Fighting the Right

How Would Religious Right Respond To Pence As VP?

According to some news reports, Donald Trump has settled on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate, though other reporters say their sources tell them the decision has not been finalized. Trump has said he will announce his decision on Friday morning.

Pence has a long record before becoming governor that includes time in nearly every branch of the country’s huge right-wing political infrastructure: He headed a state-level “free-market” think tank; had a career in talk radio; and served in Congress, where he led the right-wing Republican Study Committee.

That’s a lot of right-wingery that we and others will be exploring in depth if he is indeed Trump’s running mate. But here are a few initial points about Pence’s relationship with the Religious Right, whose leaders seem to be largely coming around to Trump’s candidacy despite initial skepticism.

Pence has been much beloved on the Religious Right. Early in the 2012 election cycle, he won the Values Voter Summit straw poll and won gushing praise from CBN’s David Brody. Even the American Family Association’s far-right radio host Bryan Fischer predicted that Pence would be the 2012 nominee. 

Pence has participated in Christian-nation advocate David Lane’s political events and he has been an aggressive proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood. He has connections with other Religious Right leaders through the National Day of Prayer task force.

Pence was unhappily in the national media last year when Indiana became embroiled in a high-profile controversy over a state “religious liberty” law pushed by anti-gay groups and signed by the governor. Pence seemed to have been caught completely off-guard when business and community leaders joined equality activists in a backlash to the law.

Pence tried to defend the law on national television, with disastrous results. Pence’s main problem is that he was essentially caught in a lie. He pretended the bill had nothing to do with legalizing anti-gay discrimination, when that was the clear purpose of the religious groups that pushed the law and gathered around him when he signed it.

But having said that protecting discrimination wasn’t the law’s intent, he was not well positioned to resist demands by business leaders and media that he sign an amendment saying so. When he ultimately signed off on such an amendment, some Religious Right leaders were furious. Some compared his reversal to an act of betrayal like Judas selling out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

It is not clear how warmly Religious Right leaders will embrace Pence as Trump’s running mate. Earlier this week, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera responded to rumors about Pence as VP by tweeting, “HOW ironic it wld be if Mike Pence ever became VP. Pence declined to run for president in part b/c he FAILED conservatives on relig liberty.”

Others may be more forgiving given Pence’s long track record, and may rationalize that his heart was in the right place but he was forced to back down when business leaders and the LGBT lobby — twin enemies of the Religious Right these days — ganged up on him.

Meet the RNC Speakers: Jerry Falwell Jr.

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.

It was hardly surprising to see Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. on the speakers’ list for the Republican convention. After all, Falwell has compared Trump to Jesus Christ, the biblical King David, Martin Luther King Jr., and his own father, Jerry Falwell Sr. That’s the kind of adoration Trump appreciates.

Falwell was one of the speakers at last month’s meeting between Trump and hundreds of Religious Right leaders and activists. At that meeting, Falwell called Trump a “bold and fearless leader” and said that the day after Trump becomes president, “every terrorist in the world will crawl under a rock.” Falwell declared, “I personally feel strongly that Donald Trump is God’s man to lead our nation at this crucial crossroads in our country’s history.”

Falwell’s man-crush on Trump began long before the current campaign. In 2012, he told Newsmax that Trump’s speech at the university’s weekly convocation was “probably the best” in the history of the school. Trump’s message — he told students to be sure to “get even” with anyone who slights them — was seen by some as not particularly Christian, but Falwell defended Trump’s remarks as not at all contrary to the turn-the-other-cheek message of Jesus.

Like Trump, Falwell is not one to worry about ideological consistency. In February, when Trump was embroiled in a war of words with Pope Francis, Falwell rushed to his defense, saying “Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run the country.” This was a hilariously un-self-aware comment from someone presiding over the empire that his father built on the premise that the Bible has clear instructions for people who run the country.

Falwell has had his own political ambitions for Liberty. In 2008 the school hosted campaign events for John McCain, and Falwell organized a student voter registration drive in hopes that Liberty could “go down in history as the college that elected a president.” In 2010, he tried and failed to engineer a takeover of the city council in Liberty’s home of Lynchburg, Virginia.

And this year, Falwell is holding nothing back. He invited Trump to speak at Liberty on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, something he said was a purposeful decision, one that generated some student protest. Falwell’s endorsement of Trump came just before the Iowa caucuses, and his effusive introductory remarks were turned into a radio ad by the campaign. And that was in spite of the transparent, cynical charlatanism of Trump’s Bible-waving. The candidate’s actual familiarity with the Bible was revealed by his laughter-provoking reference to “two Corinthians” when his written speech referred to the book of Second Corinthians.

Remarkably, Falwell has made “character” one justification for his endorsement. In March, Falwell recorded a robocall for Trump in which he attacked the candidate favored by most Religious Right leaders, calling Ted Cruz a “master politician” and practitioner of “dirty tricks.” Said Falwell, “Ambition must never be a substitute for character. Please vote for Donald Trump.”

Falwell has had little patience with other conservative Christians who have been critical of his embrace of Trump; when some expressed dismay about a picture of Falwell standing with Trump with a framed Playboy magazine cover visible on the wall behind them, he compared them to Pharisees.

Falwell may see parallels between Trump’s business doings and his own empire-building style. Thanks to a decision to push into distance learning — online education that doesn’t require much infrastructure — and thanks to a massive flow of federal student aid, Falwell has built Liberty into the biggest nonprofit private university in the U.S. and the largest Christian college in the world.

