Fighting the Right

A Spiritual Battle For America's Future: Five Takeaways From The Religious Right's Awakening Conference

On Saturday, roughly 2,000 activists gathered at Faith Assembly, a megachurch in Orlando, for the Awakening, an annual “Prayer and Patriotism event” organized by the Christian Right legal group Liberty Counsel. The Awakening, which Liberty Counsel organizes under the auspices of an amalgam of Religious Right groups called the Freedom Federation, brings together activists from the evangelical Right with the GOP politicians who want their votes.

At this year's event, GOP politicians including Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee, Bobby Jindal (via video) and RNC faith director Chad Connelly shared a stage with far-right activists including "ex-gays," a phony ex-terrorist and at least two Religious Right leaders who insist that AIDS is God's punishment for homosexuality. 

Here are five takeaways from a day with the core of the Religious Right.

1. Gay Marriage Will Send Christians To Jail

While some on the Right may be trying to shy away from the issue of marriage equality now that it could be on its way to a Supreme Court victory, the activists at the Awakening were not among them. Throughout the conference, marriage between gay and lesbian couples was portrayed as a demonic and existential threat to liberty, one that if allowed to proceed would end in Christianity being outlawed and Christians thrown in jail.

The Republican National Committee’s faith outreach director, Chad Connelly, who was moderating a panel on abortion rights, echoed the Religious Right’s rhetoric when he warned that LGBT rights activists are “coming for the church.”

Far-right pastor Rick Scarborough, who was sitting beside him, agreed that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of marriage equality, pastors will be forced to “participate in same-sex marriage ” or be thrown in jail. Liberty Counsel’s Harry Mihet, moderating a separate panel, issued a similar warning.

Scarborough repeated his warning when he told activists that a pro-equality Supreme Court ruling would outlaw anti-gay speech, thus undermining “the whole nature of America.”

Multiple speakers compared a potential Supreme Court decision on marriage equality to Dred Scott, the infamous pre-Civil War decision that barred African Americans from citizenship, declaring that it should be met with similar resistance.

2. Losing The Church on Gay Rights Issues

Although the Awakening took place in what appeared to be a generationally diverse, multiethnic church, the crowd at the conference was overwhelmingly older and white. Throughout the conference, speakers bemoaned the fact that the Religious Right was losing support among younger Christians for its political agenda, especially its opposition to LGBT rights.

Liberty University’s Rena Lindevaldsen told the audience at a breakout panel on “sexual rebellion” that when fellow conservative Christians ask her what the “big deal” is about LGBT rights, she responds “it’s a big deal because it’s a big deal to God.” Marriage equality, she told the enthusiastic audience, matters to God because it is “the heart of where Satan’s attacking”:

Evangelist Franklin Graham also lamented that “a lot of pastors have quit preaching against homosexuality” out of fear of offending people in their churches who might have gay relatives. He told the audience that “God will bless you and he’ll honor you” if you “don’t shut up” about gay rights and abortion:

This was a crowd that had not given up on discredited “ex-gay” therapy. An “ex-lesbian” activist, Janet Boynes, was given a main stage speaking slot and “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan earned a roaring round of applause from the audience at the “sexual rebellion” panel when he announced that he had been “out of homosexuality for 27 years.”

3. A Spiritual Battle Against Islam And Progressivism

Just as the crowd at the Awakening was upset that the conservative movement and the church have supposedly become less invested in fighting LGBT rights, they were also wary of any overtures between Christians and Muslims.

Graham declared that “Islam is a wicked system” and blasted Christians who say that Muslims and Christians worship the same God.

Kamal Saleem, the self-proclaimed “ex-terrorist” whose personal story has never quite held up to scrutiny , also warned that churches are being “invaded by ‘Chrislam,’” lamenting that Americans are oblivious to the dangers of radical Islam: “We’re watching American Idol and they are doing jihad.” He also warned of what he called “jihad of the womb,” or Muslim immigrants giving birth in order to outnumber Christians.

What activists at the Awakening saw as a war against Islam was merely part of a larger “spiritual battle” between good and evil, God and Satan. In the panel discussion he led on LGBT rights, Matt Barber declared that there is an “Islamo-progressive axis of evil” with a “common enemy”: Christians.

Maine pastor Ken Graves repeated that theme when he declared that American Christians are fighting “militant Islam” and “militant homofascism” and secularists who want to establish a “secular humanist caliphate”:

4. Time Is Running Out On America, And It’s Up To The Church To Save It

Throughout the day, speakers warned that America is running out of time before it is lost forever, and that it is up to conservative Christians to get involved in politics to save the country.

Graham told the crowd that he is more politically outspoken than his father, Billy Graham, because America is in a more dire state of secularism. “When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore,” he said, declaring that the 2016 election is the last chance for the Religious Right to save the country.

Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator and likely 2016 GOP presidential candidate, delivered a similar message, warning that “we are heading down in a direction that, let’s be honest, no civilization has ever been able to recover from.” Conservative Christians, he declared, must reinvest themselves in politics in order, to among other things, put the Bible in public schools:

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, another likely GOP presidential hopeful, told the crowd that prayer was needed to bring about “spiritual revival” and change the political direction of the country: “If God’s people truly pray down a spiritual awakening, then the political landscape will change.”

“This country did not start because some people had some brilliant ideas, although they did. This country happened because God’s providence was the foundation of their brilliant ideas,” Huckabee said. “Because of his inspiration, this country has been sustained throughout all of its history because of God’s specific intervention in helping us to win battles we should never have one and in keeping us from losing battles we should have lost.”

