Religious Liberty

Jindal Rally Organizers Remove Controversial Prayer Guide, Still Think Gays Are Responsible For Natural Disasters

Last week, we reported that the anti-gay, Christian nationalist organizers of a supposedly nonpolitical prayer rally that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is hosting next month had reused some materials from a similar rally hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry back in 2011, including a prayer guide blaming LGBT rights and legal abortion for natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina.

Blaming Hurricane Katrina on gay people and abortion, it turns out, didn’t go over so well in the state that was hardest hit by the 2005 storm, and after reporters in Louisiana started asking the organizers and Jindal’s office about the prayer guide, it was scrubbed from the rally’s website.

But disappearing one document can only do so much to hide the fact that Jindal is partnering with some pretty extreme organizations to put on his "The Response" event. In fact, the offending document was replaced on the event’s website by a letter from organizer Doug Stringer which only slightly more vaguely blames “earthquakes, floods, fires, and an escalation of natural disasters across the country and the world” on “the continued moral failures of our leaders.”

And when the New Orleans Times-Picayune approached Bryan Fischer, a spokesman for the event’s main funder the American Family Association, about the controversial prayer guide, he told them that his group stood by the original content. "We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgment on an unrepentant nation,” Fischer told the Times-Picayune, before explaining that it’s “fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Still, the AFA initially issued a prayer guide that has offended many Louisiana residents. It implied legal abortion, same-sex marriage and pornography use contributed to Hurricane Katrina and other disasters. Though the prayer guide has been taken down, Fischer reiterated that sentiment on Wednesday. He said Louisiana should be especially concerned about the morality of the country, given its vulnerability to natural disasters.

"We do know that natural disasters can be a form of God's judgement on an unrepentant nation," Fischer said, "It's fitting that a part of the country that is obviously at risk for natural disasters would lead the nation in modeling repentance."

Texas School Board Let Anti-Muslim Group Pressure Publishers To Rewrite Religion Textbooks

Last month, the Texas State Board of Education approved a set of social studies textbooks after some disputes between Christian Right members of the board and scholars who had reviewed the texts. Although experts recruited by the Texas Freedom Network to review the proposed texts managed to convince textbook companies to remove some objectionable material, some claims demanded by conservative members of the board remained, including assertions that Moses was a direct influence on the founding of the U.S.

In an article for Religion Dispatches today, one of TFN’s reviewers, David R. Brockman, who teaches religious studies at Southern Methodist University, writes about his experience as a textbook reviewer and his frustrations with the board’s process for reviewing curricula on world religions. “The curriculum standards and the adoption process in Texas don’t simply lack balanced and accurate coverage of the world’s religions; they work against it,” he writes. “And while textbook publishers generally struggle against this tide, they are sometimes dragged along with it.”

In one example, Brockman writes that the Christian Right bloc on the school board “insisted that the publishers address” a last-minute set of comments submitted by Truth in Texas Textbooks, a group associated with the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America, whose reviewers, with one exception, had no “relevant social studies credentials” and demanded that the textbooks include hostile and sometimes false comments about Islam. Although the textbook companies mostly refused TTT’s requests (many with clear exasperation), a few were successful, including a redefinition of the word “jihad”:

The problem is that, in 2014 at least, the conservative majority on the SBOE quite clearly gave comments from ideologically-driven pressure groups (such as Texas Eagle Forum and Texas Values Action) greater weight than comments from credentialed field specialists (such as myself and my fellow reviewers).

A mere two weeks before the SBOE was to take its final vote on the textbooks, and long after other public groups had filed their comments, Truth in Texas Textbooks (TTT), which has allies on the SBOE, presented their reviews—469 pages of material. Two days before the final adoption vote was to take place, Christian Right members of the SBOE made much of the TTT criticisms and insisted that publishers address them.

To judge from its website, the only TTT reviewer with relevant social studies credentials was a professor of Holocaust Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas. However, he reviewed only one world history textbook, and quite appropriately restricted his comments to his areas of expertise.

The other reviewers on TTT’s list appear to have no academic credentials in history, geography, economics, or religious studies (though they do include a Ph.D. in “educational leadership,” and a professor of foreign languages). Despite a lack of pertinent credentials, the TTT reviewers weighed in on a wide range of topics, including prehistory, climate change, economics, political science, and U.S. government.

But they directed special vitriol at the alleged “dangers” posed by Islam. One reviewer wrote of Islam’s “threat to the Western world,” while another lumped Muslims together with communists and socialists commenting, bizarrely, that “The greatest fear for a communist, a socialist or a Muslim is Truth.”

Other TTT comments were just plain false: “Islam is spread by the sword while monotheistic religions are not.”

(Try telling that to an Aztec or Inca—not to mention the fact that Islam is a “monotheistic religion.”)

Yet despite TTT’s lack of credentials and the obviously biased and tendentious nature of their critiques, conservative SBOE members insisted that publishers give them the same level of attention they gave comments from credentialed scholars.

