Ever since last month's tragic shooting at the Family Research Council's headquarters, the Religious Right has been on a mission to laytheblame on the Southern Poverty Law Center for designating FRC and others as anti-gay hate groups.
Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, in particular, has been on a crusade to blame the shooting on the SPLC and on Friday's episode of the "Faith and Freedom" radio program, warned everyone in the media not to ever dare to cite the SPLC's anti-gay hate group designations ever again, saying that if they do and "something like this again happens, [they] will also have blood on their hands":
Riley: I was in Aurora a few weeks ago helping collect signatures for the personhood amendment out there and help with some of the pro-life work out there and we stayed not far from the theater with a family and I drove by that memorial and it was just a real sobering picture of how ridiculously people would respond to a crisis when they don’t repent, when they don’t turn to God, when they don’t acknowledge their Creator. You see this shooting and rather than crying out to God there’s this big memorial with teddy bears and it’s great that people want to be part of something bigger than themselves but rather than turning to their Creator they again turn to their folly.
Swanson: On Sunday I was preaching from Isaiah Chapter 9 and 10 when people are warned not to embrace those nations that are striking them and I got to thinking about 9/11, remember 9/11, which is probably the most devastating thing which has happened since the War of 1812 at least in terms of an invasion upon our land. God has preserved us for many hundreds of years; we’ve had relative security and peace in this nation for a long time, so 9/11 shows up. These Muslims come in and kill our people so we elect a Muslim as President of the United States. Maybe not a pure Muslim but at least a man who has been very well indoctrinated, rooted, grounded and founded in Muslim theology and he is certainly more sympathetic to the Muslim religion than any other President we’ve ever had in the history of the nation. Five years after the Muslims came in and killed our people! There’s something odd about this, what’s going on here? We see the Muslims killing our people and so we elect a Muslim. Seems to me like we’re not turning back to the true and living God here, are we?
Kansas Secretary of State and SB 1070 architect Kris Kobach spoke to Janet Mefferd today about a new lawsuit contesting the recent executive order blocking deportation of some younger undocumented immigrants. According to the executive order, young undocumented immigrants who were brought to the U.S. as children can apply for “deferred action,” giving them protection from deportation, as long as they have no criminal background and either have served in the military or received a high school diploma or GED. Kobach told Mefferd that the “shocking” decision has no precedent.
However, this is not the first time prosecutorial discretion has been used in immigration cases. As the Immigration Policy Center notes, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services “exercised its prosecutorial discretion when it adopted a new policy establishing a procedure for surviving spouses and children of deceased U.S. citizens, who were no longer eligible to apply for permanent residence, to apply for deferred action.” Justice Anthony Kennedy in the majority opinion in Arizona v. United States (2012) also affirmed the right of the federal government to exercise such discretion:
“A principal feature of the removal system is the broad discretion exercised by immigration officials,” wrote Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of the opinion. “Federal officials, as an initial matter, must decide whether it makes sense to pursue removal at all.”
“Discretion in the enforcement of immigration law em¬braces immediate human concerns. Unauthorized workers trying to support their families, for example, likely pose less danger than alien smugglers or aliens who com¬mit a serious crime,” Kennedy’s majority decision continued. “The equities of an individual case may turn on many factors, including whether the alien has children born in the United States, long ties to the community, or a record of distinguished military service.”
Later in the interview, Kobach suggested that undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. on no fault of their own should leave the U.S. and return to their country of origin once they become adults and even falsely claimed that immigrants who commit crimes in the U.S. are eligible for deferred action.
Kobach: This order by Napolitano orders the ICE agents to break the law, regardless of what federal law says, we’re telling you to let them go. So it’s a clear violation of federal law, also it’s a usurpation of the legislative power of Congress. The DREAM Act has been proposed in Congress 24 times in the last 11 years, it never passed and yet this administration thinks it can just circumvent Congress and that violates our constitutional separation of powers.
Mefferd: Boy, because one of the things you state in the lawsuit is the directive commands ICE officers to violate their oaths to uphold and support federal law. In other words, Obama by issuing this executive order somehow thinks he can just make people do things but these ICE agents feel, actually it’s not just a feeling it’s actually what the truth is, they have an obligation to uphold federal law and he’s undermining it.
