Marriage Equality

Laurie Higgins: GOP Establishment Is Like Tolkein's Gollum

In a blog post today, Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute (state affiliate of the American Family Association) turns to a colorful analogy to describe the Republican Party’s internal conflicts.

Higgins contends that the establishment GOP, which worked this year to stamp out some of the more vocally extreme candidates in its ranks this year, is like Tolkein’s Gollum, so captivated by a shiny object that it ends up destroying itself and those it loves. (In The Lord of the Rings, the shiny object is the One Ring. In contemporary politics, it’s presumably voters who support LGBT equality and abortion rights.)

Just to be clear, Higgins also compares the party establishment to Cain, who in the Bible kills his brother Abel.

The GOP is slowly transmogrifying into the political incarnation of Tolkien's Gollum:

Gollum, dancing like a mad thing, held aloft the ring, a finger still thrust within its circle. "Precious, precious, precious!" Gollum cried. "My Precious! O my Precious!" And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail precious, and he was gone.

Illinoisans should fully expect to hear immoderates and perhaps even dispirited conservatives say, "See, Bruce Rauner/Mark Kirk-type of Republican is the only kind of Republican who can get elected in Illinois." But soon, they won't be tacking on "in Illinois."

Four years ago, the U.S. Senator-elect from Colorado, Cory Gardner, supported the Personhood Amendment and even circulated petitions to gather signatures for it. Then this year, the GOP establishment got to him. Just weeks before Gardner announced his candidacy, pro-life activists in Colorado got wind of the news that he would be renouncing his support for the Personhood Amendment.

Karl Rove deceitfully wrote this last May: "in Colorado, tea-party favorite and front-runner Ken Buck stepped aside when Mr. Gardner entered the race, recognizing he was better able to enthuse all the party." So, in May Rove implied that Buck just freely stepped aside because of his own uncoerced epiphany that Gardner would be the best candidate for "enthusing" the party.

That's interesting, because late last night on FOX News election coverage, Karl Rove boasted that his Super PAC told the Colorado GOP that no Super Pac money would got to support Ken Buck for U.S. Senate. I'm speculating here, but I suspect that Rove et al told Gardner they would support him as long as he retreated from the Personhood Amendment.

Immoderate Republicans accuse conservatives who agree with Robert George of turning on their Republican brethren and "forming a circular firing squad." But who really is Cain in this contemporary narrative? Who is Sméagol and who is Déagol?

Religious Right Leaders Join Vatican Man-Woman Marriage Event

Fresh off the synod on the family, at which conservative Catholic bishops rallied to assert ideological domination over the final report, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (formerly known as the Inquisition) has announced that it will be hosting a colloquium this month on the “Complementarity of Man and Woman in Marriage.” Trekking to Vatican City for the event will be some American anti-equality advocates: Rick Warren, the Southern Baptists’ Russell Moore, right-wing Archbishop of Philadelphia Charles Chaput, and Henry B. Eyring, First Counselor in the Presidency of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

The November 17-19 event will be co-hosted by the Pontifical Council for the Family, the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, and the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. The announcement of the colloquium says it will feature representatives from 14 religious traditions and 23 countries. Among them is Nicholas Okoh, the Anglican Archbishop of Nigeria, who has called homosexuality a manifestation of the devil and praised Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan’s “courage” in signing a harsh anti-gay law last December. Okoh said in January that people who oppose the law will face “disaster.”

The event will also premiere six short films about marriage; a trailer for the series is online now.

UPDATE: Russell Moore has explained why he's going to the Vatican:

Here’s what I hope comes out of the meeting. I hope that this gathering of religious leaders can stand in solidarity on the common grace, creational mandate of marriage and family as necessary for human flourishing and social good. I also hope that we can learn from one another about where these matters stand around the world. And I hope that those of us from the believers’ church tradition can represent well our views of how marriage is more than just a natural good (although it is never less than that), but is a picture of the gospel one-flesh union of Christ and his church.

FRC Fellow: 'The Whole Country’s Being Conscripted Into A Pride Parade'

In an interview with Ohio Religious Right activist Molly Smith last week, Family Research Council Senior Fellow Bob Morrison compared the LGBT rights movement to the Vietnam draft, lamenting that “the whole country’s being conscripted into a pride parade.”

“Now we’re finding out that it’s not just about defending marriage, as important as that is,” Morrison told Smith. “It’s a question of defending liberty itself, because they can’t violate the laws of nature and of nature’s God, as the Declaration talks about, they can’t violate those laws without trampling religious freedom and political liberty at the same time.”

