Another protester in Florida wrote a sign that read, “Send Them Back with Birth Control.”
3.The fringe and the “mainstream” are closely knit.
The weekend’s protests were organized by fringe extremists, but they were promoted by large national groups that have access and influence in national politics.
The largest anti-immigrant organizing groups, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and Numbers USA quietly promoted the events: Numbers sent a notice about the events to its email list and a number of FAIR’s state affiliates directed members to events in their areas.
The protests this weekend were an attempt to create the illusion of widespread outrage at the children coming to the southern border and at the concept of immigration reform. A number of the protest groups, however small, garnered local news coverage and were able to say that they were part of a large nationwide effort. A look at reports from across the country shows that that was not the case.
The anti-immigrant movement may be smoke and mirrors, but it has some very influential people fooled. House Speaker John Boehner still refuses to bring immigration reform up for a vote in the House. Ted Cruz now says that deporting DREAMers is his “top priority.” Republicans in Congress, spooked by the victory of ALIPAC-supported David Brat in Virginia, say that immigration reform is dead — even though an overwhelming percentage of Republicans want Congress to take action to fix the immigration system and a majority of Republicans want that to include a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants.
The child refugee crisis has brought out the true colors of the anti-immigrant movement. Even as some conservative groups are urging compassion and care for the children fleeing to the southern border, Republican leaders seem to be buying the narrative of the small, Nativist anti-immigrant fringe.
The Republican National Committee recently launched a new outreach arm called GOP Faith to build “an army of activists to encourage pro-faith Americans to vote their values” and named South Carolina GOP chairman Chad Connelly as the party’s Director of Faith Engagement.
In an appearance yesterday on Sandy Rios’ American Family Radio show, Connelly said he couldn’t understand how a person of faith could back Democratic candidates. “How does a believer vote that way?” he said, speaking of the Democratic party.
After encouraging more pastors like Jim Garlow to preach politics at the pulpit or run for office themselves, he waxed nostalgic about the days when simply being a Christian was all you needed to be a good candidate for office: “It used to be exalted, if you were a person of integrity, if you were a Christian, people said, ‘Hey I can count on them.’ And now we scratch our heads and wonder why we can’t count on more of these people.”
He also urged pastors to teach members of their congregations how to “vote their values.”
Connelly also told Rios that he was frustrated that in 2012, 22 percent of evangelical Christians “voted completely opposite to what they say they believe” — that is, for President Obama.
According to Rios, McCain embarked on a campaign — “and I know about this for personal reasons” — to “purge the Republican Party of conservative candidates” and “turn the Republican Party blue” following the 2008 election.
“He decided that Mark Kirk was his first pick [for ,” Rios said.“Many of us in Illinois at the time, conservatives, knew that this was going to be a disaster.”
After reviewing several controversies that emerged during Kirk’s U.S. Senate campaign that she said showed he “was not an honest person,” Rios said that “we also knew that he was a closet homosexual.”
2) Have you been living with another homosexual Congressman?
3) Were you sued by another male staffer in John Porter’s office for sexual harassment?
Congressman Mark Kirk, please answer these questions. Republican leadership, if you are covering up things the public should know, stop or you will lose even more credibility with your base. And press? Do your job. Your duty is not to defend a lifestyle; it is to report the truth.
It was largely off their radar, that is, until this week. This morning, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on a proposal by Sen. Tom Udall, D-N.M., to send a constitutional amendment to the states restoring to Congress and state governments the ability to regulate the raising and spending of money in elections. In response, Republican politicians and conservative activists have kicked into gear and are starting to try out new talking points to get their movement to oppose efforts to lessen the influence of big money in politics.
Burchfield and McGahn both argued that the introduction of the constitutional amendment means, in the words of McGahn, that campaign finance law advocates are “admitting” that campaign finance regulations are “unconstitutional.”