Kobach: That’s absolutely right. I think we have to just step back here and think how shocking this is. Prior to the Obama administration, if you asked me ‘could you give me an example of where a president has ordered federal law enforcement agents either to break the law or to look the other way when the law is being broken’ I would say no, I don’t think I can give you examples.
Kobach: Under our laws and under the laws of most countries in the world once you hit the age of 18 you can no longer blame your parents for your situation. So if you are in this country 13 years after you turned 18, you’ve been illegal all that time and you’ve been responsible for your own behavior. To say that you are somehow inculpable or just a victim of circumstance is just ridiculous. These cases are not you know college valedictorians and top of their class, these are people of all different stripes who are committing crimes some very serious crimes, some not committing crimes, but the bottom line is they are in the country illegally as adults and the President is trying to claim that they somehow have a moral right or a legal right to stay and they do not.
The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary.
Ted Cruz loves to portray his victory as an upwelling from the grassroots, as he did during his Tuesday night speech from the platform. “I have the honor of standing before you this evening for one reason, because thousands upon thousands of grassroots activists stood united, not for a candidate, but for the sake of restoring liberty.”
It is certainly true that his impressive come-from-behind primary victory captured the fervor of anti-government Tea Party activists as well as conservative evangelicals that Cruz has been courting for years at religious right gatherings. But it wasn’t an act of spontaneous combustion. Pouring gasoline on the prairie fire were national right-wing super PACs and Dick Armey’s FreedomWorks. Club for Growth Action dropped millions into the race on Cruz’s behalf; Jim DeMint’s Tea Party-backing Senate Conservatives Fund also kicked in with seven-figure spending. (DeMint has since cut his formal ties to the group so that it could create a super PAC.) A FreedomWorks spokesperson said after Cruz’s primary that wins by candidates like Cruz would “force Romney to the right.”
Cruz also benefitted from endorsements by an impressive roster of right-wing figures. During the primary he bragged that he was the only candidate this year supported by all four of his favorite senators: DeMint, Mike Lee, Rand Paul, and Pat Toomey. he Cruz campaign used video of a Palin campaign visit for its GOTV efforts. After his primary win an excited Breitbart blogger quoted Sarah Palin’s celebration on Facebook. She wrote that Cruz's victory was a win "both for Ted and for the grassroots Tea Party movement," and that the “message of this race couldn't be clearer for the political establishment: the Tea Party is alive and well and we will not settle for business as usual. Now, it's on to November!”
While the media accurately describes Cruz as a darling of the Tea Party and its corporate backers, he also had strong backing from religious-right figures. Cruz has campaigned for support at the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit and the Freedom Federation’s Awakening conference, where he said “we are engaged in spiritual warfare every day.” James Dobson and David Barton are among the religious-right leaders who backed Cruz; Rick Santorum endorsed Cruz on Glenn Beck’s television show.
Cruz embodies Ralph Reed’s desire to merge the Tea Party and religious right. In his convention speech, Cruz talked about the Tea Party movement as a “Great Awakening” – a not-so-subtle shout-out to religious-right leaders who are calling for a spiritual great awakening that they believe will turn the nation back to God and its Christian roots. At Rick Santorum’s event on Wednesday afternoon, Cruz mocked media conversations about divisions between different “chunks” of Republicans, declaring the party united. “We’re all here because we believe in values and principles bigger than ourselves,” he said.
During the presidential campaign, Rick Perry was one of the first candidates to embrace the theme that Obama is waging a “war on religion,” a message that was quicklyembraced by Mitt Romney. As Perry ponders another run for the presidency, he told Family Research Council head Tony Perkins on today’s Washington Watch Weekly that he believes President Obama thinks he was elected “King” and is leading a “clear attack on people of faith”. How? Perry cited the contraception mandate, the Department of Justice’s stance in the Hosanna Tabor case, where the administration argued that religious groups are not categorically exempt from the Americans with Disability Act, and his own gut instinct.
Yes, Perry said he instinctually feels that the Obama administration is putting together a campaign of “intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election,” even though the rule on church electioneering came about in 1954 and there is no evidence that the administration is actively investigating churches for breaking the rule.
