A strict proof-of-citizenship requirement for Kansas voters pushed by Secretary of State Kris Kobach has now suspended the voting rights of over 19,000 Kansans who were unable to provide a birth certificate, passport or other proof of citizenship to election officials, and Kobach continues to struggle to clean up the mess the law has made.
In his latest attempt to fix the problem, Kobach has arranged with another state agency to start checking the names of voters in limbo against birth certificate records to confirm voters’ citizenship.
The state’s vital statistics office will compare lists of would-be voters to its records. Kobach’s office would be notified when matches are confirmed. The procedure will be followed in the future as Kansans register to vote.
“This, in my view, is good government,” Kobach said.
But critics were quick to point out that Kobach’s idea could pose constitutional problems because it treats voters born in Kansas differently from voters born elsewhere.
It also raises questions about how women might be treated. Many change their names after getting married and might not be matched with birth records kept by the state.
“That is not actually going to work,” said Doug Bonney, legal director for the American Civil Liberties Union of Kansas and Western Missouri.
Kobach said provisions will be made for women. He said the state health department tracks name changes and those records will be matched against the voting records.
Kobach, however, conceded that prospective voters born in Kansas will benefit more than voters born in another state.
He said there are many examples throughout government where people might have an advantage because of their age, marital status or residence.
“It’s an extra service but it’s not something that would amount to a violation of equal protection of law,” he said.
This is only Kobach’s latest attempt to clean up the mess that his law has created. Along with Arizona, he has sued the federal government to allow Kansas to require proof of citizenship with the federal voter registration form. He has said that if he loses that case he’ll move to set up a two-tiered voting system in the state in which those who register with the federal form without additional proof of citizenship are barred from voting in state elections.
Religious Right groups are strategizing on how to raise millions of dollars in an effort to increase their political and electoral influence
by, among other things, meeting with "several high-ranking retired military officers, including an Army general, about
helping to draft a campaign spending strategy that borrows from military tactics."
Peter LaBarbera says that one of the "lessons" learned from the Rose Bowl parade is that "The
Homosexual 'Marriage' Movement Is Evil." Huh?
A good question: "In less than 3 weeks King Obama starts his 6th year of dictatorship over the
United States of America. Do you think this Republic can sustain another 2 years or should we find a way to see that he is impeached?
Finally, Linda Harvey declares that, in 2013, "pro-family prophets warning about moral deterioration were shown to be correct –
let me say it again, CORRECT – in their predictions about where destructive pro-homosexual trends are taking us."
Conservative griping about Pope Francis continues. Billionaire Ken Langone, the founder of Home Depot, complained to Cardinal Timothy Dolan that the pope’s comments about capitalism would hurt efforts to raise funds from rich people for a renovation of St. Patrick’s cathedral in New York. But Langone’s whining about the pope hurting rich peoples’ feelings pales in comparison to a New Year’s Day diatribe published by Alan Keyes’ Renew America website about the Vatican hiring “pro-homosexual corporations” as advisors.
The piece by conservative Catholic anti-gay and anti-abortion activist Randy Engel complains that the government of Vatican City, in its efforts on behalf of financial reform, transparency, and efficiency, is turning to consulting firms EY (formerly Ernst & Young), McKinsey & Company, and the Promontory Financial Group. Among the sinister evidence that Engel marshals against the companies are the existence of employee LGBT groups, participation in LGBT Chambers of Commerce, high rankings on HRC’s Corporate Equality Index – even an executive’s praise for Rep. Barney Frank’s congressional service. After quoting McKinsey’s commitment to diversity in hiring, she says,
Wow! Now ain't that a kick in the head to every faithful Catholic layman and cleric and other people of good will who have been fighting the Homosexual Collective in the U.S. and abroad for decades with little to none support from the Vatican.
Engel is author of The Rite of Sodomy, a 1,300-page screed against “the immensity of the homosexual subculture that has hijacked the Roman Catholic Church.” Her book has been promoted by the likes of Peter LaBarbera.
Engle uses rhetoric like “homosexual deathstyle” and “diversity of perversity.” But she outdoes herself in her Renew America post by going so far as to suggest that Pope Francis and other church leaders, are under the influence of the anti-Christ:
As for the Vatican's role in yet another moral quagmire under another disastrous post-Conciliar papacy, what can one say?
