Religious Right Cheers On Vladimir Putin As Anti-LGBT Violence In Russia Surges

While most of the news on Russia this week has been focused on the country’s ongoing financial collapse, it is important to highlight a report released by Human Rights Watch on Monday documenting the rise of anti-LGBT violence in Russia along with the ways the government, which recently passed new laws curbing LGBT rights, has ensured virtual impunity for the perpetrators of such attacks. Following the report’s release, Russia added a LGBT legal aid group to a list of NGOs that must register as “foreign agents.”

The uptick in violence against LGBT Russians certainly won't discourage Religious Right activists from supporting Putin, many of whom also seem more than willing to ignore his deadly incursion into Ukraine , support for laws curbing the freedoms of Russian evangelical Christians and other human rights abuses.

Nothing, it seems, can dissuade many of Putin’s American supporters, several of whom recently attended an anti-LGBT conference at the Kremlin, from believing that the U.S. should adopt anti-gay laws modeled on Russia’s, such as a ban on gay “propaganda” and adoption by same-sex parents.

In fact, many Religious Right activists in the U.S. believe that Putin is on a mission from God to save Russia, and the world, from the LGBT community.

Crush on Putin

It is no secret that many conservatives have fallen under Putin’s spell.

Matt Drudge has called Putin the “leader of the free world.” Sarah Palin has fawned over the Russian leader’s wrestling abilities. Franklin Graham has hailed Putin for “protecting children from any homosexual agenda or propaganda” and having “taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda.” Larry Jacobs of the World Congress of Families, the group that helped organize the Kremlin meeting, praised Putin last year for “preventing [gay people] from corrupting children.”

Religious Right leader and Iowa GOP kingmaker Bob Vander Plaats has upheld Putin as a world leader in morality. Josh Craddock, who represents Personhood USA at the United Nations, came back from the Kremlin conference cheering on Russia as a “light to the world.” Liberty Counsel chairman Mat Staver expressed offense last year that Obama would dare criticize Putin.One Fox News host wished that Putin could be president of the United States, even for just 48 hours.

Any violence against Russian gays, one Religious Right group explained, is probably “provoked by homosexual activists.” Massachusetts-based pastor Scott Lively, who has taken credit for inspiring Russia’s “propaganda” law, dismissed anti-LGBT violence in Russia as a “hoax” and told right-wing radio show host Linda Harvey that if violent anti-gay incidents occur, other gay people were likely the perpetrators.

God Will Favor Russia Instead Of America, Thanks Obama

Anti-gay activists think that God has decided to bless Russia, thanks to Putin’s leadership, while punishing the U.S. for passing rebellious gay rights laws. Pat Buchanan clearly articulated this mindset in a column in April titled “Is God Now On Russia’s Side?,” in which he likened the U.S. and Western Europe to Sodom and Gomorrah and cheerfully proclaimed that “Putin is planting Russia’s flag firmly on the side of traditional Christianity.”

In a February column, Don Feder of the World Congress of Families gushed that Putin had become the new Ronald Reagan: “As my friend and Russian pro-family leader Alexey Komov likes to say: 'Under Reagan, America helped to save us from communism. We'd like to return the favor.'”

Lively made the case last year that Putin is “the only world leader capable of standing up to the West” and could “inspire all the morally conservative countries of the world to adopt a similar law that he just adopted.” In the same interview, Lively called Obama the Antichrist.

“The country that’s acting like it’s part of the kingdom of the Antichrist is the United States of America, and Russia is standing against homosexual marriage, they’re standing for traditional family values,” Religious Right radio host Rick Wiles said in September. “The United States is exporting its wickedness, we’re using our power and might to force nations to change their laws to accept abortion, to accept homosexual marriage and homosexual rights, so which country is part of the Antichrist system and which is not?”

Wiles even predicted that the U.S. would soon go to war against Russia “with an atheistic, Jesus-hating, pro-homosexual, pro-lesbian, pro-transgender military and we're going to go up against another military carrying a Christian cross.”

