The Amazing Coincidence Behind Todd Starnes' Latest Christian Victimization Column

Earlier today we wrote a post about a new Religious Right tale of supposed victimization emerging out of Florida involving a young girl who was allegedly told that she was not allowed to pray in the lunchroom before eating her lunch.

The whole thing seemed rather suspect, as these tales usually are, since it emerged from a video posted on YouTube by the girl's parents and was then immediately turned into a column by Todd Starnes, who is notorious for ginning up these sorts of one-sided, fake controversies:

A Florida school district is giving teachers a refresher course on religious liberty after the parents of a five-year-old kindergarten student said a teacher told their daughter that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch time meal.

Marcos Perez, of Oviedo, Fla., said the incident occurred earlier this month in the lunch room at Carillon Elementary School.

He said his daughter  was sitting at a table about to eat when she bowed her head and began to pray.

“A teacher saw her and told her, ‘you’re not allowed to do that,’” he said.

Perez said his little girl replied, “But it’s good to pray.” The teacher alleged replied, “It’s not good.”

He said his daughter tried to pray once more but was admonished by the teacher. The child was not formally punished, he said.

“She’s a really good girl and if there are rules, she follows them,” he said. “She knows the biblical values we are raising her with. She was really conflicted but she wanted to submit to the authority.”

Perez said he and his wife were so upset over the incident they sat down with a video camera and had their daughter recount what happened. They posted the video to YouTube. And they also tried to reassure their daughter that she had done nothing wrong.

As we noted this morning, school officials are denying the incident took place, but now that the story is gaining some national attention, local media outlets have begun reporting on it and revealing interesting things ... such as the fact that this young girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the Vice President of Sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' next book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Just last month, Charisma House issued a press release that featured none other than Perez promoting Starnes' forthcoming book:

“We are highly anticipating the release of God Less America,” said Marcos Perez, vice president of sales at Charisma House. “From a sales standpoint, we believe this contest will engage our partnering bookstores and add to the momentum that is already building for this book release.”

FOX News commentator Todd Starnes’s highly anticipated book God Less America(FrontLine/Charisma House) uses both recent news stories and compelling interviews with today’s top conservative leaders to bring to light what is happening across our country. In his award-winning, satire-meets-serious writing style he strikes an important blow in today’s culture wars.

What are the chances that one month before Starnes' book, in which he seeks to catalog just how religious liberty is being squashed in America, is released, an incident like this takes place that perfectly exemplifies the very thing that Starnes' book claims to chronicle? 

Even more amazingly, it just happens to involve the daughter of the very man responsible for promoting Starnes' book!

What an amazing coincidence!

Anti-Immigrant Leader Brent Bozell Launches Latino Media Watchdog

Yesterday, the Media Research Center launched a new affiliate called MRC Latino with support from Rand Paul and the American Principles Project, a Religious Right group. On the day of its launch, MRC Latino came out with a report attacking Univision and Telemundo for allegedly having a liberal bias, suggesting that the networks are “being used as pawns of public relations” by the Obama administration. Politico reports:

The study is part of the launch of MRC’s new Spanish-language media watch group MRC Latino, which is officially launching on Tuesday. Oliver-Méndez and MRC President Brent Bozell said they hope the study and MRC Latino will lead to more conservative voices in Spanish-language media and that they plan to meet with executives at the two networks to discuss the study.

“It’s going to be outreach that we’re going to do to hopefully sit down with some of the major players in the Latino media, go through these findings and try to see if we can have a constructive dialogue,” Bozell said. “I don’t believe in any suggestion that liberals shouldn’t have their world view presented, but a, conservatives need to have equal footing. And b, you can’t use your network to actively promote a political agenda.”

MRC Latino will be run by Ken Oliver-Méndez, who “led the Bush administration’s domestic ethnic and religious media outreach, including management of the White House Spanish language web site and serving as Spanish-language coach to the President.”

