Archive for the ‘The Year in Quotes’ Category

2011 in Quotes: Potluck Nuttery II

December 31, 2011

As our review of what we heard from the right in 2011 comes to an end, here are some last random snippets of nuttiness and extremism. Read more quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“Right now there are six true conservative Christians on the board, so we have to fight for two votes. In previous years, we had to fight for one vote to get a majority.”

– Barbara Cargill, shortly after her appointment as chair of the Texas State Board of Education, discussing the political landscape of the state board. Fellow Republicans who apparently didn’t meet Cargill’s definition of “conservative Christians” were – no surprise – offended. Houston Chronicle, July 18, 2011

“The latest rumor I hear, and I don’t know if this is true or not, is that he’s used about 25 different Social Security numbers … YouTubes are infallible.”

– Texas State Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, casting doubts on President Obama’s citizenship and citing one of the Internet sources for his doubts. Texas Tribune, February 28, 2011

“Y’all as tempting as it may be, don’t shoot Obama. We need him to go down in history as the WORST president we’ve EVER had! #2012.”

— Lauren E. Pierce, the president of the College Republicans at the University of Texas at Austin, an intern for Americans for Prosperity-Texas and for Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst’s campaign for U.S. Senate, in a message posted on Twitter after Pennsylvania State Police arrested a 21-year-old Idaho man for allegedly firing a semi-automatic rifle at the White House. Texas Tribune, November 16, 2011

“My president’s black, he snorts a lot of crack. Holla. #2012 #Obama.”

– Cassie Wright, who replaced Lauren E. Pierce as president of the UT-Austin branch of the Texas College Republicans, in a Twitter message posted Sunday. Burnt Orange Report, December 19, 2011

“Make no mistake, the final responsibility is ours, and we are warriors. We will bend public education to our awe, or break it all to pieces.”

–  Tennessee state Sen. Jim Summeville, a Tea Party Republican, demanding that his state’s legislature pass radical “reforms” targeting public education. NEA Today, April 19, 2011

“[P]lease look into protection for your family. An attempt on you could bring the republic down.”

– Television and radio commentator Glenn Beck, reading a letter he wrote to Sarah Palin after the shooting in Arizona that critically wounded U.S. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., and killed six others. The Hill, January 10, 2011

“All of these monsters (Hitler, Stalin) began by confiscating private arms, then literally soaking the earth with the blood of tens and tens of millions of their own people. Is there any wonder, then, why liberal, socialist, and communist-bent government officials are so bent on destroying America’s Second Amendment right? Now you know the truth.”

– Narration of a video created by Pastor Carl Gallups of Hickory Hammock Baptist Church in Milton, Fla., asserting in the wake of the attempted assassination of Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, D-Ariz., that gun control leads to genocide. Religion Dispatches, January 11, 2011

“Government does not improve our lives.”

– Texas Eagle Forum President Pat Carlson, explaining why drastic cuts to social services for poor people — even taking Texas out of the Medicaid system — would be fine with her. Texas Tribune, January 26, 2011

“When you talk about rabbis, understand that most — most people who are not Jewish don’t understand that there are the Orthodox rabbis, and then there are the reformed rabbis. Reformed rabbis are generally political in nature. It’s almost like Islam, radicalized Islam in a way, to where it is just — radicalized Islam is less about religion than it is about politics.”

– Glenn Beck, explaining the difference between Reform Judaism and Orthodox Judaism by equating the first with radicalized Islam. Media Matters for America, February 22, 2011 (audio clip from The Glenn Beck Program, Premiere Radio Networks, 2/22/2011)

“I’m not saying God is, you know, causing earthquakes. I’m not not saying that either. Whether you call it Gaia or whether you call it Jesus there’s a message being sent. And that is, ‘Hey, you know that stuff we’re doing? Not really working out real well. Maybe we should stop doing some of it.’ I’m just saying.”

