Posts Tagged ‘Tony Perkins’

Family Research Council decries government spending while affiliates take in millions

Posted on: August 19th, 2011 by Andy Birkey 1 Comment

Image by Matt MahurinThe Family Research Council, a religious-right outfit some watchdog organizations have called an anti-gay hate group, has recently become quite vocal in its opposition to government spending and has called for drastic cuts to social programs. But a survey by The American Independent shows that FRC’s state-based affiliates, called family policy councils, have raked in nearly $6 million in state and federal funds over the last five years to work on their own social programming goals. (more…)

HHS decision to mandate contraception coverage renews action on ‘conscience-protection’ bills

Posted on: August 10th, 2011 by Sofia Resnick 1 Comment

The day after the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services upheld the Institute of Medicine’s recommendation to include contraception in its list of preventive health services for women under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) introduced legislation intended to to allow health care providers and pharmacists to deny birth control to women if it conflicts with their religious or moral convictions. (more…)

Santorum’s religious-right spending could spell trouble with tea party

Posted on: August 9th, 2011 by Andy Birkey No Comments

With austerity measures and gay rights emerging as seminal campaign issues in the run up to the GOP nomination for president, former U.S. senator Rick Santorum’s record on both is coming under scrutiny. Santorum helped secure federal earmarks for an anti-gay group that later campaigned for him in 2006, yet as recently as last week, he criticized GOP lawmakers for not cutting enough from the federal budget. (more…)

Judge answers Perry’s prayers on ‘Response,’ Perry answers Perkins on marriage

Posted on: July 29th, 2011 by Patrick Michels No Comments

Gov. Rick Perry will be free to usher, direct parking or join hands onstage with James Dobson one week from Saturday, thanks to a ruling yesterday in Houston federal court dropping a suit meant to keep him from participating in his Houston prayer rally.

“My prayer is that the courts will find that the First Amendment is still applicable to governors no matter what they might be doing,” Perry told reporters Wednesday, and yesterday’s court decision agreed.

The New York Times wrote the dismissal of the suit brought by the atheist and agnostic Freedom From Religion Foundation amounts to “a key legal victory in what has become one of the most controversial events of his political career in Texas”:

Judge Gray H. Miller, of Federal District Court in the Southern District of Texas, ruled that the plaintiffs — the foundation and five of its Houston-area members — had suffered no concrete injury and that the governor’s invitations for Texans to join him in a day of prayer were “requests, not commands.” People offended by the governor’s prayer rally can either not attend, not pray or express their disapproval using their First Amendment rights, the judge said. He dismissed the lawsuit and the motion to stop the governor’s official participation.

After his appearance on Family Research Council president Tony Perkins’ radio show yesterday, Perry may be welcomed a little more enthusiastically by the anti-gay American Family Association and other “Response” leaders who questioned his comments last week that New York’s new marriage equality law was “fine by me.”

In keeping with statements he’s made before, Perry said it should be a states’ rights issue, like legalizing marijuana. AFA spokesman Bryan Fischer told the Texas Independent earlier this week that Perry “missed an opportunity” when he made those remarks, but yesterday Perry wasn’t about to let it go by again.

“Obviously, gay marriage is not fine with me,” he told Perkins, adding that marriage equality moves by New York and other states risk ruining the institution for all of us.

“Indeed, to not pass the federal marriage amendment would impinge on Texas,” Perry said.

Perry spokesman Mark Miner told the Los Angeles Times it wasn’t a change of position at all, and that Perry has “been very consistent” on his stance.

Perry’s comments last week were: “That’s New York, and that’s their business and that’s fine with me. That is their call.”

More headlines:

Austin American-Statesman: Lawsuit could be a help or hindrance for Doggett
Doggett, D-Austin, had wanted to have an Austin-area congressional redistricting case heard by itself in an Austin court. The hope was to quickly dispose of the case and undo the work of the Legislature, which created a congressional district map last month that carves Travis County into five districts and seemed to be designed to end Doggett’s nearly 17-year tenure in Congress.

San Antonio Express-News: Perry late to embrace Reagan
If Perry finds significance in Reagan’s election, or learned anything about rugged individualism during the Gipper’s eight years as president, it took a long time for the inspirational lessons to sink in.

Associated Press: Texas town auctions troubled jail for $6 million
A $6 million bid has been declared the winner of an auction Thursday to sell off a prison that has been a financial millstone on the back of a small High Plains Texas town.

Odessa American: Guest view: Do school accountability ratings mean anything?
The upcoming 2011 Accountability Ratings are destined to produce even more public skepticism. Why? Because in calculating this year’s state ratings, TEA will not apply the controversial Texas Projection Measure, a complex student growth projection that allowed many districts, and their campuses, to receive higher ratings in 2010 than would otherwise have been the case.

