Fighting the Right

Sandy Rios Floats Rumor that Hillary Clinton Is a Lesbian

After wondering about UN Ambassador Susan Rice’s sexual orientation, American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios is now floating rumors that Hillary Clinton may be a lesbian following the former Secretary of State’s statement expressing support for marriage equality.

Citing Dick Morris, naturally, Rios speculated that Clinton may be a lesbian even though she “can’t confirm or deny anything.”

She added that Clinton has a “love of homosexuality” and consistently “endorsed and embraced all things lesbian and gay.” “We are being caught in this vortex of homosexual advocacy, it’s just amazing,” Rios concluded.

If you think that her support of lesbian and gay rights is something new, I’m sorry, she has repackaged herself so successfully but if you just do a little research on Hillary Clinton you know that her love of homosexuality goes back a very long way. I remember even when she was First Lady, that would be not the beginning of her support for this, but this would be one of the more notable things, on the UN Convention on the Rights of Women, she oversaw the whole thing, the Beijing conference. It was shocking. This was a shocking thing. I think it was in ’94 I remember interviewing women that I knew who came back from the conference and I have mentioned this on the air before but I have to mention it again, under Hillary’s leadership there were even tents on lesbian lovemaking, they we remaking sure that people defined gender there were five genders, not just two genders.

Hillary Clinton, there have long been rumors about her sexual persuasion; if you don’t know that you need to know that. I can’t confirm or deny anything; I just remember that Dick Morris was the first one to raise this publicly. He worked with Bill and Hillary Clinton for a number of years and he said on public television, I was shocked because I knew about the rumors, he actually alleged that Hillary was a — he was trying to make excuses for Bill Clinton when he was caught with Monica Lewinsky — and he basically said, I believe it was on Fox many years ago when that broke, basically hinted that Hillary was a lesbian.

All I can tell you there are rumors abound and I guess since it doesn’t matter anymore then it doesn’t matter anymore, does it? So if you think this is like a seismic shift for Hillary Clinton I can guarantee you this is not a seismic shift. She has always, as far as I know back to college, endorsed and embraced all things lesbian and gay, that is her history on this so that shouldn’t be too shocking. She has played the role of wife and cookie-making mother, I’m sorry but this is just the reality of things. We are being caught in this vortex of homosexual advocacy, it’s just amazing.

Beck: 'Cyprus Is The Answer'

Glenn Beck inhabits a world where everything that happens is part of a massive global conspiracy that only he can understand and he sees it as his duty to use his television program to explain how everything that is happening everywhere in the world at any given moment is all a part of this grand conspiracy, which leads to episodes like the one that aired last night in which he explained how New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's fight against sugary drinks, efforts to pass gun control legislation, and efforts to decriminalize marijuana are all related to the financial crisis taking place in Cyprus ...which will eventually lead to the resurgence of Nazis.

Behold:

Farah: 'Dangerous and Totalitarian' Gays Seek 'the Active Recruitment of Children'

Joseph Farah writes today that lawmakers in California and New Jersey who are pushing limits on ex-gay therapy are “promoting sexual anarchy” and “child abuse.” The virluently anti-gay WorldNetDaily editor warns that the “homosexual lobby” is “dangerous and totalitarian in nature” and seeks the “the active recruitment of children into aberrant sexual lifestyles.”

At the same time American society takes this anything-goes approach to sexuality, there is one new glaring taboo being constructed in some states: Counseling and therapy for minors who want to change their sexual orientation from homosexual to heterosexual. Such legislation was passed by the California Legislature before being struck down by the courts.

But now similar legislation is being introduced in New Jersey, in what can fairly be described as the next big push by those promoting sexual anarchy in America.



This is an illustration of just how dangerous and totalitarian in nature the homosexual lobby truly is.

What’s happening in our society today is nothing short of the active recruitment of children into aberrant sexual lifestyles. We once called this child abuse. But today it’s official state policy. The next step, which may have been unimaginable a few years ago, is to ensure there’s no way out for those recruits.

Parents and children shouldn’t have an opportunity to explore their options in enjoying a heterosexual lifestyle. Change only works one way, according to these fiends.

Think about this: Children molested by same-sex adults are much more likely to adopt a same-sex attraction. Sometimes all those kids need is some counseling to overcome their victimization. That would be legally prohibited by the legislation now under consideration in New Jersey and the legislation passed in California.



The homosexual movement once claimed its supreme goal was to ensure that its constituents could do what they want in the privacy of their own bedrooms. That was a lie. Now they parade their sexual proclivities in our streets and in the “gay”-friendly media. It’s no longer an alternative lifestyle; it’s quickly becoming the preferred lifestyle, the brave new lifestyle, the hip and heroic lifestyle, the affirmative-action lifestyle.

Now the homosexual movement and its allies in the popular culture, media and politics are seeking to use the police power of the state to make sure there’s no return from a “choice” made even as a child. Once “gay,” always “gay” is their credo.

Gary DeMar Calls Homosexuality a 'Grave Evil' Akin to Pedophilia, Murder and Slavery

Gary DeMar of American Vision, a Christian Reconstructionist group, is out with two new columns attacking Hillary Clinton and Rob Portman for endorsing marriage equality. Yesterday, DeMar warned that marriage rights for same-sex couples would eventually mean that parents would have no legal recourse to stop pedophiles from molesting their children.

Is Hillary saying that full citizenship requires that people be able to marry anybody they want?

Does this mean that a father can marry his 17-year-old daughter or son? Will laws prohibiting incestuous marriages be considered a violation of a person’s full and equal citizenship rights?

Maybe not now, but who can say what will be permitted in 10 or 20 years?

I’m sure that people who have jumped ship to embrace pro-homosexual marriage have not thought through the consequences of their decisions, especially young people who are almost always in an affirming mood. The day will come when they will have children, and there won’t be a thing they will be able to do to stop predators from taking advantage of their children because “it will be against the law to discriminate.”

