Fringe Activists Take Center Stage At Senate Hearing On Disabilities Treaty

Yesterday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which the Senate failed to ratify last year thanks to a startlingly successful religious-right scare campaign.

Showing just how radical the opposition to the treaty is, nearly every witness testifying on behalf of the treaty was a Republican. Pro-treaty witnesses included Republican senators Mark Kirk and Kelly Ayotte, former Republican congressman and Bush homeland security secretary Tom Ridge and former Republican governor and attorney general Dick Thornburgh. Ayotte read a statement from former Republican senator and presidential candidate Bob Dole in support of the treaty, and former Republican senator Bill Frist lent his voice in support of the treaty in a Reuters op-ed published yesterday morning.

The fact that the treaty has wide support from mainstream Republicans left its opponents on the Foreign Relations Committee to reach into the right-wing fringe to find witnesses to testify against ratification.

Susan Yoshihara, vice president of the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute focused her testimony on her fear that the treaty’s protection for “sexual and reproductive health” would promote access to abortions – a major concern for a group dedicated to fighting protections for gay people and reproductive rights around the world.

Yoshihara’s claim has been thoroughly debunked, including by a major anti-choice group, and was debunked again by Frist in his op-ed:

The relevant provisions in the treaty regarding sexual and reproductive health demand nondiscrimination for persons with disabilities.

In many parts of the world, people with disabilities, regardless of age, are believed to be sexually immature or inactive. The assumption can make them targets for rape and other sexual crimes while, at the same time, gynecologic and obstetrical care are withheld and considered inappropriate and unnecessary. In other cases, they are forcibly sterilized or forced to have abortions, simply because they have a disability.

The treaty’s “sexual and reproductive health” language is a necessary provision to protect these people. It does not define services — a ratifying country’s existing law provides the definition. The agreement simply demands that those with disabilities not be denied any treatments based on their disability.

It does not create any new services not previously available or legally sanctioned in an adopting country.

Meanwhile, Michael Farris of the Home School Legal Defense Association continued what Frist called his “impressive fear campaign” claiming that the treaty would somehow endanger the rights of American homeschoolers. Last year, Farris went so far as to claim that the treaty would allow the U.N. to come into American homes and seize children with glasses. At yesterday’s hearing, he claimed that a case involving a homeschooling German family that was denied asylum in the U.S. means that the Obama administration is hostile to homeschooling and would somehow us the disabilities treaty to overturn U.S. homeschooling laws.

In an exchange with Sen. Dick Durbin, Farris was unable to explain how the treaty, which is based on the already-implemented Americans with Disabilities Act and would require no changes to American laws, would in fact destroy homeschooling. 

“I struggle with the thought that we are going to stop this effort to extend the rights of the disabled around the world for fear of something which you can’t even clearly articulate when it comes to homeschooling,” Durbin responded.

Former senator Rick Santorum also revived his role in opposing the treaty yesterday, sending out an email claiming, absurdly, that the convention "threatens U.S. sovereignty and parental rights, and if ratified, it would effectively put us under international law when it comes to parenting our special needs children." Needless to say, none of those claims has any basis in reality.

Marco Rubio To Headline Anti-Gay Fundraiser

The Florida Family Policy Council announced today that it will host Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) at its 2013 Annual Dinner. The FFPC is led by John Stemberger, the anti-gay activist who most recently helped launch a Boy Scouts splinter group that will ban openly gay youth, and the fundraiser will honor Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver.

Stemberger and Staver are far outside of the mainstream, but with Rubio preparing for a possible presidential run in 2016 he may use this event, much like his speech at the Values Voter Summit, to soothe any doubts about his right-wing credentials.

Stemberger previously chaired Florida for Marriage, which spearheaded the campaign to pass a state constitutional amendment banning same-sex unions, and founded the anti-gay Boy Scout alternative Trail Life USA. Earlier in his career as a lawyer, he was widely criticized for misconduct in the Rifqa Barry case.