Speaking of nondiscrimination laws that prevent businesses from discriminating against LGBT people, he argued, “They’re not exercising discrimination, what they’re doing, what you’re doing is conscripting them. You’re forcing them to take part in your gay pride parade.”

“When I was a young guy, the draft was a hot issue,” he added. “Okay, well we’re being conscripted, the whole country’s being conscripted into a pride parade, and I don’t want to be in that parade.”

Turek: States Should Defend The Institution Of Marriage Just Like The South Defended Slavery

Christian apologist and Religious Right anti-gay activist Frank Turek was a guest on the AFA's "Today's Issues" radio broadcast yesterday, discussing his most recent column where he stated that the fight against gay marriage is a states' rights issue, just like slavery was during the Civil War.

Turek was advocating for a governor to simply refuse to recognize or enforce any federal court ruling striking down their state's gay marriage ban, much like how Andrew Jackson refused to enforce a Supreme Court ruling concerning relations with Native Americans. He predicted that if they were to do so, President Obama would then send out the National Guard to arrest them, at which point Christians would rally around the governor, resulting in all of them ending up in jail.

When hosts Tim Wildmon and Ed Vitagliano wondered just where they might find a governor courageous enough to take such a stand, Turek suggested that South Carolina would be a perfect choice because that state has a history of being willing to fight for states' rights, as demonstrated by the Civil War.

"It started in South Carolina with the Civil War as you know," Turek said, "for the same kind of issue: states' rights. Obviously the issue is different. I mean, slavery was different than obviously this. But, I mean, it was a states' rights issue":

Religious Right Pundit: Marriage Equality Paves The Way For Adult-Child Marriages

Anti-gay activist Julaine Appling of Wisconsin Family Action appeared on Voice of Christian Youth America’s “In Focus” talk show with host Jim Schneider several weeks ago to discuss the implications of recent same-sex marriage rulings across the country, including one in Wisconsin, warning viewers that a “redefinition” of marriage would erode America’s moral compass and lead to the sanctioning and acceptance of other “sexual sins.”

“The nature of sexual sin is, it kind of wraps its cords around you until you become completely identified by it,” she explained. “That’s when the giving up happens, because you become sort of ensnared by it, and it defines the people. And that’s when people are ripe to have their conscience seared, and they are no longer able to distinguish between right and wrong and good and bad.”

Schneider later chimed in with the well-worn slippery slope argument, claiming that same-sex marriage sets a precedent for legalizing pedophilia and polygamy.

“Once you change that which is unchangeable, there’s no limit to how far you can go,” he said. “Multiple partners…what about foursomes? What about an adult who says, ‘I want to marry this underage child. It’s discriminatory — I love this child, this child loves me, why can we not be married, that’s discriminatory.’ The arguments they use…justifying same-sex marriage are the same arguments they’re going to use to justify polygamy, threesomes, adult-child relationships.”

Appling added that the success of the gay rights movement will help groups like NAMBLA.

 

Robert Oscar Lopez: Gay Parents Put Kids At Risk By Encouraging Them To 'Dabble In That World'

In an interview with Brad Dacus of the Pacific Justice Institute last month, marriage equality opponent and author of gay erotica Robert Oscar Lopez said that children raised by gay and lesbian parents are “more likely to be bisexual” and “more likely to experiment,” leading them into “a lot of problems that we know statistically are more prevalent in gay social networks than in heterosexual social networks.”

“I have to be realistic that when you enter into homosexual relationships, you’re entering into the gay culture, and that social setting has very high rates of eating disorders and suicidal tendencies, it has very high rates of addictions of all kinds, domestic violence, sexual assault, depression, anxiety, steroid abuse, sexually transmitted diseases,” he said. “There’s a lot of problems that we know statistically are more prevalent in gay social networks than in heterosexual social networks.”

“So I think to the extent that people can avoid it, I think it’s better if you’re not going to be gay over the longer course of your life then there’s really no reason to dabble in that world, because there are social consequences that might hurt you. So, there’s really no reason to experiment,” he said.

Dacus agreed, adding that children of gay and lesbian parents are victims of “this agenda that has now been thrust upon them and they just want to live normal lives.”

Earlier in the interview, Lopez noted with alarm that when he was growing up, most gay and lesbian couples who were raising children had been divorced from their previous spouses, whereas today he sees gay men intentionally breaking up marriages in order to get custody of children.