– Glenn Beck, on the earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan. Huffington Post, March 14, 2011 (Audio clip from The Glenn Beck Program)

“If you want to know why we can’t pass legislation in Texas, it’s because we have 37, no 36, Hispanics in the Legislature. All of the states that have passed legislation have a handful and I mean literally, some of them have NO Hispanic legislators, well, maybe 3 or 5 or something. So that’s, umm, part of our problem and we need to change those numbers. . . . So the problem is these Hispanic legislators . . . is that it’s too close to them and they, umm. . . simply cannot vote their conscience correctly.

– Tea Party speaker Rebecca Forest, complaining at a rally at the Texas Capitol about the difficulty in passing a bill barring so-called “sanctuary cities” (which don’t exist in Texas anyway). (Video also available at the link.) Reform Immigration for Texas Alliance, June 14, 2011.

2011 in Quotes: Potluck Nuttery I

December 30, 2011

As we continue our review at what we heard from the right in 2011, here are some random snippets of nuttiness and extremism. Read more quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“If you are a socialist liberal and/or voted for the current campaigner in chief, please do not take this class. You have already proven that you cannot make a knowledgeable and prudent decision as under the law. If you are a non-Christian Arab or Muslim, I will not teach you the class with no shame; I am Crockett Keller, thank you and God bless America.”

– Crockett Keller, a store owner in Mason, Texas, in a radio ad offering a concealed handgun training course but not to anyone who is a supporter of President Obama or a Muslim. KVUE TV (Austin), October 27, 2011

“The flip side of Obama’s ’empathy’ is apparent hatred and contempt for white people, traditional families, small business owners, evangelical Christians, conservatives, and everyone else that liberals call the ‘racist, heterosexist, nativist, Christianist, capitalist, homophobic power structure’ in America. In other words, what most of us call normal people.”

– Peter Morrison, right-wing culture warrior from Southeast Texas, trying to explain his (stunningly ignorant) understanding of civil rights history. TFN Insider, January 10, 2011

“Compromise is the companion of losers.”

– Family Research Council President Tony Perkins, arguing against the suggestion that appealing to social conservatives makes a candidate less viable in a presidential general election. The Hill, September 27, 2011

“The reason that we fought the Revolution in the 16th century was to get away from that kind of onerous crown, if you will.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, saying the American Revolution took place two centuries before it actually did. ABC News, October 12, 2011

“I don’t have any idea.”

— Governor Rick Perry, a Republican presidential contender, on whether or not he believes President Obama was born in the United States. New York Times, October 23, 2011

“No; giving that size deduction to unmarried parents, defined as ‘individuals and their dependents,’ means rewarding bad behavior and is, by definition, outside the middle class. Regardless of income, you can’t be middle class without respecting middle-class values, the most important of which is marriage.”

– Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly, arguing that Gov. Rick Perry’s tax plan would undermine marriage. TFN Insider, November 2, 2011

“Oops.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, at a Republican presidential candidate debate, forgetting the third of three federal agencies he would eliminate if elected in November. Quoted everywhere, including here. November 9, 2011

“I am the candidate Glenn Beck trusts to lead America back to prosperity.”

– Republican presidential contender Michele Bachmann, in an email to supporters touting Beck’s announcement that he would support the Minnesota congresswoman in the Republican presidential primaries. Roll Call, November 29, 2011

2011 in Quotes: Women’s Health

December 29, 2011

The right in 2011 continued to pursue a dangerous political agenda that undermines women’s health and reproductive rights. Even access to contraception has become a political battleground. Read more quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“Of course it’s a war on birth control, abortion, everything — that’s what family planning is supposed to be about.””

– Texas state Rep. Wayne Christian, R-Center, discussing his support for a raft of legislation in Texas this year limiting access by women to reproductive health services. TFN Insider, May 29, 2011 (Video clip from Texas Tribune; full video here)

“We’ve had a lot of input from our constituents about the budget this time, about the number of cuts that we’re doing. So I’m going to have to draw the line at this point and say no more cuts.”

