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Tag: bryan fischer

Religious Right Radio Network Broadcasts Lethal Lies About Coronavirus

Reprinted with permission from MediaMatters.

As the U.S. coronavirus death toll passes 1000 and the World Health Organization warns that the country could become the next epicenter of the global pandemic, hosts of the extreme anti-LGBTQ group American Family Association’s (AFA) radio network have been promoting dangerous misinformation about the virus, including by telling audiences to stay away from doctors’ offices and to instead buy vitamin packs. 

Articles on AFA’s website and figures on its radio network American Family Radio (AFR) have disregarded CDC guidelines and endangered their audience’s health by falsely claiming that people infected with coronavirus who are asymptomatic “are not contagious” and that there is an existing cure and vaccine to the virus.

AFR is a right-wing evangelical radio network that regularly spreads anti-LGBTQ misinformation and bigotry. It broadcasts more than 50 shows to nearly 200 stations and affiliates across 35 states and airs 24/7 as a part of AFA’s larger media apparatus, which also includes news website OneNewsNow

AFA’s Bryan Fischer lied that people infected with coronavirus who are asymptomatic are not contagious 

Bryan Fischer — a prominent AFR host who has spewed virulently anti-LGBTQ rhetoric as an AFA employee since 2009 — falsely claimed that people who are infected with the coronavirus and do not exhibit any symptoms “are not contagious.”

In reality, CDC guidance on the transmission of COVID-19 states that “some spread might be possible before people show symptoms,” and several studies “have shown that people without symptoms are causing substantial amounts of infection.” Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases since 1984, has also said, “I don’t think there’s any question that someone who is without symptoms and carrying the virus can transmit the virus to somebody else.”

During the March 23 episode of Fischer’s show Focal Point, he falsely claimed that “if people are asymptomatic, they don’t have the cough, they don’t have the respiratory issues, they don’t have a fever, they are not contagious.” Fischer also repeated this claim in an article posted to AFA’s website.

From the March 23, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s Focal Point:

BRYAN FISCHER (HOST): Now people that are asymptomatic — you might have heard this, asymptomatic transmission, people that don’t have the symptoms — they aren’t contagious. If people are asymptomatic, they don’t have the cough, they don’t have the respiratory issues, they don’t have a fever, they’re not contagious. And so they don’t need to be tested.

Fischer also promoted a claim about an unproven coronavirus cure originally spread on Fox News and later endorsed by Trump

Fischer also made reckless and unproven claims that the antimalarial drug chloroquine is a “vaccine” and a “cheap cure for coronavirus.” There is currently no vaccine for COVID-19, and it is projected that one won’t be widely available until at least the middle of next year. Though chloroquine could eventually be effective in treating COVID-19, it requires more testing, and there are some indications that using it can be harmful, including by limiting access to it for those who need it to treat other medical conditions. Fischer’s promotion of chloroquine treatment follows the drug being touted on Fox News and by President Donald Trump.

After a lawyer named Gregory Rigano went on Fox News multiple times to tout the unproven benefits of chloroquine, Fox hosts embraced the treatment and promoted its use to an audience whose health has already been put at risk by the network’s propagandist coronavirus coverage. Fox News falsely identified Rigano as an adviser to Stanford University School of Medicine, which he is not, and Rigano based his claims on a study with serious limitations. According to HuffPost, Rigano’s “claims about chloroquine are unproven, often overstated and potentially harmful.” 

Following Fox’s unfounded promotion of the drug, Trump embraced the treatment and falsely claimed that the Food and Drug Administration had approved it to treat COVID-19. Fauci, who has been attacked by pro-Trump media for allegedly harming the economy, stated that while it could be effective, chloroquine requires further clinical study to “show it is truly safe and effective under the conditions of Covid-19.”

In addition to concerns from medical professionals about its effectiveness, a man in Arizona died after ingesting chloroquine phosphate because he thought it would prevent him from contracting coronavirus. There has also been a shortage of the drug for people who use it to treat lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

During the March 19 episode of Focal Point, Fischer claimed that the drug “keeps you from getting coronavirus, and if you’ve got it, it cures it.” He then repeated this claim during the March 23 edition of AFR’s Life & Liberty Minute and in an AFA article titled “A Cheap Cure for Coronavirus Is Here”; in both, he falsely claimed that researchers discovered chloroquine “cures folks of the virus and acts as a vaccine for those who haven’t yet been infected.”

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s Focal Point

BRYAN FISCHER (HOST): The good news is that we may have found the silver bullet to stop the coronavirus. It’s a cheap generic antimalarial medication. This thing has been around since 1944. It’s chloroquine phosphate. That’s what it’s called. 

If we can get this into the hands of assisted living facilities, they can inoculate their entire roster of patients with chloroquine. And it’s preventive. It’s prophylactic. It keeps you from getting coronavirus, and if you’ve got it, it cures it.

Fischer has come under fire for praising the global coronavirus pandemic, saying it “might create a fantastic, once-in-a-generation opportunity to reverse some anti-family trends” by protecting children “from being brainwashed into normalizing sexual deviancy, gender confusion, and Drag Queen story hours.” This attack continues right-wing media’s crusade against Drag Queen Story Hour, a national program in which drag queens read children’s books to kids at libraries and schools.

Fischer is a homophobic and anti-Muslim bigot. He regularly uses his AFR platform to disparage the LGBTQ community, including lying that Nazis had “no chance of advancing through the ranks unless you were a hardcore homosexual” and that only “effeminate homosexuals” were sent to concentration camps.

AFR host Bishop E.W. Jackson hosted quack doctor and anti-LGBTQ extremist Steven Hotze, who used the platform to advise listeners to “stay the heck away from doctor’s offices” and to instead buy immune packs from his “vitamin business.” Hotze also said that he is “right” about coronavirus treatment and prevention and “Harvard and all these CDC guys” are “wrong.”

Hotze is an anti-LGBTQ bigot, a disreputable doctor, and the founder and CEO of several bogus Texas-based wellness companies. He is also also a QAnon supporter who has theorized that the “deep state could have been the ones that orchestrated” the pandemic as part of its supposed war against “the patriots.” A damning 2005 Houston Press profile reported that he has inflated his credentials; that “leading experts in women’s health issues say Hotze’s methods are not supported by science and are potentially harmful”; and that “Hotze runs an expensive one-stop shop for thyroid disorder, hormone replacement, yeast infections and allergies, when no medical records show Hotze has training in any of them.”

On March 15, Fox News chose to give Hotze a platform twice in the same day, over any number of credible doctors, and Hotze used it to peddle his vitamins as a preventive coronavirus measure and to spread dangerous misinformation about the virus, including dismissing concerns about the pandemic as people going “totally crazy” and advising viewers to “conduct your life normally.”

During the March 19 edition of The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson, Hotze also claimed that “Harvard and all these CDC guys” are wrong about the coronavirus and that “they don’t talk about how you can keep yourself from getting sick.” This claim, of course, goes against robust, evidence-based guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Harvard Medical School on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson  

BISHOP E.W. JACKSON (HOST): We don’t hear much about prevention since this is a disease that is opportunistic and attacks those who have a weakened immune system. Obviously, anything you can do to strengthen your immune system has got to be helpful. It can’t possibly hurt, and it certainly might also be able to help.

STEVEN HOTZE (CEO OF HOTZE VITAMINS AND HOTZE PHARMACY): Most importantly, if you want to get your vitamins, I am a vitamin business here, believe it or not. And I came in, I started vitamins back in ‘89 when my dad asked me about a health problem he’d read about a cure for. 

You can ask for a copy of one of my books, and just tell them you heard me on Dr. Jackson’s show. I’ll send you Hormones, Health, and Happiness or Do a 180 and Take Charge of Your Life. I’d be glad to help you out. I like, I admire, and have admired Bishop Jackson for years, and you’re part of his listening audience. And I’ll give you free, won’t charge you anything for it. We’ll ship it — just to help you guys get healthy and well naturally and stay the heck away from doctors’ offices. 

JACKSON: All right, well —

HOTZE: Because as my dad told me, don’t poison your patients like all the other doctors do, son.

From the March 19, 2020, edition of American Family Radio’s The Awakening with Bishop E.W. Jackson

STEVEN HOTZE: I ask myself, and I ask my team over here, my leaders, and I go like, “Am I crazy? Or are they crazy?” You know. “Could I be right, and Harvard and all these CDC guys be wrong?” Yeah. Because, guess what, they don’t talk — they’re all conventional. They don’t talk about how you can keep yourself from getting sick. What they are talking about, “Oh we’ve got a new drug. Oh, chloroquine.” Well, it’s not a new drug. “We could use chloroquine.” Which is fine if you’ve had the chorus virus — I’m sorry, the coronavirus, fine, get some chloroquine and take it. That’s all fine. But why don’t you just not get it. Why don’t you just stay healthy.

