Fighting the Right

Richard Land Says Americans 'Ended Slavery, We Didn't Bring Slavery To North America'

Richard Land, the former head of the Southern Baptist Convention’s policy arm, is sick and tired of liberal public school propaganda about slavery in colonial America and the early United States. Subbing for Family Research Council president Tony Perkins on yesterday’s “Washington Watch” radio show, Land told listeners that Americans “ended slavery, we didn’t bring slavery to North America.”

He added that Native Americans were “enslaving each other before we got there.” While it is the case that some Native American groups did engage in various forms of slavery, there is no parallel between that and the vast scale of the American slavocracy.

Land, who left his position at the SBC after making (plagiarized) racial comments regarding the Trayvon Martin case, said that people should watch Dinesh D’Souza’s new movie rather than believe their public school education.

Movies and books like Dinesh D’Souza’s book ‘America’ are so important because if you are younger than forty and you’ve been taught in the public schools, you have not learned the real story of America. You have been taught a lie about America as a colonial power, as a rapacious power. As Dinesh points out, we ended slavery, we didn’t bring slavery to North America. Slavery was there, the Native Americans were enslaving each other before we got here. Eventually, we ended slavery. We have been a civilizing influence in the world.

Christian Reconstructionism And The GOP: 'Biblical Justice' vs Social Justice

There’s a reason so many Republican politicians seem to bring a religious fervor to their efforts to gut public institutions and social welfare spending. The modern day Religious Right draws much of its ideology from Christian Reconstructionists who teach that God gave specific duties to the government, the church, and the family.

According to this theological worldview, education and taking care of the poor are the responsibility of families and churches, and it is unbiblical for the government to take on these roles. That meshes well with the view of “constitutional conservatives” who believe, for example, the Constitution does not authorize any federal government role in education.

A stark example of the increasingly indistinct line between conservative Republicans and hard-core Christian Reconstructionists and dominionists (who believe the right kind of Christians are meant to have dominion over every aspect of society) can be found in the recent Republican primary victory of Michael Petrouka in a race for a county council seat in an Anne Arundel County, Maryland. Peroutka believes that any law that runs counter to God’s law is invalid, and that the Maryland General Assembly is itself no longer a valid legislative body. Here’s a concise summation of his approach to government:

Since civil government is ordained by God in order to protect God-given rights, then the function of civil government is to obey God and to enforce God’s law – PERIOD.

It is not the role of civil government to house, feed, clothe, educate or give heath care to…ANYBODY!

This religion-inflected ideological view of government is not relegated to inhabitants of the far-right fringe like Peroutka. David Barton, an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012, claims that the Constitution was drawn directly from the Bible and the sermons of colonial preachers, and that its focus on individual freedom reflects the founders’ theology of individual salvation. In this view, the Tea Party’s belief in a radically limited federal government is not only a question of constitutional interpretation, it is a mandate of Holy Scripture.

Just this month, Barton promoted these views on “Praise the Lord,” the flagship program of the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which bills itself as the world’s largest religious network and America’s most-watched faith channel. “In the Bible, Jesus has a teaching about minimum wage,” Barton said. “In the Bible, Jesus has two teachings on capital gains tax.” The Bible, according to Barton, opposes those taxes as well as estate taxes and progressive income taxes. A flat tax is “what the Bible supports.”

On the same show Barton denounced government spending on welfare. “It’s not the government’s responsibility to take care of the poor and needy,” he said, “it’s the church’s responsibility.”

According to Barton, there are 205 verses in the Bible that instruct the family or church to take care of the poor, but not the government. “The government is told to do only one thing with taking care of the poor and that one thing is to make sure that when the poor come into court they get justice. That’s the only thing government is told….What we’re doing right now is for the first time in America we have ignored what the Bible says, the Bible says you don’t work, you don’t eat.” He went on to say that people “not having to work and getting free money…violates everything the Bible tells us” about dealing with the poor.

These themes are repeated in Social Justice: How Good Intentions Undermine Justice and Gospel, a booklet published last year by the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, and the anti-environmentalist Cornwall Alliance. The booklet, written by Cornwall’s Calvin Beisner (according to him, at the request of the Family Research Council), was distributed at last month’s “Road to Majority” conference, which was organized by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

The premise of the booklet is that “social justice” is contrary to “Biblical justice.” If that sounds familiar, you may be recalling Glenn Beck’s diatribes against “social justice” a few years ago, when he urged people to leave their church if its website included the phrases “social justice” or “economic justice.”

It is wrong, Beisner writes, to try to mitigate inequality “through force of government.” Why? “Because God ordained the state to dispense justice, and the church to dispense grace.” According to Beisner, giving someone “unearned” benefits is grace, not justice. People should graciously serve the poor, he writes. “But if care for the needy is made a matter of justice to the needy rather than to God, then grace becomes law. Then, the needy—and those who merely profess to be needy—may claim the benefits of grace as their due by justice.”

In other words, government has no right to tax someone in order to help feed someone else.

That is a widely shared belief on the Religious Right. Speakers at Religious Right conferences like Reed’s June event, and Republican Members of Congress, can be heard justifying cuts in food stamps with an appeal to the Bible passage that David Barton quoted on TBN. That verse, depending on your translation, says something like “he who will not work shall not eat.”

Reps. Kevin Cramer and Rep. Stephen Fincher of Tennessee cited that verse last year. Fincher said, “The role of citizens, of Christianity, of humanity, is to take care of each other, not for Washington to steal from those in the country and give to others in the country.” In equating taxation for social services with theft, Fincher echoes Barton, Beisner, and others. (In context, by the way, the work-to-eat verse referred to early Christians who were so confident of the imminent return of Christ that they quit doing anything.)

Poor people turning to the government, Beisner writes in his anti-social-justice booklet, results in “the stultifying effects of wealth redistribution by the coercive power of the state.” Even worse, he says, “it blinds [poor people] to their deepest need: the grace of God offered in the gospel of Jesus Christ.”

This is another theme of the Republican Party’s right wing. Sharron Angle, the GOP’s 2010 Senate nominee in Nevada, said during her campaign that entitlement programs are “idolatry” because they “make government our God.” Farris Wilks, the Texas fracking billionaire who gives huge amounts to the Heritage Foundaiton and other right-wing groups, declares that “the Torah is set up on the free enterprise system” and that “Yahweh never intended for us as a people to be afraid and reliant on government.” Former Sen. Jim DeMint, who now heads the Heritage Foundation, says “the bigger government gets, the smaller God gets.