In a Saturday column DeMar called homosexuality a “grave evil” and a “bad moral choice,” and went on to compare supporting a gay son to helping a son who is a pedophile, drug dealer, murderer or slave-owner.

Are there no longer any moral standards? If Senator Rob Portman’s son wants to live and love another man, no one’s stopping him. But to overthrow the moral order of the universe by having the State sanction homosexuality is a grave evil.

No one is denied love. I love all kinds of people, but it’s a moral evil to believe that love necessitates sexual relations. Once you go down this road, there’s no way to stop.

Would Senator Rob Portman throw his support behind pedophilia if he had learned that his son was a pedophile? There are young pedophiles out there. Would he support adultery if his son was an adulterer? Would he support slavery if he found out that one of his relatives was a slave owner and argued persuasively that owning slaves was legitimate? Would the Senator Rob Portman support his son if he learned that he was selling drugs to children? Would he support contract killing if he learned that his son was a contract killer for the mob?

Senator Rob Portman’s son has made a bad moral choice. There is no need to compound that bad moral choice by capitulating to it and softening the moral barriers for young men and women who are struggling with their sexuality and helping to pass laws that will affect millions of people.



As parents, we set standards for our children to live by. When our children rebelled against those standards when they were growing up with us, there were supposed to be consequences. It did not matter how our children felt when they did something wrong. Beating up the neighbor kid because “I felt like it” or “I couldn’t help myself” were not proper moral responses.

Fischer: 'Smart People Are Conservative'

Yesterday, Bryan Fischer blasted those in the Republican Party who think that the party's hostility to gay rights is turning off young voters, saying it was "idiotic" for the GOP to "pander" to the "least mature, least intelligent, least informed, least experienced, least educated members of our movement."

He returned to the topic today, reiterating his view that it makes no sense to moderate the GOP's message in order to appeal to young people because young voters eventually become more conservative as they get older.

"When they mature, when they gain more life experience, when they gain more judgment," Fischer explained, "they become what? They become more conservative because that's what smart people are; smart people are conservative":

Perkins: Homosexuality Is 'Not a Healthy Situation' and Its Acceptance 'Will Lead to a Confused Society'

Yesterday on Washington Watch, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council addressed Sen. Rob Portman’s decision to endorse marriage equality after learning that his son is gay. He said that while Portman should love his son unconditionally, he should not show him “unconditional support,” such as supporting his son as a gay man. He warned that changing laws like marriage “just to accommodate our personal situation” will eventually “lead to a confused society.”

Unconditional support would say we change how we view life and we try to change truth to fit our circumstances, that’s not what the scripture calls us to do. So while I commend him for his unconditional love of his son I cannot support the idea that we change our laws, which are rooted not only in history but obviously in the Judeo-Christian tradition as well as in the social sciences of what’s best for children, that we change those just to accommodate our personal situation. That doesn’t add up, that’s confusion and it will lead to a confused society.

Perkins argued that gays and lesbians will never be fulfilled in life because society will never accept homosexuality as “morally right” since “it’s not healthy” for “society and for the individuals.”

What they want, what they’re looking for — I understand this — they’re looking for affirmation, they’re looking to be what everybody wants to be, everybody wants to be fulfilled in life. The problem is they’re pursuing it in the wrong way and no matter if they’re able to successfully force society to embrace homosexuality or say that it’s okay, this is one of the things I’ve said before: you can make it a right, you can make it legal, but you can’t make it morally right, I mean it’s just not going to happen. So even though you may force everybody silent about it, you’ll never make it right. Of course there are all of the consequences involved in it, for society and for the individuals, it’s not healthy; it’s not a healthy situation.

UPDATE: In a statement today, Perkins warned that the Religious Right may ditch the GOP and join a third party if the Republican National Committee begins “alienating the millions of social conservatives” in their appeals to gay and young voters 

"It looks like Democrats won't need to spend a lot of money building a case against the GOP - because the Republican Party is doing it for them! In what the RNC is calling its 'autopsy' report from the last election, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus has decided that the way for his party to win over voters is to parrot the Left's policies. The grand strategy, which calls for throwing the party's social conservatives overboard, demands the GOP be more 'welcoming' and 'inclusive' to people that are actively working against the conservative principles in the Republican platform. 'We need to campaign among ... gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them too.'

"I agree, we can - and do - care about gay Americans, but that doesn't mean we welcome the redefinition of the core values that gave rise to American exceptionalism. 'Already,' the report warns, 'there is a generational difference within the conservative movement about issues involving the treatment and the rights of gays - and for many younger voters, these issues are a gateway into whether the Party is a place they want to be.' Much of the autopsy (an apt name, considering where its recommendations would lead) seem to suggest that the RNC's idea of bold leadership is chasing whatever fickle policy wind blows its way. In the last 24 hours, the Washington Post caught plenty of people's attention with its latest polls on same-sex 'marriage,' particularly as it pertained to the next generation's support (81 percent). It's their assertion that Americans are racing headlong into the same-sex 'marriage' camp (a result the media was bound to get by framing the poll question as a matter of legality). But history - and most statistical data - shows that young people tend to become more conservative and more religious as they grow up, get married, and start families of their own. In fact, in Frank Newport's new book, God Is Alive and Well, the editor-in-chief of Gallup explains that most people are at their spiritually lowest point at age 23. After that, people become increasingly religious - meaning that a hasty retreat on marriage may score cheap points now, but it would actually alienate the same people later on. Besides, Priebus would be betting the future of the GOP on a bloc who barely votes - while alienating the millions of social conservatives who do! 'I'm trying to show what leadership looks like,' said Preibus, 'by not throwing [Republican Senator] Rob Portman under the bus [for endorsing same-sex 'marriage']' - at the expense of the three-quarters of his party who don't?