Hotze has an extreme anti-LGBTQ record. He has claimed that “‘Satanic cults’ were driving the ‘homosexual movement,’” compared LGBTQ people to “Nazis,” and said that Houston residents should “drive” LGBTQ people “out of our city.” He has also claimed that the movement for LGBTQ equality would give people “a free hand to come and have relations with a minor, molest a child.”

Jackson shares Hotze’s anti-LGBTQ views and often uses his AFR show to attack LGBTQ people, including saying that people who go by gender neutral pronouns are under the “possession” of “multiple demons.”

This Week In Crazy: Hear A White Supremacist’s Advice For Trump

The Religious Right civil war, the devil’s in the “no-fly” list, and a white supremacist tells Trump exactly how to “Make America Great Again.” Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Frank Amedia

The man Trump tapped to be his Christian policy advisor doesn’t quite know if Barack Obama was born in the United States, saying that such inscrutable questions were “above my pay grade.”

In an interview with Alan Colmes Tuesday, flagged by Buzzfeed, Frank Amedia dismissed the notion that his orange godhead candidate had been the slightest bit racist when he propelled himself top of the fringe nutter trashheap back in 2011 on a contrail of birther nonsense. “I think that we’re too quick to put the race card on everything, we should be careful with that,” Amedia said.

When Colmes asked if Obama was born in this country, Amedia feinted: “That’s so far above my pay grade,” he said.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Buzzfeed

Next: Bryan Fischer 

4. Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer, perennial TWIC favorite and proverbial angry old man in residence at the American Family Association, is at it again. “It” being disgorging whatever septic cocktail of Old Testament wrath and cranky Dixiecratic paranoia he has brewed up this week.

On his radio show this week Fischer explicitly likened the effort by a bipartisan coalition of senators to pass legislation that would forbid anyone on the no-fly list from purchasing a gun to the machinations of Satan himself.

“That’s exactly how Satan works,” Fischer said. “That’s how he deceives us. He never tells us, ‘Look, if you do this thing I’m dangling in front of you, it’ll destroy you.’ He never says that because he knows we wouldn’t go for it.”

In pushing for “No fly, no buy” Democrats were not literally being Satan, he clarified — he just wants us to know that “this is how Satan works.” Fischer wouldn’t want us to think he’s nuts or anything.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Rush Limbaugh 

3. Rush Limbaugh

But enough about amending our laws, which currently make it laughably easy for anyone to pick up a gun and start firing in a crowded place. The real problem is Sharia law, Limbaugh helpfully explained on his show.

“If Obama, if the president of the United States is serious about using the law to stop acts of terror, such as what happened in the gay bar in Orlando, then he had better try to change Sharia law, because that’s the only law those people listen to. They don’t care about U.S. law. And no criminal does,” Limbaugh said.

There’s a tired illogic to this idea that making it more difficult to buy a gun wouldn’t, you know, make it more difficult to buy a gun. And Limbaugh’s sly insinuation that Obama has some kind of jurisdiction over Sharia law is pretty old hat.

Rush is starting to sound like his own worst tribute band. Just a friendly reminder, Rush, that your sponsors are fleeing you in droves — and why shouldn’t they, when the median age of your listeners hovers around 70 and you can’t even be bothered to cook up fresh nonsense for them?

Next: Jared Taylor

2. Jared Taylor

Jared Taylor, fervent Trump enthusiast and the face of well-scrubbed American white supremacists, reminded us that what Americans really long for, and hope to return to under a Trump presidency, are the good old days of Jim Crow.

In an open address to Donald Trump, dredged up by the blog Hail to the Gynocracy, which tracks the white supremacist “alt-right,” Taylor encourages the GOP’s presumptive nominee to deport all illegals and “take a hard look at” Muslim Americans.

“Mr. Trump, your campaign slogan is ‘Make America Great Again.’ I have bad news: You can’t make America great with a Third World population,” he declared.

He says that while, sure, white people want their jobs, “what they really want is their country back. The country they had in 1964.” As in, before the Civil Rights Act and Voting Rights Act. When things were “Great,” like the baseball cap sez.

Taylor, whose American Renaissance webzine is a cesspit of pseudoscience proclaiming the supremacy of the white race, once expressed his enthusiasm for a President Trump in an interivew. Trump’s elevation to the Oval Office, he said, would be “extremely useful to us.”

Read more gems at HTTG and watch the video below.

Hat tip and video courtesy of Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Religious Right Can’t Deal With Trump

1. Religious Right Civil War

One of the small pleasures of the election has been watching the great minds of the Religious Right twist themselves into knots making a tepid peace with the crass and blatantly secular Trump.

Despite his naked and incompetent pandering to the conservative Christian movement (“Two Corinthians”), more and more evangelical figureheads are exposing themselves for the craven and feckless stooges they are by turning tail and voicing their mealy-mouthed support for the thrice-divorced Orange Julius in a red cap.

So it was this week when Trump summoned evangelical leaders to New York in order to convince them that he was their guy. Tony Perkins, virulently anti-gay leader of the Family Research Council, was charmed by Mr. Trump, writing in a blog post that “one thing Trump and social conservatives do have in common is the shared experience of being the target of vicious and often vile attacks from the Left for refusing to surrender to the terms of political correctness.” It’s true that Trump as well as Perkins and his FRC ilk are often criticized from the left. Espousing retrograde beliefs that consistently demean other people will reliably attract that kind of “attack.” Perkins added that he hoped this “ongoing conversation” between Trump and evangelicals “results in a concrete plan to protect the values we hold dear.”

Not everyone on the Religious Right can stomach Trump, of course. Glenn Beck, the #NeverTrump stalwart, who once averred that God killed Antonin Scalia in order to pave the way for President Ted Cruz, posted a lament on Facebook in which he even called out Trump for his reprehensibly hypocritical tack of trying to debunk Clinton’s religion: “For leaders to endorse and tolerate the lecture of ‘no evidence that Hillary is a Christian’ is obscene,” he wrote.

Michael Farris, writing in the Christian Post, was more blunt: “This meeting [with Trump] marks the end of the Christian Right.” He added: “In 1980 I believed that Christians could dramatically influence politics. Today, we see politics fully influencing a thousand Christian leaders.”

“This is a day of mourning,” he concluded.

Pass the popcorn.

Image: DonkeyHotey

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

PhotoUniversity of the Philippines students display glasses with lit candles and a placard as a tribute to those killed in the Pulse nightclub mass shooting in Orlando, during a protest at the school campus in Quezon city, Metro Manila, Philippines June 14, 2016.   REUTERS/Erik De Castro

This Week In Crazy: Thank A White Man Today

The post-campaign follies of Glenn Beck, the “imams of sexual sharia,” and the sad fact that white men just get no respect. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Roger Stone

Speaking to InfoWars host Alex Jones Tuesday, Trump’s master of darkness Roger Stone sounded off on what voters can expect from Trump’s VP pick.

Whoever it was, Stone said, they would be a “nationalist, not a globalist” and someone “who shared Donald Trump’s views on a cross-section of issues.” None of that is especially surprising, but Stone’s adamantine insistence that Trump will be making the decision without respect to the input of any experts or advisers is disconcerting in a familiar way.

As combustible and irrational as he is, Trump can be counted on to always act by fiat. Stone asserted that Trump’s campaign manager and lawyers would not be making the decision. “Only one person knows what Trump is going to do, and that’s Trump,” Stone said,

Stone might be more out of the loop than he lets on, though, as he floated New Mexico Gov. Susan Martinez as a potential Veep just as Trump, ever thick-skinned and secure in his power, shot down the Republican governor for “not doing her job,” simply because — many speculated — she had not yet endorsed him.

“That’s exciting, it’s also common sense,” Jones said.

Just one week ago, Stone insisted that President Trump should pull CNN off the air, a stance that I’m sure has nothing at all to do with the fact that the news network has banned Stone from appearing on it because of his history of inflammatory, racist tweets.

It’s very nice of Jones to keep letting Stone on his show to peddle his wares: Note the background image — Stone has a new book to sell. But I think Media Matters‘ Brennan Suen has it right when he writes;

Stone is not a typical political adviser, and when the press treats him as one they miss out on a key election story: the extremism of Trump’s supporters. Stone’s decades-long history of dirty tricks includes playing a role in Watergate that later caused him to be fired from a job in the Senate. He has a record of racist and misogynistic rhetoric that caused MSNBC and CNN to ban him from their networks. Stone also regularly calls for public figures to be executed.

So maybe it is a good thing Trump doesn’t listen to his advisers.