Sadly, in some cases, publishers actually changed their text to suit TTT, as when Pearson Learning ( see page 16) removed from its world history text the factually correct statement that jihad “is most frequently used [by Muslims] to describe an inner struggle in God’s service.” In its place Pearson inserted more ambiguous wording: “For some Muslims, [jihad] means a struggle against one’s evil inclinations. For other Muslims, it refers to a struggle or violent holy war to defend or spread Islam.”

While this change may please TTT and other anti-Islam groups, it deprives students of the important fact that the “holy war” interpretation of jihad is held by only a small minority in the Muslim community today.

Geller: Obama Imposing Islamic Jizya Tax On Non-Muslim Americans

Anti-Muslim blogger Pamela Geller said last week that the Obama administration’s actions on behalf of civil rights for Muslim Americans amount to the imposition of the jizya, a tax on non-Muslims.

In an interview with Rick Wiles of “TruNews,” Geller fumed about a New Jersey town’s $7.75 million settlement with an Islamic group that sued after the township denied its request to build a mosque, a decision that a judge ruled [PDF] was made in part as a result of “anti-Muslim prejudice.”​

While the Brennan Center for Justice and the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund represented the Islamic center in the lawsuit, Geller blamed the Department of Justice, which according to one of the center’s attorneys had opened an investigation into the case.

“That’s the jizya, that’s the poll tax we see all through Islamic history imposed upon Christians and Jews living under Islamic law,” she said of the settlement, accusing the Department of Justice of becoming the “de facto legal arm of many of these Muslim Brotherhood groups in the country.”

Later in the broadcast, Geller claimed that there is “no question” that America has been “overthrown” by progressives who hate all things good, ushering in “terrible” and “catastrophic” consequences for the country.

“The coup is complete, this is the left and this is the war that they’ve had,” Geller said. “The coup is complete, the left’s war on morality, on the good, is complete.”

She said President Obama’s re-election victory in 2012 represented the fulfillment of the left’s anti-American coup and lashed out at the voters who voted for him:

We have absolutely crossed the line. We’ve crossed the threshold. I think the coup was complete when the American people chose to be bamboozled after the second term. I wrote the Obama book, ‘The Post-American Presidency: The Obama’s Administration’s War on America,’ in 2009, but I understood how he was elected, I understood the love affair. It was unforgiveable, it was unforgivable after Benghazi, it was unforgivable.

Creationist Group Fights For Its 'Fundamental Rights' To $18 Million In Tax Incentives

Yesterday, Kentucky’s tourism board announced that the state would not be granting an estimated $18 million tax break to the Creationist group Answers In Genesis (AIG) for its construction of a Noah’s Ark theme park, after learning that AIG intended to discriminate based on religion in its hiring.

Now, AIG’s CEO Ken Ham is crying religious persecution, claiming that Kentucky is violating his “fundamental rights” by failing to provide millions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to his project. Ham told WorldNetDaily that he intends to sue the state for discriminating against him, saying, “We are fully prepared to defend our fundamental rights in court if necessary, as this issue is of huge importance, not only to us, but to every religious organization.”

Answers in Genesis, which is building the life-size version of Noah’s Ark – 510 feet long, 85 feet wide and three stories high – announced Thursday it was informed by the state that it could participate in the tourism program on two conditions.

The organization is required to “waive its right to include a religious preference in hiring” and “affirm that it will tolerate no ‘proselytizing’ at the theme park.”

Not possible, AiG responded, on billboard messages and elsewhere.

AiG said Kentucky officials bowed to pressure from secularist groups when it denied the Ark Encounter theme park an opportunity to participate in a popular tax rebate incentive program offered by the state’s tourism office.”

The restrictions demanded by the state are “unlawful,” AiG asserted.

“It is well-established under both federal law (Title VII) and state law (KRS 344.090) that religious organization and entities like AIG are specifically permitted to utilize a religious preference in their hiring,” the organization said.

“Moreover, the government cannot show hostility toward religion or discriminate against persons or organizations who express religious viewpoints.”

Answers in Genesis CEO Ken Ham explained his organization’s position.

“We have been working on this project with Kentucky for more than two years, so this just-received denial announcement is as disappointing as it is costly for our ministry without the expected rebate,” he said. “Our construction has already begun at the Williamstown, Kentucky, site, and it must proceed. We are fully prepared to defend our fundamental rights in court if necessary, as this issue is of huge importance, not only to us, but to every religious organization.”

He said two law firms, Freedom Guard and the Center for Religious Express, already have agreed to represent AiG in the matter.

Institute On The Constitution: Of Course There Should Be A Religious Test For Public Office!

Earlier this week, the New York Times reported on the efforts of a group of church-state separation activists, led by Todd Stiefel, who are trying to remove long-forgotten articles in seven state constitutions that require people holding public office to believe in God.

This did not sit well with Jake McAuley, the chief operating officer of Michael Peroutka’s Institute on the Constitution, who writes in BarbWire today that it is “impossible” for an elected official who doesn’t believe in God to fulfill his or her duties. “This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry,” he writes. “ It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.”

Peroutka, who was recently elected to a county office in Maryland, has declared all laws passed by his state legislature null and void because the body violated "God's law" by legalizing gay marriage.

Now, let’s be clear. Mr. Steifel may not believe that there is a God. And no one is forcing him to do so.

