Two current Religious Right fixations — the “persecution” of American Christians and the need for conservatives to do more to influence the pop culture — have come together in movies like “Persecuted” and “We the People—Under Attack.” The latest entry, “One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty,” was screened by Rick Santorum at the Heritage Foundation on Monday night.
Santorum said the movie will be released in September. His EchoLight Cinemas is trying to create an alternative to Hollywood distribution channels by building a network of thousands of tech-equipped churches who will sell tickets for “One Generation Away” and other movies. He says the long-term strategy is to bring more people into churches and put the church back at the center of the culture.
"One Generation Away" is described as a documentary, but it’s really a preaching-to-the-choir call to arms for conservative Christians and pastors to get more involved in culture war battles while they still have the freedom to do so. Among the film’s producers are Donald and Tim Wildmon from the American Family Association, which Santorum said is packaging a shorter version of the movie into more of an activist tool.
The title comes from Ronald Reagan – specifically from a speech to the Phoenix Chamber of Commerce in 1961, a time in which Reagan was working with conservatives to rally opposition to Medicare – “socialized medicine”:
Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it on to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free.
The thrust of “One Generation Away” is that religious freedom in the United States is disappearing fast, and if the church doesn’t fight for it now, it will soon be gone forever. Before running the film on Monday, Santorum quoted Cardinal Francis George, who said during the debate about insurance coverage of contraception, “I expect to die in my bed. I expect my successor to die in prison. I expect his successor to be a martyr.” That’s just the kind of hyperbolic “religious persecution” rhetoric we have come to expect from Religious Right leaders and their allies in the Catholic hierarchy.
At one point toward the end of the movie, it seems as if the filmmakers might be striking a more reasonable tone, with a couple of speakers saying that Christians should stand up for the rights of people of different faiths — even though the AFA’s chief spokesman opposes First Amendment protections for non-Christians— and others actually acknowledging that it is problematic for American Christians to be complaining of “religious persecution” over policy disputes when Christians and others are facing horrific, deadly persecution in many other parts of the world.
But that caution is quickly abandoned as the movie makes a direct comparison of the status of the Christian church in America with the church in Germany as the Nazis came to power. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a pastor who tried to mobilize German Christians to resist Nazi tyranny and was executed by the regime, is held up as the model that American Christians need to be willing to follow.
Eric Metaxas, a Bonhoeffer biographer who became a Religious Right folk hero when he questioned President Obama’s faith at a National Prayer Breakfast attended by the president, warned that if the church doesn’t link arms to fight, all will be lost. “The good news,” he said, “is that the American church is slightly more attuned to the rumbling heard in the distance than the German church was in the 30s. The bad news is, only slightly, right?”
The movie cuts to Mike Huckabee saying that Bonhoeffer could have saved his life if he had been willing to soften his faith, but that instead he resisted and rebuked the Nazi regime. And then we’re back to Metaxas to complete the Nazi analogy:
“The parallel today is simply that. You have a government, a state, which is getting larger and larger and more and more powerful, and is beginning to push against the church. There’s a window of opportunity where we can fight. If we don’t wake up and fight before then, we won’t be able to fight. That’s just what happened in Germany. And that’s the urgency we have in America now. And people that’s incendiary, or I’m being hyperbolic. I’m sorry, I wish, I wish, I wish I were. I’m not.”
Filmmakers said at the screening that they had conducted 75 interviews for the movie, and it sure feels like it. It includes names that will be well-known to RWW readers, like Mike Huckabee, Tony Perkins, Harry Jackson, Tim Wildmon, Alveda King, Robert George, Russell Moore of the Southern Baptist Convention, Eric Teetsel of the Manhattan Declaration, and Ryan Anderson and Jennifer Marshall of the Heritage Foundation.
Also appearing are Rep. Doug Collins; Rick Perry backer Robert Jeffress; Matthew Franck of the Witherspoon Institute, which sponsored the infamous and discredited Regnerus “family structures” study; Stephen McDowell of the dominionist Providence Foundation; Gregory Thornbury of Kings College; lawyers from the Alliance Defense Fund, the Beckett Fund, the Freedom of Conscience Defense Fund; and a number of pastors.
The film also includes interviews with some opponents of the Religious Right, including Barry Lynn of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, Princeton’s Peter Singer, and Dan Barker of the Freedom From Religion Foundation. Santorum told the audience at Heritage that he wishes he had even more of his opponents included in the film because “they scare the hell out of me” and would help motivate the right-wing base.
In order to keep the movie from being one brutally long succession of talking heads, the filmmakers resort to a tactic of constantly shifting scenes, a couple of seconds at a time, in a way that feels like they got a volume discount on stock images of Americana: boats on the water, kids playing softball, families walking together. There are also odd random fillers, like close-ups of the pattern on a couch in the room in which a speaker is sitting. The endless, repetitive succession of images actually makes the film feel even longer than it actually is. (Zack Ford at ThinkProgress had a similar reaction to this technique.)
The meat of the film, or the “red meat,” mixes the personal stories of people being victimized by intolerant secularists and/or gay activists with miniature David Bartonesque lectures on the Christian roots of America’s founding; the fact that the phrase “separation of church and state” never appears in the U.S. Constitution; the notion that the American government is trying to replace “freedom of religion” with “freedom of worship” and require any expression of faith to take place behind church walls; and the disgracefulness of making any analogies between the civil rights movement and the LGBT equality movement. The 1947 Supreme Court decision in which Jefferson’s “separation of church and state” phrase was invoked by the Court and “changed everything” is portrayed as nothing more than a reflection of Justice Hugo Black’s hatred of Catholics.