“There was a clear shift by the 2000s where now gay couples now wanted to go out and adopt or they wanted to get children through sperm banking or through surrogacy contracts,” he said. “And I did come across cases where I know with gay men, they intentionally broke up an existing marriage so they could get together with the husband and then sue for custody of the children.”

“Oh wow,” Dacus gasped.

Barton: 'We Have An Inalienable Right To Marriage To Be A Man And A Woman And No Other Combination'

On a "Believer's Voice of Victory" episode scheduled to air on Thursday, right-wing pseudo-historian David Barton told televangelist Kenneth Copeland that no government can ever legalize same-sex marriage because "we have an inalienable right to marriage to be a man and a woman and no other combination."

Barton said that the institution of marriage was created by God long before government ever existed, and therefore "government can't get over into God's jurisdiction."

"Whatever God did in Genesis 1-8, government will protect but it cannot redefine, it cannot change," he said:

Brad Dacus: Gay Greeting Cards Could Lead Children To Make 'Potentially Deadly Decisions'

In his weekly radio broadcast earlier this month, the Pacific Justice Institute’s Brad Dacus interviewed Randy Sharp, who runs the American Family Association’s programs targeting retail stores and television shows that the group deems too pro-gay or insufficiently celebratory of Christmas.

The two were full of praise for Chick-fil-A and WalMart, but were not so happy with Target. In fact, Dacus told Sharp a harrowing story about a time when his family had been browsing greeting cards at Target and his children had encountered some cards designed for married gay and lesbian couples.

He then decided that he would no longer shop at the chain because he did not want to support this greeting card “propaganda campaign that’s going to lead a lot of young people to make bad decisions, very costly, potentially deadly decisions in their life.”

My wife and kids were in Target and they were looking for some birthday cards and they saw a category — at a very low level, so little kids could read them — cards that were, you know like “husband to wife,” but this was like “husband to husband,” “wife to wife.” Right there at the lower level. And you know, we complain, but they don’t do anything and they’re all about being PC and just assuming that people are going to continue to shop there.

And I told my wife, I said, you know what, let’s avoid Target. If this is their agenda, if this is what they’re going to push, then why am I going to give them my money to push and be a part of the propaganda campaign that’s going to lead a lot of young people to make bad decisions, very costly, potentially deadly decisions in their life.

James Dobson: God Will Destroy America For Legalizing 'Sexual Perversion'

In his October newsletter, Focus on the Family founder James Dobson has a pretty clear message: Because of gay rights, America is at risk of joining Pompeii and Ancient Rome in the ranks of societies “so corrupted by evil that divine judgment eventually destroys them.”

“We have not yet reached the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, but that appears to be where we are headed,” Dobson warns, citing the Supreme Court’s decision striking down “sodomy” laws and subsequent lower court decisions preventing marriage discrimination.

“His justice will prevail when unrestrained lust, violence, perversion, and other forms of grievous sin have run their course,” Dobson declares.

Modernists, libertarians and atheists today recognize no condemnation of sexual perversion in the Bible. However, this historical account illustrates how God views it. The outrageous behavior of the wicked men of Sodom and Gomorrah sealed their doom. Fire and brimstone fell from the sky on both cities and utterly destroyed them. Henceforth, men who commit homosexual acts have been called “Sodomites,” although that term has become politically offensive since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized and protected sexual perversion.

The story of Abraham and Lot also illustrates how entire societies can become so corrupted by evil that divine judgment eventually destroys them, or they simply fade away. It happened to the people of Greece, Rome, Pompeii and other cities and cultures where wickedness became the order of the day. One thing is certain. God is the holy Sovereign Lord of all heaven and earth, and He will not be mocked. His justice will prevail when unrestrained lust, violence, perversion, and other forms of grievous sin have run their course.

Why have I chosen to recount this biblical story from so long ago? Because I am convinced that America and other Western Nations are sliding in the same direction. We have not yet reached the depravity of Sodom and Gomorrah, but that appears to be where we are headed. Judge Robert Bork, the brilliant jurist who was shamefully denied a seat on the Supreme Court, wrote a book about this danger 18 years ago. It was titled, Slouching Towards Gomorrah. I think he had it right.

Many influential men and women of the judiciary are leading us toward perdition. One of them is Judge Richard Posner, a federal judge sitting on the Seventh U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. He became a hero of the pro-gay marriage community by helping to “discover” a provision in the Constitution that laid the foundation for legalizing same-sex marriage. The American people in thirty-one states voted that their Constitutions would henceforth define marriage as being exclusively between one man and one woman. Posner and other imperious judges and Justices had a better idea. They simply overrode the will of the people and issued “court made law.” Whatever happened to Lincoln’s speech at Gettysburg in which he said this government is designed to be “Of the people, for the people, and by the people?” It’s no longer true.