Heritage is just one of the institutions working to make right-wing economics an article of faith just like opposition to gay rights and abortion. The Freedom Federation, one of the many right-wing entities created in the wake of Barack Obama’s 2008 election, brings both "mainstream" and fringe Religious Right groups together with the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The Freedom Federation’s “Declaration of American Values” includes not only the expected rhetoric about traditional values, but also opposition to progressive taxation.

John Lofton, a right-wing pundit, is the spokesperson for Republican county council candidate Peroutka, and for Peroutka’s Christian Reconstructionist Institute on the Constitution, which has trained Tea Party activists on the biblical basis of the Constitution. Lofton has spoken on “God and Government” at Liberty University’s Helms School of Government. In 2012, in reference to an article about evangelicals disagreeing on budget priorities, Lofton wrote that “there should be no disagreement among those who believe the Bible is true. Because it is crystal clear that in God’s Word He gives NO AUTHORITY to civil government (Caesar) to give health, education or welfare to ANYBODY. If people need help, it is the role of the Church – God’s people – to provide this help and NOT government.”

Tea Party? Religious Right? GOP? Or all of the above?

Dinesh D'Souza: 'I Don't Want To Seem Like A Crybaby' But Google And Costco Are Persecuting Me

Conservative activist Dinesh D’Souza insists that he is the victim of persecution by a left-wing conspiracy emanating from the White House which directed Costco, the New York Times and Google to discriminate against his latest anti-Obama movie and companion book, “America: Imagine the World Without Her.”

D’Souza recently suggested that he was also the victim of a nefarious Obama plot when he was charged with breaking campaign finance laws, which he admitted to doing and to which he ultimately pleaded guilty. (He initially pleaded not guilty to “get his story out there.”)

As Dave Weigel explained recently, D’Souza has riled up conservative angst by arguing, with no evidence, that Costco pulled his book not because of low sales but as the result of a political vendetta against him, and that Google is making it difficult for potential viewers to find show time information for his film: “Only after the author/campaign finance scofflaw threw several fits about the bias that was preventing America (the country, not the movie) from reading his book did purchasing it become a cause. Up the charts it went, as gullible people took their stands against bias.”

D’Souza took his persecution story to “The Lars Larson Show” yesterday, where he claimed that he isn’t being a crybaby and that he was just asking the question as to whether Google and Costco are part of a political conspiracy against him.

“It is not [accidental]. When you look at both Costco and Google, it is the case that the top executives of both of those companies are very much in bed with Obama. Now, that’s a fact. It doesn’t mean they run their corporation that way and I am sure there are other companies where the CEOs give to Obama or gave to Romney and nevertheless they have customers and they are happy to service them across the political spectrum,” he said.

“I don’t want to seem like a crybaby, I’ve tried to be very restrained with Google and just say, ‘I am puzzled, I am baffled, I am frustrated.’ I am not saying anything more than that but it has been now over two weeks and it is time to get this settled.”

After his lawyers contacted Google and D’Souza hit conservative media outlets with his tale of persecution, a Google representative explained that, shockingly enough, “America” is actually “a common term and appears in many movie titles.”

And at least according to a Google search that I just conducted, the “problem” seems to be resolved…or maybe that is just what Google wants you to think.

Anti-Choice Activist Who Clashed With National Right To Life Over Gay Rights To Head Rival Group

A new anti-choice organization meant to be an even more extreme version of the National Right to Life Committee has picked its first president — and they chose someone who embodies the growing schism within the anti-choice movement.

The National Personhood Alliance, which was formed last month by a disaffected former Georgia affiliate of the National Right to Life Committee, announced last week that it had named Molly Smith, president of Cleveland Right to Life, as its first leader.

Cleveland Right to Life caused a stir in the anti-choice movement last year when it vowed to oppose the reelection of Sen. Rob Portman, an abortion rights opponent, because of his support for marriage equality. This prompted National Right to Life president Carol Tobias to send Smith a letter informing her that her chapter could no longer be affiliated with the national group because it “embraced an advocacy agenda that includes issues beyond the right to life.” Smith then fought back, blasting National Right to Life for distancing itself from anti-gay politics in order to keep the support of Sen. Portman.

The most prominent split in the anti-choice movement is about the strategy of allowing rape and incest exemptions to abortion bans — National Right to Life has supported bills that include exemptions, arguing that such bills are better than no legislation at all, while the National Personhood Alliance’s members oppose any hint of compromise in abortion bills.

But Smith’s appointment as the new group’s president highlights the larger divide within the movement. As the anti-choice movement’s leaders get savvier about pushing their message to a wider audience in ways meant to appear more moderate (pushing for “health” regulations that close clinics rather than picketing them, for instance), they are inciting a backlash among those who see anti-choice activism as an integral part of a larger war.

Leaving the issue of LGBT rights alone is a smart strategic decision for leading anti-choice groups, as is the willingness to accept “compromises” like rape exceptions. But by rejecting this kinder, gentler makeover of the movement, the National Personhood Alliance reminds us of what is still at the heart of the opposition to abortion rights.

Gordon Klingenschmitt Says Those Who Can't Enter Church Shouldn't Be Able To Use Public Restrooms

On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program yesterday, Gordon Klingenschmitt discussed a lawsuit filed against Hobby Lobby by a transgender female employee who claims that she was denied access to the women's restroom facilities.

Klingenschmitt, of course, was not at all sympathetic, citing Deuteronomy 23 to argue that since transgender people are not allowed in church, they should not be allowed to use gender-appropriate bathrooms.

"The Scriptures say in Deuteronomy 23," Klingenschmitt said, "that he that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. And if they can't enter the congregation of the Lord, they certainly shouldn't be allowed to enter the ladies bathroom":

William Gheen Warns Minorities Want To Lynch And Stab Anti-Immigrant Activists

Yesterday, anti-immigrant activist William Gheen explained the abysmal turnout at a string of anti-immigrant rallies that took place over the weekend by alleging that the “liberal media” promoted violence against opponents of immigration reform.

In an appearance on former congressman Ernest Istook’s radio show “Insights, Issues & Istook,” Gheen said journalists put conservatives “in danger of physical assault or harm” and attempted to issue a “threat of implied violence against you or your family members or your children in school.”

The Americans for Legal Immigration PAC president even warned that minorities may attempt to kill conservatives: “If somebody hangs a hood over your head and gags you and ties you to a light pole in a large city’s minority neighborhood, you’re probably going to get beat up, shot or stabbed.”

Gheen quoted Sarah Palin, who said that she was the victim of a “blood libel” in the wake of a shooting at an event featuring Gabrielle Giffords, to claim that the media persecutes immigration reform critics.

