Rick Santorum says "it would be suicidal" for the Republican Party to accept marriage equality.
Melissa Harris-Perry responds to the right-wing freakout over her MSNBC promo.
Diane Gramley, president of the American Family Association of Pennsylvania, responds to news that Sen. Bob Casey Jr. now supports gay marriage by saying that "if Bob Casey, Sr. was still alive, he would be extremely disappointed in his son."
Judging by the fact that its website is now defunct, we are guessing that the Newt Gingrich-founded and Jim Garlow-led Renewing American Leadership effort is no more.
Glenn Beck calls the Obamas the "most ostentatious family I've ever seen in my life."
While the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is mired in scandal resulting from ERLC head Richard Land’s repeatedplagiarism and inflammatoryremarks on race, it has found time to criticize the Violence Against Women Act. Doug Carlson, manager for administration and policy communications for the ERLC, voiced the group’s opposition to the highly successful law because of new provisions that ensure that LGBT victims of domestic violence do not encounter discrimination while seeking help.
Carlson quoted a letter Richard Land signed along with Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership Action, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, C. Preston Noell of Tradition, Family, Property Inc., Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Penny Nance and Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America.
Notably, the letter was also signed by conservative activist Timothy Johnson, who was convicted of a felony domestic violence charge and was arrested a second time for putting his wife in a wrist lock and choking his son, as reported by Sarah Posner.
Under the reauthorization, VAWA, as the bill is known, would spend vast sums of taxpayer money—more than $400 million each year—on programs that lack sufficient oversight and fail to address the core issue of protecting vulnerable women from abuse. Many of the programs duplicate efforts already underway. Among other problems, it would expand special protections to include same-sex couples. Men who are victimized by their male sexual partners would receive the benefit of the law above heterosexuals. And with broadened definitions of who qualifies for services, those who are most in need of the bill’s protections would have diminished access to it.
Pro-family groups, too, have been leveling attacks on the bill for months for its anti-family policies. Many of them expressed those concerns to the Judiciary Committee in February in hopes of derailing the bill. “We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land, along with nearly two dozen other religious and conservative leaders, wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda.”
“There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence,” they added.
Regrettably, a slim majority of committee members rejected that counsel, ultimately approving the bill in February on a narrow 10-8 vote. Now the battle lies in the full Senate, where those opposed to the new VAWA are facing significant pressure to support it. Allies of the bill are tagging its opponents as waging a “war on women.”
But no matter how noble its title suggests, the Violence Against Women Act is the wrong answer to addressing ongoing domestic abuse. With a shortage of evidence to date of VAWA’s success in reducing levels of violence against women, the war to decrease such violence and to ultimately strengthen the family shouldn’t include reauthorizing a flawed policy that promises an expansion of the same.
Janet Porter has, in many ways, been at the center of the merger between the "mainstream" Religious Right and the Dominionist prophets and apostles of the New Apostolic Reformation. In fact, it was through Porter's participation in the "Convergence 2010" event, where she prayed that Christians would take control of the media, that we first became aware of the likes of Cindy Jacobs.
Come to the event that will signal the beginning of the end of abortion in America! We've reserved the Ohio Statehouse Atrium (downtown Columbus, Ohio) on Tuesday, Sept. 20, to greet the Ohio senators as they come back from their summer recess. This is an event you will tell your children and grandchildren about! We will begin the day with prayer from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m. with Pastor Dutch Sheets, author of "Intercessory Prayer," and Lou Engle of the Call. The rally begins at 11 a.m.
Several of the senators will be speaking, along with the who's who of the pro-life movement, beginning with the founder of both Ohio and National Right to Life, Dr. Jack Willke. Also speaking will be Joe Scheidler of the Pro-Life Action League, Wendy Wright of Concerned Women for America, Troy Newman from Operation Rescue, Dr. Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Dr. Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership, Rick Joyner of the Oak Initiative, Phil Burress of Citizens for Community Values and Timothy Johnson of the Frederick Douglass Foundation.
Jim Garlow has recently become a leading figure in promoting the Alliance Defense Fund's "Pulpit Initiative" which encourages pastors to challenge the IRS by speaking on political issues during their sermons and endorsing candidates.
On the ADF's "Speak Up" blog, a post appeared the other day announcing that Garlow would be hosting a "webinar" today to promote the effort that would feature New York state Senator Ruben Diaz, one of the most consistentlyvociferous anti-gay leaders operating today.
