Fighting the Right

GOP Rep: Donald Trump Won't Build A Border Wall

Rep. Blake Farenthold, R-Texas, has been a vocal supporter of Donald Trump, hailing him as a “dealmaker” who “will get some stuff done.”

However, Farenthold said in an interview last week with Virginia radio host John Fredericks that he doesn’t think Trump will actually fulfill his signature policy proposal, building a wall along the entire U.S.-Mexico border that is paid for by the Mexican government, and instead will settle for a “virtual wall.”

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry and anti-immigrant activist Dan Stein have similarly said that they believe Trump will not really build a border wall.

Earlier in the interview, Farenthold criticized President Obama for tossing “a can of gasoline on the fire” of race relations in America, claiming that the president knows “he can only win through dividing.”

“He gives lip service to uniting but you listen to the next sentence or two and it’s all about us against them and divisiveness,” he said.

He then criticized the Black Lives Matter movement, saying, “I think it’s 'all lives matter' and I think everybody can get behind that. Why do we have to differentiate between different groups? We need to come together. As long as we keep talking about division, it increases the tension between the different groups and puts us on the wrong path.”

Donald Trump: 'There's Something Going On' With Obama's Body Language

Today on “Fox & Friends,” Donald Trump repeatedly used one of his favorite lines — “There’s something going on” — while addressing President Obama’s response to the recent shooting of three police officers in Baton Rouge.

Trump, who has previously used the phrase to suggest that President Obama is a terrorist sympathizer, said that “there’s something going on” with the president’s “body language” that shows that his praise of the work of police officers isn’t sincere.

“You know, I watch the president, and sometimes the words are okay but you just look at the body language and there’s something going on. Look, there’s something going on, and the words are not often okay, by the way,” he said. “There’s just bad feeling and a lot of bad feeling about him. I see it too. There’s a lot of bad feeling about him. We have a country that has not been like this since I can remember it.”

Trump also made the baseless claim that the Baton Rouge shooter was a radical Islamist, a mistake that an adviser later blamed on the fact that the interview took place early in the morning.

Anti-Choice Leader: Tax Evasion A 'Serious Consideration' If Hyde Amendment Repealed

Marjorie Dannenfelser, head of the anti-abortion group Susan B. Anthony List, said last week that anti-choice activists should take into “serious consideration” refusing to pay taxes if the Hyde Amendment, which bars federal funds from going to most abortion services, is repealed.

Dannenfelser told the Media Research Center after a speech at the National Press Club on Wednesday that a tax protest would be "something to think about" if the Hyde Amendment were repealed, as proposed in a draft of the Democratic platform.

"If it were repealed, how should pro-lifers react?" MRC's Katie Yoder asked Dannenfelser. "Should they go so far as to refuse to pay taxes?"

"That would be a serious consideration," Dannenfelser responded. "That would be a serious consideration. When you're made complicit in the killing of another person, you have to weigh the consequences of all your actions, so it would be something to think about."

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/15/16

  • Joe.My.God: Trump Says Franklin Graham Will Speak At Convention Which Comes As News To Franklin Graham
  • Brad Reed @ Raw Story: Ivanka Trump’s rabbi pulls out of the RNC — after he’d planned to lead a prayer against bigotry

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/15/16

  • Speaking of AFTAH, Peter LaBarbera has uncovered "Barack Obama's radical LGBT legacy -- an immoral transformation of America."
  • “Remember where you read it first”: Joseph Farah predicts that Donald Trump will “win big” in November.

Trump Tells Far-Right Radio Host Many Immigrants 'Are Not Well People'

Among the many far-right conspiracy theorists that Donald Trump has embraced in his quest for the presidency is conservative talk radio host Michael Savage, who offers a steady stream of conspiracy theories and bigotry on his nationally syndicated program. Yesterday, as he was preparing to announce his vice presidential pick, Trump appeared yet again on Savage’s radio program, where he declared himself to be a loyal listener, praised Savage for the “great job” he is doing, and engaged with Savage in a discussion of what the radio host called “diseased immigrants” coming into the country.

After Trump casually mentioned something that Savage had said about not “liking” the videos of the two black men killed by police earlier this month, Savage asked Trump if he had heard that from listening to his show.

“I heard you say it, I heard you say it on the show,” Trump confirmed. “And, you know what, I heard you say it on the show, I do listen to your show, a lot of people listen to your show, I don’t even know if you know how many people. So many people come up and they say, ‘Michael Savages loves you.’ I say, ‘Well, that’s good news, I think that’s true.’”

This led Savage to ask if Trump would induct him into the Radio Hall of Fame in November. While the candidate said he couldn’t make the promise this far in advance because he might be busy negotiating a trade deal with China, he told Savage that “you deserve it” and promised that “if I could be a part of it in some way, I would be a part of it. You are doing a great job and you’ve been loyal to me from the beginning and I appreciate it.”

Later in the program, Savage declared that President Obama “has not only been flooding America with immigrants who cannot or will not work, he’s bringing in people who have brought back illnesses that were once basically eliminated in America” and offered to “help” Trump with the problem if he’s elected president.

“It’s a disaster to bring in diseased immigrants, don’t you agree?” Savage asked.

