Fighting the Right

'This Is The Time Of Persecution!': Glenn Beck Has Another Meltdown

Glenn Beck had another meltdown on his radio show today, brought on by the international community's struggle to figure out a cohesive and unified plan for dealing with the threat posed by ISIS, but which eventually branched out to include everything from the failure of Christians in America to vote in great enough numbers to the Hillary Clinton email controversy.

After declaring at one point that "we're a despicable nation," Beck began to grow more and more agitated until he finally just started screaming into his microphone.

"Stop listening to the people who got us into this situation in the first place!" he bellowed. "It's all happening and you're still listening to those people. What the hell is wrong with us? It's time to turn some tables over."

"Do you realize it's about 60 percent of Christians aren't even registered to vote? 60 percent! You've been standing around with your hands in your pockets, doing what? You're losing your culture! There have been more people that have been slaughtered for Christianity, in the name of Christ, in last five than the previous 2,000 years," he claimed, dubiously. "This is the time of persecution! And we're sitting around with our hands in our pockets."

Beck then began to rail against the imprisonment of American pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran, which somehow morphed into a rant about the 2016 election.

"You're listening to liars and you know you're listening to liars," he said. "There isn't a Democrat within the sound of my voice that doesn't know that Hillary Clinton, every time she opens her mouth, is a liar ... Fool me once, same on you; fool me a million times, how many times has it been? Fool me this many times, shoot me in the head."

David Benham's Gay-Bashing Tirade At 'Nonpolitical' Prayer Rally

Last weekend’s Response rally in Charlotte, North Carolina was another in a series of supposedly nonpolitical gatherings organized by political strategist David Lane. Like other Response gatherings, the event served as a platform for culture warriors associated with Christian-nation dominionism to promote anti-choice, anti-gay, anti-church state ideology all while proclaiming that they are simply bringing Christians together to pray for the state and nation.

Among the culture warriors to take the microphone in Charlotte was David Benham, half of the Benham Brothers duo who have parlayed a cancelled television show into Religious Right folk-hero status.

David and his brother have a long record of anti-gay rhetoric and activism. They once urged Charlotte officials to deny permits for the city’s pride celebration. David has repeatedly linked gays with Satan, so it is not terribly surprising that he portrayed the LGBT equality movement as a force of darkness in a spiritual battle for the soul of America:

As we shift into individual repentance I want to provide a little context for where we’re meeting right now. Eight years ago, I came to the Charlotte convention center, and sat in a meeting with 1500 individuals in the room directly above this room. It was a meeting with the Human Rights Campaign. The president stood on the stage and said that we are going to take the key to Charlotte, we are going to take North Carolina, and we will force our agenda on this nation. And all of you bigots that think that you can stand against us, you can do nothing about it because you sit in your living rooms laughing at our humor on television.

And I listened to that from the Human Rights Campaign and I found it very interesting that just a few months ago I sat at a city council meeting with the transgender bill that sat and was about to be voted upon. And the city attorney was asked, who was in the meeting helping you craft this ordinance, and he said, the Human Rights Campaign.

At the time the nondiscrimination ordinance in Charlotte was being debated, Benham called it “depraved” and “craziness.”

Benham argued, as is customary among Religious Right leaders, that America’s biggest problem is that “the church” hasn’t been aggressive enough in the culture wars.

The problem today is not the presence of darkness. The problem is the absence of light. This is nothing new in America. The spirit of the age is the spirit of Babylon, the same spirit that Daniel spoke about in his book, and this Babylonian spirit that seeks to remove Christian influence, that seeks to demonize and come against those who hold the commandments of God and keep the testimony of Jesus Christ.

This is the spiritual battle that is now waging before us in this nation, the home of the brave and the land of the free. And it’s time for the church of Jesus Christ to get off the sidelines and to step into the game. We don’t have a second Chronicles 7:14 moment – if my people who are called by my name, and the healing of the land – we don’t have that moment if it does not first begin with 1 Peter 4:17.

It is time for judgment to begin in the House of God.

Benham went on to talk about the sins “manifest in Israel” before the captivity in Babylon:  

“…the worship of the goddess of Ashera, sexual perversion of all kind, and the worship of the god of Moloch, child sacrifice. That is what we are finding in America, and we see it in North Carolina, that the shedding of innocent blood – 60 million unborn babies – have been slaughtered while we grow church. C’mon!

And we are now watching, as God is allowing our sexual perversion, not just the homosexual agenda, but adultery and divorce and pornography that are rooted in the church and it is time for us to fall on our faces before God and to repent of our sins.

Benham said God had a purpose in placing The Response directly below the room where that HRC meeting had been held:

It is no coincidence that we are in a basement underneath the room where the Human Rights Campaign issued their secular declaration that they would take this nation. Now it’s time for us to issue our declaration, that God we are sorry, forgive us of our sins, heal our land, O God.

In Daniel chapter 9 in Babylon he says this, I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed my sins and said alas, Lord, the great and awesome God who keeps his covenant in loving kindness for those who love him and keep his commandments. We have sinned. We have committed iniquity. We have acted wickedly and rebelled. We have turned aside from your ordinances and commandments.

It’s time for us, as God has positioned us in this room, to get on our faces and to humble ourselves. We can point at our elected leaders. We can point at the secular media. We can point at Hollywood, and DC and New York City, but the finger points right to the church of Jesus Christ.

And we know that the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but are divinely powerful for the destruction of strongholds, those strongholds that come to rob, to kill, and to destroy. So let’s enter in now, this is not something that you can just sit there and watch. We must get on our faces before God for the sake of this nation, for the sake of our children and for the sake of the kingdom of heaven…

God we have sinned. God we have concerned ourselves with our rights but have forsaken our responsibility to be salt and light. God we have turned our backs Lord and gotten comfortable with American Christianity. Bring us back to biblical Christianity, oh God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for the perversion that is in our own ranks, God. Forgive us Lord Jesus for turning a blind eye to the shedding of innocent blood. God we ask you Lord forgive us. We intercede on behalf of our land knowing that we are the ones responsible. So Lord Jesus forgive us now as we enter individual repentance knowing that the only ones that ascend the hill of the Lord is he who has clean hands and a pure heart.

