Ben Carson Set To Join Pastor Who Wants Gays Put To Death At Iowa Conference

Update (8/25): The website has since labeled Carson as only an invited speaker.

Later this year, far-right Colorado radio host and homeschooling activist Kevin Swanson will be attempting to expand his national profile by organizing a “National Religious Liberties Conference” in Des Moines, Iowa.

Since Swanson believes that homosexuality should be punished by death and frequently claims that liberals are using things like the movie Frozen and Girl Scout cookies to make children gay, we hoped that even this year’s field of Republican presidential candidates would think twice before showing up at his conference.

But apparently that was too much to ask.

Steve Deace, a conservative Iowa radio host who frequently interviews GOP presidential candidates and is scheduled to speak at Swanson’s conference, spoke with Swanson about the conference last week and announced just that Ben Carson has already agreed to attend the event and that “Bobby Jindal is planning on being there.”

Deace’s statement followed a warning from Swanson that millions of American Christians will soon end up in prison because of advances in gay rights.

Indeed, the conference website lists Carson as a confirmed speaker.

We contacted the Carson campaign for comment but have yet to hear back.

As we’ve mentioned, Swanson’s record of extremism is truly unmatched.

Swanson, who hosts a daily “Generations Radio” broadcast from his basement in Colorado, not only believes gay people and their allies should be put to death, but also thinks that women are causing floods by wearing pants.

Swanson on homosexuality:

  • Defended a Ugandan measure to make homosexuality a criminal offense punishable by life imprisonment or the death penalty, saying he was glad the country was “standing strong” by adopting extreme anti-gay laws.

And there’s more!

  • Hurricanes Sandy and Katrina were divine punishments of “pro-homosexual” cities.
  • Homosexuality is a “disease.”

Swanson on women:

  • Helping women in Kenya own their own cows will “obliterate” the family.

Swanson on pop culture:

  • Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus and Katy Perry sing “demon songs.”

Swanson on other topics:

Avi Lipkin: Satan-Worshiping Obama Hopes To 'Destroy The Human Race'

Far-right conspiracy theorist Avi Lipkin has become the Religious Right’s go-to expert on Islam and President Obama’s supposed effort to bring 100 million Muslims into the U.S., thus cementing the power of the Free Masons and Illuminati.

Lipkin spoke with Rick Wiles yesterday on “Trunews” about the Iranian nuclear deal, which he said is all part of Obama’s plan to make “Israel go to war against Iran.” Saudi Arabia will then emerge as the regional power since the two countries will “destroy each other.” (After all, Lipkin believes that Obama is a “Saudi plant.”) This Iranian-Israeli war will allow Obama to “free himself up for his real mission, which is to make America a Muslim country.”

“President Obama is a Muslim,” Lipkin continued. “If you’re a Muslim, your god is Satan; if you’re a Muslim, then you are criminally psychotic. This is the plan to destroy the human race. This is something that Allah wants.”

He added that Muslims believe that “the only way for Allah to be greater than the God of the Jews and the Christians is to kill every last human being on the face of the earth, that’s the plan of Islam.”

Jade Helm 15 Is Here! The GOP Politicians Who Encouraged Panic Over President Obama's 'Texas Takeover'

This spring, when far-right conspiracy theory websites started buzzing about Jade Helm 15, a planned military exercise in western states that they said was a cover for President Obama’s plans to impose martial law on Republicans states, we expected apoplectic reactions from the fringiest of right-wing circles. But who else was going to take it seriously?

Plenty of people, it turns out, including Republican politicians seeking to capitalize on anti-Obama fears in order to lift their profile in the increasingly far-right party — a poll in May found that a full one-third of Republicans believed that the government was “trying to take over Texas.”

Today, as the military exercise begins, we look back at five Republican politicians who, whether credulously or cynically, fed the Jade Helm 15 frenzy.

1. Greg Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott was the first GOP politician this fringe conspiracy theory into the Republican mainstream, assuring concerned citizens that he had ordered the Texas Guard to monitor the potential takeover effort.

After he became the object of national criticism and ridicule, Abbott said that the actually thought the military exercise would “work out just fine” and blamed President Obama for stirring up suspicion:

“Frankly, I gotta tell you, I think the cause of the underlying concerns is that we see instances, like a shooting in Fort Hood by a terrorist, that the president labels workplace violence. We see the president come to the border in Texas and say it’s safer than it’s ever been,” said Abbott. “And so I think it was a misplaced perception by people in Texas who have problems with the Obama administration and connected that trust with the Obama administration to the military.”

2. Rick Perry

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry initially criticized Abbott’s fanning of the Jade Helm 15 flames, saying that while “you can always question” civilian leadership, “I think our military is quite trustworthy.”

But the presidential candidate quickly got the messaging memo, telling Glenn Beck that while President Obama invites unhinged conspiracy theories, when he’s president, everyone will trust the government:

3. Ted Cruz

Not to be outdone by his presidential rival Perry, Sen. Ted Cruz assured his flock that he had “ reached out to the Pentagon to inquire about this exercise ,” and although he had “no reason to doubt” the official line about the training exercise, “I understand the reason for concern and uncertainty, “because when the federal government has not demonstrated itself to be trustworthy in this administration, the natural consequence is that many citizens don’t trust what it is saying.”