While providing a platform for right-wing candidates who trash federal involvement in education, Liberty has taken advantage of Democratic-supported increases in student aid that were part of the much-maligned-by-the-Right 2009 stimulus bill. At the same time, Falwell preaches the small-government gospel that portrays care for the poor as the responsibility of the church, not the government.

Falwell also seems to envision himself as something of a Trumpish flouter of political correctness. In December, after the mass shooting in Bernardino, Falwell told Liberty students:

If some of those people in that community center had had what I've got in my back pocket right now [applause] ... is it illegal to pull it out? I don't know. I've always thought that if more people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill. So, I just want to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course. Let's teach 'em a lesson if they ever show up here.

Earlier this year Falwell’s comments about Muslims led several Virginia high school debate teams to boycott the state finals because they were being held at Liberty.

Under Falwell’s leadership, Liberty reflects an institutional commitment to much of the Religious Right’s political agenda. For example:

  • In 2010 it hosted some of the country’s most well-known anti-gay activists for a conference and symposium on the “homosexual agenda” and its threat to religious freedom.
  • A few years ago, journalist Sarah Posner reported that Liberty Law School Dean Mat Staver taught students that when faced with conflict between “God’s law” and “man’s law,” they should resolve that conflict through “civil disobedience.”
  • In 2010, AFP profiled a Liberty science class field trip to the Natural History Museum to help them learn to debunk the theory of evolution in favor of the Creationist belief that God created the world in a week about 6,000 years ago.
  • Falwell has invited climate change denialists as a way to challenge environmentalists who use “pseudo-science to promote political agendas” and help students “who come from public schools where the truth of global warming and the science of global warming is now always known.”

 

 

The Unforeseen Consequences Of Legalizing Gay Marriage? Glenn Beck And The Dilemma Of The Gay Bulls

While the Religious Right's dire predictions about what would happen in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling striking down anti-gay state marriage amendments last year have not come true, one possible consequence that nobody could have foreseen is now vexing Glenn Beck.

As Beck explained on his radio program today, he recently received a call from those who run his ranch in Idaho letting him know that his bull seems to have started a relationship with a bull owned by a neighbor.

Beck said that they had been forced to artificially inseminate many of the cows on his ranch because the bull that he owns has not been interested in mating with any of them and they couldn't figure out why. It turns out that a bull from a neighboring property has been escaping its pen and making its way onto Beck's property and the two bulls have now, as Beck put it, "become very close" and are regularly "enjoying each other's company."

"I don't know if they're going with the times or what," Beck quoted the person who runs his ranch as saying. "In all my years of doing this, I have never seen this before, but yes, they're [gay]."

This is creating a bit of a dilemma for Beck, who half-jokingly wondered if he is going to be sued for getting rid of this gay bull because it is not doing its job of impregnating his cows:

PFAW Statement on Lack of Latino Voices at RNC

In response to the lack of Latino speakers listed on the Republican National Convention speakers list released this morning, Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way Director of Latinos Vote!, released the following statement:

“The lack of Latino voices in the Republican National Convention lineup is jarring, but should surprise no one. The Republican Party is clearly the Party of Trump. Trump and his party have pushed anti-immigrant stereotypes and promoted mass deportation and anti-immigrant policies. Their election strategy has been to demonize immigrants to try to win elections, and if the lineup of anti-immigrant speakers is any indication, they’ll be doubling down on their bigotry in Cleveland next week.

“We know this won’t work. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party elevate our voices, applaud the important contributions of immigrants to our country, and promote policies that support Latinos, women, and working families. That’s why come November, Latino voters will turn out in record numbers in support of those who stand with us.”

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Religious Right Out-Muscles Pro-Equality Republicans

We have lost count of how many times the Religious Right has been declared spent as a political force. Those declarations have always been wrong, and this year’s Republican Party platform is the latest sign of the movement’s continued power.

Four years ago, we called the GOP platform “a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.” Yet this year’s platform is even further to the right.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In 2012, Religious Right leaders spent the entire week in Tampa bragging about how they had essentially written the platform. But pro-LGBT Republicans were remarkably confident that it would never happen again. At the time, the Log Cabin Republicans vowed that never again would the party platform be hostile to LGBT equality. Former member of Congress Jim Kolbe said the anti-gay sentiment in that year’s platform was “the last gasp of the conservatives.” The upbeat attitude had us wondering about “the fine, fuzzy line dividing optimism from delusion.”

Well, there’s nothing left to wonder about. In spite of an organized and well-funded campaign by LGBT-friendly conservatives, Religious Right activists made sure that they dominated the platform committee. During the committee’s deliberations on proposed amendments on Monday and Tuesday, every effort to moderate the language on LGBT rights was rejected, including tame language that would have acknowledged growing support within the party for marriage equality. The Log Cabin Republicans are calling this year’s document “the most anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-year history.”

Even an amendment that would have recognized the LGBT victims of ISIS terror was deemed too much. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is bragging that he and fellow Louisiana delegate Sandy McDade, Eagle Forum’s political chairman, watered that language down so that it refers generically to all people terrorized by ISIS.

The platform includes Religious Right-approved language opposing marriage equality and endorsing legislation to give legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious liberty. And it calls for eliminating the IRS provision that prevents churches, like other nonprofits, from engaging in direct electoral advocacy — one of the promises Donald Trump has made to win Religious Right support.

A seemingly last-ditch effort by LGBT-friendly delegates to require a vote on a “minority report” to replace the long platform with a short statement of principles is now being denounced by Perkins and Religious Right activist David Barton as an attempt by gays to hijack the platform process. Its odds of success seem vanishingly small.

Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo says he’s “mad as hell” about the new platform, but in the same email he tries to distance the document from Donald Trump, who Angelo praised last December as “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency.”

Not long after that, as journalist Michelangelo Signorile noted, Trump accepted the endorsement of Jerry Falwell Jr. and promised to put right-wing justices on the Supreme Court. In January he promised to make Christianity (read right-wing Christianity) more powerful. More recently, Trump reiterated his promises in a closed-door meeting with hundreds of conservative Christian leaders, where he told them, “I’m on your side.”

Trump may be willing to let Caitlin Jenner use the bathroom of her choice at his office building, but he was unwilling to lift a finger to keep the party from supporting states that pass laws preventing transgender people from using bathrooms that match their identity — or from declaring in many ways that the party remains officially opposed to legal equality for LGBT people.

The presumptive Republican nominee is all bluster and toughness when he is denouncing political correctness, but he turns meekly obliging when dealing with the Religious Right leaders he is counting on to turn out the vote.

 

 

Trump Invites Anti-Government Extremist Sheriff To Speak At GOP Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here

The Republican National Convention released a partial list today of the politicians, activists, C-list celebrities and Donald Trump family members who will be speaking at next week’s convention. What the speakers’ list lacks in establishment GOP leaders it makes up for in fringe activists. One name especially stands out: Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee law enforcement officer who has made a name for himself hurling anti-Obama vitriol on Fox News and elsewhere while quietly cozying up to anti-government extremist groups.

Clarke, who is African American, has built a conservative following by enthusiastically bashing President Obama, his Justice Department, Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “ pitchforks and torches ,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Phil Robertson On Abortion, ISIS And His Dream Of Being Donald Trump's Spiritual Advisor

Religious Right activist and Colorado state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt had a chance to interview Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson at the Western Conservative Summit held in Denver earlier this month. On a recent episode of his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Klingenschmitt sat down with Robertson, who shared his wisdom on the tie between legal abortion and ISIS and revealed his fantasy that Donald Trump will turn to Christ with the help of his spiritual advisor, Phil Robertson.

Robertson kicked things off by warning that the world is descending into lawlessness, which can all be linked back to the legalization of abortion.

"We've killed 60 million of our own children," he said. "ISIS is saying to us, 'Well, if you didn't think your own children were worth anything, why do you think we're worried about what your life is worth? We don't think you're worth anything, that's why we're killing you. Just like you kill your children, that's why we kill you. We don't think you're worth anything.'"

"If we could have stood there and told them, 'No, to us life is precious,'" Robertson said, then things would be different, but sadly "we lost the moral high ground."

Later, Robertson said that he would be voting for Donald Trump in November only because he doesn't like Hillary Clinton and hopes that Trump will be better. 

Ideally, Robertson said, "we convert Mr. Trump" to Christianity so that all of his past scandals and indiscretions that will be brought up during the campaign will be rendered moot because he has been born again.

"If he but be born again, he could then tell them, 'That's the old me, I've been born again, this is the new Donald Trump,'" Robertson said, envisioning a cabinet meeting where he would be introduced to the world as President Trump's spiritual advisor.

"Now, that would send a shock wave through America," he said. "The left-wingers would be jumping out of buildings."

GOP’s Super-Far-Right Platform Completed But Drama Continues

During Monday and Tuesday’s Republican platform committee deliberations, an already right-wing draft was pushed even further to the right by activists on the platform committee. But now Religious Right activist David Barton and other delegates are complaining that they were duped by pro-LGBT activists into signing a minority report that could force a floor vote on replacing the entire platform with a much shorter statement of principles.

Through endless hours of amendments — some substantive and some petty wordsmithing — attempts by libertarian-leaning delegates to introduce more moderate language on LGBT equality, the drug war and other issues were routinely voted down, even an amendment that would have acknowledged the LGBT victims of ISIS terror.

Throughout the grueling process, a few delegates repeatedly complained that the platform should be seen as a vehicle for marketing Republican Party principles, and should not be something so long and so deep in the weeds on policy disputes that nobody will bother reading it. One of those voices was Utah’s Boyd Matheson, who had proposed an alternative approach that would simply lay out a set of principles, based on the platform on which Abraham Lincoln ran for the presidency in 1860.

That could have saved everyone a lot of time, but the committee didn’t go for it. The committee wrapped up its deliberations on Tuesday evening, voting to approve the amended draft, which will get final up-or-down approval by the committee on Monday before going to the convention as a whole for approval.

But that’s not the end of the story, because 37 delegates signed a “minority report,” which The Dallas Morning News’ Lauren McGaughy describes as “a sort of petition by those who couldn't muster a majority for their proposals.”

“In this case,” McGaughy writes, “it supports doing away with the whole platform and replacing it with something shorter and simpler.” Among those who signed the petition were Matheson and Barton, the Religious Right activist who played an active role in shaping this year’s platform as well as the 2012 version.

Now, however, Matheson and Barton are among those claiming that they were “duped by a group of pro-gay rights delegates” into signing something that could be a source of division on the floor of the convention:

Boyd Matheson of Utah wrote the language in the minority report, but he said he did not support doing away with the whole platform and replacing it with his mission statement. In fact, he withdrew support of his own proposal Tuesday afternoon amid the fight.

"A minority report is a divisive issue that some people are trying to use to air their issues on the floor for the convention," Matheson said late Tuesday.

David Barton, a Texas delegate who helped him edit the language, went a step further, saying "someone hijacked the process."

He added: "It looks to us like they created a controversy." 

Matheson and Barton allege that a group of LGBT-friendly Republicans who had tried -- unsuccessfully -- to include some positive mention of the gay community in the party's platform was behind the scheme. 

