, as Jenkins has now filed a civil RICO lawsuit [PDF] against Kenneth Miller and several others who allegedly played a role in helping Lisa Miller kidnap her daughter and leave the country, including Liberty University Law School and Thomas Road Baptist Church:
41. Unbeknownst to Plaintiff Janet Jenkins, in 2009 Victoria Zodhiates (now Hyden) was an employee of Response Unlimited, Inc., and also a "student worker" at Liberty University School of Law. On information and belief, Victoria Zodhiates sent an email during this time period to her co-workers at the law school requesting donations for supplies to send to Lisa Miller to enable her to remain outside the country. Lisa Miller's attorney, Matthew Staver was the Dean of the Law School and Ms. Zodhiates's boss. Matthew Staver and Philip Zodhiates were also personal
acquaintances at this time. On September 20, 2009, both Philip Zodhiates and Victoria Hyden called Lisa Miller's father, Terry Miller in Tennessee to assist in arranging her and Isabella's transportation from a Walmart parking lot in Lynchburg, Virginia, to Waynesboro, Virginia, from whence they would depart for Canada and Nicaragua the next day.
42. In early November, 2009, elders of the Thomas Road Baptist Church packed up the personal belongings of Lisa Miller in two bags. These bags were picked up from Lynchburg, Virginia by Philip Zodhiates who arranged to have the bags transported to Nicaragua by sending them with his son's school teacher who was taking some children on a mission trip to Managua. Philip Zodhiates arranged for the teacher, John Collmus, to deliver the bags at the airport to Timothy Miller. The bags also contained some supplies for Lisa Miller, such as peanut butter.
47. Lisa Miller's attorneys Mathew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen also routinely instructed their Law School students that the correct course of action for a person in Lisa Miller's situation would be to engage in "civil disobedience" and defy court orders.
48. Also in 2009, TRBC Head Pastor Jonathan Falwell was among several religious leaders who made a call for "Christian civil disobedience" and published a public declaration, known as The Manhattan Declaration stating that they:
"will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide and euthanasia, or any other anti-life act; nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family."
49. Hence, Defendants TRBC and its related ministry Liberty University School of Law encouraged its agents to disregard state laws governing parental rights, particularly Vermont's law giving rights to members of same-sex families. The TRBC and Liberty University School of Law through its public declaration promoted, condoned and explicitly ratified its agent's tortious, racketeering activity. These agents and employees have followed this direction, making TRBC and Liberty University School of Law liable in respondeat superior for the consequences.
57. At the trial of Kenneth Miller in August 2012, a number of Lisa Miller's friends and supporters testified, including Defendant Wright, and several members of the PIC. When asked if any of them had met or heard of Philip Zodhiates, the answer was no. At the trial, the government introduced phone records that showed phone calls made from Philip Zodhiates's cell phone between 1:28pm and 1:30pm on September 22, 2009, to a cell phone with an Orlando area code that is registered to Liberty Counsel, a landline registered to Liberty Counsel, and a landline registered to Liberty University School of Law. Mathew Staver, Dean of the Liberty University School of Law, splits his time between Lynchburg, Virginia and Orlando, Florida. At the time that the calls were made, Philip Zodhiates was still en route back to Virginia after depositing Lisa Miller and Isabella near the Canadian border.
58. Lisa Miller's attorneys, Matthew Staver and Rena Lindevaldsen have at all times maintained that they did not know their client's location to various courts in Vermont (including in sworn testimony of Rena Lindevaldsen) and Virginia, and to the press that she simply stopped communicating with them and disappeared.
59. Meanwhile, Matthew Staver's acquaintance, Philip Zodhiates, and his daughter Victoria, an assistant in the Law School knew of Lisa Miller's whereabouts and solicited donations from other Law School employees for her aid. Upon information and belief, other law school employees who spoke to Victoria about Lisa Miller's whereabouts were too intimidated to come forward to law enforcement for fear of angering Dean Staver and losing their jobs. During the time that Lisa and Isabella were missing, Dean Staver fired several members of the admissions and financial aid department who were under his supervision. To this day, Victoria Hyden is still an employee of the law school, even though her tortious conduct involving Isabella Miller-Jenkins has been in public court records for over a year. Also, while Lisa Miller and Isabella were missing, Lisa Miller's attorneys continued to press appeals on Lisa Miller's behalf until the last appeals were exhausted in November 2010 (more than a year after she was missing), stating that they had advance instructions from Lisa Miller as to her wishes for the ongoing litigation.
62. Based on the foregoing, all of the Defendants named herein, in both their individual capacities and as agents of TRBC, Liberty University Law School, Response Unlimited, Inc., and CAM are liable for conspiring with Lisa Miller and with each other to kidnap Isabella Miller-Jenkins, assure her continued detention outside the State of Vermont, and for conspiring with Kenneth Miller to participate in the affairs of the Beachy Amish-Mennonite Brotherhood through a pattern of racketeering activity .. Defendants are also liable for conspiring to violate Janet Jenkins' and Isabella Miller-Jenkins' rights to a parent-child relationship on account oflsabella having two mothers instead of a mother and a father, and Defendant Wright is liable under 42 U.S.C. 1986 for failing to prevent the violation of Plaintiffs' civil rights.
As Kyle pointed out, David Barton is trying to salvage his collapsing support by yet again attacking the religious and political views of his critics, joining American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer today in smearing Warren Throckmorton as a tool of the left. Unfortunately for Barton, more and moreconservatives are denouncing his right-wing pseudo-history on the heels of a scathing NPR report and the news that Thomas Nelson has yanked his latest book, “The Jefferson Lies,” from publication.
Now, the former dean of Regent University’s Robertson School of Government—named after televangelist Pat Robertson—and a leading conservative writer is adding his voice to the growing chorus of historians criticizing Barton’s sloppy scholarship. Regent University professor Charles Dunn endorsed the book, “Getting Jefferson Right,” written by professors Throckmorton and Michael Coulter of Grove City College, which is also an evangelical school. “Getting Jefferson Right” debunked many of the claims found in Barton’s book on Jefferson, and Dunn said the book “stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies”:
Getting Jefferson Right by Warren Throckmorton and Michael Coulter stands up for truth in scholarship against the prevarications in David Barton’s The Jefferson’s Lies. Because of the courage of Throckmorton and Coulter, Barton has now fallen from his pedestal of preeminence as a scholar of the early American era. Throckmorton and Coulter deserve the “Medal of Honor” for courage and probity.
Hitler loved to give “examples” of Jewish “offenses” to support his effort to annihilate the Jewish people. Not only were they most often false “offenses,” even if they had all been true it would not have supported the conclusion that the entire race should be wiped out. Any intelligent observer of today’s debate must challenge the premises presented and make sure that the “facts” of the critics support the conclusion they want you to believe. In every accusation I have seen so far in this debate, no premise or conclusion of David Barton has been proven faulty.
When David Barton penned his first defense of his book "The Jefferson Lies," he asserted that his critics were motivated by "hostility toward me and my personal religious beliefs" and therefore could never point to anything that he got wrong and instead simply attack him for his faith and the worldview that he promotes.
The crux of their attack was that Throckmorton was once a true evangelical but then turned away from supporting the use of reparative therapy to "cure" gays, at which point he lost his moral compass. Throckmorton is now, according to Barton, a radical member of the "Religious Left" .... and you know that because he associates with Right Wing Watch!
Apparently simply pointing out that the Constitution does not, in fact, directly quote the Bible verbatim now makes you a member of the Religious Left.