Posts tagged "Christian Right"

h/t: Amanda Marcotte at The Daily Beast

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Conservative talk show host Steve Deace writes in the Washington Times today that gay rights advocates are trying to instill a 1984-style “fascism,” and blames this development on the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down sodomy laws in Lawrence v. Texas.

“Every fascist movement in human history would be proud” of the gay rights movement, he writes, warning that the movement poses a greater threat to America than “jihadists” and is forcing Christians “debate our very existence” in the US.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Valerie Talerico at AlterNet

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Duck Dynasty star: Gays are going to hell is ‘what the Bible says’ (via Raw Story )

Willie Robertson, star of the reality television series Duck Dynasty, has defended anti-LGBT comments made by his father, agreeing gay and lesbian people are sinners who will not go to heaven because the Bible is literal. In a recent interview, CNN’…

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW


2009 was a grim year for social conservatives. Barack Obama was an ambitious and popular new president. Republicans, and their conservative philosophy, were largely discredited in the public eye by a failed war and a massive recession. And the GOP’s effort to reshape its message was still in its awkward adolescence. If the conservative movement had a mascot, it would have been a white man dressed as Paul Revere and waving a misspelled sign.

Amidst this wreckage, more than two hundred of the nation’s leading Christian conservatives joined together in a statement expressing their dismay at the state of the nation. “Many in the present administration want to make abortions legal at any stage of fetal development,” their statement claimed, while “[m]ajorities in both houses of Congress hold pro-abortion views.” Meanwhile, they feared that the liberals who now controlled the country “are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.”

The signatories to this statement, which they named the “Manhattan Declaration,” included many of America’s most prominent Catholic bishops and clergy of similar prominence in other Christian sects. It included leaders of top anti-gay organizations like the National Organization for Marriage, and of more broadly focused conservative advocacy shops such as the Family Research Council. It included university presidents and deans from Christian conservative colleges. And it included the top editors from many of the Christian right’s leading publications.

Perhaps most significantly, however, the document’s signatories includes Alan Sears, the head of one of the two conservative legal groups litigating what are likely to be the two most important cases decided by the Supreme Court this term. Indeed, the Manhattan Declaration offers a virtual roadmap to understanding what religious conservatives hope to gain from Sebelius v. Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood v. Sebelius, two cases the justices will hear Tuesday which present the question whether a business owner’s religious objections to birth control trump their legal obligation to include it in their employee’s health plan.

The Roadmap

“[F]reedom of religion and the rights of conscience” the Declaration claims, “are gravely jeopardized by those who would use the instruments of coercion to compel persons of faith to compromise their deepest convictions.” In the eyes of the Declaration’s signers, liberal forces had captured the arms of government and they were now prepared to use their political dominance to force conservative Christians to betray their own moral values. And the signatories were particularly concerned about two items — abortion and gay rights:

We see this, for example, in the effort to weaken or eliminate conscience clauses, and therefore to compel pro-life institutions (including religiously affiliated hospitals and clinics), and pro-life physicians, surgeons, nurses, and other health care professionals, to refer for abortions and, in certain cases, even to perform or participate in abortions. We see it in the use of anti-discrimination statutes to force religious institutions, businesses, and service providers of various sorts to comply with activities they judge to be deeply immoral or go out of business.

Remember last month’s fight over whether anti-gay business owners in Arizona could invoke “religious liberty” and get away with denying services to gay people? Look no further than the Manhattan Declaration to find the intellectual origins of the bill that would have given those business owners that right.

Similarly, while the Declaration refers explicitly to “abortions,” the document calls for a vision of religious liberty that extends to birth control as well. According to Hobby Lobby’s brief in the Supreme Court, the company filed its lawsuit because it objects to “four drugs or devices that can prevent an embryo from implanting in the womb—namely, Plan
B, Ella, and two types of intrauterine devices.” Hobby Lobby’s owners believe that these drugs and devices “risk killing an embryo,” and that providing a health plan which covers these services “makes them complicit in abortion.”

It’s should be noted that Hobby Lobby’s concerns are not grounded in science. As a brief filed by multiple health provider groups — including the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists — explains, “there is a scientific distinction between a contraceptive and an abortifacient and the scientific record demonstrates that none of the FDA-approved contraceptives covered by the Mandate are abortifacients.” So Hobby Lobby isn’t just claiming the right to object to abortion, it is claiming the right to label many common forms of birth control a form of “abortion” and object to those as well — even though drugs and devices don’t actually cause abortions.

The Manhattan Declaration, in other words, predicts both of the major fights over “religious liberty” that confront the nation this year. While the Declaration warned about “anti-discrimination statutes” forcing business owners to take actions they object to on religious grounds, one of the leading lawmakers backing the Arizona bill admitted that it was intended as a response to instances in other states where anti-gay business owners were “punished for their religious beliefs” because they denied service to gay customers in violation of those states’ anti-discrimination laws. Similarly, where the Declaration speaks of conservative Christians being forced to “participate in abortions,” Hobby Lobby claims that the law is making it “complicit in abortion.”

The Firewall

In case there is any doubt, the Manhattan Declaration is a stunningly radical document. It opposes not just abortion and marriage equality, but also “non-marital sexual cohabitation” and “the discredited idea of unilateral divorce.” The Declaration also ends with a pledge to openly defy the law. “[W]e will not comply with any edict that purports to compel our institutions to participate in abortions … nor will we bend to any rule purporting to force us to bless immoral sexual partnerships [or] treat them as marriages or the equivalent[.]”

Shortly after Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ) vetoed the Arizona bill, however, one of the nation’s most prominent social conservatives explained that conservative objections to reproductive liberty and marriage equality do not necessarily need to end in civil disobedience. Marriage equality, the New York Times‘ Ross Douthat claimed, is inevitable. Yet, when it comes, Douthat also hoped for a world where, if “a Mormon caterer or a Catholic photographer objected to working at a same-sex wedding,” the rest of the country would allow them to “opt out” of any legal obligation to comply with anti-discrimination laws.

Douthat framed this kind of arrangement as the terms of social conservatives’ “surrender,” although it is a weird kind of surrender that allows the losing side to dictate terms to the victors at the moment that society has recognized many of their longstanding views as abhorrent. If Brown v. Board of Education had followed Douthat’s logic, it would have said that segregated schools violate the Constitution — except that whites-only schools are fine in Alabama and Mississippi.

Nevertheless, Douthat’s column provides a helpful window into the kind of reasoning that animates the Hobby Lobbylitigation, the bill Brewer vetoed and the Manhattan Declaration. The logic of all three is that religious conservatives must comply with the law — but only up to a point. When the law asks employers to cover abortions that aren’t actually abortions, or when it asks them to treat gay men, lesbians and bisexuals as if they are human beings entitled to the same dignity as straight men and women, then the Christian right must be given a special right to defy the law. And if the courts won’t give it to them, then the Manhattan Declaration calls upon conservative Christians to refuse to comply with the law regardless.

If Hobby Lobby and Conestoga Wood lose, then it remains to be seen whether either of them will actually take up this call for disobedience. Should they win, however, there should be no doubt what the Christian right’s next move will be. The Manhattan Declaration lays out two foes: reproductive liberty and gay rights. Hobby Lobby asks the Court to take care of the former. The next lawsuit will target the latter — and it will be able to cite Hobby Lobby as a powerful precedent supporting anti-gay discrimination.

Source: Ian Millhiser for ThinkProgress

Anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera is outraged by the existence of Christian gay rights supporters and is afraid of a plot to “steal Christianity.”

During Saturday’s edition of Mission America Radio, LaBarbera told host Linda Harvey that columnist Kirsten Powers’ opposition to Arizona’s “right-to-discriminate” bill is proof of the warning that “there’s a huge movement on the left” to “steal Christianity to make it pro-sin, pro-homosexuality.”

Harvey agreed and said that people are “sick and tired” of the gay rights movement: “There is no evidence homosexuality is inborn, it’s a learned desire and behavior and so we just have to keep standing on that truth and we know tons of people agree. You’ve had calls recently with people out of the blue are saying, ‘I want to be involved,’ who have never been involved before. They are sick and tired of it.”


h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

h/t: Peter Montgomery at RWW



A week after the theologically conservative Institute in Basic Life Principles placed its leader Bill Gothard on administrative leave, the influential leader in the Quiverfull and Christian homeschooling movements has resigned from the organization. Gothard, 79, faces accusations of sexual abuse from dozens of women associated with his organization. The IBLP promotes a “chain of command” family hierarchy that Gothard claims is based on Biblical principles. In seminars, the institute has described the structure with the image of a father as the “hammer” of the family, the wife as the “chisel,” and the children as “gems” in the rough.  