Bring Anti-Gay Laws To The U.S.

Anti-gay activist Matt Barber said earlier this year that it was “encouraging” to see more anti-gay measures coming out of Russia, adding that he would like to see laws that “stop this homosexual activist propaganda from corrupting children in our nation and we need to see that right here in the United States.”

Peter LaBarbera called Russia’s “propaganda” law an “acceptable” and necessary way to stop companies like Disney from “promoting lesbianism to kids,” while American Family Association governmental affairs director Sandy Rios said the speech-inhibiting law was just “common sense.”

One of Putin’s most vocal cheerleaders, American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer, has called him a “lion of Christianity” and repeatedly demanded that the U.S. enact similar bans on gay “propaganda.”

Since the U.S. hasn’t embrace such an anti-gay crackdown, Religious Right activist William Murray writes, Americans are now “fleeing” to Russia in order to avoid LGBT equality at home.

Right Wing Round-Up - 12/16/14

Right Wing Bonus Tracks - 12/16/14

  • Jeb Bush has announced that he is going to "actively explore" the prospect of running for president.
  • On a related note, Donald Trump is once again pretending that he is also thinking about running for the White House.
  • 4 WINDS sports minister Steve McConkey believes that the International Olympic Committee's new non-discrimination policy will "discriminate against Christian athletes and coaches who believe homosexuality is a sin."
  • Peter LaBarbera doesn't want gay people to be able to donate blood because "the fact is nature discriminates against homosexual behavior."
  • If Hollywood would give Glenn Beck $70 million, he knows that he could make a movie about Moses that would earn a billion dollars.
  • Tea Party Nation's Judson Phillips wants people to know that #whitelivesmatter.

Ann Coulter: Women Who Say They've Been Raped Are Typically Just 'Girls Trying To Get Attention'

Ann Coulter appeared on “The Lars Larson Show” last week to discuss the discrepancies in Rolling Stone’s article on an alleged gang rape at the University of Virginia, which Coulter called a “shocking fraud” that proves that “there is no rape crisis” on college campuses.

Coulter also suggested that rapes only occur in physically violent circumstances, like “being hit on the head with a brick,” and anyone who says otherwise is just trying to get attention.

“People know what a rape is, and to have girls trying to get attention from Lena Dunham to this poor psychotic at UVA, Lady Gaga claiming she was raped but she didn’t admit it to herself for five years. What major crime do people say, ‘I didn’t admit it to myself’?” she demanded.

The conservative commentator told Larson that growing concerns about how colleges are handling sexual assault incidents are “based on nothing” when there are only a “very few percentage of actual rapists” on campuses and those “are usually Clintons or Kennedys.”

Fischer Doesn't Want His Bigotry 'To Distract' From Jindal's Prayer Event

Earlier today, we noted that Gov. Bobby Jindal's staff is not very eager to discuss the fact that he is partnering with the American Family Association for his upcoming "The Response" prayer rally, which is not very surprising considering that the AFA is an anti-gay hate group notorious for the unrelenting stream of bigotry that it produces.

Naturally, Bryan Fischer, the primary source of that bigotry, is angry that people are now trying to "torpedo" Jindal's prayer rally by highlighting the fact that the governor is partnering with the AFA and a bunch of other anti-gay activists, announcing on his radio program today that he will refuse to comment on his well-documented history of making outrageous statements until after the prayer event.

"If the media contacts us and it's in connection with this prayer event," Fischer said, "and we discover that the only reason they're talking to us is that it's in connection with this thing called 'The Response,' I think my response is going to be 'I'll be happy to talk to you this on January 26,'" which is the Monday after Jindal's prayer event.

"We don't want anything to distract from this event," he continued. "Our nation is in crisis. The need of the hour is prayer ... This event is about prayer and calling the nation to prayer [but the media's] only interest is in trying to stir up trouble and create some kind of outrage against this event by trying to make AFA look bad":

Of course, the only thing making the AFA "look bad" is Fischer and the AFA.