On the surface, this is the opposition’s strongest argument, because it sounds so scary. But it’s just not true. Whether you support the Udall amendment or not, it’s dishonest to suggest that it would amount to a “repeal of the First Amendment.” Instead, proponents argue that it strengthens the First Amendment by undoing the Supreme Court’s jurisprudence declaring that spending on elections, including from corporate treasuries, cannot be limited. Proponents of the Udall amendment hold that this jurisprudence, including recent decisions in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases, represented a radical reinterpretation of the First Amendment; undoing them would simply re-establish the ability of Congress and the states to set reasonable regulations on the raising and spending of money to influence elections.
2.Amendment supporters want to ‘silence critics’ and ‘cling to power’!
The Heritage panelists repeatedly claimed that the Udall amendment is an attempt to protect incumbency by preventing challengers from raising enough money to win elections. McGahn insisted that it was an effort by Democratic incumbents “desperately clinging to power.”
“They want to change the rules of the game and prevent people from criticizing them, not unlike England did before our revolution, and which led to our revolution,” he added.
The American Family Association’s Sandy Rios also invoked the American Revolution in an interview with von Spakovsky yesterday, saying, “The First Amendment, the rights to free speech – particularly the right to political speech – were the right to criticize the king, criticize the authorities over you.”
In a later interview with Rios, Tea Party Patriots spokesman Scott Hogenson even managed to connect the Udall amendment with immigration reform, claiming that both are part of a “larger, concerted effort to maintain the Democratic Party’s control of American politics and eventually move to one-party rule.”
In reality, it’s unlimited campaign spending that tends to be a boon for incumbents, who on average are able to raise far more than challengers. For instance, in Texas, a state with few campaign finance limits, incumbents who win on average raise more than twelve times the average amount raised by challengers. By contrast, in Colorado, which has relatively low individual contribution limits, incumbents on average raise less than three times what challengers are able to raise [pdf].
3.Liberals just want to protect the lame-stream media!
Von Spakovsky also played up conservative conspiracy theories about the “liberal media,” telling Rios, “No surprise, there’s a glaring exception in this proposed amendment for the press. And that means that MSNBC or the New York Times Company, which are big corporations, they could spend as much newsprint or airtime as they wanted going after and criticizing candidates or talking about political issues.”
These arguments fail to recognize one key distinction, which is that there is a difference between the New York Times publishing an editorial (which would be protected under the proposed amendment, as it is now) and the corporate managers of the New York Times taking $50 million out of their corporate treasury to buy ads to influence an election (which would not be protected).
It’s no coincidence that Cruz rolled out his criticism of the Udall proposal at a pastors’ event organized by the Family Research Council, a main theme of which was the supposed assault on the religious liberty of Christians in America. Cruz told the pastors that the Udall measure would “muzzle” clergy and was being proposed because “they don’t like it when pastors in their community stand up and speak the truth.”
Likewise, McGahn said at the Heritage event that the amendment would endanger the religious liberty of clergy: “What about pastors and churches? This is an issue that comes up once in a while. Can the government get in there and tell a priest he can’t talk to his congregation because it may somehow have something to do with politics?”
This might be true if the proposal would, in fact, “repeal the First Amendment.” In fact, the First Amendment’s protection of religious liberty would remain in place.
Of course, that didn’t stop the FRC’s Tony Perkins from somehow linking the Udall amendment to the imprisonment of a Christian woman in Sudan:
5.It’s like the Alien & Sedition Acts!
Along with comparisons to British control before the American Revolution, amendment opponents are trying to link the Udall proposal to the 18th century Alien & Sedition Acts.
In his interview with Rios yesterday, van Spakovsky claimed that “the last time Congress tried to do something like this was when they passed the Alien & Sedition Act in 1798 that criminalized criticism of the government.” Multiple GOP senators at today’s hearing, including Judiciary Committeee Ranking Member Chuck Grassley, repeated the talking point.
Of course, the amendment does nothing to reduce the right of individuals to criticize the government or politicians.
6.The polls are skewed!
When an audience member at yesterday’s Heritage Foundation panel asked about polls showing overwhelming opposition to the Citizens United decision, McGahn replied that the questions in the polls were “skewed.”
