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Posts tagged "Erick Erickson"

thepoliticalfreakshow:

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Tony Perkins fancies himself to be a GOP presidential candidate kingmaker, so it will be interesting to see if any not entirely crazy Republicans will join the above careening clown car crowded with the cavalcade of crackpots who failed in 2012, some of whom (Paul, Perry, Santorum) are expected to make a 2016 run. Ted Cruz won last year’s Values Voters Summit presidential straw poll with 42% of the vote, the largest margin ever seen in that poll’s history and light years ahead of runners-up Frothy Mix and Ben Carson, who barely landed in the double digits.

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson endorsed a congressional candidate’s assertion that “the homosexual movement” is “destroying America.” 

On July 22, Georgia Republican Jody Hice won the Republican primary to succeed Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) in the state’s 10th congressional district. In the wake of Hice’s victory, BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kacynski highlighted 11 examples of Hice’s history of inflammatory commentary on LGBT issues.

Erickson, who has endorsed Hice, responded to Kaczynski’s post by tweeting that “most every conservatives [sic]” would agree with items “1, 5, 9, and maybe 10”:

The passages Erickson endorsed included Hice’s claim that “the homosexual movement is … destroying America by aggressively seeking to destroy traditional families, religion, and marriages for the purpose of removing all societal moral boundaries”:

The item Erickson thought most conservatives would “maybe” agree with concerned Hice’s suggestion that gay people can change their sexual orientation:

Erickson himself has made clear that he endorses harmful and discredited efforts to change gay people’s identities, having written on June 20 that gay people must “overcome” the “struggle” of homosexuality.

At Fox, Erickson stands out as one of the network’s most rabidly anti-LGBT commentators. He has previously written that gay people are on the “road to hell” and warned businesses that serve gay couples that they are “aiding and abetting” sin.

Moreover, Erickson is a prominent supporter of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group working internationally to help criminalize homosexuality.

H/T: Luke Brinker at Equality Matters

If you’re a conservative who wants to impeach President Obama, time is running out. You need to give Allen West money, and quickly. It’s an “emergency.”

In a series of emails sent to subscribers in recent weeks, Fox News contributor and former Republican congressman Allen West has implored people to donate to his PAC, the Allen West Guardian Fund, in order to hasten Obama’s impeachment. And West isn’t alone — numerous conservative media figures and political groups are looking to cash in on Obama’s supposedly impending impeachment through donations, books, and various impeachment merchandise.

Right-wing media have been pushing for Obama’s impeachment for more than five years over a wide range of issues, but impeachment chatter got a boost earlier this July when Sarah Palin penned an opinion piece for Breitbart.com. She called for Obama’s removal from office, arguing that the president’s “unsecured border crisis is the last straw that makes the battered wife say, ‘no mas.’”  She reiterated her call on Fox’s Hannity, telling viewers it was time to “get going” on impeachment. 

While numerous members of the conservative noise machine are agitating for impeachment, not everyone is on board. Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, for one, thinks ”impeachment would be crazy” at the moment.

But regardless of whether impeachment is good politics for conservatives, it’s starting to look like good business.

In a July 10 email to subscribers, West pointed to Palin’s comments as evidence the “growing” impeachment movement is “gaining speed!” Asserting that the president is “guilty of high crimes and misdemeanors,” West touted a survey hosted on his PAC’s website asking whether the House of Representatives should draft articles of impeachment over the unrelated release of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl. He also asked for an “an emergency contribution of $5 or more right away, so we can get this survey into the hands of as many conservatives as possible.” 

West, who has been calling for Obama’s impeachment since early June, has previously asked subscribers for money to (somehow) help boost his impeachment survey. A June 19 email pointed to comments from GOP congressman Lou Barletta raising impeachment to proclaim, “Now - more than ever - we need to get the Guardian Fund’s impeachment survey into the hands of every conservative in America. Can you help me?” West once again asked for an “emergency” donation. On June 28, West asked for “an emergency donation of $5 or more right away,” again to help promote his impeachment survey.