But if he doesn’t believe that God exists, it follows that he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist either.

And if he doesn’t believe that God-given rights exist, then how would you expect him, if elected, to defend and protect those rights?

You see, when someone is elected to office he swears an oath to protect and defend the Constitution and the God-given rights that are secured thereby. To elect someone who does not believe that God exists, is to ask them to do that which is impossible for them to do.

The drafters of our state constitutions understood this simple logic and so they included these provisions designed to protect us from officeholders who do not share the American philosophy of law and government.

Think of it this way.

Suppose instead of not believing in God, Mr. Stiefel informs us that he does not believe that there exists a city called Cincinnati, Ohio.

By not believing in Cincinnati, Mr. Stiefel breaks no law that we can punish him for.

But now suppose that a few of us have decided to take a bus trip to visit Cincinnati. We advertise for a driver for the bus and Mr. Stiefel answers our advertisement.

Is Mr. Stiefel qualified to drive us to Cincinnati?

Do you see the problem? Once he started the bus, what would Mr. Stiefel do next? How would he get us to a place the existence of which he denies?

Of course he is not qualified. He not only doesn’t know the way. He doesn’t even believe that there is a way. He is not qualified to take us to a place that, in his own mind, does not exist.

So this constitutional requirement that an office holder must believe in God is a logical and consistent protection against those who might drive our constitutional republic in a bad direction.

This isn’t about discrimination or bigotry. It’s about ensuring that those holding office in America are committed to the true, lawful, American philosophy of government.

Bobby Jindal's Prayer Rally Materials Blame Gays & Legal Abortion For Hurricane Katrina

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is following in the footsteps of Texas Gov. Rick Perry and kicking off his possible presidential campaign next month with a stadium prayer rally organized by radical religious right activists. As Brian reported on Monday, the virulently anti-gay Christian nationalist American Family Association, influential Religious Right leader David Lane and Doug Stringer, a self-proclaimed “apostle” from Texas who has blamed America’s rejection of God for the September 11 attacks, are spearheading Jindal’s Baton Rouge rally.

These activists are the perfect ambassadors for the Christian nationalists that Jindal appears to be courting. In a letter introducing the rally — printed on official governor’s mansion stationary — Jindal warns of “a new world order of chaos…being driven by militant Islam seeking to impose Sharia Law worldwide” and domestic epidemics of “fatherless homes,” “drugs and crime in our inner cities” and “a saturation of pornography, abortion, racism,” problems for which Jesus Christ “is America’s only hope.”

Jindal’s prayer rally appears to be so closely modeled after Perry’s that its organizers are even reusing materials from the 2011 Texas event, including a prayer guide contending that natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, were the result of God’s displeasure with the “alternative lifestyle” of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.

The prayer guide listed on the “resources” page of the website for Jindal's rally includes suggestions for seven days of prayer leading up the event. It appears to be exactly the same as the guide disturbed to participants in Perry’s event in 2011  it hasn't even been updated to include the increased number of states that are bringing God’s judgment on America by allowing gay and lesbian couples to marry:

Day 2 - Locust plagues

CONSIDERATION

In Joelʼs day Israel experienced the destruction of a massive locust plague. The nationʼs economy was crippled because of the decimation of the agriculture. The reason these plagues came was because of the peopleʼs negligence to worship and serve God with their whole heart. Because the people grew cold and eventually departed from God, they experienced incredible hardships. The result of their inner departure was multiple external crises.

In America today we face a similar crisis. We have watched sin escalate to a proportion the nation has never seen before. We live in the first generation in which the wholesale murder of infants through abortion is not only accepted but protected by law. Homosexuality has been embraced as an alternative lifestyle. Same-sex marriage is legal in six states and Washington, D.C. Pornography is available ondemand through the internet. Biblical signs of apostasy are before our very eyes. While the United States still claims to be a nation “under God” it is obvious that we have greatly strayed from our foundations in Christianity.

This year we have seen a dramatic increase in tornadoes that have taken the lives of many and crippled entire cities, such as Tuscaloosa, AL & Joplin, MO. And let us not forget that we are only six years from the tragic events of hurricane Katrina, which rendered the entire Gulf Coast powerless.

Furthermore, because of mismanagement and greed, our national economy is in incredible disarray, with our national debt topping 14 trillion dollars. We have effectively mortgaged our childrenʼs future, while spending money we do not have on entitlements as we search in vain for “the American dream”. The first “wave of locusts” has begun to descend upon us and many are oblivious to the fact that destruction has come and is still coming.

God destined America to be a gospel beacon to the rest of the earth – a nation under God who declares His goodness, truth and mercy to a world desperately in need.

The Jindal rally’s prayer guide also includes the 2011 guide’s plea to conservative Christians to save the United States from “debauchery, sin and ultimately destruction.”

There is much at stake for the church in America. In many ways we are at a crossroads of two divergent paths. Either the church will turn to the Lord with her whole heart, sparking a great revival and reformation in our nation, or she will continue in compromise, keeping the status quo as we watch our nation turn to debauchery, sin and ultimately destruction.

(Emphases are ours.)