 

Troy Newman Claims He Never Called For Executing 'Abortionists.' Has He Read His Own Book?

Troy Newman, the head of the anti-choice group Operation Rescue and a driving force behind the recent attacks on Planned Parenthood, made news this week when he was barred from entering Australia after a member of parliament raised concerns that his extremism “would cause significant harm to our community.”

Operation Rescue is understandably upset with the decision, and is taking advantage of the controversy to gin up plenty of publicity for itself. But the group has also taken exception to some of the Australian MP’s complaints, specifically claiming that Newman has never called for the execution of abortion providers, as MP Terri Butler wrote in a letter disputing Newman’s visa.

Operation Rescue said in a statement:

A pro-abortion Member of Parliament, Terri Butler, sent a spurious letter to Minister of Immigration Peter Dutton falsely accusing Newman of advocating the execution of abortion providers, which Dutton never bothered to fact-check.

Newman has never advocated violence against abortion providers or facilities and has instead adamantly encouraged pro-life activists to work through the legal, legislative, and justice systems to bring abortionists who are breaking the law and harming women to justice.

In fact, as Butler detailed in her letter, Newman said exactly that in his 2000 book “Their Blood Cries Out,” whose 2003 revision includes this passage:

When moms, dads, abortionists are added together, well over 100,000,000 people bear personal bloodguilt for at least one abortion. The doctrine of community bloodguilt found in Scripture further implicates the entire nation. The perpetrators are far too numerous and the bloodguilt has spread too far. We deserve God’s judgment.

In addition to our personal guilt in abortion, the United States government has abrogated its responsibility to properly deal with the blood-guilty. This responsibility rightly involves executing convicted murderers, including abortionists, for their crimes in order to expunge bloodguilt from the land and people. Instead, the act of abortion has been elevated to a “God-given right” and the abortionists canonized as saints. Consequently, the entire nation has the blood-red stain of the lives of the innocent upon its head.

And also this one:

The innocent blood of the New Covenant in Christ has the power to atone for all the innocent bloodshed from the beginning of time to the end, and to purify the whole earth — the land. Rejecting that innocent blood is to reject the only standard that is effective against innocent bloodshed, excluding the lawful execution of the murderers, which is commanded by God in Scripture.

Sure, Newman wasn’t advocating the extralegal killing of abortion providers — he’s always been very careful to never quite go there — but he was very explicitly saying that providing an abortion should be a capital crime equivalent to murder. In fact, he was saying that all of America suffers “bloodguilt” for legal abortion because of the failure to punish abortion providers through the legal system.

Whatever one may think regarding the legitimacy of Newman's complaint about being barred from Australia, he cannot simply pretend that he never wrote words that are very clearly written in his book.

Seven Mountains Dominionism At North Carolina's 'Response' Rally

Last Saturday’s five-and-a-half-hour “Response” rally in North Carolina was, like previous “Response" rallies, a culture war rallying cry disguised as a nonpolitical prayer gathering. The event, organized by Christian-nation activist David Lane and emceed by “apostle” Doug Stringer, promoted Seven Mountains dominionism, the idea that the right kind of Christians are meant to control every sphere – or “mountain” – of cultural influence: business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, family, and religion.

While laying hands on North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory, who Lane said was put in place by God, Lane prayed that God could give McCrory “courage to fight.” 

Lord, we pray that you would give him courage to fight. And Lord that the pastors of North Carolina would rise. And Lord that this would be the beginning. You say we war against not flesh and blood but principalities and powers. And like over the body of Moses in the book of Jude, the archangel Michael said, ’the Lord rebuke you. We’re asking the living God to intervene on what he have allowed in a nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith. Jesus help us, and begin with Pat McCrory, we’re asking in Jesus name.

Stringer continued the prayer over McCrory, saying that the Bible makes clear “that all authority, kingdom’s authorities, principalities and rulerships are subject to you, but your intention to give it to the church and through the church.”

Lord would you guide and protect and watch over the governor of this great state, all of our leaders across this nation, that they would come to renewed revelation of their need for you and that Lord as they submit themselves to you,  true reformation will take place and revival across this nation again.

In the session on “reformation,” Stringer talked about the development of “seven mountains” theology by people like the late Bill Bright of Campus Crusade. Another speaker fleshed out the concept:

Jesus gave a parable of a man, a certain nobleman who went into a far country, and he said, he gave 10 pounds to ten servants, and he said, “Occupy until I come.” Reformation is about occupying the places of influence in our nation, the places of influence in our culture. The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. And God has commissioned the church to occupy until he comes…

There are 7 major issues or arenas in which we believe that God has appointed and assigned the church to occupy. We believe that the church, or the faith and religious community, must experience a time of reformation. The word tells us in Matthew the fifth chapter that the church, the body of Christ, is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Let us pray that there would be an awakening in the faith community. Pray that the church would experience a revelation of holiness, righteousness, love and justice. Pray that the church would occupy every arena in our society. Pray that the church would be salt and light.

A number of speakers prayed for various mountains. Regarding the family, “that the unborn would be protected” and “that the family would have true biblical marriages” – which speakers made clear is not just about one-man, one-woman marriage, but about wifely submission.

Prayers for the government sphere included:

Pray for the government, that it would be, that we would have god-appointed leaders, men and women who would serve him and humanity. Pray for government that we would have voters who are informed, knowledgeable and insightful in how to vote righteously and biblically.

On education, one speaker prayed, “Restore prayer to our schools, O Holy God, restore one educational system to the biblical principles of Jesus Christ, in Jesus’s holy and mighty name, amen.” Another said this:

I repent for the folly of expelling you from our halls of learning. We have considered ourselves wise in our own eyes, when in reality wisdom in this world is foolishness before you. As a person working in the academic realm, I invite you back into the education system, to take your rightful place, as the foundation and the compass for learning. You are the only true source of knowledge and wisdom. I cry out to you to reform and transform the education system in this state and in this nation. Apart from you we can do nothing. In Christ we can do all things AMEN!