“Well that’s what’s happening,” Trump said, “and people don’t like talking about it and certainly it’s not politically correct to talk about it and that’s why they don’t do it, because everything we do today has to do with political correctness. If something’s a little bit off, off just a little bit, they say, ‘Oh, please don’t mention that.’ Even my people tell me ‘don’t mention that’ and I decide to mention things anyway, even though I know it’s going to end up being a firestorm I mention them anyway. But there’s something that’s one of the other elements, and the people are pouring into this country and, in many cases they’re not well people, in many respects.”

Mike Pence Backed Personhood Bills To Criminalize Abortions Nationwide

There's a reason anti-choice groups are celebrating Donald Trump's decision to tap Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate: Pence has spearheaded congressional efforts to defund Planned Parenthood, even if it meant shutting down the government, signed anti-abortion measures into law in Indiana and rallied opposition to President Obama's effort to roll back prohibitions on stem-cell research.

Pence, who pledged at an anti-choice rally to send Roe v. Wade, which he called "the worse Supreme Court decision since Dred Scott," to "the ash heap of history," also cosponsored anti-choice "personhood" resolutions while serving in Congress.

The Life at Conception Act, which Pence cosponsored, called for Congress to "implement equal protection under the 14th article of amendment to the Constitution for the right to life of each born and preborn person," defining legal personhood as beginning at the "moment of of fertilization."

Pence also cosponsored the Right to Life Act, a similar personhood bill.

Advocates of federal personhood bills believe that if Congress passes legislation defining “personhood” as beginning at conception, they can bypass and nullify Roe v. Wade, criminalizing abortion nationwide with no exceptions. While the personhood movement has traditionally sat on the far-right fringes of the anti-abortion movement, in recent years Republican politicians like Pence have brought the extremist cause into the GOP mainstream. Unlike more established abortion rights opponents that seek to cut off access to abortion and gradually outlaw the procedure, personhood activists want the government to immediately end abortion in all cases.

Trump, of course, has taken several contradictory positions on abortion rights throughout the campaign, including saying that women who have abortions should face legal punishment. While many anti-abortion groups condemned his remarks, his call for punishing women who have abortions was completely compatible with the message of personhood groups like Personhood USA, which praised the prosecution of a Tennessee woman for murder last year after she attempted a do-it-yourself, coat-hanger abortion.

Now, with Pence as his running-mate, Trump has decided to fully bring the personhood movement into his campaign.

Rep. Steve King Defends Confederate Flag On Desk: Slavery Just 'Small Part' Of Civil War

Rep. Steve King, R-Iowa, landed in some hot water this week after he gave an interview to a local TV station in his Sioux City district office and viewers noticed that he kept a Confederate flag on his desk.

In an interview with Iowa talk radio host Jeff Angelo on Wednesday, King explained that the flag had been on his desk, along with an American flag and a Gadsden flag, for “a long, long time” and “no one has ever commented about it” until now.

He told Angelo that his critics don’t understand the “real history of the Civil War” and that only a “small part of it was about slavery.” He claimed that nobody minded the Confederate flag until the past year or so when people starting using the flag as a “pretext in order to divide us.”

“This is a free country and there’s freedom of speech,” he said, “and, by the way, I’d encourage people to go back and read the real history of the Civil War and find out what it was about. A small part of it was about slavery, but there was a big part of it that was about states’ rights, it was about people that defended their homeland and fought next to their neighbors and their family. And on both sides of that, roughly 600,000 Americans lost their lives in the Civil War and we put an end to slavery, a stain upon our country. And we’ve lived with respecting the South and their way of life for 150 years and now, after 150 years, there has to be an issue about a Confederate flag?”

King told Angelo that he had ancestors who had fought and died in the Union Army.

“Our family cares a lot about unity but also about the truth and accuracy in history,” he said, “and so that Confederate flag has been here for a long, long time, it just does a reflection of our history, it’s not meant to be anything else. And, by the way, up until about a year ago, it never occurred to me that anyone would think that it has something to do with — that it was an advocacy for anything other than, let’s just say, a piece of our history that we should remember and remember the right lessons from.”

“I’m watching our civilization digress,” he added, “because people are pitting — they are looking for pretext in order to divide us, and this is the pretext that they have chosen upon. And so I’d say to them the same thing the Texans say about their flag with the cannon on it: ‘You see this flag? Come and take it.’”

Glenn Beck Will Not Vote For Donald Trump Because He Doesn't Want To Answer To God

Glenn Beck spent a portion of his television program last night debating with audience members who are not very happy with his refusal to support Donald Trump, which Beck continues to insist he cannot do because voting for Trump carries eternal consequences.

To vote for either Trump or Hillary Clinton is to give his approval to genuine evil and "darkness," Beck said, and so unless God tells him otherwise, he cannot vote for Trump.

"We have to do what we feel the Lord would want us to do," Beck explained. "All I'm looking for now is to be seen in eyes of favor. Lord, I know who you are and I can't imagine standing in front of you and saying, 'But you don't understand, you weren't there.' He was there. And I don't want to say, 'I didn't have enough trust in you to hold the line on my principles' because those principles were right! Even if they were going to throw me in jail and crucify me upside down, I'm not wavering because I believe what I believe in and hopefully the Lord will recognize those who have trust in Him."