Both “Response” rallies are modeled after the “Call” rallies organized by Religious Right leader Lou Engle. The leadership team of Perry’s rally included a number of officials from the International House of Prayer, a ministry closely associated with Engle that promotes the dominionist theology that calls for evangelical Christians to gain control of all parts American culture and government. 

Will Evangelical Right Cry 'Persecution' At Mormon Public School Prayer Case?

It is an article of faith among Religious Right activists that the supposed persecution of Christians in America is rooted in a series of Supreme Court decisions banning government-sponsored prayer in schools, rulings which they blame for everything from school shootings to crime and HIV/AIDS.

But the mostly fundamentalist Protestant leadership of the Religious Right rarely talk about the possibility that if such bans were lifted, the state could require prayer not to their liking.

As Think Progress reports today, one varsity softball coach at a Mesa, Arizona, public school has been hit with a lawsuit for requiring his players to participate in Mormon-led prayers…and, unsurprisingly, we have heard no evangelical conservatives complaining that the lawsuit represents religious persecution of the coach.

Three athletes alleged in a complaint against the school district [PDF] that they “were penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman,” the team’s Mormon coach.

They argued in their complaint that the coach took disciplinary actions against them for “not being members of the LDS Church” and their unwillingness to “accede to having and allowing student-led group ‘team prayer.’

Mesa was founded by Mormons and has a large Mormon community, so it is no surprise that when a team decided to have a prayer, it was skewed toward the Mormon tradition. Even generic, non-sectarian generic prayers organized by public schools can undermine the free exercise of religious and non-religious students alike.

This case provides yet another reminder that if the Religious Right gets its wish of lifting the constitutional prohibition of official public school prayers, not all schools would adopt the prayers that they themselves would choose.

25. Terry Richardson, along with another parent, Kelly Roberts (also an LDS Church member) expected that ‘team prayer’ would be part of the activities of the team prior to the games.

26. The expectation that there would be ‘team prayer’ was communicated to Joseph Goodman by LDS parents.



38. The Plaintiffs in fact were penalized for not conducting ‘team prayer’ in accordance with the directive of Joseph Goodman, acting for himself and at the behest of certain parents that were part of the LDS Church.

39. The Plaintiffs in fact were penalized because the parents of certain LDS students on the team complained to Joseph Goodman about the speech and expressive speech of the Plaintiffs, which actual and expressive speech events were perfectly acceptable and within the bounds of a secular society and that of a public school system.

40. The Establishment Clause provides a right of freedom from religion in the public school system, whether during academic sessions, or, during extra-curricular activities.

41. By Defendants treating Plaintiffs in the foregoing manner, dismissing them from the Team for not conducting ‘team prayer,’ for utilizing certain speech and expressive speech through pop music, social media, and otherwise, the First and Fourteenth Amendment rights of the Plaintiffs were violated.



62. The actions of the Defendant, Joseph Goodman, were based upon the Plaintiffs not being members of the LDS Church and who did not accede to having and allowing student-led group ‘team prayer.’

Beck: Allowing Satanic Display Is A Sign That 'Destruction Is Coming Our Way'

Among the five displays approved for the Florida Capitol this holiday season will be one produced the Satanic Temple and Glenn Beck is not pleased, warning that "destruction is coming our way."

Even though the Satanic Temple does not actually worship or even believe in a literal Satan, Beck's co-host Pat Gray was particularly upset by the news, insisting that the Constitution does not guarantee Satanists the right to equal treatment.

"There's nothing in the Constitution that says every religion is equal," he said. "There just isn't."

"I have news for ya," Beck chimed in, "destruction is coming our way."

Gray then returned to his cogent legal argument as to why other religions are not entitled to equal treatment under the law by explaining that "when Satanists come to you and say 'well, we want equal time,' you tell them 'tough, you're not getting it!'"

And why don't Satanists deserve equal time, according to Gray?

"Because you don't deserve it" ... unlike Christianity.

"Christianity has earned the right," Beck added, "not in the Dark Ages, but in this country, they have earned the right to be at the table":

Michigan House of Representatives Passes ‘Right To Discriminate’ Bill

The Michigan House of Representatives today passed a bill explicitly designed by its sponsor to allow discrimination against LGBT people. The proposed law, the Michigan Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which would mirror the federal Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) at issue in the Supreme Court’s recent Hobby Lobby case, would allow individuals to cite their own religious beliefs to bypass state anti-discrimination laws.

“Religious liberty is a core American value,” said Michael Keegan, President of People For the American Way, “but this law isn’t written to defend an individual’s right to practice his or her own religion: it’s designed to legalize discrimination. Even more disturbing is the fact that the sponsor of this law explicitly says that he proposed it in order to weaken anti-discrimination protections for gay people that are under consideration. That’s a gross perversion of what religious liberty actually is.”

In addition to allowing individuals to ignore essential anti-discrimination laws, the law potentially permits individuals to exempt themselves from other laws they disapprove of on the basis of their religion. As a result of the Supreme Court’s misinterpretation of the federal RFRA in Hobby Lobby, and provisions of the bill itself, individuals could effectively claim exemption based on general offense to their religious beliefs without showing a truly substantial burden on their actual exercise of religion. The results could range from pharmacists refusing to fill prescriptions for birth control, to hotel owners refusing to provide rooms to unmarried couples, to landlords refusing to rent homes to single parents.

