Despite predictions that GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s incendiary comments on immigrants and POWs, among others, would sink his presidential campaign, Trump has maintained his lead in polls and is receiving plenty of backup from his allies at Fox News and in conservative talk radio.
As Media Matters points out, conservative voices including Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity and the pundits on the Fox shows “The Five” and “Fox & Friends,” along with radio hosts including Rush Limbaugh and Laura Ingraham, have all lent Trump support in recent days, treating him as a hero for standing up to liberal media bullies.
Fox’s resident “culture war” reporter and super-patriot Todd Starnes has also been defending Trump, even after the presidential candidate said of POWs like John McCain: “I like people who weren't captured.”
Yesterday on the Family Research Council's “Washington Watch” program, Starnes told FRC President Tony Perkins that Trump is a voice for the voiceless: “The American people see all of this and they see the illegals coming into our country, they see the massive surge from Islamic countries, immigrants coming here and towns and communities being overwhelmed, and they don’t feel like anyone is hearing their voice, except for one person, Donald Trump.”
Michael Savage, the right-wing talk show host who credited his own book with shaping Trump’s views on immigration, praised Trump this week as “the leader of the entire conservative movement in America and maybe the world.”
“He’s the leader of the Western world,” Savage said. “Donald Trump has moved up to being the leader of the whole Western world right now with his love for America, love for borders, language, culture, family, military, he’s the only one articulating those views.”
On his “Washington Watch" radio program yesterday, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins once again chatted with a caller who wanted to discuss Jonathan Cahn’s book about the spiritual implications of the Shemittah.
After the caller said that the Supreme Court's recent marriage equality decision is weakening "the hedge of protection coming across us,” Perkins readily agreed that God will lift His protective hand from the U.S. as a result of gay people getting married.
“Absolutely, absolutely,” Perkins replied, adding that with the Obergefell ruling, we “put ourselves in a very vulnerable position” just like in “1973 when the court basically said it’s open season on the unborn, there were consequences to that and I believe it’s a part of removing God’s hand of protection upon a nation.”
Sam Rohrer of the American Pastors Network once again appeared on The Dove TV yesterday to warn that the United States has forfeited its role as the leading moral voice in the world because of the Obama administration's record of speaking out against draconian anti-gay laws in other nations, declaring that Russia under Vladimir Putin is now the "moral leader of the world."
"The moral position leadership of our country has been forfeited," the former Pennsylvania Republican legislator said. "Our administration is trying to tie together foreign aid into countries in Africa that have actually passed laws against homosexuality and in favor of traditional marriage. They're trying to use and force these countries to actually embrace same-sex marriage. Our country, this nation is probably doing more to advance the face of same-sex marriage than anything else."
"I look over to Russia, Putin, the Russian Orthodox Church has now lifted themselves up as the moral leader of the world," Rohrer continued. "Believe it or not, Russia and the Russian Orthodox Church [are] the protectors of moral truth. The West and the United States have become the leaders of moral depravity."
"To now see that we have become, not a shining city on a hill, but a purveyor of evil" is an incredible thing, Rohrer said.
As we noted earlier this month, the fact that Theodore Shoebat consistently calls for gays to be put to death has not prevented him from regularly being interviewed on Religious Right news programs or appearing in an anti-gay film alongside several Republican lawmakers and presidential candidates.
Today, he posted a new column warning that the proposal by the Boy Scouts of America to lift the ban on gay scout masters is all part of an effort to "transform the Scouts into a Nazi-like gay youth club" that will be used to attack Christianity .... and that is why "there is only one solution to the homosexual agenda, and that is death":
The Boy Scouts are expected to be accepting openly adult homosexual leaders, and this most dangerous move will only further enable these sodomites to rape and sexually molest young boys and male youths ... You will have sodomite Scout leaders with young men, 15 or 16 years old, what do you think is going to be occurring in those sodomites’ minds? Evil, filthy, unnatural lusts, lusts that will eventually be carried out, with the Scout leader sodomizing his innocent victims ... Mark my words, when the decision to accept openly homosexual Scout leaders is made, expect the homosexuals to sodomize and rape young boys and male youths. Expect them to groom young boys and recruit them into the homosexual cause, as they have been doing for so many years now.
The sodomites molest children and teenagers, and groom them, and from such you have an army of advocates wanting the whole world to be molested.
But will you do anything about it? I doubt it.