Featured “persecution” stories include:
- a long advertisement for Hobby Lobby and its owners, the Green family, which recently won its legal battle against the contraception mandate;
- a baker and florist who ran afoul of their state’s anti-discrimination laws when they refused to provide services for a same-sex couple getting married;
- cheerleaders at a public high school in Texas who were challenged by the Freedom From Religion Foundation for creating football game banners featuring Christian scriptural quotes;
- Catholic Charities being “forced” to give up adoption services rather than place children with same-sex couples;
- an ACLU challenge to a large cross at the Mt. Soledad war memorial; and
- the supposed frontal attack on the religious freedom of military chaplains as a result of allowing LGBT members of the armed forces to serve openly. On this issue, Tony Perkins declares, “The military is being used as a vanguard of radical social policy. And in order for that policy to permeate and to take root, you’ve got to take out the religious opposition.”
In spite of the parade of horrors, the movie tries to end on an upbeat note, saying that the early Christian church expanded while it was being suppressed, and that it will only take “one spark of revival” to change the nation. A familiar theme at Religious Right conferences is that blame for America’s decline rests with churches that don’t speak up and pastors who don’t preach or lead aggressively enough. One Generation Away ends on this point, telling Christian pastors it is their responsibility to wake up and challenge their congregants to live their faith “uncompromisingly.”
During the Q&A after the screening, Santorum said the fact that Hobby Lobby was a 5-4 decision demonstrated the importance of the 2016 election. “Part of me almost wishes we’d lost,” says Santorum, because that would have made the threat clearer to conservative activists. “We are one judge away,” he said, adding that “if we get a Democratic president, our five, or four-and-a-half, justices are not going to hold out forever.”
“I just worry,” he said to the young people in the audience, “that the longer we delay, and America sleeps, and your generation is indoctrinated the way it is, the harder it will be to come back.”
GATHERING OF LEMMINGS, OR COLLECTIVELY, WHY I LEFT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY: FRC Announces 2014 Values Voters Summit Lineup: A Cavalcade Of Crackpots [TW: Anti-LGBT Bigotry, Homophobia]
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.
DEAR GOD, PLEASE NO WITH THIS SHIT: Rick Santorum Making a Movie About Hobby Lobby Decision | Mediaite [TW: Anti-LGBT Bigotry & Discrimination, Homophobia, Right-Wing Extremism]
It hasn’t even been 48 hours since the Supreme Court handed down their decision in US v. Hobby Lobby, but Rick Santorum and his film company EchoLight Studios announced today that they’re making a documentary about the decision, to be released in September.
It hasn’t even been 48 hours since the Supreme Court handed down their decision in US v. Hobby Lobby, but Rick Santorum and his film company EchoLight Studios announced today that they’re making a documentary about the decision, to be released in September. Even better: They already have a trailer for it. It’s like they were anticipating that this would happen!
Okay, technically, this film has been in the works for months: One Generation Away: The Erosion of Religious Liberty, will “makes the case that the free expression of Christianity has lately been taking a backseat to free speech, government expansion and political correctness,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Hobby Lobby is one of several federal and state court cases that will tackle this issue (expect Gay Cake to make an appearance), but considering that pro-life conservatives count this as a huge victory, it will probably be the focus of the entire film.
Santorum is CEO and Chairman of EchoLight Studios, which is responsible for these films.
Watch the trailer below via EchoLight Studios, and keep your eyes peeled: Mike Huckabee and Ronald Reagan make super special appearances…
[h/t AV Club]
So… a documentary about “The Erosion of Religious Liberty” which will presumably focus on… religious right-wingers winning a court case to allow a for-profit corporation to have a religion. Also, I’m pretty sure it will not address the liberty of Muslims or those who practice religions not of the Book.
how do i not have this in my GIF reactions folder
Appearing on C-SPAN this afternoon, former Pennsylvania Senator and perennial presidential candidate Rick Santorum, told host Tucker Carlson that not all countries were ready for democracy and that the Founding Fathers were right when they limited voting rights during the creation of the United States for the sake of “continuity.”
Responding to a question from Carlson about whether it would be good for the United States if countries like Saudi Arabia or Jordan became democracies, Santorum stated that it wasn’t a matter of whether “this is better for us or not.”
“I think the ideal and goal is a good one. The question is: how do you get there?,” Santorum explained. “And how long do you take, and what measures do you take. And, you mentioned Egypt, I don’t think Egypt was ready for elections.”
In 2012 Egyptian voters elected Mohamed Morsi, a candidate backed by the Muslim Brotherhood, considered by some to be a terrorist organization.
Santorum noted that one need look at history of the U.S.
“Were we ready for an election when the United States was formed to have everybody in the United States vote? Well, our Founders didn’t think so, ” he stated. “They limited the people who could vote in an election. Now you could say that’s horrible, that’s terrible. Well, maybe it was, maybe it wasn’t. But it was a decision that was made to make sure that there was some continuity and stability within the government that was consistent with the values the government was founded upon.”
At the time of the first U.S. Elections, only white men with property could vote.
Returning to Egypt, Santorum continued, “We can’t go out and say the objective is a free election, that should never have happened. Democracy is something that comes when it is appropriate to come.”
Santorum conceded that it may take “100 years.”
From the 06.29.2014 edition of CSPAN2’s BookTV:
Five Acts of Anti-Gay Bigotry NOM Wants You to Forget [TW: Anti-LGBT Bigotry & Discrimination, Homophobia]
Analyzing and refuting the inaccuracies lodged against the LGBT community by religious conservative organizations. Lies in the name of God are still lies.