On the media:

“We are going to ask God to reform this mountain of media, we are at the point in this country where it is either reformation or revolution – the first is of the spirit, and the latter is of the force of the flesh, so God, we call upon you to reform the mountain of media for your kingdom purposes. Lord, you know that there’s a saying in the newsroom, that if it bleeds, it leads. My God, you bled for us. I know of no other way for mountain reformation to come than by the precious blood of the lamb. So Lord, we recognize you as our risen Lord and savior, and we ask for you to invade the news media. We ask you to loose skilled laborers to come into that mountain, to repossess the land where the enemy has taken up residence. God, we call for truth.…We ask for the truth of the gospel to go forth in the media…for the people of God to meet today in the city of intercession that you would begin a massive reformation in the mountain of media….

One of the final speakers made clear what the day was about – spiritual warfare against “the enemy.”

I thank you father for the reminder from your word and from the remarks that have been made throughout this day that this is war, and that we’re not looking for refreshing in order to be relieved of our responsibilities, but father we’re coming here today as a people of God, an army of God, seeking to be refreshed in order to renew the fight against the enemy. And today father, the people that are in this place, pick up the world-class weapon of prayer and we take it father against the enemy in the name of Jesus Christ. And we come against every obstacle, we come against every foe. 

Beck: Agenda 2030 Is A Plot To Establish Global Government

Glenn Beck dedicated his television program last night to issuing dire warnings about "Agenda 2030," an international effort to fight poverty, hunger, war and inequality over the next 15 years, declaring that the plan is really nothing more than a ruse designed to give the UN the power it needs to create a global government.

Beck is not sure if this is the one-world government warned of in the Bible that signals the End Times, mostly because he believes the End Times government will come in the form of the Islamic Caliphate. But maybe the Caliphate will adopt Agenda 2030 as it takes over the world? Who knows? But either way, it is bad news!

"I don't know if this is the global one-world government of the Beast, I have no idea," he said. "I personally think it's the Caliphate. Now, will the Caliphate eventually morph and use this too? I don't know. But I know a global government is coming and I know it's bad."

Anti-Vaxxer Donald Trump Could Learn From Televangelist Pal's Measles Outbreak

Last month, Donald Trump brought his anti-vaccine conspiracy theories to the Republican presidential debate, where he persuaded Dr. Ben Carson to agree with his anti-vaccine pseudo-science. While Trump’s comments caused angst in the scientific community, they appealed to a growing segment of the GOP electorate who believe vaccinations should be optional.

But Trump may want to learn from the experience of one of the pastors who recently joined him at Trump Tower, televangelist and faith healer Kenneth Copeland.

Copeland, like Trump, has preached the false claim that immunization shots are linked to autism, with the televangelist mocking the science behind vaccines as “crazy” and “criminal.”

In what was obviously just a coincidence, one of Copeland’s churches was the site of a measles outbreak in 2013:

Measles was declared eliminated in the U.S. more than a decade ago. But in recent years, the highly infectious disease has cropped up in communities with low vaccination rates, most recently in North Texas.

There, 21 people — the majority of whom have not been immunized — have gotten the disease, which began at a vaccine-skeptical megachurch.



Most of the Eagle Mountain parishioners — and all of the children — who came down with measles had never been vaccinated.

Dr. Jason Terk, an infectious disease specialist in North Texas, says such communities can spread a disease quickly.

"This is a good example, unfortunately, of how birds of a feather flock together," Terk says. "If you have individuals who are vaccine-hesitant or vaccine-hostile, they congregate together, and that creates its own unique situation where a population of individuals is susceptible to getting the very disease that they decided they don't want to protect themselves from."

But something tells us that Trump’s meeting with Copeland may not prompt him to reflect on the disastrous consequences of Copeland’s anti-vaxxer preaching.

Pat Robertson: Gays Are 'Persecuting' And 'Taking Away The Rights Of Everybody'

Today on “The 700 Club,” Christian Broadcasting Network correspondent David Brody sat down with Kentucky clerk Kim Davis and Washington florist Barronelle Stutzman, who both became right-wing heroes after they lost legal battles in their attempts to justify anti-gay discrimination. Stutzman told Brody that their cases are paving the way for the censorship of journalists and the stripping of law licenses from attorneys who defend people accused of hate crimes.

Pat Robertson, host of “The 700 Club,” naturally agreed, warning that gay people seek to “persecute anybody who disagrees with them” in order to see them “bankrupted” and “put in jail.”

“We’re not talking about having rights from the ‘poor, oppressed gays,’ we’re taking away the freedoms of everybody who disagrees with them,” he said, adding: “They’re taking away the rights of everybody.”

Culture War Politics At David Lane's 'Nonpolitical' Prayer Rally

Last Saturday, while the Values Voter Summit drew Religious Right activists and pandering politicians together in Washington, D.C., a group of Christian dominionists was holding an all-day political prayer rally in Charlotte, North Carolina, featuring Republican Gov. Pat McCrory. McCrory had objected to the way Response organizers used his name to recruit participants, but it didn’t keep him away.

This was the fourth “Response” rally headlined by a state governor. The first, in 2011, served as the unofficial launch to Rick Perry’s disastrous 2012 presidential bid. Since then, Response rallies have been hosted by Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Nikki Haley in South Carolina. Florida Gov. Rick Scott is scheduled to host the next “Response” on October 24. The North Carolina Response was the smallest to date; one speaker referred to “hundreds” of participants, while the Charlotte Observer reported that it attracted “more than 1,000” people.

The rallies are in effect a series of bait-and-switch events. They are disingenuously promoted as non-political gatherings to create Christian unity by bringing people together across denominational and racial lines to pray for the state and the country. And while that promise of ecumenical prayer and worship is undoubtedly what brought many people to the event in Charlotte, the “non-political” veneer was discarded almost immediately.