David Whitney: Dallas Shooting Was Either False Flag Or Symptom Of Evolution Being Taught In Schools

The Institute on the Constitution’s David Whitney published a doozy of a response on Wednesday to the assassination of five police officers in Dallas, claiming that the sniper attack was likely a government-orchestrated false flag and, even if it wasn’t, it was the result of teaching evolution in schools.

Whitney first laid out the “false flag” theory, that the government orchestrated the shooting in order to “establish the New World Order, another name for the kingdom of Satan”:

… This sniper event couldn’t have happened at a more propitious time as the Congress is pushing through more gun control legislation. Could the timing just be just coincidental? Consider some similar sniper events.

In March 2011 the “spontaneous democratic protest” in Daraa led to carnage as trained snipers killed seven policemen and four protesters, escalating the crisis and launching the five-year long devastation of Syria. That sniper event was carefully planned and well coordinated in an attempt to destabilize that country and its government. In February 2014 paramilitary snipers (later identified as Gladio operatives) opened fire on protestors and police forces in Ukraine, escalating the crisis and putting the final nail in the coffin of Yanukovych’s rule. Now here in July 2016 unidentified snipers opened fire at an otherwise peaceful protest in Dallas. Is there a pattern here?

Could this be another false flag?

The difficult thing here as in other such events is that we cannot always get at the truth. We know the media, particularly the mainstream media, is lying to us regularly. We know our civil government in general is not to be trusted – they have their own agenda which is to establish the New World Order, another name for the kingdom of Satan. They will stop at nothing to achieve it, including murdering policemen. They are of their father the Devil and the works of the Devil they do. As he was a murderer from the beginning so murder is part of their playbook.

Whitney then explains that even if the shooting was not a false flag, it shows that legal abortion and teaching evolution in schools leads people like the Dallas shooter to mass murder:

By they way. If the narrative presented by the media and government were actually true, and I doubt that it is, what should be done? So we have an irate black man with a gun killing police officers. What should be done? Take away everyone’s guns? That begs the question, what brought this man to this point where he considers murdering others a good thing? How was he educated?

In a school house where the Bible was forbidden, prayer illegal, the Ten Commandments could never be seen by him or any student …

Add to that his school taught him evolution – that he was just a compilation of mutations and mistakes, just an overgrow ape. Add to that the notion of relativism, that there are no absolutes, nothing absolutely right or wrong. Compound that with the preaching from the school house that each individual is entitled to make up their own moral value system. Then top it of by showing the student for more that forty years murdering is not only valued as a social good, it has such an exalted status that the government will pay you to murder, provided you are female and it is your own child in the womb you are choosing to murder.

Given all these facts, that the government indoctrination centers have raised a generation of barbarians, what surprises me is that we don’t see more wholesale murder taking place in our already blood soaked land. In spite of the relentless Satanic propaganda drilled in by the government run schools, some survivors of those indoctrination camps still have a semblance of a conscience remaining.

RNC Preview: Dominionists To Hold Pre-Convention Christian Nation Prayer Rally

For the past couple of months, Christian-nation advocate David Lane and dominionst Doug Stringer have been organizing a day-long prayer rally that will take place in Cleveland this Saturday. Timed to coincide with the Republican National Convention, the event will be the latest in the series of “The Response” rallies organized around Republican politicians. They are modeled after a series of “The Call” events organized by dominionist “apostle” Lou Engle.

The first Response, which was promoted by some of the most extreme and divisive Religious Right figures, served as the unofficial launch of Rick Perry’s doomed presidential bid in 2011. The Perry event reflected Lane’s perennial goal of uniting conservative evangelicals behind a single candidate. Other Response rallies have been hosted by Govs. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Nikki Haley of South Carolina and Pat McCrory of North Carolina.

Stringer has been on the ground in Cleveland meeting with local clergy to promote Saturday’s event as a nonpolitical opportunity for Christians to come together across racial and denominational lines to pray for America. That was also the message delivered on a pre-Response conference call last week, on which Stringer and other organizers described the event as a time of unity and prayer so that the Christian church can be a source of healing and hope at this “providential time” in our nation.

That’s the bait part of the bait-and-switch nature of these events. The switch comes at the rallies themselves, which, along with prayer and praise music, promote the Religious Right’s political agendas on abortion, LGBT rights and separation of church and state.

As we noted when the Cleveland Response was announced:

Lane and Stringer took the Response to Charlotte, North Carolina, in September 2015. At this “nonpolitical” event, Religious Right rock star David Benham talked about gay rights groups who he said were out to “force” their agenda on the country, portraying a “spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free.” Lane opened the “nonpolitical” North Carolina Response rally with a prayer that talked about the lack of prayer and Bible reading in the public schools, abortion, and “homosexuals praying at the inauguration.” Another speaker prayed for God to “help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals.”

Event sponsor David Lane is an intensely political operative who believes America’s mission is to advance the Christian faith. He has been trying to organize “an army” of conservative pastors to run for office in hopes that each of them will mobilize hundreds of volunteers to help turn out the evangelical vote.

While Lane’s dream of getting Religious Right leaders to coalesce around a single candidate was, to a significant extent, achieved this year with nearly unanimous backing for Ted Cruz, many evangelical voters did not follow the script. Lane is now putting his faith in Trump, who he believes “can be one of the top 4 presidents in American history.”