Perkins: You were out on the campaign trail quite a bit early on in the Republican primary, your message obviously on jobs, the economy, which Texas has been leading in the nation in the creation of jobs, but you also touched on the issue of religious liberty and religious freedom. Do you see a growing hostility in America in the wake of this administration towards religious—
Perry: Led by this administration, when you think about the clear messages that they send, whether it’s by fiat—and that’s one of my great concerns about this president, we didn’t elect a King Mr. Obama, we elected a president, we expect the rule of law to be maintained in this country, go to Congress, pass legislation—he’s pushing these programs through whether it’s a clear attack on the Catholic Church and their opposition to contraception, those are purely wars against religion. When you think about the ministerial exception that he went to the Supreme Court to try to overturn, you know thank God he lost 9-0, even his liberal judges wouldn’t go that far, so clear attack on people of faith. My instinct is, I don’t have clear evidence, but my instinct is through other agencies there is this intimidation factor to our places of worship that you best not be in job of anything that we decide is political. For instance, clear intimidation to churches using IRS as a tool to keep anyone from making any statements about a political election.
Mission America’s Linda Harvey today on her radio program warned Christians to “keep their kids away” from comic books because they have now succumbed to the “ever-present gay agenda.” After reading a blog post by Christian writer Danzil Monk, Harvey said that comics like the Green Lantern and X-Men are now part of the “homosexual agenda” and promoting “lies in our culture.”
I grew up reading comic books. I was a huge Archie and Veronica fan so when I learned that Archie was rolling out a gay character I felt like part of my childhood had been revised according to the ever-present gay agenda. The new character, Kevin, was injected into the story in 2010 and the writers made him a military hero, trying to advance that part of their political goals. Well now this year Kevin was shown entering a homosexual so-called marriage with another male. There had been plans for the glorified Kevin to have even his own comic book. The original Green Lantern character Alan Scott was reintroduced earlier this summer as himself in his long ago days of youth but with the new information that he had really been a homosexual all along as a young man. The Marvel Comics X-Men character Northstar was introduced as a homosexual way back in 1992 and just recently the storyline had him marry a longtime boyfriend. Batwoman, Kathy Kane, was introduced several years ago as a lesbian. In 2005 Marvel introduced a new series called ‘The Young Adventures’ including characters called Hulkling and someone called Wiccan who the publishers decided to make a homosexual couple. Some of these stories are complete with full-on males kissing males, and so on. And some people claim there’s no homosexual agenda?
My friend Danzil is correct that probably it’s only true believers in Jesus Christ who will ultimately stand up against such lies in our culture and try and reverse these trends. I know comic books are not all that important in the grand scheme of things but if we believe that then Christians should keep their kids away from them and we should also be willing to speak out against one more area of depravity.
In an interview with CBS News on Monday, Mitt Romney said he disagreed with his own party’s support for criminalizing abortion without exceptions: “My position has been clear throughout this campaign; I’m in favor of abortion being legal in the case of rape and incest, and the health and life of the mother.”
Of course, Romney’s position on the legality of abortion has been anythingbutclear. Now his campaign denies that he supports allowing abortion when a woman’s health is in jeopardy, as he told reporter Scott Pelley. Instead, they say he only supports allowing abortion when a woman would die without one.
Marjorie Dannenfelser of Susan B. Anthony List, a major anti-choice group, in an interview with Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association insisted that the Romney campaign told her that Romney does not in fact believe in exceptions for the health of the mother, contradicting what he said in the Monday interview. If he did, Dannenfelser said, he would not have received the endorsement of her anti-choice organization.
Joe Hagan of New York Magazine caught up with Ralph Reed at the RNC and the two had a rather spirited discussion over religion and politics that eventually took on the issue of the contraception mandate and the Religious Right's vehement opposition to it.
Hagan asked Reed why conservatives are so outraged about this issue but don't seem to care that people are required to pay taxes that fund all sorts of things they find objectionable and immoral - like war - for which there are no exemptions.