Getting people to show up at physical events has been the most difficult thing on the illegal immigration issue because you’re going to have some liberal at the local paper trying to cost you your job and your community standing by defaming you, what Palin called the ‘blood libel.’ When somebody tries to say you’re a racist, they are not saying this because you are a racist. They are doing this because it’s a control word, it’s a command word, it’s like in the Planet of the Apes movie, it’s like, ‘bow your head.’ Somebody comes out and says, ‘racist,’ most Americans will bow their head and kneel immediately, otherwise they risk complete financial and political ruin. It doesn’t matter if you are a racist or not, they will just stick it in the paper and then there you go.

The other thing about this, if they convince minorities or groups of minorities that you’re a racist, you’re in danger of physical assault or harm. It doesn’t matter whether it is true or not. If somebody hangs a hood over your head and gags you and ties you to a light pole in a large city’s minority neighborhood, you’re probably going to get beat up, shot or stabbed. And so there is the threat of implied violence against you or your family members or your children in school if they just lie about you.

The other thing is, all the major networks, CBS, ABC, NBC and now even Fox News are all on the same billionaire, elitist, talking point plan of supporting immigration reform, which translates into changing our laws to accommodate millions of illegal immigrants, which is a form of amnesty. And if that happens, the borders of the United States are gone forever.

Benham Group Disrupts 'Synagogue Of Satan' Unitarian Universalist Worship Services, Receives Proclamation From Mayor

Flip Benham’s group Operation Save America disrupted the services of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of New Orleans on Sunday while the congregation was honoring a member who had died. The organization framed their action as simply an effort to “present the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan” as part of their efforts “to defeat the culture of death.”

At the Unitarian Universalist “church” in New Orleans, Deanna Waller, Jay Rogers, Mary Claire, Ken Scott, Russell Hunter, Toby Harman and others presented the truth of the Gospel in this synagogue of Satan. As God would have it, the “church” was filled with students from a “social justice” training school. According to Rev. Flip Benham, OSA National Director, the team presented a “dynamic witness.”

During an open “meditation” time, Deanna shared the Word of the Lord. When the female “pastor” took issue, Deanna reminded her that, “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones” (Luke 17:2). In violation of their “sacred tenants” of peace and tolerance, Deanna and others were summarily escorted out of the service.

Other saints stayed and dialoged until the conclusion of the service. It created no small stir. The “social justice” candidates ran to the Christians and asked them many questions. Our brethren gave them the reason for the hope that lies within them and defended the faith. Seeds of truth were sown. may the Lord water them in Jesus’ name.

Benham is the father of David Benham, who with his twin brother Jason was slated to have a reality show on HGTV until it was cancelled following reports about his anti-choice, anti-gay and anti-Muslim political activism.

While they have attempted to distance themselves from their father’s group following the fallout over their show’s cancellation, David has authored a blog post on the Operation Save America website about how campaigns against gay rights are similar to the fight against Nazism and served as a spokesman for the group during a protest at an Islamic center.

Rev. Deanna Vandiver, a guest speaker at Sunday’s service, said in a Facebook post that Benham’s group tried to “terrorize people as they worship.”

“The disturbance took place as the congregation was holding a moment of silence for a member of the church who had died the week before, said the Rev. Deanna Vandiver,” the Uptown Messenger reports. “She then invited the protesters to stay if they could join or observe the worship service respectfully, and if not, to take their protest outside the building. The congregation began to sing, and church leaders then began to lead the most vocal protesters outside, though a few chose to stay quietly through the remainder of the service.”

“I think we were an easy target, because we’re literally just a few blocks down the road from where they’re building this clinic,” Vandiver said. “But we are not interested in being terrorized. Freedom of speech does not trump freedom of religion.”

In addition to protesting Planned Parenthood sites, Operation Save America is also holding demonstrations outside the homes of providers. A neighbor to one of those homes — who asked that his name be withheld out of concern that the group would target him — said his family has already endured two sessions of protests, with dozens of people holding signs on the sidewalk near his house featuring graphic images that he has done his best to hide from his young children.

“My kids are scared,” the resident said in an interview Monday afternoon. “It’s all these ugly pictures. They’re talking on the loudspeaker. I try to speak to them civilly, and it’s very difficult to do, because they’re looking for a confrontation.”

On the day of the protest, New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu issued a certificate of recognition to Flip Benham and Operation Save America.

A spokesman for the mayor’s office told the Uptown Messenger that “It is routine for the City to provide standard proclamations to visiting non-profits, faith-based organizations and conventions that request them.”

In a posting on Facebook about the mayor’s proclamation, David Benham commented: “Are you serious? This is real?

Hobby Lobby And 'Biblical Economics'

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in her dissent in the Hobby Lobby case that the Court’s conservative majority had “ventured into a minefield” with its decision. Many of those mines have already been placed by right-wing leaders who claim a religious grounding not only for anti-gay, anti-abortion, and anti-contraception positions, but also for opposition to collective bargaining, minimum wage laws, progressive taxation and government involvement in the alleviation of poverty.

In Hobby Lobby, the Court found for the first time that for-profit corporations have religious rights just like real people and can therefore make claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that they should be exempt from laws that burden their corporate “exercise” of religion. In her dissent, Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was deeply skeptical of Justice Samuel Alito’s assertion that the decision was limited only to the contraception mandate and only for closely held corporations.

“Suppose an employer’s sincerely held religious belief is offended by health coverage of vaccines, or paying the minimum wage, or according women equal pay for substantially similar work?” she asked. How would the Court justify applying its logic only to religious views about contraception?  “Indeed, approving some religious claims while deeming others unworthy of accommodation could be ‘perceived as favoring one religion over another,’ the very ‘risk the Establishment Clause was designed to preclude.’”

Ginsburg’s questions are not merely rhetorical. Conservative Catholic and evangelical leaders who have signed the Manhattan Declaration, including some U.S. bishops, declare themselves willing to engage in civil disobedience – maybe even martyrdom – in order to avoid any participation in abortion or any “anti-life act.” Nor, they declare, “will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality and immorality and marriage and the family.”

Alito’s majority opinion says Hobby Lobby does not extend the right to religion-based discrimination on account of a person’s race, but is conspicuously silent on other kinds of discrimination. That silence raises concerns that business owners could use the Hobby Lobby decision to opt out of a future federal LGBT civil rights law, or the Obama administration’s executive order against anti-LGBT discrimination by federal contractors.

Indeed, especially in light of Alito’s mention in Hobby Lobby that RFRA applies to the District of Columbia as a federal enclave, such a claim could be brought today to seek an exemption from D.C.’s Human Rights Act that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation.  What happens if and when a local bishop instructs Catholic business owners that it would be sinful to treat legally married gay employees the same as other married couples, or an evangelical businessman declares he will not “bend” to DC’s Human Rights Act?