You can judge for yourself whether this question from a recent Greenberg Quinlan Rosner poll – which found 80 percent opposition to the Citizens United decision – is “skewed” on behalf of campaign finance law proponents:
In one of the least self-aware moments we’ve witnessed in the last few days, McGahn told the Heritage audience that campaign finance reform proponents could have just worked for tougher disclosure requirements, which the Supreme Court’s majority has consistently endorsed as a way to prevent corruption:
What’s interesting is the courts have upheld some disclosure of independent speech, which six months ago was supposed to be the answer, a year ago was supposed to be the answer – remember the DISCLOSE Act, Part 1 and Part 2? Well, that was supposed to cure all the ills in our democracy, but unfortunately I guess they’ve given up on that and they’ve moved to the more radical change, which is the constitutional amendment.
Speaking to the Heritage audience, Burchfield presented the curious argument that the Udall amendment would demand to “equalize debate among the haves and have-nots,” and since “the portion is small” of “those with limited means” who participate in electoral debates, this would require “severe restrictions.”
The rich do not advocate a single viewpoint. Think of Sheldon Adelson and George Soros, they don’t agree on anything. There are strong voices on the left and on the right, not just in privately funded campaign advertisements, but also in the broadcast and print media. Only a small portion of those with significant resources even bother to participate in the debate. And among those with limited means, the portion is small indeed. In order to equalize debate among the haves and the have-nots, severe restrictions would be necessary. The quantity and quality of discourse would certainly suffer.
The amendment under consideration doesn’t require that everybody be heard an equal amount; instead, it gives Congress and the states the ability to create a more even platform for those who wish to be heard, regardless of their financial means.
Inevitably, anti-amendment activists have begun invoking the right-wing bogey-man Saul Alinsky.
Hogenson told Rios that the Udall amendment is “just taken right out of Saul Alinksy’s book, ‘Rules for Radicals,’ it just makes up a gigantic lie and perpetuates it, that somehow democracy needs to be restored.”
Von Spakovsky also invoked Alinsky in his interview with Rios, claiming that criticism of the enormous political spending of the Koch brothers is an Alinskyite plot: “What’s really going on here is, look, if you look at Alinsky’s ‘Rules for Radicals,’ one of the rules that he sets out is you pick a villain and you basically blame those villains for all of the problems. It’s a way of distracting the public, it’s a way of diverting attention, and that’s exactly what Harry Reid and the Democrats are doing here.”
Sandy Rios of the American Family Association once again brought up Michael Sam’s kiss on her anti-gay radio show this week in order to warn that young people “are being brainwashed in public schools” into homosexuality.
She then read a “great” and “encouraging” letter from a 19-year-old viewer who called Sam’s kiss “gross” and noted “the diseases and mental scarring that homosexuality causes.”
The viewer said he has “given up on sports” due to the “liberal media,” pointing to Sam’s kiss as a sign of the End Times and that Christians might soon be “arrested for proclaiming the Gospel.”
Rios later criticized “ESPN’s brazen forcing of this on the male population” and “blatantly making men stop and think about things they don’t really want to ponder.”
Add Sandy Rios of the American Family Association to the growinglistofanti-gayactivists who are distraught over the TV footage of NFL recruit Michael Sam sharing a kiss with his boyfriend.
Rios said on her radio show yesterday that “the Holy Spirit within me is revulsed” by the sight of two men kissing, insisting that most Americans “do not like this” and “don’t like what ESPN is doing and how they’re forcing this on the watchers, the guys, for the most part.”
“I watched it once and it was enough, I couldn’t bear to watch it,” she said. “It’s just such an unnatural act it’s hard to watch, I just don’t want to watch it, I can’t bear it.”
She also claimed Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst is “under a delusion” and warned that her alleged sins “will come to a crashing end.”
Rios also cited the controversy over HGTV discontinuing its work with David and Jason Benham to warn that “we will be called on to give our lives” in the fight against “this rampant, irrational wave of perversion” and its advocates: “You will not prevail, there will not be a good ending.”
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 traveledtwice 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.
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.
American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios said yesterday that she wants to restore the ban on gays in the military because gay people are “disordered” and won’t be able to “provide strong defense for our nation.”
Rios, who is also the AFA’s governmental affairs director, was reacting to a Palm Center study that calls for an end to the military’s prohibition on transgender service members, which led her to a long rant that serves as a great example of heterosexual privilege.
Have we been so lulled into silliness and foolishness that we think that transgendered soldiers who are confused about their sexuality who want to undergo gender reassignment, homosexual soldiers who are constantly thinking about their sexuality — and I say that with authority, having interviewed so many ex-gays and talked about this for years, there is an obsession — their identity, they think, is their sexuality.
How many of you who are heterosexual would first of all say to someone in describing yourself, ‘I’m heterosexual, I have sex with the opposite sex’? You have much more of an identity than that, don’t you? Well for homosexuals, they claim that as an identity, it’s all about sex, so that is a disorder in itself. You can write me, I realize that’s angering words but that is a disorder because that’s not who you are, you are much more than that. It is a disorder, it is disordered thinking and if we think that soldiers that are obsessed with these issues are going to provide strong defense for our nation, I think we are foolishly denying whatever is true.
Rios also criticized former Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who chaired the Palm Center study, for writing a four-paragraph foreword for the book Harmful To Minors, in which she endorsed sexual education for minors in order to combat misinformation and STIs.
Rios said Elders has spent her career “calling for children to be sexually active” and lamented that she is “now urging for trannies to be allowed in the military.”
From the 03.20.2014 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
Austin Ruse, who regularly filled in as a guest host for American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios, has lost his gig after we reported Wednesday on his call for liberal professors to be “ taken out and shot.” Ruse is a leading Religious Right activist who heads the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-Fam) and is a writer for conservative outlets such as Breitbart News and The Daily Caller.
While the AFA cut loose Ruse, who was only a guest host, it appears to have no problem allowing Fischer to continue to serve as the public face of the organization while insisting that his bigoted views should in no way reflect upon the AFA.
American Family Radio’s Sandy Rios was upset last week about a message from a listener, Andre, who accused her of racism against black people.
Rios responded on her program by denying that white people in America are racist, and insisting that if they are, it’s the fault of black people. “I think the racist garbage coming from a lot of blacks right now who are just filled with bitterness and rage is just amazing to me,” Rios said. “It is racism, I am seeing it constantly here in DC, and it’s causing white citizens to become more racist than they ever were.”
“I think for the most part, the American Anglo-Saxon crew really has moved past racism, they did it quite a long time ago,” she added, citing President Obama’s election as proof of white people’s lack of racism. “But it seems to be raging, racism seems to be raging in the black community.”
“I think what’s causing it is people like Barack Obama and Eric Holder who can’t say enough and stir the pot enough to create anger and hatred and bitterness,” she continued, before comparing this alleged anti-white racism to feminism. “They do the same thing with women, it’s the same thing in feminism, that’s why I’ve never been a feminist, I hate feminism.”
From the 01.16.2014 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
According to Linda Harvey, among God’s gifts to the world is the feeling that gay people are “yucky,” or at least that is what she said during an interview yesterday with Sandy Rios of the American Family Association.
Harvey, who runs the Ohio-based group Mission America, was plugging her book Maybe He’s Not Gay, which is meant to explain to young people why homosexuality is wrong. “What’s happening to children is the whole reason I got into this issue to begin with because they are being manipulated at very impressionable ages,” Harvey told Rios, lamenting that children are being told “you need to not find this stuff repulsive.”
“You need to find these sex acts, once you find out about them at way too early an age, you need to not find them repulsive,” Harvey said. “The yuck factor is being taken away from our kids and that is a huge preventive issue and a common sense issue on homosexuality where people know, wait I would never do that, yeah that’s a basic instinct that God has given you and it’s the right one.”
“What’s at stake is the future of civilization,” Harvey continued, warning that the gay rights will “overturn every vestige of civilization.” She said gays will “overturn male-female dating patterns, everything, every cultural norm that children are being taught so we really need to stand up against this.”
From the 01.16.2014 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality lamented late last month that “America is becoming a profane nation that is against God” thanks to gay marriage and TV shows like Glee.