“Laws that truly defend religious liberty serve as shields to prevent the government from impinging on our essential First Amendment rights,” said Keegan. “This law is a sword that allows individuals to harm others.”

For more information or to schedule an appointment with an expert on religious liberty issues, contact Layne Amerikaner at 202-467-4999 or media@pfaw.org. 

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Rick Santorum: Separation Of Church And State A Communist Idea, Not An American One

In a conference call with members of right-wing pastor E.W. Jackson’s STAND America that was posted online today, former senator Rick Santorum disputed the existence of the separation of church and state in the U.S. Constitution, dismissing it as a Communist idea that has no place in America.

A listener on the call told Santorum that “a number of the things that the far left, a.k.a. the Democrat [sic] Party, and the president is pushing for and accomplishing actually accomplishes a number of the tenets of ‘The Communist Manifesto,’ including the amnesty, the elevation of pornography, homosexuality, gay marriage, voter fraud, open borders, mass self-importation of illegal immigrants and things of that nature.” The likely presidential candidate replied that “the words ‘separation of church and state’ is not in the U.S. Constitution, but it was in the constitution of the former Soviet Union. That’s where it very, very comfortably sat, not in ours.”

Of course, Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, among others, referred to the separation of church and state when explaining the amendment which they drafted.

Later in the call, Santorum continued to lecture President Obama on race in America, telling Jackson — who once criticized a desegregation plan as “social engineering” — that Obama harmed race relations and, ironically, failed “to do something transformational.”

“When you cavort with Al Sharpton, you certainly aren’t into racial reconciliation, that sort of sums it up right there,” he said. “You surround yourself with folks who are not healers but dividers, this president has been the divider-in-chief on so many fronts. You had hoped, as you mentioned, Bishop [Jackson], you hoped that on this front it was an opportunity for the president to do something transformational, that he could’ve been that figure that could’ve made a real difference in racial reconciliation, could’ve made a real difference just within the black community and he chose to take a different path, he chose to use it as a wedge issue as opposed to an issue that was one that he said he wanted to accomplish when he was going to heal the country. He has done anything but.”

AFA Kicks Off 'War On Christmas' Season With PetSmart Boycott

Last week, the American Family Association kicked off the “War on Christmas” season with the release of its annual “Naughty or Nice” list rating major retailers on whether their holiday advertising uses the word “Christmas.”

Today, the AFA announced the company that it would be picking on especially this Christmas season, urging members to abide by a “limited one-month boycott” of the pet supply store PetSmart because of “the company’s censorship of the word ‘Christmas.’”

AFA is calling for a limited one-month boycott of PetSmart over the company's censorship of the word "Christmas."

For years, PetSmart has refused to use the word Christmas on its website, in television commercials, newspaper ads and in-store promotions, despite tens of thousands of consumer requests to recognize Christmas and in spite of repeated requests from AFA to do the same.

Sign the Boycott PetSmart Pledge Now!

Want proof? Go to www.PetSmart.com and type "Christmas" in the search bar. As of today, the website brings up zero results, although the company’s website is clearly marketing to "Christmas" shoppers.

At PetSmart, you'll find a "Holiday Shop," a "holiday" wish list and plenty of "holiday" items, but you won't find "Christmas."

Ironically, PetSmart had no problem with saying Halloween though. They promoted their "Halloween Shop" very heavily for weeks in October. So why are they so afraid of Christmas?

PetSmart is censoring the word Christmas, pure and simple. Yet the company wants all the people who celebrate Christmas to do their shopping at its stores.

Until PetSmart proves it recognizes Christmas by using it in their newspaper, radio and television advertising or in-store signage, the boycott will be promoted throughout this Christmas season.

AFA has successfully influenced almost all of the nation's largest retailers to embrace the use of Christmas in their advertising. But at PetSmart, it's "Bah, Humbug!"

Robert Knight: Muslim Prayer Service Turned National Cathedral Into 'Victory' Mosque

Washington Times columnist Robert Knight is bringing back the right-wing “victory mosque” meme, this time claiming that a Muslim prayer service held at the National Cathedral in Washington sends a message “of weakness” to American Muslims who “see it as akin to raising their flag over a conquered enemy.”

Knight wrote in his column Friday:

At the National Cathedral in Washington, DC, the Episcopal Church announced that the historic edifice was to host its first Muslim service on Friday. That's right. The symbol of America's Christian heritage in the nation's capital, which earlier turned the nave into a yoga center, was to ring with homages to Allah.

Planners call it "a powerful symbolic gesture," and hope it will inspire more religious tolerance around the world. You know, like those "coexist" bumper stickers that imply all religions are equally intolerant and need to get, like, tolerant.

The cathedral is, indeed, sending a powerful message — of weakness. Many Muslims will see it as akin to raising their flag over a conquered enemy. Ever since Muhammad launched jihad in the 7th century, victorious Muslims have made a point of erecting mosques on the site of synagogues or churches, or converting grand church buildings into mosques, such as the Hagia Sophia in Constantinople (now Istanbul).