"As for Senator Portman, his announcement hasn't exactly been popular with either Ohio party so far. Reports suggest that the calls flooding into his office are 60 percent opposed to the Senator's new position. 'While we've seen national Republican politicians move to support gay marriage in recent years...' the Washington Post points out, 'the party base hasn't really moved with them all that much.' Seventy percent of conservatives don't just oppose same-sex 'marriage,' they strongly oppose it. If Republicans defy them on this issue, warned Rush Limbaugh, 'it will cause their base to stay home and throw up their hands in frustration.' Just look at the 2008 and 2012 exit polls, when the GOP twice nominated a moderate Republican for President - and twice hung their heads in defeat. If the RNC abandons marriage, evangelicals will either sit the elections out completely - or move to create a third party. Either option puts Republicans on the path to a permanent minority.

"Obviously, this RNC report was designed to pander to the GOP's wealthy elites, the same ones who encouraged Mitt Romney to 'tone down his social issues talk.' Unfortunately for them, money doesn't decide elections; people do. And the vast majority of the GOP base believes that marriage is a non-negotiable plank of the national platform. Anything less, writes Byron York, 'could come back to haunt the RNC in the not-too-distant future.' Values issues are not just the backbone of social conservatism, but the gateway to minority outreach. If the GOP wants to improve its relationship with Hispanics, Asians, and African Americans, it had better start by emphasizing the family issues they care about - instead of dividing the Republican family it already has," Perkins concluded.

Beisner Explains Why Environmentalism Represents the 'Greatest Threat to Western Civilization'

Yesterday, Dr. Calvin Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Mefferd's radio program where he explained that the modern environmental movement represents "the greatest threat to Western civilization" because it combines "the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad" into a pseudo-religion that undermines Christianity:

Mefferd: That seems like, maybe to some people, like hyperbole Dr. Beisner, but why do you think that that's the case?

Beisner: Well, let me just give you four simple, direct reasons.

First, because unlike the Soviet Union and its satellites in the Cold War and unlike Islamic jihad today which were, or are, external and clearly recognized as enemies by the overwhelming majority of people in the free world, environmentalism is internal and thought by most to be friend, not foe.

Second, because unlike arid and nihilistic secular humanism, environmentalism speaks to the inherent spiritual yearnings of human souls and it provides plausible answers to dogged questions about how we got here and what causes suffering and how suffering might come to an end.

Third, because environmentalism incorporates the strengths of all three of those other threats: the utopian vision of Marxism, the scientific facade of secular humanism, and the religious fanaticism of jihad.

And fourth, finally, because environmentalism encompasses all the vague spiritualities that have frankly overwhelmed secular humanism in the West and now threaten the Christian faith as so many people now take to referring to themselves as "oh well, I'm spiritual but not religious," which basically means they are all involved in designer religion.

Garlow: America's Tombstone Will Read '1776-2012'

In the second part of Jim Garlow’s post-election sermon at a conference with James Dobson, the California pastor claimed that President Obama’s re-election marked the death of America. Garlow, who warned of America’s impending doom if Obama was re-elected, said that “if a tombstone were to be prepared for America I think it might say ‘1776-2012.’” Garlow went on to compare the prospects of America’s survival to a clinically dead patient miraculously coming back to life.

18 months before the election from May 2011 on I started saying privately to certain people, I think America’s only got 18 months left. I was very hesitant to say that to anybody because it sounded so melodramatic, so over-the-top, and when I talked to people they would all nod and say, ‘I agree with you.’ I was hoping somebody would counter me. I did a countdown: 15 months America’s got left; 12 months America’s got left; 6 months as we approached November 6; 3 months; 2 months; 1 month, and then came November 6, 2012. If a tombstone were to be prepared for America I think it might say: ‘1776-2012.’

But, I’ve written two books having to do with having to do with heaven and the afterlife several years ago in which we studied and analyzed near-death experiences, people who were clinically dead but were remarkably resuscitated and came back to life. I’m hanging on like you are to a conviction, to a belief, that something could happen, that the spirit of God could be released in such a way that something stir within this nation and that revival we’ve longed for suddenly and inexplicably break out someplace, somewhere and sweep this nation, and touch enough lives and transform enough lives that we would see life come back to what appears to be a dead patient.

Phyllis Schlafly Denounces Rob Portman's 'Stupid' and 'Dumb' Marriage Equality Announcement

In an interview on The Janet Mefferd Show yesterday, Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly attacked Sen. Rob Portman’s newfound support for legalizing same-sex marriage, calling his announcement “dumb” and a “stupid statement.” Schlafly, who unlike Portman has maintained her opposition to marriage equality even after learning that she has a gay son, said that Ohio voters may “feel sorry for him” because “maybe he was pressured by his son to do this.”

She insisted that the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) “does not proscribe a national rule against gay rights” and protects states’ rights.

However, Section 3 of DOMA requires the federal government to discriminate against legally married same-sex couples. Even the American Family Association’s legal counsel admits that Section 2, which allows states to refuse to recognize same-sex unions that are legal in other states, likely violates the Constitution’s Full Faith and Credit Clause.

Mefferd: What do you make of Sen. Portman’s announcement last week?

Schlafly: I think it was a rather stupid statement that he made. He doesn’t appear to understand what DOMA is all about. His statement is not in accord with the facts and it’s inconsistent. If he stands up for states to be able to make their own decisions about marriage, DOMA allows that, we have about a half a dozen states that have made that unfortunate decision and they’re not interfered with by DOMA. I don’t understand. Portman was always advertised as one of the brightest of the Senators and he doesn’t seem to understand that the Defense of Marriage Act does not proscribe a national rule against gay rights; it doesn’t do that at all. It just says if one state adopts same-sex marriage the other states simply do not have to recognize it. What can be more states’ rights than that?



Mefferd: That shouldn’t be the way people shift positions as far as public policy is X is happening in my family therefore I’ve changed my mind completely for the entire country.

Schlafly: I agree with you and I think it’s really a dumb way to create legislation and my guess is that the Ohio voters will take care of that in the next election; I think they won’t respond to that type of an argument. They’ll feel sorry for him, maybe he was pressured by his son to do this, but I think the legislators should stand up for what the majority of people want and not decided based on personal experience.

