Fighting the Right

A Look at Citizens United in Practice

Since the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, election watchers have predicted that the influx of unaccountable and often anonymous election spending would lead to a dramatic increase in dirty, dishonest attack ads. A report by the New York Times confirms those fears. High-profile Republican strategists for a super PAC funded by TD Ameritrade founder Joe Ricketts created a proposal titled “The Defeat of Barack Hussein Obama: The Ricketts Plan to End His Spending for Good,” which lays out an aggressive character attack against the President. Focusing on his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., the ads will seek to portray the President as unfit to lead because of his formative experiences – a strategy that his 2008 opponent, Senator John McCain, refused to authorize. Even Mitt Romney has avoided such attacks, believing that they would backfire – but unaccountable super PACs are not necessarily taking it off the table:

“Our plan is to do exactly what John McCain would not let us do: Show the world how Barack Obama’s opinions of America and the world were formed,” the proposal says. “And why the influence of that misguided mentor and our president’s formative years among left-wing intellectuals has brought our country to its knees.”

How can one person’s extreme opinion make its way to aerial banners flying over the Democratic Convention, outdoor advertisements and television screens across the country?

“Joe Ricketts is prepared to spend significant resources in the 2012 election in both the presidential race and Congressional races,” said Brian Baker, the president and general counsel to Mr. Ricketts’ super PAC, called the Ending Spending Action Fund. “He is very concerned about the future direction of the country and plans to take a stand.”

Thanks to his wealth and Citizens United, he can do just that. Unfortunately, average Americans don’t have this luxury, and our democracy suffers greatly as a result.

Following the outcry in response to today’s article, Mr. Ricketts issued a statement claiming he had never approved the plan and disavows the type of politics it represents, saying that the proposal “was never a plan to be accepted but only a suggestion for a direction to take.” Nonetheless, the critical harm posed by Citizens United is clear. Just because Mr. Ricketts chose not to run this attack ad doesn’t mean that someone else won’t. The need to amend the Constitution to overturn Citizens United to protect our democracy from the lopsided influence of wealthy special interests is even more clear today.

PFAW

New CMD Report Reveals ALEC's Influence in Wisconsin

The Center for Media and Democracy released a new report today detailing the American Legislative Exchange Council’s influence in Wisconsin’s laws. At a time when ALEC members are jumping ship thanks to increased exposure of the ALEC agenda – 14 corporate members and 45 legislative members so far – this report serves as yet another window into ALEC’s shadowy, undemocratic method of ushering an extreme, pro-corporate agenda into law.

With the loyal help of Governor Scott Walker and a slew of complicit state legislators, ALEC has successfully implemented much of its corporate wish list in the state, including union-busting and corporate tax giveaways. According to the report, in Wisconsin:

• 32 bills or budget provisions reflecting ALEC model legislation were introduced in Wisconsin's 2011-2012 legislative session;

• 21 of these bills or budget provisions have passed, and two were vetoed;

• More than $276,000 in campaign contributions were made to ALEC legislators in Wisconsin from ALEC corporations since 2008;

• More than $406,000 in campaign contributions were made to ALEC alumnus Governor Walker from ALEC corporations over the same time period for his state campaign account;

• At least 49 current Wisconsin legislators are known ALEC members, including the leaders of both the House and Senate as well as other legislators holding key posts in the state. Additionally, the Governor, the Secretary of the Department of Administration, and the Chairman of the Public Service Commission are ALEC alumni; and

• At least 17 current legislators have received thousands of dollars of gifts cumulatively from ALEC corporations in the past few years, in the form of flights and hotel rooms filtered through the ALEC “scholarship fund” (complete “scholarship” information is not available).

People For the American Way Foundation has contributed to similar reports covering ALEC’s influence in Ohio and Arizona, and work continues to shine light on how ALEC paves the way for a state-by-state corporate takeover of our democracy.

PFAW Foundation

Jesus, David Barton, and the Sixth Amendment

David Barton's insistence that various social institutions and governmental provisions have come verbatim out of the Bible has reached its logical culmination with the release of a new audio presentation entitled "God in the Constitution" in which Barton seeks to lay out the seven specific ways in which Constitution is "explicitly Christian [in] nature."

The hour-long program consisted primarily of various familiar claims Barton has made over the years, merely consolidated into one presentation.  But Barton did add a few new wrinkles, like his assertion that every one of the amendments in the Bill of Rights was rooted in the Bible, including the Sixth Amendment's provision guaranteeing the accused the right to confront their witnesses, which Barton claimed was rooted in the passage about of Jesus and the woman accused of adultery:

Now how can you say Due Process protections come out of the Bible? Due Process is the right to a trial by jury, the right to compel witnesses on your behalf, the right to confront your accuser, all these different things that we have in the 4th-8th Amendment. How in the world can that come out of the Bible? Well, the answer is real simple ... You have trials throughout the Bible. Peter was in several trials, Paul was in several trials, Jesus was in trials. Jesus was actually supposed to be judge over a trial - they brought to him the woman caught in adultery and He looked around and said "woman, where are your accusers?" In other words, what are you doing here and your accusers aren't here to make the accusation, you can't do hearsay charges.