And the best explanation that Reed could come up with was "I don’t think it’s the same":
The Health and Human Services mandate that requires employers to include contraception as part of health insurance provisions, which upset the Catholics —
Not just Catholics. Liberty University, Ohio Christian University — [they are] going to be required to subsidize health services that in their classrooms, they teach is a sin.
The students don’t have to partake of these services.
I’m not talking about the students; I’m talking about the university and the denominations of the church behind it.
So you’re saying they’re paying for a service they don’t intend to use.
Yeah. Well, and that they believe is a moral evil.
But the government wages wars that we all pay for but many of us find to be fundamentally wrong on a spiritual and every other level. Isn’t that the same?
I don’t think it’s the same.
One is a personal choice that may end the life of an unborn child, the other is going to end the lives of thousands of already-born people.
No, not true.
How is that not true?
Because, well … because we allow for an exception, in the draft laws, for conscientious and religious objectors. No respected denomination in the history of this country, not the Quakers — when they were really committed pacifists, less so today — but I’m talking about during the 18th and 19th centuries. Look at the Revolution — where it was a big issue for Quakers. Nobody forced them to serve. It is true they were required to pay taxes, but no evangelical or Catholic is saying they should be required to pay taxes. You see? I think any fair-minded analysis in mainstream theology would say we’re all required to do that.
Reed says the two things are different because nobody is saying people of faith shouldn't be required to pay taxes ... yet one of the Religious Right's most fundamental positions is that tax dollars should never be used to pay for things like abortion because that would result in forcing conservative Christians pay for things they morally oppose. In fact, one of the Religious Right's primary complaints about health care reform is that it "will force taxpayers to fund abortions."
Reed's position seems to be that everyone ought to be required to pay taxes, but those taxes should not be used to force some conservative Christians to fund things they oppose but can be used to force other people fund things that they oppose because ... well, just because.
Taking over the Supreme Court is an obsession on the far right, and Mitt Romney is on course to do their bidding. Romney selected none other than Robert Bork to serve as his chief judicial advisor.
Just last week Romney deflected a question about abortion by saying it would be decided by the Supreme Court. He neglected to mention that he’s committed to overturning Roe v. Wade by appointing right-wing judges.
American Family Association's Buster Wilson, who is the general manager of their radio network, is blaming Hurricane Isaac on the city of New Orleans for hosting Southern Decadence, the annual LGBT festival. Wilson joinsotherpastors in linking the festival to natural disasters which hit New Orleans in the past.
After losing his job at the National Review, John Derbyshire has found a new home at the White Nationalist website VDARE where he can evenmoreopenly spew vitriol at minorities, as he did yesterday in his column comparing the situation of African Americans in the U.S. to the Roma, better known as gypsies, of Europe. “In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society,” Derbyshire writes. “In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.”
With views like these, it makes you wonder why National Review took so long to fire him.
The thing I find myself wondering is: are these truly, as I said back then, different kinds of problem—underclass blacks in America, gypsies in Europe?
In both cases you have a big racial-ethnic bloc of people who are, for whatever reason—discuss among yourselves—radically ill-fitted for life in bourgeois society.
In both cases, well-intentioned Left activists—under the banner of Civil Rights in the U.S.A., Human Rights in Europe—propose social-engineering solutions that would cost scads of public money, even as all our public money is vanishing into chasms of debt. Many of the proposed solutions have already been tried; all of them rest on implausible assumptions about human nature.
The best that either bloc has come up with on its own is the absurd-yet-sinister crackpot mock-militarism of the Nation of Islam.
In both cases, actual bourgeois citizens opt for ethnic disaggregation: for the gypsies to be moved on, for separation by white flight from the underclass blacks. National authorities respond appropriately, with expulsion and incarceration.
Every month or so Washington Times columnist Jeffrey Kuhner appears on The Janet Mefferd Show to deliver an incoherent, unhingedrant about the news of the day, and yesterday was no different as he told Mefferd that the “radical secular liberals” who purportedly control the Democratic Party are out to “entrench radical feminism” and “break the back of Christian America” through same-sex marriage and legal abortion.