Challenging the Right's Religious Liberty Claims

The ongoing campaign by the Religious Right and its conservative Catholic allies to redefine religious liberty in America – which has been covered extensively by PFAW and Right Wing Watch – is the focus of a new report released on Monday by Political Research Associates, a think tank that also monitors right-wing organizations. “Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights,” was written by Jay Michaelson, who published a condensed version in the Daily Beast.

Michaelson’s report reviews the organizational players and the strategies they employ, among them: mixing fact and fiction; claiming that there is a war on religious liberty; and reversing the roles of victim and oppressor to portray as religious liberty “victims” people who claim a right to discriminate against others. He notes that Religious Right disinformation has had some success in shaping public opinion: in Minnesota last year a large plurality of marriage equality opponents believed that if marriage equality became the law, churches would be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages, even though there is universal agreement that the First Amendment guarantees that churches are free to choose which relationships to bless or not to bless.

The PRA report includes the following recommendations for social justice advocates:

1. Define and publicize the campaign to redefine religious liberty

2. Organize a unified response

3. Counter misinformation

4. Reclaim the religious liberty frame

5. Develop academic responses

6. Leverage religious communities

7. Ongoing research and monitoring

Religious liberty was also the topic of a forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., cosponsored by the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Education Project, Moment Magazine, and the Committee on Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches. Moment, an independent Jewish Magazine, has also published a special Religious Freedom issue for March/April 2013.  At the conference, two large panels brought together a range of religious and secular voices to discuss and debate the meaning of religious liberty and the claims that liberty is under attack in the U.S. today.

Charles Haynes, the First Amendment expert who heads Newseum’s religious liberty committee, noted that the broad coalition that came together to back the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the 1990s is no longer.  Michael Lieberman, director of the Civil Rights Policy Planning Center for the Anti-Defamation League, suggested a reason: that the coalition had intended RFRA to be a shield against government restrictions on the free exercise of religion, but that conservative groups had turned RFRA into a spear used to attack anti-discrimination laws.

One central principle of PFAW’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics became clear: while people can agree on the broad principle that religious liberty protects the freedom to live in accord with one’s religious beliefs, that consensus breaks down quickly when deciding how law and policy should react when religious liberty comes into tension with other constitutional principles like equality under the law. Indeed, panelists strongly (but civilly) disagreed on to what extent organizations – whether religiously affiliated institutions or business corporations – should be able to claim exemption from anti-discrimination laws or the HHS requirement for insurance coverage of contraception. 

Richard Foltin of the American Jewish Committee argued for a shades-of-gray, rather than a black-and-white approach, saying organizations should be viewed on a spectrum, with churches and sectarian institutions on one end and corporations at the other. Foltin said the AJC has submitted amicus briefs in favor of marriage equality at the Supreme Court, but also believes that there are significant religious liberty questions that courts will have to deal with as marriage equality is implemented.  (As noted at another point during the day, the states that now recognize marriage equality all have somewhat different religious exemptions.)

Michaelson proposes five tiers of organizations with differing levels of claims to religious liberty: churches/denominations; religious organizations; religiously affiliated organizations; religiously owned business, and religious individuals. The right-wing, he says, keeps trying to “move the sticks” from the first three groups to the latter two.  He notes that the Mormon Church owns extensive business interests, including shopping malls, and says that if business owners are allowed to claim exemption from anti-discrimination laws and other regulations based on religious belief, many employees will have their rights and interests restricted. 

Author Wendy Kaminer argued that the religious liberty of institutions is over-protected rather than threatened, saying that she believes some claims for religious liberty are actually demands for religious power to impose their beliefs on others.  If business owners are allowed to claim a religious exemption from generally applicable civil rights laws, she asked, what would be the limiting principle to such claims? Could business owners cite religious beliefs to ignore child labor laws, or to refuse to hire married women?  Kaminer challenged what she called an emerging legal double standard: when it comes to taking government funds, advocates say religious organizations need a level playing field and should be treated like every other organization. But when it comes to free exercise claims, and groups like Catholic Charities say they shouldn’t be subject to generally applicable laws, they don’t want a level playing field but special privileges.

Holly Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said that overblown rhetoric about threats to religious freedom is damaging to public understanding of religious liberty. She suggests that the first response to someone who talks about threats to religious liberty should be to ask them what specifically they are talking about.  For example, while people may be concerned when they hear about “an assault on religious liberty,” most Americans do not see a problem with requiring religiously affiliated institutions to abide by anti-discrimination laws or meet contraception requirements.

Legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen suggested that on church-state issues, the Supreme Court justices could be divided into three camps: religious supremacists, advocates of “religious neutrality,” and strict church-state separationists.  The separationists, he said, had their heyday in the 1970s and early 1980s, but that the courts have been moving more toward a “religious neutrality” approach, which he said in some cases is really a cover for the religious supremacists yearning for an openly religious state.  He said a landmark of the triumph of “neutrality” over separation was the 1995 Rosenberger case, in which the court said a public university could not deny funding from a religious publication because of its religious nature.  In the future, he said, Justices Breyer and Kagan may be willing to embrace a “religious neutrality” approach in hopes of winning votes to try to keep Robert and Kennedy from joining the Scalia-Thomas religious supremacists.

Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has filed lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate and which has urged the Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8 and DOMA, portrayed religious liberty issues not as part of a culture war but as the necessity in a pluralistic society of recognizing that differences exist and allowing everyone the maximum ability to live according to their beliefs. He suggested that most church-state conflicts are blown out of proportion and can be resolved relatively easy with a willingness to work around individual religious liberty claims. Kim Colby of the Christian Legal Society endorsed that view, and noted that the Supreme Court will likely be deciding cases in the near future about what constitutes a “substantial burden” on a person’s religious beliefs and what might qualify as a “compelling state interest” that would justify that burden.

Michaelson challenged Rienzi’s portrayal, saying that “religious liberty” itself has become a code word for a new tactic in the culture war against LGBT equality and reproductive rights, and that it was wrong to pretend there would be no victim if a business owner were granted the right, for example, to ignore laws against anti-gay discrimination.  Pharmacies, he said, used to have lunch counters that were segregated. Would it have been OK to justify that discrimination by saying there was another lunch counter down the street, the argument used by advocates for allowing pharmacists to refuse to provide some drugs based on their religious beliefs?