Fischer's reaction to this criticism of Jindal's rally is actually something of an improvement considering that when Gov. Rick Perry was getting hammered for partnering with the AFA for his "The Response" prayer rally back in 2011, Fischer responded by complaining that he was the victim of a hate crime.

Alveda King Cites Racist Ferguson Photoshop: 'I Googled It To Make Sure It Was True'

Back in September, a photographer for the St. Louis Riverfront Times took a photo of a group of protestors in front of the Ferguson, Missouri, police station, one of whom, a young African American man, was holding a sign reading “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he leaves home.” Two months later, as protests were again rocking Ferguson, the image was resurrected as a viral racist meme after someone photoshopped the man’s sign to read “No mother should have to fear for her son’s life every time he robs a store.”

The image was quickly traced back to its origin and debunked, but not before it had entered the popular conscious of right-wing activists trying to demonize the Ferguson protestors.

Among these, it turns out, is Alveda King, a conservative activist who is a niece of Martin Luther King, Jr., who cited the hoax photo in an interview last week with Iowa GOP committeewoman Tamara Scott as she asserted that if a “child is trained” then “he or she will not be in the wrong place at the wrong time” like Michael Brown.

“I just can’t believe that quote,” Scott responded, adding, “It just shows you a whole mindset.”

King responded that she also “couldn’t believe it” but had “Googled it to make sure it was true.”

Tony Perkins: Gay Rights Will Destroy Freedom, Devastate US Economy

When we first heard Tony Perkins claim that his fight against gay rights is necessary to prevent an economic crash and no different than saving someone from a burning building, we wondered if he was serious. Apparently he was, as the Family Research Council president repeated the bizarre anti-gay talking points during an interview with “Faith & Liberty” posted last week.

Perkins told host Dave Garrison that gay rights present such a grave “threat to religious liberty” that the movement for LGBT equality will inevitably lead to “a rapid downward spiral of our nation, including our economy.”

After Garrison expressed regret that we at Right Wing Watch “see us as hating gays,” Perkins insisted that his anti-gay activism is motivated by love for the gay community.

Just as an onlooker would try to wake up a person sleeping inside of a burning building, Perkins explained, he is simply trying to tell gay people about homosexuality’s destructive nature:

You go beating on the windows of the bedroom and you awaken them, now you’ve disturbed their sleep, you’ve wakened them up, you’ve disturbed them, you’ve made them uncomfortable because you’ve awakened them in the middle of the night and you’ve told them their house is on fire. Do you hate them because you’re doing that? I would say that you’re actually expressing love, profound love, by awakening them to something that is very destructive and liable to take their lives.

Alex Jones: Fluoride And Vaccines Are Greater Threat Than Guns

On his “Infowars” radio talk show this week, conspiracy theorist Alex Jones warned his listeners that the federal government plans to disarm gun owners and militarize the police in preparation for a war against right-wing activists. Jones explained that “the government wants all the guns” even though the “few right-wing nut bags” in American kill fewer people than bees.

“Listen, the government wants all the guns, it’s illegitimate, and it says we’re bad having them,” he said. “We have a few right-wing nut bags who are gonna shoot stuff up? Yeah. They’re less dangerous than honeybees, they kill two hundred-something a year. Right-wingers kill a couple dozen. I don’t want to kill all of the honeybees because they kill people sometimes.”

He then pointed his finger at what he considered to be the true evils plaguing American society: “What’s dangerous is the pharmaceuticals, what’s dangerous is the vaccines, what’s dangerous is the high fructose corn syrup, what’s dangerous is the fluoride. That’s killing millions of people a year, it’s worse than tobacco.”