Texas Tribune: Fees for Students Redefine “Free” Public School
As cash-strapped public schools attempt to squeeze every possible dollar out of their budgets, an unpleasant reality awaits parents: They will most likely have to pay for programs and services that schools once provided for free.

Religious right reacts to New York gay marriage vote: Prepare for ‘consequences’

Posted on: June 27th, 2011 by Andy Birkey No Comments

Religious conservatives reacted sharply to a vote Friday night in the New York Senate to legalize gay marriage. The National Organization for Marriage pledged to spend $2 million to defeat four Republicans who voted for the bill. And religious right leaders warned that God would punish New York for passing the bill and accused Republicans of taking bribes in exchange for their vote.

New York’s Catholic bishops reacted by calling the vote a radical altering of of marriage.

“The passage by the Legislature of a bill to alter radically and forever humanity’s historic understanding of marriage leaves us deeply disappointed and troubled,” the group wrote in a statement following the vote. “We worry that both marriage and the family will be undermined by this tragic presumption of government in passing this legislation that attempts to redefine these cornerstones of civilization. Our society must regain what it appears to have lost –- a true understanding of the meaning and the place of marriage, as revealed by God, grounded in nature, and respected by America’s foundational principles.”

The reaction of the National Organization for Marriage, a group that opposes rights for same-sex couples and that had declared victory in New York just days before the vote, was much more pointed.

Maggie Gallagher, NOM’s chair, blamed Republicans for the passage of gay marriage.

“What does it mean that they passed gay marriage in N.Y.?” Gallagher asked in a blog post at the National Review. “Michael Long, the Conservative-party chairman, has vowed to withhold his endorsement. The National Organization for Marriage has committed $2 million to persuading Republicans: Voting for gay marriage has consequences. Sad that the N.Y. GOP has caved. Consequences to be continued.”

NOM sent out a plea asking for money to defeat four Republicans and two Democrats that voted for the marriage equality bill.

“[T]he Republican Party has sold out, and it is the Republican Party that will pay the worst price for this vote to redefine marriage,” wrote Brian Brown, NOM’s president. “In response to last night’s vote, I have doubled our pledge to New York, committing at least $2 million to make sure that New York Republicans understand that voting for gay marriage has consequences.”

On Facebook immediately after the vote, NOM went so far as to insinuate that New York Republicans had betrayed Jesus.

Other religious right organizations made similar claims. Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel warned that God would harm New York because of the vote.

“Gay ‘marriage’ mockery: ‘Do not be deceived: God cannot be mocked. A man reaps what he sows.’ Gal 6:7. Dark days ahead for NY,” Barber wrote in one tweet. “Gay “marriage” silliness: Sad for NY. Sad for America. Yet not unexpected. We mock God & He obliges. Buckle in. Rough ride ahead,” he wrote in another.

Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, an organization that has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, accused New York Republicans of taking bribes.

“Enormous political coercion has resulted in a profound failure of moral courage in the New York Senate. A clear majority of the people of New York oppose counterfeit ‘marriage,’ but Gov. Cuomo and anti-family lawmakers have shown that their allegiance is to a small but vocal minority seeking to redefine marriage and family,” he said in a statement. “The so-called religious protections that were tacked on to the bill will ultimately do nothing to protect the religious rights of New York citizens. As we go forward there is little doubt that the “incentives,” some taxpayer funded, used to sway votes, especially Republican ones, will be exposed.”

New York representatives of the Catholic church were not happy with the outcome. The Reverend Monsignor Kieran Harrington, a Catholic priest in Brooklyn, told the BBC that he thinks the new law is offensive.

“What we find repugnant is that this is being described as a civil rights issue,” he said. “African-Americans weren’t allowed to use the same fountains as white people. There were lynchings. The civil rights legislation was a reaction to this very real level of discrimination. If you say it’s a civil rights issue, then the state uses the coercive means at its disposal.”

Religious right poll contradicts trends on gay marriage

Posted on: June 17th, 2011 by Andy Birkey No Comments

A poll released Thursday by Public Opinion Strategies shows that 62 percent of Americans say that marriage in the United States should be between a man and a woman.

POS, a Republican polling firm, was hired by religious right outfit Alliance Defense Fund to conduct the poll. The poll’s numbers stand in stark contrast to a series of polls that show majority support for same-sex marriage among the American electorate, and come on the eve of a contentious push in New York to legalize gay marriage.

The Alliance Defense Fund — founded in part by Focus on the Family, Campus Crusade for Christ and the American Family Association, which has been dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center — paid for the poll. The ADF opposes any rights for same-sex couples including marriage, civil unions and domestic partner benefits.

The poll found that 63 percent of Americans agreed with the statement, “I believe marriage should be defined ONLY as a union between one man and one woman,” with 53 percent strongly agreeing with the statement. Thirty-five percent disagreed.

The poll’s sponsors did not release methodology or crosstabs, but did release basic information (PDF).

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, which is also listed as a hate group by the SPLC, praised the poll.