The post has since been removed, but we retained a copy of it in which Diaz was hailed as perhaps "the most courageous pastor in America":
Who is the most courageous pastor in America? There are likely many candidates for this title, but I would nominate Pastor Ruben Diaz of New York City. After you hear what he stands for and what he has endured, you might want to nominate him, too.
But more importantly, you have the privilege of hearing him in a special nationwide webinar for pastors (from either your phone or your computer) this Wednesday, August 31 at 9 AM Pacific, 10 AM Mountain, 11 AM Central, 12 Noon Eastern.
Ruben serves as pastor of, the Christian Community Neighborhood Church in New York City, in the Bronx. But there is more. He is a New York State Senator. But there is even more. Prior to being a Senator, he served on the New York City Council, winning the election 79% to 22%, the only ordained minister serving on the council.
But there is yet even more. In liberal New York City, he is 100% pro-life, one of very few – if not the only – Democrat State Senator to hold to the biblical position.
And – as you would expect – yes, there is even more. Pastor Diaz has fought hard for traditional, natural marriage, the only Democrat to stand for one man-one woman marriage in bitterly fought legislative battles year after year.
But Pastor Diaz stood – like a rock. And he has paid dearly.
Bottom line: (1) he may well be the most courageous pastor in America, and (2) you can hear him in a pastors webinar interview the Wednesday, August 31.
Today, we listened in to the webinar where Jim Garlow positively gushed over Diaz and announced that he would be the first recipient of the first annual "Ruben Diaz Courage Award" from the Newt Gingrich-foundedRenewing American Leadership organization:
Garlow: You know that I am so impressed with your story and there's all kind of details that we can't go into right now. But I'm so impressed with how you have stood that an organization that I'm chairman of in Washington DC called Renewing American Leadership - as soon as we can, I hope in the next few week - I'm going to be with you in New York City and I want to present to you what I think is the first annual Ruben Diaz Courage Award that will go to elected officials each year who are willing to withstand the tide of public pressure to stand for moral and biblical issues. But you are modeling something that is such a huge encouragement to us ...
Diaz: I'm honored and humbled to hear you say that. I'm praying and waiting for that day so that I can meet you and hug you and praise the Lord together.
Garlow: I think anyone listening sees why Ruben Diaz has an award named after him. I'm going to be presenting the first annual to him, the Ruben Diaz Courage Award. Senator Diaz, we bless you, we love you, it's a joy to know you this way and I'll look forward to meeting you in person.
On August 6, Texas Gov. Rick Perry will host The Response, a “prayer rally” in Houston, along with the extremist American Family Association and a cohort of Religious Right leaders with far-right political ties. While the rally’s leaders label it a "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," the history of the groups behind it suggests otherwise. The Response is powered by politically active Religious Right individuals and groups who are dedicated to bringing far-right religious view, including degrading views of gays and lesbians and non-Christians, into American politics.
In fact, a spokesman for The Response has said that while non-Christians will be welcomed at the rally, they will be urged to “seek out the living Christ.” Allan Parker, a right-wing activist who participated in an organizing conference call for the event, declared in an email bearing the official Response logo that including non-Christians in the event "would be idolatry of the worst sort."
The following is an introduction to the groups and individuals who Gov. Perry has allied himself with in planning this event.
The American Family Association
The American Family Association is the driving force behind The Response. Founded by the Rev. Don Wildmon in 1977, the organization is based is best known for its various boycott campaigns, promotion of art censorship, and political advocacy against women’s rights and LGBT equality. The organization also controls the vast American Family Radio and an online news service, in addition to sponsoring various conferences frequented by Republican leaders, including the Values Voter Summit and Rediscovering God in America. The AFA today is led by Tim Wildmon, Don’s son, and its chief spokesperson is Bryan Fischer, the Director of Issues Analysis for Government and Public Policy and host of its flagship radio show Focal Point.
Fischer routinely expresses support for some of the most bigoted and shocking ideas found in the Religious Right today. He has:
said that the anti-Muslim manifesto of the right-wing Christian terrorist who killed dozens in Norway was “accurate.”
Other AFA leaders and activists are just as radical:
AFA President Tim Wildmon claims that by repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tell President Obama shows he “doesn’t give a rip about the Marines or the Army” and “just wants to force homosexuality into every place that he can.”
AFA Vice President Buddy Smith, who is on the leadership council of The Response, said that gays and lesbians are “in the clasp of Satan.”
