As Brian noted earlier, Sen. Ted Cruz spoke today at a "Watchmen on the Wall" event hosted by the far-right Family Research Council, where he shared the stage with a variety of other extreme anti-gay activists.
Naturally, when Cruz took the stage this morning, after being introduced by his father Rafael Cruz, who is also an anti-gay Religious Right activist in his own right, the Texas senator promised the gathering of pastors that he will "always, always, always" stand for the right of Christian business owners to discriminate against gays in the name of religious liberty.
Lamenting opposition to "religious liberty" bills in Indiana and Arkansas that would have allowed businesses to deny services to gay customers, Cruz declared that "the modern Democratic Party has become so radical, so extreme, that they have determined that their devotion to mandatory gay marriage in all 50 states trumps any allegiance to religious liberty under the First Amendment."
Even worse, Cruz said, was the fact that some of the leading GOP presidential hopefuls fell silent during the controversy as well ... but not Ted Cruz!
"I can tell you this," he said, "I will always, always, always stand and fight for religious liberty of every American!"
Did you realize that America's Founders established Christianity as the official religion of America in the 13 Original state Constitutions? ... Then suddenly, following three and half centuries of meteoric rise and cultural distinction, a secular U.S. Supreme Court in 1963 pronounced that the Bible would no longer be the fixed point in which to structure and judge community.
Lane’s opening misses a few minor historical points: the adoption of the Constitution, First Amendment, and Bill of Rights, and the fact that states with established official churches had disestablished them in the 18th and 19th centuries, long before the Supreme Court ruling Lane is complaining about.
Speaking of the Supreme Court, Lane declares, “God defines marriage, not secularist crusaders of the superior court.” And in order to be “completely transparent and unclouded on God’s position on homosexuality,” he quotes several Bible verses, including one from Leviticus that a man who sleeps with another man “shall surely be put to death.”
Lane denounces the American church for its “submission to secularists.”
Egregious and scandalous is the Church’s submission to secularists, and the resignation of America’s Founder’s mission, “We do hereby Dedicate this Land, and ourselves, to reach the People within these shores with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and to raise up Godly generations after us, and with these generations take the Kingdom of God to all the earth.”
That’s another historical sleight-of-hand. In common usage, terms like “founders” and “founding fathers” typically refer to men involved in the Declaration of Independence and the writing and ratification of the Constitution. Lane’s quote comes from Robert Hunt, a leader of the British settlement at Jamestown nearly two centuries earlier.
The American church has lost its commission in the public square, its purpose for being. Ultimately, unless we find the chart and compass used by Colonial America to establish Christianity as the official religion of America, America will no longer be.
The right-wing media has begun stoking outrage about a speech that Vanita Gupta, acting head of the Justice Department’s civil rights division, gave in Denver this week, in which she pointed out that the mistrust of police seen in places like Ferguson and Baltimore is “in part the product of historical awareness about the role that police have played in enforcing and perpetuating slavery, the Black Codes, lynchings and Jim Crow segregation.”
Hans von Spakovsky, the Bush-era Justice Department attorney who now uses his post at the Heritage Foundation to raise the alarm about supposed widespread “voter fraud,” is among those who were terribly offended by Gupta’s remarks. In an interview with Indiana talk radio host Greg Garrison yesterday, von Spakovsky said Gupta’s comments were ridiculous because slavery ended 150 years ago and in any case the United States abolished slavery “long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“Yeah, the people who intentionally and knowingly went out and lit fires and broke windows and looted, they’re doing that because of a practice that ended, what, 150 years ago, slavery, something they’ve never experienced. No, that’s the reasons for that, not intentional wrong behavior,” he said sarcastically, falsely implying that Gupta was excusing violence and arson.
“But you can get a liberal to buy that stuff because it puts them where they want to be, it gives them a reason to be mad at the white guy, to be mad at the country,” Garrison interjected, adding that liberals love “besmirching the founding fathers” even though “most of them got rid of [their slaves] and it was over in 70 years.”
