Who's Who At The Values Voter Summit 2015

Next weekend, GOP presidential contenders and top lawmakers will mingle with some of the most extreme Religious Right activists in the country at the Values Voter Summit, an annual event in Washington, D.C., sponsored by the Family Research Council, the American Family Association, American Values, and others.

Scott Walker, Ted Cruz, Rick Santorum, Bobby Jindal, Mike Huckabee, Lindsey Graham and Ben Carson have all confirmed that they will be speaking at the event. Carly Fiorina, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie and John Kasich have been invited but have not yet confirmed their attendance, according to the event’s website. Jeb Bush, who was snubbed by FRC at last year’s event, declined to attend but will send a video address. Donald Trump is the only presidential candidate to have publicly turned down the invitation, provoking the ire of FRC’s president, Tony Perkins.

Candidates who attend the Values Voter Summit choose to align themselves with some of the most radical activists and organizations working to dehumanize LGBT people, erode reproductive rights, demolish the separation between church and state, and eliminate First Amendment rights for religious minorities.

The Family Research Council routinely smears LGBT people with false and degrading pronouncements and campaigns for a United States ruled by the dicta of a small faction of fundamentalists Christians. Another principal sponsor of the summit, the American Family Association, has an equally extreme record.

In addition to the abhorrent record of the sponsors of this event, the presidential candidates will also be joined by a host of radical Religious Right speakers.

Below is an introduction to some of the people who will be sharing the stage with the Republican presidential hopefuls.

Tony Perkins

As the president of the Family Research Council, the summit’s main sponsor, Tony Perkins heads the organization’s efforts to erode gay rights, reproductive rights, and the separation of church and state.

FRC continually expresses hostility to the rights of Americans who don’t share his conservative brand of Christianity. Last year, Perkins suggested that the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections do not apply to Muslims, not surprising for the leader of an organization that once issued a statement that read, “[W]hile it is true that the United States of America was founded on the sacred principle of religious freedom for all, that liberty was never intended to exalt other religions to the level that Christianity holds in our country's heritage…. Our Founders … would have found utterly incredible the idea that all religions, including paganism, be treated with equal deference." He similarly suggested that Christians who support LGBT rights should not have the same religious freedoms as anti-gay conservatives because “true religious freedom” only applies to those whom he believes hold “orthodox religious viewpoints.”

Perkins has also overseen one of the most anti-gay platforms of any major political organization. FRC officials have expressed support for the criminalization of homosexuality not only in the United States, but also in Malawi and Uganda. Senior fellow Peter Sprigg once said he would “much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them into the United States because we believe homosexuality is destructive to society.”

Perkins himself frequently reflects the extreme views of his organization. He has:

Jerry Boykin

Family Research Council vice president and retired Army Lt. Gen. William “Jerry” Boykin sparked a controversy when, as a high-ranking official in the Bush Defense Department, he framed the fight against terrorism as a holy war between Christianity and Islam. He has since built a career as a Religious Right speaker, specializing in anti-Muslim rhetoric and anti-Obama conspiracy theories. He:

Mat Staver

Mat Staver is the founder and head of Liberty Counsel, which is the organization currently representing Kentucky clerk Kim Davis in her campaign to deny marriage licenses to gay couples in her county. At a previous Values Voter Summit, Staver claimed that progressives are using LGBT rights and secular government as part of an effort to “ultimately implode America” and that the “agenda of the homosexual movement” is to destroy freedom and western civilization. Staver has:

Jonathan Cahn

Messianic rabbi Jonathan Cahn is best known for his novel “The Harbinger,” which asserts that the 9/11 attacks were a result of America losing God’s protection due to its sins.  Cahn also:

Todd Starnes

Fox News commentator Todd Starnes has become notorious for filing false reports based on right-wing conspiracy theories, especially about the supposed persecution of Christians in America, which of course makes him a favorite “journalist” among conservative activists. Starnes has also:

Star Parker

Star Parker is a longtime Religious Right activist who is particularly active in anti-gay and anti-choice advocacy. She has called legal abortion a “genocide” on par with slavery and the Holocaust and blamed “sexual promiscuity” for nearly all financial and societal problems. At the 2011 Values Voter Summit, she claimed that God was getting ready to punish America for marriage equality and legal abortion. Parker has also:

David and Jason Benham

Twin brothers Jason and David Benham were catapulted to national attention when an HGTV show that they were set to star in was cancelled following revelations about their anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-Muslim activism. Since the show’s cancellation, the brothers have become martyrs in the eyes of the Religious Right, which has lifted them up as an example of the supposed persecution of conservative Christians in America. One or both of the brothers have:

  • Asserted that the LGBT equality movement is part of a “spiritual fight" between God and the “kingdom run by Satan
  • Compared themselves to ISIS victims
  • Urged the city of Charlotte, North Carolina, to deny permits to an LGBT Pride event, calling it a “vile” and “destructive” activity that “should not be allowed in our city”
  • Compared the fight against marriage equality to opposing Nazi Germany
  • Called an Islamic community center a “den of iniquity” and referred to Muslims as “the enemy attacking" America
  • Organized a prayer rally to coincide with the 2012 Democratic National Convention, declaring that America must repent for “homosexuality and its agenda that is attacking the nation”
  • Led protests outside of abortion clinics, praising anti-choice demonstrators for taking a stand at “the gates of hell” and confronting the “altars of Moloch”

Kim Davis

Kim Davis, the clerk of Rowan County, Kentucky, became a Religious-Right folk hero this summer when she refused to allow her office to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality. Davis, saying that she was acting under “God’s authority” and wanted to use her county office to spread “God’s word,” spent five nights in jail after a federal judge found her in contempt of court for violating multiple court orders to begin issuing licenses. The viciously anti-gay group Liberty Counsel and its founder Mat Staver has been active supporters of Davis and have been representing her in court

At the summit, Davis will receive FRC’s “Cost of Discipleship” award, which previously went to Meriam Ibrahim, a Sudanese woman who was actually persecuted for her Christian faith. Tony Perkins, the president of FRC, has previously compared Davis’ experience to that of Ibrahim, who was imprisoned for converting to Christianity and was later granted asylum in the U.S.

Casey Davis

Casey Davis (no relation to Kim Davis) is another Kentucky clerk who has refused to grant marriage licenses to gay couples. Davis called the Supreme Court ruling on marriage equality a “war on Christianity,” and vowed to go to jail — and even die — in order to protect his “freedom” to deny gay couples marriage licenses.

Brigitte Gabriel

Brigitte Gabriel is the founder and president of ACT! for America, where she works with local activists throughout the country to promote fears that Sharia law is taking hold in the U.S. and must be banned and to challenge textbooks that she believes are insufficiently critical of Islam. She makes frequent media appearances to warn of what she calls the “secret Islamification” of the West. Among other attacks on Mulsim-Americans, Gabriel has:

Pat Fagan

Pat Fagan is the director of summit sponsor the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religious Research Institute. He has compared a UN report criticizing the Vatican over its handling of sexual abuse cases to Kristallnacht, the spate of violence in which Nazis attacked Jews and destroyed their property while German police turned a blind eye, and  has advocated for coming up with new names for gay marriage, such as “garriage,” “larriage” or “harriage,” so that when he says “marriage” it will be clear he means heterosexual marriage. He has said that Eisenstadt v. Baird, the Supreme Court ruling that allowed the distribution of contraception to unmarried people, may be “the single most destructive decision in the history of the Court,” explaining that “functioning” societies “punish” and “shame” people who have sex outside of marriage.

Erick Erickson

Erick Erickson is a Fox contributor and the editor of conservative blog RedState. Constantly pushing for the conservative movement to move further to the right, Erickson has:

Craig James

Former sportscaster Craig James joined the Family Research Council in 2014. In addition to claiming that Obama may secretly be a Muslim, James has:

Aaron & Melissa Klein

Aaron and Melissa Klein are the owners of an Oregon bakery who were sued for violating the state’s nondiscrimination laws when they refused to bake a wedding cake for a lesbian couple. They have since become Religious Right martyrs and were featured by Sen. Ted Cruz in a campaign video. Aaron Klein has said that denying a cake to a gay couple was part of his fight against “Satan.”

Ed Vitagliano

As research director of the American Family Association, Ed Vitagliano is a vocal anti-gay activist. Not only does he believe “pray away the gay” works, but he also claims that gay rights will lead to the destruction of America.

Brent Bozell

Bozell is the Founder and President of the Media Research Center, which works to expose what it claims is rampant “liberal media bias.”

Bozell has:

Theodore Shoebat Unhappy With Nomination Of A 'Flaming Fag' To Serve As Army Secretary

Theodore Shoebat is not particularly fond of gay people. In fact, he has made it quite clear time and again that he thinks that gays need to be forced to submit to Christianity or else be put to death ... but that has not stopped him from regularly being interviewed on Christian news programs or being featured in an anti-gay documentary along with several Republican members of Congress and GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Rand Paul.

Naturally, Shoebat was less than pleased with the news that President Obama has nominated Eric Fanning, a gay man, to serve as Secretary of the Army, so he posted a video voicing his displeasure with President Obama's satanic effort to fill the military with "fags."

"In 2012, Obama got rid of Don't Ask, Don't Tell," Shoebat declared, "which basically means that fags can be out in the open in their flaming fag ways, regardless of the fact that they are decreasing the morale of fellow soldiers. It doesn't matter, they can be flaming homos right there in the U.S. military, they can be sodomizing each other right there in the military barracks."