Of course, just as he does with Matthew 20's Parable of the Workers in the Vineyard, Barton totally misrepresents the context and message of this passage, which appears in John 8: 2-11:

And early in the morning He came again into the temple, and all the people came unto Him; and He sat down and taught them.

And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto Him a woman taken in adultery. And when they had set her in the midst, they said unto Him, “Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. Now Moses in the law commanded us that such should be stoned but what sayest thou?”

This they said testing Him, that they might have cause to accuse Him. But Jesus stooped down and with His finger wrote on the ground, as though He heard them not.

So when they continued asking Him, He lifted Himself up and said unto them, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”

And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground.

And they who heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the eldest even unto the last, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing in the midst.

When Jesus had lifted Himself up and saw none but the woman, He said unto her, “Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee?”

She said, “No man, Lord.” And Jesus said unto her, “Neither do I condemn thee; go, and sin no more.”

First of all, the woman was not brought to Jesus for trial, but rather as a test to try and entrap Him.  And secondly, the reason there were no accusers left to condemn the woman was because they had all dispersed after Jesus delivered his famous "let he who is without sin cast the first stone" statement. 

The lesson of this passage is that all people are guilty of sin and in need of repentance and forgiveness ... but Barton presents it as proof that our Constitution is based specifically on the Bible.

John Derbyshire Claims 'Overwhelming Majority of Black Americans Agree' with His Column Defending White Supremacy

Former National Review columnist John Derbyshire returned to the white nationalist website VDARE, headed by his colleague Peter Brimelow, to defend his earlier VDARE column arguing that “White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with.” In a post published yesterday, Derbyshire claimed that “the overwhelming majority of Black Americans agree with me” because only a small fraction of freed slaves left the U.S. to Africa after the abolition of slavery, noting that Harriet Beecher Stowe and Abraham Lincoln had at times supported efforts to resettle African Americans in Liberia:

What generated the most shrieking and swooning from the guardians of racial orthodoxy in this cycle was this remark in my VDARE.com column:

"White supremacy, in the sense of a society in which key decisions are made by white Europeans, is one of the better arrangements History has come up with."

On the John Locke principle, though—i.e. "I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts"—the overwhelming majority of black Americans agree with me, and always have. From very early in the Republic, free blacks not only had the opportunity to escape from white supremacy, they were encouraged to do so by abolitionists.



But with all this opportunity and encouragement, how many freed blacks actually chose to escape from under the iron heel of white supremacy? Most sources give 15,000-20,000—out of a Civil War-era black population of around four million. That’s less than half of one percent. Ninety-nine point five something percent preferred white supremacy. That's an even bigger proportion than voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

"I have always thought the actions of men the best interpreters of their thoughts."

Apply John Locke's apothegm to the sloppy, dishonest, thuggish, anti-intellectual actions of the guardians of racial orthodoxy in today’s America, and you get a pretty good insight into their thoughts.

Testing Media Research Center Spokesman's Advice to Pastors on how to discuss Gay Rights

Media Research Center’s Tim Graham talked to Janet Mefferd yesterday where he claimed that opponents of same-sex marriage can’t get on TV, a point which he then undercut when he admitted that anti-gay activists like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council and Harry Jackson actually made the rounds on TV to respond to President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality. Graham called Obama’s announcement a “tragic,” “dark” and “depressing moment” for America, and declared that he “would like to see what would happen” if pastors like Jackson could speak about same-sex marriage during interviews just as “he does at his church”:

Graham: I think for a lot of people Obama saying, ‘I think this should be the way it is in America,’ was really a tragic moment for the country, it was a very dark moment, a very depressing moment. Those people, like me, who have that opinion, try getting on television!

Mefferd: That’s what I was going to ask you, as you were surveying the landscape of the media over the weekend and since the President made this stand on his new evolution, which was really an old evolution that he brought out again, did you see many conservatives or many people who were in favor only of traditional marriage getting a say so on TV?

Graham: A little bit, I mean the most prominent one of course has been Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, and he has made the rounds a bit, I think some of the best things he said is again, in a political context they’re not really having a moral discussion, the media wants to discuss this in political terms. I think the hard thing for people to do, I saw Bishop Harry Jackson on News Hour on PBS, he doesn’t really do in the studio what he does at his church. He doesn’t reach for the Bible, he doesn’t make a testimony, I think people get intimidated saying ‘I’m here in this secular place and I’m going to say secular things.’ I just wonder, I would like to see what would happen, if you try to engage these people, because you have to explain this is where the opposition comes, it’s from a religious, traditional point of view.