Next: Glenn Beck

4. Glenn Beck

You kinda have to feel sorry for Glenn Beck, militant supporter of loser Ted Cruz and captain of the floundering ship TheBlaze.

It seems clear now that the incident in late April when Beck mashed his face into a bowl of Cheeto crumbs to make some kind of point should have been taken as an early indicator that all was not well in Becklandia.

This week he was caught rolling back on his own insane conspiracy theories just as soon as he said them aloud. He aired a notion on his radio show Wednesday that Obama was intentionally allowing the investigations into Clinton’s emails to proceed in an attempt to derail her because Clinton is not enough of a radical to carry out Obama’s long-term Marxist agenda.

“I think it’s wrong,” he said of the thing he was saying just then on his own show. Nevertheless, he added: “I think you could make a case, a bad case, that he’s looking for an ideologue to replace him. He’s done the work of bringing this country to the brink of Marxism and he’s not going to have it flushed away by Hillary Clinton.”

Poor Glenn doesn’t even have the conviction of his own confetti-headed notions anymore. If Beck can’t at least be relied upon to believe his grand conspiracy-laden fugues, who can?

Oh and there was the whole wondering-if-any-patriots-out-there-would-be-willing-to-step-up-to-the-plate-and-“remove”-Donald-Trump thing that arose in a discussion between Beck and his guest, author Brad Bird.

“With the feckless, spineless Congress we have, who will stand in the way of Donald Trump overstepping his constitutional authority as President?” Bird asked. “If Congress won’t remove him from office, what patriot will step up and do that? If — if — he overstates his constitutionally-granted authority I should say as president, if he oversteps that, how do we get him out of office? I don’t think there is a legal means available. I think it will be a terrible, terrible position the American people will be in to get Trump out of office, because you won’t be able to do it through Congress.”

“I would agree with you on that,” Beck said.

But I’ll say this about Beck. While other conservatives all over the map are taking their principles out behind the woodshed and lining up behind The Donald, Beck has militantly held fast to his anti-Trump position. But he’s not going to sit silent. The man has grand ambitions to devise a “100 year plan” to redeem America through the magic of conservative and libertarian values. To which I say, Godspeed, Glenn. Never change.

Next: Gavin McInnes

3.  Gavin McInnes

Vice Media founder Gavin McInnes thinks white males deserve a long overdue “thank you” for ending slavery. He also said that white males had nothing to do with beginning slavery in the first place, but he may have misspoke.

During a segment on his show late last week, McInnes lamented that Curt Schilling had been fired from ESPN for posting transphobic memes (“creeps,” McInnes called transgender people). Although he could not remember Schilling’s name (“I’m not into sports”), he sympathized with the plight of the onetime baseballer and would-be video game magnate.

His conclusion: “It really is an upside-down world. You start looking at the data and you say: Wait a minute, I’m noticing a pattern here. Everything that is depraved and wrong and sick is good, and everything that is good we should be ashamed of.”

“White males, we built society,” McInnes exclaimed, “we separated church and state! We didn’t end slavery…I mean, sorry, we didn’t begin slavery, we ended it!

“How about a thank you?” he demanded.

Hat tip and video Hail to the Gynocracy

Next: Scottsdale, Arizona

2. Scottsdale, Arizona

The city of Scottsdale, Arizona is doing everything in its power to stifle religious freedom and religious expression. Ted Cruz would be just appalled.

Except that in this case the people seeking to exercise their First Amendment rights happen to be Satanists. So, you know, the Constitution doesn’t apply, and they can go straight to Hell.

Please note that Satanism does not refer to a worship of the literal Satan — it’s basically a doctrine for all who are opposed to arbitrary authority and celebrate individual sovereignty in the face of corrupt, illegitimate institutions (like, I don’t know, state religion). Accordingly, Satanism attracts a broad spectrum of atheists, agnostics, and basically anyone who wants to turn the tables against a conservative Christian establishment, by using the same legal machinery that the Moral Majority has abused for decades to advance its own religious agenda.

Which is pretty much exactly what happened in Scottsdale, which barred the Satanic Temple from leading a prayer at a council meeting in July, even though it had already been scheduled. The Temple is fighting back, calling the decision arbitrary and baseless. A city spokesman told reporters that only “representatives from institutions that have a substantial connection to the Scottsdale community” should be allowed to give the invocation, hence the ousting.

Friendly Atheist’s Hermant Mehta writes:

That’s not necessarily an unreasonable rule, as the [Satanic] Temple’s chapter is based in Tucson and not Scottsdale, but why did it only become an issue after the Satanists were given the green light? And doesn’t it count if some of the Temple’s members live in Scottsdale?

It sounds more like city officials feared what would happen and scrambled to find a reason to boot them from the list.

Indeed, back in March, Scottsdale’s mayor Jim Lane admitted that city officials were working to “find a clean path, one that is legal,” to bar the group from giving the invocation.

AZ Central reports:

“We’re not in the business of entertaining an invocation that makes a mockery,” Lane said. “I’m not an advocate of it, of course.”

Thousands of emails filled Scottsdale officials’ inboxes over the prayer issue this spring, and religious groups were preparing to organize in protest.

Lucien Greaves, the Satanist Temple’s national spokesperson, told Mehta in an email that the Temple was considering legal action, pending the city’s response to a number of questions. Namely, how did Scottsdale determine exactly wheat the Temple’s connection to the city was? And do they apply this level of scrutiny to anyone (a Christian, say) who wishes to give the invocation?

Or might this have been, you know, religious discrimination?

Next: Bryan Fischer 

1. Bryan Fischer

The spokesman for the American Family Association took aim at the “Gay Gestapo” in his latest blog post, published Tuesday on the AFA blog.

“The Gay Gestapo is on a mission from the Dark Lord,” Fischer writes, “to relentlessly harass, intimidate, punish, and silence every advocate of sexual normalcy. Now the deviancy cabal intends to send preachers who speak the truth about transgenderism and transvestitism to jail for two years.”

Fischer is responding in characteristically reactionary and spurious fashion to Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last week that the government was introducing legislation to “help ensure transgender and other gender-diverse people can live according to their gender identity, free from discrimination, and protected from hate propaganda and hate crimes.”

The bill (which you can read here) proposes to amend an anti-discrimination statute, the Canadian Human Rights Act, to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination, a list which presently includes race, sexual orientation, sex, disability, and religion, among other grounds.

Or, in Fischer’s gloss, “Soon in Canada, it will be a crime to proclaim what the Bible and science teach about gender.” Fischer’s punting to “science” is particularly risible in light of his young earth creationist viewpoints.

I would not give Fischer points for credibility, since this is, after all, the same man who once likened erections to God’s radar alert system, or for originality, since his post is almost a paragraph-by-paragraph crib from this article in Christian Post.

But when he rhapsodizes about the “imams of sexual sharia” making sure that all good Christians like him are “appropriately chastened and punished,” well, it does make me chuckle.

Illustration: DonkeyHotey via Flickr

Check out previous editions of This Week In Crazy here. Think we missed something? Let us know in the comments! Get This Week In Crazy delivered to your inbox every Friday, by signing up for our daily email newsletter.

This Week In Crazy: Our Long National Nightmare

Prognostications of the apocalypse, puritanical fools, and punditocratic blowhards. Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Rick Santorum

Erstwhile presidential candidate Rick Santorum has made clear that deeply felt dedication to the cause of religious liberty is strictly limited to establishing his own extremist brand of conservative Christianity as law. And his utter ignorance of Islam has not stopped him from implicating every Muslim wholesale in his condemnations of terrorism. (““Islam is not just a religion; it is also a political governing structure,” he said at the fifth GOP debate.)

The depths of his ignorance about Islam were neatly and rather pathetically laid bare recently in a confrontation with college student Hamzah Raza, which was captured on cell phone video (below). Santorum sounded his usual notes about the monolithic evils of “Sharia law,” but when asked to clarify exactly what that was — other than a convenient talking point — the former senator was unable to do so.

Raza wrote Monday in Alternet:

I asked Santorum to name the 5 foundations of Sharia, which he was unable to do. It was also difficult for him to fathom the fact that Muslim scholars across the religious spectrum have all condemned ISIS. And that ISIS does follow not a legitimate interpretation of Sharia, according to basically every Muslim in the world. Although he could not name a single Muslim scholar who supports ISIS, he still insisted that ISIS is very popular (a claim that is statistically untrue). Santorum also found it difficult to fathom the fact that religion is up to interpretation. 

Hat tip Raw Story

Next: Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor 

4. Rick Wiles & Mark Taylor

Perhaps the only thing more alarming than Donald Trump are his fans, who can count among their dubious ranks apocalypse prognosticator Mark Taylor. Taylor recently appeared in Rick Wiles’ TruNews program to enlighten listeners on his frankly insane visions of a cosmology in which Trump is an avatar of God himself, and his enemies are the armies of Satan.