– Texas state Rep. Sid Miller, R-Stephenville, making a joke in his argument against an amendment to a bill requiring women seeking an abortion to undergo a sonogram and a doctor to describe the image of the  fetus to the woman.  The amendment would have allowed a woman who decided against an abortion, after getting the required sonogram, to seek a court order mandating a vasectomy on the unmarried man who got her pregnant. El Paso Times, March 4, 2011

“Well, I’m not so sure. Here I am in the middle of the debate and I’m not so sure. I’ve been told that 98 percent of the services they offer to pregnant women are abortion-related services. I’m not sure, but I think we ought to find out.

[…]

I actually went on Planned Parenthood’s website yesterday to try and see if I could get some good info, and I came up empty.”

— Texas Senator John Cornyn, doubling down on a Senate colleague’s absurd exaggeration of how much of Planned Parenthood’s work is abortion-related. American Independent, April 18, 2011

“The good news is through the blood of Jesus Christ he forgives, and women who have aborted children need to know that message … I believe this can be the beginning of the end of 75,000 abortions we have every year in Texas.”

— Texas state Sen. Dan Patrick, R-Houston, at the signing of the abortion sonogram bill, responding to remarks by someone in the audience talking about women who have abortions being guilty of killing their children. Texas Tribune, May 24, 2011

“One of the things I will talk about, that no president has talked about before, is I think the dangers of contraception in this country. It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.”

— Former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, on his pledge to repeal all federal funding for contraception were he elected president. Think Progress, October 19, 2011

2011 in Quotes: Bashing Gays

December 28, 2011

Promoting fear and discrimination against gay people has long been a key political tactic on the right, and you can see in these quotes how that didn’t change much in 2011. At least overseas, that rhetoric perhaps fueled deadly anti-gay violence. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, criticizing a new Obama administration policy to defend the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people who are imprisoned, brutalized and murdered in some countries. ABC News, December 6, 2011

“I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a Christian. But you don’t need to be in the pew every Sunday to know that there’s something wrong in this country when gays can serve openly in the military, but our kids can’t openly celebrate Christmas or pray in school.

As President, I’ll end Obama’s war on religion, and I’ll fight against liberal attacks on our religious heritage. Faith made America strong. It can make her strong again. I’m Rick Perry and I approve this message.”

– Gov. Perry, speaking in one of his presidential campaign ads in Iowa. Talking Points Memo, December 7, 2011

“Some of our friends have criticized FRC’s decision by drawing the scriptural parallel of Jesus eating with sinners. But this isn’t Jesus eating with sinners — it’s Jesus partnering with them to open a restaurant!”

– Tony Perkins, president of the far-right Family Research Council, referring to the inclusion of gay people at the 2011 Conservative Political Action Conference. Politics Daily, January 6, 2011

“They (American evangelicals) didn’t know that when you speak about destroying the family to Africans, the response is a genocide. The moment you speak about the family, you speak about the tribe, you speak about the future. Africans will fight to the death. When you speak like that, you invite the wrath.”

— Rev. Kapya Kaoma, a Zambian who attended antigay meetings held by American evangelical Christians in Uganda, discussing the horrible consequences of such talk. Last week one of Uganda’s most prominent gay rights advocates was attacked in his home and beaten to death with a hammer. New York Times, January 29, 2011

“I’m not sure that’s who you want as mayor. If they’re indecisive about who they are, are they indecisive about other issues?”

– David Grisham, a candidate for Amarillo mayor and an outspoken pastor and director of Repent Amarillo, a religious, fundamentalist group, on his transgender opponent, Sandra Dunn. Grisham previously called for a boycott of Houston after the election of a gay mayor, Annise Parker. Amarillo Globe-News, February 25, 2011

“Liberty is not the ability to do whatever hedonistic ideas you have. Whoever’s defining the terms is going to win the argument

. . .

There are a lot of gay staffers in Congress. They work all hours and they don’t have family lives, but they do have veto power.”

– Former Texas State Board of Education member Cynthia Dunbar, arguing (in separate quotes) that anti-gay Christians must change the language the public uses when talking about homosexuality and that the debate over civil rights for gay people. Religious-right activists at the strategy session decided that Christians should use words like “sodomy” and “unnatural vice” instead of “gay” when discussing homosexuality. American Independent, April 10, 2011

“In 5,000 years of recorded human history… neither in the east or in the west… has any society ever defined marriage as anything other than between men and women. Not one in 5,000 years of recorded human history. That’s an astounding fact and it isn’t until the last 12 years or so that we have seen for the first time in recorded human history marriage defined as anything other than between men and between women.”

– Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, speaking during an installment of the Iowa Family Leader’s presidential lecture series. Politico, April 11, 2011

2011 in Quotes: Islamophobia

December 27, 2011

The anti-Muslim rhetoric grew even more vicious in 2011. Today we look at the Islamophobia and other stunning ignorance demonstrated in quotes from the far right over the past year. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

[It is] the most likely and perhaps only community in America who will stand up to and ultimately help ensure the defeat of this seditious totalitarian political program.”

— Right-wing honcho Frank Gaffney, warning that Muslims are now trying to take over American conservativism by, in part, infiltrating the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), the annual gathering of conservative political activists set. Salon, January 5, 2011

“Islam has no fundamental First Amendment claims, for the simple reason that it was not written to protect the religion of Islam. Islam is entitled only to the religious liberty we extend to it out of courtesy. While there certainly ought to be a presumption of religious liberty for non-Christian religious traditions in America, the Founders were not writing a suicide pact when they wrote the First Amendment.”

– Bryan Fischer, the director of issues analysis for the religious-right group American Family Association, making every freedom-loving American thankful that Fischer’s blog and organization don’t have the force of law. Renew America, March 24, 2011

“I don’t have my file in front of me.”

“I’m not in my office to look them up.”

– Two comments from state legislators — the first in Alabama, the second in Nebraska — when asked to define “Sharia” or to identify any cases in which Sharia law has been used in a troubling way in American courts. Despite their ignorance on the issue, both lawmakers had proposed bills barring the nonexistent threat of Islamic law in the United States. Salon, April 7, 2011

“I don’t know Dearborn, Michigan, but I heard it on the radio. Isn’t that true?”

– Texas state Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, admitting he doesn’t know much about Dearborn, Mich., but insisting it is already under Sharia law. Think Progress, April 13, 2011

2011 in Quotes: The War on Science

December 26, 2011

The assault on science and science education continued throughout 2011. Today’s review of quotes from the past year shows that evolution and climate change were major targets in the right’s war on science, especially in Texas. Read other quotes from the far right in 2011 here.

“The controversy over science standards was actually the result of an attempted hijacking of science for ideological purposes by evolutionists. Their agenda was much more about worldviews than biology. The standards reflect real science and challenge students to study some of evolution’s most glaring weaknesses in explaining the fossil record and the complexity of the cell.”

– Don McLeroy, former Texas State Board of Education member, writing in an op-ed column about the board’s record over the past several years. Austin American-Statesman, January 1, 2011

“If your theory’s right, all these species would get together and form a new species, then where is the cat-dog or the rat-cat, whatever it be. They don’t come together. Cats go with cats, and dogs go with dogs.”

– Ken Mercer, member of the Texas State Board of Education, in another installment of his argument that evolution is bad science because there are no cat-dog and rat-cat hybrids. TFN Insider, October 28, 2011

“Evolutionists will go ‘Oh, it just happened by chance.’ Today we know that’s false. Today we know that even a single-celled organism is hugely complex. When was the last time we’ve seen someone go into a windstorm or a tornado or any other kind of natural disaster, and say ‘Guess what? That windstorm just created a watch.'”

– Texas state Rep. Bill Zedler, R-Arlington, responding to a question about whether or not he is a creationist. Zedler proposed legislation to bar “discrimination” against college faculty and students who promote creationism. It failed to pass. Mother Jones, March 21, 2011

“Are you kidding me, Earth Day in the schools? We’ve got to save the Earth? I mean, that’s like a tick . . . trying to save a whole heard of cattle. I mean, ticks go along for the ride, they don’t manage the cattle, they don’t tell them where to go. And that’s our arrogance in thinking that we can do something to save the planet and control where the planet goes. You know, we’re just along for the ride and we’re insignificant peons on this thing.”

– David Barton, president of the religious-right group WallBuilders, on human attempts to slow climate change. RightWingWatch, April 26, 2011

“As far as the Founding Fathers were concerned, they’d already had the entire debate over creation and evolution, and you get Thomas Paine, who is the least religious Founding Father, saying you’ve got to teach Creation science in the classroom. Scientific method demands that!”

– David Barton, the religious right’s favorite fake historian, on the Founding Fathers and their opinions on teaching evolution and creationism/intelligent design. Mother Jones, June 9, 2011

“I hear your mom was asking about evolution and, you know, it’s a theory that’s out there. It’s got some gaps in it, but in Texas we teach both creationism and evolution in our public schools. Because I figure you’re smart enough to figure out which one is right.”

– Texas Gov. Rick Perry, talking to a young boy in New Hampshire during a presidential campaign stop. National Public Radio, August 18, 2011

“I think what you’re advocating for is censorship on the part of government. So the government would prohibit intelligent design from even the possibility of being taught in questioning the issue of evolution. And if you look at scientists there is not a unanimity of agreement on the origins of life. … Why would we forestall any particular theory? Because I don’t think that even evolutionists, by and large, would say that this is proven fact. They say that this is a theory, as well as intelligent design. So I think the best thing to do is to let all scientific facts on the table, and let students decide.”

– Republican presidential hopeful Michele Bachmann, at an Iowa forum where she explained her views on teaching creationism in public schools. Think Progress, November 30, 2011

“I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. I think we’re seeing it almost weekly or even daily, scientists who are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change.”

– Gov. Rick Perry, again in New Hampshire on the Republican presidential campaign trail, making a claim that was a contender for Politifact’s “Lie of the Year.” Politifact Texas, Austin American-Statesman, December 5, 2011

2011 in Quotes: Religious Freedom

December 24, 2011

With 2011 winding down, it’s  time for our annual review of what we heard from the far right over the past year. Following are quotes that demonstrate a fundamental lack of respect — from elected officials and candidates for public office to other right-wing ideologues — for the faith and religious freedom of all Americans. You can read quotes from 2010 and 2009 here.

“One nation under God, there is no separation.”

– The chorus from a song performed at a religious-right gala that drew right-wing politicians like former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, R-Sugar Land, and U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, to the East Texas town of Lufkin. Talk to Action, April 12, 2011

“There may be some people here today who do not have living within them the Holy Spirit. But if you have been adopted in God’s family like I have, and like you have if you’re a Christian and if you’re saved, and the Holy Spirit lives within you just like the Holy Spirit lives within me, then you know what that makes? It makes you and me brothers. And it makes you and me brother and sister…. Now I will have to say that, if we don’t have the same daddy, we’re not brothers and sisters. So anybody here today who has not accepted Jesus Christ as their savior, I’m telling you, you’re not my brother and you’re not my sister, and I want to be your brother.”

– Governor-elect Robert Bentley of Alabama, speaking at a Montgomery (Ala.) church at an event commemorating Martin Luther King’s birthday. Birmingham News, January 17, 2011

“All law is legislated morality. The only question is whose morality. Because morality is based on faith, there is no such thing as religious neutrality in law or morality. . . . Ultimately, there are only two views: Either God is the final authority, and we acknowledge His unchanging standards of behavior. Or man is the final authority, and standards of behavior change at the whim of individuals or societies.”

– From a poster Richland County (Ohio) Common Pleas Court Judge James Deweese put up in his courtroom along with the Ten Commandments. A federal appeals court has ruled that the poster violates the First Amendment rights of lawyers and litigants appearing before him. Politics Daily, February 2, 2011

“I have two grandchildren — Maggie is 11, Robert is 9. I am convinced that if we do not decisively win the struggle over the nature of America, by the time they’re my age they will be in a secular atheist country, potentially one dominated by radical Islamists and with no understanding of what it once meant to be an American.”

– Former Republican U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, courting evangelical voters in Texas as he prepares for a likely bid for his party’s presidential nomination. Politico, March 27, 2011

“It’s not just Jews or Muslims. It’s anybody that rejects the free gift of salvation through Christ. The Bible teaches there’s heaven and hell. Those who believe go to heaven. Those who don’t go to hell.”

– Tim Wildmon, president of the American Family Association, defending his group and its sponsorship of “The Response,” a Christian prayer event hosted by Texas Gov. Rick Perry in Houston in August. Texas Tribune, June 7, 2011

“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.

– Eric Bearse, event spokesman for the hate group American Family Association and former speech writer for Gov. Rick Perry, saying that although “The Response” in August was intended as a Christian service, it would be open to all faiths and traditions. American Independent, June 14, 2011

“This is exactly what the founders wanted, what you see here today. … Our founders believed that our public policy should be aligned with the laws of nature and the laws of God. … Marriage is one of those things. Marriage is between one man and one woman, and we tamper with that at our peril.”

– Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, in comments to a reporter during Gov. Perry’s August prayer and fasting rally the AFA helped organize in Houston. San Antonio Current, August 10, 2011

“My argument all along has been that the purpose of the First Amendment is to protect the free exercise of the Christian religion.”

— The American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer, asserting that the First Amendment does not apply to Mormons. RightWingWatch, September 29, 2011

“A lot of the evangelicals believe God would give us four more years of Obama just for the opportunity to expose the cult of Mormon … There’s a thousand pastors ready to do that.”

– Remarks by Craig Bergman that prompted his resignation as Iowa political director for Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign. Los Angeles Times, December 14, 2011

The Year in Quotes: Potluck Nuttery II

December 31, 2010

We end our review of what we heard from the far right in 2010 with a second round of potluck nuttery. Click here, here, here, here, here and here for earlier posts about quotes from the far right this year.

“Q: What would you do if you found yourself in a room with Hitler, Mussolini and an abortionist, and you had a gun with only two bullets? A: Shoot the abortionist twice.”

— A flier sent to the homes of University of California at San Francisco medical school students and professors in 1992, New York Times Magazine, July 14, 2010

“I assume that the majority of students at San Marcos High School are Christian. And if that is the case, then this whole thing is anti-Christian.”

— David Castillo, trustee on the San Marco CISD (Texas) school board, explaining why he voted against a proposal to adopt an abstinence-plus sex education curriculum for the school district. Despite Castillo’s objections, the board voted to abolish the district’s abstinence-only curriculum in favor of an abstinence-plus approach. San Marcos Local News (formerly Newzstreamz), July 20, 2010

“Being anti-religion is cool, so Edwards’ non-theological theology gets props from the neo-communists. Still, at her death bed and giving what most folks are calling a final goodbye, Elizabeth Edwards couldn’t find it somewhere down deep to ask for His blessings as she prepares for the hereafter? I guess that nihilism I’ve been discussing reaches up higher into the hard-left precincts than I thought.”

— Donald Douglas, a neoconservative blogger, in a stunningly insensitive criticism of Elizabeth Edwards’ final public message before she died from cancer, Politics Daily, December 8, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: Potluck Nuttery I

December 30, 2010

As we continue our review of what we heard from the far right in 2010, let’s call this sampling “potluck nuttery.” Click here, here, here, here and here for earlier posts about quotes from the far right this year.

“Yoga is demonic . . . It’s absolute paganism . . . Yoga and meditation and easternism is [sic] all opening to demonism . . . if you just sign up for a little yoga class, you’re signing up for a little demon class. That’s what you’re doing. And Satan doesn’t care if you stretch as long as you go to hell.”

— Mark Driscoll, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, joining the ranks of prominent fundamentalist Christian leaders who have recently launched a puzzling attack on yoga, Religion Dispatches, October 27, 2010

“And you know, Kristi, something happened a long time ago in Haiti, and people might not want to talk about it. They were under the heel of the French, uh, you know Napoleon the 3rd and whatever, and they got together and swore a pact to the Devil. They said, ‘We will serve you if you’ll get us free from the French.’ True story. And so the Devil said, ‘Okay, it’s a deal.’ And, uh, they kicked the French out, you know, with Haitians revolted and got themselves free. But ever since they have been cursed by, by one thing after another, desperately poor. That island of Hispaniola is one island. It’s cut down the middle. On the one side is Haiti on the other side is the Dominican Republican. Dominican Republic is, is prosperous, healthy, full of resorts, etcetera. Haiti is in desperate poverty. Same island.”