The Response’s leadership team includes five senior staff members of the International House of Prayer (IHOP), a large, highly political Pentecostal organization built on preparing participants for the return of Jesus Christ. In a recent video, IHOP encouraged supporters to pray for Jews to convert to Christianity in order to bring about the Second Coming. IHOP is closely associated with Lou Engle, a Religious Right leader whose anti-gay, anti-choice extremism hasn’t stopped him from hobnobbing with Republican leaders including Newt Gingrich, Michele Bachmann and Mike Huckabee. Engle is the founder of The Call, day-long rallies against abortion rights and gay marriage, which Engle says are meant to break Satan’s control over the U.S. government. One recent Call event featured “prophet” Cindy Jacobs calling for repentance for the “girl-on-girl kissing” of Britney Spears and Madonna. Perry's The Response event is clearly built upon Engle's The Call model.
Engle has a long history of pushing extreme right-wing views and advocating for a conservative theocracy in America. Engle:
Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, is a co-chairman of The Response. At the FRC, Perkins has been a vocal opponent of LGBT equality, often relying on false claims about gay people to push his agenda. He:
denied that there was a correlation between anti-gay bullying and depression and suicide, saying instead that gay and lesbian teens know they are “abnormal” and “have a higher propensity to depression or suicide because of that internal conflict";
One of the most prominent members of The Response’s leadership team is pastor Jim Garlow. The pastor for a San Diego megachurch, Garlow has been intimately involved in political battles, especially the campaign to pass Proposition 8. Garlow invited and housed Lou Engle to lead The Call rallies around California for six months to sway voters to support Proposition 8, which would repeal the right of gay and lesbian couples to get married. He claims Satan is behind the “attack on marriage” and credits the prayer rallies for the passage of Prop 8. He said that during a massive The Call rally in San Diego’s Qualcomm Stadium “something had snapped in the Heavenlies” and “God had moved” to deliver Prop 8 to victory.
Most importantly, Garlow is a close spiritual adviser to presidential candidate Newt Gingrich and leads Gingrich’s Renewing American Leadership (ReAL). Garlow is a principal advocate of Seven Mountains Dominionism, and wants to “bring armies of people” to bring Religious Right leaders into public office and defeat their political opponents.
likened homosexuality to bestiality, saying that if marriage equality is upheld “the next court case could conceivably say that if three people wanted to marry or four people or five people or if someone wanted to marry their dog or their horse”;
While Senator John McCain rejected John Hagee’s endorsement during the 2008 presidential campaign for his “deeply offensive and indefensible” remarks, Perry invited Hagee to join The Response. Hagee leads a megachurch in San Antonio, Texas, and is a purveyor of End Times prophesies. Like members of the International House of Prayer, Hagee utilizes language of spiritual warfare and says he is part of “the army of the living God.” He runs the prominent group Christians United For Israel, which believes that eventually a cataclysmic war in the Middle East will bring about the Rapture.
John McCain was forced to disavow Hagee for a reason as the Texas pastor:
said that God won’t allow the United States to win wars anymore because “we have allowed the worship of Satanism in the U.S. military.”
James Dobson, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent figures in the Religious Right. Founder of both Focus on the Family and the Family Research Council , Dobson has been instrumental in bringing the priorities of the Religious Right to Republican politics, including campaigning hard for President George W. Bush. But many of the views that Dobson pushes are hardly mainstream. Dobson:
insists that the Religious Right’s fight against Planned Parenthood is “very similar” to that of abolitionists who fought against the slave trade.
Asked if God had withdrawn his hand from America after 9/11, Dobson responded: “Christians have made arguments on both sides of this question. I certainly believe that God is displeased with America for its pride and arrogance, for killing 40 million unborn babies, for the universality of profanity and for other forms of immorality. However, rather than trying to forge a direct cause-and-effect relationship between the terrorist attacks and America's abandonment of biblical principles, which I think is wrong, we need to accept the truth that this nation will suffer in many ways for departing from the principles of righteousness. "The wages of sin is death," as it says in Romans 6, both for individuals and for entire cultures.”
David Barton, an official endorser of The Response, is a self-proclaimed historian known for his twisting of American History and the Bible to justify right-wing political positions. Barton’s strategy is twofold: he first works to find Biblical bases for right-wing policy initiatives, and then argues that the Founding Fathers wanted the United States to be a Christian nation, so obviously wanted whatever policy he has just found a flimsy Biblical basis for. Barton, “documenting” the divine origins of his interpretations of the Constitution gives him and his political allies a potent weapon. Opponents who disagree about tax policy or the powers of Congress are not only wrong, they are un-American and anti-religious, enemies of America and of God.
Barton uses his shoddy historical and biblical scholarship to push a right-wing political agenda, including:
Biblical Capitalism: Barton’s “scholarship” helps to form the basis for far-right economic policies. He claims that “Jesus was against the minimum wage,” that the Bible “absolutely condemned” the estate tax,” and opposed the progressive income tax.
