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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

First, Davis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GOP Congressman Confused Why Planned Parenthood Gets More Money Than Boys And Girls Clubs

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards spent much of her time at yesterday’s House Oversight Committee hearing on her organization’s federal funding explaining how Medicaid reimbursements work. Planned Parenthood, just like other health care providers that accept Medicaid, receives reimbursements for its health care services for low-income people, excluding abortion services.

Many Republican members of the committee, however, were unable or unwilling to grasp this, including Rep. John Duncan of Tennessee, who demanded that Richards explain why Planned Parenthood gets more federal funding than the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Richards noted that the Boys and Girls Club, which receives some grants from the Justice Department for its youth programs, is not a health care provider.

“Well, I think the cost of providing health care to 2.7 million people, and I very much respect the Boys and Girls Club, but we work like hospitals and other health care providers in being reimbursed directly for services that we provide,” Richards explained. “Again, I think the comparison is a little apples and oranges.”

After Richards explained again how Medicaid reimbursements work, Duncan changed strategies and asked Richards to clarify that she does not “defend the sale of baby body parts.”

Linda Harvey: Fighting Anti-LGBT Bullying Is Sexual Abuse

Mission America’s Linda Harvey criticized the anti-bullying efforts championed by GLSEN and the It Gets Better Campaign yesterday, claiming that their popularity is a sign that “America has become desensitized to sexual abuse of the children we have a duty to protect.”

Harvey wrote in WorldNetDaily that “GLSEN will not only poison the minds and injure the bodies of those children who can be tragically persuaded to identify as ‘LGBTQ,’ but they want to sweep the larger population of children into this cesspool as well,” while rainbow-colored Doritos chips raising funds for It Gets Better will “send vulnerable American youth down self-destructive roads.”

“Deviant Doritos are just more moral junk food being offered to brainwashed kids and the adults guiding them,” Harvey wrote. “We should be exposing this phony-baloney ‘outreach’ to kids, not enabling it. If Satan had literally been recruited as a consultant on this project, it could not get any worse. In his eyes, it only gets better.”

America has become desensitized to sexual abuse of the children we have a duty to protect. Many Americans are now comfortable with – or indifferent to – the normalization and whitewashing of child corruption. Here are some recent examples I hope stir some minds and hearts.

Example No. 1: A full-page ad appeared in USA Today on Sept. 23 from a group that has grown in power even as its message, at its core, has become more radical and child-endangering.

GLSEN, the Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network, ran the ad to encourage support for its “Ally Week” ( Sept. 28- Oct. 2) with the headline, “Respect My Pronouns.”



By cleaning up sodomy to seem child-friendly, GLSEN will not only poison the minds and injure the bodies of those children who can be tragically persuaded to identify as “LGBTQ,” but they want to sweep the larger population of children into this cesspool as well – and call it “being an ally.”

You are a compassionate hipster teen, not an ignorant bigot, if you come alongside this movement, even if what you think you are seeing is ugly and degrading. Look over there! Nothing to see here, except an unimpeachable “anti-bullying” campaign.

Same with parents who desperately want to intervene, but are dissuaded by the leftist regimes controlling most schools. Children are indoctrinated with one viewpoint: Never listen to ex-homosexuals (“They’re all fakes!”) or to Christians, or even to the brave teacher or coach who may want to provide sound guidance and warnings.

Online “LGBT” networks bypass parents and schools to reach even 11- and 12-year-olds, so there are now thousands of American adolescents who join the school “gay-straight alliances” without parental knowledge, hang out at “gay pride” parades, or frequent the homosexual community youth clubs with older homosexual volunteers.



By donating Dorito profits to support the Savage-inspired “It Gets Better” project, they help to send vulnerable American youth down self-destructive roads, all in the name of – wait for it – preventing self-destruction.

Deviant Doritos are just more moral junk food being offered to brainwashed kids and the adults guiding them. We should be exposing this phony-baloney “outreach” to kids, not enabling it. If Satan had literally been recruited as a consultant on this project, it could not get any worse. In his eyes, it only gets better.

Savage: 'Dumbest Man On Earth' Pope Francis Will Take Away All The Salami

Michael Savage has dedicated a substantial amount of time on his show “Savage Nation” in the last weeks to denouncing Pope Francis and warning his listeners of the nefarious consequences of the pope’s actions. Savage is strongly critical of the pope’s stances on poverty and climate change, going so far as to claim that following the pope’s encyclicals will lead to the destruction of society as we know it.