— Far-right televangelist Pat Robertson, asserting that this year’s devastating earthquake — and other events — in Haiti was God’s punishment for the Haitian people’s alleged pact with Satan, ABC News, January 13, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: The War on Gays

December 29, 2010

Homosexuality is a year-round obsession for the far right in America. So there’s no surprise that some of the most ignorant and vitriolic quotes from the right in 2010 targeted gays and lesbians. Tragically, even elected officials bowed to anti-gay prejudice of the most vile kind. Click here, here, here and here for earlier posts on what the far right had to say in 2010.

“[B]eing a fag doesn’t give you the right to ruin the rest of our lives. If you get easily offended by being called a fag then dont tell anyone you are a fag. Keep that s— to yourself. I dont care how people decide to live their lives. They dont bother me if they keep it to thereselves [sic]. It pisses me off though that we make a special purple fag day for them. I like that fags cant [sic] procreate. I also enjoy the fact that they often give each other aids [sic] and die.”

— Clint McCance, a board member in a northern Arkansas school district who has since resigned his seat, writing on his Facebook page that he wants LGBT students to kill themselves, Advocate, October 26, 2010

“There is still a land of opportunity, friends — it’s called Texas. We’re creating more jobs than any other state in the nation. … Would you rather live in a state like this, or in a state where a man can marry a man?”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, speaking last month on the campaign trail, Texas Tribune, August 30, 2010 (audio here)

“Not since Adolf Hitler prepared a generation of German and Austrian youth for war has so grand a strategy been attempted.”

— James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family and its Canadian branch, warning Canadians that a cabal of gay activists have drafted a sinister plot against North American schools, The Tyee (Canada), July 19, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: Muslim Bashing

December 28, 2010

This year we saw a spike in anti-Muslim hostility — even hysteria — from the right. Even some who have long claimed to support the First Amendment’s protections for religious freedom have been among those ready to target others politically and legally simply for their religious beliefs. So today we review some of what we heard from the right when it came to anti-Muslim hysteria in 2010. You can read earlier reviews of what we heard from the far right this year here, here and here.

“I urge all Texans to support the Texas State Board of Education members who want to stop the pro-Islam/anti-Christian, anti-Judeo bias in our students textbooks. School children should be spared the move to ‘political correctness’ and instead be taught a true and correct version of history.”

— Texas state Rep. Dan Flynn, R-Van, speaking in support of an anti-Muslim resolution passed by the State Board of Education in September, Texas Insider, October 5, 2010

“Progressives and Islamists are indeed on the same side. Their common disdain for Christianity explains why left-wing judges in America find any inkling of Christianity in the public square unconstitutional, while Islamist judges in the Middle East deem it executable. Their common view that life is expendable explains the left’s embrace abortion-on-demand and why the Islamists don’t hesitate to deploy their own children for homicide bombings.”

— Religious-right leader and former Republican presidential candidate Gary Bauer, in an essay exploring President Obama’s “affinity for Islam.” Human Events, August 31, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: Religious Freedom

December 27, 2010

Threats to religious freedom — and the constitutional protections for that freedom — were evident in much of the far right’s political rhetoric in 2010. Some right-wing politicians even sought to turn religion and government into enemies by using faith as a political weapon. You can read more of our review of what the far right had to say in 2010 here and here.

“Our country was founded on religious principles … and our students will know that. . . . I think the [Founding Fathers] fully intended that our government would not separate church and state.”

— Gail Lowe, chair of the Texas State Board of Education, talking about new social studies curriculum standards for public schools, North Texas Daily, September 20, 2010

“The exact phrase ‘separation of church and state’ came out of Adolf Hitler’s mouth. That’s where it comes from. So next time your liberal friends talk about the separation of church and state, ask them why they’re Nazis.”