As Zoe Carpenter writes for The Nation,

Business owners now have a new basis for trying to evade anti-discrimination laws and their responsibilities to their employees. Religious liberty is already the rallying cry for conservatives looking for a legal way to discriminate against LGBT Americans; other business owners have tried to use religion to justify opposition to minimum-wage laws and Social Security taxes. Faith groups are already trying to capitalize on the Hobby Lobby decision out of court; on Wednesday, a group of religious leaders asked the Obama administration for an exemption from a forthcoming federal order barring federal contractors from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

To be clear, the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act that was used as the basis for the Hobby Lobby decision applies only to federal and District of Columbia laws and regulations, including presidential executive orders, not to state laws.

The stories of business owners being told they cannot exempt themselves from anti-discrimination laws have mostly involved questions about state-level civil rights and religious freedom statutes. Earlier this year the US Supreme Court declined to review a New Mexico Supreme Court ruling that a wedding photography business had violated anti-discrimination law when it refused to photograph a same-sex commitment ceremony.

Although Hobby Lobby does not apply directly to state laws, it could influence state courts weighing religious claims by business owners in states with their own versions of RFRA.

The clash between religious conservatives and advocates for LGBT equality has been well publicized. But the minefield Ginsburg refers to extends well beyond traditional “social issues.” Religious Right leaders have been working hard to convince conservative evangelicals that the Tea Party’s anti-government, anti-union, anti-welfare agenda is grounded in the Bible – an effort that started well before the Tea Party arrived on the scene.

David Barton is an influential Republican activist and “historian” who helped write the GOP’s national platform in 2012. Barton’s “Christian nation” approach to history has been denounced by historians and scholars, including some who are themselves evangelical Christians, but it is embraced by conservative politicians who extol a divinely inspired American exceptionalism. Barton teaches that Jesus and the Bible are opposed to progressive taxation, minimum wage laws, collective bargaining, and “socialist union kind of stuff.” 

In addition, “mainstream” Religious Right leaders and conservative politicians are increasingly allied with a group of Pentecostal leaders who promote a “dominionist” theology that says God requires the right kind of Christians to take dominion over every aspect of society, including the business world. Many of them were sponsors of, and participants in, the prayer rally that Texas Gov. Rick Perry used to launch his ill-fated 2012 presidential campaign.

Thanks to previous Supreme Court decisions, alluded to and affirmed by Alito’s majority opinion in Hobby Lobby, the Court has for now seemingly closed the door to companies making a religious challenge to paying Social Security and federal income taxes based on their objection to a particular government program funded with those taxes. But the same might not be true for more targeted taxes and fees, or for laws regulating company behavior or the relationships between companies and their employees.

Opposition to unions has deep roots in Christian Reconstructionism, which has influenced the Religious Right’s ideology and political agenda. An early Christian Coalition Leadership manual, co-authored by Republican operative Ralph Reed in 1990, is a stunning example. A section titled “God’s Delegated Authority in the World” argues that “God established His pattern for work as well as in the family and in the church.” It cites four Bible passages instructing slaves to be obedient to their masters, including this one:

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 

The conclusion to be drawn from these slaves-obey-your-masters passages?

Of course, slavery was abolished in this country many years ago, so we must apply these principles to the way Americans work today, to employees and employers: Christians have a responsibility to submit to the authority of their employers, since they are designated as part of God’s plan for the exercise of authority on the earth by man. 

More recently, Religious Right leaders have cheered on corporate-funded attacks on unions in Wisconsin and Michigan. Does the Hobby Lobby ruling open another front in the right-wing war on workers? It is not uncommon for companies to refuse to cooperate with union organizers or negotiate with a properly organized union. Imagine that a business owner objects to a National Labor Relations Board finding that they have violated the National Labor Relations Act by arguing in federal court that their company’s religious beliefs prohibit them from dealing with unions?

It’s not as far-fetched as it might seem. Since long before the Hobby Lobby case created an open invitation to business owners to raise religious objections to bargaining with unions, the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation has encouraged workers to raise religious objections to requirements that they join or financially support a union. Here’s an excerpt from their pamphlet, “Union Dues and Religious Do Nots.”

To determine whether your beliefs are religious instead of political or philosophical, ask yourself whether your beliefs are based upon your obligations to God. Do you simply dislike unions or hate this particular union’s politics? Or, does your desire to stand apart from the union arise from your relationship to God? If your beliefs arise from your decision to obey God, they are religious. 

It is possible that conservative courts may not give the same weight to religious claims about anti-gay discrimination or the Bible’s opposition to unions or minimum wage laws as they did to Hobby Lobby’s anti-contraception claims. Those claims were based on the owners’ belief – one that runs counter to medical scientific consensus – that some of the most effective forms of birth control work by causing abortions, and are therefore the moral equivalent of murder.

But as Justice Ginsburg pointed out, it is not clear how courts will differentiate between different types of claims. And it will be easier for claims to meet the new, lower threshold created by the Court in effectively altering the “substantial burden” test.

As Justice Ginsburg pointed out, rather than having to show that a person’s, or corporation’s, practice of religion has been burdened, they simply need to show that a law is “incompatible with” the person’s religious beliefs. Additionally, it seems that a wide array of regulations, conceivably including minimum wage laws, could be threatened by Alito’s reliance on the idea that having the government pay for the cost of implementing a regulation is less restrictive than having the company  bear the cost of a regulation it objects to.   

It is also not clear that the decision will remain “limited” to the 90 percent of American companies that qualify as closely held, which employ more than half of the nation’s workforce. The Court explicitly acknowledged the possibility that publicly traded corporations could raise such claims, but argued that it would be “unlikely.” But in this new world in which corporate religious claims can be made against government regulation, what is to prevent the CEO or board of a publicly traded organization from finding religion with regard to, say, greenhouse gas emissions?

The Evangelical Declaration on Global Warming, promoted by the anti-environmentalist Cornwall Alliance, declares as a matter of faith that earth’s ecosystem is not fragile and that efforts to reduce global warming, like regulating the emission of carbon dioxide, are not only “fruitless” and “harmful” but would discourage economic growth and therefore violate Biblical requirements to protect the poor from harm.

Justice Alito’s opinion rejects Justice Ginsburg’s characterization of the ruling’s “startling breadth.” But it is undeniable that the Court majority has opened the door to owners of for-profit corporations making an array of claims under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. 

Justice Ginsburg writes in her dissent, “Little doubt that RFRA claims will proliferate, for the Court’s expansive notion of corporate personhood—combined with its other errors in construing RFRA—invites for-profit entities to seek religion-based exemptions from regulations they deem offensive to their faith.” For today’s right-wing leaders, who claim religious grounding for just about every aspect of their political ideology, there aren’t many forms of regulation that would be off-limits.