The ADL’s Lieberman said that from his perspective as an advocate for minority religions these do not seem like small or easily resolved issues, and said there was a clear prospect that individual rights would not be safeguarded if, for example, majoritarian school prayer were permitted.  Hoda Elshishtawy, legislative and policy analyst at the Muslim Public Affairs Council also noted the reality of a major power differential between members of majority and minority religions.  Dan Mach, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, noted that there are widespread abuses in public schools, citing an example of a South Carolina public school that set aside a day explicitly intended to try to convert as many students as possible to Christianity.

Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, who moderated the first panel, noted that even on the day the First Amendment was passed, not everyone agreed with it or agreed with what it meant. We’ve been working it out ever since then and can’t quit, he said.  Charles Haynes made a similar point in his closing remarks, noting that in spite of all the differences evident in how we apply First Amendment principles, the ability to continue having the conversation is a reminder of how well those principles have worked to protect religious liberty in an increasingly diverse nation.

Rep. Matt Salmon: House GOP 'The Last Bastion of Freedom for This Country'

Arizona congressman Matt Salmon appeared on Washington Watch with Tony Perkins last week, where he told the Family Research Council president that the GOP-controlled House is “the last bastion of freedom for this country.” However, Salmon warned that if House Republicans fail to “use every tool” at their disposal to stop Obama “at every turn,” then they will be just like the servant in the Parable of the Talents who was punished for hiding his master’s money in the ground rather than earning more money.

Salmon: We need to change the way things are in Washington DC. We cannot let President Obama keep advancing his agenda; we have got to stop it at every turn. You are the last bastion of freedom for this country and we’re counting on you so use every tool in your toolbox.

Perkins: Yeah what I have seen is that the Republicans tend to be too concerned about keeping the majority then using it.

Salmon: You know if that’s where we’re at then you will lose it.

Perkins: And you do, you’re absolutely right.

Salmon: It’s kind of like the parable of the ten talents in the Bible. The one that buried up his talents, was afraid that he would lose them, lost everything in the end.

Anti-Gay Activists Attack Rob Portman's Son's 'Disorder' and 'Abhorrent Lifestyle'

Last week, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman announced that, inspired by his son’s coming out, he now supports marriage equality. Religious Right activists are, of course, responding with a characteristic lack of tact and grace.

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, for example, denounced Portman for trying to “accommodate his son’s abhorrent lifestyle.”

“... Perhaps [the senator’s] love for his son has deceived him in not being able to differentiate between loving his son and helping his son to do the right thing, versus changing his entire worldview and his view of the natural institution of legitimate marriage in order to accommodate his son's abhorrent lifestyle,” says Barber.

Portman told reporters his previous views on marriage were rooted in his Methodist faith and his change of heart came because of "the Bible's overarching themes of love and compassion." Barber challenges that interpretation.

“This provides us a perfect example of the danger of looking at things through the jaundiced prism of our own feelings rather than on objective truths,” says the Liberty Counsel attorney.

WorldNetDaily editor Joseph Farah wondered how Portman would respond if his son came out as a serial killer:

I’ve heard some wacky excuses by politicians for changing their minds on some of the most important moral issues facing American, but Ohio Sen. Rob Portman’s rationale for flip-flopping on same-sex marriage takes the proverbial wedding cake.

In case you haven’t heard, his son is a homosexual.

“I have come to believe that if two people are prepared to make a lifetime commitment to love and care for each other in good times and in bad, the government shouldn’t deny them the opportunity to get married,” Portman wrote in a commentary published Friday in the Columbus Dispatch.

I guess we should all be grateful Rob Portman’s son didn’t choose to become a polygamist or a serial killer.



People like Todd Akin and Steve King don’t represent a threat to the future of the Republican Party. People like Rob Portman and Karl Rove represent a clear and present danger to its future.

What they are pushing is not liberty, it is licentiousness. What they are pushing is not morality, it is moral relativism. What they are pushing is not the kind of virtue and personal responsibility that makes self-government possible, it is the kind of pop-culture immorality that makes self-government impossible.

Ohio-based activist Linda Harvey, president of Mission America, lamented Portman’s decision to support his “rebellious” son’s “disorder” and “delusion”:

It’s not that I can’t empathize with the position his son has put him in. Every parent hopes never to face a rebellious child. But Portman has decided not to call this rebellion. Whether it was pressure from his wife or some kind of ultimatum by his son, Portman now issues editorial statements that ring with “gay marriage” advocacy. What a slam on Ohio families!

He opines about “civil marriage rights” as if they don’t exist now. These unions will be a stabilizing force bringing “renewed strength” to the institution, he thinks – but Portman is either woefully uninformed or deliberately ignores the mounting evidence against these lifestyles and the political militancy they are unleashing . There is no excuse for a sitting senator to jump on board a movement that viciously targets challengers, forces indoctrination of children in taxpayer- funded schools and bullies the corporate culture as well as the Boy Scouts into bowing before its altar of deviance.

And it’s so unnecessary. Every person out there who claims a “gay” identity has the ability to get married in Ohio or anywhere else now. He or she can marry someone of the opposite sex, because that’s what marriage is and because a “gay” identity is a delusion. Two men, no matter how sincere they feel, or two women, will never be a marriage. The person who believes this disorder is “who he is,” as apparently Portman’s son does, has tragically internalized a lie.



The deception of the culture is easy to accommodate if your principles are weak at the core. Homosexual feelings may seem unchosen, but we do have a choice about what fantasies and desires we nurture and feed. And we always have a choice about public identity and behavior.

His son needs to hear the hope of change and the stories of the thousands of former homosexuals in this country. But his father is apparently not going to tell him. How sad!

Beck: Start Hoarding Cash Now!

