On Monday, a brand new group called the Black American Leadership Alliance (BALA) will be holding a march on the National Mall in opposition to a new immigration policy. Michelle Cottle at the Daily Beast today explains that BALA, far from being the grassroots group it claims to be, consists of “a dozen or so…seasoned activists who have long been conducting this same anti-immigration crusade by means of an evolving series of similar groups.” Last month, when BALA first emerged, we profiled some of its leaders and their deep connections to the anti-immigrant network stemming from white nationalist John Tanton.
As Cottle puts it: “As a result of the many links between BALA’s leaders and the Tanton network, hate-group watchdogs have expressed concern that the organization is merely the latest in a series of minority front groups providing anti-immigration extremists cover from charges of racism.” We wrote about the anti-immigrant movement’s persistent but largely unsuccessful attempts to drive a wedge between black and Latino communities in this 2011 report.
Unsurpisingly, anti-immigrant congressional leaders are jumping to associate themselves with BALA and take part in its rally. The speakers list so far includes Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, Iowa Rep. Steve King, former Rep. Allen West, and, somewhat ironically, Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions.
Also speaking at the event are some lesser-known African-American conservative activists, including Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson, who has said he thanks God for slavery, accused the NAACP of being “no different than the KKK” and frequently claims that President Obama is “racist” against white people. Joining him on the podium will be radio host Kevin Jackson, who claims that feminists are waging “a war against beautiful women” and that President Obama “has taken America back into the 1960’s except now whites are enslaved to blacks.”
And we just noticed the addition of another fringe speaker to the list: Florida pastor O’Neal Dozier. Dozier made national headlines last year when, while serving as state chairman of Rick Santorum’s presidential campaign, he announced that Mitt Romney’s Mormonism would “taint the Republican Party.” A profile of Dozier by Mother Jones’ Adam Weinstein highlights some of the pastor’s worst anti-gay, anti-Islam rhetoric, dominionist rhetoric, which ultimately caused him to lose favor with the state's Republican establishment:
As Republicans courted him, Dozier continued to express some of his most extreme views. At a Reclaiming America convention in 2003, Dozier declared that "We should take control of every facet of society." He added that God was "100 percent for capital punishment. Oh, yeah, God knew some were going to slip through, a few innocent ones. He knew that. But you cannot have a society without capital punishment."
He reserved his greatest fervor for that "paramount of sins," homosexuality—which he declared was "something so nasty and disgusting that it makes God want to vomit."
In 2006, he declared war on a local Islamic group trying to build a mosque in the neighborhood. "One day," he intoned, "our grandchildren will live under the grips of sharia law. It's coming our way. Islam has a plan, a 20-year plan, to take over America from within. And they're doing it." The feds charged a charity that Dozier and local Republican activists had supported with swindling $3 million from Haitian immigrants. And Dozier started asking Florida judicial nominees if they were "God-fearing" and in favor of anti-sodomy laws. The GOP establishment began to sour on Dozier. By the summer of 2006, Crist and Jeb Bush had both dumped him.
A group of conservative evangelical leaders has been pushing their fellow conservatives to embrace immigration reform, in part as a way to make the Religious Right and the Republican Party more appealing to the nation’s growing Latino population. Ralph Reed has been among those supporting the idea of a comprehensive reform bill, but at his Faith & Freedom Coalition’s “Road to Majority” conference in Washington DC, many of the “Teavangelical” activists – people who are part of both the Tea Party and Religious Right movement – aren’t buying.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, who has been telling white evangelicals that they should embrace an influx of Jesus-loving Latinos as the salvation of Christianity in America, spoke in Friday morning’s session. He urged attendees not to drink the anti-immigrant “Kool-aid.” He told them not to believe the charge that 11 million immigrants would become Democratic voters if given citizenship. The conservative movement does not exist to conserve pigmentation or a white majority, he said, and it needs some “salsa sauce” on top.