The RNC’s Connelly also made a plug for conservative churches to engage in partisan politics , urging pastors to buck IRS rules preventing politicking from the pulpit and declaring that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual.”

5. The Religious Right And The GOP Still Need Each Other

One of the strangest moments of the day came when a George W. Bush impersonator walked onto the stage with Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver as he introduced Huckabee. Staver jokingly reassured the audience that it was not the former president’s brother, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who has clashed with the Religious Right over gay rights issues. It seemed to be a spontaneous addition to the program, it was hard not to see it also as a reminder to the audience of the potential power of the evangelical vote.

Unlike the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit, which has become the flagship gathering of the GOP and the Religious Right, the Awakening tends to attract only true believers in the cause. This year, Santorum and Huckabee spoke, while Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal submitted a video message. Connelly, who heads the GOP’s outreach to evangelical voters, moderated a panel on abortion rights, but largely deflected difficult questions from the far-right crowd.

Connelly did not, however, shy away from right-wing conspiracy theories, responding to a question about the “culture of death” in end-of-life care by claiming that the Affordable Care Act’s mythical “death panels” are “a reality":

It was clear throughout the day that however wary the Religious Right and the GOP establishment may be of each other, they still need each other. Speakers like Graham urged conservative Christians to revive the powerful Religious Right pressure machine to win GOP politicians to their side, whether or not they agreed with their issues. Meanwhile, the presence of the GOP candidates and Connelly indicated that this is a voting bloc that is still important to the party, however extreme its priorities may be.

Remember That Time Obama Almost Nuked Charleston?

When Rick Santorum joined other GOP presidential hopefuls for a “national security” summit hosted by right-wing conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney last weekend, it shouldn’t have been a surprise that they would encounter fringe conspiracy theorists in the audience, including one activist who asked Santorum a winding question about immigration, an imminent communist takeover and President Obama’s plot to nuke Charleston, South Carolina.

As we reported on Monday, Santorum responded to the activist’s accusation not by rebutting her conspiracy theory but by taking offense to her claim that Santorum, a former U.S. senator, had some responsibility for the congressional GOP leadership’s response to Obama’s immigration actions. He went on to label the president a “tyrant.”

The story of Obama’s purported plot to detonate a nuclear bomb in Charleston, which the questioner said occurred just “a few months ago,” has been circulating in far-right outlets for several years.

Essentially, the story goes that Obama planned to nuke Charleston as part of a false flag attack to build support for the U.S. entering the war in Syria or another conflict.

Dave Weigel posted a breakdown of the wild accusation, which unsurprisingly, involves “InfoWars” host Alex Jones:

Jim Garrow, a fringe activist who occasionally appears in far-right media outlets insisting that he is a former intelligence agent out to expose Obama’s plan to speak to aliens, launch a Canadian invasion of the U.S. and kill 300 million Americans, has also promoted the claim, with a twist involving George Soros.

Garrow pointed to a spike in dolphin deaths, which were likely caused by the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, as proof that three U.S. military officials thwarted Obama’s plot by detonating a nuclear bomb in the ocean, keeping Charleston safe from attack. 

He told Jones that these three patriots, along with God, stopped Obama by safely detonating one of the devices off of the Carolina coast. Garrow’s bizarre claims must have struck a chord, as he appeared last year alongside then-Rep. Kerry Bentivolio, R-Mich., and aspiring anti-Obama coup leader Paul Vallely at a Michigan “Freedom Summit.”

Ted Cruz: The Tea Party's Doomsday Prophet

No candidate flaunts his Tea Party bona fides more loudly than Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, whose 2012 campaign for an open Senate seat made him a celebrity among conservative activists nationwide.

Franklin Graham: Only One Election Left To Save America

As we noted yesterday, easily the biggest round of applause at Liberty Counsel’s Awakening conference on Saturday came when Franklin Graham, the fiery son of evangelist Billy Graham, walked onto the main stage of Faith Assembly. Graham, who leads his father’s ministry as well as an international relief organization, benefits from the reverence paid to his father but has also built a reputation of his own as a commentator on the apocalyptic nature of Barack Obama’s presidency.

Graham told his audience that he has a more political and divisive reputation than his father because America has gone downhill since his father’s time and might not recover if the Religious Right doesn’t turn out to vote in the 2016 and stop taking candidates like Obama at face value when they say they’re Christians:

Now, some people say, ‘Franklin, you’re a lot more harsh than your father. Your father wouldn’t have done this’…When my father was born, the Ten Commandments were on the wall of every school in America. When my father was born, the teachers still led the class in the Lord’s Prayer. Our country is not that anymore. And I can tell you right now it ain’t coming back. But we’re going to lose everything if we don’t in this next election — and we only have this next election, I think, for our voice to be heard.

This attitude, if we stay home, or if someone says ‘I’m a Christian,’ ‘Oh, I’ll just vote for him without doing a little investigation,’ we’re going to lose everything. But let me tell you if the church speaks with the voice of Almighty God, let these candidates know you don’t take us Christians for granted. Don’t just think we’re going to show up and vote for you. You’ve got to convince us that what you say is correct and what you say is true.

Earlier in the speech, Graham urged pastors not to “shut up” on opposing gay rights and abortion.

Gordon Klingenschmitt: Impeach Obama Over Gay Rights, Mythical Election Tampering

In an email to Pray In Jesus Name Project supporters on Saturday, televangelist and Colorado state legislator Gordon Klingenschmitt blasted the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s 2012 decision to cover discrimination against transgender people under laws that prevent discrimination on the basis of sex.

He berated the EEOC’s move as a sign that President Obama is becoming a dictator who committed an impeachable act.

