Welcome to PRA’s live-blog of the 2014 right-wing Values Voters Summit in Washington, DC. Refresh for updates. Follow us on twitter @PRAeyesright for even faster updates.
If you’re looking for our recap of Day 1, it’s here.
That’s all for the live-blog! Thanks so much for following along. PRA will be releasing detailed analysis if the Right’s new strategies over the next few days!
4:10pm: (workshop) We Are Winning! How to Save Religious Liberty hosted by Liberty Council
Before this session starts, we encourage our readers to watch this short video of PRA senior fellow Fred Clarkson, explaining how the Right is redefining Religious Liberty from being a shield for individuals into a sword for institutions:
Liberty Institute says they are “winning” the battle of Religious Liberty. Sadly, that’s very very true. The Left has yet to figure out how to truly speak to the truth about Religious Liberty (upcoming PRA report, don’t worry).
Liberty Inst says they work in 4 different areas: public arena, schools, churches, the military. They say that religious liberty has nothing to do with individual rights, but about the right of churches and pastors to “expand outside of the walls of the church.”
Liberty Institute is really leaning on the rules that pastors cannot give religious sermons at public school graduations. According to these Christian Right groups, their own religious liberty is violated if they are not allowed to preach to non-Christian students were are required to be sitting in the audience.
Liberty Institute now talking to a pastor of a Southern Baptist church in the South who wanted to build a church on the public town square. Town told him that he was required to get 60% approval signatures from residents within 1/4 mile. Liberty Institute says that’s an absolute violation of religious freedom. Unfortunately, Liberty Institute has failed to highlight the part about the building being on the public town square—and that allowing a church to be built on public property is a pretty clear violation of the separation of church and state.
How does Liberty Institute win so many cases? They cherry pick cases in small towns that have little resources or qualified city attorneys. They then charge in with $500k/hr attorneys to establish precedent they can take to the next small town.
Now hearing from Brooks Hamby, a high school student was asked not to give a religious speech at a public school assembly. Despite Hamby’s outrage, it sounds like his teacher, counselor, principal, and then superintendent all went the extra mile to try and help him understand that there are many non-Christian students who are required to be in the audience who would be offended by his speech. He gave it anyway.
Now hearing from Sergeant Phillip Monk, who claims that he was disciplined by a lesbian superior officer for having anti-Marriage Equality beliefs. The entire story is fabricated. In reality, a lieutenant that Monk oversaw was forcing his religious beliefs onto non-Christian subordinates. Monk’s commander (who happened to be a lesbian) ordered Monk to stop the Lieutenant from doing so. Monk refused and disobeyed a direct order from his commanding officer. He, in fact, was not punished. Rather, he was simply reassigned to another position that was still commensurate with his rank. Yet somehow, he’s managed to spin his story into being about Liberty Institute’s faux version of religious liberty.
Now in the Q&A portion. Audience member asked about SPLC. Liberty Institute and other right-wing groups have evolved—slipping so far into the extremes that they have attained “hate group” status. But instead of that being a wake-up call, or moment for self-reflection, they instead turn around and attack SPLC and groups like PRA for being “hate groups.”
3:15pm: How to Stop Losing: Reclaiming Blue Collar Conservatives (workshop)
Sen Rick Santorum says for the last few decades, the GOP has not paid attention to workers. Says they face problems like stagnate wages.
Santorum says GOP candidates need to show up at traditionally Democratic working neighborhoods (who have seen their labor rights eroded). It’s interesting to listen to him talk about outreach to workers, while the economic Right is waging a war against low-wage worker organizing (more on that here: https://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/06/04/dark-money-dirty-war-the-corporate-crusade-against-low-wage-workers/
Santorum’s #1 idea for how Republicans can reach working families who are traditionally Democratic supporters? “Eliminate more corporate taxes.”
Santorum says almost all of the 6 million net jobs created in last few decades have been taken by “illegal immigrants.” He adds that those immigrants are the reason why worker wages are stagnant, because “as all those illegal immigrants come into the country and take all the jobs, they hold keep the wages low.”
Basically, Senator Santorum isn’t advocating for any changes to policy. Rather, he says that conservatives need to start mentioning workers when they speak, instead of just the CEOs and business owners.