The organizers are a group of Christian-nation zealots who believe every sphere of influence in society – including business, government, education, media, and entertainment – is meant to be controlled by the right kind of Christians. And they’re intent on electing politicians – and a president – who share that vision. The events are sponsored by Christian-nation extremist David Lane, a favorite of GOP presidential hopefuls whose American Renewal Project organizes and funds The Response rallies as well as other efforts to get conservative evangelicals more involved in politics. The American Renewal Project operates under the umbrella of the American Family Association, home to the notorious font of bigotry, radio host Bryan Fischer.

Here’s how Lane opened his prayer at the unifying, non-political Response rally:

The problem is us, a Christian nation founded for the glory of God and the advancement of the Christian faith that has left God. So Lord, we start here. We’re so sorry what we’ve allowed to happen to a once-Christian nation, Lord. We deserve judgment. We pray for mercy, the mercy of God. A nation founded on the Bible; fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And Lord, they removed prayer and Bible from the public schools in 1963 after 350 years as a principal component, as the fixed point in order to judge society. We did this, we allowed this to happen. We pray for mercy. Fifty-five million babies dead, homosexuals praying at the inauguration, red ink as far as the eye can see -- judgment is on us. We need mercy Lord. We deserve judgment.

Like other Response events, it was emceed by “apostle” Doug Stringer, who announced that the day would follow the five-theme Response formula: repentance, reconciliation, revival, reformation, and refreshing. As the Response moved through its five segments, Religious Right speakers took turns at the microphone, interspersed with praise music and prayers from locals. Some prayed for the church to be filled with God’s love, and some shouted out culture war rhetoric about abortion, homosexuality, and separation of church and state:

Lord, you’ve called us to be salt and light, and Lord, salt is flavoring, salt is an irritant, and salt is a preservative. Lord, it is sin for us to not study your word, and know it, and obey it. Oh, God, it is sin for us to not know our Constitution, our liberties, and it is sin for us to not know how to be good citizens, preserving our liberties and our freedoms. Change us, oh God, and help us be like Kim Davis, obeying the Constitution and defying federal criminals. In Jesus’ name.  

Franklin Graham: 'Middle East Is Burning' Because Obama's Too Focused On Gay Rights

In an interview on Newsmax TV last night, Rev. Franklin Graham blamed the Syrian refugee crisis on President Obama’s support for LGBT rights, claiming that “the Middle East is burning” because the Obama administration has been “more focused” on LGBT rights “than anything else.”

Host J.D. Hayworth, a former GOP congressman, asked Graham: “Why do you think President Obama has taken so little interest in helping to protect Christians in the Middle East?”

“Well, he’s more interested in policies that are against Christians,” Graham responded, “in this country, and going around the world promoting same-sex marriage and the agenda of the gay and lesbian community. And I’m not here to bash the gays and lesbians and they certainly have rights, I understand all that, but this administration has been more focused on that agenda than anything else and as a result the Middle East is burning and you have more refugees moving today since World War II, and it could have been prevented.”

Graham then praised Pope Francis for reportedly meeting privately with Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has attempted to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, saying that Davis is a victim of discrimination simply for standing up for her view that “homosexuality is a sin against God.”

“Christians need to be protected from these new laws that are coming out and discriminating against Christians and forcing Christians to do things that go against their conscience and go against the teaching of the Bible,” he said. “Again, homosexuality is a sin against God. Now, if a gay or lesbian person is watching, I’m not here to bash you or anything like that, I’m just here to tell you the truth, that this is what the Bible teaches.”

End Times Pundit: Pope Francis Paving The Way For 'Communist World Government'

WorldNetDaily news editor Leo Hohmann spoke to End Times author Paul McGuire today about a sustainable development initiative adopted by the United Nations known as Agenda 2030, which McGuire thinks “is about to put America and the world on the fast track to a one-world government,” noting that “the goal of the UN is to impose communist world government on the world.”

McGuire warned that the UN will need a “manufactured crisis” to put the one-world government plot into place, which he said “could happen overnight” through “a global financial crisis, the prospect of World War III” or “a manufactured climate-change crisis.”

Arguing that “Islam is being used” by secretive international powers “as a destabilizing force in both Europe and the United States designed to breakdown a cohesive Judeo-Christian culture,” McGuire suggested that Pope Francis may try to merge Christianity with Islam as more refugees come into Europe as part of a “pre-planned” effort to import Muslim migrants, who in turn will stoke civil unrest and violence until people begin “crying out for some kind of police state to manage the chaos, which appears to be the plan all along.”

“The only thing they are lacking right now is a sufficient crisis big enough to win enthusiastic public support in America and other nations in the world for full-on global governance,” says Paul McGuire, a Fox News and History Channel contributor and co-author of the new release, “Babylon Code: Solving the Bible’s Greatest End Time Mystery.”



“But, remember, the elite who are behind this are experts at manufactured crisis and their motto is ordo ab chao, which means ‘order out of chaos.’ This was a term coined by the Masonic leader Albert Pike,” McGuire told WND. “The new global order will be birthed by either a global financial crisis, the prospect of World War III involving Islam, Russia, Ukraine, NATO, Iran, Syria and Israel and a manufactured climate-change crisis.”



“The U.N. vote is about to put America and the world on the fast track to a one-world government,” he told WND. “We are literally just one crisis away from that happening. It could happen overnight, and I don’t think most people realize this.”



For a clue on what global government will look like, McGuire says the real agenda was exposed by Lord Monckton, the former science adviser to Margaret Thatcher and now an exclusive columnist for WND.

Monckton warned on Oct. 14, 2009, that the true agenda of the U.N. climate treaty and Agenda 21 is to create an all-powerful world government and to transfer wealth from Western nations to Third World nations through the force of new U.N.-sponsored international laws.

One of the ways to do this redistribution is by allowing Third World refugees to migrate freely into the industrialized nations of the West.

“Monckton summed it all up when he said; the goal of the U.N. is to impose communist world government on the world,” McGuire said.

The world is now at a “tipping point” for this new system to be installed, he said.



“Since the late 1970s when Brzezinski, co-founder of the Trilateral Commission, was helping train Osama bin Laden, the hands of the globalists have been all over the growth of militant Islam,” he said. “It appears Islam is being used as a destabilizing force in both Europe and the United States designed to breakdown a cohesive Judeo-Christian culture.”