Bobby Jindal's Staff Has No Comment About AFA's Unmitigated Bigotry

As we noted the other day, organizers for Gov. Bobby Jindal's upcoming "The Response" prayer rally released a prayer guide blaming natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina and the tornado in Joplin, Missouri, on God’s apparent displeasure with the "alternative lifestyle" of homosexuality, marriage equality, legal abortion, and Internet pornography.

Not surprisingly, according to the New Orleans Times-Picayune, that prayer guide has now be scrubbed from The Response's website. Equally unsurprising is the reluctance by those in Jindal's office to comment on the long history of unmitigated bigotry regularly spewed by the American Family Association, which just so happens to be the main sponsor of his prayer rally:

Are legal abortion and same-sex marriage leading to more disasters like Hurricane Katrina? Does the First Amendment only protect Christian religious expression?

Next month, Gov. Bobby Jindal is bringing a mass prayer event to LSU's campus sponsored by a conservative Christian group that has espoused controversial views on a number of issues, including the causes of Hurricane Katrina.

The American Family Association (AFA), based out of Mississippi, has weighed in on everything from homosexuality to Eric Garner -- the man who died after a New York City police officer put him in a chokehold. They are paying for Jindal's mass prayer event at LSU, called The Response, in January.

"I haven't looked at their website, so you will need to talk to them about it. Here's what we do know...our nation is facing serious issues, but God is real, He is powerful, and He answers prayer. That is why we are asking people to come to Baton Rouge, Louisiana on January 24th and pray for revival," said Shannon Bates, Jindal's deputy communications manager, in a written statement about the organization. 

"This is a prayer meeting -- not a political rally. One thing that most people can agree on is that prayer is a positive thing," Bates said.

The AFA implied -- in a prayer guide originally distributed in connection with Jindal's January rally -- that there is a direct link between the rising approval of same-sex marriage and abortion in the United States and events like Hurricane Katrina.

The prayer guide -- which appeared to be a few years old and outdated -- was pulled from The Response's website Friday (Dec. 12).

Far-Right Anti-Government Group Plans Political Takeover Of Arizona County

Earlier this month, Richard Mack, a former Arizona sheriff and popular “Patriot” movement speaker, gave a speech in Pueblo, Colorado, in which he announced that he was launching a new bid for public office.

Mack said that he would be moving to Navajo County, Arizona, to run as the county sheriff in 2016 and told the members of the Tea Party group in his audience, “I need some backup and I wouldn’t mind if you went there, too.”

He wasn’t joking. In fact, Mack is the most prominent recruit of a group that is seeking to stage a political takeover of the sprawling rural county as an experiment in creating a local government that will ignore and “nullify” federal laws — such as federal lands restrictions and gun regulations — that its leaders believe to be unconstitutional.

Mack explained the plan in a speech to this weekend’s “I Won’t Comply” demonstration in Olympia, Washington, which gathered anti-government activists from around the country to protest a new state law requiring background checks on most gun purchases.

Mack, who runs a group called the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association, which argues that county sheriffs are the highest law enforcement officers in the country, urged the Washington crowd to join him in Navajo County.

“I want you to carefully, prayerfully consider moving there with me, and I’m serious. You want to live in a free county? You want to live by constitutional law? You want to not be worried about federal government coming in and ruining your lives and families and hauling you off at midnight? Come live with us there,” he said.

He said that the establishment of “constitutional counties” was the last “peaceful” option for the movement to “regain our constitution and freedom in America.”

“If we’re going to take back freedom, we have one opportunity to keep it peaceful, and that is the enforcement of state sovereignty by our sheriffs and by our state and county legislatures,” he said.

The former sheriff explained how a group called the Constitutional County Project had approached him and asked him to join their first experiment in creating a “constitutional county,” what Mack said would be a “blueprint for freedom” that could then be replicated across the country.

In an interview with the radio show “Liberty Roundtable” in June, Mack discussed early negotiations on the project. Although he didn’t say that he had committed to run for office, he hinted at it, saying "we have got to be able to sacrifice and move to where we can be united and take over a county politically."