“Of course, you realize what they don’t ever want to talk about, the fact that slavery was an institution in Africa,” von Spakovsky continued. “Tribes there enslaved other tribes, tribes there actually made huge amounts of money in the slave trade, and we actually, I think, got rid of it long before it disappeared in Africa.”
“It was the United States [that] declared slavery and fought a war to stop it,” Garrison agreed. “Nobody else did that. I didn’t see Africa doing that!”
“Wouldn’t it be fun to be a liberal, where you didn’t have to have any connection, where you didn’t have to have any historical perspective and you could just sort of make stuff up as you went along?” Garrison added.
Pat Robertson’s “The 700 Club” today profiled right-wing fears about the U.S. military’s Jade Helm 15 exercise, a conspiracy theory that reporter Jennifer Wishon blamed on “the fact that a vast majority of Americans simply don’t trust the government, a level of mistrust that has peaked under the Obama administration, driven by what many believe to be violations of the Constitution and civil liberties.”
“At first, people were not sure what to think: Do we have to worry about martial law? Is our federal government coming in and gonna practice imposing martial law on Texas?” Gohmert told Wishon. “This is actually taking areas of our home country, the United States, and saying Texas is hostile, Utah is hostile, Southern California is hostile and we’ve got to take it back from the ‘hostiles.’ I find that incredibly offensive.”
After explaining that the Jade Helm 15 map looks a bit too much like the electoral college results from the 2012 election, Gohmert blamed the whole right-wing freak-out on Obama: “When my own commander-in-chief through his subordinates is just fine with, for games purposes, declaring an enemy of two or more of your states, I got a real problem with that, that is one of the most insensitive, outrageous things that a military commader could do.”
Gohmert’s conspiracy theory, as well as being unhinged, isn’t even internally consistent, as the Jade Helm map lists the blue state of New Mexico as “leaning hostile” and the red state of Arizona as “leaning friendly.”
Wellington Boone will also speak at the event, even though he once told the audience at another FRC conference that he wishes he could call people “faggots.” At a 2006 event featuring FRC President Tony Perkins and Mitt Romney, Boone delivered a speech about the dangers of an island full of “sodomites,” defending laws making homosexuality a crime punished by the death penalty.
Matt Bevin, the Tea Party favorite who unsuccessfully challenged Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell in the 2014 Republican primary, is now leading in a tight race for the Republican nomination for governor. An early count has Bevin ahead by 83 votes after Tuesday's primary election, making it possible that he will become the newest GOP standard-bearer in the state.
While this is great news for the Tea Party, whom Bevin calls the new abolitionists and civil rights leaders, and for Glenn Beck, who thinks Bevin is a “founder quality” candidate, who has been “ called by God” for public office, it’s less good news for everyone else. One McConnell aide said that if Bevin, a political novice, were to become governor, “his only agenda would be the commissioning of his portrait.” But his record shows that he might have quite a bit more on his plate:
Anti-Contraception Stance Bevin won the endorsement of the extreme anti-choice group Northern Kentucky Right to Life last year after he said in a questionnaire that he would support a “personhood” amendment to the Constitution — which would ban all abortion and even some common forms of birth control — and work to prohibit Medicaid funding for birth control pills.
Health Care Extremism Bevin is such an opponent of the Affordable Care Act that he has vowed to reverse Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid under the law, a move that would take away the health insurance of 400,000 people. Kentucky has been one of the greatest success stories of Obamacare, experiencing what NPR calls “second-steepest drop in uninsured of any state.”
Cockfighting Bevin got plenty of negative publicity in his last campaign when it came to light that he had once spoken at a rally organized in support of legalizing cockfighting. Bevin later explained that while he opposes “animal cruelty” he supports “states’ rights” more. A Republican strategist told the New York Times that he expects the cockfighting issue to come up a lot in the general election should Bevin secure the nomination.