Another hint of the “nonpolitical” nature of the Cleveland event comes from its promotional materials, which included a video from E.W. Jackson, a failed Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in Virginia; Jackson has called the Black Lives Matter movement “demonic,” said promotion of LGBT equality is “spitting in the face of Almighty God,” and accused President Obama of being more interested in “defending Islam” than “defending America.”

Also gathering in Cleveland before the RNC is the Council for National Policy, a secretive network that brings together activist leaders from right-wing to far, far right. Politico reported this week that Ted Cruz is meeting with the group on Friday, which may act as a quiet launch for a 2020 White House run.

 

Mike Pence: Donald Trump On Decaf

Donald Trump’s 2016 effort was born in the bowels of conservative talk radio. Former staffer (and current litigant) Sam Nunberg described, “listen[ing] to thousands of hours of talk radio” in order to hone the nascent campaign’s message in 2014.  

It should therefore come as no surprise that Donald Trump has reportedly chosen Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a former talk radio host who once described himself as “Rush Limbaugh on decaf,” as his running mate.

For months Trump’s campaign has been forced to confront a disturbing pattern of violence at its events and rallies. Just as Trump has defended supporters who have turned violent, Pence defended a conservative protestor who carried an assault rifle at an Obama event in 2011. The man had previously attended a church where the pastor "pray[ed] for Barack Obama to die and go to hell.” Responding to this incident, Pence compared carrying a weapon in close proximity to the president to carrying “placards” at an anti-war protest.

Numerous organizations (including us) have already pointed to Pence’s extreme anti-choice record. Like Trump, his rhetoric is on this issue is extreme, strange, and way out of sync with most Americans. In 2011, Pence spoke at the March for Life in Washington and defended House Republicans’ decision the previous year to vote on an anti-abortion bill before working on the core economic issues they had promised voters they would address.

“Amidst these struggles, some would have us focus our energies on jobs and spending. We must not remain silent when great moral battles are being waged,” Pence told the anti-abortion protestors. “Those who would have us ignore the battle being fought over life have forgotten the lessons of history. As in the days of a house divided, America's darkest moments have come when economic arguments trumped moral principles.”

In other words, Pence believed — and proudly said — that it was a greater priority for Congress to pass a divisive anti-abortion than to address creating jobs.

Pence was also a cheerleader for the do-nothing Congress, bragging about the GOP’s ability to say “no” to progress on any issue. In 2010, he told a crowd of conservative activists at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC):

Some folks like to call us the 'party of no.' Well, I say 'no' is way underrated in Washington, DC. Sometimes 'no' is just what this town needs to hear. When it comes to more borrowing, the answer is no. When it comes to more spending, the answer is no. When it comes to more bailouts, the answer is no. And when it comes to some health care summit that is nothing more than a photo-op to pave the way for Obamacare 2.0, the answer is no.

Pence, like Trump, has also show a disdain for the free press. As governor of Indiana, he attempted to thwart the media in his state capital by creating his own propaganda outlet, paid for with taxpayer dollars. The state-run news website, according to official documents, would “break news — publishing information ahead of any other news outlet. Strategies for determining how and when to give priority to such ‘exclusive’ coverage remain under discussion.” Ultimately, after a public outcry about this abuse of government funds and runaround of the First Amendment, Pence scrapped the concept.

Extreme statements on social issues, defenses of guns at political rallies and attempts to thwart the press —  Pence might not be as loud and brash as Trump, but he shares many of his worst traits. Perhaps just on decaf.

Plenty Of Anti-LGBT Speakers At Trump's Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.

As Peter noted earlier today, speculation that Donald Trump may move the Republican Party into greater acceptance of LGBT people is hard to take seriously given the GOP platform committee’s approval this week of an exceptionally anti-LGBT platform, not to mention the anti-LGBT activists whom Trump himself has enthusiastically embraced in his quest for the presidency.

A preliminary list of this year’s Republican National Convention speakers should also put that idea to rest.

Along with the many businessmen and celebrity buddies of Trump who appear on the speakers list are a number of activists and politicians who have long records of anti-LGBT activism.

Jerry Falwell Jr., the son of Moral Majority founder Jerry Falwell and one of Trump’s earliest endorsers from the Religious Right, has a speaking slot. Falwell is the head of Liberty University, the school founded by his father, which is well known for itsanti-gay politics and student policies discouraging homosexuality. Liberty University is closely affiliated with Liberty Counsel, the anti-gay legal group that represented Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis in her quest to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Also speaking will be three former GOP presidential rivals to Trump who are known for their anti-LGBT politics.

Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who hooked his presidential campaign on an appeal to Religious Right voters, will have a speaking slot. As we previously wrote , Huckabee managed to cover plenty of extremist ground just in his 2016 campaign:

After all, Huckabee had vowed to outlaw abortion with a sweeping presidential decree,promised to defy the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling before it criminalized Christianity and destroyed America, and literally turned Kentucky clerk Kim Davis’ release from detention into a campaign rally, volunteering to go to jail on her behalf. The former Arkansas governor even pledged to boycott Doritos because the company released rainbow-colored chips benefiting an LGBT suicide prevention group and starred in a bizarre anti-gay film.