Graham may be on to something, as TV interviews might be much more candid and exhilarating if Harry Jackson told the hosts at PBS or MSNBC that demonic forces, specifically the Queen of Heaven, are responsible for gay rights, just as he preaches in church:

Or if Perkins went on CNN or Fox News and said gays are “held captive by The Enemy”:

Eagle Forum Laments Dip in White Birth Rate: 'This is Not a Good Thing'

Roger Schlafly, son of Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, today mourned on the Eagle Forum Blog a Census Bureau report showing that non-white births have now exceeded white births in the U.S. “It is not a good thing,” Schlafly said, warning that “immigrants do not share American values” and therefore “will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.” He went on to claim that “NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s,” saying that immigrants “do not share” American values like working hard and self-sufficiency, and instead “will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.”

For decades, the NY Times has been promoting immigration policies that heavily favored a huge influx of non-whites. Today's lead story brags:

WASHINGTON — After years of speculation, estimates and projections, the Census Bureau has made it official: White births are no longer a majority in the United States.

Non-Hispanic whites accounted for 49.6 percent of all births in the 12-month period that ended last July, according to Census Bureau data made public on Thursday, while minorities — including Hispanics, blacks, Asians and those of mixed race — reached 50.4 percent, representing a majority for the first time in the country’s history.


The article goes on to quote experts who say that this is a wonderful thing, except for the facts that the Hispanic immigrants are uneducated and do not vote Democrat often enough.

It is not a good thing. The immigrants do not share American values, so it is a good bet that they will not be voting Republican when they start voting in large numbers.

Latinos, on the other hand, are squarely within their peak fertility, with a median age of 27, said Jeffrey Passel, senior demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center. Between 2000 and 2010, there were more Hispanic births in the United States than there were arriving Hispanic immigrants, he said.

The result is striking: Minorities accounted for 92 percent of the nation’s population growth in the decade that ended in 2010, Mr. Frey calculated, a surge that has created a very different looking America from the one of the 1950s, when the TV characters Ozzie and Harriet were a national archetype.


The NY Times liberals seek to destroy the American family of the 1950s, as symbolized by Ozzie and Harriet. The TV characters were happy, self-sufficient, autonomous, law-abiding, honorable, patriotic, hard-working, and otherwise embodied qualities that made America great. In other words, the show promoted values that NY Times liberals despise.

Instead, the USA is being transformed by immigrants who do not share those values, and who have high rates of illiteracy, illegitimacy, and gang crime, and they will vote Democrat when the Democrats promise them more food stamps.

Harry Jackson Warns 'Radical Gay Activists' are bringing America back to 'the times of Hitler'

During an appearance on the American Family Association’s radio program Nothing But Truth, Harry Jackson said that “radical gay activists” have turned America into Nazi Germany. Jackson, who claims demonic forces are behind the gay rights movement, said that since gays and lesbians “cannot reproduce” they “try to recruit” young people and “just like during the times of Hitler,” gay rights advocates are “coming after one group after another group after another group.”

Listen:

Jackson: It’s obviously disingenuous when they say marriage equality for everyone and I was just pointing out the fact that it really isn’t marriage for everyone, it’s a special kind of marriage for radical gay activists. They want to impose their will on the culture and if you cannot reproduce you may try to recruit, and what I mean by that is what is going on is an attempt to reshape, refashion the mind, hearts and desires of the next generation. Many Christians are sitting back and we aren’t speaking out, but the reality is just like during the times of Hitler we have people coming after one group after another group after another group, and folks are saying, well this doesn’t affect me I’ll let this slide, we have a problem that really we have a whole generation of people who want to affect not only their lives and choices but the choices of another generation.

Cal Beisner Warns the 'Depraved' Environmental Movement Models itself after Satan

The Religious Right’s favorite anti-environmental activist Cal Beisner of the Cornwall Alliance appeared on Janet Parshall’s radio show In The Market on Monday where he maintained that environmentalists are following the same path as Satan. Ironically, the corporate-allied Beisner lamented the presence of “theft,” “covetousness” and “greed” in society, which he said that along with “sexual perversion” and disobedience were part of “the growing depravity in the United States,” which he of course linked back to the environmental movement. Beisner later used the refrain, used by conservatives from Rick Santorum to David Barton, that efforts toward environmental protection are dislodging God and humanity from their rightful place and is turning the natural order “upside down just as Satan did in the Garden of Eden.”

As I look at the growing depravity in the United States, whether it’s in those things that most of us think about in terms of depravity, sexual perversion and so on, or in those things that people don’t usually think of in those terms but Paul certainly does: theft, disobedience to parents, dishonoring of authorities, covetousness, greed, idolatry. All of these things are signs of the depraved mind to which God gives people over when they choose not to recognize Him. The Cornwall Alliance is trying to call attention to these things to show particularly how they are dominant in the environmentalist movement.



