The religious persecution narrative is nothing new – it has long been at the core of the Right’s reaction to secular government and religious pluralism – but it has taken off in recent years in reaction to advances in gay rights and reproductive freedom, and to an increasingly secular and pluralistic society.
For decades, the Religious Right in the United States has used public school students as pawns in its "culture wars," fighting to impose a political agenda on textbooks and curricula in school districts across the country. This campaign has included fights over sex education, school-led prayer, publicly funded vouchers for religious institutions, and much more. In this report, we examine recent developments in one aspect of this campaign: the fight to shape what children learn by controlling their access to books in school libraries and curricula, and the content of their textbo
The report examines the American Right's role in an international movement that promotes and defends the harshest anti-gay laws around the world.
Cuccinelli's become a right-wing rock star by picking fights with the Obama administration, scientists, colleges, and supporters of gay, immigrant and reproductive rights, while allying himself with birthers, climate change deniers, the Religious Right and the Tea Party.
Will the GOP stand with pro-reform majorities or cave to anti-immigrant extremists?
The “War on Women” currently being waged by conservatives in the U.S. Congress and state legislatures is well documented. From attacking contraception to insulting rape survivors to threatening funding for reproductive healthcare, anti-choice legislators and activists are staging an assault on women’s health, privacy and autonomy.
The NRA is not alone in attempting to prevent effective regulation of guns and promoting reckless policies that leave Americans vulnerable to crime. Its efforts are supported by the same kind of coalition that undermines the nation’s ability to solve a wide range of problems. Corporations, right-wing ideologues, and Religious Right leaders work together to misinform Americans, generate unfounded fears, and prevent passage of broadly supported solutions.
The combination of state and local budget crises and the 2010 election of anti-government ideologues in many states has left taxpayers and communities increasingly vulnerable to predatory “privatization” of government services and public infrastructure.
An update to last year's report detailing the Religious Right’s anti-anti-bullying efforts. After the Religious Right's obstinate resistance to common-sense measures against bullying stunned even some conservatives, many of these groups are now proposing their own "remedies" — remedies that would ultimately weaken endeavors to prevent bullying.
A new Right Wing Watch In Focus report from People For the American Way about Lt. Gen. Jerry Boykin (Ret.) provides a case study in the Religious Right's propaganda techniques.
A new Right Wing Watch: In Focus report from People For the American Way Foundation examines the myriad ways Americans' right to vote is under attack by politicians and interests whose electoral success often depends on denying ballot access to certain communities.
Our Right Wing Watch In Focus looks at the American Legislative Exchange Council, a right-wing policy group that funnels pro-corporate legislation to the states at the expense of citizens whose rights and interests are sold off to the highest bidder.
Under the guise of defending freedom and American values, right-wing anti-Muslim activists are campaigning to prevent Muslim-Americans from freely worshiping and practicing their religion, curtail their political rights, and even compel their deportation
Meet Bryan Fischer, a Right Wing extremist who tirades against gays and lesbians, Muslims, progressives, members of the military and President Obama. Prominent Republican leaders and conservative activists increasingly lend undeserved credibility to him, reflecting the GOP’s embrace of the Right Wing’s escalating radicalism.
While people across the world celebrate their commitment to environmental protection and sustainability, a powerful coalition of corporate and religious right organizations are seeking to radically redefine our relationship with the environment.
A new PFAW report explores the growing influence of David Barton, a fast-talking, self-promoting, self-taught , self-proclaimed “historian” who is systematically misinforming millions of Americans about U.S. History and the Constitution – and increasingly influencing prominent Republican decision-makers.
As states and school districts work to stem a tide of anti-gay bullying in American school, the pro-bullying Religious Right is leading concerted efforts to stop programs that seek to protect LGBT youth from bullying.
A new report from People For the American Way draws lessons on ways institutions can respond to right-wing-generated controversies, by evaluating the chain of events that led to the Smithsonian’s removal of a work of art from the National Portrait Gallery.
America’s broken immigration system requires serious, bipartisan, and comprehensive reform, but a burgeoning movement among anti-immigrant hardliners threatens to jeopardize efforts to fix immigration policies and endanger the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution.
The current wave of political attacks on Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of reproductive health care for women, is the latest example of a now-familiar kind of coordinated propaganda campaign waged by right-wing activist groups, far-right pundits and media outlets, and politicians willing to collaborate in promoting false information for political purposes.
