Archive for the ‘American Family Association’ Category

News or Propaganda?

January 16, 2012

One News Now, the propaganda arm of the far-right group American Family Association, has an article about a poll portrayed as showing that Americans “fear” President Obama’s re-election this year:

According to the new poll from Washington Whispers, a feature in the U.S. News & World Report since 1933, when asked “what news event [Americans] feared the most in 2012,” they responded — by a 2-to-1 margin — “President Obama’s re-election.” While only 16 percent said they fear Obama will not win a second term, 33 percent said they fear four more years.

Then the article quotes right-wing blogger Les Rayburn:

“Most Americans are terrified. President Obama … he’s made it very clear that he’s out to destroy the United States.”

So 33 percent somehow represents “most Americans”? In addition, we suspect that not all of that 33 percent see President Obama’s re-election in such apocalyptic terms. On the other hand, it’s certainly possible given that the propaganda from the far right in recent years has been increasingly extreme and irresponsibly apocalyptic.

We’ll also note that the American Family Association is a hate group that organized a prayer rally for Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Houston the week before Perry announced his run for the presidency last August.

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When Perry’s Allies Attack: VVS Edition

October 10, 2011

Where was Gov. Rick Perry this past weekend when two prominent supporters brandished faith as a weapon and went on the attack against former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney? The answer to this question is at the end of this post.

But first, the Values Voter Summit.

This year’s VVS — held this past weekend in Washington, D.C. — was everything the American Family Association probably hoped Gov. Perry’s The Response would be when they wrote a $600,000 check to make the early August prayer rally possible.

In fact, VVS can be called the director’s cut of The Response, filled with all the extremist rhetoric that Gov. Perry’s handlers human decency dictated shouldn’t be aired at Houston’s Reliant Stadium lest the Texas governor be embarrassed ahead of his eventual announcement of a presidential run.

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Perry Sticking with Fischer, the AFA

October 3, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry’s presidential campaign is not going through the best of times right now. After an initial splash that sent Texas’ longest-serving governor to the top of the Republican presidential polls, the campaign has stumbled through a series of gaffes and lackluster debate performances.

So Gov. Perry this week will go back to the basics, once again sharing a venue with the American Family Association hate group and making his faith a political tool as he courts conservative voters. In fact, Gov. Perry is on the Friday schedule for the 2011 Values Voters Summit in Washington, D.C., as is the AFA.

You’ll recall it was the AFA that sponsored Gov. Perry’s prayer rally at Houston’s Reliant Stadium in early August, an event the AFA and Gov. Perry proclaimed nonpolitical though the AFA later used the event to register voters and the governor formally announced his presidential candidacy a week later.

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AFA Screams at Ben & Jerry’s

September 29, 2011

The folks who sponsored Gov. Rick Perry’s summer prayer fest are all pistachioed at the name of a new flavor of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and have manufactured a controversy that they’ll probably milkshake for all it’s worth.

One Million Moms, a project of the American Family Association, is warning Ben & Jerry’s that the company faces a rocky road if it continues to peddle its new flavor, “Schweddy Balls,” which is named after the famous Saturday Night Live skit.

NPR has the scoop on the new flavor.

Well, the dra-cone-ian folks at the AFA have given “Schweddy Balls” an ice cold reception. One Million Moms is calling on supporters to contact Ben and/or Jerry to voice their displeasure. In the alternative, One Million Moms supporters were asked to praline for the company at Sundae church services.

Safe to say that on top(pings) of being a hate group, the AFA apparently also lacks a sense of Good Humor.

If Ben & Jerry’s persists, One Million Moms says its supporters will stop buying the company’s products.

Yet another AFA boycott? Meh. How vanilla.

And Fischer Makes Tweet

September 13, 2011

Sometimes Bryan Fischer of the hate group the American Family Association just makes it too easy to call him out.

Do you follow Fischer on Twitter? We do, so you don’t have to. If you did, you’d know that every day he seems to spend hours finding news stories to link to that he uses to make wild generalizations about things — but mostly people — he hates.

And yet for all the generalizations and disregard for the facts, Fischer’s recent tweet about Banned Books Week was surprising in that he didn’t even attempt to sprinkle it with a shred of truth (not that he cares).

Here’s the tweet in question:

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About That Nonpolitical Prayer Rally

August 23, 2011

Gov. Rick Perry ignited a firestorm with his controversial and erroneous comments about the teaching of creationism in Texas public schools while he campaigned for Republican primary votes in New Hampshire last week. But while most of the press focused on Perry’s remarks, far less attention was paid to the actions of the American Family Association and how it basically confirmed our suspicions about the real intent of Gov. Perry’s Aug. 6 prayer and fasting rally.