While Bozell insists that the Spanish-language press is unfair to Republicans, the activist who once compared President Obama to “a skinny, ghetto crackhead” may want to consider if he himself is playing a role in damaging the GOP brand.

For example, Bozell “called for a clean sweep of the House Republican leadership if it moved forward on the issue” of immigration reform, and his group “blitzed the speaker’s office with thousands of phone calls to jam the lines and protest his stance on immigration.” He also defended Arizona’s draconian anti-immigrant SB 1070, a law strongly opposed by Latino voters.

Even though Bozell says he now supports greater Latino outreach and engagement, he once criticized “Big Tent conservatism” for hurting the larger movement. “We reject completely the idea of Big Tent conservatism,” he told a Citizens United event in March.

He also dismissed the Latino vote, which swung heavily towards Obama, in the run-up to the 2012 election and attacked the media for being “too busy celebrating and pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all.”

Time's cover carried the words "Yo Decido: Why Latinos Will Pick the Next President."

This is odd, since whites are still 64 percent of the population. Time and CNN select the Latino vote as crucial because they want to make the Republicans cry uncle on amnesty. Time's Michael Scherer began his cover story by slamming Gov. Jan Brewer for "the most incendiary immigration law in the country."

But who made that law a national issue? The liberal media did. They put all the political pressure on anyone opposed to illegal immigration. It was "incendiary" despite a Rasmussen poll finding 70 percent of Arizonans supported the tougher law. The Obama-obedient media never found it "incendiary" for Obama to announce in 2011 that he was suspending most deportations in a transparently political move.

Take a look at the numbers from the Pew Hispanic Center, which estimated that 69 percent of Latinos voted for Democrats in 2006 and 67 percent for Obama in 2008. But in 2010, that percentage dropped to 60 percent, even though liberals surely tried to make Tea Party "racism" an issue to Latino voters.

Republicans shouldn't write off the Latino vote, but they can wonder how much of that 9-percent slice of Latinos would vote Republican if they Xeroxed the liberal amnesty position. CNN and Time could wonder if Obama will hurt his Latino "landslide" by canceling pipelines and signaling a hard-left position on abortion, gay marriage and religious liberty. But they're too busy celebrating and pandering to minority voters as the most crucial, special voters of all.

Scott Lively Denies Calling Obama The Antichrist, Admits He Did When Confronted With Audio Of His Comments

During Scott Lively’s interview with Michelangelo Signorile last week, the anti-gay pastor denied ever having said that President Obama is the Antichrist…until Signorile played audio captured by Right Wing Watch of Lively saying exactly that.

Last year, Lively told Rick Wiles of TruNews that the Antichrist “is heading the largest superpower of the world today,” obviously referring to Obama, who he predicted would eliminate “the debts of the world,” bring about “a peace treaty between the Palestinians and the Israelis” and establish “secular humanism” as a global religion.

Later in the Wiles interview, Lively said that gay rights will bring about the End Times and hailed Russia’s Vladimir Putin for “championing the traditional marriage and Christian values regarding the central moral issue of our time,” homosexuality.

But Lively told Signorile that he never referred to Obama as the Antichrist or Putin as a champion of right-wing Christianity: “No I didn’t say that. Oh boy, that’s quite the leap you’re making. No, I’ve never said either of those things. In terms of the Antichrist thing, we need to have a conversation about prophecy and those things for it to make any sense at all, but I did not say that Obama is the Antichrist.”

“Where are you getting this? What’s that from?,” he demanded.

But he eventually conceded that he did in fact call Obama the Antichrist after Signorile played his words back to him. “No, that’s Obama,” Lively said, but then tried to spin it as merely a “hypothetical” discussion of the End Times.

However, Lively was clearly referring to the current leader of the “largest superpower” (Obama) and even suggested that the cancellation of debts will take place in 2015.