After a lengthy opening monologue on last night's program in which he declared that "Emperor" Michael Bloomberg is the "most dangerous man in America," Glenn Beck turned his attention to the financial crisis in Cyprus and urged his audience to pull their money out of the stock market and out of the banks and start stockpiling it at home since what is happening if Cyprus "will happen here" because "it has happened before; it happened the last time the progressives tried a utopia."

Beck went on to warn his audience not to tell anyone but their immediate family that they were hoarding money because "the last thing you want to be known as is someone with cash on hand when all of the banks are closed," warning that they will "become more and more of a target" even from their "relatives who call you a joke now" because "drowning people pull others under the water":

Challenging the Right on Religious Liberty

The ongoing campaign by the Religious Right and its conservative Catholic allies to redefine religious liberty in America – which has been covered extensively by PFAW and Right Wing Watch – is the focus of a new report released on Monday by Political Research Associates, a think tank that also monitors right-wing organizations. “Redefining Religious Liberty: The Covert Campaign Against Civil Rights,” was written by Jay Michaelson, who published a condensed version in the Daily Beast.

Michaelson’s report reviews the organizational players and the strategies they employ, among them: mixing fact and fiction; claiming that there is a war on religious liberty; and reversing the roles of victim and oppressor to portray as religious liberty “victims” people who claim a right to discriminate against others. He notes that Religious Right disinformation has had some success in shaping public opinion: in Minnesota last year a large plurality of marriage equality opponents believed that if marriage equality became the law, churches would be forced to solemnize same-sex marriages, even though there is universal agreement that the First Amendment guarantees that churches are and will always be free to choose which relationships to bless or not to bless.

The PRA report includes the following recommendations for social justice advocates:

1. Define and publicize the campaign to redefine religious liberty

2. Organize a unified response

3. Counter misinformation

4. Reclaim the religious liberty frame

5. Develop academic responses

6. Leverage religious communities

7. Ongoing research and monitoring

Religious liberty was also the topic of a forum at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., cosponsored by the Newseum’s Religious Freedom Education Project, Moment Magazine, and the Committee on Religious Liberty of the National Council of Churches. Moment, an independent Jewish Magazine, has also published a special Religious Freedom issue for March/April 2013.  At the conference, two large panels brought together a range of religious and secular voices to discuss and debate the meaning of religious liberty and the claims that liberty is under attack in the U.S. today. It's impossible to give complete coverage in a blog post but here are some highlights.

Charles Haynes, the First Amendment expert who heads Newseum’s religious liberty committee, noted that the broad coalition that came together to back the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in the 1990s is no longer.  Michael Lieberman, director of the Civil Rights Policy Planning Center for the Anti-Defamation League, suggested a reason: that the coalition had intended RFRA to be a shield against government restrictions on the free exercise of religion, but that conservative groups had turned RFRA into a spear used to attack anti-discrimination laws.

One central principle of PFAW’s Twelve Rules for Mixing Religion and Politics became clear: while people can agree on the broad principle that religious liberty protects the freedom to live in accord with one’s religious beliefs, that consensus breaks down quickly when deciding how law and policy should react when religious liberty comes into tension with other constitutional principles like equality under the law. Indeed, panelists strongly (but civilly) disagreed on to what extent organizations – whether religiously affiliated institutions or business corporations – should be able to claim exemption from anti-discrimination laws or the HHS requirement for insurance coverage of contraception. 

Richard Foltin of the American Jewish Committee argued for a shades-of-gray, rather than a black-and-white approach, saying organizations should be viewed on a spectrum, with churches and sectarian institutions on one end and corporations at the other. Foltin said the AJC has submitted amicus briefs in favor of marriage equality at the Supreme Court, but also believes that there are significant religious liberty questions that courts will have to deal with as marriage equality is implemented.  (As noted at another point during the day, the states that now recognize marriage equality all have somewhat different religious exemptions.)

Michaelson proposes five tiers of organizations with differing levels of claims to religious liberty: churches/denominations; religious organizations; religiously affiliated organizations; religiously owned business, and religious individuals. The right-wing, he says, keeps trying to “move the sticks” from the first three groups to the latter two.  He notes that the Mormon Church owns extensive business interests, including shopping malls, and says that if business owners are allowed to claim exemption from anti-discrimination laws and other regulations based on religious belief, many employees will have their rights and interests restricted. 

Author Wendy Kaminer argued that the religious liberty of institutions is over-protected rather than threatened, saying that she believes some claims for religious liberty are actually demands for religious power to impose their beliefs on others.  If business owners are allowed to claim a religious exemption from generally applicable civil rights laws, she asked, what would be the limiting principle to such claims? Could business owners cite religious beliefs to ignore child labor laws, or to refuse to hire married women?  Kaminer challenged what she called an emerging legal double standard: when it comes to taking government funds, advocates say religious organizations need a level playing field and should be treated like every other organization. But when it comes to free exercise claims, and groups like Catholic Charities say they shouldn’t be subject to generally applicable laws, they don’t want a level playing field but special privileges.

Holly Hollman, general counsel of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty, said that overblown rhetoric about threats to religious freedom is damaging to public understanding of religious liberty. She suggests that the first response to someone who talks about threats to religious liberty should be to ask them what specifically they are talking about.  For example, while people may be concerned when they hear about “an assault on religious liberty,” most Americans do not see a problem with requiring religiously affiliated institutions to abide by anti-discrimination laws or meet contraception requirements.

Legal scholar Jeffrey Rosen suggested that on church-state issues, the Supreme Court justices could be divided into three camps: religious supremacists, advocates of “religious neutrality,” and strict church-state separationists.  The separationists, he said, had their heyday in the 1970s and early 1980s, but that the courts have been moving more toward a “religious neutrality” approach, which he said in some cases is really a cover for the religious supremacists yearning for an openly religious state.  He said a landmark of the triumph of “neutrality” over separation was the 1995 Rosenberger case, in which the court said a public university could not deny funding from a religious publication because of its religious nature.  In the future, he said, Justices Breyer and Kagan may be willing to embrace a “religious neutrality” approach in hopes of winning votes to try to keep Robert and Kennedy from joining the Scalia-Thomas religious supremacists.