I have no doubt that the Vatican officials and clerics who hired these morally bankrupt firms to "reform" the Vatican's administration and finances, and who have given God's enemies free access to administrative and financial secret data of all kinds, knew exactly what they were doing when they made the appointments. The fact that not a single Vatican official including the current occupant of the Chair of Saint Peter, has publicly raised the issue of possible moral turpitude practiced and advanced by these mega business firms confirms what all true Catholics know in their heart of hearts – that we are living in the shadow of the Antichrist.
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality lamented late last month that “America is becoming a profane nation that is against God” thanks to gay marriage and TV shows like Glee.
Speaking with Sandy Rios of the American Family Association on December 20, LaBarbera hailed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay views while arguing that openly gay people have warped the minds of young people.
In his generation, I think he’s 67, it was just taken for granted that homosexuality was wrong, an abomination, something terrible, awful. But look at where we are now, you have programs like Glee where you have young men with romantic kisses on TV, I just learned that the Rose Bowl parade is going to have a homosexual so-called marriage float, all of those little kids are going to be seeing two men or two women or whatever it is getting married so-called and it’s going to infect their minds and corrupt those young minds.
LaBarbera, who recently traveled to Jamaica to defend the country’s ban on gay sex, denounced U.S.-led efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad.
He warned that the “homosexual agenda” will ultimately bring America down, because homosexuality “is in the vanguard of bringing societies down, I think it’s the marker for a declining society and if that’s the case then America is in big trouble because we have become a radical pro-gay culture. I was in Jamaica just a couple of weeks ago, we’re spreading immorality around the world, we’re exporting homosexuality now to these little countries like Jamaica using our foreign aid dollars.”
Last year, Religious Right activist and possible 2014 Iowa Republican Senate candidate Bob Vander Plaats claimed that the Supreme Court’s DOMA ruling had provoked a “constitutional crisis” because it defied “the law of nature and the law of nature’s God.”
In an interview on the Steve Deace show last week, Vander Plaats elaborated on this constitutional analysis, claiming that a Utah federal judge’s ruling legalizing marriage equality was wrong because same-sex marriage “goes against the law of nature” and therefore is “against the Constitution.”
Vander Plaats also encouraged Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to simply ignore the court’s ruling and issue an executive order staying the decision until it’s put to a popular vote.
He warned guest host Jen Green that the Utah ruling was the first step on a slippery slope to tyranny, showing the need to put judges “in their place” as he did in Iowa in 2010.
Vander Plaats: First of all, Justice Shelby, there’s a lot of issues with his ruling. Number one is, you had the people of Utah already amend the Constitution to what marriage is. And you’re supposed to uphold the Constitution, not redefine the Constitution. So, that’s number one.
Two is, there is no research on it, there is no data on it. Why? Because it never existed before. So all there is is speculation. But what we know is it goes against the law of nature, and the law of nature’s God, which means, again, it’s against the Constitution.
My suggestion to Gov. Herbert: Don’t overcomplicate this. Don’t over-study this or analyze this. Lead on this. Issue an executive order from the governor’s office that places a stay on this judge’s decision until the people of Utah resolve this, either through the legislature – the people’s representatives – or through another vote, if you need to go through another vote. But you don’t allow an activist judge to have his way to inflict same-sex marriage on the entire state of Utah.
It is We the People who are the final arbitrators of this deal. They gave us the power of the king. The governor is the executor. He’s got the executive branch, he’s the one who gets to enforce or not enforce. By him staying silent, he’s really enforcing this judge’s opinion. That’s why he needs to step up and lead, and what I’d say, issue that executive order.
And for the Lead or Get Out of the Way members and audience, and especially those in Utah, what really has to concern you here is that if they will do this to the institution of marriage, they won’t even blink an eye when they take your private property, tell you how to educate your kids. If you really want to have tyranny, keep allowing activist judges to keep activism alive. You need to put them in their place. That’s what I’d encourage Gov. Herbert to do.
Green: You will be made to care.
Vander Plaats: You will be made to care. But Gov. Herbert could make that judge made to care. Just like in Iowa, we made the judges, that they should care about what they’re doing.
Bryan Fischer returned to his radio broadcast today where he dedicated his first topic segment to explaining that no person who believes in evolution ought to ever be elected to public office.