Gays Are Possessed By 'Putrid Smelling' Demons That Even Pigs Won't Tolerate

Bert Farias, founder of Holy Fire Ministries, had a piece published on Charisma Magazine's website today in which he begged gay people to "please do not get upset with me" for trying to tell them "the raw, naked truth about homosexuality," promising that if they will just listen to him, they "will see that I am actually trying to help you."

And Farias' message of love is that "being gay is a choice" and choosing to be gay puts one at risk of engaging in "unclean practices that open up a person to the demonic."

And once that happens, gays become possessed by stinky demons that even pigs won't tolerate:

Here's the raw, naked truth: Homosexuality is actually a demon spirit. It is such a putrid smelling demon that other demons don't even like to hang around it. A genuine prophet of God told me that the Lord allowed him to smell this demon spirit, and he got sick to his stomach. And yet as humans, many embrace this demon. Yes, you heard me right. Being gay is demonic.

There is an account in the Bible where Jesus casts out 2,000 demons out of a man. The demons came out screaming and begged Jesus to send them into the pigs. The pigs didn't want them, so they ran down a steep hill and were drowned in the sea. Pigs have more sense than some humans. People embrace homosexual demons, but the pigs would rather die than be possessed with demons.

"Now a large herd of swine was feeding there near the mountains. So all the demons begged Him, saying, 'Send us to the swine, that we may enter them.' And at once Jesus gave them permission. Then the unclean spirits went out and entered the swine (there were about two thousand); and the herd ran violently down the steep place into the sea, and drowned in the sea" (Mark 5:11-13).

From a biblical perspective the rise of homosexuality is a sign that a society is in the last stages of decay. And here is another terrible truth: As people continue to reject God, He gives them over to increasingly immoral and self-destructive activities. There are destructive physical, emotional, and spiritual consequences resulting from homosexual behavior.

All human beings know deep in their hearts that God exists, and they all know something of His moral standards. But people's unrighteousness leads them to suppress the truth and leads them to believe false views of God and the Bible, and they twist the scriptures to their own destruction, because they know that the truth would require them to repent.

Allow me to school you in Basic Sex 101. If being gay was natural, two men or two women could produce a baby, but they can't. Their sexual reproductive organs do not complement each other therefore making it impossible for them to procreate. It can never be natural for two men or two women to get married and live together. Our culture's acceptance and celebration of gay behavior will never make it right. Wrong is wrong no matter how many people are for it. And right is right no matter how many people are against it. Homosexuality is not new. It's been around for thousands of years. It's as old as the devil himself.

Conservative Columnist Asks God To Remove Obama From Office

Upset that the House GOP leadership hasn’t called for President Obama’s impeachment, far-right commentator Gina Miller is calling on God to intervene and remove the president from office.

“As painful and infuriating as it is to say, I am certain no one can stop Obama, except the Lord Himself, if only He would,” Miller writes today in BarbWire. “I don’t have much hope that God will intervene, because I see the terrible state of our nation, our headlong flight into tyranny, as part of His judgment on the United States.”

She adds that because “America worships the ‘proud’ flaunting and writing into law of homosexuality and other sexual deviancy,” God may be using Obama as “judgment on this wayward nation.”

Miller also warns that Obama is inviting divine punishment on the U.S. with his “demonic hatred for Israel,” claiming that “Obama and his fellow travelers” are “competent like devils are” in their deliberate attempt to destroy America.

As painful and infuriating as it is to say, I am certain no one can stop Obama, except the Lord Himself, if only He would. I don’t have much hope that God will intervene, because I see the terrible state of our nation, our headlong flight into tyranny, as part of His judgment on the United States. We can see the detestable state of our culture, our collective embrace of all kinds of sinful behavior and the expulsion from our government, military, institutions and public square of all things Christian. Instead, America worships the “proud” flaunting and writing into law of homosexuality and other sexual deviancy, the mass-murder of pre-born babies “celebrated” as “choice,” and the indolent, entitlement mentality of far too many people who shun work and instead insist that others pay for their living, and in so doing, choose for themselves lives of servitude to their government masters. Barack Obama is also part of the Lord’s judgment on this wayward nation. It’s not just him alone, but the entire American power structure that has sunk into diseased corruption and criminality.

Another thing we must consider regarding the Lord’s judgment is God’s promise to Israel. You don’t mess with Israel without consequences. In Genesis 12:3, God said to Abraham (then, Abram), “I will bless them that bless you, and curse him that curses you, and in you shall all families of the earth be blessed.” This promise has not changed, and it never will. We know that Obama and his allies have a demonic hatred for Israel. Obama has repeatedly shunned and insulted Israel, and he has sided with, and given material support to, Israel’s Muslim Arab enemies. By this also we know that America is skating on thin ice, because of our wicked “leaders” who hate Israel.

Obama and his fellow travelers are allowed to behave as an oligarchic dictatorship. They are enemies of the United States. They are not incompetent. They are competent like devils are, and they mean our nation great harm. They are anti-American fiends. Who will stop them? Who will hold them accountable for their treason and crimes against the United States? Who will prevent the near-completion of “fundamental transformation” of our once-great nation?

The view from here doesn’t look good. Nevertheless, we will not stop speaking out against them. We will not stop praying for God’s mercy on this undeserving, wayward nation. We will not stop demanding that Congress do the right thing and impeach, convict and remove Barack Obama and his collaborators from office.

GOP Representative Goes From Christian Revival Meeting To Supporting Marriage Equality

Last week, Rep. David Jolly, a Republican from Florida, spoke at Rodney Howard-Browne's ongoing "Celebrate America" revival meeting in Washington, DC which was organized in order to bring about a Third Great Awakening in America by lighting "fires right in the belly of the beast" so that God can "cast a Gospel net across the capital."

Speaking about 46:00 into the gathering, Jolly told the crowd that he grew up the son of a preacher and accepted Jesus as his Savior at five years old and now his faith serves as the foundation of his views about government.

"I subscribe to a view of freedom that is rooted in the tenets of faith," Jolly declared, explaining that human beings are granted liberty and freedom by God and then decide how much power to turn over to the government in order to protect those rights.

As members of Congress, he said, "we don't apologize for our Christian faith, we own our Christian faith, we share our Christian faith" because elected representatives have the responsibility "to do what we believe is right for the future of our country and reflect the biblical principles as we act upon that."

Jolly concluded by asking the audience to pray for all elected leaders "because we are at a point in world history where man cannot get us out of this alone and it's going to take a divinely inspired wisdom from the Lord Jesus Christ and as I said at the beginning, we don't apologize for that."