The nomination of "Eric Flaming Fag," as Shoebat put it, by the "pro-fag, pro-sodomy, anti-family, anti-Christ president" is just further "evidence as to the bullcrap that we have been seeing throughout the years from this satanic administration."

Right Wing Round-Up - 9/18/15

  • Judd Legum @ Think Progress: Man Asks Trump: ‘When Can We Get Rid’ Of All The Muslims In America? His Answer Was Horrifying.
  • Andy Towle @ Towleroad: Alabama Judge Follows Kim Davis’ Lead, Won’t Issue ‘License to Engage in Sodomy’.
  • Lee Fang @ The Intercept: Ahmed Mohamed’s Clock Was “Half a Bomb,” Says Anti-Muslim Group With Ties to Trump, Cruz.
  • Caitlin MacNeal @ TPM: Tea Partiers Ousted For Covering Up Affair To Run For Office Again.
  • Sarah Kliff @ Vox: I asked Fiorina's campaign for video to back her Planned Parenthood claim. Here’s what they sent.
  • Travis Gettys @ Raw Story: Conservatives warn Ahmed Mohamed’s arrest was terrorist ‘setup’ to make Islamophobia seem racist.

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 9/18/15

  • Anti-gay activists are waging a "superhuman effort" to defeat Houston's anti-discrimination ordinance because "part of the homosexual agenda is to destroy religious freedom."
  • Don't you just hate it "when apostles and prophets use prophetic witchcraft against you"?
  • An excellent point from Paul Hair: "Liberty University invited Bernie Sanders to speak to its students and promote his Marxist ideology, and if it is open to hosting this politically correct evil advocate, Liberty should be open to hosting a politically incorrect evil advocate next."
  • Todd Starnes is very angry with the Muppets.
  • Finally, rest assured that Glenn Beck is only working on "saving the right people" with his $10 million Nazarene Fund ... by which he means "Christians."

Bryan Fischer: US Army Now 'The Army Of Sodom And Gomorrah. May God Help Us.'

American Family Radio host Bryan Fischer isn’t taking the news well that President Obama will nominate an openly gay man to serve as Secretary of the Army:

Of course, it was only a few months ago, in the aftermath of the Obergefell decision, that Fischer declared that, “June, 26, 2015, is a date which will live in infamy” because “on this day, the United States become Sodom and Gomorrah.”

Fischer: Ahmed Mohamed's Clock 'Looks Like A Bomb'

It came as absolutely no surprise that anti-Islam radio show host Bryan Fischer defended the arrest of 14 year-old  Ahmed Mohamed for bringing a homemade clock to school, asserting on his program today that it was entirely reasonable for school officials to be suspicious because Mohamed's father was a devout Muslim.

Citing reports that Mohamed ElHassan Mohamed had run for the presidency in his native Sudan and had also defended the Quran against radical anti-Muslim zealot Terry Jones, Fischer was incredulous that anyone would fault the school for being on alert when Ahmed "shows up as school with something that looks like a bomb."

"His father," Fischer declared, "twice ran for the presidency of Sudan, which is a stridently, vigorously Muslim country. It's one of the state sponsors of terrorism around the world and Ahmed Mohamed, his father wanted to be the president of Sudan! Twice!"

Fischer also noted that the elder Mohamed dared to "show up to defend the Quran" against Terry Jones, saying that "if you know that about this family, then there's reasons certainly to be cautious if the son shows up in school with something that looks like a bomb."

Santorum: Gay Marriage Still Illegal Because It's 'Not The Way Nature Functions'

At this week’s GOP presidential debate on CNN, Rick Santorum hailed Kentucky clerk Kim Davis for defying the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling, likening her to a girl who he said was killed for believing in God during the Columbine massacre. (This claim, as it turns out, is not true and the story of the girl’s death has been badly misreported.)

In an interview with Florida conservative radio host Joyce Kaufman yesterday, Santorum discussed his exchange on the topic with George Pataki and likened Kim Davis to slavery abolitionists and Martin Luther King, Jr.

“I don’t think there is any question that the Supreme Court’s decision goes against the natural law,” Santorum said. “That’s not the way nature functions. So as a result of that, I think Kim Davis and everybody else has the obligation to oppose it. Now that doesn’t mean, like Martin Luther King, you aren’t going to suffer consequences to a society who has gotten it wrong. But the only way you are going to say things is for people to start saying: ‘We are not going to comply with unjust laws.’”

Glenn Beck's Newest Conspiracy Theory: Donald Trump's Campaign Is A Plot By Big Business To Discredit The Tea Party

Glenn Beck has made no secret of the fact that he is not a fan of Donald Trump's presidential campaign, nor has he hidden his confusion about how anyone who considers themselves to be a member of the Tea Party could ever support Trump's effort.