McGuire said he’s received confidential reports from inside Germany regarding the flood of immigrants into Europe. Many inside Germany believe this was pre-planned with the pope’s appeal last year for Islam to move closer to Christianity.

More than 8,000 Muslims per day are entering Europe from various routes. They are creating violence and chaos, and the U.N. has said there is no end in sight with regard to the arrival of new migrants. “Civil unrest is ready to explode, and the people are crying out for some kind of police state to manage the chaos, which appears to be the plan all along,” McGuire told WND.

Trump Meets With Prosperity Gospel Preachers Who Can Cure Ebola And Bring Chickens Back From The Dead

Despite his best efforts, Donald Trump did not receive the warmest of welcomes from the Religious Right activists at last week's Values Voter Summit, but he did find one segment of the movement that has seemingly embraced his message: Prosperity Gospel televangelists.

HBO's John Oliver recently did an entire segment on those who preach the Prosperity Gospel and grow insanely wealthy in the process, and two of its leading practitioners — Kenneth Copeland and Jan Crouch — were among a group of right-wing Christians who recently met with Trump at his office in New York City, where they laid hands on him and prayed for him.

As Russell Moore, president of the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, explained to Politico, "the people that Trump has so far identified as his evangelical outreach are mostly prosperity gospel types, which are considered by mainstream evangelicals to be heretics," yet Trump had no qualms about courting them and allowing them to pray over him:

It is especially amazing that figures like Copeland and Crouch would be among the invited guests, as both lead highly controversial ministries that have faced serious questions about misuse of funds. On top of that, both Copeland and Crouch are the sorts of preachers who claim that they can, respectively, cure Ebola by speaking in tongues and bring a chicken back from the dead through prayer:

Celebrating Banned Books Week

For decades, the Religious Right has used public school students as pawns in the "culture wars," fighting to impose a political agenda on textbooks and curricula in school districts across the country. This has included battles over sex education, school-led prayer, publicly funded vouchers for religious institutions, and shaping what children learn by controlling the content of textbooks and access to books in school libraries and classrooms. People For the American Way Foundation has a long record of resisting censorship and defending the freedom to learn.

People For the American Way Foundation is a sponsor of Banned Books Week, an annual celebration of the freedom to read -- and an opportunity for readers, authors, publishers, booksellers, and First Amendment advocates to call for continued vigilance against efforts to restrict that freedom. This year’s Banned Books Week has a focus on Young Adult books, which are challenged more frequently than any others.

"These are the books that speak most immediately to young people, dealing with many of the difficult issues that arise in their own lives, or in the lives of their friends,” says Judith Platt, chair of the Banned Books Week National Committee. These are the books that give young readers the ability to safely explore the sometimes scary real world. As author Sherman Alexie said in response to the censorship of one of his young adult novels, “Everything in the book is what every kid in that school is dealing with on a daily basis, whether it’s masturbation or racism or sexism or the complications of being human. To pretend that kids aren’t dealing with this on an hour-by-hour basis is a form of denial.”

Platt describes the importance of Banned Books Week at the Reading Rainbow blog:

Banned Books Week is celebrated each year because efforts are underway in many parts of this country to remove “offensive” materials from public libraries, school libraries, and classroom reading lists. Arguments can be made for involving parents in the education of their children, and giving them an opportunity to voice objections when some reading material runs counter to their own values, but problems arise when that parent wants to dictate what all children can or cannot read. In the Coda to Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury said: “There’s more than one way to burn a book. And the world is full of people running about with lit matches.”

Many libraries and bookstores are sponsoring events honoring Banned Books Week. Kelly Adams, a children's book specialist at Valley Bookseller in Stillwater, Minn., spoke with Minnesota Public Radio:

"Banned Books Week is my favorite week of the whole year. Seriously, it's better than Christmas.... Promoting books that have been banned or challenged shines a light on these attempts at censorship. It is an eye-opening experience for many.... We are basically a country built by rebels. When someone tells us 'you can't read that,' we naturally pick it up and read it."

In response to a recent article dismissing Banned Books Week as unnecessary, Peter Hart at the National Coalition Against Censorship argues that censorship is not just a thing of the past:

Graham thinks several hundred cases a year isn't much to get worked up about. But those numbers are a very conservative estimate of the problem. As Chris Finan of the American Booksellers for Free Expression pointed out recently, the American Library Association believes that as many as 80 percent of challenges go unreported. A Freedom of Information Act research project in two states confirmed this; the vast majority of formal challenges are never revealed publicly.

And what about librarians or school officials who seek to steer clear of controversy by avoiding potentially controversial books altogether? There is no doubt that this kind of chilling effect is real. A survey of over 600 librarians released by the School Library Journal in 2009 revealed that 70 percent reported that the possible reaction from parents affected their decisions not to buy a book. About half of librarians reported that they had gone through a formal challenge, and 20 percent of them revealed that the experience affected their book-buying decisions going forward.

So there's strong evidence that there are far more challenges than are reported, and that those challenges affect institutions over the long run. Self-censorship, as the School Library Journal put it, is "a dirty secret that no one in the profession wants to talk about."

The Banned Books Week website includes case studies on two of the most frequently challenged books, Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian and Marjan Satrapi’s Persepolis.

You can take the New York Public Library’s banned books quiz at http://www.nypl.org/bannedbooks. And you may be able to find an event near you.

Here’s more information on the impact of censorship challenges from People For the American Way Foundation’s “Book Wars” report:

While individual challenges don’t always succeed in removing a book from a school curriculum or forcing a textbook publisher to alter its content, they can have far-reaching effects.  Attacks on ethnic studies curricula or challenges to books that deal frankly with the lives and histories of marginalized communities can have divisive results beyond their original goals. For example, organizing a protest of a textbook that supposedly “promotes jihad” may not accomplish its stated goal, but might still succeed in stoking fear and resentment against Muslim Americans in that community.