Haven’t you people learned from the Holy Scriptures? Do not the sublime words of the prophets and the Apostles warn us and tell us? Does not the Scriptures tell us about how the people of Sodom wanted to rape the angels; does not the Scriptures tell us of the evil Benjaminites who wanted to rape the men in the house (Judges 19); does not the Apostle Paul tell us in Romans that the homosexuals are full of murder and are “inventors of evil things” (Romans 1:30)
We have ignored these words. For if we didn’t, we would know that the sodomites are constantly contriving all sorts of evils. If they want to enter the Boy Scouts, its for evil; if they want to enter the military, its for evil; if they want to enter the schools, its for evil; sports, its for evil; the Church, its for evil.
I believe that the reason why the homosexuals want to enter the Boy Scouts is because they want to recruit young boys, and transform the Scouts into a Nazi-like gay youth club; young brainwashed children who can be used as soldiers against Christianity.
This is why I say that there is only one solution to the homosexual agenda, and that is death. What does the Scriptures say? “ If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)
Yet this most erudite law is ignored, hated, or treated with contempt by modern Christians.
Senator and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has repeatedly called recent Supreme Court decisions on marriage and health care reform “tyranny.” On Wednesday, he used his platform as chair of the Senate’s Judiciary Subcommittee on Oversight, Agency Action, Federal Rights and Federal Courts to hold a hearing on “Supreme Court activism” in which he said that the marriage equality ruling was “the very definition of tyranny” and that “Justice Kennedy’s pop psychology has no basis in the text and history of the Constitution.”
Among the witnesses Cruz called was John Eastman, chair of the National Organization for Marriage. Eastman said a simple majority of states should be allowed to override Supreme Court decisions. (While we’re talking about “tyranny,” let’s not forget that Eastman recently defended Uganda’s notorious Anti-Homosexuality Act and hoped for its swift reinstatement.)
Cruz is far from the only right-winger crying “tyranny” over the prospect of gay couples getting married. We have seen right-wing activists and politicians denounce the marriage equality ruling in the most apocalyptic terms, and charge that it will bring unprecedented religious persecution to the U.S. Right-wing Catholic Hugh Brown of the American Life League even said that Justice Kennedy had “betrayed” Jesus. Another, Michael Hichborn of the right-wing Catholic Lepanto Institute, said Kennedy should be excommunicated.
Some have been calling for states to resist or ignore the ruling (Liberty Counsel is defending county clerks who refuse to do their jobs), or negate it with a “creative” law. Some are focused on passing laws to allow government officials and business owners to discriminate against same-sex couples – like the proposed federal First Amendment Defense Act. Some are calling for constitutional amendments to overturn the marriage ruling. And some are looking at the 2016 presidential election as an opportunity to pack the Court with far-right justices.
Cruz has called for a constitutional amendment that would require justices to face retention elections, and has said he would also support term limits on justices, an idea promoted by fellow presidential contender Mike Huckabee.
The call and response chant, “Tell me what democracy looks like,” “This is what democracy looks like!” rang true as activists rallied against the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) during its annual meeting in San Diego this week.
ALEC is a far-right organization that connects corporate executives to policy makers in order to craft and enact state-by-state legislation that raises corporate profits while stomping on the rights and economic prospects of working families. For instance, ALEC is behind Arizona’s anti-immigrant SB 1070 law and the “Stand Your Ground” law in Florida that helped George Zimmerman to walk free.
At the protest, more than a thousand participants from faith communities, labor unions, environmental groups, immigration groups, and more proclaimed that ALEC corrupts democracy by allowing corporations to – literally – buy a seat at the table with state legislators. Common Cause President Miles Rapoport described the ALEC meeting as “a festival of closed-door deal-making by politicians, corporate executives and lobbyists. They gather to do the public’s business in private, fashioning legislation that undercuts the public interest.”
Civil rights leader and People For the American Way board member Dolores Huerta revved up the crowd, telling activists, “The only way we can stop [ALEC] is to go back to our communities, we’ve got to organize. People do not know how perilous this organization is. Let’s say ‘abajo (that means down) con ALEC!’”
After Huerta’s speech, activists – including a Young Elected Official (YEO) with the YEO Network, a project of People For the American Way Foundation – sought out Huerta to introduce themselves and share the work they're doing in their communities.
Activists then walked to the hotel where the ALEC meetings are being held to continue the protest. Huerta and others highlighted the message that Republican presidential candidate Scott Walker – who spoke this morning at the conference – and ALEC are unified in their support for corporations at the expense of working families.
In addition to participating in the rally, PFAW released Spanish- and English-language digital ads criticizing Walker for his alliance with ALEC. The Huffington Post also published an opinion piece yesterday by Huerta that details the anti-immigrant, anti-worker efforts of ALEC and how Walker has a long history of partnering with ALEC.
As we’ve noted, Family Research Council President Tony Perkins often speaks with some very interesting callers on his “Washington Watch” radio program, and yesterday’s edition was no different, as one caller told Perkins that Jewish tradition predicts a massive civil war and martial law coming to the U.S.
“Our leader, the super-left-socialist-Marxist-Muslim that we have in our Oval Office, is bringing this country down to its knees and our faith is being battered,” the caller said. “We are going to be persecuted, the day is here, the fight is on, we have to stand. And here’s the striking thing about it: Next year marks, in September and October, marks the Jewish moth of the Shemittah.”
“You’re right,” Perkins responded.
But the caller wasn’t done yet: “We will see martial law come into this country, next year. President Obama likes to be a president, likes the power, he’s not done and he is going to usher in a time when an election will not take place in this country and there will be civil disobedience in this country and the Civil War was peanuts compared to what we’re going to see.”
Perkins then said that while it would “take me a whole week to unpack all of that,” he plans to bring messianic rabbi and Religious Right activist Jonathan Cahn onto his radio show to discuss “from a historical perspective as well as a biblical perspective” the “interesting stuff” involved in the Shemittah. According to Cahn, the September 11, 2001 attacks and the 2008 Financial Crash were all part of the Shemittah cycle.
Unfortunately for the caller, the Shemittah actually falls this September, not next year, so if Obama wants to declare martial law and incite a massive bloodbath he’d better do it soon!
Conservative talk show host Michael Savage reacted to the shooting of military service members in Chattanooga last week by railing against the media and the government for supposedly trying to cover up any mention of the shooter’s religion.
Savage said on his program Friday that Americans will be driven to civil war if the media try to portray terrorist attacks as anything other than Islamic terrorism, a war he thinks is needed to save the country.
“I don’t know what it’s going to take for this country to change — I do know what it’s going to take, it’s going to take the big one. It’s going to take the big one and mark my words if, God forbid, the big one comes, like the dirty bomb or something horrible like that, you’re going to wait and see what the media says, ‘We provoked it, we shouldn’t have been in Afghanistan, we’re not sensitive to Muslims, what did we do to offend them, we have to reach out,’ that’s the end of the road, there’ll be a civil war,” Savage said. “And by the way, it’ll be overdue. That’s the only thing that could save us.”
He added that while he hopes there isn’t a war, America’s enemies have already “infiltrated” the government, which is now pushing the people to the breaking point since it is “at war with us by enabling the enemies of our very survival.”
David Barton, a Religious Right activist often hailed as the movement's premier historian, has a habit of promoting wildly revisionist history (including about his own life) to an enthusiastic conservative audience. So we were somewhat surprised today when Barton delivered a forceful condemnation of revisionist history about the cause of the Civil War.
On his "WallBuilders Live" radio program today, Barton took a question from a listener on the controversy over the Confederate flag and the idea that the Civil War was really fought over the principle of states' rights and not the issue of slavery.
Barton outright rejected this sort of "revision of history" and spent more than ten minutes explaining that the Civil War was explicitly fought over the issue of slavery, as he declared that it appalls him to see schools named after Confederate generals like Nathan Bedford Forrest and compared the actions of Confederate soldiers to ISIS.
"It was not about states' rights," Barton said. "It was about slavery."
As Barton explained, the documents written and speeches given by those who supported secession regularly cited the preservation of slavery as the primary factor. The idea that the Civil War was fought to protect states' rights, Barton said, is absurd considering that the Confederate constitution explicitly prohibited states from abolishing slavery.
"It was not about states' rights, it was about slavery," Barton said. "What we've seen as a result of this is a lot of revision of history. And today, it literally appalls me to see that throughout the south, they still have elementary schools named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was one of the great Confederate generals in the Civil War. But you know, Nathan Bedford Forrest was also the founder of the Ku Klux Klan ... We've got elementary schools named after a great murderer?"
Barton went on to praise the removal of the Confederate flag from outside the South Carolina capitol and elsewhere, saying that those who fly it and defend it "know nothing" about its history or the "values" it represented.
To make his case, Barton cited the massacre at Fort Pillow, in which Bedford's Confederate troops ruthlessly murdered hundreds of surrendering black Union soldiers.
"When the blacks surrendered, when Union forces surrendered, having surrendered, they slaughtered them on the spot," Barton said. "I mean, ISIS-like atrocities: they skinned 'em, they burned them alive, the buried 'em, they drowned 'em, the drug 'em, they hung 'em. These were guys who surrendered, they were prisoners of war. The Confederacy had a standing order that any black that you capture is to be killed on the spot. That's not similar values to the north, we're not talking the same value base here."
Barton went on to liken Confederate prisoner of war camps for Union soldiers to Nazi death camps as he revealed that of all the official prayer proclamations that he collects for this library, he will not accept any Confederate proclamations from the likes of Jefferson Davis "because what they were praying for to God is like ISIS praying."
"Look at the pictures, read the accounts," Barton said. "Read what happened to blacks, read the hearings in Congress on the various things that were done to blacks. It's not human. It's what Germans did to Jews, saying 'Well, they aren't human, we can do this to them.'"
Barton said that he realizes that lots of Confederate leaders and soldiers were strong Christians "but that doesn't mean what they fought for was right ... The bottom line is you judge a tree by its fruits and the states' right they fought to preserve was that of keeping blacks as non-people, as non-humans and they treated blacks and they treated Union soldiers in that manner and that's just unacceptable."
We look forward to folks like Todd Starnes now relentless attacking Barton for engaging in "cultural cleansing."
John Zmirak, the conservative columnist and senior editor of James Robison’s “The Stream” website, told Wisconsin talk radio host Vicki McKenna on Tuesday that President Obama wants to “padlock” the black church in Charleston that was targeted by a racist gunman even as he supports “the most racist organization in the country,” Planned Parenthood.
Zmirak managed to tie together two false right-wing memes, claiming that the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision will cause churches to lose their tax-exempt status (it won’t) and that Planned Parenthood is selling “babies’ brains and livers for profit” (it isn’t).
“Let’s keep in mind that the Obama administration is talking about taking away the tax exemption of churches that won’t perform same-sex marriages, but they’re going to keep a tax exemption for an organization that sells babies’ brains and livers for profit,” he said. “Wrap your mind about that one and then think of Barack Obama singing ‘Amazing Grace’ with a straight face in Christian church.”
“By the way, the church where he sang will lose its tax exemption and probably have to close,” he continued. “That black church where there was that horrible shooting in Charleston, they don’t do same-sex marriages. So Obama, even though he sang there, his people are getting ready to padlock the place but they won’t padlock the abortion mills of Planned Parenthood. That’s the kind of bizarre world we live in.”
McKenna concurred, citing a debunked right-wing myth that Planned Parenthood “has had as its goal the elimination of black children because black people, according to its founder, were unfit, unfit, we need to reduce the number of black people having children because black people are lesser humans.” Instead of focusing on the Confederate flag, she said, the U.S. should just “get rid of Planned Parenthood.”
“Absolutely,” Zmirak agreed. “Planned Parenthood is the most racist organization in the country. As far as I know, even the Ku Klux Klan does not advocate killing black people. They have a lot of despicable views, but they don’t actually talk about extermination. Planned Parenthood is actually doing it.”
On Tuesday, conservative radio host Michael Savage told his listeners that he recently got “wiped out” by the flu, an illness he promptly blamed on President Obama.
Last year, during a summer spike in undocumented immigrant youths coming to the U.S., Savage warned listeners that the largely Central American immigrants were spreading Enterovirus D-68 to the U.S., which he referred to as “the Honduran flu.”
Savage lamented that “my body really got wasted by the Honduran flu brought in by Obama’s children last summer on those trains.”
Of course, experts report that there is no connection between immigrants and the enterovirus, and the law that blocked immediate deportation of the Central American minors was signed into law by President Bush, not Obama.
Earlier this week, David Barton appeared on Missions Radio, where he doubled down on his false claim that the Supreme Court ruling striking down gay marriage bans has now legalized pedophilia, asserting that churches will be forced to hire child molesters to run their day care centers.
After repeating his false warning that gay marriage will lead to the elimination of gender-specific bathrooms and locker rooms, Barton claimed that the ruling, along with the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which he wrongly asserted was passed into law in 2006, will now also force churches to hire pedophiles.
"The Supreme Court said gender cannot be used as a basis of why you do things," Barton said, "what you use is sexual identity. At this point, there are 82 distinct sexual identities ... so whatever I identify myself as this morning, you now have legal standing for that. So what you've seen is, we used to have bathrooms based on gender, but you can't identify gender so now you have to do no genders. So we've already seen in Utah that a number of guys have signed up and moved into the girl's dorms and you can't stop that because you can't base it on gender any more. Well, guess what that's going to mean for sports teams, guess what that's going to mean for bathrooms all across the country, guess what that's going to mean for all sorts of stuff."
"And then, Congress has passed what’s called ENDA, Employment Non-Discrimination Act," he continued, "passed this in '06 under [Nancy] Pelosi and [Harry] Reid and at that point in time, it says you cannot discriminate on the basis of hiring. As a result, the president has now announced that faith based groups have to hire homosexuals; not an option, you have to because federal law says you cannot discriminate on the basis of identity. So if a pedophile comes to the church and says, 'I want to run your nursery,' you can’t say no because that’s discriminating on the basis of identity. If a homosexual comes and says, 'I want to be your youth director' and you say no, you can’t do that, you can’t distinguish on the basis of gender."
As Warren Throckmorton pointed out, literally nothing Barton claimed is true:
No. Just no.
Barton is completely wrong about the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. It never passed both houses of Congress during the same session, and it is not law today. It was not introduced in the 109th Congress (2005-2007). As an aside, the House speaker during that Congress was Dennis Hastert and the Senate president was Dick Cheney. ENDA passed the House in the next Congress but not the Senate. Another version of the legislation passed the Senate in 2013 but not the House.
Barton told Mitchell’s audience that President Obama’s executive order forbidding discrimination by federal contractors came “as a result” of ENDA. Not so. Barton claims faith based groups have to hire homosexuals. However, this order only applies to federal contractors not all faith based groups. Then he uncorked a doozy by claiming that churches have to hire pedophiles who want to run church nurseries. Of course, this is ridiculous fear mongering.
Stop a minute to think about that claim. Anyone who has any knowledge of church work or volunteer work with children knows Barton’s claim is ridiculous. In many schools, you can’t volunteer to accompany your child’s classroom on a field trip without criminal and child abuse clearances. In recent years, churches have been required by liability insurers to screen all volunteers before working with children. Barton’s claims are absurd and irresponsible.
Christian Broadcasting Network politics reporter David Brody takes nearly any chance he can get to defend a Republican politician, and now he is offering his services to “explain” Donald Trump’s support among conservative evangelical voters.
You see, evangelical voters love how “Trump operates in a world of absolutes,” which Brody says is similar to how evangelicals operate, and will even excuse his claim that he never seeks forgiveness from God since his “honesty resonates with them.”
Of course, Trump’s “bold,” “absolutist” image is nothing but a myth.
As Christopher Massie and Andrew Kaczynski of BuzzFeed helpfully note in “A Guide To The Radical Left Wing Ideology And Flip-Flops Of Fake Conservative Donald J. Trump,” Trump has previously endorsed universal healthcare, the 2009 economic stimulus, abortion rights and stricter gun laws. While similar “sins” made Mitt Romney an unacceptable candidate to many on the far-right, at least until he won the GOP nomination, it seems that Trump gets a pass because of his new image as an outspoken shouter of the unvarnished truth.
The only thing that Brody gets right about Trump is that he has a “hefty ego,” but that is also the only aspect of his character that Brody wishes Trump will change.
Donald Trump operates in a world of absolutes. A world of right and wrong; a world of winners (him) and losers (McCain, Perry, etc); a world of put up or shut up (literally). Trump’s world is colored in black and white. Their ain’t much grey. And what does Trump get for speaking out so boldly without holding back? Public ridicule.
Now, think of conservative evangelicals. In their quest to champion biblical values, their mindset is much the same. It is a world of absolutes. They believe the Bible to be the inerrant word of God. Non-negotiable. They believe there is only one way to heaven and that is through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Non-negotiable. They see the world through the lens of spiritual warfare (good vs. evil). And what do evangelicals get for speaking out so boldly without holding back? That’s right: public ridicule.
You see folks; Donald Trump and evangelicals are breaking bread together because there is this common bond that I just laid out above. They like his boldness. They relate to him because when they’ve been bold about their faith they get blasted too. It’s a kinship in a strange sort of way. Don’t ask me to go deeper than that folks. If you want that portion, go call Dr. Phil.
Here’s the point with evangelicals: they’d rather someone be honest about their views about God. The honesty resonates with them and you know what evangelicals will probably end up doing? Instead of hating Trump, they’ll put him on a church “prayer chain” and get on their knees themselves and pray that Donald Trump draws closer to God through this process. Liberals don’t snicker. It’s true.
One final point: when I talk to evangelicals about Donald Trump, as much as they like a lot of things he says, they don’t appreciate his name-calling and hefty ego. What they tell me is that if he can control those two aspects of his delivery and persona without losing who he is as a person, then that would help them get to an even more comfortable place.
Many Religious Right leaders have thrown their support behind anti-gay laws around the world that not only criminalize gay sex but also limit free speech by making even the advocacy of LGBT equality illegal. Another tactic is to limit the free speech of equality advocates by restricting public criticism of their opponents.
In Croatia, a county court has upheld a ruling of the Zagreb Municipal Court that Zagreb Pride, an LGBT rights group, had violated the personal honor and dignity of a journalist by placing her on its annual list of candidates for “homophobe of the year” in 2013. The Court ruled that Zagreb Pride must pay more than 41,000 krona (a bit over $6,000) in fines and court fees. Zagreb Pride officials contend this case is an outgrowth of an organized campaign by conservative Catholic groups and their allies that led to a 2013 referendum banning marriage by same-sex couples.
The journalist, Karolina Vidović-Krišto, had been placed on the list after producing a television segment in December 2012 which used the research of American anti-gay activist Judith Reisman, who is affiliated with Liberty University, to criticize sex-education curricula. When Vidović-Krišto was suspended by state television after the show, Reisman rallied to her defense, and the journalist was reportedly among those who helped organize Reisman’s 2013 trip to Croatia. Reisman also visited in 2014.
As reported by the Croatia-based Center for Education, Counseling and Research (CESI), Reisman was brought to Croatia for a series of public appearances by Stjepo Bartulica, a member of the Catholic order Opus Dei and a Commissioner for Religious Communities in the Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia.
Reisman’s record of anti-gay commentary is long and well-documented. For example, Reisman has:
Reisman also believes that pornography should be outlawed.
Not surprisingly, Reisman’s visit to Croatia was controversial and was criticized by some scientists as well as activists. Reisman faced a number of outspoken critics, whom she denounced as “thugs.” She spoke to parliamentarians and to college students, by whom she was not well received ; when she responded to critical questions by charging that students had been indoctrinated by communists, the school’s dean asked whether she realized how young these students were. He also challenged her credentials to speak about brain chemistry in regard to her promotion of an “erototoxin” theory that pornography leads to “mating confusion.”
Zagreb Pride officials, who say that challenging anti-gay rhetoric and actions are central to their reason for being, are calling the recent ruling an attack on free expression. The Croatian Journalists Association hosted a Zagreb Pride press conference last week.
"The Constitution guarantees us the freedom of speech, and Zagreb Pride's mission is to publicly reveal homophobia, so our basic duty is to react every time we see someone acting against homosexuals," Zagreb Pride representative Marko Jurcic told a news conference in the offices of the Croatian Journalists Association, calling on citizens to support the association and freedom of expression.
Another report from the press conference quotes Jurcic calling for solidarity from citizens in support of free speech and human rights. Also speaking were Sandra Benčić from the Center for Peace Studies and Natasa Bijelic from CESI, who put the case in the larger context of the growing neo-conservative threats to sexual and reproductive rights in Europe.
Zagreb Pride leaders have vowed to challenge the decision to the Constitutional Court as a matter of freedom of expression, and to develop a strategy for taking the case to the European Court of Human Rights.
Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, said yesterday that a conservative group’s new series of videos falsely claiming that Planned Parenthood is “selling aborted baby” parts may be the “Uncle Tom’s Cabin” of the fight against legal abortion.
“I think that this may be the equivalent of ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin,’” Land said on Newsmax TV. “You know, when Harriet Beecher Stowe wrote that book, she put a human face on slavery. And Lincoln met her after the war had started and said, ‘I’m finally glad to meet the woman who wrote the book that started the war.’ I think that you may, the American people may now be forced to confront the evil and the barbarity and the savagery of the pro-abortion movement.”
Televangelist Pat Robertson tries to insist that he’s not “some sort of right-wing extremist,” which could only be convincing to someone who has never watched an episode of his daily television show, “The 700 Club.”
Take, for example, today’s program, in which a Christian Broadcasting Network reporter profiled the debate in Kenya over President Obama’s support for LGBT rights and Kenyan Bishop Mark Kariuki’s anti-LGBT efforts. In an interview with CBN, Kariuki called on Kenyan leaders to reaffirm the country’s laws making homosexuality a crime punishable by up to 14 years imprisonment, and urged Obama to reverse his support for LGBT rights before it leads to America’s destruction.
“One wishes that the president of the United States would listen to some of his fellow Africans, cousins, to what they have to say because they speak truth and they speak wisdom,” he added.
Watch highlights here:
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is up in arms about new Obama administration guidelines for exempting naturalized citizens who are conscientious objectors from the oath of citizenship’s promise to “bear arms” on behalf of the United States. The GOP presidential candidate told an Iowa radio program yesterday that the new exemption guidelines show that President Obama is “giving up on America” by allowing an “invasion” of unassimilated immigrants.
In 1950, Congress added the vow to “bear arms on behalf of the United States when required by law” to the oath taken by naturalized citizens after a court ruled that military service wasn’t implicitly required in the existing oath. However, new citizens taking the oath were allowed to refuse to say the line “on the basis of religious training and beliefs,” just as all citizens are allowed to opt out of military service if they are conscientious objectors.
In 2003, a Bush administration effort to modernize the oath would have removed the “bear arms” line altogether, but was rebuffed after facing conservative criticism that the line replacing it was too weak. The new Obama administration policy keeps the “bear arms” part of the oath, but updates the guidelines on who may be exempt from saying it for religious or moral reasons.
Jindal, who has tried to position himself as the Right’s foremost defender of religious freedom, reasonably reacted to this news yesterday by circulating a petition calling for the director of U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services to be fired, falsely claiming that the administration was “deleting the requirement” that naturalized immigrants vow to serve in the military, and declaring, “Immigration without assimilation is not immigration, it is invasion.”
Jindal repeated this criticism in an interview yesterday with Iowa conservative radio host Simon Conway, himself a naturalized U.S. citizen, saying, “Look, immigration without assimilation, that’s not immigration, that is an invasion.”
Jindal went on to say that by supporting this policy change, Obama has violated his own oath of office: “He takes an oath saying he’s going to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, this to me sounds like he’s giving up on America.”
The right-wing outlet WorldNetDaily is under the impression that Seattle, Washington, is now a Sharia law zone.
WND’s article, which includes the warning, “United Nations floods Seattle area with refugees,” skewers the city’s growing Muslim community and a recent proposal from a mayoral committee to aid Muslim homebuyers who believe their religion proscribes paying interest on loans.
As Adam Serwer pointed out during a similar controversy in Minnesota, many U.S. banks are already beginning to offer such plans where the “companies structure the payments in a sort of house-buying layaway plan.”
WND interviews anti-Muslim activists Andrew Bostom and Pamela Geller, who allege that such programs would lead to a broader implementation of Sharia law.
“Such dangerously misguided efforts kowtow to, and abet, Islamic supremacism,” said Dr. Andrew Bostom, author of “Legacy of Jihad: Islamic Holy War and the Fate of Non-Muslims” and several other books about the history of Islam.
“Shariah-compliant mortgages, and all aspects of so-called Shariah-compliant finance, should be rejected because they are vehicles for the promulgation of Islamic law, an integrated religio-political system antithetical to our most fundamental Western freedoms,” Bostom said.
Mayor opening the door to Shariah
Pamela Geller, author of “Stop the Islamization of America,” also said most Americans are not aware that Shariah applies to all of life. She said the mayor of Seattle, like other mayors who kowtow to Shariah, are doing long-term damage to their cities and their country.
“Shariah is a unified whole – a guide to every aspect of human behavior. It doesn’t just involve interest and loans,” Geller said. “The teachings of Islam regarding war against and subjugation of unbelievers is part of Shariah as well. The mayor of Seattle is opening the door to Shariah, and because he has already shown himself to be compliant, he will receive more demands for accommodation of Shariah in the future.
“This is a radical, intolerant, violent, misogynistic, antisemitic ideology, and he should not be kowtowing to it.”