This is one reason many people were apoplectic when plans were announced for a mosque near ground zero in New York, the site of Muslim militants' greatest victory over the Great Satan America.

In the brave new world of tolerance, only Christians and sometimes Jews are told to be silent, to celebrate sin, or even to host worship of what Christians and Jews for centuries have regarded as a false god.

Brigitte Gabriel: 'No Chance' Of Muslim Americans 'Blending In' To U.S.

Anti-Muslim activist Brigitte Gabriel told Newsmax host Dennis Michael Lynch last week that there is “no chance” of American Muslims ever “blending in” with U.S. society.

In an interview on Friday, Lynch told Gabriel that he had recently traveled to Dearborn, Michigan, and “did not see all but maybe one or two homes with an American flag waving outside” and at one point stopped to ask for directions and was ignored.

“Why is it that the Muslim community is not blending in with the rest of American society?” he asked.

“Because this is what they are being told in mosques across the United States,” Gabriel responded, claiming that American mosques are “instructing their people not to shake hands on Christmas or Easter or wish the Americans a happy holiday.”

“Is there any chance that the Muslim community will ever turn it around?” Lynch asked.

“No,” Gabriel responded, “there is no chance, we are seeing a reverse, actually, instead of a blending in, instead of assimilation.”

Tony Perkins Reacts To Kenneth Bae's Release By Attacking Obama

The Religious Right has for the past two years joined with human rights groups in lifting up the case of Kenneth Bae, an American Christian missionary who was imprisoned in a North Korean work camp on charges of trying to overthrow the government.

Bae was released this weekend after the Obama administration sent national intelligence director James Clapper on a secret mission to retrieve him and a fellow American prisoner, Matthew Todd Miller. Upon his return to the United States, Bae thanked President Obama and the State Department for “working tirelessly” to secure his release.

You might expect that a group like the Family Research Council that has been championing Bae’s case would take a break from partisan bickering to celebrate the good news of Bae's freedom. But you would be wrong!

In his daily email yesterday, FRC’s president, Tony Perkins, reacted to Bae’s release by accusing the Obama administration of not caring enough about Christian political prisoners — like, for instance, Bae. Perkins wrote that the administration’s work to free Bae was “surprising” and went on to attack the president for his “absolute silence” on the imprisonment of American pastor Saeed Abedini in Iran:

Although the suffering left deep scars, Bae insists that he is “recovering.” He and Miller, who the communist government sentenced to hard labor for participating in what they called a “Christian conspiracy,” thanked the Obama administration for sending a “brief message” through his intelligence officials asking for Bae and Miller’s release. For the President, it was a surprising move given his absolute silence on Pastor Saeed Abedini, another American who languishes in a torturous existence at the hands of a ruthless Iranian government.

Meanwhile, here at home, his family’s pleas to the White House continue to fall on deaf ears. As we cheer Kenneth and Matthew’s release, our earnest prayers continue to lift up the millions of people -- like Pastor Abedini -- who are shackled for the true freedom of Jesus Christ.

In fact, Secretary of State John Kerry has repeatedly urged Iran to release Abedini and President Obama personally pressed for Abedini’s release in a phone call with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani last year.

Rick Perry, Ron Johnson And Jeff Sessions To Join Anti-Muslim Activists At Florida Beach Resort Confab

FrontPageMag editor and increasingly unhinged anti-Obama yeller David Horowitz is hosting his annual “Restoration Weekend” for anti-Muslim activists at a beach resort in Florida this month. This year, Horowitz has recruited an impressive slate of Republican politicians, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Wisconsin Sen. Ron Johnson, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, Oklahoma Rep. Jim Bridenstine to partake in the event’s offerings of golf, spa treatments, and Muslim-bashing.

Joining the GOP politicians at the Palm Beach weekend will be anti-Muslim activists including the Family Research Council’s Jerry BoykinJihadWatch’s Robert SpencerNational Review columnist Andrew McCarthy and, as Horowitz announced this weekend on Newsmax, far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilders.

Conservative pundits Ann Coulter, Michael Reagan and Ben Shapiro will also be at the event, according to its website, along with FreedomWorks CEO Matt Kibbe, Heritage Foundation economics chief Stephen Moore and Wall Street Journal editorial board member Kimberly Strassel.

Horowitz organizes and funds the annual Restoration Weekend through his David Horowitz Freedom Center — attendees pay between $1,750 and $20,000, but the group’s most recent available tax return shows the 2012 event didn’t even break even. At past events, Horowitz has attracted GOP luminaries including Sen. Ted Cruz, former Sen. Jim DeMint, Rep. Steve King and Rep. Michele Bachmann. All apparently undeterred by their host’s record of anti-Muslim extremism, including accusing former Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin and Republican anti-tax crusader Grover Norquist (whose wife is Muslim) of being secret Muslim Brotherhood agents.

In just the past year, Horowitz’s commentary has moved even further to the fringe. As the Justice Department launched an investigation of the shooting of an unarmed black teen in Ferguson, Missouri, this summer, Horowitz accused Attorney General Eric Holder of leading a black “lynch mob.” A day earlier, Horowitz said he was “sure” President Obama was secretly a Muslim because “he’s a pretend Christian in the same way he’s a pretend American.”