Today is the day in which the National Organization for Marriage tries to turn a page on a thus far disastrous year for the organization and get back to its original goal of denying gays the right to marry while pretending to be the “victims” of “lgbt oppression.”
In Washington, NOM will be holding its March4Marriage, a sure-to-be astroturfed event in which anti-gay spokespeople, such as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum will attempt to trick Americans into believing that marriage is in danger from “the gays.”
All of those involved in this monstrosity will also claim that they are not bigoted for wanting to deny the gay community the right to marry and that their opposition to marriage equality isn’t fueled by a personal animus of the lgbt community.
It’s going to take a lot of chutzpah on their part as well as a hope that we will forget the homophobic acts which NOM has committed over the years to supposedly save the “sacred union between a man and a woman.”
Good luck on that last one, particularly as I present Five Acts of Anti-Gay Bigotry NOM Wants You
5. NOM has attempted to create ‘fake victims’ of marriage equality - On several occasions, NOM has tried to create a narrative that marriage equality will lead to the unfair demonization of those opposing it, only to have the narrative blow up in its face. In 2011, NOM began what it called the Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance This was an attempt to spotlight Americans who had their religious liberties and rights threatened simply for opposing marriage equality. It failed badly. Equality Matters, in 2012, had this to say about the spotlighted examples:… out of NOM’s nine Marriage ADA stories, three weren’t about marriage, three were from a different country, and zero demonstrated an instance of actual “defamation.” It should come as no surprise that NOM had such a difficult time finding any compelling evidence that opponents of marriage equality were having their “rights and dignity” threatened and denied. NOM’s “gays as bullies” narrative has already been exposed and rejected by a number of judges and courts across the country.
In addition, in 2013, the site Politifact gave NOM’s Rhode Island branch a “pants on fire”(which means basically you are lying out of your ass) rating for a claim it trotted out that religious groups have been forced to hold same-sex marriages in their facilities.
4. NOM has implied that gays want to use marriage equality to “indoctrinate” children - No anti-gay group’s arsenal is complete without the claim that gays want to “recruit” or “indoctrinate” children. And NOM is no different:
In 2011 during its failed campaign to keep marriage equality from coming to New York, NOM exploited the fear that gays want to use marriage equality to “indoctrinate” children even though Politifact had earlier that year gave NOM a false rating for a similar claim it made in Rhode Island.
3. Folks behind NOM helped in creating a hideously flawed study about same-sex households
From the Regnerus Fallout:On June 10, 2012, Social Science Research’s website went live with “How Different Are the Adult Children of Parents Who Have Same-Sex Relationships? Findings from the New Family Structures Study,” written by University of Texas at Austin associate sociology professor Mark Regnerus …The intention of Regnerus’ study – which was funded to the tune of nearly $800,000 by the conservative Witherspoon Institute and Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation – was to present the large, random, population-based study that Marks lamented was missing from the academic literature on same-sex parenting. And to the delight of the religious right community, Regnerus claimed his study found negative outcomes for the children who said one of their parents engaged in a “same-sex romantic relationship” at some point during their childhoods.
However, Regnerus’s study contained a multitude of errors, including the fact that it did not actually compared married gay parents to married heterosexual parents and Regnerus admitted that the study did not establish a connection between negative outcomes and same-sex parenting.
But the largest problem Regenrus’s study had was its funders, particularly Princeton professor Robert George. Again, from the Regnerus Fallout:Though the Witherspoon Institute and Mark Regnerus have denied that George was directly involved in any aspect of the New Family Structures Study, George’s seat on the board of directors on the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation indicates he was likely part of the decision by the foundation to help fund it. The Bradley Foundation’s board of directors, which directs the foundation’s funds, gave at least $90,000 to the Regnerus study in 2011. Additionally, George’s name was mentioned in a fundraising letter to the Bradley Foundation, penned by Witherspoon President Luis Tellez: “We are very grateful for The Bradley Foundation’s consideration of this request. Mark Regnerus, Robby George, Brad Wilcox, and I would be happy to work with the Bradley Foundation to identify other funding partners,” Tellez wrote. George helped draft the original Federal Marriage Amendment defining marriage as a union between a man and a woman that was first introduced to Congress in 2002 but has never passed.
One more thing. George is also one of the co-founders of NOM.
In addition to possibly helping to fund the Regnerus’s study George put together a marketing campaign to run as soon as it was published. This campaign included NOM and several NOM-connected groups.
All of this brought up questions with regards to Regnerus’s partiality and his study was rebuked by over 200 researchers, the sociology department of his own university, and finally a Michigan federal judge, Bernard Friedman. Earlier this year, Friedman not only struck down a law barring marriage equality in Michigan, but he was especially brutal to Regnerus’s study and to Regnerus himself:"The Court finds Regnerus’s testimony entirely unbelievable and not worthy of serious consideration. The evidence adduced at trial demonstrated that his 2012 ‘study’ was hastily concocted at the behest of a third-party funder, which found it ‘essential that the necessary data be gathered to settle the question in the forum of public debate about what kinds of family arrangement are best for society’ and which ‘was confident that the traditional understanding of marriage will be vindicated by this study.’ … While Regnerus maintained that the funding source did not affect his impartiality as a researcher, the Court finds this testimony unbelievable. The funder clearly wanted a certain result, and Regnerus obliged."