“This survey is a reflection of the voters in 31 states who have voted overwhelmingly to preserve marriage at the ballot box – with Minnesota, North Carolina and Indiana next in line with referendums,” he said. “As New York legislators debate a marriage redefinition bill, they should consider the impact on families, children and religious liberty. In 2006, the New York Court of Appeals reasonably concluded that the legislature has a legitimate interest in promoting responsible procreation and can ‘rationally’ believe that children need both a mother and a father.”

The poll contrasts with several mainstream polls released in recent months that found majority support for same-sex marriage. A Gallup poll in early May found that 53 percent of Americans support gay marriage. A CNN poll asked the same question in April and found 51 percent in support of gay marriage. The Washington Post released a poll in March showing 53 percent of Americans support marriage for same-sex couples.

Bachmann, Pawlenty among 2012 hopefuls at Faith & Freedom Conference this weekend

Posted on: June 2nd, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Gov. Tim Pawlenty are among a long list of presidential hopefuls attending the Faith & Freedom Conference and Strategy Briefing this weekend in Washington, D.C. The conference is organized by Ralph Reed, former head of the Christian Coalition and controversial religious right leader. In addition to Reed, Bachmann and Pawlenty will be sharing the stage with a number of controversial figures from the anti-abortion rights and anti-gay rights movements.

Reed led the Christian Coalition in the 1990s and stepped down as a scandal inside the organization was brewing. He then ran for the office of lieutenant governor in Georgia, but his ties to Jack Abramoff’s gambling scandal created huge hurdles for Reed and he lost the election.

Tom Schenk of Faith & Action will give Friday evening’s prayer. In 1992, Schenk was arrested after he threw a fetus at then-presidential candidate Bill Clinton. He has repeatedly questioned President Barack Obama’s Christian faith.

Speaking just before Bachmann will be Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, an anti–gay rights groups recently listed by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group. The SPLC has criticized Perkins for his past connections to white supremacy groups and his use of false data to impugn gays and lesbians.

Gary Bauer of American Values will also speak at the conference. He ran the Family Research Council before Perkins.

Also on the speakers list: Jay Sekulow a religious right attorney with a huge salary; Renewing America’s Jim Garlow, who likens fighting gay marriage to battling the Anti-Christ; and Dr. Richard Land of the Southern Baptist Convention. Land recently said that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell opens America up to God’s punishment.

Religious right in Minnesota urges anti-gay marriage amendment vote, Governor vows to fight it

Posted on: May 19th, 2011 by The American Independent No Comments

Religious right groups praised the House Rules Committee vote on Wednesday morning to pass an amendment that would codify a gay marriage ban in the Minnesota Constitution, but also called for action against “gay activists” who would “assault,” “attack” or “take one last shot” at Republican legislators. While conservative Christians rally the troops for a possible vote on the House floor this afternoon, Gov. Mark Dayton said he’d fight it “with every fiber of my being.”

The New Jersey-based National Organization for Marriage urged its supporters to rally at the Minnesota Capitol.

“Gay marriage advocates are mounting a furious last-minute assault on Republican legislators in an effort to cow them into delaying the vote authorizing the marriage amendment until sometime next year,” wrote the group’s executive director. “They are rallying supporters all around the country to contact Minnesota legislators asking them to stop the marriage amendment.”

Tony Perkins of the Washington, D.C.–based Family Research Council, an organization recently dubbed a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law center, sent an alert out as well:

The people of Minnesota deserve a full and open debate to decide the future of marriage. The only ones served by putting this vote off are gay marriage advocates, not Minnesota voters or Minnesota families.

As we speak, your state Representative is under attack by those opposed to allowing your voice to be heard. This bill is a direct threat to powerful interest groups, the small number of lawmakers who listen to them and the even smaller number of judges who are willing to foist a new definition of marriage on Minnesota.

The Catholic Defense League of Minnesota wrote about LGBT advocates “taking one last shot” at legislators:

Those of us who believe that the destruction of marriage is not only immoral but also extremely destructive of the social fabric of our country, have watched with hopeful anticipation as the bill wound its way through the legislature.

On Thursday, May 19 (tomorrow as I write this), the Minnesota House will likely take up the bill. Opposition forces such as Out Front Minnesota will be there to try to “take one last shot” at the legislators.

We have an opportunity, while investing minimal time, to fight back. As the legislators convene at the House chambers, there will be opposition forces there to try to intimidate them.

A vote on the amendment is expected on the House floor on Thursday afternoon. And LBGT advocates are planning a 2:30 rally at the Capitol to coincide with the vote.

Following a House committee vote on Wednesday to send the bill to the House floor, Gov. Dayton told reporters he would fight it “with every fiber of my being.”

Dayton has no power to veto the amendment, but he does have the bully pulpit.

“I think Minnesotans have much more compassion and understanding than they recognize and I think it will be defeated next year,” he said.