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Honeymoon Is Over

July 25, 2011

Late last week Gov. Perry sent some not-so-subtle signals to the American Family Association (AFA) — his partner in the upcoming prayer-rally “The Response” — that he’s not ready to commit just yet, intimating that he might not be willing to speak at the much-criticized event. Then in another surprise, the governor decided to go on the record over the weekend with his opinion that  the New York law allowing gay marriage is just fine with him, since he’s a big state’s rights supporter:

“Our friends in New York six weeks ago passed a statute that said marriage can be between two people of the same sex. And you know what? That’s New York, and that’s their business, and that’s fine with me. That is their call. If you believe in the 10th Amendment, stay out of their business.”

But isn’t that another slap in the face to his gay-hating buddies at the AFA? Yep.

“Gov. Perry himself is unapologetic in his support for natural marriage. We appreciate that he signed a symbolic measure to protect marriage in the Texas constitution. But perhaps he missed an opportunity here for him to stress the importance of natural marriage and the negative consequences for children when same-sex marriages are legitimized.”

That’s AFA’s director of issue analysis Bryan Fischer in an interview today with the Texas Independent. Fischer went on to reiterate AFA’s call for a federal marriage amendment that would effectively override any decision by individual states in this matter.

I wonder if both parties in this political marriage are starting to have second thoughts.

Perry Having Second Thoughts?

July 21, 2011

CNN is reporting that Gov. Rick Perry may not speak at the Christians-only prayer rally in Houston next month — the event he initiated.

Wait a minute. What?

The story speculates that criticism over the event — and its loony sponsors and speakers — might be getting to the presidential candidate governor. Maybe. It’s possible he is in the midst of a religious conversion that is making him respectful of religious pluralism and tolerance.

But it’s also possible that the governor is having a good, old fashioned political conversion, perhaps because at last report only 6,000 people have registered for the event (which will be held in the 71,000 seat Reliant Stadium) and 48 governors have said “no thank you” to his invitation to attend.

In any case, we’re pleased that Governor Perry is reconsidering his participation in this divisive event. And we should keep the pressure on. If you haven’t already, sign TFN’s open letter to the governor here.

Religious Right Closes Ranks Behind Perry

July 5, 2011

New reports of closed-door meetings and conference calls indicate that religious-right kingmakers are coming together in support of a presidential bid by Texas Gov. Rick Perry. One of those closed-door confabs occurred two weeks ago, when Gov. Perry spoke before a virtual “who’s who” of religious-right leaders gathered in the North Texas city of Euless (just outside Dallas), EthicsDaily.com reports.

The organizers of the June conference say the event was “spiritual” in nature, but their rhetoric and actions betray those claims. Indeed, EthicsDaily reports that the June event was preceded by a September gathering  in Dallas that explored a strategy to defeat President Barack Obama’s re-election in 2012. Texan and longtime conservative evangelical leader James Robison called the group together for both events. From EthicsDaily:

“This nation right now is facing a tremendous crisis, and it’s as though Christians have buried their head in the sand and not recognized that we were placed here on earth to be overseers of what he entrusted to our watchcare,” Southern Baptist evangelist James Robison told EthicsDaily.com as he expressed his hopes for the gathering.

“One of the points that I’ve made that the leaders agree with is that … the vast majority of those who profess faith are uninspired, uninformed and uninvolved,” he added. “With the privilege of choosing our leadership and putting in place those who establish the policies that govern our lives and affect us comes the responsibility to choose right. And correct choices will always be based upon principles that are consistent with biblical truth and the views of our founders – the providential perspective of our founders.”

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Gov. Perry’s Cynical Call to Prayer

June 28, 2011

Since the day Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced that he had invited the nation’s governors to Houston to pray for America (so far only two have indicated that they will come), the signs have pointed to yet another cynical attempt to use faith as a political weapon. On Monday Gov. Perry essentially confirmed that assumption. His gubernatorial campaign office blasted out an email to supporters and other political activists, calling them to the Houston event.

“I sincerely hope you’ll join me in Houston on August 6th and take your place in Reliant Stadium with praying people asking God’s forgiveness, wisdom and provision for our state and nation,” Gov. Perry wrote. “There is hope for America. It lies in heaven, and we will find it on our knees.”

That’s a wonderful message for people of faith — but its delivery through an electoral campaign office by a politician apparently preparing for a presidential run reveals it as little more than a cold and calculating political tactic.