Stemberger has a long record of incendiary anti-gay rhetoric. He:

  • Said that people are gay because they think it is “hip” and “cool.”
  • Alleged that affirming LGBT youth is “tantamount to abuse” and “an abuse to that child.”

We noted Staver’s radicalism and involvement in a kidnapping case in our profile of him for the 2013 Values Voter Summit:

Mat Staver is the head of the Liberty University School of Law and its legal affiliate, Liberty Counsel, a sponsor of the Values Voter Summit. Liberty Counsel has beenimplicated in the Lisa Miller kidnapping case, where a client kidnapped her daughter and fled to Central America after a court granted custody to her former partner. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government in order to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Through his role at Liberty Counsel, Staver has:

Fischer Explains How To Exorcise Your New Home To Rid It Of Demonic Spirits

Lately, Bryan Fischer's "Focal Point" radio program has started to look more and more like Pat Robertson's "700 Club" as Fischer has begun offering advice to his listeners on how to properly exorcise their new homes in order to rid them of any demonic spirits that may have been invited in by the previous inhabitants.

"You have no idea what was honored in that home," Fischer explained, "what was done in that home, the kind of values that were exemplified in the behavior of the people in that home, no idea what was honored in that place, what was watched on television, the kind of music that was played and filled the atmosphere in that home and how access or legal ground to dark spirits may have been given by the prior occupants of that house."

As such, Fischer recommends that his listeners walk the perimeter of their property, anointing the corners with oil and vocally commanding all demonic spirits to leave before likewise anointing the house and praying in every room and even over the furniture and appliances in order to rid the house of all unwelcome spirits:

Peroutka: ENDA Will Ultimately Force People To Be Gay

Conservative talk show host Steve Deace spent yesterday talking with Michael Peroutka of the Institute on the Constitution, and asked Peroutka what he thought of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which Deace called “the single greatest threat to religious liberty.” After Deace ironically cited the Pilgrims as champions of religious freedom, Peroutka called ENDA an attempt in “federalizing perversion” that is unconstitutional…just like all civil rights laws.

Peroutka is a leader and board member of the white separatist League of the South, so his opposition to civil rights laws come as no surprise.

“Nobody has rights because of the kind of sex they engage in,” Peroutka said, “I would include the so-called civil rights laws are not law, they never should’ve been passed, they’re not law now, they weren’t law then, they aren’t law now because there is no such thing as a civil right.”

Later, Peroutka and Deace talked about the legalization of same-sex marriage in Iowa and its supposed devastating effects on the state.

Peroutka said the gay rights movement’s “full blown agenda” will lead to forced homosexuality: “There is no neutral ground, that’s a lie sold to you just to get you to go along with this particular accommodation or that particular accommodation. There is going to be no place left to stand except, I guess, eventually they are going to force you to engage in the perversion, that’s where this goes.”

Rep. Steve Palazzo Is Proud To Stand With The American Family Association

There are few "mainstream" Religious Right organization active today that can match the American Family Association's output of unrelenting bigotry, so it is remarkable to see sitting members of Congress appear on the  organization's radio programs and proclaim their appreciation for what the AFA is doing, as Rep. Steve Palazzo did today.

Palazzo has not been shy about voicing his support for the AFA and was on today to discuss the AFA's on-going crusade against the military over being classified as a hate group in an Army training session and Palzzo promised AFA president Tim Wildmon that he and his other Republican colleagues from Mississippi who are in Congress will get to the bottom of it because, as he said, America has never needed a group like the AFA "out there espousing Christian principles and biblical teachings" more than it does today.

Palazzo blamed the briefing on the culture that President Obama has created by filling the ranks of the government with people "who really don't share the same values that real America has" and who are trying to "break down the fabric of our society [by working to] corrupt the military from the inside out":

Cuccinelli Backers: We Were Betrayed; Expel Bolling

With Ken Cuccinelli’s conservative backers already crying foul about their failed candidate’s supposed mistreatment, the GOP’s Civil War continues.

Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel is fantasizing about voter fraud despite offering absolutely no proof, and Tea Party Nation head Judson Phillips wants Virginia’s Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling — who refused to endorse Cuccinelli — expelled from the GOP:

The Republican Party of Virginia has bylaws that call for the automatic expulsion of members who support Democrats in contested elections. Bill Bolling’s support of Terry McAuliffe has been well documents [sic].



Had the Republican establishment not worked against Cuccinelli, he would be governor today. Conservatives need to make an example of Bolling. He should be persona non grata at any Republican function in Virginia. His name should be synonymous with being a sell out [sic].

And if the Republican Party of Virginia does not publicly expel Bolling, then conservatives need to find a new political party in Virginia.

Just to add some perspective, Phillips hailed Cuccinelli’s running mate E.W. Jackson as the “future of the conservative movement.” Jackson was soundly defeated 55-44%.

John Nolte of Breitbart News attacked Chris Christie for not helping Cuccinelli in Virginia and said that Cuccinelli’s defeat actually helped the Tea Party:

Tuesday night and again Wednesday morning, NBC's Chuck Todd reported that New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie refused to campaign for Ken Cuccinelli, the Virginia Republican who narrowly lost his own governor's race to Democrat Terry McAuliffe. "They begged Christie, and you can make an argument," Todd said on Morning Joe. "That to bring a Chris Christie to Northern Virginia might have helped. But Chris Christie is worried about his own brand."

Part of Christie's brand problem, though, is his behavior during the closing days of last year's presidential campaign. After running one of the most divisive administrations and re-election campaigns in recent memory; in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, Barack Obama went to New Jersey seeking bipartisan credibility. And in the eyes of many, Christie went above and beyond to give it to him.



Had Christie taken just a half-day to stump for Cuccinelli, not only would that have helped wash the Sandy stain away, it might have actually made him a hero to the base for both defying the Morning Joe crowd and helping to drag Cuccinelli over the finish line.



If Christie wins the 2016 Republican nomination but loses Virginia, and with it the general election, last night should be remembered as the most short-sighted and spiteful cutting off of the nose to spite the Tea Party in years.

The GOP Establishment and Morning Joe crowd keep lecturing the Tea Party about how it is all about winning elections. In Virginia last night that talking point was laid bare as nothing more than a lie.

Longtime conservative activist Richard Viguerie maintained that Cuccinelli’s loss has nothing to do with his radical views. Viguerie even compared Cuccinelli to Goldwater, who lost the 1964 presidential election in a landslide:

What is clear is that Cuccinelli’s ideas weren’t rejected so much as he was drowned in the sea of money that flowed in to Terry McAuliffe’s campaign to keep Virginia government growing, taxes rising, to roll back the progress social conservatives have made in the state, and most importantly, to keep cronyism as the governing principle at the Virginia state Capitol building.



The betrayal of Ken Cuccinelli by Bolling and other nominal Republicans, such as political consultant Boyd Marcus, mirrors the betrayal of Barry Goldwater by the Republican establishment and their nominal allies in the business community.



George Will once wrote that Barry Goldwater didn't lose in 1964, it just took 16 years, until the election of Ronald Reagan in 1980, to count the votes. We expect that the same will be said of Ken Cuccinelli and we believe he will be vindicated in the future.

Ken Cuccinelli did not lose last night because he is a principled limited government constitutional conservative. Cuccinelli lost because he was drowned in a sea of money and undercut by a Republican establishment that would rather see a Democrat in the Governor’s mansion than end the good ole boy politics in Richmond and allow a real conservative anywhere near the levers of power that he might use to make good on Republican promises to govern as limited government constitutional conservatives.

Anti-choice activist Marjorie Dannenfelser said that Cuccinelli was hamstrung by the Star Scientific scandal and “misleading attack ads,” but insisted that the “Republican establishment” is to blame “for abandoning this race.”