The Dictator-in-Chief, President Obama, is once again using his phone and his pen to change laws without Congressional approval. This time he called Jacqueline A. Berrien, Chairman of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), to simply "reinterpret" the 1964 Civil Rights Act to protect homosexual status as if it were discrimination against "sex."



When dictators can change laws without Congress, simply by "reinterpreting" laws against federal courts rulings that held the opposite interpretation, we have truly become a lawless nation ruled by dictators. This is an impeachable offense.

In another email today, Klingenschmitt brought up the myth that the Obama administration spent federal funds “to try to defeat Netanyahu,” claiming that the “anti-Semitic” Obama "clearly wants Iran to get nuclear power, which they will use to destroy Israel.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has won re-election, and his main opponent has conceded, despite alleged misuse of American tax-dollars to try to defeat Netanyahu.



If the investigation confirms Obama and Kerry used our tax-dollars to fund an election to defeat Netanyahu, this is an impeachable offense. It's not only illegal, and theft, but anti-Semitic, intended to harm our closest ally in the middle east. Obama clearly wants Iran to get nuclear power, which they will use to destroy Israel. Thank God the people of Israel saw past Obama's corruption, and re-elected Bibi.



I agree with PM Netanyahu, and I disagree with John Kerry. Giving nuclear energy to Iran is not a roadblock to weapons, rather it paves the road to nuclear weapons in the hands of militant Islamists who vow to wipe Israel off the map of history.



Obama is so disliked in Israel now, that his campaign against Netanyahu will actually help Netanyahu gain votes. Israeli's are fed up with Obama's support of Iran, and tired of being bombed with rockets by Muslim terrorists. I predict the Israeli elections in March will move them further to the right. Netanyahu's real challenge comes from hawks to his right, not from Obama on his left.

Fox's Todd Starnes Attacks Michelle Obama For Marking Persian New Year, Just Like George W. Bush

As conservative pundits in the U.S. gush over the election victory of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, American Religious Right activists continue to conveniently ignore Netanyahu’s government’s support for taxpayer funding to cover abortion procedures, universal health care and gay rights.

In an appearance on the American Family Association’s radio network today, Fox News commentator Todd Starnes continued that trend, boasting to host Ed Vitagliaono that he “put out a tweet yesterday: ‘Netanyahu wins, Obama loses, praise be to God.’”

Starnes said the Obama administration has made the U.S. “BFFs with the Islamic Republic of Iran” and hostile to Israel and took issue with First Lady Michelle Obama’s appearance at an event marking the Persian New Year, or Nowruz.

Of course, the White House tradition of celebrating Nowruz started with George W. Bush.

The Animus Amicus: Archive Activism and Marriage Equality

Note: This article first appeared at Huffington Post. 

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments on the constitutionality of state laws that ban same-sex couples from getting married. The historic case has attracted a wide array of amicus briefs; People For the American Way Foundation joined religious and civil rights groups on a brief urging the Court to reject discriminatory marriage bans and challenging “religious liberty” arguments opposing marriage equality.

One fascinating brief was filed by the Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C.  The original group by that name was led by Frank Kameny, an astronomer who was fired from his federal job for being gay and led some of the earliest gay-rights protests in the nation’s capital in the 1960s. The name and legacy have been revived by local activists Charles Francis and Pate Felts for the purpose of documenting decades of systematic anti-gay discrimination by the federal government. In partnership with pro bono attorneys from the firm of McDermott Will & Emery, the new Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. is engaged in strategic “archive activism.” They are using the Freedom of Information Act to unearth a “culture of animus” that permeated the U.S. Civil Service Commission – now known as the Office of Personnel Management – and to bring to public light previously closed records about investigations challenging workers’ “loyalty” and “suitability.”

“The investigation and firing of gay and lesbian federal employees was like shooting fish in a barrel for the General Counsels and legal staff of the Civil Service Commission,” says Francis. “The animus, almost sports-like in their writings, is documented in decades of legal advisory files we discovered this year at the National Archives.”

Among the historical tidbits unearthed by the project: Nancy Reagan turning down a plea from a dying Rock Hudson for help getting into another hospital; and anti-gay activist Gary Bauer’s no-holds-barred, but ultimately unsuccessful, effort to keep the White House from including a gay person on the nation’s first AIDS commission.

The Mattachine Society’s project is about preserving the historical record, but it also has an important legal purpose, which is demonstrating that anti-equality laws and regulations have long been grounded in hostility, or animus, that is not a permissible justification for discrimination.  Chief Justice John Roberts’ dissent from the Supreme Court decision in Windsor, which overturned the Defense of Marriage Act, demonstrates the importance of this archival work. Roberts suggested there is insufficient evidence – he waved it away as “snippets of legislative history” – to demonstrate that DOMA’s purpose was to “codify malice.” Added Roberts, “I would not tar the political branches with the brush of bigotry.”

There’s no escaping the brush of bigotry, the reeking stench of bigotry, exposed by the Mattachine Society’s brief, which links to more than 35 historical documents that demonstrate the ways that the Civil Service Commission, often in partnership with J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI and other law enforcement agencies, investigated people suspected of sexual “perversion” and robbed them of their federal jobs and careers.

From the amicus:

For decades, this animus was one of the basic assumptions of American life. It was so persistent, so prevalent, and so instrumental to the way that we structured our institutions, treated our fellow citizens, and organized our lives that, in retrospect, it is often overlooked….

For decades, both federal and state governments targeted and persecuted homosexuals, individuals suspected of being homosexual, and even those believed to have engaged in homosexual acts, regardless of actual sexual orientation. The stated rationale shifted over time—from concerns about national security to code words, such as “suitability”—but the point was always the same: government officials, federal and state, high and low, felt a complete revulsion toward homosexuals and wanted to purge the country of even the hint of homosexuality.

