Peter Montgomery

The Religious Right Moves to Cement Political Power Under President Trump

mid the stream of outrage about President Donald Trump that dominates my Facebook feed, one friend desperately sought a silver lining: “Well, at least we don’t have the theocrat Pence as President.” It reminded me that I, like some of my LGBTQ friends, thought during the Republican primary that we would prefer Trump to someone like Ted Cruz, whose unshakeable religious-right ideology and matching policy agenda was clear.

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Donald Trump and Neil Gorsuch Have the Religious Right Thinking Big - Really Big

The entire Trump presidency has been pretty much a nonstop horror show for progressive Americans, but the month of June made it clear that if you are worried about President Trump and the Republican Congress rolling back advances made during the Obama administration, you aren’t worried nearly enough. Right-wing strategists seeking to undo what they see as federal overreach are looking back as far as the New Deal, and some even further, to the Progressive era at the turn of the 20th Century. With Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and hundreds of Gorsuch-like judicial nominations in the pipeline, they’re making big plans.

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Domestic Terrorism in the Age of Trump

Harassment, intimidation, and physical violence against religious and ethnic minorities is on the rise. And some experts worry the Trump administration is making things worse.

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While Comey Testified, Trump Was Palling Around With the Christian Right

While millions of Americans spent Thursday glued to television coverage of former FBI director James Comey’s testimony, Donald Trump took time to bask in the adulation of Religious Right activists who gathered in D.C. for Road to Majority, the annual conference hosted by Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition.

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Leaders of the Christian Right Gather to Plot the Next Stage of Their Assault on Civil Society

The World Congress of Families, an international network of anti-LGBTQ and anti-abortion activists, will gather in Budapest later this week for this year’s global summit. American Religious Right activists, who increasingly see the culture war as a global struggle, will strategize with colleagues from around the world to advance their shared goals: restricting legal recognition for LGBTQ people and families, denying women legal access to abortion, and opposing sex education. Joining them, according to the schedule, will be U.S. Representative Jeff Fortenberry. U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson was reportedly listed before his name was removed from the public schedule.

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Secretive Council for National Policy Pushing Trump to Sign 'Religious Liberty' Order

More than the 150 members of the secretive right-wing network known as the Council for National Policy have signed a letter calling on President Trump to sign an executive order “protecting the practical exercise of religious freedom,” something Religious Right leaders have been clamoring for since Trump took office. On March 1, Fox News pundit and serial promoter of bogus religious persecution stories Todd Starnes outed himself as a member of the CNP in writing about the letter.

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How The Religious Right Made Life More Difficult & Dangerous For World’s LGBT People In 2016

U.S.-based Religious Right groups have a long track record of collaborating with their counterparts in other countries to restrict women’s health choices and make life harder and more dangerous for LGBT people around the world. This year was an especially active one in this global human rights struggle. U.S. Religious Right leaders have clearly taken sides, teaming up with many of the most repressive regimes in the world to resist equality for LGBTQ people.

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Meet Trump's Peculiar Collection of Religious Leaders He Picked to Speak at His Inauguration

Donald Trump’s inaugural committee has announced that six faith leaders will take part in his swearing-in ceremony by offering prayers or delivering readings. Among them are Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, and Bishop Wayne Jackson, who draped a prayer shawl from Israel over Trump’s shoulders when Trump made a campaign stop at his Great Faith Ministries International church in Detroit for a scripted interview.

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Religious-Right Operative Ralph Reed Tells Christians They Have a Duty to Vote for Gropey Trump

Donald Trump has had no bigger fan and friend on the Religious Right than Liberty University president Jerry Falwell Jr. On Monday, Falwell invited political operative Ralph Reed, another Trump booster, to speak to Liberty’s students in the wake of a very bad week for Trump. In his speech to the Christian school, Reed made the case that Christians have a duty to vote for Trump.

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Kentucky Governor Suggests Violence if Hillary Wins

Numerous speakers at last weekend’s Values Voter Summit suggested that the American republic might not survive a Hillary Clinton presidency. During the Obama administration it has become almost routine to hear far-right leaders talk about the possibility of armed revolution against the federal government. But it was still jarring to hear a sitting governor suggest that America might only survive the election of Hillary Clinton through bloodshed.