Right Wing Watch’s Brian Tashman writes:

Naturally, Wiles was overjoyed by his “amazing” prophesy.

Taylor also alleged that God made Fox News host Megyn Kelly “violently ill” for asking Trump “gotcha” questions at the first GOP presidential debate: “God was firing a warning shot: Don’t attack my anointed. Period.”

“The kingdom of darkness is attacking this man like never before,” Taylor said. “God is using this man — he’s not rattling the gates, because when you rattle the gates you don’t make entry — this man is literally splitting the kingdom of darkness right open.”

He claimed that protests at Trump rallies are a sign that “the kingdom of darkness is actually noticing the authority that God has put on this man and those are demons manifesting at this man’s rallies.”

“God is using him to literally split hell right open and stop this New World Order,” he added.

Hat tip and audio courtesy of Right Wing Watch

Next: Bryan Fischer 

3. Bryan Fischer

If you are a conservative in favor of comprehensive tax reform, surely you can make a cogent argument without literally comparing income tax to the Dred Scott decision and literal slavery. Unless of course you are American Family Association (AFA) mouthpiece (and perennial, but richly deserving, TWIC piñata) Bryan Fischer.

In a post published this week on the AFA’s Stand blog, Fischer outlines his philosophy of how income tax is both “immoral and unconstitutional.”

(As a side note, it is awfully precious for Fischer to express any grievance over taxes since he operates — and spews his virulent, hateful garbage — from under the aegis of the AFA hate group, which enjoys non-profit status even as it militantly campaigns to erase people’s civil rights.)

He ends his screed thusly:

In essence, every wage earner is now in a state of involuntary servitude. We are obligated to pay an unjust and unconstitutional tax or face the full wrath and fury of the federal leviathan.

What the American people need is a second Emancipation Proclamation to free us from this bondage. Such an Emancipation Proclamation can be issued by Congress in the form of a law in line with the 16th Amendment that prohibits the federal government from collecting a tax on wages and salaries. Or an Emancipation Proclamation could be issued by the Supreme Court led by originalists who would issue a ruling that bound the federal government down by the chains of the Constitution and declared that it was not allowed to collect a tax on the wages and salaries of working Americans. Until that day comes, we will continue to be in the same condition as Dred Scott, slaves to an immoral, illegal, and utterly unconstitutional edict from the central government.

An Emancipation Proclamation was issued in 1863. There is no reason another cannot be issued in 2017. [emphasis added]

On a separate episode this week, Fischer claimed on the radio Wednesday that Reuters — yes, Reuters — had written an article disproving the Theory of Evolution and validating Fischer’s own brand of young earth creationism.

The only problem — as I pointed out to him on Twitter — was that his main source was not an article by the venerable news organization, but rather the heavily slanted Christian Times, which used a Reuters photo. Fischer, in effect, confused the photo caption for a byline, and so went on the air boasting that the secular media was writing articles confirming his unintelligent designs. “The Bible forbids evolution,” he said. “This book. This book does not lie.

He later tweeted that he was “Not perfect. Just forgiven.” By whom, he did not say.

Next: Brigham Young University

2. Brigham Young University

After a female student at the Mormon institution of higher learning Brigham Young University told police that she had been raped, her school busted her for violating the university’s bylaws.

BYU’s “honor code” — essentially a catalogue of puritanical, religion-inflected prescriptions — allows for the student to be punished for having had a member of the opposite sex in her home or for consuming alcohol.

According to the Salt Lake Tribune, the university is magnanimously allowing the student to complete her semester but has barred her from registering for future classes. The Tribune‘s Annie Knox writes:

[S]he filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education, saying BYU denied her services available to victims under Title IX, a federal law barring sex discrimination at schools that receive funds from the U.S. government.

If a school is found to have violated Title IX, it usually reaches a settlement with the Office for Civil Rights and must show it is making new efforts to comply with the federal law.

She “is one of several students at the school, owned by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, who have said they were investigated by the school’s Honor Code Office after reporting a sexual assault.”

Next: Sean Hannity

1. Sean Hannity

The Fox News host is finally coming under fire from both within and without his network for treating Donald Trump with the breathless adulation of a fawning fanboy. (To cite just one example, Hannity teed up the exact same obsequious question, “Do you have a nickname for Hillary?” at both last week’s and previous week’s town hall.)

When the host lost his cool at Ted Cruz this week for playing politics with the delegates, he all but laid his bias for The Donald naked on the table. Hannity then went on a long Twitter tear, blasting his critics and asserting that any pro-Trump, anti-Cruz agenda was “BS.”

“Now let me go back to this other idea about the media,” he said on his radio show Wednesday. “The media has accused me of going soft in interviews on Republicans. I plead guilty. I absolutely plead guilty. You know why? Because I want one of them to win.”

Here he echoed remarks he had made last week, when he said: “If I’m interviewing Hillary Clinton, it’s gonna be a hundred times harder than any Republican, because I believe the Republicans represent, and have, a far better vision, one that I agree with.”

“I’m not a journalist,” he admitted. (No kidding.) “I’m a talk show host.”

Photo: Gage Skidmore via Flickr

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This Week In Crazy: Welcome Back To The Nuthouse

And we’re back. The right wing kicked the year off by freaking out in spectacular fashion to President Obama’s executive actions on gun control, indulging in some pandering to those precious Iowan evangelical ballot punchers, and kicking that dead horse called “traditional marriage” into a pulp.

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Crying Truthers

The president betrayed some raw emotion at the presser where he announced his executive actions, allowing a brief stream of tears to fall down his face when he mentioned the Sandy Hook massacre where 20 first-graders were murdered.

Not so fast, said the Crying Truthers. Just because he let loose a little weep-juice doesn’t mean the chattering class is going to let this tyranny slide. And who’s to say the tears were real, anyway?

Rather than take aim at the (really pretty modest) gun control measures the president announced, right-wing pundits devoted themselves to the holy work of exposing an ocular fraud.

Fox News host Andrea Tatalos opined that the White House had deployed a supply of raw onion to the podium.

Breitbart‘s John Nolte suggested the president had rubbed a little Ben-Gay on his lids to induce the “fake fascist tears.”

Red Eye panelist Michael Gunzelman suspected that the culprit was red pepper: “He put pepper to his eye,” he said. “And that’s how he started to cry. This is the breaking news that you need to know. He was not really crying there.”

Look closer, America. Only a brazen fraud would pretend that dead children is a sad thing.

Next: Mike Huckabee

4. Mike Huckabee

Pity Mike Huckabee, who is polling a dismal 1.3 in the polls. It would appear the pastor’s side skirmish for evangelical hearts and minds has been lost to the likes of Cruz, Rubio, and Carson. And Huck isn’t taking the news well at all, lashing out at Christian groups for lining up behind more impure candidates.

Huck went on Todd Starnes’s radio show to take aim at evangelical leaders for operating according to “secular standards.” The former Arkansas governor reiterated his campaign pledges to criminalize abortion by fiat and suggested that so-called Christians endorsing his rival candidates were intimated by Huck’s tenacity and were perhaps a little too focussed on their bottom line. After all, many of these Christian organizations mount successful fundraising efforts based on controversial issues like abortion, and if President Huck “slays the dragon” (i.e. outlaws abortion), then what’s left to sustain these Christian coffers?

A lot of these organizations wouldn’t have the ability to do urgent fundraising because if we slay the dragon, what dragon do they continue to fight? And so, for many of them, it could be a real detriment to their organization’s abilities to gin up their supporters and raise the contributions, and I know that sounds cynical but, Todd, it is what it is.

Yes, it’s breathtakingly cynical, in fact — and more than a little pathetic that Huckabee is justifying his flailing in the polls by basically accusing Christians of not being Christian enough for him. According to Right Wing Watch“Huckabee then went on to flat-out accuse the individuals and organizations that shunned his campaign of operating by ‘secular standards’ and not really believing in the power of prayer or in God’s ability to do great things, saying that they ‘will talk about prayer but [they] really don’t necessarily believe that it will change things.'”

On a related note, in a Facebook post Wednesday, Huck demanded to know why the president was so quick to save lives via gun control, but not by eliminating legal abortion. “As President,” he wrote, “I will repeal Obama’s unconstitutional executive actions AND eliminate ALL abortions in this country instead. I will never restrict our Second Amendment rights. I will vigorously oppose new gun control laws,” and so on and so forth. (You get a gun! And you get a gun!)


Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 4.18.47 PM

Huck’s just airing out his now familiar hypocrisy: As we know, Huck believes that executive action and judicial interpretations of the Constitution are very bad and must not be tolerated, especially when they are used to legalize same-sex marriage or to enforce gun control laws already on the books. But in the same breath, he promises to stop enforcing gun laws and to declare that zygotes are human beings protected under the Constitution. So basically executive and judicial powers are evil, until and unless Huck is the one sitting in the big chair, at which point he can go to town running roughshod over civil liberties and progress on guns.

He is getting kind of desperate, isn’t he?

Next: Bryan Fischer

3. Bryan Fischer

What’s left to say about Bryan Fischer? The American Family Association spokesghoul doubtless has one of the more creative hot takes on the president’s executive action on guns: He declared on his radio program Wednesday that this is all a ploy to disarm Americans who deny climate change.

I give him points for imagination. Fischer synthesizes both the troglodytic denialism of science skeptics and the frothing, paranoid lunacy of gun nuts. Per Right Wing Watch, his logic unfurls with all the majestic free association of fridge magnet poetry: “If you are a danger to yourself or to others because of a mental health issue, then you can be denied the right to own a gun. If you and I deny that man-caused global warming is anything to worry about, then that’s going to make us a danger to others and unfit to own a gun.”

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Roy Moore 

2. Roy Moore

Judge Roy Moore — that renegade moral crusader and Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court  — is at it again.

Last year, in his quest to rid America of the scourge of the rule of law, Moore bucked a January federal court ruling that found Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional, and ordered probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to gay couples. When the Supreme Court ruled in Obergefell v. Hodges in June, that should have settled the issue (really, the federal court ruling should have settled the issue, but we’ll get back to that), but Moore, the white knight for Christian piety, is returning to his old game of refusing to bow before the specter of marriage equality.

Rallying behind the flag of his faith and some perverse interpretation of the notion of states’ rights, Moore has instructed probate judges in Alabama once again to stop issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The problem, he says in his statement issued Wednesday, is that since the Obergefell ruling contradicts an Alabama Supreme Court ruling, there exists a state of “confusion and uncertainty” with regard to the law. And so, until his court renders a new judgment, Moore writes, “the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.”

Screen Shot 2016-01-07 at 5.03.02 PM

Judge Moore’s order. (Click to enlarge)

Moore’s argument rests on the highly suspect logic that since Obergefell united four direct challenges to same-sex marriage bans in states within the Sixth Circuit, marriage laws in dispute outside of the Sixth Circuit do not fall under the jurisdiction of the ruling. Moore dubiously cites an “apparent conflict between the decision of the Alabama Supreme Court […] and the decision of the United States Supreme Court in Obergefell.”

This is patent bull excreta.

Look. You don’t have to be a legal expert to appreciate that when a state supreme court disagrees with the highest court in the land, no such “conflict” exists. The Supreme Court has ruled that same-sex marriage bans are unconstitutional. That means they’re unconstitutional everywhere in the nation. But, as we noted, a federal court in Alabama had already ruled that Alabama’s same-sex marriage was unconstitutional months before SCOTUS rendered its rulingSo we’ve been here before with Moore.

This has nothing to do with the rule of law, which Moore seems so eager and willing to flout, and everything to do with Moore’s personal religious beliefs. He has said in the past that marriage equality is “going to destroy the nation,” cited his duty to enforce a “higher law,” and unimaginatively likened Obergefell to both Nazism and the Dred Scott decision.

Moore does not even have the intellectual honesty to mention in his recent order the federal court ruling that struck down Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban months before Obergefell. Incidentally, the judge in that case orderedthat the Alabama Attorney General is prohibited from enforcing the Alabama laws which prohibit same-sex marriage. This injunction binds the defendant and all his officers, agents, servants and employees, and others in active concert or participation with any of them, who would seek to enforce the marriage laws of Alabama which prohibit same-sex marriage.”

That includes you, Judge Moore. That’s how it works.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Marco Rubio

1. Marco Rubio

Marco Rubio dials the God gab up to 11 in a new TV ad targeted to Iowa evangelicals.

“Our goal is eternity,” Rubio begins, apparently ignorant of the two-term limit of the office he seeks.

Safety, prosperity, and the right to live and worship (or not) in peace — that is not what Americans want. Rubio informs the American electorate that what they really desire is “the ability to live alongside our Creator and for all time, to accept the free gift of salvation offered to us by Jesus Christ.” Can I get an “Amen”? Or can I at least get someone to bludgeon a disabled man to a pulp because he doesn’t believe in God?

There’s some kowtowing to the Christian persecution complex, in references to Christians’ “struggle on a daily basis.” He notes his intention to “cooperate with God’s plan” — not necessarily to, you know, cooperate with the federal, state, and local laws of a country that has enshrined separation between church and state as one of its core values. (Kim Davis for Attorney General — praise be!)

Oddly for a candidate who has made keeping Americans safe through hawkish military action abroad a cornerstone of his campaign, Rubio seems eerily chill with the notion of sending everyone to the afterlife for their eternal reward. Invoking the Gospel of Matthew, he asks voters, “Were your treasures stored up on earth or in Heaven?” In light of his notorious money management problems, the senator had better hope his treasure in Heaven is better maintained than his treasure on Earth.

It all begs the question, as Mediaite succinctly put it: Does Rubio want to run the country or a mega-church?

Hat tip Mediaite

Photo: Fibonacci Blue via Flickr

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This Week In Crazy: Come, Armageddon

Despite prior warnings to this effect, which turned out to be premature, conservative right-wingers are quite sure that this time it really is the End Times.

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Kevin Swanson

2015-11-06-kevin-swanson-cow-manure-right-wing-watch-screen-grab-640So much has been made of pastor Kevin Swanson’s “kill-the-gays rally,” as Rachel Maddow aptly characterized it, that I almost hesitate to include him on this week’s list. But if a crazed man announcing that, were he invited to his gay son’s wedding, he’d “sit in cow manure” and “spread it all over my body” doesn’t make the TWIC page, then the TWIC page has no meaning.

Swanson’s epic caterwaul continues: “I’m not laughing! I’m grieving! I’m mourning!” He characterized gay people as being riddled with sores, and wailed that “People are carving happy faces on the sores! That’s not a nice thing to do! Don’t you dare carve happy faces on open, pussy sores!!”

This mewling, hysterical tantrum was part of Swanson’s protracted introduction of, improbably, three GOP presidential candidates — Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, and Bobby Jindal — who attended the Des Moines rally in an apparent demonstration that the Iowan evangelical vote is so valuable a candidate will stoop to even the most shameful low. (While onstage, Cruz insisted that atheists and nonreligious people were unfit to be president — to rapturous applause.)

While he explained that homosexuality was a capital offense, Swanson stopped short of saying civil leaders should actually be the ones sentencing them to death — but only because “we need some time for homosexuals to repent.”

Of course, the candidates’ campaigns are already backpedaling: Huckabee is now saying he didn’t know what he was getting into, a pretty dubious claim — considering the bevy of material on Swanson’s history of hateful anti-gay, anti-women rhetoric that’s readily available online, and the fact that media outlets and watchdog groups were making a lot of noise about this last week.

But Jesus never used Google, so apparently neither does Huck.

Next: Pat Robertson

4. Pat Robertson

PatRobertsonScreenshotPat Robertson, the ill-tempered wax sculpture who hosts The 700 Club, has some hard words for anyone who thinks they can be both gay and Christian at the same time. (Hint: you can’t.)

Taking a question from a viewer on that subject on his show Tuesday, Robertson said that any such person would be “misguided and a hypocrite,” calling the trend of gay-friendly churches “the last stage of Gentile world apostasy.”

The only churches worth a damn, in Robertson’s view, are the ones that look on miscarried babies as God’s deliverance from future Hitlers, treat anorexia like a case of demonic possession, or believe that marriage equality will lead to Christians being forced into sodomy. Such sensible dogma.

Of course, Mad Pat isn’t the only one who believes the End Times are upon us…

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Michele Bachmann

3. Michele Bachmann

Michele BachmannThe former congresswoman who recently blamed floods in South Carolina on the nuclear deal with Iran, is off on another one of End-Is-Nigh kicks, espying portents of Armageddon in every news clipping and slice of fresh toast she comes across. “It’s literally day by day by day,” she said. “We’re seeing the fulfillment of scripture right in front of our eyes, even while we’re on the ground.”

On a recent taping of Family Research Council president Tony Perkins’ Washington Watch radio show, she encouraged Christian Americans to get busy ticking off their pre-apocalypse bucket list, among which items, she said, should be the conversion of as many Jews as possible.

Per Right Wing Watch, Bachmann said that Christians “recognize the shortness of the hour,

and that’s why we as a remnant want to be faithful in these days and do what it is that the Holy Spirit is speaking to each one of us, to be faithful in the Kingdom and to help bring in as many as we can — even among the Jews — share Jesus Christ with everyone that we possibly can because, again, He’s coming soon.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Judge Scott Johansen

2. Judge Scott Johansen

Update below.