I will tell you personally the preservation of the family is the Cause for which I was born. I knew it when I was 20 years old. Today, I have a continuing, unrelenting burden for today’s children and young adults who are being warped and twisted by those who would “fundamentally change” the world in which they are growing up. Everything we have known and valued is being swept away.

Dobson also quotes at length from the virulently anti-gay group Mass Resistance to warn parents of “LGBT propaganda” in schools: “Well, how about it, parents? Are you willing to send your children off to a public school that is required by law to teach LBGT propaganda to students? I pray not.”

West Virginia AFA Affiliate: Marriage Equality Will Force Schools To 'Provide New Gay Recruits'

Earlier this month, West Virginia started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the state’s Republican attorney general conceded that an appeals court ruling striking down the state’s marriage ban was “final and binding.”

This did not sit well with the West Virginia Family Foundation — a state affiliate of the American Family Association — which sent out an email to supporters today with the headline, “November Election & Gay Agenda Is Upon Us!”

The group’s chairman, Ray Lambert, writes in the breathless email that the state’s refusal to keep fighting marriage equality in court means that Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin “cast his lot with Sodom and Obama” and that his “legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior.”

“Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia?” Lambert asks. “The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous.” Not only that, he warns, but schools will be forced to “provide new gay recruits.”

Lambert refers readers to Brian Camenker’s anti-gay group MassResistance for confirmation of his claims and to learn more about “the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.”

On the issue of Gay Marriage, West Virginians have been betrayed by our Governor, liberal federal judges and our own liberal West Virginia (WV) legislators!

I'm especially alarmed at how fast Governor Tomblin "threw in the towel" on our state's DOMA law which opened up our state to gay marriages. His announcement was fast and very unexpected. I think our Governor wrongly believes that homosexuality is worthy of special considerations. Governor Tomblin's legacy is tarnished now by endorsing deviant and sinful sexual behavior. He could have been known as the Governor who strengthened our state's marriage law but, sadly, he has cast his lot with Sodom and Obama. I believe it was done for political favor from his party.

Senate Speaker Jeffrey Kessler, from Wayne county, is eager to pass pro-homosexual laws. His pet law requires Christian and conservative business owners, and landlords, to employ or rent to men and women who practice sodomy. He overlooks existing civil rights law that guarantee us all freedom of religion. His view is that "gay rights" trumps Christians' rights.

Called the Employment and Housing Non-Discrimination Act (EHNDA), his legislation grants civil rights status to those who commit sodomy. This has far reaching ramifications, especially for Christians, whose Bible identifies sodomy sin. Abusing one's self through sodomy is a behavior, just like someone abusing tobacco, drugs, alcohol or even body piercings. Human behaviors can change and many step out of the gay lifestyle altogether. And because their "behavior" is mutable, unlike race, origin, age, etc. which is immutable. Society reserves civil rights protections for what we are, not the ever changing what we do.

Will homosexuality blossom in West Virginia? The likelihood is yes. All WV schools, from K to grade 12 are now required by state law to teach and indoctrinate public school students to be tolerant of homosexuals and promiscuous. Our schools will provide new gay recruits, just as it's being done today in Massachusetts' LGBT Conferences. More proof can be seen at the first annual Appalachian Queer Film Festival in Lewisburg. This four day event, going on now, brings Anne Sprinkle in to headline the event. Anne is characterized as the most vile and depraved lesbian in America by Peter LeBarbara, president of Americans for Truth About Homosexuality. Will Lewisburg become the Key West or San Francisco of Appalachia. Isn't it strange that our WV newspapers aren't covering this "queer event"? Could it have something to do with the nearing election? I think so; just more media manipulation of the masses.

To see where WV is headed, visit Mass Resistance's web site. It's a conservative Massachusetts organization that's been fighting against sexual perversion for ten years since Governor Romney brought gay marriage to their state. You'll see WV's future if we don't stand firm against the gay agenda in our state. Educate yourself with these web sites plus one more, Family Research Institute. This organization brings scientific facts on homosexuality that counters the liberal media's sanitizing of homosexuality. You'll be amazed at the negative impact homosexuality has on gays and society in our daily lives.