Unfortunately for Rodriguez and his fellow proponents of immigration reform, two previous speakers, Gary Bauer and Allen West, had already spoken in disparaging terms about the bipartisan “Gang of Eight” immigration reform bill moving through the Senate. Bauer said Republicans in Washington spend too much time listening to consultants rather than standing firm on their principles. “You don’t have to go off and pass amnesty,” he said. Former Congressman Allen West said that the “illegal immigration and amnesty bill” would make life harder for African Americans. And immediately following Rodriguez to the microphone was Phyllis Schlafly, who ramped up the rhetoric, telling attendees that they should threaten to run primary challengers against Senate Republicans who voted for the immigration bill.
Driving home that message was Colleen Holcomb, executive director of Schlafly’s Eagle Forum. Holcomb was part of a panel on immigration reform that was moderated by Carlos Campo, president of Pat Robertson’s Regent University. Campo, who backs immigration reform, introduced Holcomb as a Regent alum, but that didn’t deter her from making slashing attacks on the Senate immigration bill. In fact, she at least indirectly criticized Campo and Ralph Reed himself when she said she was “profoundly offended” when faith leaders suggested that there was a biblical mandate for this kind of bill. She urged people to take advantage of resources available at www.stopgangof8.com. Holcomb later agreed with a questioner that it was an “outrageous lie” to suggest that the Senate bill reflects conservative principles.
Panelist Carlos Curbelo of the Miami-Dade County School Board tried to convince audience members that the current bill is not “amnesty” the way the 1986 immigration bill had been. Another panelist, state rep Steve Montenegro of Arizona, said the bill needed to include stronger border security provisions. When he asked for a show of hands – not a single person said they trusted that the Senate bill would secure the border. And when he followed up, asking in effect, but how many of you would be willing to work with provisions of the bill if it did secure the border, very few hands went up.
It seems clear that Reed’s audience is more in sync with Schlafly than Rodriguez. That may be why Reed, who says reform should reflect Judeo-Christian principles – which he says include strengthening the family, respecting the rule of law, meeting the needs of the U.S. economy, and including “enforcement triggers” on border security – is also careful to include vehement denunciations of “amnesty” and “guaranteed paths to citizenship for illegal immigrants currently residing in the country.”
A coalition of Tea Party and other right-wing activists sent a letter to the Senate yesterday calling the Gang of Eight’s bipartisan immigration reform plan “unsalvageable” and urging senators to scrap it altogether. While the media has focused on better-known signers of the letter – including right-wing talkers Erick Erickson, Michele Malkin and Laura Ingraham – many of the letter’s signers were all too familiar to us here at RWW.
Here are eight other pieces of advice on immigration reform from signers of the Tea Party letter.
Other signers of the letter include Gary Bauer, who has warned that gay rights and pro-choice policies will lead to “God taking his hand of protection off of our country”; Elaine Donnelly, one of most hyperbolic opponents of repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell; Ken Eldred, a top financier of the Seven Mountains Dominionism movement; Brigette Gabriel, who warns that elementary school classrooms are becoming “recruiting ground[s] for Islam”; David Horowitz, who thinks that conservative activist Grover Norquist is a secret Muslim who has “infiltrated” the Republican Party; and the American Family Association's Sandy Rios who said last month of President Obama, “I don’t think he loves the country like people who were born and did grow up here.”
Former Rep. Allen West was one of the first speakers scheduled to kick off CPAC 2013 and he wasted no time firing up the conservative crowd by proclaiming that "there is nothing on this green earth that a liberal progressive fears more than a black American who wants a better life and a smaller government."
Later, West ran through a litany of obstacles over which this nation has triumphed, including the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, the battle against Nazism in World War II ... and the presidency of Barack Obama, declaring that just as this nation overcame these previous threats, "when Barack Obama packs his bags and beats a hasty retreat back to Chicago, we will persevere":
Pamela Geller will not be welcomed back to CPAC this year, representing yet another development in annual conservative gathering’s frequent clashes over Islamophobia. Anti-Muslim activists like Geller, David Horowitz, Frank Gaffney and Robert Spencer claim that the Muslim Brotherhood and its cohorts, namely Grover Norquist and Suhail Khan, are trying to infiltrate the conservative movement.