2. NOM participated in anti-gay efforts in foreign countries - Unfortunately in spite of the rebukes, Regnerus’s work played a huge role in countries around the world establishing harsh anti-gay laws, particularly in Russia. NOM President Brian Brown spoke in Russia after that country (thanks to the Regnerus study) passed a law against supposed “gay propaganda,” which was actually a law created to silence the lgbt Russians in general. According to People for the American Way in its report on how groups like NOM were marketing homophobia worldwide, Brown spoke about denying adoption rights to gays:"But we are now convinced, having heard the presentations of our French brothers and sisters, that we are talking about very serious problems indeed. We are talking about violations of rights, we are talking about the rights and problems of children in their education. We should not shy away from this and should not forget about it and create an illusion for ourselves. A reconsideration of the definition and understanding of marriage is in fact a real threat to rights. Very soon after a law was passed that legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts, we saw that religious organizations were closing down, religious organizations that dealt with adoptions and that did not support adoption by same-sex families. They were closing one after another. We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality, but in fact they don’t have the right to learn about a lot of things like that until a certain age. …I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world. We will band together, we will defend our children and their normal civil rights."
1. NOM attempts play the LGBT and African-American community against one another - Don’t be surprised. You knew this was going to be number one. In 2012, court documents proved that NOM was deliberately playing the gay and black communities against one another. From a post I published that year:According to a court document that was uploaded online, NOM specificallyworked to drive a wedge between the black and gay community on the subject of marriage equality:
According to page 11 of this document called Marriage: $20 Million Strategy for Victory:3. Not a Civil Right Project
The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks - two key democratic constituencies. We aim to find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage; to develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; and to provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots. No politician wants to take up and push an issue that splits the base of the party.
NOM has portrayed whatever African-American opposition to marriage equality its spotlighted as spontaneous attempts by leaders and members of the black community to keep its civil rights legacy from supposedly being “tainted” by a comparison to gay equality.
In other words, NOM was attempting to exploit the difference of opinion that some in the African-American had about their civil rights movement being declared as similar to the lgbt equality movement. You will notice that the document said NOM would “find, equip, and energize” African-Americans spokespeople against marriage equality. The organization has done this in three examples:
Patrick Wooden - In 2012 during its successful attempt to ban marriage equality in North Carolina, NOM teamed up with Wooden, head of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh, NC, for outreach in the African-American community. He also said the followingabout gay men during the campaign:The God of the Bible made the human sperm, the God of the Bible designed it and it was not designed to be emptied into an area that is filled with feces, there is nothing for it to germinate with, it will most certainly mean the extinction of the human race. My belief is that if the medical community would just step forward and just would share with the American people what happens to the male anus, the problems that homosexuals have with their rectums, the damage that is done, the operations that are needed to sew up their bodies if you will, and how many of the men don’t even give these stitches time to heal before they are back out there practicing that wicked behavior. Some are bleeders, men who are not turned off by ingesting the feces of other men.
Harry Jackson - People for the American Way has called Jackson the "Point Man for the Wedge Strategy." PFAW was mainly talking about how religious right groups use Jackson to gain credibility into the black community. NOM in particular has attempted to use Jackson on several occasions. From a post I published in 2012:According to Mother Jones magazine, Jackson has received $20,000 from the National Organization for Marriage’s “education fund” for his efforts to exploit the opinions of those in the black community who do not agree with marriage equality.
In addition, in 2010, Jackson attempted to get a measure on the ballot opposing marriage equality in D.C. In pursuit of that effort, he led the group Stand for Marriage DC. According to documents attained by Mother Jones magazine, NOM gave $60,000 for that effort.
William Owens - Owens is the head of CAAP (the Coalition of African-American Pastors). Supposedly CAAP was leading an effort to get the black community to withhold their votes from President Obama in the upcoming 2012 election because of his support for marriage equality. However, it was found out by USA Today that CAAP had deep connections to conservative groups, including NOM. It was also found out, via the Washington Blade, that NOM was paying Owens and his wife $20,000 for their services.
So all of this comes down to one unwavering fact - in spite of all of its platitudes of merely wanting to “protect marriage” and whining about “unfairly being labeled as a bigot simply for believing in traditional marriage,” NOM is merely a shady group with a good spin. But behind the spin are the same lies and homophobia which the lgbt community has learned to expect from so-called “traditional morality groups.”
No matter what you hear today from NOM, its employees or supporters, never forget these five examples of anti-gay bigotry.
NOM is hoping that you do.
The Regnerus Fallout
How They See Us: Unmasking the Religious Right War on Gay America
GLAAD’s Commentator Accountability Project
Ted Cruz And Rick Santorum To Join Iowa Pastor Who Predicted Marriage Equality Would Increase The Murder Rate, Destroy America
Ted Cruz and Rick Santorum are slated to appear at a September “American Heritage Summit” in Washington, D.C., hosted by a right-wing Iowa pastor Cary Gordon of Cornerstone World Outreach.
Along with Gordon and the pair of likely presidential candidates, the guests include conservative pseudo-historian David Barton, Iowa-based talk show host Steve Deace and Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King.
Gordon became heavily involved in politics during the 2010 campaign to remove Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled in favor of marriage equality, and he endorsed Santorum’s 2012 presidential campaign, helping the former Pennsylvania senator to win the Iowa caucuses.
At an anti-gay marriage rally in 2011, Gordon described marriage equality as a demonic attempt that would bring about America’s destruction, warning that Iowans must “protect the virtue of true Americanism from our own mental barbarians who attack our minds with the God-hating secularism of Europe” or risk being “extinguished from the earth.”
Gordon even predicted that gay marriage would increase the murder rate: “The natural problem that causes is an overt immorality. The crime rates go up, people suffer, people are stealing and murdering and [doing] all the things morality tells you not to do.”