Gun Owners of America, the radical and influential gun group that boasts that it is far to the right of the NRA, announced in an email to its members yesterday that it will be holding a series of “tele-town hall meetings” with Republican presidential candidates in order to vet the candidates on their gun-law orthodoxy.
The “first of several” calls, to be held next week, will feature Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, a clear favorite of Gun Owners of America’s executive director, Larry Pratt.
While it’s unclear which other GOP candidates have agreed to participate in GOA’s calls, it’s disturbing that any have agreed to associate themselves with the far-right group and with Pratt.
Pratt has long stood at the intersection of the “mainstream” right, Christian nationalists, and fringe militia movements. In 1996, he was forced to step down from a position on Pat Buchanan’s presidential campaign when it came to light that he had spoken at a militia event featuring a number of neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic activists. Several years earlier, Pratt had coauthored what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the book that “introduced the concept of citizen militias to the radical right.”
A few days after the Oklahoma City bombing, he spoke to a far-right “Christian Patriots” group on the “biblical mandate to arm,” telling them that whoever had taken on the government “beast” in Oklahoma knew that “they can’t rely on the Lord to take vengeance.”
Pratt continues to promote an anti-government paranoia, urging citizens to arm themselves against a repressive government and make their elected officials fear assassination.
In an interview last year, Pratt said that being afraid of assassination was “a healthy fear” for members of Congress to have, because that’s what makes them “behave.” When Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-NY, who had felt threatened by one of GOA’s members, complained about his comments, Pratt doubled down, saying that elected officials should fear “the cartridge box” and accusing the congresswoman of being “foolish” and having “a hissy fit.” Later, he boasted that Democratic proponents of stricter gun laws are “afraid of getting shot and they ought to be!”
Pratt repeatedly suggests that President Obama will seek to bring violence against white Christians, possibly in the form of race riots. In a 2013 conversation with far-right pundit Stan Solomon, Pratt predicted that “there is inevitably going to be some kind of social implosion, some kind of neighbor-against-neighbor” violence brought about by “these folks in power.” When Solomon predicted that that “implosion” would take the form of a race war pitting “black, Muslim and/or atheist…have-nots” on “Christian, heterosexual white haves,” Pratt replied that he wasn’t “stretching” anything.
In a separate interview, Pratt agreed with Solomon that Obama “would definitely be capable of something as evil” as raising what Solomon called “a black force” to massacre white Americans. Pratt later denied that their conversation had anything to do with race, insisting that it was really about ninjas, but said that such a racial massacre was “something that the president wouldn’t mind seeing.” Pratt holds that this race war will then allow Obama and Hillary Clinton to “build their own communist society” in the race war’s wreckage.
Pratt’s reaction to recent protests of police brutality and racial inequality have taken a similar tone. Earlier this month, he suggested that there would be no problems in Baltimore if armed citizens had simply shot dead anyone who rioted; in 2013, he blamed Trayvon Martin’s death on the teen’s “broken family.” On his radio program last year, he mused that “the African from Africa” is generally “a very happy person” and could therefore “approach some of their fellow blacks” in America to teach them to exhibit less “surliness.”
Michael Savage warned his listeners on Tuesday about President Obama’s “grand strategy for stealing America in 2016 and giving it to the bowling pin,” which he said involves fomenting a devastating race war in which gang members “intimidate” and “frighten you not to vote.”
“You have Satan in the White House,” Savage said, or, rather, shouted. “You have an absolute fork-tongued Satan every day in every way trying to bring the country to its knees, trying to turn black against white, white against black, Americans against the police, everyday Satan does it.”
Savage said that he is simply trying to save us all from death at Obama’s hands: “I see the country on fire. I see the man with the matches and the lighter fuel and I see him playing with the lighter fuel and the matches every day and I’m standing here like a fireman screaming, ‘Fire in the theater!’ Get the child out of the White House. He is going to set the nation on fire like he set the world on fire. Stop him before he kills all of us.”
“And if you think I’m paranoid then you’re really sick or you are stoned on medical marijuana and you don’t know what the hell you’re doing yourself,” he added for good measure.