Animus, therefore, was a culture. And with that culture came a language. For decades,  government officials referred to homosexuality in official, often highly confidential or privileged communications, as “unnatural,” “uniquely nasty,” “immoral,” “deviant,” “pervert[ed],” and an “abomination.” Even the FBI had a term for the program that it designed to rid the government of homosexuals—the “Sex Deviate Program.” Once it attached, whether based in fact or mere speculation, the label of homosexuality remained forever fixed. As one senior executive official wrote, “once a homo, always a homo.” And, as one state legislature put it, what homosexuals wanted was “recognition.” And “recognition” was something to fear….

The effort to purge “sex deviates” began well before President Dwight Eisenhower’s 1953 Executive Order 10450, but that action explicitly made “sexual perversion” a disqualification from federal employment. Congress was in on the act as well. The Mattachine amicus quotes from a 1950 document from the US Senate Subcommittee of the Committee on Expenditures in the Executive Department:

There is no place in the United States Government for persons who violate the laws or the accepted standards of morality, or who otherwise bring disrepute to the Federal service by infamous or scandalous personal conduct . . . . It is the opinion of this subcommittee that those who engage in acts of homosexuality and other perverted sex activities are unsuitable for employment in the Federal Government.

The federal government also worked in concert with anti-gay activities being carried out at the state level. One of the documents uncovered by Mattachine’s Freedom of Information Act requests is a 1963 note from Civil Service Commission General Counsel L. V. Meloy to Charley Johns, chairman of the Florida Legislative Investigation Committee on Homosexuality and Citizenship.

The infamous Johns Report wallowed in salacious descriptions of “the special world of homosexuality” and warned of “aggressive homosexuals” seeking recognition and legal equality. The report described teachers engaging in sex in public bathrooms and little league coaches seducing teenagers, asserting, “The plain fact of the matter is that a great many homosexuals have an insatiable appetite for sexual activities and find special gratification in the recruitment to their ranks of youth.” The report included a glossary of “sex offenses” that were illegal under Florida law and eight pages of homosexual slang and “deviate acts.”

Meloy’s letter asking for “several copies” of the report said that the “Federal Government has related problems in this area and … [the] investigation will shed additional light on a most difficult problem in suitability for government employment.” The Florida committee specifically targeted gay teachers but also resulted, according to the Mattachine amicus, in the removal of at least 37 federal employees.

The brief also documents that the Civil Service Commission shifted its strategies in response to court rulings challenging its policies. The brief goes into some depth documenting the case of William Dew, an African American Air Force veteran. Dew was married with a pregnant wife when he was fired from his job as an air traffic controller in 1958 for having admitted years earlier as part of a job application to the CIA that he had experimented with gay sex when he was in college. After a six-year legal battle, culminating in the Supreme Court agreeing to hear Dew’s appeal, the government settled with him. But rather than loosening the CSC’s anti-gay policies, the government strengthened its resolve in the wake of the Dew settlement and, in the words of the Mattachine amicus, “demonstrated its willingness to use all of its resources to crush homosexuals and those who engaged in homosexual acts with its suitability standards.”

Following a 1969 DC Circuit Court ruling that challenged the firing of federal workers for something that had nothing to do with the performance of their jobs, the CSC General Counsel at that time, Anthony Mondello, argued that federal agencies would have a hard time attracting quality workers if applicants knew they might have to work with “people who repeatedly engaged in serious misconduct offensive to community standards.”

The CSC and its successor, the Office of Personnel Management, continued to target gay federal employees throughout the 1960s and 1970s and into the 1980s.

The Mattachine Society brief ends with an appeal to the Court’s history of addressing anti-gay animus:

The Dew case is important for another reason as well—one that goes to the heart of the cases now before this Court. For decades, there was no limit to the animus meted out against LGBT Americans and no end to its reach. It poisoned every institution in the United States and seeped into the lives of all Americans, not merely those of gays and lesbians. So too, the language of animus became commonplace among those in the highest positions in government: “homo,” “sexual deviant,” “pervert,” “abomination,” “uniquely nasty,” and other derogatory terms and phrases were used with bureaucratic ease as a way to define, cabin, and limit the citizenship of LGBT Americans. As the Dew case perfectly illustrates, the animus even extended to those who were not gay.

It was the courts—and in the case of Dew, this Court—that ultimately stepped in to set the course right. This Court knows animus when it sees it, and it has a well-established line of cases overturning laws that by their text, background history, and effect, relegate a class of citizens to second-class status. Seee.g., Romer v. Evans, 517 U.S. 620 (1996); Lawrence v. Texas, 539 U.S. 558 (2003); and United States v. Windsor, 133 S. Ct. 2675 (2013). Indeed, this Court has already recognized the long history of discrimination and animus against homosexuals. Seee.g., Lawrence, 539 U.S. at 571.

The newly revealed documents cited herein merely reinforce what this Court already knows. For decades, there was a culture of animus against LGBT Americans that permeated every aspect of American life and every American institution. In many places, that culture continues to this day. To say that the marriage bans now at issue are not somehow the product of this historical animus is to ignore reality. We may not see the air that feeds the flame. But, for decades, animus against LGBT Americans fed the flames of hatred, revulsion, and disgust from which the current marriage bans arose.

The Mattachine Society of Washington, D.C. is optimistic about the impact of its brief. “The government attorneys who administered the federal ban on homosexuals have met their match in our pro bono counsel McDermott, Will & Emery’s powerful amicus brief," says Francis, "The McDermott brief is a lasting account of an unconstitutional ‘culture of animus’ embedded through seven Presidencies.”