Mack told the Washington rally that he planned to move to the county in the spring of 2015 to prepare for a 2016 run for office.

The Constitutional County Project's website says that once it achieves its political takeover of Navajo County, its allied elected officials get to work repealing "local and county laws and regulations which are unrelated to protecting individual rights," enforcing environmental regulations at the "county level," cutting taxes and regulations and using "legal and political means to protect the county’s residents against any attempt to un-Constitutionally interfere with peaceable living and enterprise."

A 2012 Southern Poverty Law Center report on Mack explained his growing influence in the “Patriot” movement and the source of his ideology in Posse Comitatus movement of the 1970s and 1980s, which provided some of the ideological foundation for the militia movement:

An inductee in the National Rifle Association’s Hall of Fame whose stardom dimmed by the turn of the century, Mack is once again riding high in the saddle as a patron saint of the resurgent antigovernment “Patriot” movement and a meticulously coiffed darling of the Tea Party set. For the past two years, the former public relations director for the Gun Owners of America has zigzagged across the country spreading dark fears and conspiracy theories about the federal government, hawking his self-published books about guns and God, and encouraging sheriffs to join his new organization, the Constitutional Sheriffs and Peace Officers Association (CSPOA), and be a “line in the sand” against government agents. He recently bragged that he had spoken at 120 Tea Party events across the country (his website says 70), in addition to the many law enforcement gatherings, local political fundraisers, John Birch Society (JBS) meetings, and other events where he is treated as a hero.

Whether he’s speaking to local chapters of the JBS or appearing on far-right radio shows like James Edwards’ white nationalist program “The Political Cesspool,” Mack’s central message is that the federal government has far overstepped its constitutional bounds and that county sheriffs have the rightful authority — and duty — to protect citizens from what he believes are its unlawful incursions. This idea that sheriffs have supremacy over other law enforcement agencies and even the federal government was born and gained traction in the 1970s and 1980s when it was pushed by the explicitly racist, anti-Semitic Posse Comitatus (Latin for “power of the county”), which capitalized on the Midwestern farm crisis of the era to promote an extreme antigovernment ideology. The Posse’s founding tract, the so-called Blue Book written by white supremacist Henry Lamont Beach, asserted the county was “the highest authority of government in our Republic.”

Mack focuses most of his advocacy on promoting county- and state-level resistance to federal gun laws — he won a Supreme Court case against the Brady bill in the ‘90s — but has also involved his group in anti-immigration efforts and has spoken out against LGBT rights, urging sheriffs to back up county clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. However, he finds common ground with many progressives in his opposition to the drug war.

Mack, a board member of the Oath Keepers, was a prominent presence earlier this year at the Bundy ranch in Nevada, where armed “Patriot” and militia groups resisted the Bureau of Land Management’s effort to collect more than a million dollars in grazing fees that rancher Cliven Bundy had refused to pay for 20 years of using federal lands. Mack compared the stand of the anti-government groups at the Bundy ranch to Rosa Parks’ resistance to segregation.

An acolyte of “New World Order” alarmist Cleon Skousen, Mack shares his movement’s taste for conspiracy theories. Mack believes that President Obama fabricated his birth certificate and is threatening those who know about it to keep them from coming forward, has speculated that the 1995 Waco siege was a federal government setup to rustle up more ATF funding, and said this year that he had “no doubt” the federal government might stage a false flag attack on the anniversary of the September 11 attacks.

Still in its early days, the Constitutional County Project has the backing of the chairman of the Navajo County GOP and the Republican chairmen of Maricopa and Pinal counties, as well as the leaders of the Arizona chapters of the John Birch Society and the Tenth Amendment Center. The project had its official launch in October immediately after a "Prepperfest" in Scottsdale.

Mack said in his speech in Olympia that moving with him to Navajo County would be a perfect project for retirees. But for those who still need employment, the Constitutional County Project’s Facebook page is advertising job openings in the county for those who are looking to move.

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