Then there’s Ben Carson, who attracted plenty of attention during his presidential run forclaiming that prison rape proves that being gay is a choice. Carson insisted that “abnormal” LGBT people shouldn’t get “extra rights” and called for the impeachment of justices who back gay marriage. He also argued, as Brian has summarized, that the gay rights movement is “part of a wideranti-American, anti-God, anti-Constitution plot conjured up by communist subversives and the New World Order.”

Then there’s Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, who, along with repeatedly lying about LGBT people, accused the gay community of waging a “jihad” against people of faith:

Cruz and Huckabee were both so eager to win the votes of anti-gay extremists that they attended a conference last year at which the organizer, radical pastor Kevin Swanson, repeatedly declared that the Bible demands that gay people be put to death.

And there are many more. Newt Gingrich, when he was running for president in 2011, signed the National Organization for Marriage’s candidate pledge to support a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality and said that he would reinstate “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” In 2008, Gingrich warned that "there is a gay and secular fascism in this country that wants to impose its will on the rest of us, is prepared to use violence, is prepared to use harassment.” Mike Pence, who’s now being reported to be Trump’s vice presidential pick, has a long record of opposing LGBT rights, including signing a bill in Indiana last year that would authorize broad discrimination against LGBT people, before backing down under public pressure to amend the law.

While few sitting members of Congress are showing up to the convention, among those invited to speak are several with strongly anti-LGBT records. Just this year, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy personally twisted arms to ensure the last-minute defeat of a provision that would have protected LGBT people from employment discrimination from federal contractors, creating a chaotic scene on the House floor. Rep. Marsha Blackburn of Tennessee was instrumental in making the 2012 Republican platform reach new levels of anti-LGBT sentiment (although this year’s platform is even worse). Sen. Joni Ernst of Iowa, when she was a state legislator, tried to get a referendum on the ballot in an effort to overturn the state supreme court’s landmark marriage equality ruling. She has claimed she wants to leave the marriage issue to the states, but at the same time has said that she would support a constitutional amendment prohibiting gay marriage.

How Would Religious Right Respond To Pence As VP?

According to some news reports, Donald Trump has settled on Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his vice presidential running mate, though other reporters say their sources tell them the decision has not been finalized. Trump has said he will announce his decision on Friday morning.

Pence has a long record before becoming governor that includes time in nearly every branch of the country’s huge right-wing political infrastructure: He headed a state-level “free-market” think tank; had a career in talk radio; and served in Congress, where he led the right-wing Republican Study Committee.

That’s a lot of right-wingery that we and others will be exploring in depth if he is indeed Trump’s running mate. But here are a few initial points about Pence’s relationship with the Religious Right, whose leaders seem to be largely coming around to Trump’s candidacy despite initial skepticism.

Pence has been much beloved on the Religious Right. Early in the 2012 election cycle, he won the Values Voter Summit straw poll and won gushing praise from CBN’s David Brody. Even the American Family Association’s far-right radio host Bryan Fischer predicted that Pence would be the 2012 nominee. 

Pence has participated in Christian-nation advocate David Lane’s political events and he has been an aggressive proponent of defunding Planned Parenthood. He has connections with other Religious Right leaders through the National Day of Prayer task force.

Pence was unhappily in the national media last year when Indiana became embroiled in a high-profile controversy over a state “religious liberty” law pushed by anti-gay groups and signed by the governor. Pence seemed to have been caught completely off-guard when business and community leaders joined equality activists in a backlash to the law.

Pence tried to defend the law on national television, with disastrous results. Pence’s main problem is that he was essentially caught in a lie. He pretended the bill had nothing to do with legalizing anti-gay discrimination, when that was the clear purpose of the religious groups that pushed the law and gathered around him when he signed it.

But having said that protecting discrimination wasn’t the law’s intent, he was not well positioned to resist demands by business leaders and media that he sign an amendment saying so. When he ultimately signed off on such an amendment, some Religious Right leaders were furious. Some compared his reversal to an act of betrayal like Judas selling out Jesus for 30 pieces of silver.

It is not clear how warmly Religious Right leaders will embrace Pence as Trump’s running mate. Earlier this week, anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera responded to rumors about Pence as VP by tweeting, “HOW ironic it wld be if Mike Pence ever became VP. Pence declined to run for president in part b/c he FAILED conservatives on relig liberty.”

Others may be more forgiving given Pence’s long track record, and may rationalize that his heart was in the right place but he was forced to back down when business leaders and the LGBT lobby — twin enemies of the Religious Right these days — ganged up on him.

Meet the RNC Speakers: Jerry Falwell Jr.

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here.

It was hardly surprising to see Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr. on the speakers’ list for the Republican convention. After all, Falwell has compared Trump to Jesus Christ, the biblical King David, Martin Luther King Jr., and his own father, Jerry Falwell Sr. That’s the kind of adoration Trump appreciates.

Falwell was one of the speakers at last month’s meeting between Trump and hundreds of Religious Right leaders and activists. At that meeting, Falwell called Trump a “bold and fearless leader” and said that the day after Trump becomes president, “every terrorist in the world will crawl under a rock.” Falwell declared, “I personally feel strongly that Donald Trump is God’s man to lead our nation at this crucial crossroads in our country’s history.”