West isn’t the only one emailing fundraising appeals about impeachment. On June 20, Takeover Super PAC — the nascent political group backed by WND founder Joseph Farah, leading birther and WND reporter Jerome Corsi, and notorious smear merchant Floyd Brown — rented WND’s email list to send out a message with the subject line, “Impeach Him!” Pointing to the group’s campaign activities in various states, Takeover Executive Director Tom Freiling argues, “When we gain an absolute majority in the House and Senate, we conservatives can finally expose Obama law-breaker [sic].” Arguing that it was “urgent,” Freiling asked for donations of “$25, $50, $100, or more.” 

If you were worried your money might not be spent well, fear not. Freiling explains in the email, “You can trust us.”

Farah also sent a fundraising appeal to WND subscribers on July 2 touting Takeover Super PAC as “the first Federal PAC to pursue the impeachment of President Obama.” They will, he believes, “launch the next, and LAST, American revolution.”

In addition to promoting Takeover, WND also has an entire “Impeachment Store” on its website, featuring items like magnetic “Honk for Impeachment” bumper stickers, a $9.95 “Special Report" on "Why Barack Hussein Obama Should Be Impeached To Save America," and a card game called “Scandal,” which is “a contest between players to create the best cases for impeachment by collecting and displaying valuable evidence (Case) cards… This game is fun to play and historically accurate.”

The WND “Impeachment Store” also features Impeachable Offenses: The Case For Removing Barack Obama From Office, a 2013 book co-written by WND reporter Aaron Klein and published by WND. (Last month, National Review writer Andrew McCarthy also released a book flogging impeachment.) 

While Erick Erickson may find impeachment “crazy,” that hasn’t stopped RedState — the site where he serves as editor in chief — from renting out its email list to pro-impeachment groups. On July 10, conservative non-profit Secure America Now rented the RedState list to urge readers to sign an impeachment petition, which would “help mobilize our massive grassroots army, and strengthen our demand that Congress file articles of impeachment against the President.”

In addition to renting out the RedState list, Secure America Now has also sent out fundraising appeals to its own email list, asking subscribers to “help us impeach Obama by donating right now.” According to Allen Roth, the Secure America Now president, “every $10 allows us to reach 300 people. That means $20 translates to 600 people, $50 to 1,500 people, and $100 allows us to educate 3,000 people!”

Conservative activist Alan Keyes has repeatedly used his WND column to encourage readers to visit “Pledgetoimpeach.com,” a website featuring a petition calling for the president’s removal from office. Alongside the petition is, of course, a request for money: ”Even if you can only afford $5 or $10 to assist our push for impeachment, that will help a lot.”

Other conservative groups asking for money to help impeach Obama include TheTeaParty.net, which runs the “Tea Party News Network.” An April 16 fundraising appeal announced that if Obama is not removed from office, “The great experiment of America will be over.” It continued by asking people to donate even as they are having trouble making ends meet (emphasis added):

We will not give up the fight, though it will be costly to keep the voice of freedom out there as we keep up the call for the impeachment and removal from office of President Obama. I know that times are tough. Many are feeling the effects of Obama’s destruction on a daily basis with not being able to make ends meet. But, we need you to help us win. Our republic is counting on us. So, whatever you can afford, whether it is $5, 25, $50, or more will help us as we push for the impeachment and removal from office of President Barack Obama. Can we count on you?

The donation page features a “PATRIOT HEROES LIST” of ”Patriots Who Donated $100, $250, $500, $1000, $5000 Or More.”

h/t: Ben Dimiero at MMFA

Fox News contributor Erick Erickson suggested that people might not be born gay, compared homosexuality to alcoholism and adultery, and warned that gay people who don’t repent won’t be “saved on the last day.”