The two said they would send an email to the other 35 delegates who also signed the report on Wednesday morning saying just this. Texas' other platform committee delegate, Diana Denman, also signed the minority report, and expressed her interest in removing her name.

Other delegates suggest that Barton and Matheson knew exactly what they were signing but “got cold feet afterward when they feared being associated with a gay rights push.”

Family Research Council Action, whose leader Tony Perkins was another active member of the platform committee, pushed out an alert yesterday warning that LGBT activists were attempting to “hijack” the platform.

Perkins and the Family Research Council are delighted with the far-right platform, saying the GOP’s support for “traditional family values” is “stronger than ever.”

In another message to FRC supporters yesterday, Perkins celebrated the Religious Right’s platform victories:

I am very happy to say that the final platform document overwhelmingly approved by the delegates may be the strongest statement of conservative principles by a GOP platform to date. As Gayle Rozika, a Utah delegate for whom this was the 6th platform, told me this is the most conservative platform in her experience. Her efforts, along with those of delegates like Carolyn McLarty (Okla.), Len Munsil (Ariz.), David Barton (Texas), Jim and Judy Carns (Ala.), Kris Kobach (Kan.), Sandy McDade (La.) and a host of other conservative leaders were effective in ensuring the GOP platform provides a clear and compelling understanding of the core conservative principles that those associated with the Republican party prioritize and pursue.

Our coalition of delegates -- including FRC Action and other groups like the March for Life Action, Eagle Forum, and Concerned Women for America -- proved invaluable. The platform is an important document, showing the Party of Lincoln continues to respect freedom, and the rule of law, the idea that all humans deserve respect, not because of some category, but because we have inherent dignity and are made in the image of our Creator. The platform is a useful document -- a standard for the party in local, state, and federal elections, use in town halls, and it provides standards to which we should hold our elected officials. Platform Chairman Senator John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), led by co-chairs Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-Va.) and Governor Mary Falin (R-Okla.) all did an excellent job allowing delegates to offer amendments and debate the issues with sincerity and respect. They deserve much respect for their efforts.

 

The Racial Blindness of Donald Trump

Black America, Donald Trump feels your pain. He might be “really rich,” own “the best properties,” and “have the best words,” but he has felt the sting of oppression.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel Tuesday evening, Trump had this exchange with host Bill O’Reilly:

O’REILLY: There [are] still some black Americans who believe that the system is biased against them. The American system because they’re black, they don’t get the same kind of shot, they don’t get the same kind of fairness that whites do. What do you say to them?

TRUMP: Well, I have been saying even against me the system is rigged when I ran as a, you know, for president, I mean, I could see what was going on with the system and the system is rigged.

Yes, Trump understands bigotry because other Republican candidates were mean to him in 2016. There is no need to explain why this comment is ridiculous.

But it also is incredibly revealing. Trump’s comparison of his treatment during the Republican primary to the racism faced by African Americans is not simply evidence of his own narcissism, it is part of a deep-seated blindness he has expressed for decades. This blindness isn’t just ignorance; it’s part of Trump’s long-running strategy of promoting bigotry through resentment.

In a 1989 interview for an NBC News special on race, Trump claimed that he, the privileged son of a millionaire New York real estate developer, would have had more advantages if he were black:

A well-educated black has a tremendous advantage over a well-educated white in terms of the job market. I think sometimes a black may think they don’t have an advantage or this and that. . . . I’ve said on one occasion, even about myself, if I were starting off today, I would love to be a well-educated black, because I believe they do have an actual advantage.

Trump’s 2016 message is based on these same resentments. His now ubiquitous “Make America Great Again” slogan is a message to his core voters that he wants to return our country to a time of even greater privilege for white Americans. His constant bashing of “political correctness” is a not-so-coded wish return to an age where racial epithets, sexism, anti-Semitism and homophobia were all acceptable. This argument is also on display when Trump makes the claim that undocumented immigrants are treated better than veterans.

This appeal to resentment is what has drawn neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other assorted racists to Trump’s campaign. For decades, it has also been part of the rhetoric of prominent conservatives such as Pat Buchanan, who has written about “The End of White America.”

Trump’s supporters will continue to echo the words of his son-in-law Jared Kushner, claiming that the presumptive GOP nominee displays no racial animus in his personal life. However, at this point, if Trump came to Washington, D.C., and burned a cross on the front lawn of the White House, his sycophants would probably say it was a “T,” and part of a branding effort for his new luxury hotel.

Yet Trump's most recent statements again reveal a racial blindness that is, in and of itself, racist.

NOM Spokesman: LGBT Advocates Promoting 'Social Experimentation Upon Our Children'

National Organization for Marriage spokesman Joe Grabowski urged the Republican Party maintain the opposition to LGBT rights in its platform yesterday, saying in a radio interview that LGBT advocates are promoting “social experimentation upon our children” that will result in greater costs to the state and arguing that “it’s just responsible to the laws of nature” for the GOP to continue to oppose LGBT rights.

Grabowski said on the Christian radio program “Issues, Etc.”:

Marriage as the building block of society, stable families, loving mother and father; all of these things have been shown to be the best environment to raise children so that they don’t become costs to the state, so that the state programs don’t have to step in and take care of the fallout when children come from broken homes, broken marriages, and from social experimentation upon our children, which is really what a lot of policies advocated by LGBT activists essentially are. So, it’s fiscally responsible, it’s constitutionally responsible and it’s just responsible to the laws of nature to continue to be the party of these family values.