Saying that the only reason he is in Congress at the moment is because that is where God wants him to be, Jolly promised that "I will work every day to reflect the biblical principles and faith principles we all believe in and I will do my part to join you in leading this country in what we believe is the right direction based upon the foundation of faith and I will do that until the same Hands of Providence that brought me to this office lead me out of it":

That was all pretty standard Religious Right language, which is why we didn't even bother writing it up when we first watched it yesterday ... but that was before Jolly announced his support for marriage equality:

Rep. David Jolly (R-Fla.) announced his support for gay marriage Monday, saying that he believes it is "fully appropriate" for a state to recognize both same-sex marriages and "traditional" ones, even though he, as a Christian, believes in the the latter.

When asked by The Washington Post whether he supports gay marriage, in light of a Florida judge's decision last week to overturn the state's ban, Jolly said that his personal views on marriage are that it should be limited to one man and one woman. But, he added, states should not be defining the "sanctity" of marriage.

“As a matter of my Christian faith, I believe in traditional marriage," said Jolly in a statement to The Post. "But as a matter of Constitutional principle I believe in a form of limited government that protects personal liberty. To me, that means that the sanctity of one’s marriage should be defined by their faith and by their church, not by their state. Accordingly, I believe it is fully appropriate for a state to recognize both traditional marriage as well as same-sex marriage, and therefore I support the recent decision by a Monroe County Circuit Judge.”

When a member of Congress can cater to a Religious Right event and then, a week later, announce his support for government recognition of gay marriage, it starts to become increasingly obvious that anti-gay activists’ fight against marriage equality is on its last legs.

BarbWire Pundit: Obama Is 'Trying To Find Ways To Imprison' His Opponents

It was only a matter of time before completely insane right-wing pundit Sher Zieve began writing for Matt Barber’s new conservative outlet BarbWire.

Her opening column does not fail to disappoint.

Zieve writes today that President Obama “has invited [immigrants] into the country as a foreign invasion force to replace US citizens and help him bring down the USA,” because he seeks the “destruction of the American people” and is working with allies towards “actively suppressing (and trying to find ways to imprison) their opposition.”

She also warns that the “faux POTUS” hopes to “replac[e] all Islamic Shia countries with Islamic Sunnis” and “kill free speech for conservatives and those of non-Islamic religions…especially Christians and Jews.”

“He was primed for and hired by his masters to destroy America…annihilate it…and he’s done his job well.”

Over last weekend, it finally got out–despite suppression from the White House and the media–that the Mexican drug cartels/human traffickers are now firing .50 caliber ammo at our USBP Agents. These are bullets that can reach their targets as much as a mile away. This is an act of war. Yet, neither the Pretend POTUS and Dictator-in-Chief Barack Hussein Obama nor any of his minions comment on it at all. Neither does Obama try to stop the thousands of illegals (largely gang members, drug cartels/human traffickers and Islamists…not children) that he has invited into the country as a foreign invasion force to replace US citizens and help him bring down the USA. Besides, he’s already decimated most of the US military, demanded the Border Patrol “stand down” and no longer attempt to stop anyone entering the USA while placing them on diaper and baby-sitting duties for the children coming in with their parents. What difference do some USBP deaths–or any additional US citizen deaths–mean to him? He does, after all, have a one-month vacation in August coming up.

Recently, Obama barely commented on the passenger plane that was shot down, apparently by the Russians or their “rebels,” over Russian-held Eastern Ukraine. Instead, he initially called it a “possible tragedy” and then continued on to another fund-raiser. Possible tragedy? Everyone on board was already known to have been killed and it’s a “possible” tragedy? Note: From Obama, there‘s never any wasted–or any at all–compassion. He’s shown that to us all with his destruction of the American people via killing their economy, encouraging them not to work while he destroys jobs and businesses, bringing on the demise of healthcare (Hint: ObamaCare does not provide healthcare), allowing foreign invasions of any and all comers via the US Southern border who are bringing in deadly diseases and being transported to multiple States; without telling the leaders of said States where he’s had them “dumped.” Yes, folks, he’s doing his job extremely well. And still no one is stopping him. Apparently, we have way too many suicidal citizens in the country now.

With regards to the growing war between Israel and Hamas, the Obama position has been and remains telling Israel–the only democratic country in the Middle East– to be careful not to kill too many of the aggressors trying to destroy them. Over the years, it has become painfully obvious that Obama’s foreign policy consists of replacing all Islamic Shia countries with Islamic Sunnis. After all, his supposed family is Sunni and its members are Muslim Brotherhood; that same Muslim Brotherhood is now largely–in de facto modality–running and ruling over the U.S. government. Anything else non-domestic doesn’t really interest the faux POTUS. He was primed for and hired by his masters to destroy America…annihilate it…and he’s done his job well. But, the complete destruction of the USA is tiresome to him and rather a bother. And he does, after all, have a one-month vacation in August coming up. Priorities must be set!

Obama, Eric Holder and the lion’s share of congressional Democrats still try to downplay the despicable behaviors of Lois Lerner, apparently many if not most of the IRS agents and now the FEC in their attempts to kill free speech for conservatives and those of non-Islamic religions…especially Christians and Jews. Obama and his syndicate have not followed U.S. law and have been actively suppressing (and trying to find ways to imprison) their opposition since entering what was once our White House. So, why would they start now? The Obama syndicate is now in all-out dismantling-of-the-USA push and does not intend to be stopped by anyone. Past experience tells them that no one will even really try to do so. Besides, they’ve been getting away with treason–and no consequences for their actions–on an almost daily basis since Obama usurped the Office of POTUS.

Does anyone see and hear what’s really happening here? Does anyone care? Hello…

CWA Urges Support For Israel So Jews Can Be Converted To Christianity

In a blog post last week, Concerned Women for America reminded us of one ever-present subtext in the Christian Right’s focus on support for Israel.

Christian Zionists believe that biblical prophecy requires Jews to converge in Israel to pave way for the Second Coming, at which time Jews will be converted to Christianity or die. There are, of course, other reasons for the Christian Right’s allegiance with Israel, but the ultimate conversion of Jews is a subtext underlying the activism of many within the movement.

Take a recent CWA blog post, for example, about the need for Jews to return to Israel in order for them to ultimately convert to Christianity.

“Not only should we push for strong foreign policy, but we must also be in prayer for our Jewish friends,” CWA writes in a July 18 blog post. “Ultimately, God is eager to bring his people back to Him and to direct their zeal for the law into a zeal for Christ’s already accomplished salvation on the Cross for both Jews and Gentiles alike.”