2:10 pm: Glenn Beck
Beck says he told his wife “we could burn every school book, all we need is this [the bible].”
Beck really is quite clever. He wrote his own intro to the bible, talking about how the government isn’t biblical enough. He’s reading it from inside a real bible, elevating his words to “scripture status.”
Beck says he will stand with LGBTQ people against Russia or other countries that seek to kill sexual minorities. Yet on his show, he regularly hosts U.S. culture warriors who export homophobia and sexism to those countries and are directly involved in the creation of those laws. More details on that here: https://www.politicalresearch.org/africa/book-american-culture-warriors-in-africa/
Always a fan of props, Beck has so far held up an original arrest warrant from the Salem Witch Trials, and the mic used by Tokyo Rose.
Beck is talking about “a revolution of love.” Have to wonder if he’s trying to counter the disturbingly large and growing segment of the Right using violent rhetoric: https://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/06/11/rumblings-of-theocratic-violence/
It seems Beck’s speech is primarily about how to get the Right to stop sounding so opposed to everything. (Not to actually change their policy, of course. But to sound like they are.)
The weirdest thing about Beck’s speech? The last 14ish speakers before him spent a day and a half telling this audience that all Muslims are terrorists to be hated and feared.
It’s official. Glenn Beck is the closest thing to being a voice of reason at the 2014 Values Voter Summit.
Lunch Break Until 2pm EST.
Noon: Bridgitte Gabriel, president of Act! for America
Gabriel already diving down Islamophobia tunnel. Says “more than 20% of Muslims are willing to walk into this room and blow us to smithereens.”
Gabriel is comparing “radical Islam” to Nazis, Russians, Chinese, and 9/11 terrorists.
The last speaker (Todd Starnes) talked about how Christians are being persecuted for their religion. Now, Gabriel is advocating for US government persecution of Muslims.
Gabriel made a point to say she is “only talking about the radical Islamists.” But then tells a story about how she grew up knowing that “all Muslims want us dead.”
These terrorist attacks “are always Islamists against Westerners.”
An audience member just said “we should kill all the Muslims.” All the audience members around her murmured “yeah.”
Gabriel is the 2nd VVS speaker to specifically use the phrase “we need to start telling the *truth* about Islam.”
Gabriel says Act! for America has passed 35 bills in 17 states over the last 5 years. That might be the scariest thing we’ve heard yet, today?
11:45 am: Fox News personality Todd Starnes
Interestingly, Starnes is introduced as “someone who promotes our [right-wing] Christian values to America.”
Starnes says America is targeting only one religion for persecution, and that’s Christianity. He also says Obama is treating the American military as a “social experiment petri dish.”
Starnes is hitting the highlights:
- repeats the Right’s redefined version of religious liberty, falsely claiming that “you can either own a business or have faith. But you can’t do both.”
- Repeats the totally-fake IRS scandal.
- Laments that public university student clubs aren’t able to kick out LGBTQ student members.
Starnes is also going on about how speakers at public universities and schools should be able to preach Christianity to non-Christian students who are required to be in attendance.
11:25 am: Congressman Jim Bridenstine (R-OK)
Bridenstine gets a cheer for being a Navy pilot. Can’t help but remember when 2 years ago they booed an active Marine in Afghanistan just because he was also gay.
Bridenstine says that “the surge” worked, and “completely secured Iraq.”
Bridenstine says we never should left Iraq, and is advocating leaving combat soldiers on the ground their indefinitely. *standing ovation* He got another standing O for being the latest speaker at VVS to call for a full-scale invasion of Iraq and Syria immediately.
Bridenstine says “absolutely nowhere in the constitution or the 1st Amendment is there separation of church and state.” He also says that if we remove the word ‘god’ from the pledge of allegiance, it would officially establish Atheism as the national religion.
“Let me tell you, the Korean War was just.”
According to Rep Bridenstine, North Korea lost the war and their citizens are starving because they “don’t have God.”
11:00 am: Common Core panel, led by FRC’s Sarah Perry
Panel claims that Common Core is a secret Obama plot to flood schools with the LGBTQ agenda.
The level of tap dancing going on by the panel is truly amazing to watch. They admit that Common Core was started by the states, but say it’s federal because of funding. They admit that the states are the ones to set the standards, but say it’s a federal takeover.
So why is the Right working so hard to push this Common Core conspiracy? In private schools, they’ve successfully integrated textbooks for kids that deny evolution, claim climate change is a myth, etc.
10:40am: Star Parker
Parker says she wants Franklin Graham to run for president.
“Liberals are unable to see how evil they are or the violence they cause.”
Parker is claiming that Liberals are purposefully covering up the existence of “many other Kermit Gosnells” [he was the abortion doctor who was illegally performing late-term abortions].
10:15am: Tony Perkins and right-wing radio personality Mark Levin
Perkins opens the interview with a joke about how all Democrats commit voter fraud.
Levin says that “the Left is totalitarian. They can’t win on ideas because their ideas are goofy and stupid.” He added that the only thing the Left really does is “package things as compassionate, but then talk about race and genitalia.”
Levin is swinging heavily at the so-called “establishment Republican party. He says they lose elections because they are “cowards and neostatist big government Republicans.” He also says that when they lose, “they blame us [social conservatives], and when they win they pat themselves on the back.”
First Hillary joke alert: “Hillary Clinton is just Barack Obama in a … well not a skirt… in a pant suit.”
Levin went on to say that it’s time to tell the truth about Islam. “We’re sending soldiers to fight against fundamental Islam, and it’s damn time for the president to admit that.”
The VVS audience gave a good giggle when Perkins quoted President Obama saying “Islam is a religion of peace.”
Interestingly, Levin says that neo-confederate secessionists “don’t really understand the constitution.” It’s interesting because many of those secessionists have already spoken here at VVS14.
9:48am: Mat Staver, chair of Liberty Council
Staver kicks off with a Voter ID joke, says he knows it’s a conservative audience “because no one here tried to vote twice.”
Staver is describing a visit to Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius. Drawing parallels to America ‘ignoring the warnings.’
Staver adds his name to the list of VVS speaker who repeat the absolute LIE that employees using their earned benefits for contraception is equivalent to companies paying for abortions.
Staver says he loves everyone, but “every once in a while it’s time to act like Jesus with the money changers.” (Is he advocating whipping Liberals?)
Literally 20 seconds after calling same-sex parents “straight from the pit of hell,” Staver says “we would never run an ad in the Washington Post calling people haters.”
Staver also complained about the states that have outlawed ex-gay torture on LGBTQ youth.
Staver finished his speech saying he was thrilled that in this generation, even “red and yellow” people are “bending their knees to god.”
9:30am: Ryan Bomberger
Anti-choice activist Ryan Bomberger is next. Check out our full profile on him here: https://www.politicalresearch.org/2013/09/12/the-next-generation-of-antichoice-ryan-bomberger/
Bomberger goes after “venom-spewing hateful SPLC” for designating FRC a hate group.
Bomberger says it’s ironic that Liberals “who only exist because of free speech,” have “the audacity to call the murder of unborn children ‘reproductive freedom.’”
It’s interesting to hear Bomberger talk so much about an “assault on unborn black babies,” when right-wing groups are PAYING CASH to women of color to sterilize themselves and reduce the number of Black children being born.
9:10am: Sandy Rios
Anti-choice activist Sandy Rios is speaking first. You can read our full profile on her here: https://www.politicalresearch.org/2013/10/21/profiles-on-the-right-sandy-rios/
Rios says that “even more than gay marriage or abortion, God hates pride the most” and it will destroy the country.
Rios walks through examples of pride she says are evil and “destroying the country because God hates it.” Included in her examples: a girl who decides she wants to live with her boyfriend, and former Boston mayor Tom Menino who after the Marathon Bombing said the city will survive because we’re Boston Strong (didn’t give credit to god).
She concluded talking about David & Goliath, saying “America will kill her enemies so that the world will know there is a god in America.”
9:00am: VVS is once again promoting I Pledge Sunday
The Christian Right has developed an app for pastors to check and see whether or not members of their congregations are registered to vote / have voted. More details here: https://www.politicalresearch.org/2014/09/25/theres-now-an-app-to-further-the-christian-rights-notion-of-religious-freedom/