In a June 20 blog post for RedState.com, Erickson expressed his support for Republican Texas Governor Rick Perry, who was criticized last week after comparing homosexuality to alcoholism. In his post, Erickson claimed that the science around sexual orientation wasn’t settled, warning gay people not to “give in” to their temptations and repent for their homosexuality in order to be “saved”:

So, again, fewer and fewer voices are willing to speak up. Those of us who can, should speak up. So I will say it - I largely agree with Governor Rick Perry and appreciate him speaking up.

While most of my generation is pretty accepting of the idea that a person can be born gay, there is no settled science on the matter. There certainly is no settled science on pick your own gender adventures. But to say so is apostasy in this secular world. It really does not matter though. Whether one is born gay or not does not mean God made a person gay. And whether it is the unrepentant alcoholic, homosexual, adulterer, liar, or any of the others the Duck Commander listed, none are going to be saved on the last day without repenting.

No one said life was easy, but too many are too ready to give in instead of repenting. Too many tire of the struggle and decide the struggle is just another form of normal. And frankly, it is apart from God. That too is why so many want to drive God out of the public square. God gives us Hope to overcome the struggles of this world, including the flesh. Left to our own devices, Romans 1 tell us we get exactly what we are getting. But we are not creatures of this world — none of us. We are passing through to eternity. YOLO is a lie and if it feels good it does not mean we should do it. The zeitgeist of the present age tells us otherwise, but the Holy Spirit calls us to a higher and better and more eternal purpose.

Gertrude Himmelfarb wrote, “What was once stigmatized as deviant behavior is now tolerated and even sanctioned; what was once regarded as abnormal has been normalized … .As deviancy is normalized, so what was once normal becomes deviant. The kind of family that has been regarded for centuries as natural and moral - the ‘bourgeois’ family as it is invidiously called - is now seen as pathological” [emphasis added]

Erickson’s suggestion that gay people can “overcome” the “struggle” of homosexuality is similar to the claims of many proponents of dangerous, ineffective ”ex-gay” therapy.

While debate continues over the precise origin of sexual orientation, the scientific community is largely in agreement that sexual orientation is an immutable part of a person’s identity. According to the American Psychological Association (APA), “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.” Research has demonstrated that a person’s sexual orientation is “primarily neurological at birth.” According to molecular biologist Dean Hamer, sexual orientation is regarded in the scientific community as a phenotype and is “deeply rooted in biology.”

This isn’t the first time Erickson has warned gay people that they face damnation if they don’t ”repent.”. Last year, Erickson wrote that gay couples trying to get married were on the “road to hell.” He claimed that A&E was “destined for hell fire" after suspending Duck Dynasty's Phil Robertson following his homophobic remarks. And in February, Erickson warned that businesses involved in same-sex weddings were “aiding and abetting" sin.

Erickson is closely linked to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group working internationally to help criminalize homosexuality. 

h/t: Carlos Maza at MMFA

crooksandliars:

Who Is The Benghazi Accountability Coalition?

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is nothing more than repackaged far-right mental cases who hate anyone and everyone who doesn’t think like them. But instead of plotting their 30-front war in email and relying on ‘messaging’, they’re going all out to ramp up the hate and fear, led by Frank Gaffney and his sidekick Brigitte Gabriel.

Yes, the Heritage Benghazi Coalition encounter was just as bad as Dana Milbank said it was. All of the apologists out trying to rehabilitate this hateful event while the Erick Ericksons of the world do a dance around whether they were actually affiliated or just provided space are ridiculous. Of course it was hateful, and of course Heritage Foundation was far more than simply a “host.”

So who is this Benghazi Accountability Coalition, anyway?

Groundswell II

The Benghazi Accountability Coalition is a recycled version of the Groundswell “messagers,” except this time it appears they have some funding or other support lacking the first time around.

On their website, they list the following people as “leaders.” Those in bold were among those who were plotting a year ago to make Benghazi an impeachable event.

read more

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

Some in the media reacted to the killing spree in Isla Vista, California that claimed the lives of six victims with offensive or bizarre commentary.