Revising Racial History: Barton has traveled the country peddling a documentary he made blaming the Democratic Party for slavery, lynching and Jim Crow…while ignoring more recent history.
Opposing Gay Rights: Barton believes the government should regulate gay sex and maintains that countries which “rejected sexual regulation” inevitably collapse.
Among the other far-right figures who have signed on to work with Gov. Perry on The Response are:
Rob Schenk, an anti-choice extremist who was once arrested for throwing a fetus in the face of President Clinton, and who allegedly had ties with the murderer of abortion provider Dr. Barnett Slepian.
Loren Cunningham, who is working to mobilize support for the rally is a co-founder of the radical “Seven Mountains Dominionist” ideology. Cunningham says that he received the “seven mountains” idea, which holds that evangelical Christians must take hold of all aspects of society in order to pave the way for the Second Coming, in a message directly from God.
Doug Stringer, The Response's National Church and Ministry Mobilization Coordinator, who blamed American secularism and the increased acceptance of homosexuality for the 9/11 attacks, saying “It was our choice to ask God not to be in our every day lives and not to be present in our land.”
Cindy Jacobs, self-proclaimed “prophet” and endorser of The Response, who famously insisted that birds were dying in Arkansas earlier this year because of the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
C. Peter Wagner, an official endorser of The Response, is one of the most prominent leaders of the New Apostolic Reformation, a controversial movement whose followers believe they are prophets and apostles on par with Christ himself (other adherents include Engle, Jacobs and Anh). Wagner has advocated burning Catholic, Mormon and non-Christian religious objects. He blamed the Japanese stock market crash and later the devastating earthquake and tsunami in the country on a traditional ritual in which the emperor supposedly has “sexual intercourse” with the pagan Sun Goddess.
Che Ahn, a mentor of John Hagee and official endorser of The Response, who endorses “Seven Mountains” dominionism and compares the fight against gay rights to the fight against slavery.
John Benefiel, a self-proclaimed "apostle" and official endorser of The Response, who claims the Statue of Liberty is a "demonic idol" and that homosexuality is a plot cooked up by the Illuminati to control the world's population, and that he renamed the District of Columbia the “District of Christ” because he has “more authority than the U.S. Congress does.”
James “Jay” Swallow, official endorser of the rally, who calls himself a “spiritual warrior” and hosts “Strategic Warriors At Training (SWAT): A Christian Military Training Camp for the purpose of dealing with the occult and territorial enemy strong holds in America.”
Pastor Stephen Broden – Broden, an endorser of The Response, has repeatedly insisted that a violent overthrow of the U.S. government must remain “on the table.”
Timothy F. Johnson – Johnson, a former vice-chairman of the North Carolina GOP, was elected to that post despite two domestic violence convictions and still unresolved questions about his military service and educational record.
Alice Patterson – Patterson, a member of The Response's leadership team, insists that the Democratic Party is controlled by a "demonic structure."
Last week, Time's Amy Sullivan reported that dozens of Religious Right leaders gathered for "a conference call to discuss their dissatisfaction with the current GOP presidential field, and agreed that Rick Perry would be their preferred candidate if he entered the race."
Brian Kaylor of EthicsDaily.com had reported on the same thing a few weeks back, noting that the effort was being organized by James Robison.
Last Friday, Robison wrote a post on his blog in which explained that he had called these gatherings in September of 2010 and June of 2011 because "there is an insidious attack on God, faith, family and freedom" and that God was planning on using this group of "national leaders to help inspire a spiritual awakening, a return to sanity and a restoration of freedom’s foundation."
And he also conveniently posted a list of every person who had participated:
According to Kaylor’s report, Robison called the meetings an “absolute necessity and one of the ways the people of God’s Kingdom can leave His footprints on planet Earth, impacting our own great nation.” Robison, who was Mike Huckabee’s mentor and host of Life Today, recently spoke with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about how the economic crisis was needed to turn America back to God. Wildmon and Garlow are both closely involved in organizing Perry’s The Response prayer rally and Kaylor reports that the “group is connected to Republican Texas Gov. Rick Perry's plan for a large prayer rally in August.” He writes:
According to a list obtained by EthicsDaily.com, among the attendees at the meeting were several Southern Baptist leaders: Robert Jeffress, pastor of First Baptist Church of Dallas who recently suggested on Fox News that Obama was a Muslim; Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission; Richard Lee, pastor and the editor of the controversial The American Patriot's Bible; and former North American Mission Board head Bob Reccord, who now heads the semi-secretive group the Council for National Policy, founded by Tim LaHaye. Jerry Falwell Jr., president of Liberty University and son of the late founder of the Moral Majority, was scheduled to attend but couldn't make it.