Attacks on multicultural curricula in schools – like Arizona’s ban on ethnic studies classes – are joined by continuing efforts to ban books that acknowledge gay and lesbian families, teach about world religions, or deal frankly with the history of race in America. Throughout the 1980s and 1990s, People For the American Way Foundation tracked challenges to books and curricula that included frank discussions of sexuality, race, and the less palatable truths of American history. In the 2000s, challenges focused also on books accused of promoting the “occult” or “undermining” Christianity, leading the Harry Potter series to top the American Library Association’s list of the most challenged books of the decade.

One common theme among many challenged books is their frank portrayals of the experiences of marginalized people. Toni Morrison’s Beloved and The Bluest Eye are unflinching explorations of being a Black woman in America. Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian chronicles a Native American teenager’s experiences living in an impoverished reservation, while going to school in a wealthy nearby town. Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man explores African-American identity in the mid-20th century. Rudolfo Anaya’s Bless Me, Ultima, is a landmark piece of Chicano literature. Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale offers a dystopian tale about the oppression of women. Marjane Satrapi’s renowned graphic novel Persepolis, is about a girl growing up in Iran during the Islamic revolution.

And here are some things you can do to fight censorship in your community:

1.       Attend school board meetings. School boards and other school decision-makers need to hear from parents, students, and community members who oppose censorship. Attend school board meetings, and stay in touch with board members and principals — even when there are no censorship challenges — to let them know that you care about fair, accurate, and inclusive schools.

2.       Stay informed. If a parent or activist group challenges a book in your community's school or district, read the book and learn about its author and its history. Then share what you've found with fellow community members and the local media. A strong, well-informed argument is always an effective weapon against misinformation and prejudice.

3.       Make some noise. Start a petition among students and parents in your school or district in support of a challenged book or curriculum, and tell the local media about it. You could also consider holding a protest in favor of the challenged material. In most cases, activists challenging books represent a small fraction of a community; it sends a powerful message when the rest of the community speaks up for its values

4.       Look for outside voices. While the most effective arguments against censorship are made by local students and parents, in some cases it can be helpful to bring in outside experts. If the author of a challenged book is living, consider inviting him or her to join a discussion in your community or to send a statement to school leaders. Free speech advocacy groups, including the National Coalition Against Censorship, the American Library Association, and People For the American Way Foundation can also provide resources and advice on how to fight for free speech in schools.

5.       Run for office. If you don't like the way your elected officials handle censorship challenges, consider becoming an elected official yourself! Run for school board or volunteer to serve on a school committee that handles challenges against books.

 

PFAW Foundation

Zmirak: Obama Isn’t Muslim, Just Has 'A Sense Of Loyalty To The Muslim World'

John Zmirak, the conservative commentator who edits James Robison’s The Stream website, told Alaska talk radio host Joe Miller last week that he doesn’t think that President Obama is a Muslim, but rather “feels a sense of origin, a sense of loyalty to the Muslim world.”

“I think he is pro-Muslim in the same sense that John F. Kennedy was pro-Irish,” he said. “He feels a sense of origin, a sense of loyalty to the Muslim world because he grew up in the Muslim world and he went to Muslim school.”

“I think he believes that Arab people and Persian people and other third-world countries deserve an advantage,” he added, “and that countries like America and the rest of the West have had undue advantages over the centuries and that it’s time to even the score.”

When Miller, a former GOP Senate candidate, asked Zmirak how he reconciles Obama’s supposed “pro-Muslim” worldview with his “radically pro-homosexual” policies, Zmirak explained that it’s all about being “anti-Western.”

“I don’t think he’s a Muslim in any religious sense,” he said. “I think he has a nationalistic loyalty to the countries in the third world, including Muslim countries. He has an anti-Western view. … I think anti-Westernism trumps everything with these people, that’s what multiculturalism dictates.”

Rick Santorum: Martin Luther King Jr. Would Tell Kim Davis To Break Law Over Gay Marriage

Earlier this month, Rick Santorum appeared on the Daystar program “Marcus and Joni” to promote his presidential bid and defend Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who has been trying to prevent her county office from issuing marriage licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s marriage equality decision.

Santorum defended Davis, claiming that she should be “applauded” for her “courageous” actions and asserting that the Supreme Court’s ruling on gay marriage is illegitimate since it violates biblical precepts.

“Clearly, the laws on marriage don’t follow the natural law, they don’t follow God’s law, so in Martin Luther King’s viewpoint, he would have said that this is a law that you have an obligation to resist and that’s what Kim Davis is doing,” he said. “She is standing up and saying, ‘I am not going to follow an unjust law.’”

Previously, Santorum likened Davis to a girl who was murdered during the Columbine massacre, who according to a popular but debunked myth was killed for believing in God.

Santorum also invoked the Nuremberg trials, suggesting that people who are demanding that Davis comply with the court’s order are using the same argument employed by Nazis at Nuremberg following World War II, that “we were just following the law.”

He said that people must defy court rulings like Roe v. Wade and Obergefell v. Hodges, which he said is even more far-reaching than Roe because it is “forcing people to be complicit with something they find immoral,” and that Congress and the presidency must also “push back and change the law.”

PFAW Calls on Republican Presidential Candidates to Renounce Frank Gaffney

Yesterday, anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney had on his radio show well-known white nationalist Jared Taylor, who has called African-Americans “crime-prone” and “deviant” and said that his goal is to ensure the “ biological and cultural continuity” of white people in America. On the show, Gaffney said that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work. While that’s all heinous on its own, seven of the Republican presidential candidates have appeared on Gaffney’s program or spoken at his events, including recent campaign events in early primary states.

People For the American Way President Michael B. Keegan responded with the following:

“This is a new low, even considering how hard all the leading Republican candidates have been courting the xenophobic Republican base enthralled with Trump.

“All of the Republican candidates should cut ties with Gaffney immediately and refuse to go on his show or speak at future events he sponsors. The Republican Party should not give any space to white nationalism.”

Additional background on Gaffney, Taylor, and the connections that Trump, Carson, Huckabee, Santorum, Paul, Jindal, and Cruz have to Gaffney can be found here, from People For the American Way’s Right Wing Watch.