On May 23, 22-year-old Elliot Rodger killed three people in his house with blunt or sharp objects before driving to a sorority house near the University of California, Santa Barbara. Outside that house he shot three women, killing two. He then shot to death a young man at a nearby convenience store. Rodger reportedly committed suicide with one of his guns, but not before killing six people and wounding 13 others.

Much attention has focused on a video uploaded by Rodger on YouTube where he describes his desire to kill women in a “day of retribution” against those who has refused his sexual advances and a 140-page manifesto that described his hatred towards the world and in particular women.

Media reactions to the killings included: A Fox News guest suggested the shooting was the result of “homosexual tendencies”; a Fox News contributor who blamed a “war on masculinity” for the killing spree; conservative commentators who lashed out at a victim’s father who castigated the National Rifle Association during an emotional press conference; and a CNN reporter described Rodger’s manifesto as “really well written” and compared it to a Dickens novel.

Fox’s Erick Erickson: Blame Violence On “War On Masculinity”

Writing at RedState.com, Fox News contributor Erick Erickson claimed that Rodger “lived the very lifestyle the cultural left thinks men should live” and that his actions were a consequence of a “war on masculinity.” One of the features of this “war,” according to Erickson, is that “[i]nstead of men and women complimenting each other, they’re supposed to be perfectly equal even if they are not.”

Best we can tell, Elliot Rodger lived the very lifestyle the cultural left thinks men should live and that is regularly glorified on the silver screen. For all the talk of a “War on Women,” there has actually been a war on masculinity for a few decades. And more and more twenty-something young men are getting lost and acting out while society tries to find something new to replace the tried and true.

Society used to expect men to open doors, protect their families, and be champions of modesty and virtue. But chivalry is dead. Instead of men and women complimenting each other, they’re supposed to be perfectly equal even if they are not. The hook up culture, instant gratification, and selfishness pervade our culture.

New York Post Published Image Of Bikini-Clad Woman Shooter Obsessed Over In Manifesto

In his manifesto, Rodger cited his hatred of women as his primary motivation for the rampage, and singled out a former schoolmate for giving him an “intense fear of girls.” The New York Post put a spotlight on this former schoolmate, publishing multiple pictures of the woman produced from social media accounts, including one where she is wearing a bikini. The article also mentioned her place of employment. A New York Daily Newsarticle on the same topic didn’t mention the woman’s name and blurred her face in pictures.

Fox Guest Cites “Homosexual Impulses” As Possible Motive

During the May 24 edition of Fox News’ Justice with Judge Jeanine, psychologist Robi Ludwig theorized that Rodger’s hatred of women was the result of “homosexual impulses.” Ludwig asked, “Is this somebody who is trying to fight against his homosexual impulses? Is he angry with women because they were taking men away from him?” She subsequently apologized in a Facebook post, saying she “in NO way meant to indicate being a homosexual or having homosexual impulses is a cause for spree killing.”

Fox’s Katie Pavlich Criticizes Those Who Showed Solidarity In Face Of Killer’s Misogynist Rants

Following widespread discussion of Rodger’s hatred towards women, many took to Twitter to decry misogyny using the hashtag “#yesallwomen.” According to CNN.com, “The hashtag #YesAllWomen was used more than 1 million times since Saturday … Since it started, there are tweets about rape, feminism, harassment and women’s rights with the same hashtag.”

On the May 26 edition of Fox’s Outnumbered, Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich said in reference to the shooting and subsequent hashtag: “This issue is not about women and I think it’s kind of insulting for women to go on Twitter and talk about how them getting hit on in the bar is equal to being shot in the street, because it’s not.”

National Review Online And CNN’s Deborah Feyerick: Don’t Blame Guns For Shooting

A May 26 editorial at National Review Online adopted the typical right-wing media reaction to mass shootings, which is to direct blame away from the firearm towards other factors. NRO’s editors wrote, “Weapons are the instrument and not the cause. It is at this point something of a cliché, but it should perhaps be offered anyway: If someone is determined to kill a substantial number of people, he will almost certainly manage to do so.”