Mark Creech 'Heartbroken' By 'Terrible Tragedy' And 'Atrocity' Of Marriage Equality In North Carolina

Mark Creech, director of the Christian Action League of North Carolina, wrote in the Christian Post yesterday that he was “heart-broken” (sic) by the federal court decision striking down North Carolina’s marriage equality ban, calling the decision “a terrible tragedy — an evil  — an injustice in our day.”

Creech took some comfort, however, from this month’s lunar eclipse, during which God told him that things will get better. “God makes all things beautiful in its appropriate time,” he writes, including “even death, war, killing, the escalation of wickedness, and yes, even the atrocity of legalizing same-sex marriage.”

October 10th marks the infamous day for the Tar Heel state. Judge Max O. Cogburn in Asheville declared in accord with a 4th Circuit Court ruling that North Carolina's marriage amendment was unconstitutional. The decision was not only egregious, but an act of judicial supremacy. I readily admit I was heart-broken, but it wasn't as though I was altogether unprepared.

The Lord had spoken to my heart two days before Cogburn ever slammed down his gavel. With the Supreme Court's inaction and what it would mean heavily on my mind, I awakened about 4:00 a.m. on Wednesday, October 8th, and couldn't go back to sleep. Restless, I got up and piddled about the house and made myself an early breakfast. I noticed the local television news was reporting a lunar eclipse was taking place. I thought to myself, "I want to see that." So, in my pajamas and housecoat, I made my way outside to see this glorious display in the heavens. I must say the sight of it was other-worldly, awesome, and even breathtaking.

Then, while watching the earth's shadow fall across the moon's surface, I heard the sweetness of God's voice. "See Mark," the Lord said, "the light may be eclipsed for a time, but be assured the light of God always returns to shine."

To all of my friends and colleagues in North Carolina and other states negatively impacted by the US Supreme Court's indecision – a choice that opened the door for gay marriage in 11 more states. Let me say that if you've been like me, confused, depressed, and sometimes even angry at the recent turning of events, then take a lesson from the lunar eclipse: "The light may be eclipsed for a time, but be assured the light of God always returns to shine."

What has happened is a terrible tragedy – an evil – an injustice in our day. But God makes all things beautiful in its appropriate time, meaning even death, war, killing, the escalation of wickedness, and yes, even the atrocity of legalizing same-sex marriage. God turns it. He makes it all work beautifully to accomplish His purposes in the end. We may not understand it. Nevertheless, He remains lovingly sovereign over it. We can trust Him in all things.

The light may indeed be eclipsed for a while, but the brightness of God's light will always return to shine.

Klingenschmitt Blasts Pro-Gay 'Demonic Judges Who Are Imposing The Devil's Law Upon The People'

In the wake of a ruling striking down his state's gay marriage ban, a North Carolina magistrate resigned from his position rather than perform same-sex weddings, and for this he is being hailed as a hero by Gordon Klingenschmitt for "rising up and taking back your country."

On his "Pray In Jesus Name" program posted yesterday, Klingenschmitt praised magistrate John Kallam for resisting "the government's absolutely tyranny" as well as "these demonic judges who are imposing the Devil's law upon the people":

Family Research Council, Anti-Gay and Anti-Choice Activists, Pitch In For Montana Supreme Court Race

Last week, we reported on the quiet effort of national right-wing groups to, in the words of the Family Research Council, “flip” the Supreme Court of Montana by electing former state solicitor general Lawrence VanDyke, who has indicated that he will be friendly to business interests and social conservative causes.

We first heard of VanDyke’s campaign for the officially nonpartisan office at last month’s Values Voter Summit, where the Family Research Council’s political action committee had decided to highlight the race at a $100-a-head fundraiser featuring Rick Santorum, Lousiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and a number of Republican members of Congress.

Yesterday, VanDyke’s campaign issued its fundraising report for the period that included the FRC fundraiser. In the period, the campaign brought in $48,000, nearly doubling its supply of cash. It’s impossible to tell how much of that came from the FRC’s fundraiser — much of it came from Montana residents and out-of-state attorneys  but  FRC’s impact is shown in a few notable contributions.

The FRC Action PAC itself contributed $320 to VanDyke’s campaign, the maximum contribution allowed so far. William Saunders, the top lawyer at the anti-choice group Americans United for Life, also contributed $320, while Gary McCaleb, an attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom contributed $200. An organizer for the Koch group Americans for Prosperity also kicked in $200.

Although we can’t know the impact of the FRC’s fundraiser — and we can't know for sure that these contributions stemmed from the event   these numbers illustrate the fact that in VanDyke, Corporate Right and Religious Right activists throughout the country have found common cause in a little-noticed but pivotal state court race.