Here is audio of Lively’s denial, and admission, from The Michelangelo Signorile Show via The New Civil Rights Movement:

Anti-Gay Activists: Day Of Silence Is 'Medical Malpractice,' 'Silences Conservatives'

Conservative groups including the American Family Association, Concerned Women for America and Liberty Counsel are urging parents to keep their children at home on April 11, the annual anti-bullying Day of Silence, in order to avoid exposing them to protests against anti-LGBT bullying.

Mission America’s Linda Harvey and Laurie Higgins of the Illinois Family Institute, an AFA affiliate, discussed the boycott plans on Harvey’s weekend radio show, where Harvey claimed that the Day of Silence actually represents “medical malpractice.”

“This is educational malpractice, it really is, and it really should be medical malpractice,” she said of gay rights advocacy, “especially when you have HIV rates and the other hazards we know that are out there for kids.”

Higgins added that public school educators “censor” anti-gay activists by citing concerns about “safety, or whatever that is,” and said that their curriculum “violates any kind of principles of sound pedagogy.”

Harvey warned that the Day of Silence helps LGBT and allied students feel “empowered in very inappropriate ways,” to intimidate others: “The Day of Silence, the real silencing going on is not the so-called LGBT students, the real silencing going on is conservative and Christian thought.”

“What’s dishonest about this movement is they don’t acknowledge that their end goal is not ending bullying, they’re using that; their end goal is to eradicate conservative moral beliefs or to make it socially, politically impossible to repeat them,” Higgins said. “This is dishonest to say this is just about bullying, this is really and truly about silencing conservatives.”

Barber: World Vision Has Clearly Fallen Under Satan's Deception

One of the downsides of recording daily radio segments for Religious Right activists like Matt Barber and Mat Staver is that they often record several at a time with plans to air them on some future date. Normally, that is not a problem, but sometimes they record segments about an issue that has changed dramatically between the time of the recording and the time of the airing, as was the case with today's broadcast in which they furiously attacked the Christian charity World Vision for announcing that legally married gay Christians would be welcome in the organization.

World Vision quickly reversed course but Barber and Staver had already recorded today's commentary in which Barber said the organization had clearly fallen under Satan's deception on the issue of gay marriage:

More of a concern than their compromising their values is that they're compromising non-negotiable Biblical truth and Biblical principles.

The President of World Vision USA, Richard Stearns, has said in the past quote 'no one ever died of gay marriage.' Well, I would introduce him to the plague of AIDS.

...

The spiritual warfare is palpable, Mat. And the Father of Lies is using this issue to deceive the multitudes and many within the church are falling under his deception; World Vision is one organization that has clearly fallen under his deception.

Personhood USA Joins Battle Over Anti-Choice Leadership In Georgia

The radical anti-choice group Personhood USA has waded into the very public battle over the anti-choice movement’s strategy that is playing out in Georgia.

Over the weekend, a long-running feud among abortion-rights opponents broke into a full civil war when the National Right to Life Committee, the nation’s largest anti-choice group, cut its ties with Georgia Right to Life because of the Georgia group’s hardline, no-compromise strategy.

While all the major anti-choice groups share the same goal – criminalizing all abortions under nearly all circumstances – they differ in how to go about reaching that goal in a post-Roe v. Wade world. This came to a boil last year, when the House voted on a bill banning all abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy. At the last minute, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor added rape and incest exemptions to the bill after the legislation’s chief sponsor, Trent Franks, stoked controversy when he said “the incidence of rape resulting in pregnancy are very low.” The addition of rape and incest exceptions then caused the anti-choice movement to split.

National Right to Life supported the revised bill and included the vote on its congressional scorecard. But Georgia Right to Life, then the state affiliate of NRLC, opposed the revised bill because of its rape and incest exceptions and urged House members to “vote against this shameful legislation.” Two Georgia Republicans, including Rep. Paul Broun, who is now running for Senate, crossed party lines to vote against the bill, siding with Georgia Right to Life.