Also attending the meeting were: Jacob Aranza, a minister who in the 1980s helped popularize the theory that rock ’n’ roll music included backmasked messages promoting drug use and sex; Vonette Bright, widow of Campus Crusade for Christ founder Bill Bright, who played a key role in conservative religious-political efforts that birthed the so-called "Religious Right"; Jerry Boykin, a former Pentagon official rebuked for violating policies by speaking in churches in uniform; Jim Garlow, chairman of Newt Gingrich's organization, Renewing American Leadership; Ruth Graham, daughter of evangelist Billy Graham; Harry Jackson, a politically active conservative pastor; David Lane, who has led several efforts to politically mobilize pastors; Ron Luce of Teen Mania Ministries; former Republican U.S. Rep. Bob McEwen; Rod Parsley, a controversial megachurch pastor who endorsed John McCain in 2008 before being rejected by McCain; Samuel Rodriguez of the National Hispanic Christian Leaders Conference; and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association.
Tony Perkins, president of the James Dobson-founded Family Research Council, similarly praised Robison during the June 2 broadcast. Perkins attended both the September and June meetings.
"I sensed a new leadership that the Lord has called you to, in that there is a clear recognition that America needs to turn to God," Perkins said. "But I think what you're able to do as kind of a senior statesman of the church is to call together those leaders today that are emerging, and those that are present, to bring them together because unity is the key. I know one of the conversations we had is that you prayed for that unity among us. I think if we could ever be unified and we could walk together as a body of believers in this country that we could profoundly impact this nation."
Robison and his group seem united in their opposition to Obama and their desire to see Obama defeated in 2012, but it remains to be seen if they can find a candidate who unites and activates them like Ronald Reagan did in 1980.
Reuters reports that Texas Governor Rick Perry has teamed up with the American Family Association to launch his own Lou Engle-like all day prayer rally:
Saying "there is hope for America, and we will find it on our knees," Texas Governor Rick Perry has invited other governors to join him in a "solemn gathering of prayer and fasting" in August in Houston, according to the event's website.
Perry, who said recently he is considering a run for the Republican nomination to contest the presidency in 2012 against Barack Obama, has frequently made calls for prayer while governor.
"I sincerely hope you'll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking for God's forgiveness, wisdom and provision," Perry wrote in materials promoting the event, called "The Response, a Call to Prayer for a Nation in Crisis."
A message on the event's website says it is in response to a historic crisis and calls it "a non-denominational, apolitical Christian prayer meeting," with the goal "to rise up and make a sound that will be heard in heaven."
The site says Perry "has invited all US governors as well as many other national and Christian political leaders."
"Right now, America is in crisis," Perry says in a message on the site. "We have been besieged by financial debt, terrorism, and a multitude of natural disasters. As a nation, we must come together, and call upon Jesus to guide us..."
Perry's spokeswoman could not be reached for comment on the August event on Sunday.
Eric Bearse, a spokesman for The Response, said on Sunday: "The governor told the American Family Association about a month ago that we need to call Americans together for a time of prayer."
Bearse said the Mississippi-based American Family Association, a conservative Christian activist group, is paying for the event, and admission will not be charged.
According to the event website, the prayer rally will take place at Reliant Stadium in Houston and last from 10 am to 5 pm and will feature Don Wildmon and Buddy Smith of the American Family Association, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership, David Lane, who was involved in the effort to remove the Supreme Court Justices in Iowa and is behind the various "Restoration Project" events across America, former Congressmen Bob McEwen, as well as several leaders associated with Lou Engle and/or the International House of Prayer in Kansas City.
Several of Gingrich's high-profile associates, including pastors Jim Garlow and Lou Engle and historical revisionist David Barton, espouse "Seven Mountains" theology (—) a belief that government, business, media, education and other "spheres of influence" are dominated by Satan's minions, and that Christians are obligated to seize control of all areas to herald the second coming of Jesus.
Gingrich says he doesn't have any knowledge of the idea.
"I have no idea what you're talking about it, and I can't comment on it because I've never heard of it before," he said. "Neither Garlow nor Barton nor anybody else has ever mentioned it to me."
And, as we have pointed out on more than one occasion, the goal of Seven Mountains Dominionism is to create a "virtual theocracy" so that Christians can "present the nations of the world to the Lord" and bring about the return of Christ.