It turns upside down the whole understanding that Scriptures gives us of God, man and the earth. In Scripture, in Genesis 1-3, we see that God is supposed to be in supreme authority, He rules over man, man then rules earth as God’s representative, so hierarchically it’s God, then humanity, then the earth. The environmental movement turns that upside down just as Satan did in the Garden of Eden as he tempted Eve, he wanted Eve to submit her will to a serpent, one of the creatures, and put that serpent over her and God under her, so it becomes earth, then humanity, then God. That happens in the secular movement but frankly, Janet, it increasingly begins to happen among some evangelicals.

Educators Dismiss ALEC

The National Association of Charter School Authorizers (NACSA) will not renew their membership in the American Legislative Exchange Council, the organization said in a statement released on Tuesday. NACSA is the third major educational organization to drop their association with ALEC, joining Kaplan and the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards.

Both ALEC and NACSA support charter schools, but NACSA appears to have decided that ALEC’s extreme vision for charter school systems – which place corporate profitmaking above the needs of students, parents and communities – is out of touch with its mission to “advance excellence in public charters schools as a way to improve public education for all children.”

Rather than proposals designed to improve our public education system, ALEC’s model bills instead transfer public education funds into the hands of private corporations. Such proposals include voucher programs and publicly funded subsidies for religious and other private schools. ALEC’s Education Accountability Act would allow a state to override the elected school board and declare schools “educationally bankrupt,” then divert its funds to private schools. Of course, ALEC’s assault on public education wouldn’t be complete without attacks on teachers, school personnel and basic educational standards.

Just as important, there was never a legitimate reason for NACSA to support an organization that promotes legislation that attacks working families, rolls back consumer rights, blocks access to courts of law and disenfranchises thousands of eligible voters.

It’s not surprising that NACSA and other educators have concluded that ALEC is far more trouble than it’s worth.

PFAW

Randall Terry Unveils New Website, Blasts 'Right Wing Watch' as 'Child-Killers'

Operation Rescue founder and faux-presidential candidate Randall Terry today launched a new website, ProLifeWarrior.com, for activists trying to criminalize abortion and contraceptives. Terry mocked more established anti-choice groups and also had some choice words for Right Wing Watch, Jezebel and Wonkette:

"Think of ProLifeWarrior as a 'cyber-pub' where the troops can gather to have a beer and a shot. That means you can talk about anything you want, and we will not edit, remove, or in anyway censor what you have written. If you want to say 'so-and-so is a #@%&' that is your decision.

"The reason for our editorial policy is simple: most Christian and Pro-Life blogs and on-line communities are sterile and lifeless. We prefer the rambunctious, loud, honest chaos of a crowded pub to the porcelain purity of an empty room. (The only exceptions are blasphemy, pornography, and credible threats of violence. See forum rules.) So if the child-killers at RightWingWatch or Jezebel or Wonkette want to come in and throw some punches, they are welcome to do so.

"You could also think of ProLifeWarrior as a voice of resistance and recruitment, calling the Faithful out of the cyber-ghetto into real political and cultural battle. That means we will vilify those who collaborate with the child-killers (such as NRLC or Ohio Right to Life); we will dismiss those who offer trite gimmicks in place of definitive action; we will expose and mock those who present tawdry fundraising schemes as a means to end this holocaust; and we will challenge those who cower in silence before the strong to rise from their knees and fight.



"Our mission is to help create the climate in which it becomes a criminal act to murder an unborn human being from conception until birth. This of course means criminalizing the pill, the patch, Plan-B, Depo-Provera, IUDs, and anything else that deliberately causes the death of an innocent human being who happens to reside in his/her mother's womb.

How Prayer Ended the Drought in Texas and Stopped the BP Oil Spill

As we have noted before, Rick Scarborough of Vision America is organizing an effort called 40 Days to Save America which seeks to mobilize Christians who will engage in forty days of prayer, fasting and repentance leading up to the election. As part of the organizing effort, Scarborough has been hosting conference calls featuring Republican members of Congress and Religious Right leaders. 

Earlier this month, Scarborough teamed up for a call with David Barton, who discussed the importance and effectiveness of prayer and fasting, which then prompted a discussion between the two about how Rick Perry's "The Response" prayer rally ended the drought in Texas as well as how prayer controlled the BP oil spill along the Gulf Coast:

Scarborough: Our Governor here in the state of Texas called for a day of prayer and fasting last May. We were at the height of a drought that meteorologists were telling us was part of a cycle that would last perhaps for a number of years and that it would take us years to get our lake levels back up and so forth. It occurs to me that, not immediately, but after that prayer event that thirty thousand people participated in, we started getting rain and in less than a year, our lakes are full, our fields are brimming. A lot of people seem not to connect the dots on that, but we've got a fresh illustration of how God honors prayer.

Barton: Yeah, that's one of those many things that historians will looks back upon and say 'look at the correlation.' But I look back over the last few years at Sonny Perdue of Georgia who called, in the middle of their drought - that was an unprecedented century drought that they had there - he called for prayer and within three days they had rain falling in Georgia again. They're back in good condition.