PFAW

Beck: Netanyahu's Victory Shows That 'The Lord Does Exist And He Is Sitting On His Throne'

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck declared that the victory of Benjamin Netanyahu's Likud Party in yesterday's Israeli election proves that "the Lord does exist."

Repeating the bogus right-wing claim that the Obama administration had used tax dollars to fund an anti-Netanyahu election campaign, Beck declared that "our administration is completely out of control and criminal," but that God carried Likud to victory despite the president's dirty tricks.

"The Lord does exist and he is sitting on his throne," Beck declared, saying that there was no way that Netanyahu should have won the election and the fact that he did is proof that "God exists."

"God exists for us as well," he continued. "No matter what they have, no matter how dirty they play it, if we do what we're supposed to do, the scales will be even. God will have his thumb on the scale":

Sandy Rios: Irish Parades On St. Patrick's Day OK, Mexican Parades An 'Invasion'

Today, one day after St. Patrick’s Day, Sandy Rios of the American Family Association fumed on her radio show that show that the main street of her neighborhood was closed for two hours last weekend because Mexican-Americans were holding a parade while carrying a statue of a saint. Such parades, she said, represent a Mexican “invasion” of America, unlike Irish parades to mark St. Patrick’s Day, which she said are acceptable just because.

“We are importing criminals, we are importing people who have no means of support. You know, when our immigration program was strong and working the way it should, people could not come to the country unless they had a sponsor, someone to help them find a job, someone to help take care of them,” she claimed. “They didn’t come in and sign up for American taxpayer dollar benefits, they were not a drain, they were in fact a great boon, a great blessing and gift to this country because they came and they worked hard and they became Americans. They didn’t demand that their culture be transported into this country and resented if it isn’t.”

She went on to blast the “huge Mexican parade” in her town that she suspects was filled with undocumented immigrants: “They closed one of the main arteries for at least two hours, the music was unbelievably loud, everyone was dressed in Mexican costumes, they were marching some sort of a saint, I don’t know who it was, and the streets were just filled with Mexican nationals who, maybe they’re citizens but I sort of don’t think so.” “Like, we have Irish-American parades and I don’t mind people celebrating their ethnicity, what I do mind is an invasion without permission, I do not want American culture to be transformed into another culture,” she said. “I do resent any kind of push to supplant that with something that has produced poverty and dependence, it is not a system of government or way of life that we want to mainstream.” AUDIO

Anti-Gay Activist: Marriage Equality Is 'The Heart Of Where Satan's Attacking'

As we mentioned earlier, the mood at Saturday’s Awakening conference in Florida around the issue of gay marriage was utter panic, and nowhere was that expressed more clearly than in a panel titled “Same-Sex Marriage and Sexual Rebellion: Freedom Under Fire,” moderated by off-the-rails anti-gay pundit Matt Barber and featuring a pastor, two “ex-gay” activists, and Rena Lindevaldsen, the Liberty University dean who has murky ties with the case of an “ex-lesbian” who fled the country with her daughter to defy a court order giving the child's other mother custody.

Lindevaldsen set the tone for the discussion when she lamented that too many conservative Christians aren’t committed to fighting gay rights and instead ask her “why is this such a big deal and why does it matter?”

"It's a big deal because it's a big deal to God," she declared.

Quoting the late Chuck Colson , she told the audience, “In every action we take, we are either helping to create a hell on Earth, or bringing down a foretaste of heaven…We are either advancing the rule of Satan or establishing the reign of God.”

“There’s no middle ground, there’s no neutrality, there is no compromise,” she added, telling Christians who are on the fence about gay rights that “it’s not loving” to let gay people “go on not knowing that God has a better plan for their lives, this is not the way that God designed them to be.”

“This is the heart of where Satan’s attacking,” she said. “He is seeking to destroy human sexuality and marriage. Why? Because we are the reflection, marriage is the reflection of the relationship between Christ and his church. And so if you’re going to destroy the only human reflection we have of that, we’re going to destroy marriage.”

Our friends at American Bridge captured the audio:

Later in the panel, “ex-gay” activist Greg Quinlan similarly warned Christians not to be taken in by LGBT rights, saying that the Human Rights Campaign’s famous equals sign bumper stickers are “not about equality” but “about dominance” and hide an effort to destroy the Constitution.

(Audio again via American Bridge):

When you see that blue bumper sticker with that bright yellow sign, it’s not about equality, it’s about dominance. It’s about silencing any voice that’s against what they want to do. And the real issue is this — I want you to understand this. The Constitution of the United States is a Calvinist document — I’m not a Calvinist — it’s a Christian document, it was written by reformers, based on the word of God. The problem that the secular left has, secular progressives, whatever label you want to put on them, the anti-God folks, our Constitution. And their goal is to undo it, if that means by reinterpreting it rewriting it, but it is to undo it.

So know this, especially the homosexual agenda, if I go down the list, I got a thing called “the big pink plan for a lavender culture,” another talk I do, which goes to what the agenda is. I was there when they were talking about what they want to do. It’s not about equality, it’s about dominance.

Ben Carson: Preschoolers Facing Indoctrination

Likely GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson appeared on the American Family Association’s radio network today to promote his book, “You Have a Brain: A Teen’s Guide to Think Big.”

“We live in a culture of heavy indoctrination, it starts in preschool and people try to influence the way people think about things,” Carson told host Ed Vitagliano. “I think it was Stalin who said, ‘Give me the children for a few years and I will have them for life.’ And the point being that it is relatively easy at that inflexion point to indoctrinate people and to change their way of thinking for the rest of their lives.”

We are not sure what quote Carson is referring to, but there are several similar quotes attributed to Adolf HitlerVladimir Lenin and the Jesuits.

In his 2012 book “America the Beautiful,” Carson was caught plagiarizing from the website socialismsucks.net in a passage criticizing the supposed socialist indoctrination taking place in schools:

Anytime you give to government the responsibility and authority to provide government-made jobs, old-age financial security, “free” health care, and “free” education and indoctrination of children, it will control the lives of the people who live under its jurisdiction, and individual liberty and freedom of choice are sacrificed.

Sure, there are several different brands of socialism — at least as many types as there are would-be people-planners who wish to impose their plans to control the moral and economic lives of other people. But are you willing to surrender your precious liberties to a socialist state which promises “security” for everyone and government-enforced equality? Isn’t this what Hitler and other socialists promised the German people in his Nazi (national socialist) platform — a country in which government guarantees security and “equality” in exchange for giving up individual freedom? Will Americans fall for the same scam?

Beck: Dolce & Gabbana Boycott Is Like Locking Galileo In The Tower

Glenn Beck is outraged over the fact that Elton John has called for a boycott of Dolce & Gabbana after the fashion designers voiced their opposition to same-sex families and in vitro fertilization, saying that such a boycott is like locking Galileo in a tower for opposing the conventional science of the day.

Beck spent the opening monologue of his television program last night warning that "we are on the path of putting Galileo back in the tower" because progressives are out to destroy anyone who holds different opinions and cited the Dolce & Gabbana boycott as evidence.

"Is this the kind of freedom that we're at?" Beck asked. "Anyone who feels the same as Dolce and Gabbana, let me ask you, are they empowered to express their view or are they now afraid that Hollywood and progressives will come after them? The party of progress is making progress indeed, back to the Dark Ages, back to the days when differing scientific views were labeled heresy and black magic. As the march toward conformity continues, America gets farther and farther away from the place where those who will change the world with art and science and music, those who will bring on the next Renaissance just might find themselves locked up in a tower and sadly never paint the next Mona Lisa":

Fischer: Obama Wants Clinton To Lose So He Can Continue To Weaken America

As we have noted before, as long as Bryan Fischer has some source that he can cite, he is willing to treat even the most unverified and baseless statements as fact, so long as they support his agenda or conspiracy theories.

Fischer demonstrated this trait once again on his radio program yesterday, citing the bogus claim put forth by discredited right-wing journalist Ed Klein that White House adviser Valerie Jarrett was responsible for leaking the Hillary Clinton email story to the media as evidence of his theory that President Obama doesn't want Clinton to become the next president so that he can continue his efforts to destroy America.

As Fischer sees it, since Obama's mission is to weaken and undermine America, he will be better positioned to continue doing that once he is out of office if there is a Republican in the White House.

"He can criticize at will," Fischer said. "He can tee off, he can complain, he can whine, he can condemn, he can criticize, he can fly all over the world as a former president, running down this country to anybody who will pay him a handsome fee to come and speak."

"If his agenda is to weaken this country," he continued, "if his agenda is to transform this country into something that you and I don't recognize, I believe he feels he can do that better if Hillary Clinton loses than if Hillary Clinton wins. I think this is all about President Obama wanting to preserve his ability to continue to be a community agitator":

Rick Scarborough Fondly Recalls The Time God Sent Rain To End An ACT UP Protest Of Jerry Falwell

At a panel discussion on abortion rights at this weekend’s Awakening conference, the topic at one point turned to how abortion rights advocates are supposedly nasty and mean while anti-choice activists are kind and compassionate to their adversaries.

This caused Vision America’s Rick Scarborough to recall the time God disrupted a protest of “radical homosexuals” from the gay rights group ACT UP when the late Jerry Falwell was speaking at his church in Texas.

Falwell, Scarborough recalled, asked him to send pitchers of ice water out to the protesters outside those church, “and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.”

Then, Scarborough recalled, “God got involved” and in an apparent act of solidarity with Falwell’s magnanimity drove away the “radical homosexuals” with a torrential downpour.

Falwell was speaking in our church back in the days of ACT UP. Radical homosexuals showed up, I mean the police literally stood between them and our congregation. Rev. Falwell said, ‘Rick, while I’m preaching, send your men out there with pitchers of ice water because it was a roaring July day in Texas. And so our men when out there and those radical gays were just astounded by the kindness.

And then God got involved. This is really humorous to think about and remember. But right about halfway through Dr. Falwell’s sermon, with these radical gays outside, we heard a clap of thunder and lightning…and a torrential rain fell. By the time he finished, the sun was shining, but the gays were wet and gone.

So, sometimes when we radically live the faith, God gets involved.

Sen. James Lankford And Rep. Randy Forbes Want To Protect 'Corporate Conscience' So Christians Are Free To Discriminate

Earlier this year, the restaurant chain Chipotle stopped selling pork at several hundred stores after cutting ties with one of its suppliers for violating the chain's animal welfare standards.

Today, Sen. James Lankford and Rep. Randy Forbes published a truly absurd op-ed in The Christian Post using Chipotle as an example of the importance of protecting the "corporate conscience" of Christian business owners who want to discriminate against gay customers.

Seemingly unaware of the very clear difference between a company refusing to do business with a particular supplier and one openly discriminating against an entire class of people, Lankford and Forbes argue that "protecting corporate conscience" is vital so that the right of Christians to discriminate against gays is protected in the name of religious freedom:

It is crucial that the same freedom enjoyed by the leadership of Chipotle remains equally available to business owners of faith. Indeed, much more so as freedom of religion is explicitly protected by the First Amendment. We cannot simultaneously laud the leaders of a business motivated by a commitment to environmental sustainability and discriminate against the leaders of a business motivated by religious belief.