One of the loudest critics of Georgia Right to Life’s insubordination was Georgia-based conservative pundit Erick Erickson, who called the group the “Westboro Baptist Church of the pro-life movement.” A few weeks ago, a new group with Erickson on its board sprung up with the goal of replacing Georgia Right to Life as the official state affiliate of NRLC. And this weekend, they succeeded, as NRLC cut ties with Georgia Right to Life and took on Erickson’s group, Georgia Life Alliance, in its place.

NRLC’s decision has served to further split the anti-choice movement. Yesterday, Personhood USA – the group behind radical “personhood” laws – waded into the fight, with its president Keith Mason issuing an open letter to NRLC saying that he was “shocked” by the group’s decision and giving it an ultimatum: “We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways.”

National Right to Life,

What does it mean to be pro-life? Is it about protecting every innocent human being or about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard? I was shocked when I read your decision to revoke affiliation with Georgia Right to Life.

….

It's time to decide what our standard is as a movement. If being pro-life is about getting good marks on the NRLC scorecard and voting the party line, like Eric Cantor, then we will continue to enable political opportunists who have no interest in ending abortion. If it is about protecting the lives and inherent dignity of every unborn child -- Personhood -- then we will praise statesmen who adhere to that standard rather than reprimanding them. That was the standard set by the GOP platform and the legislative agenda endorsed in President Ronald Reagan's Abortion and the Conscience of a Nation.

We are not enemies, but friends. We ought not be enemies, for we are allied in the same great struggle for human dignity. We seek unity with you toward that end. It is in your hands to decide which standard to follow. We can have no conflict between us unless it is you who abandon our common aim to protect every human being's right to life. Only then will we part ways. I ask you to reconsider your commitment to our movement's singular purpose and beg you to rededicate yourselves to protecting and defending Personhood for all, no matter the cost.

UPDATE (4/1/14): The personhood group American Right to Life, which makes no secret of its disdain for NRLC, has also  come out to defend Georgia Right to Life, writing in a press release that NRLC have "lost the vision for victory" and "ruined the term" "pro-life."

The Religious Right's Never-Ending Campaign To Gin Up Tales Of Victimization Rolls On

Last week, a video was posted on YouTube featuring a five year-old girl telling her parents that she was told by a "lunchroom teacher" at Carillon Elementary School in Oviedo, Florida that she was not allowed to pray before eating her lunch.

When the little girl responded that "it's good to pray," she claims that she was told "it's not good" and was prevented from praying.

Naturally, after the video was posted on-line, serial fabricator Todd Starnes picked it up and turned it into a column while the Family Research Council featured the story in its daily email. On top of that, attorneys from the Religious Right legal group Liberty Institute are now representing the parents and will hold a press conference today:

Liberty Institute Senior Counsel Jeremy Dys invites all working media to attend a press availability with Mr. Perez, Tuesday, April 1, at 3:30 PM ET on the sidewalk by the sign outside of Carillon Elementary School, 3200 Lockwood Blvd., Oviedo, FL. 

"Of course, students can pray at school!" said Dys.  "As the Supreme Court held over half a century ago: Students do not 'shed their constitutional rights to freedom of speech or expression at the schoolhouse gate.'  The school is in violation of Department of Education guidelines that specifically protect this type of prayer, and thus could jeopardize its federal funding."

The Perez Family cited this offense to their daughter's religious liberty as the most immediate reason to remove their daughter from the public education system. "Mainly because of this incident, we have exercised our option as parents to teach our daughter at home," said Marcos Perez.  "We live in a very good school district, but we cannot, in good conscience, send our daughter to a school where her religious liberty has been compromised."

All the attention is now generating some local media coverage and, as usually happens in these sorts of cases where Religious Right activists gin up some tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution, school officials are saying the incident never happened:

Michael Lawrence told Local 6 that the principal spoke with staff members in the cafeteria at the time of the incident and said no one recalled having any contact with the child.