NOM ended up getting its wish; yesterday morning the GOP’s platform committee shot down attempts to moderate its opposition to LGBT rights and added language calling for the reversal of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Possible Trump VP Pick Mike Pence Spearheaded Attacks On Planned Parenthood

Before becoming governor of Indiana, Mike Pence was one of the most conservative members of Congress, and arguably one of the most important players in the GOP’s attempt to defund Planned Parenthood.

Pence, who appeared at a Donald Trump rally yesterday, has reportedly risen to the top of the presumptive GOP nominee’s list of potential vice presidential candidates. If Trump asks Pence to be his running mate, he would be elevating one of the darlings of the anti-abortion movement, which has generally been mistrustful of Trump since he has made several contradictory statements on abortion rights and once praised Planned Parenthood for doing “very good work,” even while vowing to defund the women’s health organization unless they stop providing abortion services.

Back in 2011, Pence seized on discredited video excerpts released by the radical anti-abortion group Live Action that purported to show Planned Parenthood aiding sex trafficking. Pence’s amendment to strip federal funds from the group helped to create a standoff between the House and President Obama that nearly led to a government shutdown.

Pence appeared at a Tea Party rally outside of the Capitol, where he said that if Obama and Senate Democrats didn’t agree to a House proposal to “cut spending to pre-Stimulus, pre-bailout levels, defunding Obamacare and ending all public funding for Planned Parenthood of America,” “then I say, 'Shut it down.'”

Besides citing the doctored videos released by Live Action, Pence bizarrely suggested that Planned Parenthood must be defunded because of the country’s high unemployment rate.

When Pence’s home state of Indiana decided to defund Planned Parenthood, clinic closures left counties without HIV testing facilities, exacerbating the state’s HIV outbreak. Pence himself signed into law an anti-abortion bill that led to a grassroots effort in which women flooded his office with detailed accounts of their periods. The law required that miscarried and aborted embryos and fetuses of “any gestational age” be “interred or cremated”; critics noted that fertilized eggs are sometimes expelled in a woman’s period without her even knowing it.

By picking Pence, Trump would give one of Planned Parenthood’s loudest critics an even bigger megaphone to launch more attacks on the health organization.

Senate Confirms Librarian Of Congress Over Absurd Conservative Opposition

The Senate today confirmed Carla D. Hayden to be the librarian of Congress after a campaign of obstruction that’s unusual for such a nonpolitical post. Hayden seemed to run up against a combination of Senate gridlock and a campaign by an influential conservative activist who claimed that the fact that she would be the first African American and the first woman to hold the position was a concession to “political correctness.”

Last week, Zach Graves of the libertarian-leaning R Street Institute summarized the campaign that Heritage Foundation fellow Hans von Spakovsky launched against Hayden. Dismissing Hayden’s accomplishments, von Spakovsky declared that the head of the Library of Congress must be a “man of letters”:

To start off, von Spakovsky suggests Obama chose Hayden because she’s a black woman and “his administration has an unofficial quota system.” A remarkable sentiment, considering Hayden’s qualifications as a librarian: She has a doctorate in library science from the University of Chicago; taught at the University of Pittsburgh; served as CEO of the City of Baltimore’s Enoch Pratt Free Library, one of the oldest public library systems in the nation; served as president of the American Library Association; and was named National Librarian of the Year.

Despite her accomplishments, and a favorable Senate confirmation hearing, von Spakovsky insists Hayden is “unqualified.” She may be a fine librarian, he argues, but she’s “neither a scholar nor a historian” and the Library of Congress is an institution that must be run by a “man of letters” …

Von Spakovsky repeatedly suggested that Hayden had been picked for the job just because of her race and would be unable to be a keeper of “American cultural greatness,” writing, “The Librarians of Congress have been keepers of American memory, and public advocates for American cultural greatness. This is not a sinecure — like the post of United States treasurer — to be doled out to members of a politically favored demographic.” He warned that Hayden’s confirmation would make the Library of Congress a “monument to political correctness.”

The Senate Rules Committee approved Hayden’s nomination in April, but an anonymous senator placed a hold on the nomination, preventing it from coming to a vote. Astonishingly, even when Hayden’s nomination did come up for a vote today, 18 senators voted against her. Unless those senators explain their votes, it will be impossible to tell if they were swayed by von Spakovsky’s offensive arguments or were merely participating in the Senate GOP’s blanket obstruction of executive branch and judicial nominees.

Rick Wiles: Satan Using Pokémon Go To Spawn 'Demonic Powers' And Murder Christians

On Monday, “Trunews” host Rick Wiles recounted a story about how he called the police after seeing a man taking photos of his office building, only to discover that the suspicious man was simply playing Pokémon Go on his phone.

Wiles, however, said that something sinister is afoot, warning that “these Pokémon creatures are like virtual, cyber-demons” and that “what this man, Friday, was trying to find was the Pokémon demon that had been placed inside the ‘Trunews’ office.”

“What if this technology is transferred to Islamic jihadists and Islamic jihadists have an app that shows them where Christians are located geographically?” he asked, noting that many of the app’s PokeStops and Gyms include churches and other houses of worship.

“The enemy, Satan, is targeting churches with virtual, digital, cyber-demons,” Wiles said, before adding: “I believe this thing is a magnet for demonic powers.”

Wiles went on to claim that “Pokémon masters” may soon start “telling people to kill people in those buildings” in order to catch more Pokémon, comparing the use of the App to Philando Castile’s girlfriend use of Facebook Live to live stream the aftermath of Castile’s shooting by a police officer, which he said might have been staged.

