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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

‘I Have Stood Against Same-Sex Marriage’: Roy Moore Is Running for the US Senate on a Platform of God, Guns, and Gays

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Roy Moore, the former Alabama chief justice who lost his 2017 bid for the U.S. Senate, is back on the ballot, and he’s urging Republican primary voters to keep in mind that “I have stood … against the removal of God from society—and the Ten Commandments—and I have stood against same-sex marriage and for traditional marriage.”

That statement came near the end of a 40-minute interview Moore gave to Birmingham’s WTVM-TV, a broadcast affiliate of NBC, which posted the video on Monday. While the interviewer questioned Moore on a wide range of policy areas, Moore’s answers repeatedly pointed back to the nation’s “moral problem.” And the answer to the nation’s moral problem, he said, is having the country and its schools turn back to God. The interview included echoes of a speech he made last fall to the Huntsville Republican Men’s Group, when he said America needed to return to the days when abortion and sodomy were illegal and public schools had morning “devotionals.”

In response to a question about gun violence, Moore argued that “gun violence is not a proper term” because people, not guns, are responsible for violence. And stricter gun laws, he said, are not the solution to the nation’s moral problem.

“Congress has never been good on moral problems, if you will, and solving those moral problems is very simple,” Moore said. “You turn back to the God and the basis of religion upon which this nation was founded.” In answering a question about safety and security in the nation’s schools, he said, “Well, one thing they should do is teach the laws of God.”

Moore also emphasized his states’ rights view of the Constitution, saying it is not the business of the federal government to make schools secure or oversee the elimination of discrimination in schools in areas like discipline and hiring. “I think the segregation issues have been addressed,” he declared.

On environmental protection, Moore said clean air and water are being taken care of “privately” and by the states. “Environmental protection is just another way for the big government to interfere,” he added.

Moore also said that state trial judges’ interpretation of federal constitutional issues is just as authoritative as rulings of federal appeals courts.

Moore, who has argued that faithful Muslims are not fit to serve in Congress, blamed divisiveness on the country’s lack of acknowledgment of God:

Divisiveness is a big problem in our society. We need to go back to the recognition that we’re one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. We forget when we forget God and exclude God from the conversation, you take away, and you create divisiveness. Hatred, divisiveness, that comes from a lack of realization that you’re created by an Almighty God.

When we’re a nation that thinks we can’t acknowledge God, we forget what we’re founded upon. We forget the meaning of the First Amendment. And certainly we need to go back to that.

When asked by the interviewer the things on which he would not compromise, Moore said, “I will not compromise on the acknowledgment of God. I think the courts started making law. This same-sex marriage is not a law made by our Constitution or by our legislature. It was made by courts. And courts have no business making law.”

At times, it sounded as if Moore envisioned himself in an even higher office than the U.S. Senate. In talking about his military experience, Moore said, “you need somebody with military experience in command—or in charge of the Senate. You need somebody that’s gone through these things.” The other candidates in the Senate race have not served in a war, Moore said. “I’ve been trained as a military leader – a highly regarded military leader. And that’s one of the chief jobs as the president.”

Moore is clearly still angry about his 2017 loss, which he attributed to a “disinformation campaign” that he said amounted to federal government interference in his race. He likened sexual misconduct allegations against him to those made against Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanaugh, a comparison he has made before. He called on the New York Times and Washington Post to release their copies of an “after-action report” on “Project Birmingham”—a group that reportedly spread misinformation in the 2017 Alabama Senate election—repeating a call he made last April.

Moore also appears to be bitter about his treatment at the hands of Republican leaders who distanced themselves from his 2017 campaign, portraying their refusal to back him as stealing the election:

I can win. They know I can win. In fact, I did win, until Richard Shelby came out and put out that people should not go to the polls and vote or should vote for another candidate. Over 22,000 voted for another candidate besides the Democrat, and I lost by less than 21,000. So it was ridiculous. They stole the election then, and they’re still trying to steal the election by keeping me out of Washington. I have opposed the establishment, and they do not like it. And they have vowed to keep me out.