Savage surmised on his program last Monday that “the pope is a moron” who doesn’t understand anything about the economy or global warming. He went on to say that Pope Francis “is one of the stupidest people I have ever encountered in the history of the intellectual world. He is perhaps the dumbest man on Earth.”

Savage is also not shy when it comes to warning that both Obama and the pope will cause mass death, so it was only a matter of time before he linked the two leaders. Savage explained the supposedly dubious nature of the pope’s origins: He started as a club “bouncer” and rose through the political ranks of the Catholic Church, “very much like Obama.”

On his program the next day, Savage warned that if Catholics don’t wake up to the truth of the pope’s plan to help the poor and stop global warming, they could one day find “the ex-Soviet Union in [their] town” with “only one salami hanging in the butcher store.” This claim is similar to how Savage characterizes Obama’s intentions, which, according to him, are to subvert “Western, white, European, Judeo-Christian-based democracy” with “Stalinist political correctness.”

Dave Brat: GOP's Planned Parenthood Criticism Just A Ruse To Hide Budget Increases

Rep. Dave Brat, the Tea Party-aligned Republican who unseated House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in Virginia last year, attacked congressional leadership of both parties last week, claiming that they were encouraging the “little drama” about Planned Parenthood defunding in order to create a “shiny object” to distract from their attempt to jettison the budget caps put in place by sequestration.

“Everyone’s trying to act like it’s this shiny object at budget time with Planned Parenthood or something,” Brat told Virginia talk radio host John Fredericks last Thursday, the day before House Speaker John Boehner announced his retirement. “That’s got very little to do with it.”

“The key question for the press right now is who is in charge of the United States budget?” he said.

He offered one possibility: “[Maryland Democratic Sen.] Barbara Mikulski is in that room, we know that, she is encouraging all this Planned Parenthood drama and all this kind of thing. But those issues are not front and central in the budget process, and we should have debated them in regular order as we were promised. And so I just encourage folks, don’t get lost in this Planned Parenthood shiny object thing, look at what’s really going on, both sides, the Republicans and the Democrats, want to break the budget caps. That’s what this is all about.”

“Is this whole Planned Parenthood thing just like a ruse to get everybody’s eye off the ball?” Fredericks asked.

“Yeah, yes, yes!” Brat answered. “The budget is $3.5 trillion, that is the main game in town, that’s where the power is, that’s where the money is. Think ‘House of Cards.’ What’s it about? Is it about Planned Parenthood or is it about massive power in a $3.5 trillion budget? I mean, anyone knows the answer to that.

“So at the end of the day, the press all unites, blames a few conservatives for this that or the other thing. It has nothing to do with it. This thing has been orchestrated for over a year, over three or four months ago, Hal Rogers, the head of Approps, in quotes said ‘we need more flexibility up here,’ that means we need more spending. There was no videos back then, there was no Planned Parenthood debate back then, the entire budget set-up has been put in play by leadership, and so they need to get us out of it, they don’t get to blame somebody at the end of the day over some little drama.”

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/29/15

  • Timothy B. Lee @ Vox: Whatever you think of Planned Parenthood, this is a terrible and dishonest chart. 
  • Media Matters: After NASA Announces It Found Water On Mars, Rush Limbaugh Says It's Part Of A Climate Change Conspiracy. 
  • Warren Throckmorton: Challenge to David Barton: Where Are the 1500 Bible Verses in Locke’s Two Treatises?

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/29/15

  • Ben Carson knows what’s to blame for the fall of the Roman Empire: gay marriage.
  • Bobby Jindal wants to make sure everyone knows that Willie Robertson of “Duck Dynasty” did not switch his endorsement to Donald Trump.
  • Bill Muehlenberg of BarbWire says God sanctioned the death penalty so if opponents think it’s wrong then “they really need to deal with God about it”: “It is time we let God be God in these areas, and not insist that we can somehow do a better job of governing the universe than he does.”

Janet Porter: Christians In America Are Just Like Jews In Nazi Germany

Faith 2 Action’s Janet Porter is joining other Religious Right leaders in claiming that conservative Christians in the U.S. are now facing the same attacks as Jews who lived under Nazi rule, which comes as no surprise as she issued a litany of absurd warnings in her recent “documentary” film featuring Republicans such as Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Today in BarbWire, Porter suggests that the recent controversy surrounding Kentucky clerk Kim Davis is signaling an upcoming holocaust of American Christians:

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