This conversation led “Trunews” cohost Edward Szall to read a fake quote from the creator of Pokémon allegedly endorsing Satanism.

“They’re spawning demons inside your church,” Wiles said. “They’re targeting your church with demonic activity.” He then again warned that “this technology will be used by the enemies of the cross to target, locate and execute Christians.”

Rep. Glenn Grothman: 'Race Relations Were Very Good' Until Obama Took Office

Rep. Glenn Grothman, R-Wisc., said yesterday that while “race relations were very good” when President Obama took office, the president has made things worse by meeting with Al Sharpton and praising Black Lives Matter, claiming that Obama could help make things better by discouraging “black America” from having “anything to do” with either.

Wisconsin talk radio host Charlie Sykes asked Grothman to discuss the assassination of five police officers in Dallas and why the nation is “as divided and on edge as it has been in a long time.”

“I don’t think it’s surprising given the leadership we have in this country,” Grothman said. “You know, a lot of people felt, not me, but a lot of people felt that it was a good thing to elect Barack Obama, I think race relations were pretty good when he took office, but [those people were] saying, well, if there were any problems left, Barack Obama would solve these problems.”

“Instead,” he said, “we have a president who’s met with Al Sharpton over 100 times. And if he met with Al Sharpton 100 times, what does that tell you about how Barack Obama views race relations or how he should weigh in? And there’s your problem. Hillary Clinton has tried to get Al Sharpton’s endorsement; Barack Obama has praised Black Lives Matter.”

“See, the situation with race relations were very good eight years ago,” he continued, “but it seems as though both Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton — I mean, would you even be caught on stage with Al Sharpton?”

Sykes, seemingly missing the fact that Obama had forcefully condemned the violence against police officers, wondered when Obama would have a “Sister Souljah moment” and “call out the elements of that movement who are now condoning or even encouraging violence against police officers.”

“Well, right, he has the moral standing to take on Al Sharpton,” Grothman responded. “And the fact that Al Sharpton’s been in the White House over 100 times, and Black Lives Matter … to say, ‘Look, you are not a leader of black America, we discourage black America from having anything to do with you,’ he could fulfill some of the promise that some people had when he was elected two [sic] years ago.”

Michele Bachmann: Hillary Clinton Will Destroy America By Bringing In 'Third World' Immigrants

Former Rep. Michele Bachmann warned on Saturday that the election of Hillary Clinton to the presidency would usher in the complete destruction of America, unless God uses Donald Trump to save the country.

In an interview with End Times broadcaster Jan Markell, the Minnesota Republican lauded Trump’s “1950s sensibilities,” “churched background” and vow to “only appoint pro-life judges.”

“He gets and understands religious liberty,” Bachmann said, noting that Trump discussed the so-called War on Christmas at a recent meeting with evangelical leaders in New York. “He even said, ‘I don’t understand,’ he said, ‘When I was growing up everybody said Merry Christmas. Even my Jews would say Merry Christmas.’”

Markell also warned of the dangers of Clinton presidency: “The Titanic is three-fourths under water right now. You get another four years, another eight years of this progressivism, of this infatuation with Islam and caving to all things Islam, of the LGBT community rammed down our throats, rammed down the throats of the churches, and that’s going to intensify a thousand times more with a Hillary Clinton administration.”

Bachmann, a member of Trump’s Evangelical Executive Advisory Board, said conservatives who stay home on Election Day rather than vote for Trump will “ensure that we will lose the United States of America; they will ensure it. They will ensure that every godless principle there is comes into this country.”

Clinton, according to Bachmann, will be “pro-Islam” and “bring us into a certain destruction for the United States.”

She then wondered if God elevated Trump to succeed in the Republican presidential primary because he was capable of beating Clinton in November: “When it comes down to it, Trump may have been the only candidate who could actually defeat Hillary. What I kept thinking to, Jan, was the Book of Daniel, and the Book of the Daniel, the essence of the book, was that the most high God lifts up who he will and takes down who he will.”

Bachmann called on members of the Never Trump movement, such as conservative radio host Mark Levin, to change their minds, warning that a Clinton presidency would do away with America for good by changing the country’s demographics.

Democrats, Bachmann said, are “allowing well over a million people from the Third World to flood into our country, bringing in diseases, people who are criminals, rapists, all the rest.”

She then repeated her false claim that President Obama gave millions of undocumented immigrants the right to vote in the run-up to the 2012 election. These immigrants, she continued, “are going to be voting to transform the United States into, like, a Third World country.”

Religious Right Hero Vladimir Putin Cracks Down On Religious Liberty In Russia

For years, American Religious Right activists have lavished praise on Russian President Vladimir Putin, praising him as a culturally conservative bulwark against the values of the decadent West thanks to his crackdowns on LGBT rights, in particular laws curbing adoption and free speech.

Religious Right leaders including Franklin Graham and Brian Brown have gone to Russia to hail Putin’s resistance to LGBT equality, while keeping quiet about how the Russian government has stifled human rights, including the rights of Protestants, sponsored militias that violently target Protestants in Ukraine and allowed Sharia law to be practiced in Chechnya. At the same time, these Religious Right activists level bogus charges against President Obama and other U.S. officials whom they accuse of quashing religious freedom in the U.S.

Now, in a move that will likely be greeted with silence by Putin’s American allies, the Russian president has signed a counterterrorism law that watchdog groups warn will stifle religious liberties. One Russian Protestant leader said that the law “creates the basis for mass persecution” of Christians who don’t belong to the Russian Orthodox Church by making it a crime to evangelize unless they receive “a special permit” from the government.