"The situation as stated by the parent has not occurred according to the school's investigation," said Michael Lawrence, communications officer for Seminole County Schools. "We're dealing with very young children here so there's quite a bit of an opportunity for miscommunication to occur. The timing and the issues were very odd considering that the first thing that happened was that a video was done, it was on YouTube."

...

Lawrence said the lunchroom is not under video surveillance and the alleged incident was not recorded. Lawrence also added that the school district allows children to pray on campus anytime.

"If a student wishes to pray at lunch to herself we do not have a policy against that," said Lawrence. He said the principal will remind staff members that prayer in school is OK.

...

School board member Amy Lockhart told Local 6 the incident cannot be confirmed.

"However, that being said I would be greatly disturbed to find that any Seminole County Public School student had their individual liberties infringed upon in this manner by one of our staff members," said Lockhart. "The freedom to pray when, where and how one chooses is a foundational freedom of our great nation."

If this seems familiar, that is probably because it sounds a lot like the tale of Raymond Raines, a two decade-old myth about a young boy who had supposedly been sentenced to a week of detention for simply praying before eating his lunch in the cafeteria of an elementary school in St. Louis that Religious Right activists still cite today even though it is totally false.

Update: In a totally unsurprising development, The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that the girl's father, Marcos Perez, just so happens to be the VP of sales at the Christian publishing house that is publishing Todd Starnes' forthcoming book:

School officials have not interviewed the girl, who has been pulled from kindergarten at Carillon by her parents, who said they intend to home school her.

Her father is vice president of sales at Charisma House, a Lake Mary-based Christian book publisher. The company is currently promoting the book "God Less America: Real Stories from the Front Lines of the Attack on Traditional Values," by Todd Starnes.

Right Wing Round-Up - 3/31/14

Right Wing Leftovers - 3/31/14

  • Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas will deliver the keynote address at Liberty University’s Convocation on Wednesday.
  • This is a phrase that ought to automatically disqualify anyone who is running for office: "Dan Bongino: Guest of honor at WND Christmas party."
  • Scott Lively has now taken up the case of Justina Pelletier and is challenging his fellow gubernatorial candidates to do the same.
  • Phyllis Schlafly has "endorsed Bob Marshall for Congress in the upcoming April 26 primary to fill the vacancy left by Congressman Frank Wolf’s retirement in Virginia's 10th Congressional District."
  • Finally, Matt Barber is calling for revolution: "Look around. We are no longer the United States of America. We have become The Communist States of America. Which means, for those who love liberty, revolution is once again at hand."

WND: Aid For Kenyan School 'A Slap In The Face' To Military Service Members

These days, it is apparently a scandal that an aid project is helping children gain access to basic sanitation, because Obama!

WorldNetDaily’s latest exposé, “Obama Gives Military Latrine Duty New Meaning,” reports the scandal that an engineering office in the Navy is soliciting contracts [PDF] “to provide for the construction of (16) female dry-pit latrines and to furnish and install a centrifugal pump to serve the potable water catchment system” at a Kenyan school.

WND writes that this contract is just “the latest slap to the face of U.S. Department of Defense personnel.”

The Obama administration lately has demanded much from American soldiers, who now face possible reductions in the number in their ranks as well as higher payments toward their health benefits. That’s in addition to duty in Afghanistan, or worse.

In the latest slap to the face of U.S. Department of Defense personnel, Obama now is asking those soldiers to oversee the digging of toilets at a girl’s school in Kenya, his “home country,” as First Lady Michelle Obama once publicly put it.

The Naval Facilities Engineering Command is tasked with coordinating the endeavor, involving the construction of a building containing 16 female “dry-pit latrines” for the Mpeketoni Secondary School, according to project Statement of Work that WND discovered during routine database research.

Caught red-handed, Obama!

WND even provides a drawing of the latrine plans as further proof of this scandal of the century.

Obviously, Obama is personally responsible for this Watergate-level disgrace, and came up with the entire idea of foreign aid.

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