Falwell’s man-crush on Trump began long before the current campaign. In 2012, he told Newsmax that Trump’s speech at the university’s weekly convocation was “probably the best” in the history of the school. Trump’s message — he told students to be sure to “get even” with anyone who slights them — was seen by some as not particularly Christian, but Falwell defended Trump’s remarks as not at all contrary to the turn-the-other-cheek message of Jesus.

Like Trump, Falwell is not one to worry about ideological consistency. In February, when Trump was embroiled in a war of words with Pope Francis, Falwell rushed to his defense, saying “Jesus never intended to give instructions to political leaders on how to run the country.” This was a hilariously un-self-aware comment from someone presiding over the empire that his father built on the premise that the Bible has clear instructions for people who run the country.

Falwell has had his own political ambitions for Liberty. In 2008 the school hosted campaign events for John McCain, and Falwell organized a student voter registration drive in hopes that Liberty could “go down in history as the college that elected a president.” In 2010, he tried and failed to engineer a takeover of the city council in Liberty’s home of Lynchburg, Virginia.

And this year, Falwell is holding nothing back. He invited Trump to speak at Liberty on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, something he said was a purposeful decision, one that generated some student protest. Falwell’s endorsement of Trump came just before the Iowa caucuses, and his effusive introductory remarks were turned into a radio ad by the campaign. And that was in spite of the transparent, cynical charlatanism of Trump’s Bible-waving. The candidate’s actual familiarity with the Bible was revealed by his laughter-provoking reference to “two Corinthians” when his written speech referred to the book of Second Corinthians.

Remarkably, Falwell has made “character” one justification for his endorsement. In March, Falwell recorded a robocall for Trump in which he attacked the candidate favored by most Religious Right leaders, calling Ted Cruz a “master politician” and practitioner of “dirty tricks.” Said Falwell, “Ambition must never be a substitute for character. Please vote for Donald Trump.”

Falwell has had little patience with other conservative Christians who have been critical of his embrace of Trump; when some expressed dismay about a picture of Falwell standing with Trump with a framed Playboy magazine cover visible on the wall behind them, he compared them to Pharisees.

Falwell may see parallels between Trump’s business doings and his own empire-building style. Thanks to a decision to push into distance learning — online education that doesn’t require much infrastructure — and thanks to a massive flow of federal student aid, Falwell has built Liberty into the biggest nonprofit private university in the U.S. and the largest Christian college in the world.

While providing a platform for right-wing candidates who trash federal involvement in education, Liberty has taken advantage of Democratic-supported increases in student aid that were part of the much-maligned-by-the-Right 2009 stimulus bill. At the same time, Falwell preaches the small-government gospel that portrays care for the poor as the responsibility of the church, not the government.

Falwell also seems to envision himself as something of a Trumpish flouter of political correctness. In December, after the mass shooting in Bernardino, Falwell told Liberty students:

If some of those people in that community center had had what I've got in my back pocket right now [applause] ... is it illegal to pull it out? I don't know. I've always thought that if more people had concealed carry permits, then we could end those Muslims before they walk in and kill. So, I just want to take this opportunity to encourage all of you to get your permit. We offer a free course. Let's teach 'em a lesson if they ever show up here.

Earlier this year Falwell’s comments about Muslims led several Virginia high school debate teams to boycott the state finals because they were being held at Liberty.

Under Falwell’s leadership, Liberty reflects an institutional commitment to much of the Religious Right’s political agenda. For example:

  • In 2010 it hosted some of the country’s most well-known anti-gay activists for a conference and symposium on the “homosexual agenda” and its threat to religious freedom.
  • A few years ago, journalist Sarah Posner reported that Liberty Law School Dean Mat Staver taught students that when faced with conflict between “God’s law” and “man’s law,” they should resolve that conflict through “civil disobedience.”
  • In 2010, AFP profiled a Liberty science class field trip to the Natural History Museum to help them learn to debunk the theory of evolution in favor of the Creationist belief that God created the world in a week about 6,000 years ago.
  • Falwell has invited climate change denialists as a way to challenge environmentalists who use “pseudo-science to promote political agendas” and help students “who come from public schools where the truth of global warming and the science of global warming is now always known.”

 

 

The Unforeseen Consequences Of Legalizing Gay Marriage? Glenn Beck And The Dilemma Of The Gay Bulls

While the Religious Right's dire predictions about what would happen in the wake of the Supreme Court ruling striking down anti-gay state marriage amendments last year have not come true, one possible consequence that nobody could have foreseen is now vexing Glenn Beck.

As Beck explained on his radio program today, he recently received a call from those who run his ranch in Idaho letting him know that his bull seems to have started a relationship with a bull owned by a neighbor.

Beck said that they had been forced to artificially inseminate many of the cows on his ranch because the bull that he owns has not been interested in mating with any of them and they couldn't figure out why. It turns out that a bull from a neighboring property has been escaping its pen and making its way onto Beck's property and the two bulls have now, as Beck put it, "become very close" and are regularly "enjoying each other's company."

"I don't know if they're going with the times or what," Beck quoted the person who runs his ranch as saying. "In all my years of doing this, I have never seen this before, but yes, they're [gay]."