During her panel last year, James Lafferty of the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force bragged that he was “proud” that many of the attacks on mosques in the U.S. have occured in the South.
But while Geller might be absent this year, CPAC still is hosting a number of anti-Muslim speakers:
1. Allen West.
Former congressman Allen West became a hero of the Radical Right through his inflammatory remarks about Islam, including his claim that the “enemy represents something called Islam and Islam is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology, it is not a religion,” and that the Quran commands people to become terrorists. West has worked with Geller before (even writing a column for her blog) and told one of her conferences that “the nation goes to war against an ideology and we’ve been talking about the fact that we are against something that is a totalitarian theocratic political ideology and it is called Islam.” He also said that “satellite organizations that come from the Muslim Brotherhood” are growing throughout the US.
2. Tom Fitton.
Judicial Watch head Tom Fitton has been on a mission to “expose” how the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security and the State Department are all working together with radical Islamists from the Muslim Brotherhood. In a recent interview with End Times radio host Rick Wiles, he argued that the State Department is recruiting people directly from “the jihadist movement here in the United States” and “terrorist front organizations,” adding that the majority of Muslim-American groups are “all fronts for these terrorist front groups.”
Fitton also told Wiles that he agreed with Rep. Michele Bachmann’s anti-Muslim government witch hunt as “perfectly legitimate” and said that Hillary Clinton aide Huma Abedin may be connected to people who are security threats.
3. Newt Gingrich.
Former Speaker Gingrich praised the anti-Muslim witch hunt spearheaded by Bachmann and four of her fellow Republican colleagues, calling the group of congressmen the “National Security Five.” He consistently attacked the Muslim community during his presidential campaign and claimed that Muslims in the US are trying to impose Sharia law. He even argued that the US should respond to Saudi Arabia’s ban on churches by banning the Park 51 Islamic Community Center in New York, and said that the government should treat Muslims like Nazis. Gingrich has also warned that America’s “elite favors radical Islam” and that the media is covering up stories about “Obama’s Muslim friends.”
4. Rick Santorum.
While running for president, former U.S. Senator Santorum claimed that equality is incompatible with the Islamic faith and that Muslims should face profiling by law enforcement. He also raised doubts about Obama’s Christian faith and a top aide accused the President of supporting “radical Islamic policies.” Following the campaign, he became a columnist for the anti-Muslim conspiracy website WorldNetDaily. Before running for president, Santorum told a conference hosted by Islamophobic activist David Horowtiz that America is engaged in a “long war” with “Islamo-fascism” and that it must be “eradicated.”
5. Ted Cruz.
Sen. Cruz has claimed that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the U.S. and attacked President Obama for allegedly being “utterly unable to utter the words radical Islamic terrorist.” Cruz especially stoked anti-Muslim attitudes during the confirmation hearing of defense secretary Chuck Hagel, maintaining that the former Republican senator may be a pawn of Saudi Arabia and Iran.
After losing his bid for a second term in Congress, despite a more favorable district, Allen West is continuing his work as a fulltime conservative blowhard (but without a taxpayer-funded salary). West is working at PJ Media and appeared yesterday on Washington Watch with Family Research Council leaders Tony Perkins and Jerry Boykin, where he criticized the lifting of the bans on women in combat and gays and lesbians in the military.
West told Boykin that “the liberal progressive left” is “coming at the military so viciously and vehemently because they want to tear down that ‘last bastion of strength, honor and moral fortitude,’ things that they really don’t understand,” lamenting that the generals haven’t stopped them.
The former congressman pointed to the election of Ashley Broadway, who is married to Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, as Fort Bragg’s 2013 “Spouse of the Year” in a Military Spouse magazine poll. Broadway had previously been turned away from joining the base’s spouses club. West said Broadway’s story will undermine military’s resolve and strength.