The Religious Right claims that because President Obama supports LGBT rights, he is hostile to religious liberty. At the same time, many of the same activists seem content to ignore real religious freedom violations at the hands of Putin simply because he shares their anti-LGBT views.

Mike Eckel reports:

The legislation, signed into law earlier this month by Russian President Vladimir Putin, had already drawn scorn from critics in and outside of Russia.

Known as the "Yarovaya Law," the measure includes new police and counterterrorism measures that directly echo the sweeping powers wielded by the KGB to stifle dissent and repress opposition activists throughout the Soviet era.

But one largely overlooked aspect of the law is garnering new scrutiny and worry: tight restrictions on the activities of religious groups, particularly smaller denominations.

The new restrictions "will make it easier for Russian authorities to repress religious communities, stifle peaceful dissent, and detain and imprison people," said Thomas J. Reese, who heads the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, a federal government agency that monitors religious expression around the world.

"Neither these measures nor the currently existing antiextremism law meet international human rights and religious freedom standards," he said in statement released last week.



For religious groups, the new law requires people to get official permits through a registered religious group and bars things like prayer meetings from taking place anywhere except for officially recognized religious buildings. That would potentially forbid house churches.

Members of a religious group would also potentially be barred from e-mailing invitations to people interested in services, according to Christianity Today, a web-based news service focused on religious issues.

Violators could be fined, or potentially expelled from Russia.



Sergei Ryakhovsky, a Pentecostal church leader and co-head of an organization of Protestant churches in Russia, said in an open letter co-signed by him that the law contradicted the Russian Constitution.

"The obligation on every believer to have a special permit to spread his or her beliefs, as well as hand out religious literature and material outside of places of worship and used structures, is not only absurd and offensive, but also creates the basis for mass persecution of believers for violating these provisions," said the letter, which was posted on the Russian-language religious website Portal-Credo.

"This law brings us back to a shameful past," it said.

GOP Rep: Obama Reaped 'What He Has Sowed' With Dallas Shooting

Rep. Robert Hurt, R-Va., said yesterday that President Obama reaped “what he has sowed” in the shooting of five police officers in Dallas last week, claiming that the president’s support of the Black Lives Matter movement is a “Chicago-style politics” attempt to divide Americans for political gain.

“It’s not even clear to me what the Black Lives Matter people really want, other than to draw attention to themselves,” Hurt told Virginia broadcaster John Fredericks. “And I would suggest to you this, John, that it’s really nothing more than a political organization. Again, this is an administration and this is representative of a political style, Chicago-style politics, that says ‘We’re going to slice and dice the American people and we’re going to create enough distrust and angst among them that we’ll be able to use them to our political advantage.’ And that’s what this is, this is just nothing more than, I fear, than that. It’s a political organization that’s used to try to win elections. Period. End of story. To get a candidate a fat, juicy spot in elected office. And I think it’s regrettable. I really do.”

He added that “an objective person can’t conclude that there’s that systemic racism in our society and government that there once was,” claiming that the president’s support of Black Lives Matter only serves to “diminish the harsh reality” of previous racial injustices.

Hurt went on to say that we’re now seeing Obama “reap what he has sowed,” saying that if he were a family member of one of the police officers killed in Dallas, he wouldn’t want Obama to show up to their memorial service.

“This is a narrative that he has drawn, I think very incorrectly, and he has drawn this narrative for political purposes and now we’re seeing him reap what he has sowed,” he said, adding that Obama shares the blame with other politicians “who are gutless and who don’t respect the truth and don’t see this country to be the greatest country on earth that it is.”

“He has sown this racial —he has fanned these flames, I think he has in many ways highlighted these things in ways that I don’t think are fair or right, and now we’re seeing the fruit of this,” he said.

“You know, I’m glad he’s going to Dallas,” he added, “I hope that he’s of some comfort to the families, I kind of wonder how well he will be received, considering he, I think, in many ways is responsible for fanning the flames of this anti-police feeling. And I know if I were a family member, I’m not sure I would want to be spending a lot of time with him.”

GOP Platform Committee Member David Barton Falsely Claims His Anti-Gay Comments Were Taken Out Of Context

It seems that just about every time a Religious Right activist is asked by the press to comment on some outrageous thing that Right Wing Watch has caught them saying, they respond by simply asserting that those comments were "taken out of context" without ever explaining how our reporting supposedly misrepresented their statements or bothering to explain how understanding the real context would have in any way changed the meaning of what they said.

And this is exactly what David Barton, a member of the Republican National Convention's platform committee and a longtime Religious Right activist, did when the the Daily Beast asked him to comment on two of the many offensive statements he has made about LGBT people, both of which were first reported by Right Wing Watch:

And David Barton, a committee member from Texas, believes that God is preventing the medical profession from finding a cure for HIV/AIDS, and claimed that gay people die “decades earlier” than others and have more than 500 partners apiece in their lifetimes.

Barton told The Daily Beast that these statements did not represent his views, and this was “an example of something taken out of context and mischaracterized. I’m an advocate for faith-based conservative values, which include love, grace, and truth, focusing on traditional family values.”

Since Barton doesn't bother to clarify the "context" in which these comments were made, allow us to do so.

In the case of his claim that gay people die "decades earlier" and have hundreds of sexual partners, Barton said that on his radio program back in 2010, when he was somewhat facetiously making the case that the government should regulate gay people's sex lives.

Barton argued that since the government seeks to regulate all sorts of things that are unhealthy, it should also regulate consensual sex between members of the same gender because it is not only dangerous for those who practice it but bad for society as well:

Homosexual/bi-sexual individuals are seven times more likely to contemplate or commit suicide. Oooh, that doesn’t sound very healthy.