Fischer: Gay Activists Are Like Nazis And Mullahs Who Seek To Impose 'Secular Sharia'

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer reacted to a situation in Idaho where the owners of a for-profit wedding chapel have sued the state for the right to discriminate against gay customers on religious liberty grounds by proclaiming that gay activists are seeking to impose "secular sharia" on every Christian in America.

"It's never enough for the homosexual lobby," Fischer said. "That's what we have got to understand, ladies and gentlemen. It is never, ever enough for the homosexual lobby. They will not be content until you and I are completely silenced, repressed, punished, locked away and locked up. Do not mistake me on this! They are determined and they are relentless."

Gay activists are, in fact, just like Nazis and radical Mullahs, Fischer said, except they seek to impose "secular sharia" in America:

Ted Cruz, the Houston Hype, and the Dishonesty of the Anti-Equality Movement

Conservative religious leaders have a long track record of hyping supposed threats to religious liberty in America  specifically, to the religious liberty of conservative Christians. In fact, portraying Christians as a persecuted minority under siege by anti-freedom LGBT activists and secular humanists has become the right's primary strategy for reversing the advance of equality in America. But even in the long context of crying wolf over threats to religious freedom, Sen. Ted Cruz and his religious right allies have set new records for dishonest hype in their response to this week's controversy over subpoenas sent to a few religious leaders in Houston.

Cruz told the Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody that there is a "real risk" that preachers will be hauled off to jail for preaching against homosexuality, recycling an old and equally ludicrous charge that hate crimes laws would result in pastors being dragged from the pulpit.

Some in the media ridicule that threat saying there is no danger of the government coming after pastors. That is the usual response." But he adds: "The specter of government trying to determine if what pastors preach from the pulpit meets with the policy views or political correctness of the governing authorities, that prospect is real and happening now.

Cruz is lying. And he has lots of company promoting the Houston hype. Todd Starnes of Fox News charged, "There is a war over religious liberty in Houston, Texas." The Family Research Council's Ken Blackwell said it smacked of totalitarianism and said it suggested that it was "a domestic version of the terrorists outside of our country" who think "America is evil." Albert Mohler, president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, declared, "This is how religious liberty dies."

As exciting as it is to hear the alarm bells and read the hyperventilating emails, the truth is far less dramatic. Sorry, Sen. Cruz, but the government is not policing sermons for political correctness. It's not going to start tossing anti-gay preachers in jail.

So what is the real story?

The immediate cause of the ruckus was a subpoena sent by attorneys for the city of Houston to several pastors who had been active in opposition to the city's new anti-discrimination law. Conservatives ran a signature-gathering campaign to put the law before the voters, but city attorneys ruled that so many of the signatures were not valid that the effort did not qualify for the ballot.

The Alliance Defense Fund, a Religious Right law firm, stepped in and sued the city over that decision. As part of the discovery process in the lawsuit, attorneys for the city sent subpoenas to five prominent pastors asking for sermons and other communications they had about the ordinance, the signature gathering effort, and the controversy over homosexuality and gender identity.

Here's the problem. The subpoena was sent to pastors who are not party to the lawsuit, and it asked for some materials that do not seem directly relevant to the determination of whether signatures were collected in accordance with the law. By giving pundits something to scream about, the subpoena was a gift to Religious Right leaders and their political allies, who thrive on promoting the myth of anti-Christian religious persecution in the U.S. And they have run with it.

On Friday the city narrowed the scope of their discovery request somewhat. And it's entirely possible that a judge will further limit the amount of materials the city can collect in the Religious Right's lawsuit. That's how our legal system works.

It's terribly inconvenient to the Religious Right's narrative that progressive religious leaders are among those who have criticized the Houston attorneys' subpoena. Among those who criticized the city's subpoena as troubling and overly intrusive were supporters of LGBT equality and church-state separation. Baptists of all stripes weighed in. Both progressive religious leaders and atheists publicly agreed. Even the ACLU! So much for the supposed enemies of religious freedom.

Even some religious conservatives have denounced the Houston hype. In reality, the entire episode undermines right-wing claims that religious liberty is hanging by a thread in America. Indeed, it demonstrates that Religious liberty is widely respected as a core constitutional principle and a fundamental American value — by people across the religious landscape and our fractured political spectrum. If only Ted Cruz and his allies were as committed to the constitutional and legal equality of Houston's, and America's, LGBT citizens.

This post originally appeared at the Huffington Post. 