Tonight, Glenn Beck is set to air a special report on the militarization of the police called "Excessive Force" that aims to expose "the root" of the rise in the use of SWAT teams and military equipment by local police forces.
This program is apparently not sitting well with some of Beck's fans, who are now lashing out at him for being "anti-police," which forced Beck to spend his entire opening monologue on his program last night repeatedly assuring his audience that he loves and respects the police and is constantly approaching officers to tell them how much he appreciates them.
In fact, Beck said, he is the "best friend" that local police have because he is the only one willing to warn them that the militarization of their force is part of a nefarious progressive conspiracy to undermine their effectiveness by sowing fear among the general population that the police are out of control so that the federal government can then seize control of local police forces all over the nation.
Beck insisted last night that individual police officers and local police forces are not to blame for their own use or misuse of military-style equipment because they are all being set up by President Obama.
"You’re armed to the teeth so you look provocative, and yet they’re holding you back. Why do you think they’re doing that? Why?," Beck asked. "They are causing the American people to lose trust in you. Nothing you’re doing is making the American people lose trust in you. This is orchestrated, and we must know what’s going on and what the end of the road is."
"The president just said, 'I’m taking some of this military equipment away.' No, he’s not," Beck continued. "He is creating the impression he says you’re out of control because remember, the police act stupidly, so he’s creating the impression that you’re out of control, that you have too much stuff, when, in reality, he’s not taking any of that stuff away. His people are holding you back while they are calling for the Justice Department to take over local policing. Don’t you see the game that is being played, and the cops are being set up? By God, man, I’m your best friend because no one else will talk about this":
Earlier this year, the Republican National Committee teamed up with the American Family Association and the American Renewal Project to take dozens of RNC committeemen on a trip to Israel. The trip stoked controversy because of the radical track record of the AFA and its then-spokesman Bryan Fischer, particularly his claims that gay people are to blame for the Holocaust, that Jewish Americans shouldn’t have equal constitutional rights and that Jewish immigrants should be required to convert to Christianity.
Just as radical is the head of the American Renewal Project, David Lane, whose brand of Christian Nationalism views the separation of church and state, LGBT equality and religious pluralism as dangers, calling on conservative Christians to “wage war” against these supposed threats.
The RNC’s official faith-outreach arm is now working with Lane to hold a training session at today’s Southern Republican Leadership Conference:
As we’ve reported, Lane isn’t just your everyday conservative activist, but has extreme views about how gay rights will lead to terrorist attacks and America’s “utter destruction.” He has also lashed out at prominent Republican leaders who support gay rights and attacked Mitt Romney for worshiping the “false god of Mormonism.”
Favorably quoted a Christian author who said that “same-sex marriage practiced universally is suicide. To survive gays and lesbians are parasites, depending for their cultural survival on couples that birth the next generation.”
Explained why homosexuality is a threat to freedom: “Homosexuality is debauchery. God’s loyalty and fidelity — that guard the nation — make sustainable freedom dependent on seeking virtue.”
Predicted that homosexuality will lead to the destruction of America: “Homosexual desire and marriage is unnatural and — more so — is a symptom of advanced cultural decay and precursor to the collapse of the Republican Party and the nation.... The mark of a decadent society is the exaltation and normalization of sin — which leads to the death.”
Compared Republicans who support marriage equality to politicians who backed slavery in the run-up to the Civil War.
Called the separation of church and state a “lie” and a “fabricated whopper” used to stop “Christian America – the moral majority – from imposing moral government on pagan public schools, pagan higher learning and pagan media.”
Congratulated a pastor for exposing Mitt Romney’s belief in the “false god of Mormonism” during the 2012 GOP primaries.
Lamented that the “‘religion of secularism’ has produced red ink as far as the eye can see, homosexuals praying at the Inauguration, tax-funded abortion, homosexual marriage in several States, Evangelicals held in contempt, and God expelled from the classrooms of America — and the public square.”