A Utah judge ordered Tuesday that the infant foster child of a married lesbian couple be removed and reassigned to a heterosexual couple. His decision was based entirely on the fact that the child’s foster parents were lesbian.

April Hoagland and Becky Peirce have been raising the child for the last three months, along with Peirce’s 12- and 14-year-old children, and they are joined in support by both the foster child’s state-appointed attorney and her biological mother, who does not wish to see the family broken up.

From KUTV:

The women, who are legally married and were approved as foster parents in Utah earlier this year after passing home inspections, background checks and interviews from DCFS [Utah Division of Child and Family Services], said the judge told them there was a lot of research that indicated children who are raised in same-sex parent homes do not do as well as children who are raised by heterosexual parents.

Judge Scott Johansen apparently did not actually name or cite the vague research on which he based his decision, and because this is a family court ruling, the court records have not been released. The New Civil Rights Movement notes that there is “no valid research that proves children raised by same-sex parents do not perform as well as children raise by different-sex parents,” and that the “most widely publicized study that claimed to show adult children raised by same-sex parents, authored by Mark Regnerus, has been thoroughly discredited by the scientific community.”

Johansen is same juvenile court judge who dispensed some eye-for-an-eye justice in 2012, when said he would reduce a 13-year-old girl’s sentence if her mother agreed to chop off her ponytail in the courtroom, and asked her to keep chopping to the satisfaction of the complainant.

Maybe there’s a reason we don’t rely on Old Testament justice anymore.

American Family Association spokesman Bryan Fischer was quick to voice his support for the judge’s ruling, raving about the “sexual purity” and “sexual integrity of our children” on his show Thursday, and affirming he was “100 percent standing behind” Johansen.

“We should never countenance policies that place children in same-sex households,” Fischer said, repeating the same debunked studies that Judge Johansen presumably invoked.

That would probably be enough to land Fischer on the list this week, however…

Next: Bryan Fischer

Update: Judge Johansen amended his decision Friday, saying that the DCFS did not have to take the infant child away from Hoagland and Peirce next week, as originally ordered. There is still a custody hearing scheduled for Dec. 4.

1. Bryan Fischer

BrianFischerThe folks at the American Family Association uploaded video of Bryan Fischer’s taping of his Wednesday radio show under the header “Wars with other nations not just military conflict but spiritual warfare.”

Talk about burying the lede. Don’t sell yourselves short, AFA. The torrent of verbal ipecac flowing from Fischer’s mouth this week is so much more revolting than that.

Fischer discusses the story of Babylon sacking Jerusalem, as told in the Book of Jeremiah. In Fischer’s gloss, the story of a pagan nation that became an instrument of God’s wrath has special bearing for modern-day America, because like Jerusalem of 587 B.C.E., we too have experienced a smiting in the form of an invasion of godless infidels. Fischer is referring, of course, to the attacks of September 11, 2001, which he characterizes as God’s “wake-up call” to a “Christian nation” to get its act together.

Fischer continued:

I believe — I’m not saying that I know this — God hasn’t told me this one way or another, but I think it’s possible that 9/11 was exactly that. That was God using an utterly pagan, godless, demonic religion and the followers of that utterly pagan, godless, and demonic religion to discipline a Christian nation that has entered into a covenant relationship with God. It’s God’s way of giving us a wake-up call and it’s god’s way of demonstrating that He will not be mocked…

Needless to say, there is no section of any U.S. history textbook (outside of Texas, anyway), which tells the story of how the founders entered into a covenant with the Christian God. But that’s small change — just a few weeks ago, Fischer actually argued that the Constitution gave states free rein to bulldoze mosques.

Number the stars, Bryan. So shall your fallacies be.

Image: US Department of Energy via Wiki

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This Week In Crazy: Be Afraid, Be Very Afraid

If you’re still looking for a scary Halloween costume, consider dressing up as a climate change doubter, an anti-vaccine advocate, or an elected official who hunts demons on the side. 

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz’s strain of climate science rejection is a particularly potent one. “Climate change is not science,” he said recently. “It’s a religion.”

The GOP presidential candidate joined a fawning Glenn Beck on his TV show this week and retold the glory of his grilling of Sierra Club president Aaron Mair at a Senate committee hearing a few weeks ago. Cruz bragged that he couldn’t get a single piece of evidence out of Mair because he “did not know the facts” (Mair did issue a response later), and accused the 97 percent of the scientific community that recognizes the reality of man-made climate change of clinging to a “religion.”

From Right Wing Watch:

“Look at the language where they call you a ‘denier,'” [Cruz] said. “Denier is not the language of science. Look, I’m the child of two scientists … The essence of the scientific method is to start with a hypothesis, then look to the evidence to disprove the hypothesis; you’re not trying to prove it, you’re trying to disprove it. Any good scientist is a skeptic; if he’s not, he or she should not be a scientist. But yet the language of the global warming alarmists, ‘denier’ is the language of religion, it’s heretic, you are a blasphemer. The response from the Sierra Club, ‘We have decreed this is the answer, you must accept it.’ And so he didn’t know his facts because he just knew his religion.”

In case you missed the ugly scene Cruz is recalling (you can view it here), the senator spent nearly 10 minutes peddling debunked science, and dismissing the “preponderance of evidence” that Mair cited as being (merely) the beliefs of a majority of climate scientists. Cruz also somehow pinned the entire case for anthropogenic climate change on “one bogus study.”

In addition, Cruz attempted to bully Mair into admitting that the Sierra Club would refuse to issue a retraction if it turned out to be wrong, and with a broad smirk assailed Mair’s unfortunate use of the phrase “cooking up” to describe rising global temperatures.

The temerity on display is something to behold as Cruz trumpets discredited analysis, clinging hard to an denialist creed, and then smugly accuses those who actually read and consider the vast majority of scientific findings on the matter of being “absolutists” and ideologues.

Of course, Cruz knows a little something about unwavering fundamentalist dogma, having made the rejection of marriage equality a touchstone of his campaign (under the guise of resisting a supposed “war on Christians”).

No, Cruz is “not a scientist.” He’s a hypocrite and an obstinate fool.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Tamara Scott

4. Tamara Scott

It was not a good week for science. (When is it ever?)

Tamara Scott, an Iowa RNC member and anti-vaxxer, got in front of a camera this week and said that socialism in schools was to blame for the rise of preventable disease outbreaks. Not — as you and the CDC might believe — the anti-vaccination movement.

Scott argued that schools have become hot zones of poisonous socialistic ideologies and therefore hot zones of actual pathogens — since children are forced to share pencils and “face each other.” She continued:

They’ve gone to this socialistic teaching where you no longer have your own pencils you’re responsible for so you can learn how to take care of things and be a good steward; it’s all socialistic in the middle of the table, you’re all facing each other, handling each other’s things. And the schools, yet, when my kids were in school, kept wondering why they kept having all the issues with strep throat and all the issues with all these childhood illnesses continually happening. Because it’s the new way they’re doing school in the classroom. So, if you want to keep your kid healthy, take them out of public school. It will help them mentally, emotionally, academically and now, physically, it would help them as well.

I disagree with Scott on just about everything here, but one point I’d like to call special attention to: She says that having publicly voiced this theory of hers, she will now be unable to run for public office because her screed “will follow me with some of the liberal news organizations.” (Guilty as charged.)

On the contrary, this nonsensical rant puts her in good company with the Republican party.

Via Right Wing Watch

Next: Allen B. West

3. Allen B. West

When you just want to mainline pure raging uncut right-wing reactionary stupidity, you can scarcely do better than the blog of former Florida congressman Allen B. West, whose penchant for knee-jerk idiocy is virtually unmatched.

This the same “inquisitive fella” (as he self-described) who, without actually asking any questions, declared that Walmart had come under Sharia law after noticing that an employee (who, he assumed, was Muslim) was not selling alcohol in his aisle. West determined that this was an apparent attempt to force Islamic doctrine down the throats of bargain-hunting American shoppers. But far from leading a cashier caliphate, the young man was actually underage and therefore, by law, could not sell alcohol. (Laws governing the sale of alcohol are mostly on the books thanks to the Christian temperance movement — some religions get all the luck.)

Anyway, West is back in fine form this week, declaring in a blog post published Tuesday that the recent WHO announcement that processed meats can cause cancer is part of a liberal conspiracy to ruin Texas BBQ, saying that “thanks to the World Health Organization, [West’s] friends could sue” him if he tried to serve them some freshly grilled sausages.