If a decision based on moral convictions is celebrated, shouldn't a decision based on the free exercise of religion – a right guaranteed in the Constitution – be even more so?

To be sure, religious freedom is not just a choice of convenience – it is a fundamental right given to all Americans by the Constitution. As we recognize Chipotle's decision, let's remember that a clear constitutionally supported civil right of religious freedom should be cherished and respected in every corner of this nation.

We live in a country whose laws respect freedom and diversity, and our Constitution has always had robust protections for all Americans to live and work by their religious convictions. Americans do not check their religious freedom at the door when they leave their home or place of worship and enter the public sphere.

We must not fall prey to the hypocrisy of defending the freedom of operating a business on convictions of sustainability, but reject that same freedom when the convictions are based in faith.

Stakelbeck: Grover Norquist, André Carson & Huma Abedin Part Of 'Fox In The Henhouse Strategy' Of 'Stealth Jihad'

Anti-Muslim activist and conspiracy theorist Frank Gaffney scored a major PR victory last week when, with the help of Glenn Beck, he convinced the National Rifle Association to launch an investigation into its board member Grover Norquist’s supposed radical Islamist ties. Gaffney has been trying for years to frame the anti-tax crusader as a Muslim Brotherhood agent, a campaign that he has also extended to former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Democratic Rep. André Carson of Indiana.

On his “Secure Freedom Radio” program on Monday, Gaffney discussed this theory with Christian Broadcasting Network reporter Erick Stakelbeck, who explained that Norquist, Abedin and Carson are part of the Muslim Brotherhood’s “fox in the henhouse strategy” to perpetrate “stealth jihad” hidden behind “suits and ties,” “fluent English,” and “eloquent tones, at least in public.”

“You have Huma Abedin, a woman closely associated with the Brotherhood back in the news because she’s purging Hillary Clintons emails; you have André Carson, a man closely associated with the Muslim Brotherhood, representative from Indiana, put by Nancy Pelosi on the House Intelligence Committee; you have the president lauding the Islamic Society of Boston as a model for countering violent jihadism; and you have Grover Norquist, now under an ethics investigation by the NRA, who’s been closely tied to the Brotherhood as well,” Gaffney told Stakelbeck.

“How seriously is this civilization jihad component of all of this effort that jihadists are making here at home?” he asked.

“Frank, crucial, crucial, crucial component of the jihadist movement and the global strategy of Islamist groups like the Muslim Brotherhood,” Stakelbeck responded. “Look, ISIS represents one leg of the global jihad, Frank, the violent jihad. We know they want to behead you, we know what ISIS wants. But the Muslim Brotherhood, to me, in many ways is more effective because they lead this stealth jihad of this global jihad, where it’s suits and ties, it’s fluent English, it’s speaking in moderate, eloquent tones at least in public, it’s having entrée to the White House, to the halls of power. That is the fox in the henhouse strategy.”

“And the four cases you outlined, Frank, I don’t know which is more disturbing,” he said.

Stakelbeck added that he was happy the NRA is investigating Norquist: “Thank God that that’s going on, but the stealth jihad continues unabated.”

Religious Right Activists Warn 'Lawless' Marriage Equality 'Undermines The Whole Nature Of America'

At Saturday’s Awakening conference, an annual Religious Right confab organized by Liberty Counsel, the mood surrounding LGBT rights had reached full-blown panic.

Nearly two years after the Supreme Court’s Windsor decision let loose a cascade of federal court decisions legalizing marriage between same-sex couples in dozens of states, the Religious Right activists gathered in a megachurch in Orlando were bracing for a Supreme Court decision that could establish marriage equality nationwide.

At a panel titled “Activism in the Age of Lawlessness,” four Religious Right leaders — John Eidsmoe, Rick Scarborough, William Murray and Harry Mihet —  gathered to suss out what the movement’s response should be to pro-LGBT court rulings that they find to be “lawless.”

John Eidsmoe, the influential Christian nationalist thinker who served as a mentor to Michele Bachmann, outlined the issue, explaining to the audience that “‘rule of law’ ultimately means ‘rule of the highest law,’” or God’s law.

Eidsmoe, who now works for the Religious Right group founded by Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore, who is urging judges in his state to defy a federal court ruling on marriage equality, argued that you are only disobeying the law if you disobey “the law of God.”

“You disobey a law only when those who have that law are breaking a higher law, the law of God,” he said. “And in fact, if you follow the decree of a tyrant when he is defying the law, you are complicit in his defiance. Disobedience then becomes not only a right, it becomes a duty.”

Eidsmoe explained that the idea of civil disobedience had been perverted since biblical times, since the idea of not violating your conscience should only apply if “your conscience is in accord with the word of God.”

Rick Scarborough, the head of Vision America, warned that a Supreme Court decision for marriage equality would be worse for the Religious Right than Roe v. Wade because “with abortion, you can opt out, you don’t have to participate in that.”

He claimed that, in contrast, a marriage equality decision would outlaw anti-gay speech, the exact same erroneous prediction he made following the passage of the 2009 Hate Crimes Law.

“We’ll get up the day after that ruling, and in fact a few hours after that ruling when it’s widely disseminated, and you’ll find yourself, those of us who believe that homosexuality is a sexual sin — perversion if you will — those of us who believe that homosexual marriage is unnatural and forbidden by God and who have taught that our entire lives…when that law is passed you are then going to breaking the law when you preach or teach what you’ve always taught or what you’ve always preached,” he claimed.

“Fundamentally, it undermines the whole nature of America,” Scarborough concluded.