4. Louie Gohmert

After Abbott ordered the Texas Guard to monitor Jade Helm 15, Rep. Louie Gohmert threw himself into promoting the conspiracy theory, releasing a statement saying that the conspiracy theorists were “legitimately suspicious” because “true patriots” and Christians were being persecuted in America.

Gohmert continued with some theories of his own:

Once I observed the map depicting ‘hostile,’ ‘permissive,’ and ‘uncertain’ states and locations, I was rather appalled that the hostile areas amazingly have a Republican majority, ‘cling to their guns and religion,’ and believe in the sanctity of the United States Constitution. When the federal government begins, even in practice, games or exercises, to consider any U.S. city or state in 'hostile' control and trying to retake it, the message becomes extremely calloused and suspicious.

Such labeling tends to make people who have grown leery of federal government overreach become suspicious of whether their big brother government anticipates certain states may start another civil war or be overtaken by foreign radical Islamist elements which have been reported to be just across our border. Such labeling by a government that is normally not allowed to use military force against its own citizens is an affront to the residents of that particular state considered as 'hostile,' as if the government is trying to provoke a fight with them. The map of the exercise needs to change, the names on the map need to change, and the tone of the exercise needs to be completely revamped so the federal government is not intentionally practicing war against its own states.

Like Abbott and Perry, Gohmert was insistent that the whole conspiracy theory was President Obama’s fault:

5. Rand Paul

We’ll give Rand Paul credit for seeming a little surprised when a popular Iowa talk radio host asked him about Jade Helm 15, although he said he’d been hearing about it from constituents and would “look into” it. If Paul ever did look into it and find that the conspiracy theory was completely bogus, however, he never bothered to say so.

Rick Santorum: 'Take Down Planned Parenthood' To 'Scrub All Racism From America'

Yesterday on “The Simon Conway Show,” Rick Santorum fielded a question about the heavily edited video purporting to show a Planned Parenthood official trying to sell fetal tissue. The unedited video makes clear that she was actually “discussing the reimbursement cost for consensual, legal tissue donations.”

Santorum, ignoring the fact that the video’s claims were quickly debunked, called for a full-scale government investigation into Planned Parenthood and criminal prosecution. He also linked his war against Planned Parenthood to the recent debate over the Confederate flag in wake of the Charleston church shooting.

“If you want to scrub all racism from America, let’s start with Planned Parenthood because it was started by a racist named Margaret Sanger,” he said, alleging that Sanger was bent on “culling out the ‘undesirables,’ including blacks, in America, so if you want to go back and take down the Confederate flag, let’s take down Planned Parenthood because Planned Parenthood has continued to do disgusting things.”

Santorum also criticized Hillary Clinton for receiving the Margaret Sanger Award — whose other honorees include Martin Luther King, Jr., who praised Sanger — claiming that it is “remarkable that she is able to get away with that.” Santorum vowed that if he were to be elected president he would use the bully pulpit to go after Planned Parenthood.

While Santorum is correct that Sanger was a supporter of the eugenics movement, as PolitiFact noted, the movement “had been widely accepted” at the time among political leaders including Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt and Herbert Hoover: “In other words, supporting eugenics did not automatically equal racism.” Biographers have also found that Sanger strongly opposed racial segregation. Instead, her critics have relied on a single quote that they have badly distorted.

Right Wing Round-Up - 7/14/15

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 7/14/15

  • Linda Harvey says that pedophiles "will be drawn like flies" to the Boy Scouts if the organization lifts its ban on gay scout leaders.
  • Jesse Lee Peterson says America must close its borders and control immigration because "Israel's been dealing with this kind of stuff for years now when they have suicide bombings, shootings in crowded places, innocent people being shot down."
  • CBN's David Brody truly believes "that if you injected every single American with truth serum you would see that a robust majority of Americans really do believe that marriage should be between a man and a woman. The problem is most people want to be 'politically correct' and be at the 'cool table' or have been brainwashed by a liberal media who suggest it’s time to get on the 'right side of history.'"
  • Texas Gov. Greg Abbott "vetoed legislation that would have given Texas doctors more power to detain mentally ill and potentially dangerous patients," thanks to pressure from the Church of Scientology.
  • Finally, Glenn Beck reacted to news of a nuclear deal with Iran just as one would expect: "What this president has done will be remembered as something far worse than Neville Chamberlain. It will only be a matter of time before millions cry out his name in despair and contempt. A Holocaust, perhaps bigger than the last, where millions of Christians and even Muslims who are not Muslim enough will die at the hands of the Islamic State."

Anti-Gay Pastor Warns Of Contracting The 'Sodomite Demon' At Restaurants, On Dates

James David Manning, the anti-gay Harlem pastor who has struck up an alliance with the anti-government group Oath Keepers, took to his “Manning Report” YouTube program yesterday to explain his theory of how people become gay.