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Michael Savage: Bernie Sanders Is A 'Liberal Weasel Jew' Who 'Hates America'

Michael Savage is not a fan of Bernie Sanders. Last week on “Savage Nation,” Savage again attacked Sanders, whom Savage said “sets off comedic shockwaves” but also makes him “sick.”

Savage said that he knows Bernie Sanders’ “type,” which is apparently a “liberal weasel Jew” who hates Christians and America.

Savage went on to say that Sanders may as well be working for Hillary Clinton “because by espousing the stupidity that he espouses, it makes her look like a centrist even though she’s a leftist. So he may as well be just a front man for her, a warm up act.”

GOP Candidates' Favorite Anti-Muslim Activist Interviews Prominent White Nationalist

The Center for Security Policy, the anti-immigrant, anti-Muslim organization run by former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney has a comfortable place in Republican politics.

Republican presidential candidates Ben Carson, Donald Trump, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal and Ted Cruz, have all spoken at at least one CSP event, as have a number of prominent conservative activists. Former Vice President Dick Cheney has accepted an award from the group. Just this month, Gaffney cosponsored a rally against the Iran nuclear deal that was headlined by Trump, Cruz, Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. Carson appeared on his radio program this month; Cruz, Jindal and Rand Paul have joined the program in the past.

This is all despite Gaffney’s long track record of pushing outrageous conspiracy theories , including birther and “secret Muslim” theories about President Obama, panic about Sharia law coming to the United States, and embarrassing campaigns against people he thinks are infiltrating the American government or the GOP or the NRA or CPAC on behalf of the Muslim Brotherhood.

And then there’s this: As the Southern Poverty Law Center spotted, Gaffney invited Jared Taylor, one of the most well-known white nationalists in the country, to speak on his “Secure Freedom Radio” program yesterday and took trouble to tell Taylor that he “appreciated tremendously” Taylor’s work at his racist publication American Renaissance, which Gaffney called “wonderful.”

The two discussed their aversion to the Syrian refugees fleeing to Europe. Gaffney asked Taylor, according to SPLC’s transcript:

At some point there will be a very vigorous resistance to the infusion into these countries of large numbers of people who don’t assimilate, many of them Muslim who bring with them a Sharia ideological program that is antithetical to the culture and civilization and polities of European nations. Do you anticipate, as we’re seeing now evidence of increasing violence, notably against women, on the part of these refugees, not all of them by any means but some, rapes now becoming a serious problem in some of the refugee holding areas, and demonstrations and in some cases worse that are breaking out in various parts of Europe when they’re not accommodated to their satisfaction, that you may see in fact Europe devolving once again into the types of cataclysms that it has from time immemorial with, you know, blood letting taking place. Is that overreaching at this point or perhaps just a distant possibility?

Taylor responded:

We have unleashed now what would not be an exaggeration to call almost demonic forces. We have close to a million now of these so-called refugees, most of whom are young men. They are young, single men. Most of whom have never seen a woman in a bikini in their lives. Most of them are part of, as you say, this Sharia culture that despises any woman who walks around with her face uncovered, with her legs bare. These people are going to be all sorts of trouble for Europe for many, many years to come.

Taylor is an unapologetically racist activist. He has written that "Blacks and whites are different. When blacks are left entirely to their own devices, Western civilization — any kind of civilization — disappears"; he has urged white people to “rekindle” their “instinctive preference for their own people and culture.” Taylor has been active in the effort to build alliances between American white nationalists and the European far-right, participating in a meeting in Budapest last year, where he told his “European brothers” that “the genetic and cultural effect of alien immigration is no different from armed invasion.”

While Taylor is largely shunned by mainstream right-wing circles, he has expressed an affinity for Donald Trump, telling the New Yorker that “I’m sure he would repudiate any association with people like me, but his support comes from people who are more like me than he might like to admit.”

When Media Matters asked Gaffney to explain his interview with Taylor, CSP sent them a statement claiming that Gaffney invited Taylor exclusively to discuss refugee policy and “was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor's views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.” The group did not explain how Gaffney was able to lavish praise on American Renaissance without being familiar with its contents. 

While Gaffney’s already lengthy record of extremism hasn’t yet caused major GOP figures to distance themselves from him, Gaffney’s decision to elevate Taylor and his work should cause him to lose all credibility among candidates and officials who wish to be taken seriously in the future.

UPDATE: In a statement on the Center for Security Policy's website, the group says that Gaffney's compliments to Taylor were "routine" and that if he had done his "due diligence" before the interview, he would not have invited Taylor as a guest:

Yesterday’s program included a conversation with Jared Taylor concerning a recent article by him addressing the dire implications for Europe, its people and civilization of large numbers of migrants from nations in which shariah-adherence is the norm.  The host was unfamiliar with Mr. Taylor’s views on other matters and did not discuss or endorse them.

Subsequently, Mr. Gaffney had a chance to examine those views and the American Renaissance website on which they appear. There is much there with which he strongly disagrees.  Had due diligence been done beforehand, such disagreements would have resulted in Mr. Taylor not being invited on the show, routine compliments to such guests not made and an offer to appear again not extended.

UPDATE II: CSP has removed the interview with Taylor from its website.

Ken Starr Not Rushing To Join Religious Right's Kim Davis Fan Club

Lawyers for Kim Davis are trying to piggyback on the popularity of Pope Francis by revealing that Davis was “sneaked into the Vatican embassy by car” to meet the pope when he visited Washington, D.C., recently. Not exactly a red-carpet welcome, but Davis and Liberty Counsel can use all the P.R. help they can get these days.

Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver says the visit, grudgingly confirmed by the Vatican, wasn’t arranged through the American bishops. But it would not have been terribly surprising if it were enabled by Archbishop William Lori, point man for the U.S. bishops’ strategy of using religious liberty claims to resist LGBT equality and the contraception coverage requirement under the Affordable Care Act.

On the Friday before the pope’s arrival in Washington, D.C., Lori gave the keynote to a day-long “Religious Freedom Summit” at the Catholic University of America’s law school. Much of the day was devoted to discussion of horrific religious persecution in other parts of the world, including anti-Christian persecution in Syria and China. Those harrowing first-person accounts made it hard to consider claims of “religious persecution” by people like Kim Davis as even remotely in the same category.