Liberty Counsel attorney Harry Mihet, who was moderating the panel, echoed Scarborough’s dire warnings when he declared that there would be “no way to escape this issue” and that it might “in the near future” land anti-LGBT pastors in jail… just like Martin Luther King, Jr.

“We have to draw the line in the sand and stand firm on the truth of the Word, and not to shy away from a fight, not to quit, not to be silent, but to actually speak truth and love to a society that has a desperate need to hear it,” he said. “And there may come a time when you will have to lose your job because that’s what you’ve done. There may come a time in the near future when you have to lose your liberty and go to jail like Martin Luther King did.”

Rick Santorum: A Religious Right Crusader Masquerading As A 'Blue Collar' Conservative

Since losing to Mitt Romney in the 2012 Republican presidential primary season, Rick Santorum has tried to position himself as the “anti-Romney.” The former Pennsylvania senator isn’t just a conservative warrior on issues like immigration, legal abortion and gay rights;

RNC Faith Director Warns LGBT Activists Are 'Coming For The Church'

Chad Connelly, the Republican National Committee’s official in charge of reaching out to evangelical voters, told a breakout session at the far-right Awakening conference on Saturday that conservative pastors must get involved in politics because LGBT activists are “coming for the church.”

When an audience member in a session about abortion rights asked what to do about a pastor who refuses to participate in politics, Connelly responded that “voting is not political, it’s spiritual” and urged pastors to violate rarely-enforced regulations that prevent churches from being involved in partisan politics in order to keep their tax-exempt status.

Referring to cases where businesses have run afoul of nondiscrimination laws by refusing service to gay and lesbian couples, Connelly said, “Who would have thought that a florist or a baker or a photographer or, for goodness sakes, a wedding chapel would be sued when there were competitors that they could have gone to? They’re coming for the church.”

Listen, voter registration is not political, it’s spiritual. Voting is not political, it’s spiritual. So witness and testimony to the community what you believe in. No wonder we get legislation we don’t agree with, no wonder we get candidates and elected officials we don’t agree with, because our people aren’t engaged.

So if your pastor’s saying, ‘It’s a legal issue, I can’t do this,’ ask them how many churches have lost their tax-exempt status. It’s a finite number: zero. By definition, you’re tax exempt. If there’s no freedom of speech in the pulpit, there’s no freedom of speech, brothers and sisters. And if we can’t say the truth from the pulpit, guess what, we can’t say the truth anywhere.

Who would have thought that a florist or a baker or a photographer or, for goodness sakes, a wedding chapel would be sued when there were competitors that they could have gone to. They’re coming for the church.

He ended by asking the audience to “please help us pressure your pastors” to get involved in elections, but adding that “it’s not a party or political issue.”

Later in the same discussion, far-right pastor Rick Scarborough warned that “every pastor is going to be directly assaulted” by the Supreme Court’s upcoming ruling on marriage equality, claiming that a pro-equality ruling would force churches to “participate in same-sex marriage” or face fines or imprisonment.

Sandy Rios: Conservatives Should Fight Gay Rights Instead Of 'Overblown' Sex Trafficking

Sandy Rios, the right-wing radio host and American Family Association governmental affairs director, is outraged at the GOP’s handling of legislation to combat sex trafficking, a bipartisan bill whose passage may be threatened because of an anti-abortion provision quietly added in by Republican leadership.

Rios said her problem isn’t with the anti-choice add-on, which she supports, but with the fact that Republicans are pushing for the legislation at all at a time when they should instead be fighting to stop gay rights.

She claimed that conservatives should see the fight against sex trafficking as “secondary” to combatting homosexuality since the latter is “threatening the culture” while trafficking “has been overblown.”

This is where misguided people are really affecting the system in a bad way. And this is going to be very controversial what I’m about to say, but I’m going to say it. This whole business of sexual trafficking in the United States, I’m not saying it’s not something of note, I’m not saying it’s something I approve of, but I suspect, methinks, it has been overblown, methinks this is much like the homeless issue that was absolutely blown completely out of proportion by the press and by others many years ago. I think there may be some problem because we have such massive immigration from countries that actually practice this. I doubt it is the huge, huge, huge, huge, huge issue that people want you to think it is.

This is the thing that bothers me: I see ministries and churches jumping on the bandwagon, they are all about saving the women who have been sexually trafficked, this is their great sacrifice, this is their great stand on social issues, at the same time will not say a word, not a peep, about homosexual marriage, hardly anything about homosexuality and what God says about it because that, you see, would cost something. But sexual trafficking, you see, ‘we’re outraged about that,’ not so much about gay marriage because that might be a little icky, we might offend people in the congregation. But sexual trafficking, that’s huge.

So John Cornyn from Texas, Mitch McConnell, they’re hearing from evangelicals who are into sexual trafficking, such a controversial issue, it raises a lot of money and nobody disagrees, it’s a safe issue. By the way, I’m not saying don’t help women who are sexually trafficked or little boys, whoever, but I’m saying it is the coward’s embrace, that’s my opinion. It is the secondary issue of our day, it’s not the one that is threatening the culture.

They think they are pleasing — this is their bone to evangelicals, this is their bone to Christians, we’re passing this victims of trafficking act and we’re saving lives while doing it, this provision that prevents money from going to women who are trafficked for having abortions, I’m not opposed to that, I’m in favor of that. But it is not the issue of the day, it is the coward’s issue of the day to sort of act like you’re doing something when you’re really doing nothing. So Mitch McConnell is not going to call Loretta Lynch’s vote if those Democrats don’t allow this bill to go through with a provision to prevent abortions, so that is how they are pretending as though they have chests when indeed they have none.
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