"We don't share ancestors with apes and baboons," he proclaimed. "In fact, I would suggest to you that if a politician, if somebody wants to exercise political power and he is an evolutionist, he is disqualified from holding political office in the United States of America."
Fischer went on to clarify that he doesn't think there ought to be a law banning people who believe in evolution from holding office, merely that "that American people shouldn't vote for them because that guy, if he does not believe that we are created beings and that our rights come to us from God, that man cannot be trusted to protect your civil rights":
This sort of anti-government paranoia isatthecenter of Starnes’s shtick and was in high-gear during the Fox News-trumped up War on Christmas.
And now Alan Noble of the Patheos blog Christ and Pop Culture is fed up with Starnes deliberately misleading readers about supposed attacks on Christmas and wrote a devastating piece exposing Starne's campaign of misinformation.
On Christmas, Starnes filed a report claiming that a VA hospital in Dallas, Texas, had rejected Christmas cards because they had a religious message, including the VA’s statement:
In order to be respectful of our veterans' religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.
But as Noble points out, Starnes removed key language from the statement — which notes that cards with religious messages will be distributed by the Chaplaincy Service —to make it appear as if the cards were banned:
In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding.
In another War on Christmas story, Starnes said that a group of high school carolers visiting a VA hospital in Augusta, Georgia were “banned from singing any religious themed-Christmas carols to patients.” But in reality, the hospital administrators actually offered the carolers “the option of performing in a private chapel or day room” if they wished to sing religious songs, but Starnes omitted that key detail from the story. Noble adds:
That’s the thing about sensationalism and exaggeration: it hurts real efforts to address real issues. But in this case, there’s more at risk. Starnes’ lies should remind us that for many people and companies, Christians are a market demographic. They know our fears, our values, and our desires.
Starnes sells us what we want to hear. We want to believe that we are the underdog. And Starnes sells us that story, wrapped in language of patriotism and faith. For our own good, we need to reject and denounce hucksters like Starnes. For our own wisdom, for the witness of the Church, and simply because lying is wrong. Starnes should not have a job as a journalist, but more importantly, we should not support him by sharing and promoting his deceptions.
He encouraged readers to “let school officials have a piece of their mind” and quoted one resident of engaging in an “attack on Christianity.”
He eventually updated the post with a denial from the school, but even his update left out the school’s statement which completely discredits Starnes’s reporting.
Unfortunately, today the school was terrorized by an intentional and vicious dissemination of untrue information that disrupted the good work going on inside. Fox News Radio Commentary Host Todd Starnes, acting on misinformation that neither he, nor his media outlet corroborated with the school system or [Principal Marlin] Baker, misreported a story about student Christmas Cards being removed from the school. Baker did not receive any questions from the local community either.
The cards in question were not student Christmas cards, nor were they a student project or tradition. The cards are the personal family Christmas cards that faculty members share with one another. They are the personal cards from their homes that they would send to family and friends.
It has been a faculty tradition to post the cards on a small display board made of two pieces of red and green poster paper. The display in the past was posted in hallway outside the office workroom.
This year, due to a legitimate, personal privacy concern raised by one of the school's staff members, Baker moved the display to the opposite wall inside the office work room so that the staff member could still participate in the tradition. Baker wanted to respect the staff member's privacy and that of his/her children depicted in the Christmas card.
But filing false report after false report won’t stop Starnes from being a favorite among Religious Right commentators or impact his job at Fox News.
And it most certainly won’t stop Starnes from telling his audience, as he did at the Watchmen on the Wall summit for pastors, that “you can read my stories and you can be assured that I am sharing with you accurate information.”
Back before the holiday break, we noted that just because some right-wing tale of supposed anti-Christian persecution happened to be totally false, that would never stop the Religious Right from repeating it endlessly, as they have been doing with the saga of Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk, who claims he was relieved of duty for disagreeing with a lesbian commander over the issue of gay marriage.