Even among the conservative lawyers who filled the room, support for Davis wasn’t unanimous. The closing address at the conference was given by Ken Starr — yes, that Ken Starr — who is now president of Baylor University, a Texas-based Christian college with Baptist heritage.

Starr talked about how courts have wrestled with the words of the First Amendment for some 80 years, and proposed some key principles that he said should guide the law: non-coercion in matters of conscience; nondiscrimination against religion; government’s ability, within limits, to provide affirmative protections for religious belief; and government noninterference with the mission and governance of religious organizations.

Starr acknowledged that in implementing many of these principles there are lines that must be drawn. For example, he explained, the majority and dissenters in the Hobby Lobby case gave different weight to the religious liberty claims of the company’s owners and the potential for demonstrable harm to the company’s employees. How we identify and measure recognizable harm to third parties, and weigh it against free exercise, will continue to be wrestled with in the courts, he said, suggesting that there were probably differing opinions even among the people in the room.

Which brings us to Kim Davis, and other Religious Right martyrs-in-the-making such as bakers and florists who refuse service to same sex couples.

First, Davis:

I don’t think that this question is easy. Others may, and the freedom of conscience simply trumps all. But the reason I think it’s not easy is because she is a public official who has taken an oath to uphold the law. I know, I heard the panel saying, look at all the exceptions to individuals who’ve been sworn to uphold the law and who have chosen not to do it. I personally find that a little uncomfortable. Oh, you’re going to pick and choose which laws to enforce.

He asked whether people in the room would be okay with a sheriff or chief of police deciding which laws to enforce based on their personal beliefs.

Starr then addressed conversations about accommodations for bakers and florists who refuse to serve gay customers:

Not a public official like Kim Davis, a private citizen. But at the same time I’m going to suggest that we really think hard on this. She is one who has opened her bakery or catering service or floral shop to business. She has a license from the state to do business. And in carrying out a commercial business, the general rule is one akin to principle two of nondiscrimination. That rule is deeply anchored in the common law. You’ve got to serve people who come in to you. And also the public accommodation provisions of the 1964 Civil Rights Act when folks were excluded from service on grounds of race. The very idea and ideal of the common law rule is equality — you take care of every customer who comes to you unless you have a very substantial — they’re trying to tear up my shop.

Starr noted that there’s plenty of litigation in these areas, and that some “creative” arguments are being mounted by those suggesting that wedding services such as cakes and flowers are protected as a freedom of speech issue. (That kind of claim was made unsuccessfully by a photographer in New Mexico, discussed in PFAW’s “Religious Liberty: Shield or Sword?”)

Starr also noted that “we are an increasingly diverse community of men, women and children who come from so many cultures and traditions …The world we inhabit is a pluralistic one.” He acknowledged that his four principles won’t magically resolve differences on these issues, suggesting that those involved should adhere to another organizing principle, the Golden Rule, and treat those with whom they disagree with kindness, dignity, and respect.

Starr isn’t the only conservative lawyer taking issue with the claims of Kim Davis and her supporters. Ken Klukowski said earlier this month that Davis was on “very shaky legal ground” and that her refusal to allow deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses was an indefensible effort to force other civil servants to act in conformity with her religious beliefs.

 

Glenn Beck Contemplates Opening His Own Church So He Can Host A GOP Presidential Debate

On his radio program today, Glenn Beck revealed that he is trying to organize a Republican presidential primary debate that will feature only the candidates that he and his audience could support, thereby excluding the "progressives" like Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Mike Huckabee, and Donald Trump.

Unfortunately for him, Reince Priebus and the RNC will not give Beck's network permission to host that type of a limited debate but Beck thinks he has found a loophole that will allow him to do so nonetheless ... though it may require him to start a church that will exist for all of one night.

As Beck explained, a loophole exists that allows churches to invite specific candidates to participate in a discussion forum or debate and so he intends to reach out to some of the megachurches in the Dallas area about hosting just such an event as a front so that Beck's network could then organize, conduct and broadcast it.

But if he can't find a church in which to host his debate, Beck might just have to start his own one-day church.

"I'm thinking about starting the Church of the Glenn," he said. "Now, I'm just going to try it out for a little while. I may not be interested in doing it for very long; it might be just like, one night, on a Thursday when we try it ... The Spirit moves me and sometimes the Spirit will say, 'Open a church' and the very next day, after we do a big event, it might say, 'Close down your church.'"

Jesus has told him, Beck continued, facetiously, "that I should open my church maybe in like a giant movie sound stage.  Oh my gosh, I just realized, this is a giant movie sound stage! Who would have thunk? The first miracle of the Church of Glenn!"

Multi-Millionaire Carly Fiorina: 'All The Rest Of Us Are Getting Crushed' By A System That Benefits The Wealthy

Last night, Glenn Beck dedicated his entire television program to a one-on-one interview that he recently conducted with Carly Fiorina. Unsurprisingly, the interview was not particularly hard-hitting as Beck didn't really bother to challenge the Republican presidential hopeful on anything that she said, choosing instead to focus on important issues like the "the state of her soul."

During the discussion, Fiorina attacked Donald Trump for using eminent domain to take private property for the benefit of his businesses, laughably asserting that she has a lot of Bernie Sanders supporters attending her rallies because they know that she will fight against the "crony capitalism" which benefits only the rich and the powerful.

"Crony capitalism is alive and well," she told Beck. "When you have big, powerful, complicated, costly government, only the wealthy, the powerful, the big and the well-connected can handle it and all the rest of us are getting crushed. And people see that, they feel it in the bones. In their bones, people know if something is so complicated I don't understand it, I'm getting screwed."

Fiorina, for the record, walked away with $40 million when she was fired from Hewlett-Packard back in 2005 and currently has a net worth of $59 million, so we'd love to know exactly how she qualifies as one of "the rest of us [who] are getting crushed" by a system that is rigged to benefit the wealthy.

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