Such anti-Obama conspiracy theories have a welcome place at Horowitz’s Restoration Weekends. At last year’s event, for instance, Rep. Trent Franks of Arizona agreed with Robert Spencer’s statement that President Obama is either a secret Muslim or just acting like one:

Wilders, who has spoken at past Horowitz-affiliated events, including at least one Restoration Weekend, is currently on a U.S. tour that included lunch at the Capitol with Bachmann. Wilders, one of the most fiercely anti-Islam voices in Europe has compared the Quran to Mein Kampf and this year lost some prominent members of his own party when he targeted Moroccans living in the Netherlands to stir up support before the European elections.

Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation Leader: Church-State Separation 'The Death Knell For Our Nation'

In a radio interview this week, Lea Carawan, director of the Congressional Prayer Caucus Foundation, warned that the separation of church and state is part of a liberal plan to “ruin America” and will be “the death knell for our nation.”

Carawan, whose group’s advisory board includes several members of Congress, told Arizona-based host Josh Bernstein this week that the American people and many churches have “bought into a very insidious lie, which is the misapplication, misinformation regarding that phrase, ‘the separation of church and state.’”

“That is the death knell for our nation,” she said. “If the church of God, if the Christians do not engage in the public square and do not see that as their responsibility, their right and responsibility, then those that do not believe like us will absolutely fill the void. And what people don’t understand is that every nation will reflect somebody’s values. And up until now, it’s reflected Judeo-Christian values because the Christians have held to it and they’ve protected it every single generation. But if we do not protect it in our generation, if we buy this lie and we back out of the public square like we have for a decade or several decades now, we will find that we no longer have a free Republic. The threat is very real.”

Later in the interview, Carawan alleged that church-state separation is part of a liberal plot to “take over” America.

“The folks that are funding this, that are behind this progressive movement for decades, they understand that they must remove God from the culture, from the conversation or break the connection, the nexus between God and our rights,” she said.

“That’s how you take over the country, that’s how you ruin America and take over, that’s power.”

What Matt Barber Does And Doesn't Find Appalling

Yesterday, we reported that Matt Barber’s conservative website BarbWire published an anti-gay column by Philip Stallings, a self-described “theonomist” who recently advocated for the “lawful execution” of gay people – or “sodomites.”

Stallings’ column has disappeared, and today Barber tweeted at us, “Wow! Thanks for the tip. We obviously weren’t aware of that & find the position appalling. The answer is life in Christ.”

Well. It’s good to have Matt Barber say he finds the idea of executing gay people appalling. We agree.

But if that’s the case he ought to consider vetting the material he promotes a little more carefully. Just over a week ago we noted that BarbWire had run a column praising Pastor Steven Anderson, who has called for the execution of gays, and has said, “You want to know who the biggest hypocrite in the world is? The biggest hypocrite in the world is the person who believes in the death penalty for murderers and not for homosexuals.”

And given how much anti-gay extremism is promoted by Barber and his Religious Right allies, that got us wondering if anything else short of calling for the killing of gay people would cross the line for Barber.

We collected some other statements that Barber apparently doesn’t find appalling, because they’ve all been in columns promoted on his site:

Here are some other things we find appalling that Matt Barber seemingly does not:

Jeff Allen, a BarbWire editor, compares the gay rights movement to “a malignant cancer” and says, “Each victory for the homosexual activists represents another nail in America’s coffin.”  Allen has supported brutal anti-gay laws in Uganda, Nigeria, and Ethiopia, which include imprisonment not only for sexual conduct but also for joining social clubs or advocating for equality. Allen was upset when criticized for his “innocent mistake” of calling a fake photo of “NAMBLA for Obama” an example of “the undeniable link between homosexuality and pedophilia.” More Allen: “Satanism, sodomy, and slaughter are each part of the Devil’s sinister agenda to destroy America.”

BarbWire content editor Gina Miller has written that the “demonic” gay rights advocates are advancing “Satan’s tyrannical desire to crush Christianity” and warned last year that if gays get their way “Christians here in America will be in danger of state-sanctioned murder for their beliefs.” In June, Miller responded to the announcement that some Boy Scout troops would march in New York’s LGBT pride parade by calling it “a perverse attack on young boys who are being used as little tools by an evil movement of sexual degenerates who cannot reproduce, so they must recruit.”

This spring, BarbWire published a column by former Indiana lawmaker Don Boys recounting his attempt to recriminalize homosexuality. In a similar column a few years earlier, Boys had explained that he wanted to make homosexuality a crime punishable by up to twelve years in prison.

Robert Oscar Lopez wrote for BarbWire that almost every situation “involving a same-sex couple with exclusive custody of small children is adult misconduct at best or a crime against humanity at worst.”

BarbWire publishes notorious anti-gay activist Scott Lively, who wrote this summer that the US and its State Department had become “The Great Satan” of the world for opposing anti-gay legislation overseas. Lively has promoted anti-gay policies in Uganda and around the world.

And that’s just a sampling of the anti-gay extremists who have found a home on BarbWire. Not to mention Barber himself, who says he has been “called by God” to “sound the alarm” about the fact that gay sex is always sinful, and “The wages of sin is death.”