We must push for legislation that promotes the peace that Israel deserves and pushes the Palestinian Authority to break its ties with Hamas. America must have a strategic role in this conflict, and we as citizens should hold our leaders accountable to protect our ally in the Middle East — reminding our leaders that any foreign policy that does not support Israel is at stark odds with our national interests.

Furthermore, as Christians we are called to protect Israel and stand with this nation of people that God has blessed. Not only should we push for strong foreign policy, but we must also be in prayer for our Jewish friends. Ultimately, God is eager to bring his people back to Him and to direct their zeal for the law into a zeal for Christ’s already accomplished salvation on the Cross for both Jews and Gentiles alike.

CWA was founded by Beverly LaHaye, whose husband Tim LaHaye wrote the incredibly successful “Left Behind” series.

GOP House Candidate Suggests 'Second Amendment' Response To Border Crisis

Jody Hice, a Republican candidate to replace Rep. Paul Broun in Georgia’s congressional delegation, told a conservative radio show last week that “we have the responsibility as individuals and as states to step up in those areas where our federal government will not,” and suggested that people might have to take up arms in response to “a government that refuses to secure our borders.”

In an interview with Liberty Conservatives last week, Hice predicted (correctly) that Texas would send National Guard troops to the southern border in response to the crisis of children fleeing violence in Central America.

But then he went further. In response to a question about the border crisis, Hice said, “that is the reason we have a Second Amendment.”

“Ultimately, it’s not about hunting and fishing and that type of thing,” he said. “It’s about our ability as individuals to defend ourselves, be it in our own private property, but most importantly, ultimately, it comes down to the right of defending ourselves against tyranny should our government ever become a threat to our liberties. And when you are talking about a government that refuses to secure our borders, you are talking about a government that is not taking seriously its responsibility to defend us.”

“We have the responsibility as individuals and as states to step up in those areas where our federal government will not,” he added.

h/t Balloon Juice

Charisma News: Bans On Atheist Officeholders 'Good News For A Judeo-Christian America'

The right-wing outlet Charisma Magazine ran a story today about states that still have religious tests for people holding public office, even though they are not enforced.

“With the never-ending battle in our culture atheists bring against Christians, will [sic] the bans may soon be altogether removed,” writes Gina Meeks, Charisma’s assistant editor.

The magazine’s website posted the story on its front page with the subtitle: “This is good news for a Judeo-Christian America, but will the bans last?”

Top Anti-Immigrant 'Expert' Says 'Being Hung, Drawn And Quartered' Is 'Too Good' For Obama

A senior policy analyst for the Center for Immigration Studies, which bills itself as the think tank of the anti-immigrant Right, told a Florida-based Tea Party group last week that President Obama not only deserves impeachment, but that “being hung, drawn and quartered is probably too good for him.”

The Center for New Community’s Imagine 2050 blog first reported on Stephen Steinlight’s remarks.

Steinlight also said that John Boehner’s lawsuit against the president is a “political loser” and claimed that while Obama deserves to be impeached, such an effort would backfire on Republicans.

CIS describes Steinlight as “one of the nation’s most insightful voices on immigration” who provides “expert testimony” for government panels.

A rash of opinion polls which have come out, not push polls, real polls, including one by Gallup that showed that 65 percent of the American people don’t want any part of an Obama-style immigration reform. But the idea of this [lawsuit] is vintage Boehner, it’s a political loser. There is no court that is going to stop Obama from doing anything. We all know, if there ever was a president that deserved to be impeached, it’s this guy. Alright? I mean, I wouldn’t stop. I would think being hung, drawn, and quartered is probably too good for him.

UPDATE (7/24): CIS now says that Steinlight has been "reprimanded" for his remarks:

When reached for comment, Steven Camarota, director of research at CIS, distanced the organization from Steinlight's remarks.

"Steve was speaking figuratively and hyperbolically, obviously, for effect. In that respect his intemperate comments were similar to those who are often critics of President Bush, and I would say like those comments, they are ill-advised," Camarota told The Huffington Post. "I would also say that the Center for Immigration Studies does not in fact support drawing and quartering the president."

CIS officials also said Steinlight had been disciplined and instructed to avoid similar rhetoric in the future.

"I reprimanded him and put a reprimand in his personnel file," said CIS Executive Director Mark Krikorian.

CIS is an organization that advocates reducing immigration into the United States. Steinlight has said that Hispanic immigration would lead to the "unmaking of America," and that Muslims should be banned from immigrating to the United States because they "believe in things that are subversive to the Constitution."

"Steve sometimes has used impolitic language and I admonished him to choose his words more carefully in the future," Krikorian said.

Compassionate Conservative Ted Cruz Hands Out Teddy Bears At The Border, Then Moves On To Deporting Dreamers

Sen. Ted Cruz announced last week that his new “top priority” in Washington is to end President Obama’s deferred action program for DREAMers and start deporting undocumented immigrants who came to the U.S. as children.

But to show that he is approaching his new top priority in a compassionate way, Cruz made a stop at the border this weekend to help Glenn Beck hand out his truckload of teddy bears and soccer balls to children who have come to the southern border fleeing violence in Central America.

Cruz and some of his fellow Republicans are doing their best to pin the influx of Central American children on Obama's deferred action for DREAMers — although the evidence shows that that is not the case — and to thereby frame deporting DREAMers as the solution to the child refugee crisis.

Cruz told Beck’s The Blaze network that “our country has always been a country of compassion, of humanity,” but “as long as that promise of amnesty is there, more and more children will come.”

“In my view, it is altogether appropriate that private charities and private churches are showing Christian love, are caring for these children,” he said. “But at the same time we need to eliminate the promise of amnesty.”

 

 

 

Is The Border Crisis God's Judgment For Legal Abortion And Gay Marriage? Or A Popish Plot?

Today, Rick Joyner's Oak Initiative sent out an email to activists asking if the crisis along the southern border just might be God's judgment on America for allowing legal abortion and same-sex marriage.

Written by Kenneth L. Carozza, the piece declares that while evangelicals have a lot in common with Catholics, they cannot support calls from Catholic leaders to back immigration reform because Catholics have an ulterior motive: "Rome might see the alien deluge into the U.S. as a quick road to bigger parishes regardless of the form of government that survives."

The crisis, Carozza declared, just might be God's judgment upon this nation and a sign for America to seal its border and implement voter ID laws before conservatives permanently "lose any chance of winning the pro-life, marriage and religious liberty issues":

Does our nation gain God’s favor if officials advocate for children crossing the Rio Grande but fail to guarantee safe passage through the birth canal? Such carnage in the womb occurs within our U.S. borders daily. Additionally, in 2003 Justice Scalia predicted that with the repeal of sodomy laws, sodomy would become institutionalized. Today our little children learn a new euphemism in school, “same-sex marriage.” At the university level, academics are paving the way for pedophilia to be viewed as one more sexual orientation. Closer to home, we have tolerated emergent church leaders who undercut God’s justice by eroding hell. With this modeling, is it any wonder that policy makers undercut just laws and erode U.S. borders?