Mark Rienzi of the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which has filed lawsuits challenging the HHS mandate and which has urged the Supreme Court to uphold Prop 8 and DOMA, portrayed religious liberty issues not as part of a culture war but as the necessity in a pluralistic society of recognizing that differences exist and allowing everyone the maximum ability to live according to their beliefs. He suggested that most church-state conflicts are blown out of proportion and can be resolved relatively easy with a willingness to work around individual religious liberty claims. Kim Colby of the Christian Legal Society endorsed that view, and noted that the Supreme Court will likely be deciding cases in the near future about what constitutes a “substantial burden” on a person’s religious beliefs and what might qualify as a “compelling state interest” that would justify that burden.

Michaelson challenged Rienzi’s portrayal, saying that “religious liberty” itself has become a code word for a new tactic in the culture war against LGBT equality and reproductive rights, and that it was wrong to pretend there would be no victim if a business owner were granted the right, for example, to ignore laws against anti-gay discrimination.  Pharmacies, he said, used to have lunch counters that were segregated. Would it have been OK to justify that discrimination by saying there was another lunch counter down the street, the argument used by advocates for allowing pharmacists to refuse to provide some drugs based on their religious beliefs?

The ADL’s Lieberman said that from his perspective as an advocate for minority religions these do not seem like small or easily resolved issues, and said there was a clear prospect that individual rights would not be safeguarded if, for example, majoritarian school prayer were permitted.  Hoda Elshishtawy, legislative and policy analyst at the Muslim Public Affairs Council also noted the reality of a major power differential between members of majority and minority religions.  Dan Mach, director of the ACLU’s Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief, noted that there are widespread abuses in public schools, citing an example of a South Carolina public school that set aside a day explicitly intended to try to convert as many students as possible to Christianity.

Welton Gaddy of the Interfaith Alliance, who moderated the first panel, noted that even on the day the First Amendment was passed, not everyone agreed with it or agreed with what it meant. We’ve been working it out ever since then and can’t quit, he said.  Charles Haynes made a similar point in his closing remarks, noting that in spite of all the differences evident in how we apply First Amendment principles, the ability to continue having the conversation is a reminder of how well those principles have worked to protect religious liberty in an increasingly diverse nation.

PFAW

Fischer: GOP Should Not 'Pander' to Ignorant, Naive, and Uneducated Young Voters on Gay Issues

Bryan Fischer is not at all impressed by the Republican National Committee's "autopsy" of what has gone wrong with the GOP leading to back-to-back election losses, and is especially miffed about findings that the party's hostility to gay rights is turning off younger voters.

As Fischer sees it, it is "idiotic" for the GOP to consider changing its message in an effort to win over ignorant and naive young people who don't understand the dangers posed by homosexuality. 

"They don't need to be pandered to," Fischer proclaimed, "they need to be educated. We don't pander to the least mature, least intelligent, least informed, least experienced, least educated members of our movement; we educate them."

WND: 'Obama's Long History of Attracting Flies' Suggests Demonic Possession

The History Channel today denied claims that have been making the rounds on Twitter, including Glenn Beck, that the character depicting Satan in “The Bible” docudrama looks like President Obama. But WorldNetDaily thinks that the supposed resemblance is further proof that Obama is demonic, once again alleging that President Obama may be the Satanic deity Beelzebub, or Lord of the Flies, because flies have landed on him. In an article today, WND executive news director Joe Kovacs points to four incidences since 2008 where flies were present at a press conference or interview.

Kovacs cites RevelationNow.net, which also believes that Beyonce is possessed by demons and that her Super Bowl performance represented demonic brainwashing, to imply that “Obama is possessed by a demonic entity.” 

In case you aren’t convinced by the fact that Obama is demonic because he has had to swat away flies (which no one else has ever done) and because Beck thinks that a character playing the Devil in a TV show kind of looks like him, Kovacs also notes that on November 5, 2008, the Illinois Pick 3 lottery number was 666.

Case closed.

This is not the first time some in the public have made a connection between evil in the Bible and President Obama.

On Nov. 5, 2008, the very night Obama was first elected president, the Illinois Pick 3 lottery number for the Evening Pick was 666, a number associated with “the beast” mentioned in the Book of Revelation. Obama’s home state at the time was Illinois.

In January of this year, WND reported how prophecy websites were having a field day with the worldwide attention Obama received for sparring with a fly.

News reports recounted Obama’s long history of attracting flies during recorded interviews and speeches.

Religious and other websites used the headlines to point out that a biblical reference for Satan, the Semitic deity Beelzebub, literally translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies.”

As Obama nominated two new members of his second administration on Jan. 24, a swarming fly stole the show.

“This guy is bothering me here,” said Obama, who repeatedly swatted at a large black fly buzzing near his face.

The London Telegraph noted a White House pool report said “the president spoke for about five minutes while being menaced by a house fly.”

This was not the president’s first brush with a fly while the cameras were rolling. In 2010, Obama halted a speech about health-care reform as a fly zipped around him. During a June 2009 CNBC interview, Obama killed a fly on camera.



In a 2008 campaign appearance, Obama halted a local interview after a swarm of flies had gathered around him.

Those reaching to connect Obama’s fly troubles with the darkest biblical references won’t have much difficulty.

One name commonly used to refer to Satan is Beelzebub, which translates from Hebrew into “Lord of the Flies.”

A posting at the popular Free Republic Web forum discusses Beelzebub and asks, “Is the White House fly infestation evidence of demonic presence and influence there?”

The End Times blog named Obama the “Lord of the Flies.”

The blog connects Obama to Beelzebub, writing, “This really isn’t an academic question. The Lord of the Flies is real.”

Over at RevalationNow.net [sic], a posting by “editorial staff” muses about whether Obama is possessed by a demonic entity.

“I feel like I am watching a horror movie and the secret evil character is revealed by the evil signs around him,” the post reads.