The Los Angeles Timesreports that Newt Gingrich intends to make appealing to the Religious Right a key part of his presidential campaign ... and while that is not particularly surprising, the article did contain one piece of information of which we weren't aware - that David Barton sits on the board of Gingrich's "Renewing American Leadership" group:
[I]n recent years, the former speaker has made gains among evangelical leaders — the result of aggressively cultivating relationships with influential national figures and local pastors in key nominating states.
Gingrich, who was raised a Lutheran and became a Southern Baptist when he entered politics, converted two years ago to the Roman Catholic faith of his third wife, Callista — an experience that he said shaped his new focus on faith. Since then, he created a nonprofit organization aimed at religious conservatives, called Renewing American Leadership, or ReAL, appointing to the board evangelical leaders such as Jim Garlow of Skyline Church in La Mesa, Calif., and David Barton of the Texas-based WallBuilders.
But will Gingrich’s financial influence, religious documentaries and appeals to prominent Religious Right figures translate to real support from activists who might be wary of backing a thrice-married adulterer? Fischer remains a skeptic, but Iowa’s Bob Vander Plaats, who coordinated the anti-judge campaign, is still grateful for Gingrich’s significant monetary aid:
Mr. Gingrich hasn't run a truly competitive campaign in 21 years. He is given to public gaffes, most recently criticizing President Barack Obama for failing to back the rebels fighting Col. Moammar Gadhafi, only to reverse himself after Mr. Obama ordered U.S. planes into Libya. He resigned from Congress in 1998 under an ethics cloud, after his party suffered a historic midterm loss. It was later revealed that he was having an affair with a congressional aide.
Even groups that have allied with him, such as the conservative American Family Association, aren't poised to back him, citing his two messy divorces and three marriages. "He is brilliant, and has much to offer. But he isn't what we need in the Oval Office," said the AFA's director of issue analysis, Bryan Fischer.
Wearing an array of organizational hats, he has met repeatedly with pastors, trained local candidates, consulted with doctors on his proposed health-care innovations and met with local refiners to tout ethanol. After raising money through one of his groups, Mr. Gingrich funneled $150,000 in seed money to a successful campaign last fall to oust three Iowa Supreme Court judges who supported gay marriage.
"Newt's role was quiet and very low key, but it was pivotal," said Bob Vander Plaats, a well-known Iowa conservative who led the anti-judges campaign.
The heavy emphasis on religion is part of his long push to atone for his multiple divorces, according to people who know him. "He was very direct about this," said Rev. Brad Sherman, a prominent Iowa evangelical leader, recounting a session Mr. Gingrich had last year with a small group of Iowa religious leaders. "He said he had deep regrets, and asked our forgiveness."
A few weeks back, Jim Garlow announced that, due to Newt Gingrich's possible presidential run, Gingrich and Rick Tyler had stepped down from their roles of leadership in Renewing American Leadership – leaving Garlow in control as Chairman, CEO & President.
Ever since, the updates from ReAL have taken on an even more pronounced Religious Right tone, with Garolw announcing things like the formation of a ReAL prayer team and now sending out messages like this one from Vivian Berryhill, founder/president of the National Coalition of Pastors' Spouses, announcing that the "Black faith community" will never accept marriage equality:
America is now witnessing a bold, organized and calculated assault on families in the move to redefine what constitutes marriage in our culture. As a wife, mother, grandmother, and religious leader, I have drawn a line in the sand, as I say, “Enough is Enough.” And I am standing with other religious leaders across America in declaring, “Leave the 5,000-year-old definition of marriage alone for the preservation of the family!”
Now, the homosexual lifestyle and agenda is not new to the Black church community. However, the inclusion of “same-sex” marriage as acceptable and biblically “okay” is both new and dangerous. It is no surprise that on any given Sunday in some Black church in the US, a Black preacher continues to extirpate that message by reiterating to his flock that “God made Adam and Eve… not Adam and Steve”.
That message has been so steeply ingrained… it is no wonder that the very concept of same-sex marriage is soundly being rejected, and continues to be viewed as taboo in the majority of Black churches ... In spite of what the polls and political pundits are saying, Black folks by and large are not embracing legalizing homosexual marriages as an accepted way of life––even those of us who have covert or overt homosexuals within our own families.
To the notion that “two moms,” living together, raising their children and openly flaunting that relationship in the Black church community will be endorsed as the norm anytime soon, I say: FUHGEDDABOUTIT! It will not happen for two reasons: there remains a large portion of African-American parishioners who view the gay lifestyle as sinful and an abomination, and the majority of God-called, God-fearing, Bible-believing clergy firmly believe they must answer to God for that which they support and exegete from their pulpits.