In PFAW's latest Right Wing Watch: In Focus report, we profile the House Republicans slated to take important party and committee leadership positions in the 112th Congress. The incoming leaders and chairmen profiled share a fealty to corporate America, eagerness to please the Religious Right, and, often, antipathy toward the core purposes of the committees they’re set to head.
In a joint report by PFAW and Media Matters, we provide an overview of Glenn Beck’s rhetorical strategies and some of the deadly and damaging impact they have had.
In this report, we look into the ten scariest newly elected members of the House, all sharing rapidly anti-choice and anti-equality views, enthusiastic support from the Religious Right, and reactionary economic ideas.
The Tea Party is coming together with leading Religious Right groups to meet a common goal -- the crippling of the Obama administration and the movement of the Republican Party even further to the right.
In our latest report, PFAW takes an in-depth look at 15 of the far right's most extreme candidates for Senate, and it isn't pretty.
In Texas, a decades-long battle culminated in May with the adoption of social studies standards that give the far-right faction and its Religious Right advisors far too many victories in their efforts to replace history with ideology and turn public school classrooms into Heritage Foundation seminars.
When Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens announced his retirement plans, the Right swung into action with a plan to make the confirmation process just one more part of their 2010 and 2012 political strategies.
Big Wall Street banks and their political enablers have been doing their best to block financial regulatory reform. A centerpiece of these obstructionist strategies has been repeating a brazen lie that the reform legislation before Congress would put taxpayers on the hook for "endless" bailouts.
There is near-universal agreement that America's immigration system is not working well. Unfortunately, the last major effort to achieve reform was derailed by a campaign grounded in fear, stereotypes, and a divisive nativism that is unworthy of America's ideals.
Today, Joseph McCarthy’s ideological heirs in the Republican Party and right-wing media are using the language and tactics of McCarthy to stir fears that the nation is being destroyed by enemies from within. Republican Members of Congress and other GOP officials frequently act as an "amen chorus" to the far right’s demagogues or stay silent, hoping to reap political gain from the attacks on President Obama, administration officials and nominees, congressional democrats, and even military leaders.
Right-wing pundits and political leaders committed to the destruction of the Obama presidency have been openly fomenting racial resentment or tolerating those who do. In one breath, they accuse President Obama of being racist and in the next they and their media allies howl with indignation if their own racial rhetoric is challenged.
The How To Take Back America conference held in St. Louis September 25 and 26 drew some 600 activists and, according to organizers, 100,000 online viewers. The gathering was an expanded version of the annual conference held by Phyllis Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, co-hosted this year by radio personality and far-right activist Janet Folger Porter and promoted by other right-wing bloggers and radio shows.
If the Values Voter Summit last weekend in Washington, D.C. confirmed the tight mutual embrace between the Religious Right and the national Republican Party, the How to Take Back America conference taking place in St. Louis, MO this coming weekend demonstrates national GOP figures’ willingness to embrace even the most extreme elements of the right-wing political movement.
National Religious Right organizations that bankrolled the effort to put Proposition 1 on the ballot in Maine descended on the state this past weekend with a SWAT team of anti-gay leaders and veterans of last year’s Prop 8 battle in California.
Vituperative attacks on Democratic-led efforts to reform the nation's health care system reflect right-wing leaders' strategic decision to do everything in their power to destroy the Obama presidency. The disruptions at congressional town hall meetings by angry, misinformed mobs are the result of an opportunistic coalition of convenience between deep-pocketed corporate opponents of reform, Religious Right leaders who see opposition to Obama as a religious duty, right-wing media outlets eager to use any bludgeon at their disposal to weaken the Obama administration, and Republican officials all too eager to play along in hopes of strengthening their political position.
Much of the Religious Right's organizing energy has been devoted to incendiary and false claims about the administration's alleged stealth plan to force every health plan to cover - and force all doctors to provide - abortion services. None of these approaches are actually included in the plans working their way through Congress. In fact, anti-choice members of Congress are using health reform to institute a new nationwide abortion ban in private insurance plans taking away coverage women already have.
Right-wing leaders geared up months ago to oppose any Supreme Court nominee that the Obama administration might have an opportunity to make, and they have doggedly followed their script through the announcement of David Souter's intention to resign, the announcement of Judge Sonia Sotomayor's nomination, and her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee. For all their professed concern about the "politicization" of the judiciary, right-wing leaders have been planning since before President Obama's inauguration to treat any Supreme Court nominee primarily as a chance to begin political attacks on red and purple state Democrats with an eye to elections in 2010 and 2012.