Richard Land: Houston Subpoenas Foretell True LGBT 'Agenda'

In an interview with Newsmax yesterday, former Southern Baptist Convention public policy chief Richard Land reacted to the controversy over subpoenas issued to Houston pastors , warning that the incident is a harbinger of a future shaped by the gay “agenda” in which pastors will be prosecuted under unconstitutional hate speech laws.

“Are you afraid at some point that your sermons are going to have to be dictated?” the Newsmax host asked Land.

“Well, I think that there’s certainly the danger that they’re going to try to make any biblical reference to homosexuality hate speech,” Land responded.

He added: “I think that this is a warning. This is an overreach by a group that, let’s make no mistake about it, their agenda from the beginning has been not only to have their lifestyle tolerated but to have it affirmed and have it paraded before our children as normal and healthy and to marginalize anyone who disagrees with that to the level of being Klansmen. They want to turn us into Klansmen.”

Eugene Delgaudio Warns Gay Men Will Soon Be 'Skipping Down To Adoption Centers To Pick Out A Little Boy For Themselves'

Eugene Delgaudio, a Loudoun County, Virginia Republican supervisor who heads the group Public Advocate of the United States is warning his supporters that gay people are preparing to “terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools” by teaching schoolchildren “perverted sex acts” and getting married, at which point “[y]ou’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to ‘pick out’ a little boy for themselves.”

In a fundraising email yesterday with the subject line, “They say you support homosexual ‘marriage,’” Delgaudio told supporters that he is the only one who can reverse the “Homosexual Agenda” in Congress.

You see, the radical homosexuals are storming through Washington demanding passage of their agenda.

And with the Democrats dominating the Senate and Barack Obama calling the shots in the White House, they say NOW is the time to push their perverse “lifestyle” on every man, woman and child in America.

And they insist YOU actually support them.

To make matters worse, more and more Republicans in Congress are coming out in favor of the Homosexual Agenda .

The Homosexual Lobby has already rammed through Thought Control and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I can only begin to imagine how much more damage the radical homosexuals will do now that they’ve broken the ranks of the opposition party.

As the President of Public Advocate of the United States, I’ve devoted thirty years to battling the radical homosexuals in Washington.

Backed by Hollywood celebrities, the media, and millions of your tax dollars, the radical homosexuals have many Congressmen, both Democrat AND Republican, quivering with fear -- and because of that they have a radical homosexual-friendly majority in control of Congress.

That’s why pro-Family Senators and Congressmen are counting on me to find out if you really support the Gay Bill of Special Rights and homosexual “marriage” as the radical homosexuals claim .

Frankly, if you really do support the radical Homosexual Agenda -- or if you just no longer care enough to stand up for the Family -- insiders in Congress say the entire Homosexual Agenda could pass in a matter of months.

Passage of the Homosexual Agenda will ignite a firestorm that will rip through families, communities and businesses:

* Special job rights for homosexuals. Businesses may have to adopt hiring quotas to protect themselves from lawsuits. Every homosexual fired or not hired becomes a potential federal civil rights lawsuit.

Radical homosexuals will terrorize daycare centers, hospitals, churches and private schools. Traditional moral values will be shattered by federal law.

* Same-sex marriages and adoptions. Wedding gown-clad men smooching before some left-wing clergyman or state official is just the beginning.

You’ll see men hand-in-hand skipping down to adoption centers to “pick out” a little boy for themselves.

* The Homosexual Classrooms Act, which pushes their agenda into our schools. Your children or grandchildren will be taught homosexuality is moral, natural and good. High school children will learn perverted sex acts as part of “safe sex” education.

With condoms already handed out in many schools, radical homosexuals will have little trouble adopting today’s “if it feels good do it” sex-ed curriculum to their agenda.

But the email doesn’t stop there. Delgaudio goes on to tell the harrowing story of a recent “stormy night” in which he drove to a deserted warehouse where “long-haired, earring-pierced” men were printing gay-rights petitions until they spotted him and chased him away, shouting, “This time, Delgaudio, we can’t lose!” [UPDATE: Joe points out that this story is a favorite of Delgaudio's.]

One stormy night, I drove to a mailshop hidden deep in a nearly deserted stand of warehouses. I’d heard something was up and wanted to see for myself.

As I rounded the final turn, my eyes nearly popped. Tractor-trailers pulled up to loading docks, cars and vans everywhere and long-haired, earring-pierced men scurrying around running forklifts, inserters and huge printing presses.

Trembling with worry, I went inside. It was worse than I ever imagined.

Row after row of boxes bulging with pro-homosexual petitions lined the walls, stacked to the ceiling .