Just as various diseases are spread through sexual intercourse and saliva, Manning explained, so too is the “sodomite demon.” If you have had sex with or even kissed or been at the same restaurant as someone who has such “demons in their blood,” he warned, you may have been “introduced to these demons in your life, sodomy, when you had no defense.”

Federal Court Rejects Another Bogus 'Religious Liberty' Claim From Religious Right

The Tenth Circuit today released its opinion in Little Sisters of the Poor v. Burwell, becoming the latest federal appellate court to reject the claim that the Obama Administration’s contraception coverage accommodation for religious nonprofits violates their religious liberty.

This is the latest effort by the far right to redefine “religious liberty” and the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) to use as a sword to deprive third parties of their legal rights.  Under RFRA, no federal law imposing a substantial burden on religious exercise can be sustained unless it is the least restrictive means of achieving a compelling government purpose.

The Tenth Circuit now joins the DC Circuit, the Third Circuit, the Fifth Circuit, and the Seventh Circuit in rejecting this attack on the accommodation for religious nonprofits.  Notably, all these decisions came after the Supreme Court rewrote the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the Hobby Lobby case, giving certain for-profit corporations and their owners greater latitude to exempt themselves from laws they find personally offensive.  (The Sixth Circuit also reached the same conclusion, but it is still in the process of reconsidering it to make sure it is consistent with Hobby Lobby.)

The Obama Administration created a process whereby religious nonprofits can exempt themselves from the federal requirement that its employees have certain contraception healthcare coverage: Fill out a form (or now, just send a letter) and let the Department of Health and Human Services know that you won’t be providing it and say who your insurance carrier is, so that officials can inform them of their legal requirements to provide the coverage.  The religious right has called even this accommodation a violation of the religious liberty rights of nonprofits, saying it makes them complicit in the provision of contraception that violates their religious beliefs.

The Tenth Circuit concluded that the accommodation does not substantially burden Plaintiffs’ religious exercise and therefore does not violate RFRA.  The court stated:

The accommodation relieves Plaintiffs from complying with the Mandate and guarantees they will not have to provide, pay for, or facilitate contraceptive coverage.  Plaintiffs do not “trigger” or otherwise cause contraceptive coverage because federal law, not the act of opting out, entitles plan participants and beneficiaries to coverage.  Although Plaintiffs allege the administrative tasks required to opt out of the Mandate make them complicit in the overall delivery scheme, opting out instead relieves them from complicity.

The court does not question the sincerity of the plaintiffs’ assertion that filling out the form violates their religious beliefs.  But it also pointed out that under RFRA, whether a burden is substantial is a legal question that is up to the court, not the plaintiff, to answer:

If plaintiffs could assert and establish that a burden is “substantial” without any possibility of judicial scrutiny, the word “substantial” would become wholly devoid of independent meaning.  Furthermore, accepting any burden alleged by Plaintiffs as “substantial” would improperly conflate the determination that a religious belief is sincerely held with the determination that a law or policy substantially burdens religious exercise.  (internal citation removed)

Whether it’s women’s ability to access their legal right to healthcare or same-sex couples’ ability to exercise their constitutional right to marry, imagine the chaos if people could simply exempt themselves from – and severely weaken – laws they disapprove of by citing their personal religious beliefs.

But that is a recipe for a Balkanized society, not a healthy pluralistic democracy.  Citing a previous case, the Tenth Circuit states: “Law accommodates religion; it cannot wholly exempt religion from the reach of the law.”

This post originally appeared on the blog of People For the American Way.

Kevin Swanson: U.S. Will Put 'Millions Of People In Jail' For Their Religion

Steve Deace invited fellow Religious Right radio host Kevin Swanson on to his program last week, and both were furious that the U.S. opposed a United Nations resolution which LGBT rights advocates worried “could be used as precedent to oppose rights for same-sex couples, single parents, and other forms of families in future UN negotiations.”

Deace pointed to the resolution as a sign that the U.S. has “now out-crazied the United Nations,” while Swanson managed to pull off an even more ominous warning to listeners: prepare to go to jail.

“Get ready to go to jail,” Swanson. “I’m talking about millions of people in jail within the next five years or so unless we take a stand right now.”

Roy Moore: First Amendment 'Implicitly Recognizes God'

In a 2008 interview with far-right radio host Kevin Swanson, Roy Moore, now the chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, attacked proponents of the separation of church and state, claiming that “the First Amendment itself implicitly recognizes God.”

Swanson asked Moore if the “kneejerk reaction to any reference to our Christian God, our Christian past, to the Bible” was “due to a minority of atheists that are making an enormous amount of noise.”

“It’s due to that,” Moore responded, “it’s also due to ignorance of our past, our history and our law. You know, right now there’s an exclusion of anything about God from our public life. Indeed, they say they cannot refer to God because of the First Amendment. But without the reference to God, without the acknowledgement that there is a God that gives us liberty, freedom of thought, there would be no First Amendment.

“In other words, the First Amendment itself implicitly recognizes God because of our history and our past.”

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