The pastor, insisting that it is a “glaringly obvious fact that being ‘gay’ is a behavior, and has nothing to do with civil rights,” charged in a 2010 blog post that the same-sex marriage ruling put Iowa on the road to Nazism: “True pastors, in the fashion of Christ, will not and cannot bow before the arrogance of Caesar and Herod. We have learned from our past mistakes. We will not repeat the mistake made by Lutheran pastors when confronted with German fascism.”
“[T]o the intelligent religious man, homosexuality will always be un-natural for a myriad of obvious reasons one shouldn’t have to explain,” Gordon wrote. “To the intelligent evolutionist, it will NEVER agree with the doctrine of ‘survival of the fittest.’”
Gordon’s church also released a video asserting that same-sex marriage would legalize incest, pedophilia and bestiality.
h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW
Herman Cain is just the latest in a long line of GOP candidates who say God told them to run for president—but apparently God never mentioned anything about winning.
Are you there, God? It’s Herman Cain—and the rest of The GOP is likely coming, too.
The Tea Party’s favorite pizza-preneur hit the Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans on Saturday with a message for conservatives, but more importantly, for Jesus Christ: If called, he’s ready for another run at the presidency in 2016.
“I do not know what the future holds, but I know who holds the future, and that’s God Almighty,” Cain said. “And in case someone is wondering, I don’t trust in government, I trust in God.”
He’s not the only one waiting for God’s go-ahead. “I believe God will make it clear to me if that’s something I’m supposed to do,” said Ben Carson on Fox News in August. The neurosurgeon earned plaudits from conservatives last year (the Wall Street Journal ran a “Ben Carson for President” editorial) following his scalding speech at the White House prayer breakfast.
But sadly for both, God has been known to endorse multiple candidates, and a push from the man upstairs doesn’t always add up to votes.
It’s no surprise that many GOP candidates invoke God in stump speeches; after Mormons, evangelicals are the most Republican religion and just one in 10 consider themselves liberal. But only a select few belong to the divine endorsement club.
Members include former Indiana State Sen. William Costas, who credited a “message from God” delivered by his wife for his ultimately unsuccessful 1986 Congressional run. That same year Richard Stokes lost a bid for a U.S. Senate seat in Pennsylvania, along with his wife, when he quit his job as a middle school teacher after hearing the “very deep, very plain” voice of God at 3 a.m. telling him to launch a campaign that focused on abortion, homosexuality and Communism. And Jim Bob Duggar—hero of the Quiverfull movement and star of the reality series 19 Kids and Counting—said he was “called by God,” but didn’t make it past the Republican primary in his 2002 U.S. Senate attempt. Even Ronald Reagan heard the voice of God, according to his son, Michael, who wrote in his book, Hand of Providence, “He believed God had called him to run for president. He believed God had things for him to do.”God has been known to endorse multiple candidates, and a push from the man upstairs doesn’t always add up to votes.
In 2012, at least five candidates claimed God had called them all the run.
Former Speaker Newt Gingrich told Fox News’ Sean Hannity it would be “up to God and the American people,” whether he would seek the nomination.
Herman Cain is just awaiting a sign like the one handed down to him in 2011. Before throwing his hat in the ring, he said, “I felt like Moses when God said, ‘I want you to go into Egypt and lead my people out.’ Moses resisted. I resisted.… But you shouldn’t question God.”
Though Rick Santorum’s wife, Karen, told him, “God cannot possibly want you to do this,” he ultimately convinced her with prayer that God was leading him onto the presidential path. “After a while she saw the same thing I did.”
In 2011, Texas Gov. Rick Perry told a reporter, “I’m getting more and more comfortable every day that this is what I’ve been called to do. This is what America needs.” And after a string of bad luck pushed him into third place—offensive campaign ads, and laughable debate performances helped—his wife, Anita, likened him to Moses, and described his decision to run as heeding signs from above, relayed by her to her chosen husband. “He didn’t want to hear a thing about running for president,” she said. “He felt like he needed to see the burning bush. I said ‘Look, let me tell you something. You may not see that burning bush, but there are people seeing that burning bush for you.’”
And you can thank God for Michele Bachmann, too. In 2006, the Almighty ordered the mother of five to run for Congress. But He wasn’t finished, so in 2011 God urged her to run for the highest office. “Every decision that I make I pray about, as does my husband,” the Congresswoman explained. “And I can tell you, yes, I’ve had that calling and that tugging on my heart that this is the right thing to do…”
These candidates all claimed that God was the impetus and continuing force behind their campaigns. And every one, save Rick Santorum, claims they never wanted to do it in the first place. According to their own admissions, they had to be convinced by God to do his will.
And they all lost.
But then again, God never mentioned anything about winning.
God’s favorite candidates can all take heart in the words of another famous loser, Pat Robertson, who claimed the White House was as good as his in the 1988 election. The televangelist was another who initially resisted God’s call to run, but eventually relented. “I heard the Lord,” Robertson whispered in front of a New Hampshire church congregation along the campaign trail, “saying ‘I have something else for you to do. I want you to run for president of the United States.’” He went on, “I assure you that I am going to be the next president of the United States.”
After finishing a distant third, Robertson says in his book, The Plan, that he questioned his faith. “I’ve been asked the question a hundred times: ‘Did you miss God?’ I asked over and over, ‘Did I miss Your leading, Father? … Did I hear You? … Why didn’t I win?’”
Robertson’s soul searching led him to draw a comparison between his loss and Jesus Christ himself, whom, he writes, “failed by human standards but was part of God’s perfect plan. Was He hurt? Of course he was. Will He be vindicated? Gloriously so.”
“I followed God’s plan for me, so in His eyes I did win.”