— Glen Urquhart, Republican congressional candidate from Delaware, Washington Post, April 2010

“WE [sic] elected a house [sic] with Christian, conservative values. We now want a true Christian, conservative running it.”

— John Cook, an elected State Republican Executive Committee member, explaining his opposition to current Texas House of Representatives Speaker Joe Straus, R-San Antonio, who happens to be Jewish, Texas Observer, November 30, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: Science

December 26, 2010

The religious right continued its relentless assault on science and science education in 2010. Unfortunately, even elected public officials expressed support for promoting personal beliefs over sound science in our children’s public schools. Let’s take a look at some of what we heard from the right on science over the past year. Click here other quotes from the religious right in 2010.

“I am a firm believer in intelligent design as a matter of faith and intellect, and I believe it should be presented in schools alongside the theories of evolution. The State Board of Education has been charged with the task of adopting curriculum requirements for Texas public schools and recently adopted guidelines that call for the examination of all sides of a scientific theory, which will encourage critical thinking in our students, an essential learning skill.”

— Texas Gov. Rick Perry, in response to a question about his stance on creationism being taught in public schools, San Angelo Standard-Times, September 11, 2010

“[Y]ou need to know that for our opponents, nothing makes sense except in the light of evolution. The great story coming out of Texas is that their spell has been broken. We have ended the dogmatic teaching of evolution, and we have restored the founders’ idea of a Creator.”

— Don McLeroy, Texas State Board of Education member and former board chair, discussing his departure from the board. McLeroy was defeated in the primary election for his seat earlier this year, but he warns: “You haven’t seen the last of Don McLeroy.” Texas Tribune, November 17, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: The Texas SBOE

December 24, 2010

It’s time for our annual review of what we heard from the far right over the past year. We’ll start with some of the nonsense uttered by members of the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) in 2010.

“One of the first real breaches of limited government was public education.”

— SBOE member Don McLeroy, R-College Station, in a debate with his election opponent Thomas Ratliff, R-Mount Pleasant, BurkaBlog, Texas Monthly, February 17, 2010

“I reject the notion by the left of a constitutional separation of church and state. I have $1,000 for the charity of your choice if you can find it in the Constitution.”

— SBOE member David Bradley, R-Beaumont Buna, New York Times, March 12, 2010

“Conservatives on our board are the only ones—the Christian conservatives—that are able to sit there and to think for themselves and say, well, wait. Is this really good policy? Should we just trust what’s being brought to us? Should we just rubber-stamp it?”

— Departing SBOE member Don McLeroy, speaking last week on a PBS program about the controversy over social studies curriculum standards in Texas, Religion and Ethics Newsweekly, April 30, 2010

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The Year in Quotes: Potluck Nuttiness

December 31, 2009

We heard nuttiness in many forms throughout 2009, including the Texas governor flirting with secessionists and the lieutenant governor criticizing the president of the United States for winning the Nobel Peace Prize. And there was plenty of downright hatefulness. More quotes from 2009:

“There’s absolutely no reason to dissolve it. But if Washington continues to thumb their nose at the American people, you know, who knows what might come out of that.”

— Gov. Rick Perry, discussing the possibility that Texas might secede from the United States, Dallas Morning News, April 16, 2009

“The flip side of Obama’s ‘empathy’ is apparent hatred and contempt for white people, traditional families, small business owners, evangelical Christians, conservatives, and everyone else that liberals call the ‘racist, heterosexist, nativist, Christianist, capitalist, homophobic power structure’ in America. In other words, what most of us call normal people. These radical leftists regard folks like you and me and our children as the enemy, and it’s their mission in life to put us in our supposed place, which to them means at the back of the bus. They’re in charge now, and they fully intend to use their power to remake America in their image. If the Senate approves Sotomayor for the Supreme Court, Obama will know that he has carte blanche to escalate his all out war on traditional Americans.”

— Peter Morrison, a member of the Lumberton Independent School District Board of Trustees in Southeast Texas who serves on a Texas State Board of Education social studies curriculum writing team, reacting to President Obama’s nomination of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court, TFN Insider, June 20, 2009

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