He added that if he was an “enemy propagandist and I look at the lifting of this combat exclusion ban I’m going to turn that my benefit.”
West: The Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy and now this policy about lifting the exclusionary ban, people are starting to ask: what are the Generals in the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps thinking about in not challenging to say, ‘this can’t be done.’
Boykin: I think your points are very well taken because I think one of the consequences of this will be a further erosion of the credibility of the General officer corps in the military and all services, as well an erosion of a confidence of the Americans in our military. You know the military has always been sort of the keepers of the keys of traditional American values and I think people are starting to question it and I think that’s what you were saying.
West: You are absolutely right and you know that from firsthand experience. I believe that is a reason why the liberal progressive left are coming at the military so viciously and vehemently because they want to tear down that ‘last bastion of strength, honor and moral fortitude,’ things that they really don’t understand. Look at just recently happened at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where the ‘Military Spouse of the Year’ for Fort Bragg, North Carolina is a lesbian partner to an Army Lt. Colonel or a Colonel. These are the type of things that are starting to happen which is going to question people’s resolve as far as, what are we doing to our military? Are we focused so much on winning social engineering points for special interest points or are we supposedly focused on what we should be doing which is going out there and fighting this very strong, very vicious, very determined radical Islamist enemy. If I’m an enemy propagandist and I look at the lifting of this combat exclusion ban I’m going to turn that my benefit and my messaging is going to be: the American men don’t want to fight us so they’re turning to their women.
Meanwhile, Perkins once again said that the “social engineering that has gone on in the military” and “tampering with the military environment” under President Obama “could very well lead to a draft.”
Perkins: What you have seen since you left the military but in particular under the four years of the Obama administration, I don’t think anybody could argue with the social engineering that has gone on in the military. My concern here in part is with all this tampering with the military environment that it’s going to have an effect—might be ten years until we see the total effect—it’s going to have an effect on retention, recruitment and this could very well lead to a draft once again because the volunteers are not going to be there in this environment which has been so damaged by these policies.
The Thomas More Law Center, a right-wing legal group whose advisory board includes Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Rep. Allen West, is warning the Supreme Court that a ruling in favor of marriage equality would lead to “ideological totalitarianism” and hand gay rights advocates “a legal weapon with which to beat down ideological opponents.”
In an amicus brief filed last week [pdf], Thomas More argues:
To enshrine one side of a deeply divisive issue in constitutionally untouchable concrete is to fashion a legal weapon with which to beat down ideological opponents, at the cost of intellectual liberty. For this Court to say that it is irrational or illegitimate for a government to recognize, and act upon, the distinction between the potentially procreative marital act, and every other sexual act, would be for this Court implicitly to declare as irrational, benighted, or bigoted, all those individuals who adhere to the traditional view of marriage.
Already those who dare to voice objections to any part of the political program of various LGBT advocacy groups risk vilification, marginalization, or worse. Liberty suffers when one side of a debate is delegitimized as a matter of constitutional law.
In Lawrence, this Court has held that sexual acts between persons of the same sex may not be prohibited. But to go further and say that no government may treat such acts as different, for purposes of government policy or official recognition, from the unique marital acts of a man and a woman, would be enormously to expand the constitutional power this Court already affords sexual choices as such. To take that additional step would be to declare unacceptable and illegitimate the recognition of the uniqueness of the marital act. Those who subscribe to that recognition, in turn, then become pariahs, ignoramuses, or bigots in the eyes of the law.