BREAKING: Federal Judge: Pennsylvania’s Law Banning Same-Sex Marriage Is Unconstitutional, Making The Entire US Northeast Full of Marriage Equality
The Keystone State is the latest domino to fall to marriage momentum.
A federal judge has ruled that Pennsylvania’s state law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional, bringing the total number of state marriage amendments to be overturned in the federal courts over the past year to over a dozen. Pennsylvania is one of the five states that does not have marriage equality but only has a state law banning it — not a state constitutional amendment. The decision did not include a stay, which means marriages could possibly begin immediately. Pennsylvania law requires a 3-day waiting period between when an application is filed and when a license can be issued, but counties also have the power to waive it.
According to Judge John E. Jones III, a George W. Bush appointee who was recommended by then-Sen. Rick Santorum (R), Pennsylvania’s ban — like the many other bans that have fallen recently — violates same-sex couples’ equal protection under the law. “We are a better people than what these laws represent, and it is time to discard them into the ash heap of history,” he concluded.
Jones reflected on the experience of the various plaintiffs’ life experience, using headings borrowed from traditional marriage vows. Under “For better, for worse,” he noted how the couples have “shared in life’s joys” together. Under “For richer, for poorer,” he highlighted how they have combined their finances and placed legal trust in each other. Under “In sickness and in health,” he worried about how the marriage laws forces them to be “legal strangers” who are “left vulnerable in times of crisis.” Under “Until death do us part,” he acknowledged that the couples “demonstrate an intention to live out their lives together,” explaining that they brought the suit “to transcend the pain, uncertainty, and injustice visited by the Marriage Laws.”
The decision dismisses the state’s claims that same-sex marriage is a “new right.” Instead, Jones ruled, “the fundamental right to marry is a personal right to be exercised by the individual,” one that “these individuals have always been guaranteed by the United States Constitution.”
Another important aspect of Jones’ ruling is the designation of sexual orientation as a “quasi-suspect class.” Unlike in other Circuits, the 3rd Circuit has no precedent for whether or not to consider sexual orientation with what’s called “heightened scrutiny” — i.e. a characteristic deserving of protection from laws that might discriminate against it. Other Circuits have jurisprudence dictating that sexual orientation is not a suspect class, but Jones was free to consider the question for himself. There are four factors generally used to determine such a classification: is there a history of discrimination against the group, does the identity impact individuals’ capabilities as citizens, is the identity a distinguishing characteristic (i.e. is it “immutable”), and has the group experienced political powerlessness. After weighing the criteria, Jones concluded that sexual orientation warrants at least quasi-suspect scrutiny, meaning that laws that appear to discriminate based on such identities must meet a higher level of justification in order to be upheld.
The ACLU suit, filed last July, was the first challenging Pennsylvania’s ban, but at least three others are continuing to play out. Because state Attorney General Kathleen Kane (D) refused to defend the ban, Gov. Tom Corbett (R) hired private lawyers to step in, at the taxpayer cost of $400 an hour.
An October poll found that 54 percent of Pennsylvanians supported legislation to allow same-sex couples to marry. Jones speculated that the notion of “separate but equal” marriage will fade in future generations, such that “the label same-sex marriage will be abandoned, to be replaced simply by marriage.”
Source: Zack Ford for ThinkProgress
On The Lars Larson Show, Rick Santorum peddles myths about Lawrence v. Texas and demands Bible instruction into public schools
Rick Santorum last week told a conservative talk show host that his predictions about the ramifications of Lawrence v. Texas, the 2003 Supreme Court case that knocked down laws banning gay sex, have come true.
After host Lars Larson told the former presidential candidate that “the last several years have proved that you were absolutely right” on “homosexual issues,” Santorum said that “if you go back and look at the interviews I did when the Lawrence v. Texas case was decided and I said here are the consequences of what’s going to happen here, I said it in the next ten years and it was the next eight years or nine years.”
Santorum said following the Lawrence decision that “if the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything.”
Despite Santorum’s self-congratulatory remarks, bigamy, polygamy, and incest have not been legalized in the US, or in any of the states that have marriage equality laws for that matter.
He also told Larson that conservatives are losing their “religious liberty” and “the ability to disagree.”
From the 04.29.2014 edition of Compass Media Networks’ The Lars Larson Show:
After insisting that his false predictions about the Lawrence v. Texas decision actually came true, Rick Santorum told conservative radio host Lars Larson last week that it is time the right-wing “majority” demand schools require Bible instruction in the classroom.
“We are the majority, the people who believe in the [conservative] values you were just talking about are the majority of people in this country, but we’ve allowed the elite, the academic progressive elitist left to ram all this stuff down our throat and we just take it,” Santorum said. “We need to take it back. We need to say, why is the Bible not taught in schools? They’ll say, ‘oh Lars this is terrible.’ The Bible is the basis of Western Civilization.
Larson agreed, “I would do it, I would require it, I’d love to see that.”
“Right,” Santorum responded, before discussing how “we need to give parents control of the education system in this country.”
From the 04.29.2014 edition of Compass Media Networks’ The Lars Larson Show:
Ain’t No Party Like An NRA Party ‘Cause At An NRA Party People Wave Guns Around Like A Bunch Of Jackasses, And Other Gun News
A round-up of the National Rifle Association’s annual convention in Indianapolis.
Over the weekend the National Rifle Association held its annual Gun Fetishization and Circle Jerk for Dim-Bulb Paranoids. The lucky host city was Indianapolis, which saw itself invaded by 70,000 armed lunatics for three days of strutting jingoism and fear-mongering. Ghoulish death-head Wayne LaPierre showed up to give the very same speech that he gave at CPAC last month, which seems appropriate, since the NRA convention is basically CPAC with weaponry. Towards the end of the speech, LaPierre showed a television commercial that has to be seen to be believed (It starts at about 17:05 in the above video). As a bonus, it stars Wonkette favorite Mr. Colion Noir, who we are sad to see has yet to find a director who can get him to tone down the overly dramatic line readings.