I recall what happened with the oil spill in the Gulf, how all the Gulf governors except for Charlie Crist of Florida got together and called for a time of prayer that God would mitigate the damage of that and cause that thing to be sealed. And guess what? All the expected damage along the shorelines to all the wildlife, it didn't happen.

Top VAWA Opponents Partnered with Convicted Wife-Beater and Group Tied to Mail Order Bride Firm

The House of Representatives is poised to pass a hobbled version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA) later today. The House GOP version actually rolls back some current protections and excludes other key protections contained in the Senate version of the bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in April. 

In past years, VAWA enjoyed bipartisan support and garnered little controversy. This time around, however, top Religious Right groups have rallied against the bill due to the protections it would extend to immigrant, Native American, and LGBT victims of domestic abuse. These groups, including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, made noise on Capitol Hill and are most directly responsible for the events that will unfold in the House today.
 
It’s worth noting then that these groups partnered in their lobbying efforts with a convicted wife-beater and a group tied to a mail order bride firm. The anti-VAWA coalition, led by Concerned Women for America, wrote earlier this year to Senators:
We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing today to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda. […]
 
There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.
 
Further, this legislation continues to use overly broad definitions of domestic violence. These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. Victims who can show physical evidence of abuse should be our primary focus.
The letter was signed by leaders from major Religious Right groups like FRC, Eagle Forum, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It was also signed by Timothy Johnson, former vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party and founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a small organization focused on outreach to conservative African Americans.
 
But there’s a big problem with partnering with Johnson on an issue like VAWA, and it’s been widely reported. Back in 2009, when Johnson was running for vice chair of the NC GOP, the media reported on his felony domestic violence conviction from 1996. He responded by releasing a statement of support from his ex-wife – “Were I a resident of the state I would vote for him.” Except she never said that. Months later the media reported that Johnson had fabricated the endorsement:
"I absolutely did not say that," Ofelia Felix-Johnson, now living in Nebraska, tells Xpress. "This was not done with my consent, and I didn’t even know about it. I didn’t appreciate him putting my name out there when I had nothing to do with it.”
On the other hand, this did happen, as Sarah Posner reported at Alternet:
According to court records, Johnson was arrested on Christmas Day 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was later indicted by a grand jury for two felony counts, one of felonious assault and the other of kidnapping. According to the arrest report, when the police arrived, they found Felix-Johnson bleeding from the face. Timothy Johnson told the officers, according to their report, “I admit it. I hit her, that's the only way I can get her attention.” Felix-Johnson told the officers he restrained her on the couch, holding down her neck. One officer reports Ofelia Felix-Johnson saying that Johnson also punched her breasts, saying that she had no heart, and hit her over the back and buttocks with a plastic shoe rack, breaking the rack. The police report in the court file states that Johnson broke his wife's nose and toes, causing her to be hospitalized.
Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of felony aggravated assault and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, which was suspended. A few years later, Johnson was arrested again on domestic violence charges:
In 1998, Johnson was arrested by the Perrysburg Police, again on domestic violence charges. According to the police report, Johnson provided a "very similar" account of the incident to that his wife Ofelia and 14-year-old son gave police. Both wife and son reported that Johnson had Ofelia Felix-Johnson in a wrist lock, and when the son attempted to stop Johnson from hurting his mother, Johnson put the son in a head lock such that he was "unable to breathe and was choking up food," according to the police report. After the son broke free, the police report continues, Johnson "put his right hand around [the boy's] throat and pushed [him] against the wall with his back to the wall and choked [the boy] for about 5 seconds."

According to court records, Ofelia Felix-Johnson did not appear for the hearing, and the charges were dismissed. Johnson told AlterNet that "the incident that took place wasn't domestic violence. My ex-wife and I had a disagreement. And as always, well the person says, well I know you have this past on you so I'll just call the police. And as you said, there was no conviction and there was no trial. You know why? Because there was nothing there."
Given Johnson’s well-reported history of domestic violence and well-reported efforts to fabricate support from his battered ex-wife, it boggles the mind that Religious Right leaders would sign on to the above letter with him. In fact, their partnership with Johnson seems to take the War on Women to an entirely new level.
 
Another notable name on that letter is Philip Cook, the director of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), on whose site the letter is hosted. SAVE has been lobbying House Republicans, with much success, to roll back protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence under VAWA. As Laura Bassett reported last week at the Huffington Post, SAVE’s treasurer “has a major financial interest in reducing immigrant protections”:
Natasha Spivack, started international "marriage service" Encounters International in 1993 with the aim of arranging marriages between U.S. men and Russian women. "The Woman Of Your Dreams Just May have a Russian Accent," states the company's website.
 