West describes the WHO’s study as an example of scientific elites “dictating… via fear mongering and intimidation” that Americans have to put down their patriotic honey-baked hams and load their plates up with politically correct tofu and veggie kabobs.

He writes:

Sure seems this study is all about some liberal progressive agenda. What happens if all of a sudden government takes this study as justification to regulate what we eat — man, can you imagine First Lady Michelle Obama coming up with the football tailgate menu? Our kids hate the new school lunch menu — so what’s next?

Or will grocery stores be “fined” for selling meats deemed to be carcinogenic? Will the FDA all of a sudden demand all specified meats on the WHO list have certain labeling like cigarettes? Oh, here comes the big one, will there be increased taxes on these meats in order to deter their purchase? After all, big government would be doing it to save and protect us from ourselves. Laugh as you may, but think about the sugary drinks tax idea of former Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

There’s a nugget of sensible advice buried in West’s tirade, in which he recommends that readers enjoy “everything in moderation. Take care of yourselves and get your exercise done and have a balanced diet.”

Reasonable enough. And then there’s this:

“If I like bacon with an egg on a flakey croissant that’s my choice. Then again, I suppose the only choice the progressive left likes is killing a baby.”

Of course! I must have forgotten about the several state probes, congressional committees, and police raids that have been organized as part of the progressive agenda to criminalize the consumption of brisket. Your day is coming, West, when we shall cast all American meat-eaters into the shadows and you can practice your back alley barbecues in fear and shame.

Here West evokes one of Shakespeare’s most memorably addled twits, Sir Andrew Aguecheek from Twelfth Night, who once said, “I am a great eater of beef and I believe it does harm to my wit.”

No question.

Next: Gordon Klingenschmitt

2. Gordon Klingenschmitt

Remember Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt? He’s the Colorado state rep who has likened gay marriage to slavery, warned us there were demons in marijuana, promised that Jesus would personally nullify same-sex marriage by sending gay men to hell, and also said that a horrific assault on a pregnant woman was God’s just punishment for legal abortion.

Well, he’s getting into the Halloween spirit by accusing Cecile Richards and her cronies of being literally ghouls.

From Right Wing Watch:

Absurdly claiming that a recent Planned Parenthood decision to stop accepting legal reimbursements for fetal tissue donation at the two clinics that currently accept such reimbursements was an “admission that they were selling aborted baby parts,” Klingenschmitt declared that the women’s health organization’s executives should be “in jail for multiple felonies, not only for killing children — some justices think that’s legal, in God’s eyes it’s never legal — but profiting for it.”

“I don’t believe these people for a moment, do you?” he asked. “In fact, we can discern upon them the spirit of lying, the spirit of death, the spirit of murder, the spirit of greed. I mean, whenever I look at a picture of those executives, if you look in the spirit, at the demons inside of them, you can see the blood dripping from their fangs. These people are just evil.”

Paging Dr. Chaps — perhaps another demon-hunting excursion is in order.

Next: Bryan Fischer

1. Bryan Fischer

I owe Bryan Fischer an apology. The mouthpiece for the American Family Association is apparently a loyal TWIC reader, and a peeved one at that, since he failed to snag the #1 spot last time he was on the list.

In a possible bid for that esteemed title, last week he cooked up a juicy screed defending the constitutionality of shutting down mosques — and I completely missed it. Sorry, Bryan. But better late than never, I suppose.

Writing in the AFA’s blog last Thursday, Fischer doubles down on Donald Trump’s controversial remarks that he would “certainly look at” the legality of shutting down a mosque.

In a post subtly titled “Yes, mosques can be closed,” Fischer valiantly steps in to go one better than Trump: Not only can we shut down mosques, we must — and, in fact, the U.S. Constitution authorizes it.

Fischer writes:

If we understand the term “religion” in the First Amendment to refer to any system of supernatural belief, as activist judges have done, then we have no way to close mosques or even to stop the erecting of giant statues of Satan right next to Ten Commandments monuments on government property.

But if we understand “religion” as the Founders did, to refer specifically to Christianity, then there is a perfectly constitutional way to shut down mosques starting today.

In Fischer’s gloss, this means the “Founders were not accepting, supporting, approving or extending toleration to Islam in the First Amendment,” and so “while Congress is flatly prohibited by the First Amendment from interfering with the free exercise of the Christian religion, the Constitution is silent regarding Islam.”

Fischer’s argument rests on two notions: 1.) that when the Founders wrote the First Amendment “religion” was understood to only apply to Christians, and 2.) even if the First Amendment precludes the national government from enforcing laws against Islam, the 10th Amendment, Fischer writes, “gave to the States unilateral authority to regulate religious expression as they saw fit.”

We’ll start with #1.

Fischer summons the authority of Joseph Story, who served on the Supreme Court from 1811 to 1845. He quotes a passage from Story’s Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, which argues that the purpose of the First Amendment was “to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects,” and “not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism [Islam], or Judaism, or infidelity.”

Unfortunately for Fischer, Story’s commentary, written in 1833, has no intrinsic legal value, having never been included in an official ruling, and Story is emphatically not a Founding Father — since he was, after all, 12 years old when the First Amendment was adopted. But that’s just scratching the surface of Fischer’s duplicitous manure heap.

Luckily, recent ignorant GOP candidates have thrust back into the spotlight the issue of the Framers’ original intent as it pertains to the definition of “religion.” The renewed attention has made it pretty clear that this is an asked and answered matter: The Founding Fathers understood the word “religion” to extend beyond the narrow scope of Christian sects.

A useful point of reference is the debate over the No Religious Test Clause in Article VI of the Constitution, which is pretty unequivocal on this point, saying that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”

From the Heritage Foundation, a notoriously liberal resource, we have a Notre Dame law professor explaining that the arguments over the No Religious Tests Clause hinged on this expansion of the definition beyond Christianity. Those who objected to the clause did so for a very simple reason: It meant that “‘Jews,’ ‘Turks,’ ‘infidels,’ ‘heathens,’ and even ‘Roman Catholics’ might hold national office under the proposed Constitution.” James Madison understood as much when he wrote the clause “opened a door” for these decidedly un-Christian elements.

If Fischer had continued reading the passage from Story’s Commentaries on which he rests his argument, he might have seen that while Story concedes that the main object of the First Amendment was to quell rivalry among Christian denominations — he argues that the undisputed result was to “cut off the means of religious persecution” (which he described as “the vice and pest of former ages”) of any religion.

Fischer does not dive into the rest of Story’s commentary, in which he goes on to describe how theocratic states had “afforded the most solemn warnings and melancholy instructions” on the matter of religious intolerance, lamenting that “Apostasy, heresy, and nonconformity had been standard crimes for public appeals, to kindle the flames of persecution, and apologize for the most atrocious triumphs over innocence and virtue.”

Story concludes that the outcome of the clause was that “the Catholic and the Protestant, the Calvinist and the Arminian, the Jew and the Infidel, may sit down at the common table of the national councils, without any inquisition into their faith, or mode of worship.”

Now, about that “national councils” business. Fischer’s #2 big leap of course ignores the incorporation doctrine, whereby the 14th Amendment extends Bill of Rights protections to apply to the states — and, yes, that includes free exercise of religion. In other words: No, Bryan, the 10th Amendment does not empower states to bulldoze mosques on their own authority and erect Chick-fil-A’s on the ground where they once stood.

Fischer has the audacity to invoke Thomas Jefferson in an article advocating the wholesale persecution of a religion, cherry-picking a line from one of Jefferson’s letters, written in 1808, in which he concedes that if government had any role in administrating religion, it would reside with the states. But Fischer neglects to also include Jefferson’s conclusion in that same letter: “I do not believe it is for the interest of religion to invite the civil magistrate to direct its exercises, its discipline, or its doctrines; nor of the religious societies that the general government should be invested with the power of effecting any uniformity of time or matter among them.”

And I can quote Jefferson too. I’m especially fond of his first inaugural address, in which he proclaimed that the young nation had “banished from our land that religious intolerance under which mankind so long bled and suffered.”

Perhaps he spoke too soon.

Anyway — congratulations, Bryan! You’re back on top!

Photo: John via Flickr 

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This Week In Crazy: The Stupidity Of A Free State

A well-regulated militia — which consists predominantly of disturbed white men who retch at the mere mention of “regulation” — being necessary to the stupidity of a free state, we can always look forward to hearing more pro-gun idiocy after a tragedy, such as the one that took place last week in Oregon.

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the loony, bigoted, and hateful behavior of the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Michele Bachmann

Michele BachmannOh good, Michele Bachmann is still posting every crass, cold-blooded, idiotic thought that pops into her head on social media.

You may recall that back in April the former congresswoman protested the Iran nuclear deal by likening President Obama’s leadership to the Germanwings pilot who deliberately steered his plane into the Alps, calling the president “a deranged pilot flying his entire nation into the rocks.”

She’s gotten less creative with the metaphors, but no less insipid with her remarks, telling her Twitter followers on Sunday that the catastrophic flooding in South Carolina is God’s punishment for our pursuit of diplomacy in the Middle East. The United States, she tweeted, “turns it back on Israel, disasters following [sic].”

Cause and effect aren’t Bachmann’s strong suits, if she has any. This isn’t the first time Bachmann has coarsely invoked divine wrath as our comeuppance for foreign policy decisions she doesn’t agree with. Right Wing Watch notes that she had suggested back in April that natural and economic disasters would befall the nation if we, as she characterized it then and now, turned our back on Israel.

And this has been a recurring motif for Bachmann, who shortly before she left office told the president (to his face) to bomb Iran, and she did it at a holiday party. Ho ho ho.

Next: Tucker Carlson

4. Tucker Carlson

It can be tempting for gun-control advocates to see those countries that pass strict regulations on assault weaponry as utopian safe havens where the streets are paved with background checks.

It is equally tempting for conservatives to mischaracterize any reasonable attempt at gun control as a full-throated war against liberty — and so any country that has achieved it must be demonized.

So it was on Fox & Friends Sunday morning, when co-host Tucker Carlson declared that because they had the temerity to enact sane gun laws in the wake of their own tragic mass shooting, there is “no freedom” in Australia.

In fact, he continued, if you say anything unpopular Down Under, you can be locked up in jail. Really, any country where gun laws are in effect is under the thumb of tyranny.

Carlson claimed that the problem with passing gun control laws in Australia is: “They also have no freedom. You can go to prison for expressing unpopular views in Australia. And people do. And in Western Europe, by the way. And in Canada. No one ever says that.”

Suffice it to say, this big Aussie bugaboo described by Carlson is about as far from reality as… well, as Fox News.

If I’m being charitable, Carlson is referring to hate-speech laws that exist in both Canada and Australia, but his portrait of these nations as Orwellian hellholes where freedom doesn’t exist is disingenuous in the extreme. (In case you were wondering, democracy is alive and well in these countries.)

You can see the video of the segment below, courtesy of Raw Story:

Once again, Fox News has speciously mischaracterized other nations as dystopian simply to make a point. Earlier this year, the network had to backpedal in a big way after a guest, Steven Emerson, explained to Fox viewers that various enclaves in Western Europe has been converted into “no-go zones” ruled by Sharia law, and his claims went completely unchallenged on the air.

Next: Bryan Fischer


3. Bryan Fischer

Bryan Fischer — the spokesman of the American Family Associate hate group and perennial TWIC piñata — has been on a roll this week.

On his radio show Focal Point Tuesday, Fischer explained to his listeners that gay men are more dangerous than guns.

“Did you know that there is something that is entirely preventable… and it is killing more people than guns? You know what that is? It’s men having sex with men.” Fischer claims that this is “not my opinion” by invoking CDC and FBI statistics, comparing gun homicides to deaths from AIDS.

“The bottom line,” he said, “is that we could save more lives by banning homosexuality than we could by banning guns.” (Insert usual clarification about how nobody who has a pulpit worth a damn is talking about “banning guns” en masse, but that’s the least of Fischer’s transgressions here.)

This is a constant hangup for Fischer, who — like many conservatives of late — has advanced the notion that we need to be more like Russia, particularly by emulating that country’s anti-gay propaganda crusade.

(After Fischer’s rant concludes, he takes a call from a woman lamenting that the military hasn’t overthrown Obama, and that Christians need to stand up to him and his jihadi Muslim brethren waiting in the woodwork to steal the country “that God gave us.” Give a listen and shed a tear for the nation. “I think a lot of people agree with you,” Fischer says, but that as “attractive and appealing” as the idea of a coup is, it’s ultimately inadvisable. Better to go the impeachment route. Whew.)

Fischer had some other highlights this week, including a lengthy rant on his show Thursday about how Americans could stand to learn more from “the anger of Jesus.”

Using his own recent blog poston the subject as a touchstone, Fischer claims that in our culture, “The Gospel has been feminized. The Gospel has been emasculated. Christianity has been wussified.”

“Jesus,” Fischer said, “was the ultimate muscular Christian.”

Enough of this “turn the other cheek” hokum; eschew that namby-pamby “tolerance.” Be a “muscular Christian” and take the fight to the sinners! You can begin by banning homosexuality (see above). Fischer is careful to note that Jesus used a whip.

Next: Ben Carson

2. Ben Carson

Ben Carson has gotten plenty of well-deserved flak for his tone-deaf and tangled responses to the shooting in Oregon last week.

He said on his Facebook page, that despite all the horrible gun violence he had witnessed as a doctor, he “never saw a body with bullet holes that was more devastating than taking the right to arm ourselves away,” implicitly putting the sacred right to fire 10 rounds without reloading on a par with the lives lost in Roseburg, Charleston, Aurora, Newtown, et al.

On Fox & Friends Tuesday, he encouraged would-be victims of a gun shooting to charge at the shooter (great doctor’s advice).  “I would not just stand there and let him shoot me,” he said. “I would say: ‘Hey guys, everybody attack him. He may shoot me, but he can’t get us all.'” 

The Nightly Show‘s Larry Wilmore called attention to another one of Carson’s characteristic chasms of ignorance, pointing out that the presidential candidate was so uninformed he apparently did not know that someone had tried to do just that in Roseburg.

Carson didn’t stop there. Per Mother Jones:

On Wednesday, Carson doubled down on these controversial comments in an interview with CBS This Morning. “I would ask everybody to attack the gunman because he can only shoot one of us at a time,” he said. “That way, we don’t all wind up dead.”

That brings us to Wednesday evening, when Carson appeared on a radio show and described an actual episode in which he was faced with a gunman. In Carson’s telling, he responded quite differently in this real-life scenario than he said he would have reacted if faced with a possible shooter. “I have had a gun held on me when I was in a Popeye’s in Baltimore,” Carson told Sirius XM’s Karen Hunter. “[A] guy comes in, put the gun in my ribs. And I just said, ‘I believe you want the guy behind the counter.'”

You can view Carson’s remarks here.

Honestly, the notion that Carson wouldn’t take his own advice can only be a comfort — considering some of his advice.

Next: Ted Nugent 

1. Ted Nugent

Ted Nugent is the gun nut who gives other gun nuts a bad name. And when a mass shooting happens in America, he is not to be outdone by anyone else in the vulgar, remorseless remarks department — not even Dr. Carson.

Writing in his WorldNetDaily column, Nugent describes a “fundamentally transformed America, a heartbreaking embarrassment where rugged individualism, self-sufficiency and self-defense is scorned and condemned and, horror of horrors, outright forbidden” in any state that maintains reasonable gun laws or in any library, school, airport, or church where — y’know — you can’t bring your gun.

“I smell dirty, rotten, anti-American, criminal loving, constitutional oath violating infringement running amok where the Second Amendment no longer exists,” Nugent raves.

Echoing conservatives’ debunked line about the dangers of gun-free zones, Nugent continues: “Gun-free zones are a self-inflicted suicidal curse and send a big, crazy message to evil people to come and get us. We are unarmed. We are helpless. Do with us as you may.” (For what it’s worth — and being a pesky fact, it’s probably worth very little to Nugent and his ilk — one is allowed to carry a gun on the Umpqua Community College campus.)

Any reasonable measures taken by lawmakers and activists to restrict the senseless proliferation of assault rifles in our country is, in Nugent’s schema, a “big lie of political correctness.”

Charging at the shooter, as Carson suggests, is insufficient. The only answer: “Get a damn handgun. Practice with it. Train with it. Learn to carry it hidden and discreetly.” He continues:

If someone is approaching you with the intent to do grave bodily harm, and you will know it when it happens, try to escape to the best of your ability, but if there is no escape, pull out your weapon and aim for center mass and start shooting. Keep on shooting until you believe the threat to be over.

With zero irony or perhaps without a functioning mirror, Nugent decries his countrymen for being “so callous, so dishonest” and so beset with “denial as to ignore this self-imposed death wish upon their fellow Americans.”

And I think Nugent is absolutely correct when he writes: “Insanity is pandemic when a society continues to repeat the same thing over and over again and again and have the life-destroying audacity not only to expect different results, but to actually push for more of the same and increase the conditions resulting in yet more massive loss of life.”

“What sort of blind, uncaring idiot fails to admit to the pattern here?” he asks. He doesn’t need to look very far.

Via Mediaite

Photo: “2015 ‘Southern’ But Really Confederate Heritage DC Rally.” Taken September 5, 2015. (Stephen Melkisethian via Flickr)

This post has been updated.

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