If the alien invasion is a sign of divine judgment, shouldn’t we still act to minimize the effects? If we experienced a judgment of drought we would still dig wells; if famine, we would still forage for food. While our first task is to humbly call people to repentance through Christ, we should unashamedly cry out that U.S. borders be secured. Exclusion has appropriate precedents.

...

We allow terrorists to become Mirandized, illegals to receive defense counsel (at taxpayer expense) and unbeknown to many, most states do not require a photo ID to vote. How do our military men and women feel about our lax border security and cheapening the requirements for citizenship?

The top public policy issue today needs to be securing the borders now. We have immigration laws. Let’s first restore equilibrium. Secondly, we must insist on a photo ID at the polls. If we lose the integrity of elections, conservatives will lose any chance of winning the pro-life, marriage and religious liberty issues. Losing elections through voter fraud will likely cost us our rights to free speech and assembly. With dagger in hand, political correctness awaits that day.

So is this God’s judgment? Perhaps we will know in time. For now, we need evangelicals confident in a biblical basis for limiting the border deluge. No false guilt trip need dissuade us. Our nation needs protection from lawlessness. Let’s love our alien neighbors with the prudence of a savvy lifeguard who won’t allow herself to be pulled under in the rescue. Let’s enforce and obey the present Constitutional laws of immigration and welcome as new citizens those who respect our laws. Put the “protest” back into Protestant and insist that we secure our borders!

Todd Akin Explains 'Legitimate Rape' Controversy Was All About Fighting Spiritual Evil

Former congressman Todd Akin said last week that the firestorm over his comments about how women’s bodies “shut down” pregnancies in cases of “legitimate rape” was all part of a spiritual war between good and evil, and obviously, Akin was on the side of good.

Even though Akin ran a television ad during his unsuccessful 2012 U.S. Senate campaign apologizing for his remarks, the Missouri Republican now insists that he always believed in what he said regarding “legitimate rape” and believes that the media, Democrats and Republicans such as Mitt Romney all decided to persecute him because he is a good, Christian, patriotic man.

Akin told David Brody of the Christian Broadcasting Network that the uproar over his comments was really part of a spiritual war.

After the whole thing blew up and it took maybe a week or two and it was just amazing. It wasn’t just national, it was international news, because people were saying I said something most of the time that I didn’t even say and assigning me motives that I didn’t have. What did I feel like? It’s going to be sort of an odd analogy but I’ll share it with you. I felt sort of peaceful, as though I was in a parachute. I sort of felt that on each side of me were these towering cumulus clouds. On the one side lightning and thunder of evil and the other side brilliant light of good and I sort of felt like I was literally on the front lines and that evil and good were going at each other all around me and I’m thinking, ‘how did I get here so fast? If you want a mental picture, sometimes you just have to sort of think of a bizarre picture but that’s what it felt like. I felt a sense of peace like I was protected but it seemed like there was this intense war between good and evil, which in a way didn’t surprise me because I always felt like I want to be on the side of selling good ideas.

Glenn Beck Does Not Approve Of Those Who Engage In Glenn Beck-Style Reporting

Last week, the city of Salem, Massachusetts canceled a contract that it had with a local Christian college because the school prohibits "homosexual behavior." Since 2008, Salem had allowed the college to maintain a local landmark in exchange for being able to use it for educational purposes. After the contract was ended, Glenn Beck's The Blaze website wrote about the decision, which resulted in Salem's mayor being inundated with calls after the number to her office was posted in the comments section of The Blaze article.

The mayor then wrote a Facebook post noting that "apparently, Glenn Beck is not happy about the city's stance" and pledged to donate $5 for every angry call about it that she received.

Since then, various articles have been written about the flap, with some mistakenly attributing the entire thing directly to Glenn Beck ... and Beck is not happy about it, blasting the media on his radio program today for being too lazy to bother tracking down and understanding the origin of the story before reporting it:

While Glenn has grown accustomed to reading media reports about him that are less than truthful, he found it difficult to understand how any purported news source could use an un-attributed Facebook post as the basis of a report without so much as a fact-check.

“They got this from a Facebook post as a source. That’s not a typo. You didn’t hear that in error. Reuters wrote a story about a Facebook post. They didn’t call us for comment. They didn’t search to see if I had ever said anything about the story,” Glenn explained. “Because of this, dozens of outlets ran with my supposed opposition to something I don’t even know about. That’s how bad our media is today… They are using Facebook posts as legitimate sources without calling for any secondary source.”

Allow us to point out that this is the same Glenn Beck who routinely pulls random items that have been posted by bloggers on The Huffington Post and attributes them to the Huffington Post itself so that he can rail that America "is just begging to be destroyed."

Not to mention that Beck's radio program is the sort of reliable media outlet that will spend an entire segment declaring that America must be destroyed for re-electing President Obama and building that case by falsely attributing a manufactured quote to Valerie Jarrett:

It was this supposed quote from Jarrett that demonstrated, for Beck, the fundamentally evil nature of the entire Obama administration, and he had it read out repeatedly during the segment - here is the quote:

After we win this election, it’s our turn. Payback time. Everyone not with us is against us and they better be ready because we don’t forget. The ones who helped us will be rewarded, the ones who opposed us will get what they deserve. There is going to be hell to pay.

It was this quote that prompted Beck to proclaim that America was on the verge of reaping God's wrath ... but where did it come from? The quote is posted on all sorts of conservative websites and blogs, but they all eventually link back to a blog called The Ulsterman Report.

And where did "Ulsterman" get this quote?  From an pseudonymous source he calls "Wall Street Insider" who claims to have received it from a source he supposedly has within the Obama campaign in Chicago ... The "Wall Street Insider" then forwarded a message supposedly written by the mole inside the Obama campaign which contains the quote that so outraged Beck.

...

Let's get this straight: an anonymous source supposedly within the Obama campaign supposedly overheard a representative from Jarrett's office make this statement and attributed it to Jarrett herself; it was then passed along to some pseudonymous source named "Wall Street Insider" who then forwarded it to The Ulsterman Report ... and it eventually ended up on Glenn Beck's radio program where the quote was treated as entirely legitimate and a sign that America deserves to be destroyed. 

We can fully understand why Glenn Beck is so furious that some in the media are willing to blindly report items "without so much as a fact-check" given that throwing out wild and entirely unverified allegations is his area of expertise!

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