A federal jury in Baltimore awarded one of the Russian brides matched by Encounters International a settlement of $434,000 after she claimed to have been beaten by her American husband and claimed that the company failed to screen candidates properly. The woman also claimed that Encounters International neglected to tell her about a law allowing immigrants to escape abusive marriages without fear of automatic deportation. […]
 
Rosie Hidalgo, director of public policy for the anti-domestic violence organization Casa de Esperanza, said she has notified Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee that SAVE Services had strong connections to Encounters International, and pointed out that there have been no studies documenting immigration fraud on the part of U.S. anti-domestic violence programs.
 
"It's shocking to me that the people who are advocating for these anti-immigrant provisions are the people who have a monetary interest in not holding batterers accountable and not holding marriage broker agencies accountable," she told HuffPost. "These are the ones reaching out to House Republicans, and Republicans are supporting the policies they're pushing."
This is the company that the Religious Right keeps, and they sadly have a great deal of influence in the House. Today’s vote in the House will reveal just how much.

 

Anti-Mormon Activist Warns Romney and Obama Represent 'Twin Evils'

Last month we noted that many Religious Right leaders have tried to rationalize their fundamentalist version of Christianity with voting for a Mormon candidate for president by arguing that it isn’t a problem since Romney supports “biblical values” and Obama, they allege, does not. Others, such as televangelist Joel Osteen and Pat Robertson, and activists like David Barton, have gone so far as to say that Mormons are indeed Christians.

Now, a group of pastors has released a document, For the Sake of the Gospel, saying that if Christian leaders decide to back Mitt Romney, they must clearly distinguish the theological differences between Mormonism and Christianity:

If an evangelical Christian chooses to vote for Mr. Romney (President Obama or any candidate), that is a decision between themselves and God.

The purpose of this call to evangelical Christians and leaders is two-fold:

1. To protect the purity and integrity of the Biblical Gospel.

2. To seize the opportunity to educate the America Public and Christians to the fundamental differences between historic Christian faith and that of the Latter-day Saints (Mormons).



It is our contention that the general population should not be left with any uncertainty whether the theological cult1 of which Mitt Romney is a faithful member, namely The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons), and historic evangelical Christianity are one and the same faith. This we adamantly deny!

Jerry Johnson of the Nicene Council spoke to Janet Mefferd yesterday about the document and like others such as Warren Cole Smith of World Magazine, cautioned that electing a Mormon president would give the church a powerful tool in their mission work and warned against pastors describing Romney as a Christian. He told Mefferd that he would not vote for either Romney or Obama, lamenting that “the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet” and calling the two candidates “twin evils.”

Johnson: Why can’t the Christian Church understand that this election cycle goes beyond Mitt Romney, beyond Barack Obama, even beyond the United States of America, it has to be about the Gospel. Too many Christians are just willing to either rationalize like Pat Robertson and Joel Osteen, they’re willing to rationalize and become very pragmatic, and it appears, I don’t know if they realize they’re doing this, but my question to them would be: what’s more important, the United States of America and its Constitution or the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ?

Mefferd: Well that’s a no-brainer right there, yet you have a lot of Christians who say ‘we have to endorse Romney, we have to get behind Romney, or we’ll get Obama for a second term,’ what do you say to those Christians?

Johnson: I say to them that in this election cycle the two major parties have given us the choice between voting for the Beast or the False Prophet. I for one, I’m not going to vote for either. This is not an issue of the lesser of two evils; I actually see two twin evils here.

Johnson also posted a video outlining “why Mormonism is a cult”:

All of a Sudden, House GOP Doesn’t Like “Issues that Divide Us”

 The National Journal today reports on the rocky progress of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which for the first time this year has become an object of partisan dispute. Why? The Democratic-backed reauthorization includes new protections for LGBT people, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. That bill passed in the Senate despite 31 no votes – all from Republican men.

In response, the House GOP put together an alternate bill that not only axes the new protections recommended by Democrats but eliminates some protections that are already in the bill. Yesterday, the White House threatened to veto the House bill.

Now, the House GOP is playing the victim, accusing Democrats of trying to make them look bad by including things like help for gays and lesbians and undocumented immigrants in the bill:

The Senate version would expand current protections to gay, bisexual, or transgender victims of domestic abuse, subject non-Native American suspects of domestic abuse occurring on reservations to the jurisdiction of tribal courts, and increase temporary visas for victims who are undocumented immigrants. The House bill was amended on Tuesday to allow illegal immigrant “U visa” recipients to receive permanent residence if the perpetrators of the crimes against them are aliens, are convicted of the crimes, and are deported to the visa holders’ home countries.

But Republican leaders have accused Democrats of adding those hot-button issues to intentionally create a fight for political advantage—and lash out at House Republicans for waging a “war against women.” House GOP leaders—including Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia—say they want to stay away from “issues that divide us.”

That’s right. House Republican leaders – who threatened to shut down the government to stop Planned Parenthood funding, who won’t even consider cutting tax loopholes for giant corporations, who continually go out of their way to express their opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians – are now worried about “issues that divide us.” Like, apparently, protecting gay people, Native Americans and immigrants from domestic abuse.