Regarding election security in general, he said the biggest threat to voters is “letting illegals have drivers’ licenses.”

Moore said he opposed the impeachment of President Donald Trump, and he treaded lightly when asked about Trump tweeting last year that Moore probably couldn’t win the Senate race. He suggested that Trump was being pressured by Washington insiders. “They’re driving the president because they have the power in the Senate to remove him,” Moore said.  (It was one of a couple indicators that the interview was conducted before the Senate impeachment trial.) “And he’s subject to forces up there in Washington, and with all deference to the president, I can win.”

It’s worth remembering that while much of the Republican establishment wanted nothing to do with Moore, religious-right groups and right-wing activists rallied around his 2017 campaignpouring money into last-minute ads and traveling to Alabama to hold a press conference backing Moore and attacking his critics. After Moore lost the 2017 race, Trump-promoting “prophet” Lance Wallnau criticized Christian voters for “giving the devil a free pass” by not supporting Moore and warned Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, “You’re going down.”

Right Wing Watch noted in November:

For the record, it was Moore’s unorthodox view of the Constitution—notably his refusal as a state judge to abide by federal court rulings on church-state issues and marriage equality—that got him ousted twice as the state’s chief justice. Moore has been supported by Christian nationalists and embraced by some of the country’s most extreme anti-abortion activists.

One of the primary funders of Moore’s political career has been Michael Peroutka, a Christian Reconstructionist and neo-Confederate activist. Peroutka has also been a backer of Moore protégé and current Alabama Chief Justice Tom Parker, who has called on state courts to actively push the Supreme Court to overturn Roe v. Wade and the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling.

Recent polling puts Moore far back in the crowded primary race, in which former senator and attorney general Jeff Sessions is favored to win the opportunity to challenge incumbent Democratic Sen. Doug Jones. The primary will be held on March 3.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission.

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Christian Nationalist’ Declaration Is ‘Alarming’ Says Religious Liberty Executive

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Far-right Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia set off yet another controversy when, during a Saturday, July 23 interview conducted at the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit in Florida, she proudly described herself as a “Christian nationalist” and urged the Republican Party to openly embrace an ideology of “Christian nationalism.” One of the people who is calling Greene out is Amanda Tyler, executive director of the Baptist Joint Committee for Religious Liberty (BJC) and the main organizer for Christians Against Christian Nationalism.

Greene told Taylor Hanson of the right-wing Next News Network, “We need to be the party of nationalism, and I’m a Christian. And I say it proudly: We should be Christian nationalists. When Republicans learn to represent most of the people that vote for them, then we will be the party that continues to grow without having to chase down certain identities or chase down certain segments of people.”

In an op-ed published by CNN’s website on July 28, Tyler lays out some reasons why she finds Greene’s “Christian nationalist” talk incredibly dangerous.

“For years, I have been closely tracking Christian nationalism and sounding the alarm about it,” Hanson explains. “Greene’s recent comments mark an alarming shift in the public conversation about Christian nationalism. Until recently, the public figures who most embrace Christian nationalism in their rhetoric and policies have either denied its existence or claimed that those of us who are calling it out are engaging in name-calling. But Greene is evidently reading from a different script now, explicitly embracing the identity as her own and urging others to join her.”

Tyler continues, “She is not alone in doing so. Greene’s embrace of Christian nationalism follows closely after troubling remarks from Colorado Republican Rep. Lauren Boebert: ‘The church is supposed to direct the government, the government is not supposed to direct the church,’ she said at a church two days before her primary election and victory in late June. ‘I’m tired of this separation of church and state junk.'”

Tyler describes Christian nationalism as “a political ideology and cultural framework that merges Christian and American identities, distorting both the Christian faith and America’s promise of religious freedom.”

“Though not new, Christian nationalism has been exploited in recent years by politicians like former President Donald Trump to further an ‘us vs. them’ mentality and send a message that only Christians can be ‘real’ Americans,” Tyler observes. “Growing support for Christian nationalism comes at a time when the political ideology behind it poses increasingly urgent threats to American democracy and to religious freedom. Perhaps the most chilling example of Christian nationalism came on the most public of world stages, from some Trump supporters during the January 6 insurrection.”

On February 9, BJC published a disturbing report that details the role Christian nationalism played in the January 6, 2021 insurrection.

“I care about dismantling Christian nationalism both because I’m a practicing Christian and because I’m a patriotic American,” Tyler writes. “And no, those identities are not the same. As Christians, we can’t allow Greene, Boebert or Trump to distort our faith without a fight.”

Watch Greene’s July 23 interview with Next News Network below:

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Nikki Haley Hints at White House Run During Christian Conference Held by Pastor With ‘Record of Anti-Semitic Statements’

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Nikki Haley has been called “a moderate Republican who is likely to run for the GOP presidential nomination in 2024.” While some disagree, calling her “an extremist on Israel, Iran, and human rights,” being painted as a moderate has been beneficial to her career.

As South Carolina’s governor she took her time before agreeing to have the Confederate flag removed from flying on a flagpole by the State Capitol, but ensured it had a place inside. She served as Donald Trump‘s U.S. Ambassador to the UN but at times ensured a perception of distance between them, like criticizing Russia when Trump refused.

And she promised that she would not run against Trump.

That promise appears to have had a limited shelf life.

Monday night, Haley headlined the Christians United for Israel Summit, a conference held by CUFI’s founder, John Hagee, a well-known far-right extremist evangelical pastor.

After her speech Haley took to Twitter to imply not only a White House run, but that she will be the next President.

READ MORE: ‘Calls for Pelosi to Become President’: Nikki Haley Again Mocked – This Time for Demanding Biden and Harris Resign

Attacking any potential Biden deal to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, a deal her former boss once exited, Haley tweeted: “And if this president signs any sort of deal, I’ll make you a promise… The next President will shred it – on her first day in office.”

That tweet catapulted her to “trending” on Twitter.

In recent years in opinion pages from CBS News to Religion News Service to Haaretz, Hagee has been blasted for antisemitic remarks.

READ MORE: ‘Republican Pinball Machine’ Nikki Haley Blasted for ‘Whitewashing’ Racism So She Can Ride Trump’s Coattails

He’s been called “a Muslim-hating, antisemitic, annexationist extremist,” who is “no friend of Israel.”

His Christians United for Israel summit, the same one Haley headlined, in 2008 was called “Rapture Ready” by The Nation’s Max Blumenthal, who warned of Hagee’s “long record of anti-Semitic statements.”

In 2019 Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb wrote: “Anyone who actually listens to CUFI’s leader, the Rev. John Hagee, will be horrified at the meeting’s toxic blend of anti-Semitism, racism, homophobia, Islamophobia and sexism.”

“Hagee and his more than 5 million followers believe that the establishment of Israel in 1948 and its subsequent military occupation and colonization of Palestinian and other Arab lands are the fulfillment of biblical prophecy and the necessary precursors to the return of Jesus Christ and the coming of the apocalypse.”

Indeed, Hagee has allegedly claimed Hitler was a descendent of “accursed, genocidally murderous half-breed Jews,” while blaming them for their own persecution – including for the Holocaust – while reportedly attacking Hitler as “a spiritual leader in the Catholic Church.”

Monday night, Haley praised Pastor Hagee, whose remarks have been so toxic Republican presidential nominee John McCain in 2008 was forced to renounce Hagee’s endorsement.

READ MORE: Nikki Haley Tries to Stop National Outrage: It Was Other People Who Saw Confederate Flag as ‘Service, Sacrifice, Heritage’

Religion News Service in 2008 reported that “Hagee drew the ire of the nation’s largest Jewish movement for a 1990s sermon that reportedly suggested that God used Adolf Hitler and the Holocaust as part of a divine plan to have Jews return to Israel.”

CNN reported Hagee’s remarks that forced McCain to renounce his endorsement included saying, “God says in Jeremiah 16: ‘Behold, I will bring them the Jewish people again unto their land that I gave to their fathers. … Behold, I will send for many fishers, and after will I send for many hunters. And they the hunters shall hunt them.’ That would be the Jews. … Then God sent a hunter. A hunter is someone who comes with a gun and he forces you. Hitler was a hunter.”

Haley Monday night declared “America and Israel’s best days are yet to come!” as she thanked Pastor Hagee for inviting her to speak.

 

 

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RELIGIOUS EXTREMISM

Former Trump White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany to Keynote Anti-LGBTQ Dominionist Event

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Kayleigh McEnany, a White House press secretary under former President Donald Trump, is scheduled to speak Saturday at an event hosted by Ché Ahn, a California-based pastor and leader of the dominionist New Apostolic Reformation. “Reforming California: Taking a Stand for Life, Liberty & Family” will also feature dominionist Dutch Sheets.

McEnany’s appearance with Ahn and Sheets reflects to degree to which Pentecostal dominionists achieved unprecedented access to power during the Trump administration.

“A battle is raging for the soul of America,” declares a promotional video for the event, which repeats right-wing complaints about LGBTQ issues being taught in public schools.

NAR leaders seek to “transform” entire nations through spiritual revival and political activism to bring government policies into alignment with their biblical worldview. “Reforming California” is being sponsored by Revive California, one of the political organizations affiliated with Ahn’s Harvest International Ministry. In 2020, he launched 1RACE4LIFE, a group that asks people to pledge to vote for only anti-abortion and anti-maarriage-equality candidates. Revive California’s website includes a five-step vision that defines reformation this way: “Activate every believer to vote biblically, and learn how to run for local, state or national office.”

Ahn was an energetic supporter of Trump and the former president’s false claims to have won the 2020 presidential election. Before the election, Ahn described it as a crucial moment in the battle for the soul of America. On the eve of the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol by Trump supporters hoping to derail the peaceful transfer of power, Ahn spoke at a rally in D.C. where Christian nationalism and conspiracy theories mingled with threats of violence. Ahn told the crowd they would “change history,” adding, “I believe that this week we’re going to throw Jezebel out and Jehu’s gonna rise up, and we’re gonna rule and reign through President Trump and under the lordship of Jesus Christ,” he said.

Sheets, another NAR leader who has long taught that the church—the ekklesia—is meant to be a governing body legislating God’s will on Earth, was also a big Trump booster. In 2018, he and other NAR leaders gathered 1,300 prayer warriors at Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel to call on God to remove pro-choice Supreme Court justices and destroy Trump’s enemies. The following year, Sheets helped Trump aide Paula White launch the One Voice Prayer Movement, a thinly disguised campaign operation to maintain strong evangelical support for Trump.

In the weeks after the 2020 election, Sheets waged “spiritual warfare” against what he called a demonic plot to steal the election from Trump. During one prayer session he declared, “As Christ’s ekklesia on the Earth, we have been delegated his supreme authority to declare into the spiritual realm what is lawful and what is unlawful, forbidden and allowed. …  We decree the next four years of Donald John Trump’s presidency will see the fruit of God’s divine reset in America.”

Revive California’s advisory board includes other leaders associated with NAR and dominionist Pentecostalism. Among the advisory board members: Bill Johnson, the longtime leader of the controversial Northern California megachurch Bethel, which has international reach through its School of Supernatural Ministry and its music label; Shannon Grove, a California state Senator and the minority leader of state Senate; Samuel Rodriguez, head of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference; religious right activists Jim Garlow and his wife Rosemary Garlow; Dran Reese, president of The Salt & Light Council, which encourages and equips conservative churches to get more involved in politics; Tony Kim, the U.S. director of Ahn’s Harvest International Ministry; and others.

This article was originally published by Right Wing Watch and is republished here by permission. 

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