Opponents of the legal redefinition of marriage already face the prospect of significant retaliation. Equating such persons, as a matter of constitutional law, with racist rednecks or backwards fools, serves as a legal license to continue or increase the legal and social marginalization of such persons. The price is the loss of liberty for those individuals who can no longer obtain gainful employment in their fields….and the loss of intellectual diversity for larger society…This Court should not foster the imposition of what would be, in effect, an ideological totalitarianism, i.e., a regime in which the unquestioning acceptance of the same-sex marriage movement represents the only permissible point of view. (Citations omitted)
The Thomas More Law Center is prone to this sort of dramatic prediction. The group unsuccessfully sued the Justice Department over the Shepard-Byrd Hate Crimes Prevention Act, which it claimed would create “a special class of persons who are ‘more equal than others’ based on nothing more than deviant, sexual behavior.” The group further claimed that "the sole purpose of this law is to criminalize the Bible and use the threat of federal prosecutions and long jail sentences to silence Christians from expressing their Biblically-based religious belief that homosexual conduct is a sin." The Shepard-Byrd Act, of course, only imposes jail sentences on people who have actually committed crimes and has yet to “criminalize the Bible.”
Sandy Rios of the American Family Association mourned the defeat of anti-gay ballot measures and candidates for office during her organization’s election coverage, and was dumbfounded as to why actor Brad Pitt donated to the marriage equality campaigns in four states. She asked: “What causes a person of such means to be so passionate about that, who is a heterosexual man with children? What is that all about?” As AFA news director Fred Jackson noted, Pitt “didn’t listen to his mom.”
Rios: Last week in the midst of the hurricane and the devastation and people clamoring for food and help, Brad Pitt made this huge donation to gay marriage. I think, what drives that? I think he gave $100,000, $25,000 to each state to fund homosexual marriage. What causes a person of such means to be so passionate about that, who is a heterosexual man with children? What is that all about?
Jackson: That is the case; he didn’t listen to his mom.
Rios: That’s for sure.
Later, Rios and AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer were stunned by Allen West’s loss in Florida, which for Fischer proves that Americans are making “alarming choices about who their leaders are going to be.” Rios lamented that voters have clearly become solidly in favor of abortion rights and gay equality, saying that voters “want abortion, they are demanding it,” and are also “clamoring for gay marriage.” She went on to argue that marriage equality will lead to “explicit instruction in public schools” and the “rape of our children’s innocence.”
Fischer: Allen West apparently has gone down to defeat in Florida.
Rios: Tremendous loss, tremendous loss.
Fischer: He was a guy that represented the best of America, his military service, his staunch conservatism on all facets, so the fact that the voters in Florida chose not to renew their confidence, their trust, their contract with Allen West, that’s another mystery to me. But I think one of the things it indicates is that this is no longer the country that we grew up in, this is a different country now today, the values are different, the people are making different and I think alarming choices about who their leaders are going to be.
Rios: I think you’re right, I have some very deep thoughts about this and I’ve just been holding back. The thing that struck me last night and I’ll go right for this I suppose: I really do believe that God is really giving us the desires of our heart, as a nation, not us individually. This is what the nation wants. The nation wants abortion all the time for any reason. That was very important to people, that was one of the reasons that some people went down last night. That’s one of the reasons the President prevailed among women by a pretty high percentage. They want abortion, they are demanding it, they are going to get it and with no restrictions, they are going to get government-funded abortion. They also want gay marriage, they are clamoring for gay marriage. Of course it isn’t just gay marriage, it’s instruction, explicit instruction in public schools, it’s really I think the rape of our children’s innocence, but they want it and they are going to get it, and we’re going to get it too.
Glenn Beck interviewed Rep. Allen West on Friday's radio program where the two discussed West's bid for re-election in a tight race against Patrick Murphy, whom West dismissed as a spoiled rich kid who "has had his father pretty much give him and do everything for him."
West assured Beck that there was no need to worry because "we’re going to be successful next Tuesday night," which prompted Beck to declare that he was not worried about the election in the least because "I believe in the protection of divine providence ... and God is not neutral in freedom of all of mankind." Saying that "if America falls," it would take the world a thousand years to recover, Beck assured his audience that God would not let that happen because "His work isn't done [and so] we will be preserved to do his will. And I think that’s exactly what you’re going to see on Tuesday":