One “issue that divides us” apparently didn’t turn off some House Republicans. Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia offered an amendment to the bill that, according to the National Journal, would provide “help for convicted domestic abusers who want their gun-ownership rights back.” That one, at least, didn’t make it past the Rules Committee.

PFAW

Fischer: Obama is Turning America into Sodom and Gomorrah

After spending most of a segment talking about how President Obama is a Muslim on his radio program yesterday, Bryan Fischer decided to take some calls from his listening audience.  The first caller Fischer talked to was "Michael from Texas" who asserted that President Obama was "determined to make ours a nation of homosexuals, so I can only say welcome to the United States of Sodom and Gomorrah."

Not surprisingly, Fischer readily agreed and warned that when males entered Sodom and Gomorrah, "they were in danger of being attacked, assaulted, and gang raped." Fischer then said it was especially dangerous when a leader like the President supports homosexuality, which Fischer called "immoral, unnatural, [and] unhealthy" and vowed to oppose "'til I draw my last breath":

Parshall Blames Satan for Legislation Limiting Ex-Gay Reparative Therapy

‘Ex-gay’ activist Joe Dallas yesterday appeared on Janet Parshall’s talk show In The Market where he spoke out against a bill making its way through the California state legislature curtailing the discredited and harmful practice of reparative therapy, specifically towards children. While responding to a question from a caller, Dallas predicted that a “revival” will occur within the gay community when they realize they are on a “quenchless quest for a very elusive peace” as they will always be unhappy because they are gay, not because of anti-gay stigma and bias, which he called a “scapegoat for unhappiness.”

Parshall said that Satan, or the Father of Lies, is responsible for the legislation, and Dallas warned that “the silencing and the restricting of any group or individual who opposes the normalization of homosexuality” is the “last item” of business for gay rights advocates:

Parshall: It reminds us that this really is spiritual warfare, it may look like a bit of legislation but in the end it’s really the old Deceiver rattling his tail saying, ‘Has God said.’ If you tell somebody they can’t change then we are being reminded by the Father of all Lies that God is not telling us the truth. So it passes out of the Senate Judiciary Committee last week on a vote of 3-1 and it now goes to the Senate floor, and as I understand the legislation it would restrict therapists from providing sexual orientation change counseling, even if a patient seeking such help requests it, it would be illegal to counsel that way. Aside from the obvious, that there seems to be a war on truth, was there a catalyst that spurned the introduction of this legislation?

Dallas: To my knowledge there hasn’t been a specific recent event that served as a catalyst for this but this has been brewing for at least twenty years or longer.



Dallas: I have often said and I’ll say it again, same-sex marriage is not the last item on the agenda here. The last item I fully believe is the silencing and the restricting of any group or individual who opposes the normalization of homosexuality.

Religious Right Filmmaker Urges Parents to Take Children out of 'Godless and Pagan' Public Schools

Yesterday, Phyllis Schlafly hosted E. Ray Moore on Eagle Forum Live to discuss the Christian Reconstructionist film, “IndoctriNation,” about the supposedly destructive nature of the public school system. Moore called public schools the “main culprit” on why young adults leave the church, likening it to “playing Russian Roulette with your children’s souls.” Throughout the show he said parents are mandated by the Bible to homeschool their children to place them in Christian schools, saying that while public schools are “godless and pagan by precept and design,” there should be “God in the math class and in the science class as much as in the Bible class.”

Moore: We have so much research showing that Christian children who stay in these government schools through their career, 80% of them of what we would call evangelical Christians are adopting a secular humanist or Marxist/Socialist worldview. We also know that we’re having terrible attrition in the Christian family when children get to be college age, 70-80% of them are dropping out of the church and just abandoning the Christian faith, and we believe that the main culprit for that also is the fact that so many Christians have left their children in these public schools.

Schlafly: Well we’re told that the public schools are trying to be religiously neutral, do you think that’s true?

Moore: No they’re not religiously neutral, they’re godless and pagan by precept and design. That’s another myth that we have to deal with that somehow math and science are religiously neutral, no, we want God in the math class and in the science class as much as in the Bible class.



Moore: Our own research shows 17-20% of Christian children seemed to have survived the experience.

Schlafly: Those aren’t very good odds.

Moore: It’s playing Russian Roulette with your children’s souls is what you’re doing.

Barton Presents Legend as Fact at Capitol Prayer Event

As we noted in our earlier post about the prayer event recently held in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol, the event was called "Washington: A Man of Prayer" and was organized around honoring the 223rd anniversary of George Washington's inauguration.