Somehow, Dannenfelser thinks that Cuccinelli’s loss shows the need for candidates to emphasize their opposition to abortion rights, even though 61% of Virginia voters [PDF] said they are pro-choice.

In response to Ken Cuccinelli’s close defeat in the Virginia gubernatorial election tonight, Marjorie Dannenfelser, president of the national pro-life group Susan B. Anthony List (SBA List), told LifeNews that the race shows the pro-life movement needs to spend more time exposing how extreme candidates like McAuliffe are on abortion.

“Despite being woefully outspent and compromised both by the government shutdown and the ethics scandal faced by Governor Bob McDonnell, Cuccinelli came within inches of victory. The political prognosticators that can often drive election results by their predictions ought not to have given up on him. The results make clear that more support from outside groups in the final weeks could have changed the outcome. Shame on the Republican establishment for abandoning this race and failing to push Ken over the finish line.

“Terry McAuliffe spent well over $5 million on misleading attack ads about Ken Cuccinelli and the fictitious ‘war on women,’ including running more than 5,600 spots on the abortion issue alone. Attacks on Cuccinelli were left unanswered, or answered too late, and the negative message stuck.

“This election shows that it is imperative for pro-lifers to be on offense in 2014 against the distortions and extremism of the Left. The Democrat strategy for 2014 is set: demonize pro-life candidates and spend big on ‘war on women’ advertising. The party, candidates, and movement must aggressively expose the other side’s extremism and penchant for putting women and children at risk through their abortion policies.”

Women Speak Out – Virginia, the state PAC of the SBA List, raised and spent $870,000 in support of Ken Cuccinelli’s candidacy, working to turn out the pro-life base. The organization canvassed the homes of 69,700 voters, engaged in volunteer calls reaching 255,000 identified pro-life inconsistent voters, and had get out the vote calls reaching as many as 1 million homes.

UPDATE: Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage accused the Republican Party of abandoning Cuccinelli over his opposition to same-sex marriage:

"Too many leaders of the Republican Party have drunk the Kool-Aid of the consulting class that they should abandon conservatives like Ken Cuccinelli because they have taken principled stances on social issues such as preserving marriage and protecting life," said Brown. "How many elections do they need to lose before they realize they are implementing a disastrous election strategy and ruining their chances of success?"

Brown noted that when the marriage issue has been on the ballot, it has outpolled the Republican ticket by a significant margin. Support for traditional marriage polled an average of seven points higher than Mitt Romney did in the four states it was on the ballot in 2012.

"The GOP elite wants candidates to be silent about their views on marriage and other social issues, but election results show that is exactly the wrong thing to do," Brown said. "Election after election has shown that voters across America, including in deep blue states, support traditional marriage by a significantly higher margin than they support the GOP. For the second election in a row, Republican leaders and consultants have pursued a flawed strategy of urging silence on social issues that has cost their candidates. If they don’t wake up, they could face disaster next year."

Fischer: Obama 'Certainly Does Not Love America; I Believe He Actually Hates America'

As we have said before, some day America will have a Republican president again and when that day comes, Religious Right leaders will respond furiously to any comment that they feel is offensive and disrespectful to the President of the United States and the office of the presidency.

And when that day arrives, we will just be able to trot out video after video of people like Bryan Fischer saying things like "I believe that we have a president who has a visceral dislike for this country. I do not believe he likes America; he certainly does not love America. I believe he actually hates America as it was founded":

The Religious Right Faces String Of Election And Gay Rights Defeats, Blown Narrative

After the 2012 election, right-wing activists immediately declared that Mitt Romney lost because he was not conservative enough and that Republican candidates must run to the right if they want to succeed in general elections.

Last night in the swing state of Virginia, however, two extremely conservative candidates both lost in their statewide bids, the first time since 1977 that a candidate from the party that lost the presidential election failed to win the Virginia gubernatorial race.