We’re just scratching the service. BarbWire’s extremism is not limited to anti-gay activities. It publishes just about anything you could imagine about President Barack Obama. BarbWire has published calls for God to “cut short” Obama’s presidency and claims Obama worships “Lucifer/Moloch” and intends “to turn the USA into the Marxist-Islamic North American Caliphate.” Among the conspiracy theories it promotes:

We don’t know about Barber, but we find that appalling. 

BarbWire Runs Column By 'Theonomist' Who Backs Execution Of Gays

As we’ve noted before, Matt Barber’s website BarbWire has become quite the outlet for extremists. Today, BarbWire promotes as one of its “Top Stories” a column called “Repent! For the Kingdom of Sodom is At Hand.”  Columnist Philip Stallings bemoans growing support for LGBT equality among millennials, blaming it on “the public school system’s indoctrination of wickedness.” Stallings praises civil magistrates in North Carolina who have refused to issue marriage certificates to “sodomites.” And, of course, he cites the over-hyped controversy over subpoenas in Houston, and the Alliance Defense Fund’s concocted controversy about the “Hitching Post” wedding chapel business in Idaho to portray equality advocates as enemies of religious liberty:

When are we going to realize that this is war? There can be no doubt that the trend now is not only to bully and wreak havoc among Christians, but to lock up Pastors and anyone else that stands for the truth until God’s Law is eradicated from their mist.

This is nothing less than a war and Christians need to be standing up everywhere in this nation contending earnestly for the faith! We should be getting just as passionate in our message of “change” and call upon this nation to repent and to follow God’s Law on this matter.

Stallings is identified on BarbWire as a “Political Theonomist.” That’s a term used by Christian Reconstructionists who believe government should be enforcing their interpretation of Old Testament law, like Gary North and Michelle Bachman mentor John Eidsmoe.

Turns out that’s exactly what Stallings believes. His Twitter feed links to a Christian radio show on which he spent nearly half an hour on August 25 arguing that the government should execute homosexuals – or “sodomites.”

It’s my position that the role of the state is morally obligated to obey God’s law…I am for lawful execution of the homosexual.

When the show’s surprised hosts pushed back and asked whether he would support other things called for in the Old Testament, like the stoning of rebellious children, Stallings said God commanded whole nations to be destroyed “all the way down to their children” and that the rebellious son in the Bible was “refusing their parents’ commandments and was openly rebellious in the community.”

And, yeah, I’m for what the Bible teaches in that regard, along with the murderer, and the rapist, and the kidnapper, and in this case the sodomite.

Stallings described his understanding of Theonomy as meaning that “God’s law is implemented. The civil magistrate must be moral, and the only way we could say someone is moral is if they’re obeying God’s law. In other words, the state is not an autonomous being. It is not executing the law morally if it’s being disobedient to God’s law.”

Excerpts below from Stallings on “Reformation Nation”

Rafael Cruz: Voters Are 'Disobeying God' By Failing To Elect 'Righteous' Politicians

In an interview last month with Religious Right radio host Glenn Pav, Sen. Ted Cruz’s father and frequent campaign surrogate Rafael Cruz warned that God is going to punish evangelical pastors who don’t turn out their congregations to vote for “righteous” candidates.

After discussing how God told him that He would hold pastors accountable for low election turnout among evangelical Christians, Cruz warned that God would fault pastors for their supposed silence on Supreme Court decisions blocking school-sponsored prayer, which he said led to spikes in teen pregnancy and violent crime, and securing abortion rights.

“If the righteous are not voting, if the righteous are not even running for office, what is left is the wicked electing the wicked,” he said. “I mean, it’s our fault. It’s our fault because the people of God are not engaged in the process.”

He lamented that unlike anti-Nazi dissident Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christians in the U.S. today are “not even speaking out against the evil that is all around us” but are instead “acquiescing because of fear” and “excusing everything because of political correctness.”

Citing a fallacious David Barton story about Congress printing a Bible to use as a school textbook in the early days of the republic, Cruz said America’s downward slide began with the Supreme Court decisions barring government-organized prayer in public schools. “But the travesty, the tragic thing is the Church remained silent after those two decisions,” he said.

“The consequence of that silence was that those two decisions caused, number one, teen pregnancy to skyrocket after 1963, as did violent crime,” he added.

“How long are we going to remain silent?” he asked. “But the more important question, Glenn, is, is God going to hold us accountable for that silence?”

Later in the program, Cruz shared his views on America’s “divinely inspired” founding.

“I am absolutely convinced, Glenn, that the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States were divinely inspired documents,” he said. “They were written on the knees of the Framers. These were men of God seeking revelation from God, and that’s what they got.”

He argued that previous governments were set up so that “authority flows from God to the government to the people,” leading to monarchy and tyranny. But at the beginning of America, he said, “God gave them a different model and the model God gave the Framers is authority flows from God to the people to the government.”

“And so with that authority comes the responsibility for We the People to elect righteous leaders. And people in the Church need to understand, if we fail that responsibility to elect righteous leaders, we are disobeying God.”

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