I think that the Democrats, somebody like Obama, you just have a ‘D’ after their name, they will get 43, 44, 45 percent of the vote automatically. Why? Since the 1960s, this country has been engulfed in a major culture war and what you’re seeing now is the growing rift between liberal America and conservative America, red state America and blue state America, secular America and Christian America. What is now clear is there is an ideological and cultural war for the heart and soul of this country and the Democratic Party, especially since 1972, has been essentially hijacked, it has become hostage, to the radical secular liberals of the 1960s and they are bent on a social revolution. That is why you will not see any pro-life Democrats speak at the DNC; it is why they’ve been purging the party systematically of people who are opposed to abortion or people who support traditional family values; that is why the Democrats have now embraced gay marriage; it’s why Obamacare has federal funding for abortion; it’s why now they are making free birth control, government-subsidized contraception, now almost a civil right, a human right for women. This is an attempt to entrench radical feminism, this is an attempt to break the back of Christian America.
Kuhner also questioned whether Vice President Joe Biden is “literally mentally insane” for making his poorly-phrased “chains” comment, which was referring to Republican plans that would punish consumers in order to help Wall Street, and claimed that the real “extremists” are those who support reproductive rights and marriage equality. He even slammed Obama for using an “assassination list” to kill people “they deem to be terrorists.”
Now, you have to ask yourself this question, either Joe Biden is literally mentally insane, he’s living in the century, he literally is so crazy, so detached from reality that he honestly believes that Paul Ryan and Mitt Romney are going to re-impose slavery, or he is a complete liar, a complete smear merchant who is willing to lie, say and do anything, even inflame racial tensions, even fan the flames of racial hatred and division to get re-elected. Either way the man is a complete extremist, he’s a complete race-baiter, a complete fear-monger, and then you add the list of all the other crazy comments that he said going back 20 years and you have to ask yourself: how is it a man who supports abortion on demand, who believes in the fundamental transformation of the most basic institution of society—marriage, an institution that has been defined as between a man and a woman going back thousands of years in every culture, in every age, in every major civilization—and I have to ask this question: the Republicans are extremists? Conservatives are extremists? Christians are extremists? This is the same man Joe Biden, who along with Barack Obama, have an assassination list where they look over people that they deem to be terrorists and say ‘let’s kill ‘em.’
Yesterday, Ishwar Singh, president of the Sikh Society of Central Florida, became the first Sikh to speak at a Republican National Convention when he was invited to deliver the invocation ... and Religious Right activists were predictably concerned:
Fischer was not alone, as Janet Mefferd also voiced her concerns that people "who don't have the slightest similarity to us" are being allowed to pray at the convention ... and that includes Mitt Romney:
This adds new spin to my view of what's going on at the RNC right now because you still hear a little bit of talk God here and there, but it's different. When Mitt Romney talks about God, he's not talking about our God and he has yet to give his speech yet.
But we now have a party that is allowing people to pray at the Republican National Convention who don't have the slightest similarity to us, when it comes to our view of God, at all. At all.
It wasn't that long ago that Pat Buchanan at the 1992 RNC was talking about the great culture war and being a Judeo-Christian nation and how important it was to hold that all together because that was the foundation upon which our country was built. And he was right. He got skewered for it, but he was right.
And look how far we've come. Now, 2012 we have somebody from an Eastern religion offering the invocation at the Republican National Convention. I'm not saying people from different religions can't vote Republican, but what this really is is a syncretism that is kind of seeping under the door like a gas.
At the end of September, Religious Right leaders will once again partner with the "prophets" and "apostles" of the New Apostolic Reformation for a pre-election "American For Jesus" rally on Philadelphia’s Independence Mall.