Not only did the Religious Right dream team in Virginia lose both races, but so did an Alabama Republican who ran even farther to the right than his conservative opponent. These defeats come at a time that the Senate is set to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) with bipartisan support and two states—Illinois and Hawaii—are poised to legalize same-sex marriage.

Cuccinelli & Jackson Flop In Virginia

Virginia Republicans Ken Cuccinelli and E.W. Jackson, two Religious Right favorites, lose their races for governor and lieutenant governor, respectively. Cuccinelli’s deeply anti-choice and anti-gay record hurt him according to exit polls [PDF]: 50% of voters claimed Cuccinelli was “too conservative” and 61% of voters said they supported abortion rights. During the campaign, Cuccinelli advocated for strict restrictions on abortion clinics and the restoration of unconstitutional sodomy laws, even though some conservative activists complained that he shied away from social issues or wasn’t conservative enough.

Jackson’s attempt to downplay his extremist and bigoted rhetoric and policy positions was even more pathetic to watch, as he insisted that criticisms of his candidacy and quoting him verbatim were unconstitutional and even resorted to lying to deny making remarks that are recorded on tape. Yet, he predicted that “disenfranchised” Christians would lead him to “a stunning victory.”

Don’t expect their defeats to change the Religious Right’s skewed mindset about what it takes to win. Cuccinelli surrogate Jim Bob Duggar, who campaigned throughout the state on a Family Research Council-paid tour, claimed that the “vast majority of people in America are pro-life” and conservative voters represent a “sleeping giant.” Despite having Cuccinelli and Jackson leading the ticket, white evangelical turnout dropped seven points, from 34% to 27% of the electorate, compared to the 2009 gubernatorial race.

The Cuccinelli complain will likely complain that he was abandoned by national Republicans (even though the Republican Governor Association donated $8 million to Cuccinelli) and could have won if the “establishment” offered him more support.

Dean Young Defeated

Dean Young, an ultraconservative birther with strong support from local Tea Party groups, lost to former state lawmaker Bradley Byrne, hardly a moderate himself, in the GOP primary for a special congressional election in Alabama. Young made opposition to gay rights a central part of his campaign: he urged his GOP rivals sign a pledge to oppose gay rights and to attend a church that opposes gay marriage, compared homosexuality to murder and demanded gay Alabamians leave the state.

He is also a senior aide for Roy Moore, the Alabama supreme court justice who refused to obey a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he had installed in the court rotunda and warned that gay rights will destroy America. Moore backed Young’s candidacy, as did Mark Levin, Phyllis Schlafly and Bryan Fischer, who fawned over him in an interview the day before the election, where Young continued to criticize “homosexuals pretending to be married” and warned that gay rights will lead to God’s judgment on America.

Young reportedly refused to call Byrne to concede defeat and announced that he may establish a national organization.

Marriage Equality Poised To Pass In Illinois, Hawaii

Anti-gay groups have consistently cited Illinois as an example that Religious Right has become more successful in fighting marriage equality. But the state legislature approved a marriage equality bill yesterday and the governor is a vocal supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage, which means that Americans For Truth About Homosexuality president Peter LaBarbera will soon live in a state with marriage equality.

With Hawaii also expected to pass a marriage equality bill this week, the success of the two gay rights measures represent big setbacks for Religious Right groups such as the Illinois Family Institute and Hawaii Family Advocates, which both employed ugly smear campaigns against the marriage bills.

David Barton Announces That He Will Not Run For Senate

After a week of speculation amid effort to recruit David Barton to launch a primary challenge in Texas against Senator John Cornyn, Barton appeared on Glenn Beck's radio program today to announce his decision.

After telling Beck that he had done polling and consulted with trusted advisers, Barton announced even though he believes that it would be a winnable race, he has concluded that "the time is just not right for me."