FRC thinks its work was so vital to one anti-health care reform lawsuit that it is getting involved in another.
Finally, Bryan Fischer says there are too many questions about repealing DADT that are being left unanswered: "And what about families who rely on on DoD schools for their children’s education? If LGBT personnel teach and pro-gay indoctrination is allowed in military-run classrooms, does the DoD have any way of determining how many families will choose not to re-enlist because of this? If pro-marriage service-members want educational alternatives because of LGBT curricula in DoD classrooms, will alternatives be provided, or will they be forced to suffer the brainwashing of their children as long as they serve?"
Why is Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership trying to sell me term life coverage?
FRC's latest prayer update asks God to prevent the gays from shutting them down: "May God defeat those who seek to hinder free speech and undermine legitimate, open discourse by using dirty tricks. May God's people prevail in prayer in the spiritual warfare behind today's unseemly debates. May the Truth be made manifest!"
Last week, Cindy Jacobs, Rick Joyner, and Chuck Pierce all weighed in on the tragedy in Japan to explain that God was seeking to break the "stronghold of spiritism" that gripped the nation in order to free them from the "grip of idolatry" while warning that the earthquake was a sign that demonic Nazism was going to engulf the United States.
As one who lives on the West Coast, I am concerned about potential radiation drift from Japan, as well as the failures of our own nuclear reactors in earthquake-prone California.
But as one who lives on the Left Coast, I am infinitely more concerned about the lethal ideological “radiation” that has been leaked into our “atmosphere” for forty years from the radical secular left. It is killing our nation.
This is not a future threat. It is a present day struggle of life and death – now. In fact, a faulty understanding of the beginning of life has resulted in the deaths of 52,000,000 persons in the womb. After all, when do human rights begin?
But that is only one small part of the ideological damage from radical secularism. They would, if they could, destroy the very concept of a mother and a father leading a home. They will, if they can, spend us into oblivion, destroying the future for our children.
We will all be safer when we come to the realization that the anti-biblical secular philosophies are, at this moment, a greater threat to our nation’s existence than our nuclear reactors.
We can examine, alter and improve our aging and vulnerable nuclear reactors. And we should. They are old and need attention.
But secularism’s largely undetected toxic political ideology is poisoning us and our children. America needs a massive dose of “political, historical and theological potassium iodide” to protect us from the radical left’s destruction. And we need it quickly. Morally, America has been getting closer to a Chernobyl-like “level 7” condition for over two years.
Earlier this month, the Los Angeles Times reported that Newt Gingrich had quietly help raise $200,000 for the right-wing effort to remove three sitting Supreme Court justices in Iowa over their ruling in favor of marriage equality.
The Times article didn't provide many details about the effort, but today the AP fills them and reveals that Gingrich's group, Renewing American Leadership, funneled the bulk of the money to the American Family Association:
Potential presidential candidate Newt Gingrich quietly lined up $150,000 to help defeat Iowa justices who threw out a ban on same-sex marriage, routing the money to conservative groups through an aide's political committee.
Gingrich, the former U.S. House speaker who has aggressively courted the conservatives who dominate Iowa's lead-off presidential caucuses, raised the money for the political arm of Restoring American Leadership, also known as ReAL.
That group then passed $125,000 to American Family Association Action and an additional $25,000 to the Iowa Christian Alliance — two of the groups that spent millions before last November's elections that removed three of the state's seven state Supreme Court justices. The court had unanimously decided a state law restricting marriage to a man and a woman violated Iowa's constitution.
The financial transfers, which appear to comply with campaign finance laws, were part of a steady flow of cash into Iowa from conservative groups such as the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council.
During the campaign, the AFA's resident spokesbigot Bryan Fischer regularly bragged that his group was spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on the effort in Iowa. Now we know that a significant portion of that money came from Newt Gingrich's organization.
Yesterday, it was announced that Jim Garlow, chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership, would be participating in a protest against the Ninth Circuit's ruling that the Mt. Soledad Cross was unconstitutional:
Said Dr. Jim Garlow, Senior Pastor of Skyline Wesleyan Church in San Diego, and Chairman of Renewing American Leadership located in Washington DC, "These revisionist judges consistently confuse the historic recognition of the role that the Christian faith -- embraced by 90% of our citizens -- and Christian symbols have played and continue to play in our national life with the 'establishment' of religion. Not one truly informed person driving by the Mt. Soledad Veterans Memorial has ever assumed that they are required to embrace Christianity as an 'established,' government sponsored religion."