Ralph Reed Makes 'The Case Against Same-Sex Marriage'

A few weeks ago, Ralph Reed stopped by the offices of the Wall Street Journal to make "The Case Against Gay Marriage" which he did by declaring that "all the statistics and data that we have" prove that children of intact, loving families to better than children who do not grow up in such families. 

Reed proceeded to cite some unnamed CEO who claimed to have studied the most productive staff in the company and discovered that "the number one determinant of how hard they worked and how dedicated they were" was coming from an intact, loving family.

Of course, that might lead one to ask how exactly that is supposed to be an argument against gay marriage, since gay marriage would only lead to the creation of more intact, loving families, but Reed wasn't buying it because "we have not tested that thesis on a national level." 

Apparently the anecdotal evidence that Reed gleaned from some anonymous CEO was very convincing but the idea that gay families could also produce productive, hard working citizens was too untested and so it would be dangerous to "tinker" with the institution of marriage so "willy-nilly":

American Decency Association: 'Glee Is Poisoning Our Youth'

The American Decency Association is once again calling on advertisers to pull their support from Glee, warning that the show is “poisoning our youth” with its “destructive messages.”

In a radio alert, ADA founder Bill Johnson alleged that Glee is “a gruel of illicit sexuality, secular humanist ideology, and the promotion of homosexuality and deviant behavior.”

Whose values will your children and grandchildren catch? If they’re watching “Glee,” there’s a good chance that they’re reeling in values antithetical to yours.

Each week “Glee” producer Ryan Murphy stirs together a gruel of illicit sexuality, secular humanist ideology, and the promotion of homosexuality and deviant behavior - and then spoon feeds it to millions of youth across the nation.

And, sadly, many parents are just sitting back in their La-Z-boys while this proverbial poison is swallowed by their children.

Even the liberal MSN recently referred to Glee as “overtly politically correct and borderline preachy…the series has turned itself into one giant public service announcement” for sexual promiscuity and deviancy.

NOM's Peters: Regardless of 'Propaganda,' the Human Heart Knows Gay Marriage is Wrong

Thomas Peters of the National Organization for Marriage was the guest on today's episode of "WallBuilders Live" where he discussed the organization's efforts to spread its anti-marriage equality message to the next generation, saying that the key to their success will be finding a way to overcome the "intolerance and hatred" on campuses against those who promote this message.

Insisting that being anti-gay marriage does not make one anti-gay, Peters asserted that, despite all the "propaganda," the human heart simply knows that gay marriage is wrong and so this position will eventually win out, and it is imperative to work to prevent people from becoming confused and lost in the meantime:  

I'd say that the two big steps to getting to that message, of course, are fighting against the intolerance and hatred that is directed against us, especially in schools. You have a lot of pro-marriage people my age and younger in schools right now and they don't feel safe right now in sharing their pro-marriage convictions on that vast majority of college and high school campuses. That is something that has got to end.  We've got to figure out how to break down this ostracizing of pro-marriage viewpoints.

And second of all, we have to continually talk to people about how being pro-marriage is not anti-gay and that there is simply nothing discriminatory about seeing the love of a man and a woman as unique and special and worth protecting.

...

Marriage just speaks to the human heart and no matter how much propaganda you try to throw at that, the human heart always reestablishes what it knows to be true.  And we just know it's true that there is a difference between two men coming together and a man and a woman coming together.  And so I think that is the core message of marriage that eventually will overcome.  The question is how many people in the meantime are confused, how many people lose out on that saving message.

Kuhner: Obama is 'Waging a War on Christians' and 'Is An Enemy of the Church'

Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner is using Pope Francis’ election to attack President Obama as an “enemy of the church” who is “waging a war on Christians and on Catholics in particular.” After making the false claim that “Obamacare encodes the federal funding of abortions” and charging that “homosexual ‘marriage’ is a Trojan horse aimed at smashing the family — an invention by cultural Marxists to undermine Christianity’s ancient foundations,” Kuhner maintains that Obama’s policies contribute to a “culture of death.”

Pope Francis is the opposite of a modern American liberal. In fact, he probably finds much of the Democrats’ agenda repulsive. President Obama is waging a war on Christians and on Catholics in particular. His administration is compelling Catholic institutions — schools, hospitals and charities — to provide free birth control and abortion-inducing drugs to employees. This directly assaults Catholics’ conscience rights and freedom of religion. Obamacare encodes the federal funding of abortions. The health care overhaul forces devout Catholics to hand over their taxpayer dollars to fund a procedure they find not only a moral abomination, but a religious prohibition.

Mr. Obama supports homosexual “marriage.” He has allowed homosexuals to openly serve in the military. His pro-homosexual, pro-abortion and pro-contraception policies violate basic Catholic doctrine. He is an enemy of the church.

Contrary to liberal spin, Pope Francis is an orthodox Catholic. His election to the papacy consolidates the theological legacy of Blessed John Paul II and retired Pope Benedict XVI. The Holy Father is walking in their spiritual footsteps. He opposes the secular West’s culture of death. He is a moral traditionalist and cultural conservative. He denounces the mass murder of unborn children. He bravely criticizes homosexual behavior, decrying sodomy as unnatural and immoral. He eloquently defends the sanctity of the family from the onslaught of homosexual “marriage” and homosexual adoption.

Unlike shallow secularists, Pope Francis grasps that civilization depends upon one seminal institution: the sacred marital union between a man and a woman. The purpose of marriage is not cohabitation or affirming some romantic commitment. Rather, it is procreation — having, raising and socializing children. The family is the basic unit that perpetuates one generation to the next. Destroy it, and social collapse is inevitable. Homosexual “marriage” is a Trojan horse aimed at smashing the family — an invention by cultural Marxists to undermine Christianity’s ancient foundations.

This is why Pope Francis publicly challenged the national socialism of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez. Her leftist policies — legalizing homosexual “marriage,” providing free contraception to the public and enabling homosexuals to adopt — are slowly transforming Catholic Argentina. He courageously stood up to her. For this, he has been demonized by the authoritarian Peronist regime.
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