On his radio program today, Beck began to flesh out a theory that he thinks can explain what is really going on with Trump's campaign, promising that once he can prove it, he will lay it all out on his chalkboard. As it stands now, Beck's theory is that Trump's campaign is really an effort by "big business" to discredit and destroy the Tea Party once and for all.

As Beck sees it, his listening audience contains more Tea Party members than that of any other right-wing radio host and yet Trump consistently fares poorly when Beck's network takes its monthly presidential poll. If his audience doesn't support Trump and his audience contains lots of Tea Party members, then Trump's support cannot be coming from the Tea Party, Beck reasons. Of course, actual scientific polls show Trump leading among Tea Party supporters.

"The Tea Party is eating its own," Beck said. "If I'm a guy who is a Republican establishment guy or I'm a liberal, I want to destroy the Tea Party. But if I'm a businessman, I want to destroy it as well.  The reason why the GOP isn't suffering with their goals on campaign funds is because big business just wants business to go on. They know how to play the game. Look, Donald Trump as said, 'I give to everybody." He knows how to play the game. He doesn't know how to play the game with a libertarian, small government guy who says, 'There's no game for you to play here, Donald, and we stand by the Constitution.' So you can't buy that person or bully that person out of their house any more."

"It makes sense that he doesn't want the Tea Party," Beck continued. "So what's as good as getting the presidency of the United States? Discrediting and destroying a movement that stands for true principles. Small government and maximum freedom, stand for those who want to disrupt the system that makes everybody rich."

"I think is is really important that you stand up," he warned, "and you separate yourself as a tea partier and say, 'That is not us, that is not us.'"

Planned Parenthood Vote Shows The GOP Can't Sidestep It's 'Definitional Problem With Rape'

The House today approved a bill that would block federal funds from going to Planned Parenthood for one year, unless the organization certifies that it will no longer perform abortions, something that it does not currently use federal funds for.

The vote, driven by a smear campaign from anti-choice extremists, was divided mostly along party lines, with the notable exception of Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King, who voted “present.” In a video statement, King explained that he didn’t think the House bill went far enough in attacking the “diabolical” Planned Parenthood, taking particular issue with the fact that the bill would allow Planned Parenthood to continue offering abortions for women who have survived rape or incest:

Leading anti-choice groups have been trying desperately to stop anti-abortion lawmakers from talking about abortion rights for rape survivors after disastrous comments by Missouri’s Todd Akin and Indiana’s Richard Mourdock helped to sink their respective 2012 Senate bids.

The Susan B. Anthony List’s Marjorie Dannenfelser, one of the most influential leaders in the anti-choice movement, held trainings to teach Republican politicians how to change the subject when rape comes up. Dannenfelser has been very clear that she opposes rape exceptions in abortion bans, which she has called “abominable,” “regrettable” and “ intellectually dishonest,” but will urge lawmakers to support a bill that has to contain such exceptions for political reasons.

But hard as Dannenfelser and her allies might try to get anti-choice lawmakers to shut up about rape, they face an uphill battle. Although most anti-choice activists oppose rape exceptions, a vocal portion of the movement believes that lawmakers should automatically reject any bill that includes such exceptions.

A 20-week abortion ban that passed in the House earlier this year and will be coming up for a vote in the Senate next week has been mired for years in anti-choice infighting about rape exceptions. Before a version of the bill came up for a House vote in 2013, Republican leaders scrambled at the last minute to add a rape exception to neutralize controversial comments made by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Trent Franks.

In January of this year, the House was planning to vote on the bill to mark the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, but scrapped the plan after a coalition led by female Republican lawmakers objected to a provision that would have required rape survivors to report the crime to law enforcement. An exasperated Sen. Lindsey Graham told anti-choice activists the next morning, “I’m going to need your help to find a way out of this definitional problem with rape.”

After extensive negotiations, the House finally settled on a bill that includes an exception for rape survivors if they first undergo a 48-hour waiting period.

But, as Steve King’s “present” vote shows, as long as they’re spending time attacking abortion rights, the GOP is going to be stuck with what Graham called “this definitional problem with rape.”

Michael Savage: Pope's Speech Means 'The Communist Revolution Is Complete'

Yesterday on “The Savage Nation,” conservative talk show host Michael Savage once again lit into Pope Francis for his stance on climate change, criticizing Republican leaders for inviting the pope to speak to Congress in the first place.

Savage, who believes that Francis is a full-blown Marxist following in the footsteps of Pol Pot, said he was embarrassed for the country.

“It’s sickening what happened to this country that they would invite a pope to speak to Congress,” he said. “It’s an embarrassment. It’s never ever been done before but the communist revolution is so complete that they dare do it.”

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