I am not sure exactly what steps Garlow is going to advocate for remedying this outrage at the protest, but Rick Tyler, his colleague at ReAL, is already claiming the ruling is an attempt to impose a "a secular-socialist agenda on the United States" and therefore the Ninth Circuit Court needs to be, quite literally, eliminated:
[T]hose whose policies are unable to win at the ballot box are seeking to build a stronghold of government power in the courts, without needing to garner a single vote. Just as it did in 1803, the Executive and Legislative branches could take action today and ”reorganize” the Ninth Circuit Court right out of existence! Not only is there precedent for such an action, we wouldn’t need to be nearly as radical as Jefferson – we wouldn’t have to eliminate half of the federal bench, just the Ninth Circuit! It’s time for this country to ask: “If they’re so out of touch with the First Amendment, why are we continuing to employ them as judges?”
It’s time to think out of the box, and we can succeed. Just this past year, we notched a huge victory in Iowa against the three judges that superseded the will of the people by imposing their own agenda upon the Constitution. Christians have a warrior in Bob Vander Plaats, who led the fight that resulted in sending three judges home after they grossly overreached their constitutional role in redefining marriage. We must show other judges who have forgotten the constitutional constraints that there are consequences for their actions.
Make your voice heard. Watch your email for our ReAL Action Alert. We’re going to tell the Ninth Circuit that their services are no longer required.
Back around the election, a group of Religious Right leaders sent a letter to top Republicans urging them to cut taxes, shrink the government, build up the military and restore "traditional moral values."
Apparently concerned that the "restoring traditional moral issues" part might get left out of the mix, many of those same leader have signed on to a new letter to these same top Republicans warning them not to ignore social issues like abortion and marriage:
"When considering America's fiscal and national defense policies, which are critically important, we believe that social issues, including, but not limited to, the sanctity of human life and the preservation of marriage as the union of one man and one woman, are indispensable," the Dec. 20 letter said.
The signers said they believe focusing on all three issues is "essential for America and our future."
"A stool with only one or two legs is unstable," they said. "All three legs are necessary. We believe it is critically important that the leadership, and those appointed or elected to lead, embrace all three legs of the stool. A broad-based and sustainable movement requires all three core values."
The letter went to Boehner and Cantor, as well as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Arizona.
In addition to [Richard] Land, other signers were Mathew Staver, chairman of Liberty Counsel; Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Gary Bauer, president of American Values; Samuel Rodriguez, president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; Harry Jackson, chairman of the High Impact Leadership Coalition, and Jim Garlow, chairman of Renewing American Leadership.
Empowered by Republican gains and the recent selection of Rep. Joe Pitts (R-PA) to Chair the Subcommittee on Health, Indiana Congressman Mike Pence is again speaking about ending what he calls “taxpayer funding of abortion.” Pence is the sponsor of the “Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act,” which would cut-off federal finances to health services groups such as Planned Parenthood. However, the title of Pence’s bill is deceiving, as under current law “Title X funds may not be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.” As a result, there is no taxpayer funding of abortion either under Title X or the new health care reform law, another baseless charge frequently used by the right wing activists.
Under Pence’s bill, the government will stop giving taxpayer dollars to organizations which perform abortions or contribute to groups which perform abortions, even though abortion coverage is already banned from using federal dollars. As The Nationpoints out, Planned Parenthood is one of the largest and most well-known groups working in the extensive field of reproductive and sexual healthcare, and would incur most of the damage from this bill: “The aim is to defund Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest network of clinics for family planning and women’s health, and in many regions the only provider within reach.”
Now Pence, the winner of the Values Voter Summit 2010 presidential straw poll, believes that cutting funds to reproductive healthcare organizations is not just necessary to constrain a woman’s access to healthcare but also to address unemployment. Pence told the anti-choice news service LifeNews:
With a nearly 10 percent unemployment rate, there is simply no reason during these tough economic times why taxpayers’ hard-earned money should fund the activities of abortion providers and equip them with the resources they need to end innocent human life.
The time has come to deny any and all federal funding to Planned Parenthood by passing the Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act, which I intend to introduce again in the next Congress.”
Michele Bachmann has also embraced Pence’s bill, and the bill’s 103 co-sponsors include Speaker-designate John Boehner, incoming Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Pitts, who plans to push anti-choice legislation through his Subcommittee on Health. Pence isn’t the first leader on the Right who suggested that anti-choice bills address economic problems like unemployment, as Jim Garlow, the Chairman of Newt Gingrich's Renewing American Leadership, recently claimed that abortion is responsible for high unemployment: