Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

Posts for November, 2009

What are anti-gays on?

Timothy Kincaid

November 17th, 2009

rick scarboroughYesterday a collection of the nation’s most obnoxious anti-gay activists showed up in Washington DC to have a showdown with the government. They were there to defy the new law criminalizing preaching against homosexuality and to be arrested for preaching the gospel. (Christian Post)

Conservative pastors rallied outside the Justice Department on Monday to test the limits of the newly expanded hate crimes law.

Calling the new law – which broadens the definition of federal hate crimes to include attacks based on sexual orientation and gender identity – a clear threat to religious liberty, the group sought to defend their freedom to proclaim biblical truths.

They were certain that preaching against homosexuality is now illegal. And they were there to be martyrs for their faith.

But there were no arrests. No one had to join the Apostle Paul and Martin Luther King by writing from the jail cell to proclaim God’s glorious truth.

Police were present, just as they are at all such public demonstrations. But, as Dana Milbank of the Washington Post noted they had better things to do:

Anything other than sex “between a male and his wedded wife,” announced the Rev. Paul Blair, “is a perversion, and the Bible says that homosexuality is in fact an abomination.”

No arrest was made.

The Rev. Rick Scarborough, quoting Scripture, listed “homosexual offenders” along with thieves, drunkards, swindlers and idolators as those unwelcome in the kingdom of God. “To fail to call homosexuals to repent of their sin and come to Jesus is the highest form of cowardice and sin,” he said.

No charges were filed.

“Had people listened to our plea, there would be tens of thousands of people who had not died of a dreaded disease,” contributed the Rev. Jim Garlow. “This breaks our heart to see people die of AIDS.”

No hands were cuffed. In fact, the few cops in attendance were paying no attention to the speakers, instead talking among themselves and checking their BlackBerrys.

And, indeed, the cops were not interested because no crime was being committed. The Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act does not infringe on religious liberty or ban preaching against homosexuality or anything else they fear. The only time a minister need fear the law is if he is actively instigating violent attacks on gay people.

But this reality is wasted on these activists. Even though their bait drew no bite, they remain convinced that Christianity is being criminalized. (Citizenlink)

Gary Cass, president and CEO of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, said pastors who preach from the Bible could be held accountable if someone hears their sermon and then commits a crime against a gay-identified individual.

“It puts the burden on the minister to have to read the minds of the people that are listening to him and be able to predict the future,” he said. “It has a very chilling effect on the minister’s speech, because the safest thing is to just say nothing.”

And Janet Folger trumpeted her warning on WorldNetDaily

janet folger

Unfortunately, it’s too late for our freedom of speech, as so-called “hate crimes” legislation already passed Congress and was signed by Barack Obama into law as a part of the defense budget. That is why I stood with pastors like Rick Scarborough of Vision America, Mat Staver and Matt Barber of Liberty Counsel, Oklahoma Pastor Paul Blair, San Diego Pastor Jim Garlow, Gary Cass of the Christian Anti-Defamation Commission, Bishop Earl Jackson of Stand America, and others on the steps of the Department of Justice yesterday afternoon speaking out against the law that has already laid the foundation for the Criminalization of Christianity, as I warned about in my book by that same title.

It can be difficult to understand exactly why these activists ignore the opinions of legal scholars who assure them that no such arrests will be made. It is odd that Christian voices calling for reason are ignored. It seems incomprehensible that a simple reading of the Constitution and the language of the law itself (which specifically excludes anti-gay preaching and teaching) would not assuage their fears.

But then something began to seem familiar.

You see, I’ve tried to have a conversation with a crystal methamphetamine addict who hadn’t slept in days. He explained why there was tinfoil over the windows and even the shower vent. He was worried that there might be a man hiding behind the stereo which was flush with the wall. Even though on a conscious level he knew and could sheepishly admit that his fears were baseless, the meth in his system compelled a paranoia which he simply could not ignore.

With him, there was a logical reason to explain his irrational thinking. It was chemically induced.

But why are these anti-gay activists convinced, against all evidence to the contrary, that preaching against homosexuality is now illegal? How do we explain their irrational thinking and baseless paranoia?

Surely they aren’t all meth-heads.

Right?

Huckabee, Bauchmann, McClintock To Speak At Conference Featuring Hate Group

Jim Burroway

August 25th, 2009

Former Arkansas Governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Rep. Michele Bachman (R-MN), and Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA are confirmed speakers at the upcoming Take America Conference in St. Louis September 25 and 26. This same conference invited MassResistance to give a workshop titled “How to counter the homosexual extremist movement,” presumably on of the strength of their resounding successes in Massachusetts.

MassResistance is one of only eleven anti-gay groups designated as an official hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. MassResistance has developed closes ties with Holocaust Revisionist Scott Lively, where he was a featured speaker at the MassResistance banquet last January. Conference connections to hate groups don’t end with MassResistance. Host committee member Don Feder spoke at the 2007 Watchmen On the Walls conference in Riga, Latvia. The Watchmen, another SPLC-designated hate group, was also co-founded by Scott Lively.

The Take America Back conference is co-chaired by Phyllis Schlafly (Eagle Forum) and Janet Folger Porter (Faith2Action). Other host committee members include LaBarbera Award Winners Mat Staver (Liberty Counsel) and Rick Scarborough (Vision America), as well as Don Wildmon (American Family Association) Dick Bott (Bott Radio Network), Michael Farris (Home School Legal Defense Association), Phillip Jauregui (Judicial Action Group), Rick Green (Wallbuilders), and Joseph Farah (WorldNetDaily).

Huckabee’s Christian Reconstructionist Ties Run Deep

Jim Burroway

January 6th, 2008

We reported earlier on Southern Baptist minister and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee’s fundraising event at the home of Houston multimillionaire Steven Hotze, a well-known Christian Reconstructionist. Pastor Rick Scarborough, who also maintains Reconstructionist beliefs, was there as well. Since then, we’ve learned that Huckabee’s ties go far deeper than mere acquaintances and financial backers. He has a history of working very closely with some very well-known Reconstructionists over the years. In this report, we will examine two of Huckabee’s closest Reconstructionist colleagues.

Modern Christian Reconstructionism (sometimes known as Dominionism) was founded by the late R.J. Rushdoony and his son-in-law, Gary North. Rushdoony believed that it was the duty of every Bible-believing Christian to place each and every word of the Bible at the core of that person’s life. According to Rushdoony, this meant that the Bible must necessarily replace all civil laws and constitutions with the Old and New Testaments, including the revival of the death penalty for homosexuality, incest, adultery, lying about one’s virginity, and apostasy or public blasphemy, among a much longer list of biblical crimes. Rushdoony wrote that Democracy is a heresy and “the great love of the failures and cowards of life.”

George Grant
These are core beliefs among several leading figures in Huckabee’s circle. One such prominent figure is George Grant, a well-known Reconstructionist who appeared with Rushdoony in the video, God’s Law and Society. Grant was the co-author for Huckabee’s 1998 book, Kids Who Kill: Confronting Our Culture of Violence. That was the book where Huckabee and Grant lumped homosexuality with pedophilia, sadomasochism and necrophilia as “institutionally supported aberrations.”

Back cover of Huckabee and Grant’s book, “Kids Who Kill”

That line, which Huckabee defended, may well have come from Grant’s 1993 book, Legislating Immorality: The Homosexual Movement Comes Out Of The Closet. In that book, Grant compares homosexuality with pedophilia and bestiality. He also calls for the death penalty for gays, saying “[t]here is no such option for homosexual offenses” except capital punishment.

In 1987 George Grant wrote The Changing Of The Guard: Biblical Principles for Political Action, in which he made his call for a theocratic overthrow explicit. On reading these passages, there can be no doubt exactly what Grant is calling for:

Christians have an obligation, a mandate, a commission, a holy responsibility to reclaim the land for Jesus Christ – to have dominion in the civil structures, just as in every other aspect of life and godliness.

But it is dominion that we are after. Not just a voice.

It is dominion we are after. Not just influence.

It is dominion we are after. Not just equal time.

It is dominion we are after.

World conquest. That’s what Christ has commissioned us to accomplish. We must win the world with the power of the Gospel. And we must never settle for anything less.

If Jesus Christ is indeed Lord, as the Bible says, and if our commission is to bring the land into subjection to His Lordship, as the Bible says, then all our activities, all our witnessing, all our preaching, all our craftsmanship, all our stewardship, and all our political action will aim at nothing short of that sacred purpose.

Thus, Christian politics has as its primary intent the conquest of the land – of men, families, institutions, bureaucracies, courts, and governments for the Kingdom of Christ. It is to reinstitute the authority of God’s Word as supreme over all judgments, over all legislation, over all declarations, constitutions, and confederations. True Christian political action seeks to rein the passions of men and curb the pattern of digression under God’s rule. (pp. 50-51)

Grant has attained considerable influence within broader evangelical circles. He once served as executive director for D. James Kennedy’s Coral Ridge Ministries, and he has been a vocal advocate for evangelicals withdrawing their children from public schools. Grant operates several educational organizations in Franklin, Tennessee, including a Christian school, and an adult education center. He is “reluctantly” in the process of developing a home-school curriculum.

Bill Gothard
Gothard and HuckabeeAnother strong Reconstructionist tie can be found in Rev. Huckabee’s longtime relationship with Bill Gothard. Gothard runs an outfit called the Institute In Basic Life Principles. As part of the teachings at his institute, Gothard has espoused some very radical principles. The evangelical non-profit Personal Freedom Outreach, whose mission is to warn fellow evangelicals about pronouncements which are considered heretical from an Evangelical point of view, criticized several very odd aspects of Gothard’s theology:

Take for example Gothard’s “Cabbage Patch” flap. In 1986, he taught that the highly popular Cabbage Patch Dolls were causing strange and destructive behavior in children that could only be alleviated when the dolls were removed or destroyed.

In a letter from his organization, his followers were told by representative Ginger Jones that to enter into a written agreement to love a doll was a violation of the First Commandment. The threat as seen by Gothard was that by adopting a doll, children might not want to raise up their own godly children. Children may “love” dolls as they do other toys but this does not mean they worship them.

Testimonials were included with the above letter about the awful effects of the dolls with no allowance made for other environmental and social factors in the homes. The Cabbage Patch doll became a scapegoat.

If only Gothard’s teachings were limited to children’s toys. Unfortunately, it is just one small and amusing manifestation of Gothard’s extremism. Gothard teaches that all of life’s problems can be traced to poor “character choices.” Those choices result in a large number of societal “ills,” including homosexuality, divorce, contraception, crime — even mental illness. In one video, Gothard claims that there is no such thing as mental illnesses, and everything that we call “mental illness” — including schizophrenia — are the direct result of making poor character choices. Among the many unaccredited “training institutes” that Gothard runs is something called “The Medical Training Institute of America,” which emphasizes “the Biblical mandate to call for the elders of the church for prayer before receiving medical treatment for a serious illness.” He describes the “power of crying out” to cure brain tumors, cancer and infertility.

Gothard insists that families and communities must organize themselves on a strict interpretation of Christian Reconstructionist principles. In addition to Cabbage Patch Dolls, he also forbids dancing, dating, rock music (even Christian rock) and “wrong clothes.” Wives must submit to their husbands, adults must submit to their patriarch (the husband’s father), and couples must discard all forms of birth control. Families should limit their contact with those who are not “saved,” they should lock their misbehaving children into “prayer closets,” and they should home-school their children.

To help families with that last injunction, Gothard maintains a home school curriculum, composed of a series of “wisdom booklets” in which “the Bible is the main textbook” for all subjects in the curriculum, including science and mathematics. Gothard’s most famous home-school alumnus to date is probably Matthew Murray, the “Colorado Shooter” who killed four people in two separate shooting sprees in Arvada and Colorado Springs. The particularly tragic irony is that there is evidence that Matthew Murray may have been suffering from mental illness — he reportedly heard voices, which is often a symptom of some forms of schizophrenia which Gothard dismissed as a mere character flaw.

While little is known about Gothard outside the evangelical movement, he claims to have built a large following of 2.5 million alumni of his 25-hour basic seminar since 1964. Matthew Murray’s parents are reportedly among his alumni. Another alumnus is none other than Rev. Mike Huckabee, who wrote this endorsement of Gothard’s prison program, which was implemented in at least one Arkansas state prison:

As a person who has actually been through the Basic Seminar, I am confident that these are some of the best programs available for instilling character into the lives of people.

Huckabee has also Gothard’s “Character Cities” program, which is a secular front organization which tries to inject Reconstructionist goals into local politics under the radar. So far, 171 cities, 37 counties and 8 states have adopted resolutions. In 1997, the Ocala Star-Banner reported on a meeting Gothard held in Little Rock with members of Huckabee’s administration:

Gothard has described his meeting in Little Rock as the start of something big. He said it laid the groundwork for “the most exciting opportunity I can imagine” to merge the institute’s teachings with government programs. In a letter published on the institute’s Internet site, Gothard said his organization has been asked to “present a plan and contract to restructure ( Arkansas’ ) welfare program, their educational system and their juvenile justice methods.” He also claims that Gov. Huckabee’s aides “have already begun taking steps” to put the proposal into action.

What Does Rev. Huckabee Believe?

It’s hard to know where Huckabee himself stands in all of this since he is coy about addressing how he sees the role of church and state. In his 1997 book, Character Is The Issue: How People With Integrity Can Revolutionize America, Huckabee claimed that he despised “legalism” in the Church as much as liberalism (p. 74). Nevertheless, he casts the struggle between liberalism, which he describes as godless, and his form of Christianity as a political fight in which only one side can emerge victorious:

Here’s the bottom line not just for Arkansas and America, but for the world: one worldview will prevail. Either by numbers or persuasion, one side of this polarized culture will defeat the other in setting public policy. When two irreconcilable views emerge, one is going to dominate. Ours will either be a worldview with humans at the center or with God at the center. Standards of right and wrong are either what we establish as human beings (standards which can be changed to suit us), or they are what God has set in motion since the creation of the world.

… The winning worldview will dominate public policy, the laws we make, and every other detail of our existence. (p. 137)

Huckabee clearly believes that his campaign is a part of “what God has set in motion.” Those beliefs echoed throughout his address to students at Jerry Falwell’s Liberty University, where he explained why he thought his poll numbers were rising:

There’s only one explanation for it, and it’s not a human one. It’s the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of five thousand people. (Applause and cheers)

And that’s the only way that our campaign could be doing what it’s doing. And I’m not being facetious, nor am I trying to be trite. There literally are thousands of people across this country who are praying that a little will become much, and it has. And it defies all explanation. It has confounded the pundants, and I’m enjoying every minute of their trying to figure it out. And until they look at it from a… just experience beyond human, they’ll never figure it out. And that’s probably just as well. That’s honestly why it’s happening.

Hat tips: Wayne Besen, Cincinnati Beacon

See also:
Rev. Huckabee: “Obey God’s Orders”

Mike Huckabee and the Christian Reconstructionists

Jim Burroway

December 20th, 2007

Gov. Mike HuckabeeIt’s been widely reported that former Arkansas governor and GOP presidential candidate Mike Huckabee flew down to Houston earlier this week for a fundraiser hosted by Steven Hotze. In today’s column, Robert Novak identified Steven Hotze as “a leader in the highly conservative Christian Reconstruction movement.” According to Novak, that fundraiser’s host committee had an unusual make-up:

State Rep. Debbie Riddle was the only elected official on the host committee, most of whose members were not familiar names in Texas politics. David Welch is executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council. Jack Tompkins heads a firm providing Internet services to the Christian community. Entrepreneur J. Keet Lewis is an active Southern Baptist.

A better-known committee member was Baptist minister Rick Scarborough, founder of Vision America. In endorsing Huckabee on Nov. 1, Scarborough said, “I acknowledge that Huckabee is not the perfect candidate” but one “who will listen to wise counsel.”