Did you feel it? Do you believe in America again?
After LaPierre, the usual band of shitwitted politicians took to the podium to pander to this armed band of donkey-fucking nut bags. Mitch McConnell popped by, though apparently he left the Revolutionary War musket he showed off at CPAC at home. Quite a few of the potential losers to Hillary Clinton in 2016 made speeches, including Mike Pence, Marco Rubio, Rick Santorum and Bobby Jindal, because when you think of manly gun-toting tough guys, you definitely think of the Hindu version of Kenneth the Page.
The greatest speech of the weekend belonged to Sarah Palin, the Dipshit of Denali herself, who popped by to tell everyone that if she were in charge, “waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists.” Remembering that she is not in fact in charge of anything, sphincters across the country immediately unclenched.
One 72-year-old heartbeat away from the presidency. John McCain should never be allowed to make any decision about anything ever after that one. Cindy shouldn’t even let him decide what flavor pudding he gets to gum down for dinner.
We wonder if it occurred to even one of the 70,000 barking seals in attendance that the NRA convention is basically just a big weekend for gun manufacturers to separate even more of the rubes from even more of their money. Wrapping it in a veneer of rah-rah patriotism about taking back the streets from the thugs and criminals, or taking back the country from the people who gave us Solyndra and Benghazi (no really, those were mentioned) does not change that.
For an example of what the NRA hath wrought after years and years of this paranoid insanity, we look no further than a story out of Georgia last week. It seems that one patriot, excited over the state’s passing that “Guns Everywhere” law, couldn’t wait to tell all his liberal fascist neighbors that he would now be strapped all the time, so stick that in your pipes and smoke it, libtards! For an extra soupcon of dickishness, the Georgia man decided to make sure all the small children at the neighborhood Little League field knew it too.
“Anyone who was just walking by – you had parents and children coming in for the game – and he’s just standing here, walking around [saying] ‘You want to see my gun? Look, I got a gun and there’s nothing you can do about it.’ He knew he was frightening people. He knew exactly what he was doing,” said parent Karen Rabb.
All together now: he seems nice.
Back in Indianapolis, a small group of protestors affiliated with Moms Demand Action and Everytown, which is Michael Bloomberg’s new gun control group, bravely put in an appearance outside the NRA convention. This was very upsetting to the gun fondlers, who fear the radical Moms Demand agenda of background checks, suicide prevention, domestic violence and safe storage of guns so that fewer toddlers will keep shooting each other. Advocating for such issues is apparently considered “bullying” by the gun nuts. Which we find hilarious, considering the above story from Georgia or this one about a sales executive in L.A. trying to sell a line of so-called “smart guns.” Her efforts to sell guns that can only be fired by their actual owners have led to a campaign of harassment that includes posting pictures of the address where she keeps a P.O. box online.
The unarmed are always bullying the armed. Everyone knows this.
The gun nuts were also very contemptuous of Moms Demand Action founder Shannon Watts, who apparently had an armed security detail with her, which apparently makes her a hypocrite. Yr Wonkette thinks that if we were going to advocate for gun control in the middle of 70,000 armed, easily angered jerks, and if we had been the target of the kind of invective that has been hurled at Watts since she founded her group, we would want armed security as well. That doesn’t make Shannon Watts a hypocrite. It makes her smart.
In Indianapolis, Watts had a run-in with howling rage harpy Dana Loesch, of whom she has run afoul for a variety of reasons, including apparently calling Loesch a “paid shill” of Magpul Industries, the gun manufacturer that fled Colorado last year after that state imposed some new gun-control laws. Loesch claims she has never been employed by Magpul and has been after Watts for months demanding an apology for this vicious lie. What yr Wonkette finds entertaining about this little argument is that last summer we wrote about a rally Magpul participated in just before Colorado’s new laws went into effect, at which the company handed out hundreds of its 30-round magazines that were about to become illegal. Magpul flew these magazines to the rally by helicopter, along with a noted anti-gun-control advocate by the name of…Dana Loesch! Dana even took two of Magpul’s magazines home with her and named them “Piers” and “Morgan.” Most parents would just get their kids a couple of goldfish.
Anyway, we suppose any appearance fee paid to Dana came from the rally’s organizers and not from Magpul. Or maybe Dana didn’t get an appearance fee at all so she could remain a pure and uncorrupted spokeswoman for her civil right to stroke a gun anywhere and anytime she wants. Yr Wonkette is of the opinion that flying into a gun rally with several crates of Magpul products, speaking at that rally and then taking two of the products home and bragging about them meets the definition of the word “shilling.” And also that Dana Loesch is dumber than a bag of gun hammers.
So you hang in there, Shannon Watts and Moms Demand Action. If you’ve got the gun nuts frothing at the mouth this hard, you must be doing something right.
Straw Polls: Rand Paul wins #CPAC2014 Straw Poll, Ted Cruz wins Senate Conservative Fund’s Straw Poll
The results are in for the CPAC and Senate Conservatives Fund straw polls for the 2016 GOP primary.
Rand Paul wins CPAC straw poll for 2nd year in a row.
While over at the SCF version, Ted Cruz won that straw poll.