Speaking with Sandy Rios of the American Family Association on December 20, LaBarbera hailed Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson’s anti-gay views while arguing that openly gay people have warped the minds of young people.
In his generation, I think he’s 67, it was just taken for granted that homosexuality was wrong, an abomination, something terrible, awful. But look at where we are now, you have programs like Glee where you have young men with romantic kisses on TV, I just learned that the Rose Bowl parade is going to have a homosexual so-called marriage float, all of those little kids are going to be seeing two men or two women or whatever it is getting married so-called and it’s going to infect their minds and corrupt those young minds.
LaBarbera, who recently traveled to Jamaica to defend the country’s ban on gay sex, denounced U.S.-led efforts to promote LGBT rights abroad.
He warned that the “homosexual agenda” will ultimately bring America down, because homosexuality “is in the vanguard of bringing societies down, I think it’s the marker for a declining society and if that’s the case then America is in big trouble because we have become a radical pro-gay culture. I was in Jamaica just a couple of weeks ago, we’re spreading immorality around the world, we’re exporting homosexuality now to these little countries like Jamaica using our foreign aid dollars.”
From the 12.20.2013 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
On Friday, American Family Association radio host Sandy Rios lashed out at Nelson Mandela, who was imprisoned for 27 years, and said that he deserved to be in jail because he was a violent criminal:
Nelson Mandela was placed in prison because of the violence that he did in the country of South Africa. Now you can argue, I guess, you can say it was worth it because we overthrew apartheid, I don’t know, is that really the way a victory should be won? Is this really a righteous cause? Is he really a saint for doing this? They talk about him being in solitary confinement, well, criminals are placed in solitary confinement, if you murder other people you lose your rights.
Rios later wondered if race relations in South Africa have improved since the end of the apartheid system.
“I don’t think the picture of South Africa as it stands now is what the narrative is, certainly to be a white person in South Africa is not a very fun thing right now,” Rios said. “I think that they have now obtained suppressing the white population with the black population holding the superior vantage point.”
From the 12.06.2013 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
American Family Association head Tim Wildmon joined AFA radio host Sandy Rios today to discuss a USA Today article about how “Not all Christians believe there is a ‘War on Christmas.’” Wildmon spent most of the interview complaining that any Christian would dare criticize the AFA, which is a leading voice in movement to expose the “War on Christmas.” He told Rios that he resented Christian leaders who mock the idea of the War on Christmas or note that the AFA’s campaign actually emphasizes the material aspect of the holiday by focusing on how many stores tell customers “Merry Christmas” instead of “Happy Holidays.”
Wildmon accused one pastor, who toldUSA Today that Christians needed to come to grips with the religious diversity in the US, of wanting Christians to partake in “a dangerous retreat into isolating ourselves from the larger culture.”
“This is exactly what Hitler did in Nazi Germany,” Rios said. She went on to compare the supposed War on Christmas to religious oppression in the Soviet Union and North Korea.
“I don’t think this pastor understands and I don’t think people understand what is going on in the world,” she said. “They don’t have a large enough world. Their world is too small and so they don’t understand the dangers.”
From the 12.06.2013 edition of AFR’s Sandy Rios In The Morning:
Peter LaBarbera of Americans for Truth about Homosexuality joined the American Family Association’s Sandy Rios yesterday to discuss a lawsuit in Illinois challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage and the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to reaffirm their anti-gay policy. LaBarbera said that gay rights advocates are just like a school bully, and “like the little weakling in school who keeps giving up his lunch, we keep giving up our lunch to the bully and the bully is getting stronger and bolder and more vicious.” He warned that if Americans do not push back against “the homosexual lobby” then “they will run right over the country,” and praised the Boy Scouts of America for refusing to “cave into this latest pressure campaign by the homosexual lobby” and standing “with the silent majority.”
NOTE: The Boy Scouts have since allowed— on May 23rd, 2013— LGBTQ youth in, but not LGBTQ adult leaders. Also, marriage equality is now the law in Illinois, effective June 1st, 2014 (or sooner).