To the contrary, individuals who wish to kill “a substantial number of people” almost always rely on firearms. Of 37 public mass killings between 2006 and 2013, 33 involved firearms, while the Boston Marathon bombings, an incident involving a car, and two cases of arson accounted for the other four incidents.

During live coverage of the shooting CNN reporter Deborah Feyerick repeatedly moved discussion away from the topic of firearm regulation, according to a compilation created by RawStory. In one instance after a guest suggested, “I think it’s time to have a discussion about legislation some of the gun issues,” Feyerick responded, “This is an ongoing conversation and it’s one that is never going to be resolved. It’s got to be about mental health and not firearms.”

Fox’s Mark Fuhrman: Incarcerate People With Mental Health Conditions

Even though the existence of a mental health condition is an extremely poor predictive factor for violence, Fox News contributor Mark Fuhrman reacted to the spree killing by stating on Fox’s Justice with Judge Jeanine, “Look at the overarching lesson we have here. When you have somebody with this kind of mental disease, if you’re going to stop this violence, it’s only through incarceration of the person.” When host Jeanine Pirro asked Fuhrman to clarify if he meant “mental health institutionalization or jail,” he said, “It doesn’t really make any difference.”

Jim Hoft Attacks Shooting Victim’s Father For Criticizing The National Rifle Association

Conservative blogger Jim Hoft attacked Richard Martinez, whose son Christopher was shot to death by Rodger, for criticizing the National Rifle Association during an impassioned press conference. Reading from a statement prepared by his family, Martinez said, “Why did Chris die? Chris died because of craven, irresponsible politicians and the NRA. They talk about gun rights. What about Chris’ right to live? When will this insanity stop?”

Citing the fact that three people were stabbed to death during Rodger’s rampage, Hoft wrote, “Martinez said nothing about the knifing victims.” In fact Martinez said during the press conference, “Our son Christopher Martinez and six others are dead.” At the time of Martinez’s press conference during the afternoon of May 24, the cause of death for all of the victims was unclear. Later that evening the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Department revealed that three victims were stabbed to death.

Fox’s Keith Ablow: Victim’s Father Who Blamed NRA Is “The Problem With America”

Appearing on Fox News Radio program Kilmeade & Friends on May 27, Ablow said people who would blame guns for the shootings are “nuts” and “reprehensible creatures” who are “willing to sacrifice the lives of Americans to advance their disempowering agenda.” Referencing Martinez’s press conference where he criticized the NRA, Ablow called Martinez “the problem”:

ABLOW: Even the dad who lost his kid, I cry for him and feel terrible for him, but there he is blaming the NRA. What? Like, he’s the problem. Now of course he has suffered horribly, but there’s the problem with America right there. That makes no sense. Guns have nothing to do with this.

CNN’s Deborah Feyerick Compares Rodger’s Manifesto To Dickens Novel

During live coverage of the mass murder on May 24, CNN reporter Deborah Feyerick twice compared Rodger’s manifesto — which has been called a “toxic blend of misogyny and racism" and a "rambling manifesto" — to Charles Dickens’ novel David Copperfield, citing her background as a “literature major”:

FEYERICK: I hate to say this, but this is actually really well written. 140 pages which clearly shows significant premeditation that he wanted to leave his story, his novel behind and it almost sounds like David Copperfield. How I came into this world, and oh then I was friends with this person and not friends with this person.