31 KY Senator Rand Paul
11 TX Senator Ted Cruz
9 Neurosurgeon Ben Carson
8 NJ Governor Chris Christie
7 Former PA Senator Rick Santorum
7 WI Governor Scott Walker
6 FL Senator Marco Rubio
3 TX Governor Rick Perry
3 WI Congressman Paul Ryan
2 Former AR Governor Mike Huckabee
2 LA Governor Bobby Jindal
2 Former AK Governor Sarah Palin
2 Former Sec. of State Condoleezza Rice
1 Former IN Governor Mitch Daniels
1 OH Governor John Kasich
1 IN Governor Mike Pence
1 OH Senator Rob Portman
1 SD Senator John Thune
1 Business Executive Donald Trump
1 Former FL Congressman Allen West
* NH Senator Kelly Ayotte
* KS Governor Sam Brownback
* SC Governor Nikki Haley
* NM Governor Susana Martinez
* SC Senator Tim Scott
Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald):
Here’s a screen grab of the full CPAC straw poll results. pic.twitter.com/pefHfo5WSb— Alex Seitz-Wald (@aseitzwald)March 8, 2014
Sen. Ted Cruz (TX) - 42.46% (17,605)
Sen. Rand Paul (KY) - 17.38% (7,207)
Gov. Scott Walker (WI) - 10.42% (4,322)
Other Write-in Candidates - 6.50% (2,696)
Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee (AR) - 6.29% (2,608)
Gov. Rick Perry (TX) - 4.44% (1,841)
Sen. Marco Rubio (FL) - 2.47% (1,025)
Fmr. Gov. Jeb Bush (FL) - 2.27% (943)
Gov. Chris Christie (NJ) - 2.00% (828)
Rep. Paul Ryan (WI) - 1.64% (680)
Gov. Bobby Jindal (LA) - 1.26% (522)
Fmr. Sen. Rick Santorum (PA) - 0.93% (386)
Gov. John Kasich (OH) - 0.72% (299)
Gov. Mike Pence (IN) - 0.47% (195)
Gov. Nikki Haley (SC) - 0.40% (165)
Gov. Susana Martinez (NM) - 0.34% (140)
A total of 41,462 votes were cast.
By Jenna Portnoy and Salvador Rizzo/The Star-Ledger TRENTON — Gov. Chris Christie was primed for a year of retail politics as the new chairman of the Republican Governors Association, ready to show up at campaign events all over the country and meet…
Channeling Rick Santorum, Freedom Watch’s Larry Klayman wrote in a column this weekend that Tea Party activists fighting President Obama are the true heirs to Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jr.
Klayman, who is calling for the overthrow of the Obama administration, wrote in WorldNetDaily that he will soon establish a Third Continental Congress and a “government in waiting” since his tiny White House rally failed to convince the president to resign.
“[L]et us take Mandela’s achievement in liberating South Africa from bondage as a further example of what we can accomplish in freeing our own nation from the choking despotic governmental slavery of Obama and his pliant Democratic and Republican minions in Congress and the judiciary,” Klayman wrote.
“We will soon be announcing the date to convene the Third Continental Congress in Philadelphia early next year where, taking a page from the Founding Fathers, we will meet to plan the next steps of our Second American Revolution, with delegates from all 50 states.”
A majority of states have retention votes. Until recently, these votes have gotten little to no attention by the press let alone discussion around the kitchen table. Then, in 2010, one powerful Christian political group in Iowa made targeting so-called “activist” judges part of its mission.
The Family Leader (TFL) headed by Bob Vander Plaats, whose name has recently been floated as a possible contenderfor the Republican nomination for Senate, launched an aggressive and ultimately successful campaign to oust three Iowa Supreme Court Justices. After these three judges ruled in favor of marriage equality, making Iowa one of the first states to allow same-sex couples to marry in the state, Vander Plaats and TFL mustered the anti-gay marriage troops.
Money poured in from The National Organization for Marriage, The Alliance Defense Fund, The Family Research Council and the American Family Association. Well north of $500,000 was dumped into Iowafor the cause. The highlight of the campaign was a 20-stop bus tour coordinated by TFL that drew perennial right-wing religious favorites like Rep. Steve King (R-IA), Tony Perkins and Rick Santorum. Each stop bashed gay marriage, warning Iowans that it was a slippery slope toward incest, polygamy and man-on-dog love.
It worked. Not only did the judges lose their jobs, Vander Plaats and TFL drove their right-wing base and single-issue voters to the polls. This momentum helped TFL endorsed presidential candidate Rick Santorum to narrowly (and belatedly) win the Iowa caucus.
Now, Vander Plaats and The Family Leader are at it again. This time the target is Polk County District Court Judge Karen Romano. Her crime? Granting an injunction against a law that would end telemed abortion in Iowa.
Telemed services allow women, typically in rural areas away from any clinic, access to abortion care services they would otherwise not have. A doctor “meets” a woman via webcam then prescribes medication to induce a chemical abortion. Then, under the in-person supervision of a trained medical professional the woman takes the pill.
The Family Leader and Vander Plaats have aggressively jumped in this fight as well. Just days after Romano’s Nov. 5 ruling, a post went up on TFL’s website. Under the title “Remember the Romano” TFL supposes Judge Romano didn’t “learn a lesson” from the Supreme Court vote stating “The FAMiLY LEADER [sic] encourages Iowans to remember Judge Karen Romano’s activism when she is up for retention in November 2016.”
The punitive model created by The Family Leader targeting justices can be replicated in other states. As model legislation (like “fetal pain” bills or 20 week abortion bans) is floated in one state to assess its feasibility in another, so is judicial retention. With hot-button issues like gay marriage and abortion increasingly make their way to state courts Americans can expect more and more “bus tours” by Christian-political groups designed to drive the base to the polls and bring big money to their causes.