But apparently that won't quite be enough, so just a few days later, many of these same leaders and activists are hosting another prayer rally called "The Summons 2012" in Washington, DC that is being organized by National Day of Prayer Task Force, which is chaired by Shirely Dobson, the wife of James Dobson:
With each generation seeming to drift away from the God of our Fathers, now more than ever, it seems that we are truly at the precipice of a societal migration away from our Judeo-Christian foundation. With this in mind, the National Day of Prayer (NDP) Task Force has called a Solemn Assembly in Washington D.C. for such a time as this. The urgency of the moment, and the prompting of God, has paved the way for The Summons (October 3-7, 2012) to be a moment in time for God’s people to stand in the gap on behalf of all Americans – perhaps as Moses did for Israel (Exodus 32, Psalm 106). Based on Psalm 50:1-6, this special prayer gathering will focus on all institutions of government within Washington D.C. and include outdoor, corporate worship near the steps of the Capitol building, as well as the base of the Washington Monument. Groups will meet with various congressional leaders, travel to the Pentagon, the Supreme Court, and many other key locations to PRAY. This is not an assignment for the faint of heart. You will need walking shoes and clothing suitable for being on location and ‘hitting the streets’, regardless of weather. We invite you to join with us, and several hundred other like-minded believers, for this unique time of prayer and worship in our nation’s capital.
As we move toward The Summons in Washington D.C., please pray specifically, focusing on the seven points of prayer for each state. As we pray, day by day, and state by state, let’s pray for the Spirit of God to sweep through our nation like a ‘mighty, rushing wind’!
Seven Point of Prayer for each State
1) Government – Pray for local and state leaders asking God to grant them wisdom, discernment, and hearts that are open to His leading.
2) Church – Pray for the Churches and Church Leaders throughout that state. Ask God to preserve and protect them, as He inspires and empowers His ‘Saints’ for the work of ministry, for the building up of the Church, and for the spreading of the Gospel.
3) Military – Pray for our Military, Guard, and Reserve units and their leadership. Pray for God to grant courage, protection, and strength for our service men and women, and their families, as they serve our country.
4) Family – Pray for families in your community and across the state. Ask Him for protection, and to strengthen marriages, encourage parents toward His priorities, heal relationships, and secure traditional values in each home.
5) Education – Pray for God’s presence in our schools, colleges, and universities. Ask Him to select teachers and administrators who honor His statutes, protect our children, and inspire them to discover their God-given calling.
6) Media – Pray for Christian influence in the media industry, from local television and radio stations, to newspaper and magazine publishers. Ask for the Lord to provide Godly men and women to work in and influence the media throughout the state and in every city.
7) Business – Pray for divine intervention in the state and local economies. Ask that God raise up Godly business leaders and provide industry to provide honest employment and generous provision for individuals and families in each community.
Mitt Romney says that a woman's right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest is a "decision that will be made by the Supreme Court." But Romney has promised Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade...
In an interview this week, Romney insisted that the right of a woman to have an abortion in cases of rape and incest would be decided by the Supreme Court. But Romney failed to mention his promise to appoint Judges who would drastically limit women’s rights.
In an ad released today and running in the Tampa area during the RNC, People For the American Way corrected the record.
Voice Over: Mitt Romney says that a woman’s right to choose an abortion even in cases of rape and incest isn’t up to him.
Romney: This is the decision that will be made by the Supreme Court.
Voice Over: But Romney has promised to appoint Supreme Court Justices who would overturn Roe v Wade. As his chief judicial advisor he chose Robert Bork, a man with a long record of hostility to women’s rights.
[On Screen: Bork Record: ruled that a corporation could force female employees to be sterilized or lose their jobs / says politicians can outlaw birth control / claims the promise of Equal Protection doesn’t apply to women]
Mitt Romney: Too extreme for women. Too extreme for America.
Voice Over: People For the American Way is responsible for the content of this advertising.
This morning, in conjunction with the release of the ad, PFAW will host a short telebriefing to review Romney’s agenda for the Court.
What: Telebriefing on Romney’s Agenda for the Supreme Court and its Impact on Women
When: Thursday, August 30, 2012 10:00 a.m.
Who: Michael Keegan, People For the American Way President Jamie Raskin, PFAW Senior Fellow, MD State Senator and Professor at American University Washington College of Law Kathleen Turner, Actress and PFAW Foundation Board Member Marge Baker, Executive Vice President for Policy and Program, People For the American Way
For call-in information, contact Miranda Blue at (202) 467-2335
Mike Huckabee and Paul Ryan have bothsupported “personhood” amendments, which would ban abortion in the case of rape or incest, among other things. But unlike Ryan, Huckabee has already had the opportunity to force others to live in accordance with his extreme beliefs. Ryan, who speaks shortly after Huckabee tonight at the RNC, is still waiting for his chance.