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Group: No Muslim Prayers at Perry Event

June 20, 2011

Organizers for Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s prayer event in Houston this summer claim people of all faiths will be welcome (so long as they’re open to converting to Christianity, apparently). Now a Christian-right group is worried that Muslims might show up to pray at the event, which supporters claim is an opportunity to bring Americans together in support of their country. An email from the Pray in Jesus Name Project  to far-right activists is warning that Muslims might try to disrupt the August 6 event at Reliant Stadium in Houston. From the email:

Sadly, although the stadium was rented by non-denominational Christians, it may be interrupted by Muslims who are already demanding to share our stage to pray to Allah.

But if you attend, and the Governors of all 50 States attend (none of whom are Muslim), it will signal our greatest public statement of all–that American is returning to its Christian roots.

Could the hostility toward Muslims, not to mention Jews and other non-Christians, be any clearer? It’s shameful that the governor of Texas insists on associating with intolerant groups that oppose religious freedom for anyone who doesn’t share their views.

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The Hypocrisy of a Hater

June 16, 2011

The American Family Association, identified by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, is lashing out at its critics. On his radio program Monday, AFA talking head Bryan Fischer claimed that criticism of AFA’s extremist rhetoric and its role in organizing Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s August prayer event in Houston is actually a hate crime. And he blames gay people specifically.

“(What) homosexual activists want to do to me and the AFA is a hate crime. In other words, what you are watching, ladies and gentlemen, you are watching the slow-motion commission of a hate crime. You are watching a hate crime in action. Because the definition of a hate crime is harassment, intimidation that is based by prejudice, motivated by prejudice against somebody’s religious beliefs. So this intimidation, this harassment, and remember one of the definitions in a hate crime of harassment is derogatory terminology, derogatory language, so you can see all kinds of epithets that are going to be thrown at us, that meets the definition of a hate crime.”

So Fischer thinks he and AFA are being “harassed” because of their religious beliefs? We’d like to know which religious teachings led Fischer to call the African-American president of the United States a “boy.” What religion taught him that gay people were responsible for the murder of millions of Jews during the Holocaust? What religion told Fischer it’s okay to smear– in truly vile terms — African-American women who are on welfare?

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Doubling Down

June 15, 2011

Well, it appears the governor has settled on an answer to critics of his upcoming prayer event. To all of those who object to the sponsorship of the event by a documented hate group, the obvious political overtones and the decision to make the program a Christians-only affair, the message is clear — he isn’t backing off. In fact, he’s doubling down.

On Monday, Eric Bearse, former communications director for Gov. Perry and current spokesperson for the aforementioned hate group the American Family Association, went on the radio and cleared up any remaining doubts about the purpose of this event:

A lot of people want to criticize what we’re doing, as if we’re somehow being exclusive of other faiths. But anyone who comes to this solemn assembly regardless of their faith tradition or background, will feel the love, grace, and warmth of Jesus Christ in that assembly hall, in that arena. And that’s what we want to convey, that there’s acceptance and that there’s love and that there’s hope if people will seek out the living Christ. And that’s the message we want to spread on August 6th.

People of all faiths are welcome… to convert to Christianity. Got it?

Right Wing Watch posted the full audio clip:

If you think the governor shouldn’t be in the business of promoting one faith over others, please sign TFN’s open letter to Gov. Perry.

Houston Clergy Respond to Gov. Perry

June 14, 2011

TFN isn’t the only group organizing a public response to Gov. Perry’s Christians-only prayer rally in Houston later this summer. A group of Houston-area clergy are also objecting to the exclusive and politically divisive nature of the event. Earlier this week, they released a letter spelling out their concerns, including these wise words of caution:

We believe in a healthy boundary between church and state. Out of respect for the state, we believe that it should represent all citizens equally and without preference for religious or philosophical tradition. Out of respect for religious communities, we believe that they should foster faithful ways of living without favoring one political party over another. Keeping the church and state separate allows each to thrive and upholds our proud national tradition of empowering citizens to worship freely and vote conscientiously. We are concerned that our governor has crossed the line by organizing and leading a religious event rather than focusing on the people’s business in Austin.

To these thoughtful and brave clergy who are speaking out for religious liberty, TFN can only say, “Amen. May your tribe increase.”

Full text of their letter after the jump. (And if any religious leaders in the Houston area would like to join this effort, you can add your name to the letter by emailing Rev. Jeremy Rutledge.)

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Does Money Speak Louder Than Words?

June 14, 2011

Is the amount of money people give to their church an indicator of how devoted they are to their faith? What if a person has ambitious political goals that include the White House? What if that person is the governor of large state? Namely, what if that person is Rick Perry?

Those are all questions being asked in a San Antonio Express-News story published over the weekend that delves into the amount of money Gov. Perry has given to the church during his time in office.

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