In the conservative Washington Examiner, Paul Bedard wrote on Tuesday, “Amen corner: Trump makes inroads with social conservatives, evangelicals.”
Donald Trump's surge into the lead of the Republican presidential primary can be credited partly to two groups he has rarely engaged: social conservatives and evangelical Christians.
"Trump is tapping into deep-seated anger in America, a nation founded by Christians 'for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith,'" said David Lane, a prominent national evangelical political organizer. "He's tapping into something at the grassroots, precinct level of America. America is starving for moral, principled leadership. I hope that Donald Trump brings that."
Seriously? David Lane, as regular RWW readers know, is an anti-gay “Christian-nation” political operative who organizes meet-and-greet events and international trips that bring conservative evangelical pastors together with Republican politicians. The oft-married, self-worshipping Trump seems an odd fit for the man who wants to make the Bible the primary textbook in public schools and thinks the purpose of the U.S. government is to advance the Christian faith.
Evangelicals have flirted with Trump before. Recall Trump’s 2012 appearance at Liberty University, where he delivered a speech that Kyle described on RWW as “a typically self-aggrandizing and buffoonish message that was superficially about the importance of God and his Christian but was really about self-promotion and the importance of always getting even with your enemies.”
An unnamed “leader in the social conservative movement” reportedly told Bedard that Trump’s bluster about restoring “order” on the Mexican border has “wowed” voters who are disgusted with Washington.
But other evangelicals were not too happy about Trump’s weekend appearance in Iowa. Trump’s comments denigrating John McCain’s war service got the most mainstream media attention, but Ed Kilgore noted in Washington Monthly that Trump’s response to questions about his faith from pollster Frank Luntz were hardly the kind that would inspire evangelicals: “Luntz asked The Donald if he had ever asked God for forgiveness, and it was really as though the idea had never occurred to him.”
“If I do something wrong, I try to do something right,” he said. “I don’t bring God into that picture.”
Spoken like an ethical agnostic, right? But perhaps sensing his answer wasn’t adequate, he tried to recover:
“When I drink my little wine — which is about the only wine I drink — and have my little cracker, I guess that is a form of asking for forgiveness, and I do that as often as possible because I feel cleansed,” he said.
Byron York also wrote that Trump’s McCain remarks were not the biggest problem coming out of Iowa, saying that a “senior Iowa Republican” was “dumbfounded” by Trump’s comments on religion.
“While there were audible groans in the crowd when Trump questioned whether McCain was a war hero,” the senior Republican said via email, “it was Trump’s inability to articulate any coherent relationship with God or demonstrate the role faith plays in his life that really sucked the oxygen out of the room.”
Steve Benen notes that Jeb Bush jumped to take advantage of Trump’s remarks, telling a conservative radio host that he, Bush, “regularly” asks God for forgiveness. Rick Perry is also trying to use Trump’s dismissal of the need for God’s forgiveness as a way to get some attention, saying that a man too self-absorbed to seek God’s forgiveness does not belong in the White House. It’s worth noting that Perry informally launched his failed 2012 bid with a political prayer rally organized by David Lane and his dominionist allies, making it hard to take Perry seriously when he warns against “false prophets” and messengers “who appeal to anger, division and resentment.”
Lane’s comments are also out of synch with some of his political allies. Sarah Posner pointed out this week that Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention’s Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission and Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference said last week that they didn’t know a single evangelical who supports Trump, saying Christians are turned off by Trump’s immigrant-bashing. But it seems that Moore and Rodriguez need to get out among their constituents a bit more — Posner notes that a Washington Post poll showed Trump as the preferred candidate of 20 percent of white evangelicals, with 45 percent of white evangelicals saying Trump is “just about right” on the issues. A recent Public Policy Polling survey [PDF] found that Trump had higher favorability ratings among evangelical Republicans than non-evangelicals in the party.
David Lane’s positive comments about Trump, who is currently sitting at the top of the polls, are probably just another example of Religious Right leaders’ habit of publicly demanding religious and political purity, but then throwing their support to whatever politicians the GOP nominates. (James Dobson perfected this move.)
Lane has said his effort to recruit 1,000 like-minded evangelical pastors to run for office — and in the process get hundreds of thousands of conservative Christian volunteer workers to influence the 2016 elections — was inspired by his own pastor’s failed run for the state assembly. Last month that pastor, Rob McCoy, made it to public office, winning a seat on the city council of Thousand Oaks, California.