Huckabee makes no secret of his views on reproductive rights. He has denounced the “holocaust of liberalized abortion,” angering the Anti-Defamation League in the process, and he argued at a personhood fundraiser that pro-choice activists are really motivated by “profit from the sale of death.” He was raising cash, by the way, for an amendment that would have criminalized not only abortion but also in vitro fertilization, stem cell research, the treatment of ectopic pregnancies and some types of birth control.
Here’s what Huckabee did when he was in power. In August of 1996, not even a month into his governorship, he went to the mat to deny funding – $430 to be precise – for an abortion provided to a “15-year-old mentally retarded girl impregnated by her stepfather”:
In defiance of an order from a federal judge, Gov. Mike Huckabee on Friday refused to allow Medicaid to pay for the abortion of a 15-year-old girl whose stepfather has been charged with incest.
While federal law requires Medicaid to fund abortions for poor women in cases of rape or incest, Huckabee said through a spokesman his first obligation is to the Arkansas Constitution, which forbids public funds to be used for abortion except when the mother's life is in danger.
While Huckabee claimed his first obligation was to the Arkansas Constitution, he was either willfully ignoring, or unfamiliar with, the basics of federalism. Either way, his first obligation clearly was not to the U.S. Constitution or the 15-year-old girl, who thankfully underwent the procedure in advance of the standoff. Nor was it to the people of his state. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported, the standoff “appeared to put the entire state Medicaid program in jeopardy.”
Huckabee stuck to his guns as long as he could. As the Memphis Commercial Appeal reported, “U.S. Dist. Judge William Wilson entered into the record Thursday a ruling that Arkansas must pay for Medicaid abortions in cases of rape, incest and to protect the life of the mother, making the ruling official” and clearing the way for contempt charges for Huckabee. That never happened, as Huckabee agreed under pressure to the creation of a private trust to pay for such abortions.
The debate over reproductive choice can seem at times to be more theoretical than practical, but Huckabee's actions give us an idea of how a Religious Right America would look. So a 15-year-old mentally retarded girl was raped by her stepfather and got pregnant? Aw shucks, no abortion for her!
South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley took to the stage at the Republican National Convention Tuesday night, asserting her unwavering support for voter identification laws that make it harder for Americans—particularly minorities, students, and the elderly—to exercise their constitutional right to vote.
The Justice Department is currently suing to stop South Carolina’s new voter ID law from taking effect, charging that it discriminates against traditionally disenfranchised groups. The voter ID laws particularly violate Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which outlaws discriminatory voting practices and gives the federal government open-ended oversight of states and communities with a history of voter discrimination.
In an attempt to defend the voter ID measures in South Carolina, Haley affirmed the alleged necessity of voters showing a picture ID: “…if you have to show a picture ID to buy Sudafed and you have to show a picture ID to set foot on an airplane, then you should have to show a picture ID to protect one of the most valuable, most central, most sacred rights we are blessed with in America - the right to vote.”
Haley’s statement was met with a fervent standing ovation from the Republican audience.
What Haley failed to mention is the overwhelming evidence proving that the implementation of voter ID laws will severely hinder many minorities from casting their vote—a right that is preserved by the Constitution. The Constitution does not protect a citizen’s right to buy Sudafed or fly on an airplane.
Another concern arising from these voter ID requirements is that many African Americans born in the era of segregation do not have accurate birth certificates or any birth certificate at all. Effectively, by requiring people to obtain a photo ID, which necessitates a birth certificate, states like South Carolina are encoding the segregation era into current voting laws.
Proponents of this law claim that it is a preventative measure that will end cases of voter fraud. Yet these claims are unfounded, as there have been no proven cases of voter misrepresentation fraud in South Carolina. During this week’s trial over South Carolina’s voter ID law, state Senator George “Chip” Campsen III even testified that he could not find cases of voter impersonation in South Carolina.
This law is an infringement on the constitutionally granted voting rights of minorities—a demographic that has historically maintained a liberal outlook and voted for Democratic candidates. These voter ID laws solve a problem that doesn’t exist in order to keep progressive-leaning voters from the ballot box.