But there remains a glimmer of hope, because when Beck asked Barton if he might make a Senate run at some point in the future, Barton said "that's definitely a possibility, yes sir":

Barton issued an official statement to The Blaze:

I am deeply honored and humbled by the heartfelt efforts of thousands of people encouraging me to run for the U.S. Senate in 2014. Citizens in Texas and across America know that our nation’s fiscal, moral, and constitutional deficits must be reversed.

I agree with the millions who say we need more constitutionally conservative leaders serving in Congress. The detailed polling data as well as the outpouring of immediate support from across the state indicate this is a race that could be won.

But as important as one seat in the U. S. Senate is, we also have generations of citizens that need to know our constitutional principles and rich heritage. Such education will result in the election of many more constitutionally-minded common-sense patriots in coming years.

As I travel the nation speaking about the founding principles of America, I have noticed a definite growth in the depth of interest regarding our moral and constitutional foundations. People are not only becoming more active in the political process but are becoming more principled and informed about how to restore our constitutional republic.

The solution to our current American crisis will come from the basic actions of our citizens studying the Constitution, voting and campaigning for good candidates, and helping reduce the size of government by personally helping those around us who are in need.

My family and I have carefully prayed about and seriously weighed the encouragement from so many people we respect who have asked me to run for the Senate. But right now, I believe my role is to continue educating, equipping, and inspiring citizens through the work we do at WallBuilders.

I thank all of you who encouraged me to enter this race. I ask you to take the time, energy, and money you so generously offered on my behalf and invest it in electing other constitutional conservatives at every level of government. Our involvement is needed now more than ever before. Our goal hasn’t changed. We each have a role to play to build a winning coalition of citizens who share a commitment to put the country on a sustainable and constitutionally sound trajectory. At this specific time my role will not be as a candidate, but I will continue to work side-by-side with you in the trenches to educate the nation, while also recruiting, training, and electing a new generation of conservative leaders.

WND: 'Obama Should Not Merely Be Impeached: He Should Be Imprisoned'

Even though WorldNetDaily’s Lord Monckton wants Canadian-born Ted Cruz to be the next president, he still believes that President Obama is ineligible because he was secretly born outside of the US. The irony seems to be lost on Monckton.

In his latest column, Monckton demands that Obama be both impeached and put in jail for the supposed birther scandal:

I call Hawaiigate the central ground of impeachment for two reasons. First, the dishonesty is shameless and in your face. Mr Obama’s advisers, once they realized the “birth certificate” was as bogus as a $3 bill, knew that if they simply went on pretending that $3 bills are legal tender the hard-left-dominated news media would carefully and continuously look the other way, pausing occasionally to sneer at anyone who pointed out that, in this constitutionally crucial respect, the “president” has no clothes.

Secondly, not one of the numerous agencies of state, as well as federal government, whose duty was and is to investigate the Mickey-Mouse “birth certificate” has bothered even to respond to the thousands of requests for investigation put forward by U.S. citizens.

In Hawaii last year, I watched as a senior former state senator called the police and, when they came, handed over to them compelling evidence that the “birth certificate” had been forged. The police, correctly, passed the file to the state’s attorney general, a “Democrat,” who did nothing about it.

In Washington, D.C., I watched as a concerned citizen from Texas telephoned the FBI and reported the “birth certificate” as being a forgery. They said they would send two agents to see him within the hour. No one came.



In every instance, the “president” and his fawning courtiers have gone well beyond the level of habitual mendacity that is characteristic of the lesser sort of politician. It is no longer possible for anyone to believe a word they say.

Contrast this shoddy, lying administration with that of the first man to grace the office that Mr. Obama now occupies. George Washington “could not tell a lie.” Barry Soetero, or whatever his real name is, cannot tell the truth. That observation is a measure of how far America under the “Democrats” has fallen from the high ideals and the noble example of the founding president of the United States.

On any objective test, Mr. Obama should not merely be impeached: he should be imprisoned. But no one will do anything to bring him to book. Corruption by inaction is the most corrosive corruption of all.
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