[…]

FEYERICK: Reading through this, I have to tell you, as a literature major, this sounds like he is writing the story, you know for example, of David Copperfield. I was born, I made friends, I had a life of privilege, then my life was not so privileged. I hate to give him any credit but this is fascinating to read. 

h/t: Timothy Johnson at MMFA
mediamattersforamerica

addictinginfo:

Conservatives Greet Wendy Davis With Disgusting “Abortion Barbie” Posters (IMAGE)

2. Wendy Davis Greeted By Protesters With Posters Depicting Her As Pregnant Barbie Doll

3. Conservatives Greet Wendy Davis With Disgusting “Abortion Barbie” Posters

4. Wendy Davis Welcomed To LA With Vile…

ABORTION BARBIE

Conservatives  get humor like they get science, and therefore should just stick to what they’re even better at: hypocrisy and accidental humor. Conservative pundit and overall dickhead Erick Erickson (real original name) previously thought it would be hilarious to call Texas state Senator and Gubernatorial Candidate Wendy Davis “Abortion Barbie”  You see,–Wendy Davis, although sponsoring a plethora of non-reproductive rights bills, just happens to give a crap about a woman’s individual right to choose. So that must mean she loves murdering fetuses, not allowing them to grow up saddled with enormous student loan debt or starve to death, like conservatives often do.

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

Fox News contributor Ben Carson is slated to be the keynote speaker at the first Gala dinner of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), becoming the latest Fox figure to appear before an extreme anti-gay group.

In a May 6 email to supporters, NOM President Brian Brown wrote that “it’s 1972 for marriage,” referring to the year before the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed a woman’s right to an abortion and the growing expectation that the Court will take up marriage equality once again by 2015. To protest the frightening possibility that same-sex couples nationwide will soon enjoy civil equality, NOM will hold its second annual March for Marriage in Washington on June 19. Brown’s email touted Carson’s appearance - previously flagged by GLAAD’s Jeremy Hooper - at NOM’s gala that same evening (emphasis original):

It was a crisp winter day in 1973 when the United States Supreme Court issued their horrific decision in Roe v Wade. How much would you sacrifice to go back in time to a few months before that fateful decision, to the Fall of 1972, and mobilize the American people BEFORE the Supreme Court issued that infamous decree?

Just about anything, right? Well, when it comes to marriage, we have that chance!

You see, it’s 1972 for marriage. Within the next 12 months, it is very likely that the United States Supreme Court will take up the marriage issue again. Many people have bought in to the lie that the courts redefining marriage is somehow “inevitable.” Well, I refuse to believe that, because it’s simply not true!

That’s why the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is organizing its second annual March for Marriage this summer on June 19th in Washington, DC — bringing together thousands of marriage activists from all across the country to make sure the elites in our nation’s capital hear loud and clear: Marriage matters because every kid deserves a mom and a dad!

[…]

One incredibly courageous leader who is standing up for marriage is Doctor Ben Carson, who will be the keynote speaker at NOM’s first ever Gala dinner on the evening of the March for Marriage. He said in a speech earlier this year that the “P.C. police” have “tried to shut him up” because he’s willing to state his belief publicly that marriage is between a man and a woman.

Although Brown and NOM co-founder Maggie Gallagher have billed NOM as an organization focused exclusively on the marriage debate, the group’s anti-gay animus runs deep. Brown calls homosexuality a “sin” that is “deceitful, harmful and degrading to the human soul.” Last year, he traveled twice to Russia to meet with leaders of that country’s draconian anti-gay crackdown and assist with the planning of the 2014 World Congress of Families, which will be held in Moscow in September.

Carson himself has lauded Vladimir Putin’s Russia, writing in February that thanks to the religious conservatism adopted by the current regime, the country was “gaining prestige and influence throughout the world” while the U.S. was at risk of “becoming godless and moving away from Christian values.” His affinity for the vehemently anti-gay Kremlin leader isn’t surprising, given that Carson has compared homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality and called marriage equality “a slippery slope with a disastrous ending, as witnessed in the dramatic fall of the Roman Empire.”

Prior to his employment with Fox, Carson spoke before the Illinois Family Institute, a notorious anti-gay hate group once headed by fringe anti-gay activist Peter LaBarbera.

NOM is hardly the first anti-gay group to score an appearance from a Fox employee.

Contributor Erick Erickson was the keynote speaker at a recent event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group working internationally to criminalize homosexuality. Erickson had previously urged readers of his RedState blog to donate money to the group, noting that he had done so himself.