This is creating a bit of a dilemma for Beck, who half-jokingly wondered if he is going to be sued for getting rid of this gay bull because it is not doing its job of impregnating his cows:

PFAW Statement on Lack of Latino Voices at RNC

In response to the lack of Latino speakers listed on the Republican National Convention speakers list released this morning, Lizet Ocampo, People For the American Way Director of Latinos Vote!, released the following statement:

“The lack of Latino voices in the Republican National Convention lineup is jarring, but should surprise no one. The Republican Party is clearly the Party of Trump. Trump and his party have pushed anti-immigrant stereotypes and promoted mass deportation and anti-immigrant policies. Their election strategy has been to demonize immigrants to try to win elections, and if the lineup of anti-immigrant speakers is any indication, they’ll be doubling down on their bigotry in Cleveland next week.

“We know this won’t work. Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party elevate our voices, applaud the important contributions of immigrants to our country, and promote policies that support Latinos, women, and working families. That’s why come November, Latino voters will turn out in record numbers in support of those who stand with us.”

People For the American Way is a progressive advocacy organization founded to fight right-wing extremism and defend constitutional values including free expression, religious liberty, equal justice under the law, and the right to meaningfully participate in our democracy.

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Religious Right Out-Muscles Pro-Equality Republicans

We have lost count of how many times the Religious Right has been declared spent as a political force. Those declarations have always been wrong, and this year’s Republican Party platform is the latest sign of the movement’s continued power.

Four years ago, we called the GOP platform “a far-right fever dream, a compilation of pouting, posturing, and policies to meet just about every demand from the overlapping Religious Right, Tea Party, corporate, and neo-conservative wings of the GOP.” Yet this year’s platform is even further to the right.

It wasn’t supposed to be this way. In 2012, Religious Right leaders spent the entire week in Tampa bragging about how they had essentially written the platform. But pro-LGBT Republicans were remarkably confident that it would never happen again. At the time, the Log Cabin Republicans vowed that never again would the party platform be hostile to LGBT equality. Former member of Congress Jim Kolbe said the anti-gay sentiment in that year’s platform was “the last gasp of the conservatives.” The upbeat attitude had us wondering about “the fine, fuzzy line dividing optimism from delusion.”

Well, there’s nothing left to wonder about. In spite of an organized and well-funded campaign by LGBT-friendly conservatives, Religious Right activists made sure that they dominated the platform committee. During the committee’s deliberations on proposed amendments on Monday and Tuesday, every effort to moderate the language on LGBT rights was rejected, including tame language that would have acknowledged growing support within the party for marriage equality. The Log Cabin Republicans are calling this year’s document “the most anti-LGBT Platform in the Party’s 162-year history.”

Even an amendment that would have recognized the LGBT victims of ISIS terror was deemed too much. The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins is bragging that he and fellow Louisiana delegate Sandy McDade, Eagle Forum’s political chairman, watered that language down so that it refers generically to all people terrorized by ISIS.

The platform includes Religious Right-approved language opposing marriage equality and endorsing legislation to give legal protection to anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of religious liberty. And it calls for eliminating the IRS provision that prevents churches, like other nonprofits, from engaging in direct electoral advocacy — one of the promises Donald Trump has made to win Religious Right support.

A seemingly last-ditch effort by LGBT-friendly delegates to require a vote on a “minority report” to replace the long platform with a short statement of principles is now being denounced by Perkins and Religious Right activist David Barton as an attempt by gays to hijack the platform process. Its odds of success seem vanishingly small.

Log Cabin Republicans President Gregory Angelo says he’s “mad as hell” about the new platform, but in the same email he tries to distance the document from Donald Trump, who Angelo praised last December as “one of the best, if not the best, pro-gay Republican candidates to ever run for the presidency.”

Not long after that, as journalist Michelangelo Signorile noted, Trump accepted the endorsement of Jerry Falwell Jr. and promised to put right-wing justices on the Supreme Court. In January he promised to make Christianity (read right-wing Christianity) more powerful. More recently, Trump reiterated his promises in a closed-door meeting with hundreds of conservative Christian leaders, where he told them, “I’m on your side.”

Trump may be willing to let Caitlin Jenner use the bathroom of her choice at his office building, but he was unwilling to lift a finger to keep the party from supporting states that pass laws preventing transgender people from using bathrooms that match their identity — or from declaring in many ways that the party remains officially opposed to legal equality for LGBT people.

The presumptive Republican nominee is all bluster and toughness when he is denouncing political correctness, but he turns meekly obliging when dealing with the Religious Right leaders he is counting on to turn out the vote.

 

 

Trump Invites Anti-Government Extremist Sheriff To Speak At GOP Convention

In the lead-up to and during the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, we’ll be profiling some of the activists and politicians invited to speak at the event. Find more of our Meet the Speakers series here

The Republican National Convention released a partial list today of the politicians, activists, C-list celebrities and Donald Trump family members who will be speaking at next week’s convention. What the speakers’ list lacks in establishment GOP leaders it makes up for in fringe activists. One name especially stands out: Sheriff David Clarke, the Milwaukee law enforcement officer who has made a name for himself hurling anti-Obama vitriol on Fox News and elsewhere while quietly cozying up to anti-government extremist groups.

Clarke, who is African American, has built a conservative following by enthusiastically bashing President Obama, his Justice Department, Hillary Clinton and the Black Lives Matter movement.