My mind reeled as I realized hundreds, maybe thousands, more boxes were already loaded on the tractor-trailers. And still more petitions were flying off the press.

Suddenly a dark-haired man screeched, “Delgaudio, what are you doing here?” Dozens of men began moving toward me. I’d been recognized.

As I retreated to my car, the man chortled, “This time, Delgaudio, we can’t lose !”

Driving away, my eyes filled with tears as I realized he might be right. This time the radical homosexuals could win.

You see, even though homosexuals are just 1% of the population, if every one sent a petition to Congress, it would generate a tidal wave of two or three million petitions or more.

Hundreds of thousands of pro-homosexual petitions will soon flood Congress , and my friends in Congress tell me there’s virtually nothing on Capitol Hill from the tens of millions of Americans like you who oppose the radical Homosexual Agenda and the Gay Bill of Special Rights.

I made up my mind that night to write to you and as many other patriotic Americans as possible. To stop the radical homosexuals and protect marriage, there must be an immediate outpouring of support from folks like you.

Delgaudio then repeats his fundraising plea to reach “twice as many” families as “all the homosexuals in America” so that he can finally let Congress know that the “radical homosexuals are lying.”

I’ve identified nearly 10 million families I believe would join our struggle for morality if only I can reach them. That’s more than twice as many as all the homosexuals in America ... and most of these families represent two or three voters each. But without your financial help, I’ll never be able to reach them.

My hope is you care enough to contribute sacrificially so I can reach these families.

A generous gift of $25 will let Public Advocate reach 45 more families. $50 will help us rally more than 97 homes. And a special gift of $100 will generate over 215 contacts.

Only you know whether chipping in $10, $20, or more is best suited to your budget.

I ask you to do what you can.

The radical homosexuals boast you support same-sex marriage, special job rights and the promotion of homosexuality in schools.

Please let Congress know the radical homosexuals are lying.

H/T RWW reader Erik

Brian Brown Gets Defensive About His Russia Activism: 'Absolute Lies And Slurs'

Joe Jervis points us to a debate on C-SPAN this weekend between the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown and Freedom to Marry’s Evan Wolfson, where things got a little contentious when Wolfson confronted Brown about his anti-gay activism in Russia.

Brown has never explicitly advocated for repressive Russian anti-gay policies, including the infamous “gay propaganda” ban, but he has acted as an outside validator for Russian politicians imposing the harsh new policies.

Last year, for instance, he spoke to a Russian parliament committee about the supposed dangers of gay adoption just a few days before the legislature voted to tighten its prohibition on the adoption of Russian orphans by same-sex couples or by couples in countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

And this year, Brown was a member of the planning committee for a World Congress of Families event in Moscow that was to take place at the Kremlin and was financed by members of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s inner circle. Although the World Congress of Families dropped its official sponsorship of the event under pressure from some of its member groups, the event went ahead as planned, with Brown as a featured speaker. That conference ended with delegates issuing a resolution calling for more countries around the world to pass “gay propaganda” bans like Russia’s.

When confronted with all of this from Wolfson, Brown simply denied that any of it had taken place, calling Wolfson’s accusations “absolute lies and slurs.”

Brown can hardly be blamed for Russia’s anti-gay crackdown, which was going on far before he set foot in the country. And we would welcome a clarification from him on whether he knew anything about the closing resolution of the conference he attended this month. But he can’t avoid scrutiny for his work in Russia and elsewhere, in which he has lent credibility to politicians and activists whose goals are far more severe than stopping marriage equality…and it certainly won’t work for him to deny that any of this is taking place.

Fischer: Gay Marriage Can't Be Legal Because Government Is To Be 'A Minister Of God'

On his radio program today, Bryan Fischer made the case that the government can never endorse any position that is contrary to the will of God because government was established by God specifically for the purpose of carrying out his will, which is why gay marriage can never be legal.

As Fischer explained, the entire idea of civil government came from God and therefore all earthly political and legal authority stems from God. As such, the purpose of civil government is to carry out the will of God, meaning that government can never remain neutral on moral issues.

"God has called government to take sides in the culture war," Fischer said, "and God is instructing civil government to take the side of that which is right and good. That means government and those who hold government power have a divine responsibility to know the difference between good and evil so that they can reward the former and punish the latter."

Thus, when government bans gay marriage, "it is doing a good thing," Fischer said. "It is doing a divinely ordained thing. It's doing its job. It's fulfilling its role as a minister of God":

Share this page: Facebook Twitter Digg SU Digg Delicious