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America's Religious Right's Cult-Like Attraction to Vladimir Putin

One of the notable developments in right-wing-watching in recent years has been how enthusiastically many Religious Right leaders have embraced Russia’s anti-democratic president, former KGB official Vladimir Putin. It seems even more remarkable that the Republican Party’s presidential nominee has been lavishing praise on Putin even as Russia maneuvers to diminish America’s influence in the world.

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Stretching to Make Trump ‘God's Guy’: 25 Religious Right Justifications for Backing the Donald

As we have noted, most Religious Right leaders supported Ted Cruz in the Republican presidential primary, while Trump’s “amen corner” consisted primarily of prosperity gospel preachers (like Paula White, who says Trump is “hungry in his heart” for God) and dominionist “prophets” and “apostles.”

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Cleveland Protesters Counter Noise of Hate With Silence and Love

CLEVELAND--On a day that started with news of the murder of police officers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, thousands of people gathered here on the eve of the Republican National Convention in a “a nonpartisan, no-labels, no-issue event” designed to “Circle the City with Love.”

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Is Trump Letting Religious Right Leaders Have Their Way With GOP Platform?

The Republican Party’s platform committee started meeting in Cleveland this morning to hash out final language that will be presented to delegates at the Republican National Convention next week. Religious Right activists have been gearing up for months to make sure that the platform keeps the anti-gay and anti-abortion language they say will be needed to secure social conservatives’ loyalty to the GOP in November.  A draft shared with members of the platform committee on Sunday night reportedly keeps the party’s anti-abortion position intact and continues the party’s opposition to marriage equality, though the draft reportedly abandons a previous call for a constitutional amendment banning marriage for same-sex couples nationwide in favor of leaving the decision on marriage to the states.

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Trump Has Given White Supremacist Groups New Life

The staying power of Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy has surprised and unsettled people across the political spectrum. Many voters who are angry about the loss of middle-class jobs and frustrated with our broken politics have rallied to Trump’s outsider campaign.

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Is Ted Cruz Winning The Christian Nation Primary?

Christian-nation activist David Lane has been fuming for years that conservative evangelicals divided their Republican primary votes in 2008 and 2012, allowing John McCain and Mitt Romney to capture the GOP presidential nominations even though neither was a favorite of the party’s Religious Right activists. Lane, who believes America was founded by and for Christians, has vowed to prevent that from happening again, and has been hosting events in early primary states giving conservative pastors a chance to hear from and evaluate GOP presidential candidates.

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Can You Run the Economy Just Using the Bible? Many in the Christian Right Believe So

In February, the culture warriors at Iowa’s “pro-family” group The Family Leader distributed personalized copies of The Founders’ Bible to every member of the state legislature as part of their lobby day—or as they put it in an invitation letter, the “war with Satan, who has taken many captive in Des Moines.”(1) Greg Baker, Director of Ambassador Church Network, told pastors that the goal of “The Iowa Capitol Project” is to help legislators “do what God has asked them to do,” and The Founders’ Bible should help given its “compelling content pertaining to their job at the Capitol.” (2)

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Scott Walker Says His Presidential Bid Is 'God's Plan'

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, who announced his presidential bid on Twitter this morning and will have a launch event later today in Waukesha, has sent an email to activists declaring that his presidential run “is God’s plan for me.”

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What to Do When 'I Do' Is Done

In the year and a half since the Supreme Court struck down a key section of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, federal and state courts have been overturning laws against marriage by same-sex couples at a dizzying pace, sometimes more than once in a single day. Giddy activists have joked about the challenge of keeping color-coded marriage equality maps up-to-date. News stories about gay couples marrying in places like Oklahoma, Utah, South Carolina, and Idaho are now so common they hardly seem surprising.

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Samuel Alito, the Supreme Court's Most Pro-Corporate Member, Makes Good on Right-wing Investments in Him

Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito ended this Supreme Court session with a bang, writing the majority opinion in two cases that gave for-profit corporations the right to make religious liberty claims to evade government regulation and set the stage for the fulfillment of a central goal of the right-wing political movement: the destruction of public employee unions.

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Meet the Billionaires Using Their Fracking Fortune to Bankroll an Extreme Right-Wing Christian Agenda

Televangelist James Robison recently declared that he’s praying for a merger of the tea party and the religious right. Is he kidding? That merger is well underway. And it’s getting a hefty push from a couple of billionaire brothers.