This is the third organization associated with an umbrella of group sometimes referred to as the “Biblical patriarchy” movement to face a major sex scandal in recent months. In October, the Vision Forum ministry shut down after its leader Doug Phillips confessed to having a romantic affair outside of marriage. And just weeks ago, The New Republic published an investigation into sexual assault at Patrick Henry College, an evangelical university with big homeschooling support. The accusations against Gothard are quite serious. According to a whistle-blowing organization called Recovering Grace, at least 34 women have accused Gothard of unwanted sexual advances, and four of those women say the leader molested them. One of those four women is underage.  

Religion News Service’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey has been covering the scandal as it unfolded; she spoke to some of the women accusing Gothard of sexual misconduct. According to them, Gothard used his position of authority and as a counselor to those adapting his approach to Christianity in order to “create an emotional bond” with them. Rachel Frost worked at the organization’s headquarters as a teenager, and is one of the women who shared her story with Recovering Grace. Here’s what she told RNS: 

“There was a very common grooming pattern of creating emotional bonds and physical affirmations, the footsie, the leg rubs, the stroking of the hair, the constant comments on physical appearance.” 

Last week, based on the accusations collected by Recovering Grace, Gothard went on leave pending a review by his organization, which he founded in 1965. The board,  a statement at the time said, “will respond at an appropriate time, and in a biblical manner” after finishing their investigation. The scandal, however, isn’t the only problem facing the organization: In recent years, the $95 million-a-year nonprofit has seen its finances dwindle, as RNS noted. Gothard’s empire had its biggest reach in the 1970s and ’80s, when his organization’s seminars would fill 20,000-seat stadiums. And his approach spread out into conservative American takes on popular culture: when you think of conservative Christians condemning rock music during that time, you’re probably thinking of someone who was influenced by Gothard. He sells his teachings like they’re self-help guides: some of his books have titles like Why Did God Let It Happen?, Men’s Manual, and The Amazing Way. 

Nevertheless, it and Gothard in particular remain influential: Gov. Rick Perry has spoken at an IBLP conference, Rep. Sam Johnson of Texas sat on the organization’s board, Congressman Daniel Webster’s ties to Gothard’s organizations became a campaign issue for him in 2011, and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee was photographed with Gothard at a fundraiser for his 2008 presidential campaign. And arguably the world’s biggest advocates for the conservative Quiverfull and homeschooling movements — the reality TV family the Duggars — are devotees of Gothard’s Advanced Training Institute seminars. Until recently, the Duggars’ official website called Gothard’s Embassy Institute (which he also founded) their "#1 recommended resource" for families (that page now displays as blank). 

It’s not clear at this point whether the consequences of the accusations against Gothard will include criminal investigations. Some of the cases date back at least to the early 1990s, meaning the statute of limitations may have passed. 

Source: Abby Ohlheiser for The Wire

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW


Bible-Thumping ‘Christian’ Male Tells Female Airline Captain That Women Belong In The Kitchen

A Westjet pilot gets a shocking, sexist note from a passenger

A Westjet pilot received a shockingly sexist note from a passenger who does not believe that women belong in the cockpit of an airliner.

America has seen more than its fair share of sexism over the last few years. Unfortunately, most of it has come from GOP politicians and members of the Christian right-wing. And it’s only getting worse. But rampant sexism from so-called “men of God” isn’t just a plague confined to the US landscape. Many sexist pigs live in Canada and one apparently has a problem with women being pilots.

Carey Steacy is a captain for WestJet, a Canadian airline. Upon takeoff on Sunday, she had no idea that one man had objections to her being in the cockpit of the plane. But after landing in Victoria, she was floored that such feelings still existed in the modern day world. A passenger named David left a neanderthal sounding message scribbled on a napkin, which the crew found while cleaning the aircraft.