As we noted last time, a military investigation found Monk's claims to be baseless ... which means that David Barton and friends are just going to keep on repeating them time and again, as he did on his radio program last week where he took it all a step further and claimed that Monk's lesbian commander "read him his Miranda Rights ... for not affirming homosexuality ... For refusing to affirm openly homosexuality and gay marriage, she gets him demoted and gets him knocked off his post and they read him his Miranda Rights telling him that a criminal investigation is now under way":
Barton and the Liberty Institute's Kelly Shackelford made the same claim when Barton guest-hosted Glenn Beck's television program last week as well, adding, for good measure, that if members of the military are not allowed to be open about their Christian faith "we'll end up with Hitler's SS":
What neither Barton nor Shackleford bother to mention is that Monk was, in fact, read his Miranda Rights during the investigation because he was suspected of lying about the entire thing, which is a violation Uniform Code of Military Justice.
As the Air Force stated upon completion of its investigation, Monk did indeed make false statements about what happened, but "they did not rise to a level that violated Articles 107 and/or 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice":
The investigation, initiated Aug. 15 by Col. Mark Camerer, 37th Training Wing commander at Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, found the claim unsubstantiated. The investigation also looked into whether Senior Master Sgt. Phillip Monk made false official statements. It concluded statements he made were false; however, they did not rise to a level that violated Articles 107 and/or 134 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
Monk asserted through interviews with several national media outlets that he was improperly removed from his position as first sergeant of the 326th Training Squadron at Lackland because he did not agree with his commander’s position on same-sex marriage.
“I felt the need to conduct a thorough review to ensure no Air Force policies were violated, and the investigating officer provided that,” Camerer said. “Ultimately I wanted to be sure all facts were collected so we could determine if there was merit to the sergeant’s statements.”
The investigation concluded Monk was not removed from his position, but rather moved, as scheduled, to another Lackland unit, an assignment he was notified of in April 2013. The report stated Monk never voiced a religious or moral objection about same sex marriage to his commander.
“The weight of the evidence shows that religion was never discussed between the two,” Camerer said. “In the end, this is a case about command authority, good order and discipline, and civil rights—not religious freedoms.”
Monk was read his Miranda Rights because he was accused of lying about being the victim of anti-Christian persecution which never happened. But, for the Religious Right, this is now being held up as proof that he was the victim of anti-Christian persecution.
Televangelist Pat Robertson today revealed what God told him is in store for America in 2014, and it’s bad news unless you are a Republican. Robertson explained that he didn’t receive a New Year’s message at the beginning of 2013 because weather conditions prevented him from going to the mountain retreat where God speaks to him. (Or maybe the 700 Club host was still peeved about his 2012 conversation with God, in which Robertson claims God told him that Mitt Romney would defeat President Obama and become a successful two-term president.)
Keeping with his tradition of passing along extremely vaguedivine warnings about the country’s unraveling, Robertson reported to co-host Wendy Griffith that God informed him of severe economic problems that will devastate the global economy and the emergence of a nuclear Iran.
But there is a silver lining, Robertson reported: All of these problems will benefit Republicans, who will win control of the Senate in the midterm elections as Obama retreats to become a surfer in Hawaii.
“I think that the world is going to be in chaos this year,” Robertson said. “We’re not going to have a unified world. I think sometime during the year there is going to be some kind of a credit crisis and I think China is going to lead the way. The other thing is I do believe that the Iranians will have a nuclear device before the end of the year and Obama is using a tactic of containment that’s not going to work.”
Robertson did have good news for the GOP:
I do believe that the Republicans will win control of the Congress but they will not have a veto-proof majority…. The other thing is I think that the President is going to be severely, severely hampered. I think that America is going to turn against him much more so than now, as that Affordable Care thing starts biting hard as it is, he’s going to be discredited terribly. As a process, I think that he is going to withdraw. He likes Hawaii, he spent a lot of time in Hawaii and he probably figured, ‘Okay, I’ve done my thing, now let’s go surfing.’ I mean really, he’s got a big airplane to ride around in, he’s got a big staff, he’s got a big expensive limousine to ride in, he can just go bopping around the world and he doesn’t have to govern and I don’t think he’s going to because he can’t get anything through.
Robertson also said that God will bless “people in the pews, regular Christians who are filled with the spirit” with “tremendous healing,” while “Islam is going to be in retreat.”
“It’s going to be the greatest year in the history of the church,” Robertson claimed. “You know, onward Christian soldiers.”
Just in case he was wrong though, Robertson prefaced his remarks by saying: “What is He going to do this year? I offer that with humility saying, let’s see what happens, check it out when the year is over: Was I right or wrong?”