According to Novak — who is not exactly a flaming liberal himself — until Huckabee’s problems with his fellow Southern Baptists had been that they didn’t think he was conservative enough! A pretty amazing assessment given his many statements on AIDS and homosexuality which have come to light recently (and which Huckabee has refused to back away from, a move which earned him a LaBarbera Award). But as strident as his pronouncements may be, they hadn’t been orthodox enough to fully satisfy the Christian Reconstructionists. But now that he’s receiving donations from them, it looks like things have changed between them.

For those who don’t know, Christian Reconstructionists are the guys who want to replace civil law with Biblical law, which makes them the Christian equivalent to Muslims who advocate for Sharia law. To give you an idea of what these people are about, the Cato Institute posted a snippet of a 1986 statement that was signed by Steven Holtze:

We affirm that the Bible is not only God’s statements to us regarding religion, salvation, eternity, and righteousness, but also the final measurement and depository of certain fundamental facts of reality and basic principles that God wants all mankind to know in the sphere of law, government, economics, business, education, arts and communication, medicine, psychology, and science. All theories and practices of these spheres of life are only true, right, and realistic to the degree that they agree with the Bible.

This statement is virtually identical to some of the messages presented by American pastors at the most recent Watchmen On the Walls conference last November. Other signatories to the statement include D. James Kennedy, Tim LaHaye, George Rekers, Don Wildmon, and R.J. Rushdoony.

Rushdoony is considered the father of Christian Reconstructionism. His 1973 book, The Institutes of Biblical Law, serves as a foundational document for Christian Reconstructionists. In the Institutes, Rushdoony called for the replacement of civil law with Biblical Law, including the legalization of slavery (because the Bible approves of it) stoning as punishment for a long list of Biblical offenses including homosexuality (because the Bible calls for it). Rushdoony defended these beliefs right up until his death in 2001. Scarborough recently declared that his is neither a Republican nor a Democrat, but “a Christocrat.”

Huckabee recently told an audience at Liberty University that God was responsible for his recent rise in the polls. And we’ve noted before that Huckabee has been voicing a rather strange theology lately. Does that theology now include theonomy and the Christian Reconstructionist theology of those whose support he’s seeking?

YouTube Preview Image

“We Want Sodomites Quarantined”

Jim Burroway

October 31st, 2007

Star Parker

That gem came from Star Parker, one of the featured speakers at the Values Voter Summit held on October 20 and 21. Max Blumenthal was there and caught it all on video. And what he caught was pretty scary. Here’s a knee-slapper from the Traditional Values Coalition’s Lou Sheldon:

Lou SheldonLou Sheldon: But remember, homosexuality could strike you! It could strike this man here taking pictures…

Max Blumenthal: How could it strike me?

Sheldon: Because you could go into a gender identity confusion because it is a psychological imbalance. Something happens in a person’s life. It’s not only… It becomes a spirit…

But the real icing on the cake comes from Brandon Vallorini of Rick Scarborough’s Vision America:

Brandon ValloriniMax Blumenthal: But under a Biblical order, I mean, … would the death penalty be imposed for blaspheming, homosexuality…

Brandon Vallorini: I guess in that time it was.

MB: But what about…

BV: What about it today? That’s a great question. Again, and I, I would want to be careful to say that we want to do what God says we should do.

“Value Voters” Presidential Debate

Jim Burroway

August 30th, 2007

Mark your calenders. Here’s a presidential debate you won’t want to miss:

A Values Voter Presidential debate will be held at the Broward Center for the Performing Arts on Monday, September 17th at 7:30 p.m. The majority of the Republican candidates have confirmed their attendance at the event.

The venue is in Ft. Lauderdale, home of mayor Jim “Robo-Toilet” Naugle. The press release doesn’t say which candidates will attend, but the Value Voter Debate web site tells us who’ll be asking the questions:

Questions will come from 40 of our nation’s leaders including: Paul Weyrich, founder and President of the Free Congress Foundation, Phyllis Schlafly, founder and President of Eagle Forum, Don Wildmon, founder and Chairman of the American Family Association, Judge Roy Moore, with the Foundation for Moral Law, Rick Scarborough, Vision America, and Mat Staver of Liberty Council

Sounds like a perfectly lovely evening.