Meanwhile, Carson joined fellow Fox employees Mike Huckabee, Cal Thomas, Todd Starnes, Allen West, and Sandy Rios in speaking at the most recent Values Voters Summit, an annual social conservative event sponsored by right-wing organizations like the Family Research Council, an anti-gay hate group.

Last fall, Huckabee delivered the keynote address at the inaugural convention of Trail Life USA, an alternative to the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) started by a rabid anti-gay activist in protest of the BSA’s decision to allow openly gay scouts.

With so many Fox employees maintaining warm ties with even the most stridently homophobic social conservative groups, it’s no surprise that American Family Association (AFA) spokesman Bryan Fischer - a man who asserts that gay men were “responsible for the Holocaust" - has lavished praise on Fox for its "very friendly" treatment of hate groups like his own.

Groups like NOM, ADF, the FRC, and the AFA aren’t merely seeking to restrict marriage to straight couples only. They specialize in promoting malicious and damaging smears against LGBT people, who might increasingly have public opinion on their side but are far from achieving full civil equality and continue to be disproportionately targeted by hate crimes. Fox, however, has no qualms about cozying up the most egregious peddlers of anti-LGBT bigotry.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA

mediamattersforamerica:

Well, this is pretty bad… even for a Fox News contributor. 

For years, conservative media figures have attacked marriage equality by citing “religious liberty” concerns, baselessly warning that churches might be forced to perform same-sex weddings against their will. But a new lawsuit in North Carolina challenges the right-wing media’s commitment to religious freedom when it’s not being used as an excuse for anti-gay discrimination.  

On April 28, the United Church of Christ (UCC), a progressive Protestant denomination that supports marriage equality, filed suit in Federal District Court challenging North Carolina’s ban on clergy blessings of same-sex unions. Under the state’s 2012 same-sex marriage ban, it’s a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 45 days in jail, to perform a ceremony for any couple lacking a valid marriage license. The UCC argues that the ban infringes on clergy members’ First Amendment right to free exercise of religion:

"We didn’t bring this lawsuit to make others conform to our beliefs, but to vindicate the right of all faiths to freely exercise their religious practices," said Donald C. Clark Jr., general counsel of the United Church of Christ.

The lawsuit represents the inverse of a long-standing (and entirely baseless) conservative horror story about marriage equality - that churches will be forced to perform same-sex weddings against their will.

This myth has been perpetuated by conservative media personalities like Fox’s Todd Starnes, who in 2012 warned that a Kansas non-discrimination ordinance “would force churches to host gay weddings”:

When the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), Breitbart News’ Ben Shapiro claimed that churches would lose their tax exempt status if they failed to perform same-sex weddings. Fox contributor Erick Erickson has gone so far as to claim ”gay marriage and religious freedom are incompatible.”  And Fox News’ longstanding campaign to depict marriage equality and anti-discrimination laws as burdens on religious liberty inspired a rash of so-called “religious freedom” bills across the country earlier this year.

Given social conservatives’ self-appointed role as guardians of religious freedom, the North Carolina case would seem ripe for their attention.

But now that religious liberty is being invoked to oppose a gay marriage ban, will right-wing media rush to tout the cause of a pro-equality church?

Conservatives who rushed to defend “religious liberty” legislation like Arizona SB 1062 have so far been silent on the case. The New York Times' Ross Douthat, who penned a column supporting Arizona’s bill on religious liberty grounds, has yet to comment on the UCC case on his blog. A TV Eyes search shows that Fox News - which regularly features segments titled “The Fight for Faith” - hasn’t taken up the UCC’s mantle. The same goes for anti-gay conservatives like Starnes, Shapiro, and Erickson.

While civil marriage equality for gay and lesbian couples would have no bearing on churches’ doctrines and practices, laws like North Carolina’s actively restrict religious denominations’ right to freely exercise their faith. If serving a cake to a same-sex couple constitutes an unconscionable violation of religious liberty, then surely a law telling churches which unions they can and can’t bless does. But the right’s crusade against LGBT equality has almost nothing to do with genuine, intellectually consistent support for religious liberty, and everything to do with keeping discrimination enshrined in law.

Too often in conservative media, religious liberty becomes a shield to deflect accusations of bigotry, even while justifying blatant anti-LGBT discrimination. UCC’s lawsuit, and conservative media’s interest in taking it up as a cause célèbre, will test whether the right’s interest in religious liberty is anything more than a shallow excuse for homophobia.

METHDOLOGY

Equality Matters searched TV Eyes for the terms “gay,” “United Church of Christ,” and “North Carolina” for Fox’s programming on April 28 and the morning of April 29, 2014.

h/t: Luke Brinker at MMFA 

mediamattersforamerica

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

Conservative media figures that embody messages of misogyny and hate will take center stage at a GOP candidate forum in Iowa, despite the party’s own acknowledgment that future electoral victories hinge upon the development of a more tolerant platform.

After Mitt Romney’s loss in the 2012 presidential election, the Republican National Committee drafted a series of recommendations on how to evolve and grow the party into a force that can win consistently in the 21st century. To a large extent, the plan recommended reaching out to women and minorities, after Democrats won both groups by healthy margins that year. The RNC report recommended ”developing a forward-leaning vision for voting Republican that appeals to women.” It went on to suggest that the party needs “to campaign among Hispanic, black, Asian, and gay Americans and demonstrate that we care about them, too.”

But in a move that seems in total opposition to those recommendations, the Iowa Republican candidates for U.S. Senate, as well as Republican Gov. Terry Branstad and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), have chosen to partner with Fox News contributor Erick Erickson, radio host Steve Deace, and The Family Leader, an anti-gay organization headed by Bob Vander Plaats, to conduct a forum for the candidates on April 25.

Despite his role as “moderator” for the event, Erickson’s far-right views on women and minorities are anything but moderate. Erickson has argued that businesses that serve gay couples are “aiding and abetting” sin, that proposed anti-discrimination laws are part of a war on Christians waged by “evil” gay rights activists, and that marriage equality is akin to incest. According to the pundit, gay people are definitely “on the road to hell.”

In fact, Erickson is scheduled to appear at an event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) on the night before the candidate forum. The ADF, whose work has been touted by Erickson, is an extreme anti-gay organization working to criminalize homosexuality. The event is billed as “An Evening with Erick Erickson,” making him a de facto spokesman for a group whose stances are so extreme even some of Erickson’s peers at Fox News have distanced themselves from them.

Erickson’s relationship with women’s issues is just as offensive — he is particularly hostile to the idea that women should help support a family financially. Erickson stated on his radio show in 2013 that “some women believe they can have it all, and that’s the crux of the problem,” and told Fox host Lou Dobbs that the recent increase in the number of female breadwinners is “concerning and troubling.” He elaborated on this point, saying, “When you look at biology, look at the natural world, the roles of a male and female in society, and the other animals, the male typically is the dominant role.”

But it’s not just Erickson. The Republican candidate forum will also feature a post-forum focus group moderated by radio host and Washington Times columnist Steve Deace.

Deace maintains strong anti-gay and anti-immigrant views. Most recently, he penned a column suggesting that President Obama and the media were using the story of Michael Sam, an openly gay NFL prospect from the University of Missouri, as an excuse to distract attention away from the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, Libya. He has also compared gay marriage to bank robbery and strongly opposes proposals like the DREAM Act that would aid longtime immigrant children in obtaining a college education.

And the forum itself is presented by The Family Leader, whose president Bob Vander Plaats has called gay people a “public health risk,” likened being gay to adultery and polygamy, and is a vocal supporter of the fringe birther movement.

If right-wing hate mongers like Erickson and Deace continue to be chosen to represent the party, GOP rebranding efforts are likely doomed.

h/t: Brian Powell at MMFA