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Utah Man Starving Himself To Stop Same-Sex Marriages

Right-wing advocates of “nullification” say it is a principle by which state and county officials can simply ignore federal laws and court rulings they consider unconstitutional.  A Utah man who believes a federal judge acted unconstitutionally in ordering officials to permit same-sex marriage in the state has been fasting since December 21, he says, and will keep doing so until state officials refuse to obey the federal judge.  He invokes the founding fathers in his call for nullification.

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Right-Wing Anti-Marriage Rally Sparsely Attended

For weeks, the National Organization for Marriage’s Brian Brown has been touting the “historic” March for Marriage, telling supporters “this is our time” to "change history." A month ago he wrote excitedly about a “game-changer,” a $500,000 matching gift from one of the major donors that keep NOM afloat. Brown had been inspired by a massive turnout for an anti-marriage-equality protest  in France, and hoped for something similar in Washington. But even with big donors and heavy-weight Religious Right co-sponsors, Brown and his allies couldn’t pull it off. Not even close.

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History-Making Week for Marriage Equality at the Supreme Court -- The Stakes Are Enormous

Millions of Americans will be focused on the Supreme Court this week, as the court takes up the question of whether same-sex couples have a right to be legally married, or whether state and federal governments have the right to discriminate against same-sex couples who are or want to be married. 

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4 Ways Tim Scott's Appointment Furthers DeMint's Right-Wing Legacy in the Senate

UPDATE: At noon EST, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley named Rep. Tim Scott to take the Senate seat that will be vacated by Jim DeMint when the Tea Party leader steps down in January to take the top job at the Heritage Foundation. Scott will be the only African American in the Senate, and seventh African American U.S. senator in history.

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Romney Allies Stoke Racial Resentment With Outrageous Claims

This week, on the eve of the first presidential debate, right-wing media, led by the Drudge Report, the Daily Caller, and Fox News, hyped a supposedly secret video that they dubbed "the other race speech." Fox News propagandist Sean Hannity tried desperately to portray the video as "explosive" footage that the liberal media had deliberately hid from voters to protect Barack Obama. Religious-right leaders played their part, with Liberty Counsel’s ludicrous Matt Barber demanding, "Romney simply must make ad upon ad out of this devastating video exposing Obama as a white-hating racist." Karl Rove, who with a cadre of right-wing billionaires has kept Republican hopes alive by funneling hundreds of millions of dollars into the election, piled on, saying Obama’s comments were designed to “stir up racial animosity” and called them “abhorrent.”

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GOP Leader: Gay Republican Welcome in House as Long as He Avoids ‘Personal Crusade’

TAMPA, FLA. -- Rep. Pete Sessions, Tex., heads the National Republican Congressional Committee a in role in which his top goal is electing Republicans. To that end, Sessions has worked with Log Cabin Republicans – and was honored by the group with its Barry Goldwater Award in 2010 – in spite of his own strongly anti-gay voting record: during the past three sessions of Congress his rating on HRC’s scorecard has ranged from zero all the way to six percent and now sits at three percent.  Sessions has voted repeatedly for federal constitutional amendments to ban same-sex marriage, and against ENDA and repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

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Shameless: 5 Ugly Themes We Saw at the RNC Convention

The Republican National Convention closed Thursday night. After millions of dollars and countless hours of preparation, planning every aspect of the messaging and visual clues, the most indelible moment of the convention was the wince-inducing image of Clint Eastwood mocking an empty chair representing Barack Obama. Congratulations, Mr. Romney.

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Who’s Ted Cruz? Getting to Know the Next Senator from the Tea Party

The power center that Dick Armey and FreedomWorks have been aggressively building in the U.S. Senate around reigning extremist Jim DeMint will almost certainly welcome Ted Cruz in January. The Republican convention gave most Americans their first look at Cruz, who has become a Tea Party folk hero after crushing the establishment candidate, Texas Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, in a bitterly contested primary.

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Mike Huckabee's Mean Streak: Speech Turns His Contempt from Romney to Obama

For a guy who is widely described as friendly and affable, Mike Huckabee has a mean streak.  He started his Republican convention speech on Wednesday night with a pointed and seemingly pointless jab at Democratic Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  And he kept up a hard-edged tone.

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