As such, it was totally expected that David Barton would be there to present his patented brand of pseudo-history, which he did when he trotted out his favorite myth about Washington as captured in this famous painting that Barton used for the cover of one of his books:

As Barton relates the tale, a British loyalist named Issac Potts owned a home near where Washington was camped at Valley Forge and one day stumbled upon Washington alone in the woods making supplication to God on behalf of his army and the American cause, causing Potts to rush home and declare to his wife that the British cause was lost since God would most assuredly answer the prayers of any man who prayed with such conviction:

You will surely be shocked to learn that, contrary to Barton's assertion, this apocryphal incident never actually happened, as History Professor John Fea explained in his book "Was America Founded As a Christian Nation?:

There is one major problem with Potts's story of Washington praying at Valley Forge - it probably did not happen. While it is likely that Washington prayed while he was with the army at Valley Forge in the winter of 1777-1778, it is unlikely that the story reported by Potts, memorialized in paintings and read to millions of schoolchildren, is anything more than legend. It was first told in the seventeenth edition (1816) of Mason Lock Weem's Life of Washington. Weems claimed to have heard it directly from Potts, his "good old FRIEND." Potts may have owned the house where Washington stayed at Valley Forge, but his aunt Deborah Potts Hewes was living there alone at the time. Indeed, Potts was probably not even residing in Valley Forge during the encampment. And he was definitely not married.  It would be another twenty-five years before he wed Sarah, making a conversation with her in the wake of the supposed Washington prayer impossible. Another version of the story, which appeared in the diary of Reverend Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, claims that it was John Potts, Issac's brother, who heard Washington praying. These discrepancies, coupled with the fact that Weems was known for writing stories about Washington based upon scanty evidence, have led historians to discredit it.

As we have said before, just because something might be demonstrably untrue, that is not going to stop Barton from repeating it.

Mitt Romney in 2006 Blasted Same-Sex Marriage as a 'Blow to the Foundation of Civilization'

Prior to launching his first run for president, Mitt Romney in 2006 addressed an event called “Liberty Sunday” at Boston’s Tremont Temple Baptist Church where he spoke alongside anti-gay activists and attacked marriage equality as harmful to children and civilization itself.

Watch:

Warning against the “homosexual agenda,” Family Research Council president Tony Perkins introduced Mitt and Ann Romney and lauded the former Massachusetts governor for understanding “the threat that this imposes to our nation.”

Romney condemned people, especially activist judges, whom he accused of “trying to establish one religion, the religion of secularism” and “reject traditional values” and “reject the values of our Founders.”

“Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization—the family—they ruled that our constitution requires people of the same gender to marry,” Romney said. “The principal burden of this court’s ruling doesn’t fall on adults, it falls on children.” He continued, “The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children, our fight for marriage then should focus then on the needs of children, not the rights of adults.”

Romney called for the adoption of a Federal Marriage Amendment to block the “spreading secular religion and its substitute values” that he said “weaken the foundation of the family” and dishonor the Founders.

Other speakers included Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, American Family Association president Don Wildmon, and preacher Wellington Boone, who reminisced about the time when sodomy was a capital offense in America, joked about “sodomite island,” and said the push for LGBT rights represents the “rape of the civil rights movement.”

Prayer in the Capitol: 'The American Economy, Politics, and Culture are Dying Because of Sin'

Earlier this month, Brian noted that Rep. Louie Gohmert would be hosting a prayer event in Statuary Hall at the US Capitol called "Washington: A Man of Prayer."  The event, which took place on May 8, was dedicated to honoring the 223rd anniversary of George Washington's inauguration and it was filmed by Pat Robertson's Christian Broadcasting Network, which posted the entire thing on YouTube.

The two hour event featured lots of singing as well as remarks delivered by the likes of Gohmert, Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Penny Nance of Concerned Women for America, David Barton of WallBuilders, and Bishop Harry Jackson. 

One of the main speaker was Dan Cummins of a group called Come Pray With Me, who delivered an address declaring that "Democracy's plow" must by always guided by two hands: those of the politicians and those of the preachers.  Cummins warned that when preachers remove their hands from that plow, they are "giving opportunity for the fallows of socialism" to corrupt the nation.  Preachers and politicians are to work together, Cummins preached, to maintain "the balance between church and state, not the separation of church and state" as he warned that "sin is separating America from the blessings of God" and that  "the American economy, politics, and culture are dying because of sin."  The solution, of course, is to get "Christ in the economy, Christ in Congress, [and] Christ in the culture":

Cummins was supposed to have been followed by Alveda King, but she was unable to attend and so her remarks were read by Vivian Berryhill.  King's remarks, not surprisingly, focused entirely on "the national sin of abortion," comparing abortion providers and activsts to Judas and accusing them of "leading sheep to the slaughter," and calling upon God to end abortion in America just as He ended slavery:

Finally, Jim Garlow echoed the remarks delivered by Cummins, calling on pastors to stop talking about Right vs Left and start talking about right vs wrong, saying that if hundreds of thousands of preachers were willing to stand up and speak out, there would be no national debt, abortion, or gay marriage:

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