Homosexuals die decades earlier than heterosexuals. That doesn’t sound healthy.

Nearly one-half of practicing homosexuals admit to five hundred or more sex partners and nearly one-third admit to a thousand or more sex partners in a lifetime.

There is no mischaracterization involved in quoting his statement that "homosexuals die decades earlier" and that some gay people "admit to five hundred of more sexual partners," as that is exactly what he said.

The same goes for his comments about God preventing us from ever finding a cure for AIDS because doing so would eliminate the penalty for sin.

Barton has been saying this since 2012 and we have heard him make this claim on several occasions, asserting just last year:

I don't think they will ever find a vaccine for HIV/AIDS. And I say that based on a particular Bible verse ... Notice this, homosexuals receive in their bodies the penalty due them. The Bible says if you engage in homosexuality, your body will do things that will penalize you. So if you can have a vaccine for AIDS, then you're keeping your body from penalizing you. I don't think they'll ever find a vaccine for AIDS.

Again, there is nothing "out of context" about this remark, which he has made multiple times. 

Barton continuously makes unfounded and offensive remarks about LGBT people and has repeatedly suggested that God is punishing gay people with a deadly disease, yet the Republican Party continues to invite him to help shape their national platform — which just so happens to be extraordinarily hostile to LGBT people. Barton’s unconvincing attempts at denying his past comments shouldn't let them get away with it.

Jeffress Says He Backs Trump Because It's 'Biblical' To Support A 'Strongman'

In a recent New York Times column, conservative writer Peter Wehner called out Robert Jeffress, a prominent Southern Baptist pastor, for his vocal support of Donald Trump.

Yesterday, conservative talk radio host Mike Gallagher invited Jeffress and Wehner to debate Trump’s candidacy on his program, where Jeffress defended his support for the presumptive GOP nominee by saying that it’s “biblical” to support a “strongman” in government.

Jeffress said that he supported Trump in the primary “because I believed that he was the only one who was electable and could beat Hillary Clinton,” adding that “our country has moved so far to the left” that “I just didn’t think that Ted Cruz was electable.”

“But as far as his worldview, Trump’s worldview,” he continued, “you know, I was debating an evangelical professor on NPR and this professor said, ‘Pastor, don’t you want a candidate who embodies the teaching of Jesus and would govern this country according to the principles found in the Sermon on the Mount?’ I said, ‘Heck no.’ I would run from that candidate as far as possible, because the Sermon on the Mount was not given as a governing principle for this nation.

“Nowhere is government told to forgive those who wrong it, nowhere is government told to turn the other cheek. Government is to be a strongman to protect its citizens against evildoers. When I’m looking for somebody who’s going to deal with ISIS and exterminate ISIS, I don’t care about that candidate’s tone or vocabulary, I want the meanest, toughest, son of a you-know-what I can find, and I believe that’s biblical.”

Larry Klayman Suing Obama For Endangering His Life As A White Man

Right-wing lawyer Larry Klayman announced in WorldNetDaily over the weekend that he was filing a lawsuit against President Obama, Black Lives Matter, Louis Farrakhan and Al Sharpton "for endangering not just my life, as a white law enforcement person of Jewish origin, but also for all Americans, white, black, yellow or brown, no matter what their race or religion.”

Klayman blamed Obama for the shooting of five police officers who were protecting a peaceful Black Lives Matter protest in Dallas, attempting to tie the president to Farrakhan:

Not only does Obama have blood on his hands as having encouraged if not furthered this hate crime against whites and white cops, but so too does his “soul brothers,” the virulent anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian so-called Rev. Louis Farrakhan, leader of the Nation of Islam, and his co-enablers like another so-called reverend, Al Sharpton, a charlatan and white hater. Indeed, Obama has, as usual, chosen to associate himself with these lowlifes in his quest to ram his latent hatred of whites, Jews and Christians down everyone’s throats. When the leader of the United States and supposedly the Western world, who was born to a Muslim father, schooled in Muslim schools, and has close ties to black-Muslim leaders like Farrakhan seeks to incite violence by virtue of his running interference for Muslims and blacks who are not even representative of African-Americans generally, it’s no wonder Obama-inspired massacres like Dallas happen. In two words, “Obama Happens!”

“For the past seven years, Obama and company have been whipping up reverse racism against non-blacks and non-Muslims as payback for years of discrimination,” he wrote, adding that the president has finally succeeded in “his quest to ignite a race war.”

Klayman managed to blame Obama not only for the shooting of police officers in Dallas, but also for the police shootings of two African Americans in Louisiana and Minnesota that sparked last week’s Black Lives Matter protests. “It is no wonder some cops, fearing for their lives in this anti-white, anti-Semitic and anti-Christian environment, sometimes are prone to literally pull the trigger too quickly,” he wrote. “With the hateful mood created by Obama and company, they understandably think that armed blacks who refuse to recognize their law enforcement powers may be out to off them.”

In the class action lawsuit that Klayman filed in Dallas on Saturday, he alleges that he is personally in danger thanks to Obama, former Attorney General Eric Holder, Sharpton, Farrakhan and Black Lives Matter (Klayman refers to himself as a member of law enforcement since he used to be a prosecutor):

As a high profile Caucasian of Jewish origin, Plaintiff Larry Klayman imminently fears, including in this District where is organization does business and solicits support, great bodily and death and thus harm as a result of Defendants’ promotion and incitement of riots and violent acts, including death and great bodily harm, against law enforcement and police officers of all races and ethnicities, Jews, and Caucasians.

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