Clarke has called the Black Lives Matter movement “black slime” that “needs to be eradicated from the American society and the American culture,” “garbage” and a “subversive movement” that seeks to overthrow the government, and said that the movement is driven by “an ideology of victimhood with a list of grievances that do not exist.” He has dismissed concerns about police brutality by saying that “black criminal abuse, black criminal brutality” is “the real brutality going on in the United States.” The real problem in “the American ghetto,” he has said, is “modern liberalism.”

Clarke said that Michael Brown, the black teenager shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, was a “co-conspirator in his own demise” because he “chose thug life.” After Sandra Bland, a black woman who had been thrown to the ground during a traffic stop, died in police custody, Clarke went on Fox News to chastise her. He said that he would have used even more force against a group of black teenagers who were thrown to the ground by police outside a public swimming pool in Ohio, telling people who saw a racial component in the action to “shut up already.”

Clarke has been colorful in his condemnation of President Obama and Hillary Clinton for sympathizing with the Black Lives Matter movement, calling them “straight-up cop haters.” He called Obama a “heartless, soulless bastard” for speaking up about “goons” killed by police and said that the Obama administration’s attempts to address racial disparities in policing were a plot to “emasculate the police” in order to impose dictatorial control.” He accused the president of worsening racial divides in the country by pitting “whites against blacks” and “Hispanics against Americans.”

The sheriff is also happy to throw red meat to his conservative audience on a number of other topics. After the Supreme Court struck down state marriage equality bans, Clarke called for a “revolution” to “get this country back,” complete with “ pitchforks and torches ,” urging his audience to launch a standoff against the federal government the next time a bakery or the like is fined for refusing business to a same-sex couple.

When Trump caused a national uproar when he attacked a judge because of his Mexican-American heritage, Clarke took to his radio show to defend the candidate.

Clarke first became a conservative hero when, in 2013, he aired radio ads in his county urging citizens not to rely on calling 911 but instead to learn to protect themselves against crime. Speaking at the National Rifle Association’s convention last year, he proposed adding a semi-automatic rifle to the Great Seal of the United States. Appearing on conspiracy theorist Alex Jones’ radio program, Clarke warned that a renewal of the federal assault weapons ban would lead to gun confiscations that would spark “the second coming of the American Revolution, the likes of which would make the first revolution pale by comparison.”

While Clarke has no patience for African Americans who have deadly run-ins with the police, he has repeatedly associated himself with anti-government militia groups who have staged armed standoffs with federal government agents or who threaten to defy federal law. Earlier this year, when a group of armed activists took over a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon, Clarke backed their cause, saying that the country had reached a “pitchforks and torches moment” that couldn’t be solved by an election.

In 2013, after he aired his ads discouraging citizens from relying on 911, Clarke accepted the “ Constitutional Sheriff of the Year” award from the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, an anti-government group that promotes the idea that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country and thus have the power to defy federal laws that they believe are unconstitutional. In his acceptance speech , Clarke declared that “government” was the “common enemy” of the “patriots” in the room. In a radio interview that year, he said that “on an everyday basis, to me, federal government is a bigger threat” than terrorism.

Just this year, Clarke spoke at a fundraising event for the New York chapter of the Oath Keepers, an anti-government group aligned with the Constitutional Sheriffs that urges law enforcement officers and military personnel to defy laws they believe are unconstitutional and encourages its members to form militias ready to defy an out-of-control federal government. At that event, Clarke called Black Lives Matter a “hate group” and vowed to do “everything I can” to get Trump elected president.

Phil Robertson On Abortion, ISIS And His Dream Of Being Donald Trump's Spiritual Advisor

Religious Right activist and Colorado state lawmaker Gordon Klingenschmitt had a chance to interview Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson at the Western Conservative Summit held in Denver earlier this month. On a recent episode of his "Pray In Jesus Name" program, Klingenschmitt sat down with Robertson, who shared his wisdom on the tie between legal abortion and ISIS and revealed his fantasy that Donald Trump will turn to Christ with the help of his spiritual advisor, Phil Robertson.

Robertson kicked things off by warning that the world is descending into lawlessness, which can all be linked back to the legalization of abortion.

"We've killed 60 million of our own children," he said. "ISIS is saying to us, 'Well, if you didn't think your own children were worth anything, why do you think we're worried about what your life is worth? We don't think you're worth anything, that's why we're killing you. Just like you kill your children, that's why we kill you. We don't think you're worth anything.'"

"If we could have stood there and told them, 'No, to us life is precious,'" Robertson said, then things would be different, but sadly "we lost the moral high ground."

Later, Robertson said that he would be voting for Donald Trump in November only because he doesn't like Hillary Clinton and hopes that Trump will be better. 

Ideally, Robertson said, "we convert Mr. Trump" to Christianity so that all of his past scandals and indiscretions that will be brought up during the campaign will be rendered moot because he has been born again.

"If he but be born again, he could then tell them, 'That's the old me, I've been born again, this is the new Donald Trump,'" Robertson said, envisioning a cabinet meeting where he would be introduced to the world as President Trump's spiritual advisor.

"Now, that would send a shock wave through America," he said. "The left-wingers would be jumping out of buildings."

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