Anti-gay organizations have been fighting the steady advance of federal hate crimes legislation with rhetoric that is increasingly unhinged from reality. When the U.S. House of Representatives passed a hate crimes bill on April 29 with a bipartisan 74-vote margin, Religious Right leaders and some of their congressional allies were inspired to new heights (or depths) of literally incredible accusations.
The second day of right-wing attacks on Supreme Court nominee Judge Sonia Sotomayor continued many of the themes of the first day’s attacks, mostly distortions of her judicial record and public remarks and distortions of President Obama’s desire for judges who exhibit empathy. National Review published a wave of anti-Sotomayor commentary on its website.
Right-wing political and legal groups and pundits responded to President Barack Obama’s nomination of federal appeals court Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court by cranking up their well-funded attack machine, following their pre-fab attack script (they have been attacking her for months as a potential nominee), launching ads against her confirmation, and threatening to use the nomination as a political bludgeon against Democrats from more conservative states.
Shortly after anti-government terrorist Timothy McVeigh blew up the Alfred P. Murrah federal building in Oklahoma City in April 1995, President Bill Clinton urged Americans to challenge those who use powerful political and media platforms to promote the kind of inflammatory falsehoods that poison public discourse, make civil conversation impossible, and can ultimately lead to violence. The reaction from right-wing leaders of the day was sadly predictable and by now familiar: they claimed that Clinton was seeking to "silence" voices of dissent, even though his speech affirmed that the First Amendment protects both the purveyors of irresponsible speech and those who challenge him.
A day after news of Justice Souter's planned resignation broke in the news, "dozens" of right-wing leaders representing more than 60 groups got together for a strategy call organized in part by the Judicial Confirmation Network to get everyone fired up and on message. All you need to know about the credibility of this campaign's leaders, and the credibility of their evaluations of potential nominees, is contained in this one sentence from the Judicial Confirmation Network's Wendy Long: "The current Supreme Court is a liberal, judicial activist court."
Religious Right leaders are vehemently opposed to federal hate crimes laws in large measure because they resist any legal recognition of LGBT people (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual or Transgender). They know that most Americans support hate-crimes legislation, anti-discrimination laws, and legal protection for gay couples. So they create confusion by portraying these steps toward equality as dire threats to religious liberty. This is part of a larger political strategy by Religious Right leaders to advance their policy goals and mobilize supporters with alarmist claims that Christians in America are on the verge of being jailed for their religious beliefs.
Efforts to bring down discriminatory legal barriers to marriage equality have met with fierce resistance led by Religious Right organizations. Anti-equality leaders routinely blur the distinction between civil and religious marriage in order to portray legal marriage equality as a threat to their religious liberty. The truth can be a powerful weapon against that deception: when Americans understand that allowing same-sex couples to be legally wed would not require any church or congregation to bless or perform such weddings, support for legal equality jumps substantially.
Now that the Religious Right and the Republican Party are regrouping from significant electoral defeats, many progressives as well as pundits are tempted once again to dismiss the movement or the continued threat it poses to the constitutional principles of equality, privacy, and separation of church and state. But the legal, political, grassroots, and media infrastructure that has been built steadily over recent decades is still largely in place. It maintains a powerful ability to shape public debate and mobilize millions of Americans. And it is finding a renewed focus in opposing the Obama administration and obstructing progressive change.
Right-wing political and legal organizations have unleashed a coordinated campaign of over-the-top attacks on the qualifications, records, and fitness of President Obama’s nominees for important positions in the U.S. Justice Department. Deputy Attorney General nominee David Ogden has been the prime target of the Right’s wrath, but Solicitor General nominee Elena Kagan, Associate Attorney General nominee Thomas Perrelli, and Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen have also come in for their share of criticism.
On February 5, 2009, the U.S. Senate took up an amendment introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) to strip church-state protections from the stimulus bill. The amendment failed 43 to 54 after DeMint repeated the inflammatory claims he had been making all week and Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) swiftly and effectively refuted them. The creation of a phony crisis that DeMint's amendment was supposed to solve is a case study of Religious Right leaders' strategic use of false alarms about threats to religious liberty &emdash; and of the willingness of right-wing media and elected officials to play along. Watch now, in the wake of the amendment’s defeat, for Religious Right leaders to use the vote as "evidence" that Democrats are hostile to people of faith and to try to undermine support from religious Americans for the new administration.
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